Friday, June 18, 2010

Yes, No, Maybe So: Conviction (née Betty Anne Waters)

First things first, changing your movie title from something very specific like Betty Anne Waters to something as generic as Conviction is not a good sign. Searching for Conviction on IMDb will get you several films, theatrical/dvd/made-for-TV. Searching for Betty Anne Waters gets you just one. Are they scared of people thinking "ewww, it's a girl's movie!" or maybe "Is this a sequel to Amelia? That sucked" or what?

But here's the trailer.



So here's where we break it down.

Yes, no, or maybe so?

The supporting cast is jam-packed with good actors: Melissa Leo - sure okay; Sam Rockwell - yes, please; Minnie Driver -why the hell not?!; Juliette Lewis -Yes, please x 10. And wherever I can get her which isn't on silver screens that much. I had all but forgotten that she had a role in this film. I never knew, even before the forgetting, that it would a real role, and not some throwaway part. But she's even name-checked in the trailer and with her Academy Award Nominee status no less. Yay and also Wow because that doesn't happen much. With all of these good actors on board, maybe they'll all escape the typical "I'm poor! Listen to my weird townie/rural accent!" actor's trap. An accent is not a character.

You're
smart.
You'll
know
that I
don't have
to explain
myself here.
Kapeesh?

I don't think there's enough films made about brothers & sisters and their unique bonds. I really don't. Usually if you see a film about siblings it's almost always brothers with a random sister act hitting us now and then. I'm always curious to see if actors can pull off a familial bond. Most of the time this game of pretend is no more than adequate but when something really clicks between two actors in terms of family chemistry, it can be truly potent stuff. I'm hoping Swank and Sam pull it off since the whole film will kind of depend on it.

I suppose I'm a "maybe so" based solely on Juliette Lewis and Oscar interest. But I'll be an immediate "no" with mediocre reviews. I really can't be bothered with courtroom dramas unless the reviews are strong. I personally think it's the genre that's most "dead" onscreen. As in, why is someone making this movie? They'd better have a damn good reason and explain it with some cinematic zing! But every once in awhile there's a great one (see Erin Brockovich)

This is neither here nor there but the film is directed by Tony Goldwyn, grandson of legendary studio mogul Samuel Goldwyn. You might not know Tony's name but you surely know his face. He's that vaguely eyebrow-less guy who Hollywood always wants you to loathe and also loathe yourself for loving because he's super attractive.


Hey, it's a niche. An actor's gotta work.

But is it really fair to hate on him for killing his best friend to get into Demi Moore's pants? Because who wouldn't have offed their buddy for Demi circa 1990? I mean, cut a guy some slack. It's Demi.

Goldwyn A.D./B.D
before and after psychoanalyzing one Dexter Morgan

I've been watching Dexter lately on Netflix Instant Watch (that obsession has cooled a bit). Goldwin directs multiple episodes and in one he even directs himself as a psychiatrist who kills off powerful women after reducing them to hot messes with a lethal combo of bad therapy and drugs. [Why are psychiatrist always evil in movies? Discuss.] Naturally, Dexter cuts him up into little itty bits.

Goldwyn previously directed the critically well received A Walk in the Moon (1999) but, alas, Conviction (née Betty Anne Waters) doesn't star Diane Lane and Viggo Mortensen.

Are you a yes, no or maybe so?
*
Hilary Swank

41 comments:

crossoverman said...

Because I love Tony Goldwyn, I should point out he's currently co-starring in PROMISES PROMISES on Broadway with Kristin Chenoweth, Sean Hayes and Tony Winner Katie Finneran. Everyone knows those other three are in it, but Tony is pretty impressive in the show, too.

Craig Bloomfield said...

It does sound rather generic already - and then add this dumb title change. It's a no for me as Goldwyn also directed The Last Kiss, a film I indiscriminately loathe. But a maybe so for the reasons you mention, Nathaniel. And that Melissa Leo is in it.

Also, I recently read that ol' Cronenberg (or someone in his camp) has changed his new - yet to be filmed/filming now? - movie's title, the one with Fass and Viggo, from 'The Talking Cure', which is very Croney, to 'A Dangerous Method', which is as generic as 'Conviction', and very made-for-TV.

Some titles often get changed, again, for their UK releases, due perhaps to "us" not getting it or something, so this Hilary Swanker might just get released here as 'COURTROOM!!' It wouldn't surprise me.

