In Dream House – the new suspense thriller from Jim Sheridan (In America My Left Foot) – Daniel Craig plays Will Atenton a successful New York publisher who disavows his high-powered Manhattan lifestyle and relocates along with his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and two daughters (Taylor and Claire Astin Geare) to a picturesque New England hamlet. Their new home a quaint fixer-upper bears imprints of the family that lived there previously: Old tools and other belongings are strewn about the basement a secret room abutting the children’s bedroom is filled with discarded toys. Will and Libby see the items as charming artifacts signs that their house has a history a soul.
The new neighborhood is not so bucolic as it seems. The children complain of a man peering in on them from the front yard – a suspicion confirmed when Will discovers footsteps in the snow the next day. If that weren’t ominous enough Will later learns that five years earlier his new home was the site of a grisly murder spree in which the previous owner Peter Ward was alleged to have killed his wife and two daughters. Acquitted due to a lack of evidence Ward spent a brief time at a psychiatric facility before being released. Could the shadowy figure glimpsed outside the window be Ward returning to the scene of the crime preparing to kill again?
At this point Dream House pulls off a whopper of a mid-game twist that effectively re-frames the entire narrative. (I won’t spoil it for you but if you want to know what it is just watch the trailer which rather stupidly gives it away.) Until now Sheridan has worked steadily to foster the guise of a relatively conventional haunted-house tale presenting a portrait of idyllic domesticity while simultaneously building an atmosphere of looming peril. After the story drops its bombshell the film morphs into a sort of supernatural murder mystery with Craig’s character scouring for clues within his own tortured psyche. Characters and scenes that might have been dismissible as red herrings – a neighbor (Naomi Watts) appears oddly stand-offish; her ex-husband (Martin Csokas) cartoonishly gruff; the town cops inexplicably apathetic – gain sudden relevance.
It’s a clever gambit; it is also patently absurd. A talented cast helps make the twist easier to swallow but the film’s second half sheds credulity seemingly by the frame at points devolving into schlock. Which in a different film might bode well for some silly fun but Sheridan aims for a restrained tone that seems more suitable for a somber character study than a flagrantly preposterous suspense thriller. As it is Dream House is neither thrilling nor suspenseful.
October 16, 2009 10:12am EST
A handful of revelations pop up in an interview David Duchovny did recently with The Daily Beast. Among them: the future of the X-Files film franchise, how long he'd like to keep doing Californication, and where the similarities with Hank Moody begin and end.
Duchovny's portrayal of misanthropic, sex-addled novelist Hank Moody is largely informed by his own time as a Yale doctoral student in his 20s, TDB writes.
"I envisioned that as my life: staying in academia to make a living and then taking summers off to write my novels," Duchovny says. "I understand the self-loathing and the resentment, and the discipline that it takes to sit down in front of a typewriter or computer every single day, whether it's going well or not going well...I didn't need to research how to be a professor (for Californication's third season) because I'd already been a teaching assistant when I was pursuing my Ph.D.; it was a very clear memory."
"The key to Hank Moody, certainly for me in acting him, is that he's one of those guys who don't give a f***, just like Larry David's character, which is a wish-fulfillment fantasy for all of us."
The actor predicts that he will play Hank Moody for another two to three years. "One of the great things about doing cable is that going past seven years is not part of the network's financial model, so I'm not afraid we’ll go too long," Duchovny says.
On The X-Files, Duchovny notes: "A show or movie with the staying power of The X-Files happens so rarely, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event for an actor, and a certain residue accrues to a person when they are involved in something like that. There was a prejudice within the Hollywood community where they didn't know I could do anything else. I understand the residue and I don't resent it, but certainly I am happy to have created another character that's so different, in a different genre, and I would love to keep doing that."
Still -- and despite the pummeling last year's The X-Files: I Want to Believe took -- Duchovny looks forward to filming a third X-Files film in the near future. "As far as the X-Files movie I'd like to do next, if we get a chance to do it, would be a return to the heart and soul of the mythology, which is the alien-oriented conspiracy. I think it's natural for The X-Files to have another movie in 2012, so we'll see if we get to do it," Duchovny told TDB.
Finally, regarding his highly publicized bout with sex addiction, Duchovny tells TDB he is not a Method actor and his off-camera struggles do not affect his performance: "I understand why people ask that question, but there is never a personal-life connection between my characters and myself. I'm a professional and I can access what I need to access, so there's no bleed-over. I didn’t need to believe in aliens to play Mulder. As for my personal life, everything is fantastic right now."
Full story: http://www.hollywoodwiretap.com/?module=news&action=story&id=41439
The Screen Actors Guild on Monday announced a nearly 70% increase in "for your consideration" videotape mailings to the nominating committee and a 7% increase in submissions for the 7th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.
"Submissions for nomination consideration and tape mailings to our Nominating Committees have grown each year," Karla Tamburelli, SAG Awards co-chair, said in a press release.
"We are pleased by the expanding support for the SAG Awards and the recognition by the Industry of the significance of a SAG Award nomination," added Yale Summers, Tamburelli's fellow co-chair.
Submissions will be accepted until 5 p.m. PST on Wednesday. The Screen Actors Guild Award -- the Actor -- is presented to actors voted on by their peers for outstanding performances in motion pictures and on primetime television.
Nominations for the SAG Awards will be announced Jan. 30, and the awards event will be telecast live on March 11 on TNT.