Friday, July 10, 2009

Two Brothers

Here's the poster for the December drama Brothers.

Tobey Maguire and Natalie Portman are married.
Jake Gyllenhaal comes between them. Sort of.

I can already hear Glenn at Stale Popcorn gnashing his teeth over that empty white space up top. He hates that! But I personally love the poster. It strikes me as appropriately minimalist and I love the delicate severity of that thin cleaving white line. The movie spins a rather simple story of a woman whose heart is split between two brothers, her husband (who goes missing in The Middle East) and her brother-in-law (who comforts her at home).

I love the poster but I'm worried.

The trailer is as In Contention suggests, way too shrill. I saw it a week ago and chose to ignore it since I'm eager to see this. It suggests a film that's twice as histrionic as even the climax of the Danish film that this is based on (a film which I've raved about in the past and which you should rent not only because it's good but for compare/contrast purposes). Said trailer also gives far too much of the story away. It's one of those trailers that tells you the whole story from beginning to end. It doesn't even stop at the 2/3rds or the 3/4ths mark.

Tobey Maguire has serious PTSD issues

Nevertheless, we'll hope for the best. Brothers opens almost exactly 5 years to the day since Closer ushered in Natalie Portman's graduation to adult roles. Good sign? Plus, director Jim Sheridan has a way with actors and he's a bit of a gold magnet. He's only made six films prior to Brothers, two of which were best picture nominees (My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father). His films have garnered eight acting nominations with two wins. Quite an enviable track record, yes?

Any hunches on how Brothers will fare?
*

25 comments:

Robert said...

Sheridan is so hit or miss. This could be In America or it could be Get Rich or Die Tryin'

I think I'd prefer it be more closely related to the former... but it might be fun if it resembled the latter as well.

UncleVanya said...

Forget "Brothers"! The original is as good as it's gonna get. My question to you is, why havn't you, Nat, reviewed Kiyioshi Kurosawa's new film, "Tokyo Sonata"? I am afraid if you don't see it soon, you will be missing one of the very best films of 2009.

The Know Nothing Know It All said...

The Academy usually takes notice in one way or another when Jim Sheridan tackles serious drama ("The Boxer" being the notable exception). That trailer has shades of "Reservation Road" to it. ie: Serious adult drama, heavy-themes, director with acclaimed work under his belt (though Jim Sheridan has a considerably heftier resume than Terry George, obviously). That being said, it can go either way. The two collective Oscar nominations among the principle cast still doesn't stop me from doubting that Portman, Gyllenhaal and McGuire can this.
Sarah Polley, Paul Schneider and Casey Affleck on the other hand...nevermind. I'll stop fantasizing.

anna said...

I don't know... after seeing the trailer (which, I agree, gives way too much away) I still think the actors are too young for the parts, especially Natalie Portman. Maybe it would have worked better if they had changed the ages of the children or maybe I've just seen the original too many times.
Also, for some reason Jake Gyllenhaal doesn't seem to come across as intense as Nikolaj Lie Kaas, but maybe that's just because I adore the latter so much. ;)

NATHANIEL R said...

anna I'm with you on Nikolaj Lie Kaas (wish he had a higher international profile. i can't keep him on my top 100 *sniffle* though my heart also has much room for Jakeyboy.

Natalie does seem too young for those children, yes.

unclevanya i'll embarrass myself here but 'whats that?' -- it sounds like a film that has come out every other year. i'm not being facetious. that title sounds so like i've already seen it.

Henry said...

I'm excited for the film, despite the rather cliche tone and feel of the whole story. I didn't feel like the trailer gave ALL of the movie away (or maybe 'cause I wasn't paying full attention), but I could see your point about it.

Ben said...

I saw what looked like a pretty final cut of this a few months ago and it was a hot mess. Just as disjointed as the trailer makes it seem. I'm curious and hopeful that they've changed it, but based on what I say, this has flop written all over it. Too bad, because the actors are all pretty good in the movie.

Anonymous said...