Volvagia said...

I'm a NO! To do an 18 year story justice, you need either (a) Very, very, very, very good actors or (b) A 3+ hour running time. Swank isn't an A and could possibly have enough power to prevent a B. (Her longest films clock in at around 2 1/4 hours.)

billybil said...

Since I have the same reaction to Swank as you do, the best this can be is a MAYBE.

You're right - I am very intersted in the supporting cast - especially M. Leo - but still...

And THANKS crossoverman - I had NO IDEA Goldwyn was in PROMISES PROMISES. I want to have his career!

NATHANIEL R said...

@crossoverman -- i didn't know he was in that! I keep considering almost seeing it but never do.

i know that Cheno is supposed to be miscast but i love her so much i hardly care. And Katie Finneran is supposed to be g-r-r-reat.

@craig -- COURTROOM. haha.

@Volvagia --I like your math and lettering.

Terence said...

I don't hate Hillary Swank the way some do on this blog having liked both of her Oscar wins, though they came at Annette Bennings expense.

But I do think she's at her best when the supporting cast around her rises above the material and that looks like what will happen here.

Courtroom dramas only work when you have powerhouses acting in them so this is a maybe for me, this needs good reviews tho

Cal said...

I'm a "no", based on how much the trailer divulges. I can see it taking a familiar path to get to a happy conclusion.

Not the biggest Swank fan but I think she looks promising here.

Anonymous said...

Cal, you realize this is a true story, right? Meaning any happy ending is more or less due to how things actually turned out.

Andrew R. said...

I don't hate Swank, although neither Oscar was deserved. But no. An 18 year story?

Aaron said...

I'm a maybe, strongly leaning toward no. Sitting through a 2 hour + movie with that Hilary Swank accent may cause me to enroll in therapy...again.

dinasztie said...

LOL the NO part.

cal roth said...

But you know, Swank looks pretty good in it?

pomme said...

may be because of the supporting casting (YES) but that looks very generic(NO)and i have nothing against Swank

KOB said...

Tony Goldwyn's still hot. I've wanted to bone him ever since "Ghost."

And stop hating on my girl Hilary. "Two-Time Academy Award Winner" in the credits, please. LMAO!

MRRIPLEY said...

i don't like the golden age music used for the trailer but i bet lewis has the strongest role,leo looks a little miscast,driver is gonna be typical best friend stuff,rockwell looks great and was robbed for moon,swank is swank and i really thought she nailed amelia - don't shoot me!!!!

The Film Junkie said...

I really like Hilary Swank (she deserved her Oscars), even though I wouldn't touch Amelia with a ten foot pole. I pretty much agree with everyone else when they say that this movie's gonna need to have some incredible acting to rise above the standard, but I'm willing to give it a chance.

troyhopper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
troyhopper said...

My gut instinct tells me that Rockwell is probably the film's best shot at an acting nomination or win. You definintely get a since that the Academy has been itching to give him his due, so to speak, and this role looks baity enough to do the trick (provided he delivers, of course).

That having been said, the whole cast appears to be working really hard for cred with their accents, world-weary faces, and generally PWT vibes. Swank as a mother of teens(?) could possibly score the eternally tomboy some points for "stretching," but I wouldn't be surprised if either Driver (Oscar likes supportive best friends) or Lewis (and scene stealers) scored her second nod (not so much Leo, who looks to be playing a "hard" woman, which Oscar no really likey).

All in all, it doesn't look like anything that anyone can't see on any given night on Lifetime or WE.

NATHANIEL R said...

Troy -- i better you're right about Rockwell having the best shot.

But i guess i wouldn't be surprised if Swank made it in again though i'm not banking on it.

and yes i'm really really really really really going to try to update my oscar predictions this weekend

Original Sin said...

I think Hilary Swank is a good actress, but I swear if she takes another Oscar away from Annette Bening (I'm sorry but no one could've done dramatic grandeur in Being Julia other than Bening; an unknown could've played Maggie in MDB, just saying) I will never watch the Oscars again.

Maybe Sam Rockwell will FINALLY get a nomination. He always delivers and you gotta give him mad props for looking like Jesse James by the end of the trailer.

But does anyone else think they give WAAAAAY too much away in this? Especially the part when he tells her that the blood test will test positive.

