Cradle Will Rock

Dir: Tim Robbins, 1999. Starring: Hank Azaria, Bill Murray, Ruben Blades, Joan Cusack, Susan Sarandon. Drama.

Cradle Will Rock belongs to that class of movies that don’t particularly offend anyone or bomb big enough to become a notorious flop; nor was it greeted with a ton of enthusiasm. Considering the talent involved with the film—Tim Robbins, Bill Murray, John and Joan Cusack, and Susan Sarandon, to name but a few—the mild applause the film seemed to generate upon its release was kind of like damning with faint praise. I never understood this because I find Cradle Will Rock to be a whole lot of fun, while at the same time serving as a pointed critique of the political apathy prevalent in art today.

The film tells the story of one of the most mythologized theatrical events of the 20th century. No surprise that Orson Welles was directly involved then. We’re in New York in 1937 and the city seems to be the epicenter of a massive upheaval in society at large. There is labor unrest, growing unease about global fascism, and a gnawing sense that capitalism has failed the common interests of the average citizen. (Hey, maybe the film is due for a critical re-appreciation after all…)

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Posted by:
Jed Leland
Jan 21, 2010 6:43pm

Green Lantern

Dir: Martin Campbell, 2011. Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins. Superheroes/Comics.

Just to be up front and clear, the version of Green Lantern that I’m reviewing is the extended cut which is exclusive only to the Blu-ray release. The reason is that after seeing the theatrical cut, I feel that the extended cut is a more complete movie, both narratively and structurally, and probably far closer to the original vision and intent of director Martin Campbell than the one that played in theaters last summer which reeked of studio interference. That said, my initial reaction to that Green Lantern movie wasn’t predominantly positive.

I was never that big a fan of the character, although I was familiar enough with him considering his multiple appearances in the Justice League of America comics. I also felt that Ryan Reynolds (whom I like) wasn’t exactly the ideal actor I’d peg as his comic book counterpart Hal Jordon. Instead he seemed more in line to play the Wally West version of The Flash, something that was actually in the cards after Blade: Trinity when that film’s writer/director David S. Goyer was going to helm The Flash movie. It’s also a bit odd considering Reynolds is playing Deadpool over in the Marvel cinematic universe as seen in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

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Posted by:
Rob Galluzzo
Jun 29, 2012 5:13pm

Jacob’s Ladder

Dir: Adrian Lyne, 1990. Starring: Tim Robbins, Danny Aiello, Elizabeth Pena. Mystery/Thriller.

A shell-shocked Vietnam veteran “Jacob Singer” (Robbins) finds his sanity begin to crumble as he sees demons coming out of the woodwork, trying to destroy him. He meets up with his old comrades trying to discover what sort of experiments the military did to them.

Bruce Joel Rubin’s screenplay is darkly spiritual and explores the mysteries of the mind. It is shocking, strange, and rides the line of sanity. The script is well structured and has a far darker tone than Rubin’s preceeding film, Ghost. Its use of time and space manipulations to unfold a mystery is very well done.

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Posted by:
Seamus Smith
Apr 29, 2009 4:28pm
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