The globes are gonna love this (I wouldn't be surprised if Maguire, Portman and Gyllenhall all scored GG nods) However, my gut tells me Maguire will be nominated. The other two already have "welcome to the club" nominations and Maguire's role is the most baity so, that's what I'm feeling.....

- Sean C.

Chris Na Taraja said...

If you had to choose between Toby and Jake, wouldn't you love them both too?

mrripley said...

maguire seems good in the triler if a little ott,portman is all kinds of wrong.jake g his times up!!! another luvcky jew with parents with connections just like shia labeouf.

Marshall said...

Every time I see that still I think the climax of the movie will be Natalie getting sad he shaved his Lincoln beard.

MB said...

The original had a couple of decent performances, but was rather mediocre overall.
I see this one following suit - at least on the last part.

NicksFlickPicks said...

I am quite sure I didn't just read that three comments up, except I'm pretty sure I did.

Haven't seen the trailer but the casting spelled doom to me from the get-go. I second Nathaniel on the original.

Alex said...

The "welcome to the club" nomination is an interesting thought. Just some musings...

"Wonder Boys" (I've always thought this was one of the biggest across the board snubs we've seen in a long time)

"The Cider House Rules" (which they loved, just don't make them look back on what they snubbed)

"The Ice Storm" ("why didn't we fully appreciate this when it came out?")

"Seabiscuit" (Oscar loved it...I still don't understand why, and I even understand the love for "Cider House")

"Spider Man" (Not a huge deal, but it brought super hero movies back from the dark ages of "Batman Forever" and "Batman and Robin")

Glenn Dunks said...

Am I really that predictable? Answer: Yes.

But while the giant swaths of empty white space in the top half of the poster does annoy me, I don't hate it as much as others (like, say, Margot at the Wedding) because the bottom half is actually quite interesting, and I think the way they have positioned the actors says so much. Body language is a hard thing to show on a poster, but sometimes it can be achieved and it usually looks great (see also: Brokeback Mountain).

Anonymous said...

forget it.

brianmaru said...

Am I the only who sees that poster design and thinks of "The Reader" and its similarly split female in the center design?

NATHANIEL R said...

brian -- i must be thinking of a different Reader poster. i remember little boxes and lots of white space. hmmm.

Wayne B. said...

I normally love Portman but my instincts haven't been good about this project. Going to avoid the trailer and try see it blind, I'm excited for her other two movies: New York, I Love You and the new Don Roos.

Karen said...

A dark Tobey Maguire could get the film some buzz. He might outshine the rest. But good cast though!

jes said...

So it's like this film with Ryan Philippe and Channing Tatum only with Portman in the Abbie Cornish part ?

And for fuck'sake why didn't they cast Channing AND Jake in this one ? But you know it would automatically be branded as military porn

UncleVanya said...

"unclevanya i'll embarrass myself here but 'whats that?' -- it sounds like a film that has come out every other year. i'm not being facetious. that title sounds so like i've already seen it."

This movie is Kurosawa's second film that was invited to Canne (the other was "Bright Future").

I know Roger Ebert is not one of your fav critics (nor is he mine), but he hits the nail on the head with his recent review of the film:

by Roger Ebert

Just as the economic crisis has jolted everyday life, so it shakes up "Tokyo Sonata," which begins as a well-behaved story and takes detours into the comic, the macabre and the sublime. All you know about three-act structure is going to be useless in watching this film, even though, like many sonatas, it has three movements.

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090409/REVIEWS/904099997/1023

Believe me, Nat. You have not seen this before.

UncleVanya said...

But you don't have to take my word (or Eberts) on "Tokyo Sonata". With about 80 reviews so far on Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 94% approval rating:

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/tokyo_sonata/

Do you think I want u to see it? (that's rhetorical)

pomme said...

i like the original movie but i have no problem with the trailer except on Nathalie Portman who is charming but looks more younger than her daughter(lol)!
i'm happy to see Maguire and Gyllenhall working again !(is "prince of persia" yet finished?)

gabrieloak said...

I'm a big fan of Sheridan's last film In America so I will see this.