Agustin said...

when I read about brother-sister chemistry I instantly went to You can Count On me
best sibling chemistry ever

David said...

I loathe and despise narration in movie trailers that doesn't come from one of the characters, and even then...

I like some of the cast, but this just looks terrible.

troyhopper said...

By the way, I can see why they changed the title; "Betty Anne Waters" sounds like a bad Fox network sitcom.

NATHANIEL R said...

original sin -- yeah even though it's an true story the trailer is telling you too much of that true story.

i agree

agustin -- damn strait.

Alex said...

Before the trailer I was a definite "no, but I need to because of Oscar possibilities, which are sure to come of it." Now, though, I think I'll see it if only for the supporting cast. I love Rockwell, Leo, Lewis, even some Driver, who looks surprisingly good. Still not a fan of Swank, and will cry if she's nominated alongside Bening again.

I actually prefer "Conviction" over "Betty Ann Waters." I hate it when the movie just has the same full name as the title character. It's the only problem I had with "Michael Clayton." Unless that name happens to be badass, like "Sweeney Todd," but Betty Ann Waters is no Sweeney Todd.

It's funny we were just talking about people feeling lonely when it comes to "Academy Award" name checks in trailers. Poor Sam...

MRRIPLEY said...

Stop hating on Amelia she is in my 09 actress picks for that,i just liked her in it so much.

Philip said...

As I said before, I think Sam will be nominated for this. I really do. I could see Juliette Lewis being nominated as well. Maybe. I don't know about Hilary, but we all know Oscar loves her, so...(I support her first Oscar win for sure, but her second one was very iffy).

It looks boring as hell, but I'm gonna give it a chance.

cal roth said...

@Original Sin

Come on, IMO, Bening landed the most generic diva performance ever in Being Julia. It's like any actress with a little of histrionics could have done that blindfolded!

I'd love to see what Dianne Wiest in this role. Now that was a genius performance.

Anonymous said...

If Hil Swank gets to 3 Oscars before the marvelous Meryl Streep does. So help me....

Anonymous said...

unlike you, nat, even if the film stars hilary swank, i keep an open mind.

NATHANIEL R said...

i always keep an open mind. i just have my preferences as every single performance alive has.

adri said...

Whenever I read "Betty Anne Waters" I kept thinking it was a "Nurse Betty" movie directed by John Waters, which would have been kind of fun. "Conviction" is a title I will forget instantly.

Carl said...

Yes.

I am a sucker for courtroom dramas.

Does Swank even need to act to win a nomination for a PWT role?

Dimitra said...

Maybe So. If the reviews are very good, I'll watch.

LOL at no part. Although she's prettty good, I think she's a bit overrated.

Glad to see I'm not the only one who felt the trailer gave away too much.

Rebecca said...

I'm a maybe so b/c of the supporting cast, although this movie seems so un-Rockwell and if he gets an Oscar nom, it will be another case of a weird actor getting a nom for blandifying himself.

There, I avoided just talking about Dexter, which I love, even though it's horribly uneven. The good parts are just soooo good.

Trevor said...

That was a great trailer. This feels like Hilary Swank's next Oscar nomination. But more importantly, it's the return of Juliette Lewis (welcome back!) and Minnie Driver. It's seriously looking like Sam Rockwell's first nomination too, which is the best news of all. So yes for me.

Wes said...

Good trailer. The title should have stayed "Betty Anne Waters" though. "Conviction" is generic as hell.

NATHANIEL R said...

rebecca -- agreed that Dexter is uneven. I kept thinking during hte first season "do i like this?

but the second season is just fantastic (so far). yes i'm 3 years behind.

Anonymous said...

i dun like benning and love hilary..cant wait for the next benning v swank race again.. and surely.. cant wait how benning will react when she lost to swank for the third times...

gud luck hilary swank

Anonymous said...

The title change of the film was very important - the film is not about Betty Anne Waters. Instead, it is about the journey she took to get her brother free from jail. It centers around Kenny's "Conviction", and once you see the movie, I'm sure all will agree it is a much more fitting title than the original.

erikadlewis said...

I'm a YES to the (based on a true story)movie and all-star cast. Rockwell is a ++!!

But a NO on watching a 2+ hour movie just to find out the tripped, fell, and died 6 months after his release.

Ugh.