24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Paul Giamatti

Cannes 2012: Watch trailers of six films playing the festival

April 19, 2012 | 12:19 pm


Bruce Willis, Wes Anderson, Josh Hutcherson, Marion Cotillard, Lee Daniels and Nicole Kidman are among the talents bringing films to the Cannes Film Festival, whose lineup was announced Thursday. The prestigious festival kicks off in the southeast France town on May 16. Check out the trailers below to get familiarized with some up this year’s films.

“Moonrise Kingdom,” directed by Wes Anderson
Opening the festival is the Edward Norton-starring comedy by Wes Anderson. It’s his first film to appear at Cannes. Set in the 1960s, "Kingdom" centers on two young lovers who run away from their New England town, prompting a search party to go after them. Focus Features will distribute the film in the U.S. starting May 25. Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Frances McDormand round out the cast.

“On the Road,” directed by Walter Salles
Starring Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley, this long-gestating adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s 1957 Beat novel will be in competition at the festival. Executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola, the film also features Viggo Mortensen, Terrance Howard and Amy Adams.

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Betsy Sharkey's film pick of the week: Thomas McCarthy's 'Win Win'

April 21, 2011 |  6:00 am

Win Win

Though you can already feel the building gale force winds of summer blockbuster season, consider the wonderfully modest “Win Win,” a human tale told with great humanity by writer-director Tom McCarthy. In fact, make it a McCarthy weekend, and after you've caught "Win Win," pick up DVDs of his equally appealing earlier films “The Visitor” with Richard Jenkins and “The Station Agent” with Peter Dinklage and Patricia Clarkson.

Getprev McCarthy, who spends most of his time in front of the camera, is a treat when he steps behind it. The result is always unexpected, quirky, clever and intended for adults, and by that I just mean grown-up people. Thankfully, he seems to never dumb down. Which is not to say his films aren't very entertaining -- there is a very dry wit at work in them all.

In “Win Win,” Paul Giamatti stars as Mike Flaherty -- middle-aged, married with children, an attorney, a volunteer wrestling coach at the local high school and struggling with all of it.

Life turns on the choices we make, and a single questionable decision by Mike sets in motion a chain reaction of events –- good and bad -- that ultimately involve everyone around him.

Giamatti is as good as he ever was (maybe we should have a rule that there must always be at least one Giamatti film playing in at least one L.A. theater at all times -- there are worse laws....).

The rest of the ensemble is terrific as well. There's Amy Ryan as his no-nonsense wife Jackie. This is a woman with mothering instincts so fierce you're never sure whether the bark or the bite is worse, but you wouldn't want to test either.

Jeffrey Tambor and Bobby Cannavale vie for best friend honors. Burt Young is a treasure as Mike’s aging client, with the very interesting Melanie Lynske (she should be in more movies) as Young's opportunistic daughter with issues -- and mother of wrestling wunderkind and lost boy Kyle, played by actual New Jersey wrestling phenom Alex Shaffer. Shaffer, making his acting debut, does teenage insolence masterfully, playing off Giamatti's deadpan disappointment. Their scenes together turn out to be the icing on this very messy, very tasty cake.


Alex Shaffer's true-life role

'Win Win' turns a wrestler into a star

Sundance 2011: Paul Giamatti and a newcomer hit the red carpet for 'Win Win'

-- Betsy Sharkey

Top photo: Paul Giamatti and his wrestling protoge Alex Shaffer in "Win Win". Credit: Kimberly Wright / Fox Searchlight / AP Photo

Bottom photo: Writer-director Tom McCarthy. Credit: Charles Sykes / Associated Press

Sundance 2011: Paul Giamatti and a newcomer hit the red carpet for 'Win Win'

January 22, 2011 | 10:45 am

Elizabeth Olsen may be the Sundance 'It' girl this year, but there are plenty of other fresh faces at the film festival who have been received well by moviegoers in Park City, Utah, this week.

Alex Shaffer, the 17-year-old who stars alongside Paul Giamatti in Tom McCarthy's "Win Win," took a break from his junior year at Hunterdon Central High in New Jersey to fly to Sundance. In the film, set for release in March by Fox Searchlight, Shaffer plays a teenager from a broken home who is taken in by a wrestling coach (Giamatti) and his family. In real life, Shaffer is a New Jersey state wrestling champion who was cast despite his lack of acting experience. (Before "Win Win," the only time he'd acted was in a sixth-grade production of "The Pirates of Penzance.")

"Tom had an article in the newspaper for all wrestlers around the area to audition for this movie," Shaffer told us at the film's premiere Friday. "I really wasn't that into the whole movie thing. I really wasn't that excited about it or into it or anything. Over time, like now, I love it."

It appeared the crowd at the Eccles Theater took to Shaffer. Standing on stage with the rest of the cast during a question-and-answer session after the screening, he received the most applause from the audience when McCarthy introduced him.

Later that evening, at the party to celebrate the film's release at a local saloon, Shaffer stood in a corner, non-alcoholic drink in hand, talking to his publicist.

"This is a really good indicator," she told him, referring to the audience's positive reaction. "They loved you. You're going to do well."

While Shaffer took in his new surroundings, co-star Giamatti seemed at ease, smiling as partygoers including Ed Helms back-slapped him and offered congratulations on his recent Golden Globe win for "Barney's Version."

"How am I coping? I don't know. I'm doing OK," he said, when we asked him on the red carpet about his whirlwind of a week. "It's all good. It's a nice thing. It's all positive. So I'm just having a good time."

His calm demeanor is thanks in part, he said, to one Sundance tip he's discovered on his trips to Utah over the years.

"I stay off Main Street, is what I do," he said. "Because it gets so crazy on there. So I just stick to the side streets. That's what I figured out."

-- Amy Kaufman



Sundance 2011: With Paul Giamatti's 'Win Win,' Tom McCarthy looks to score once again

Sundance Film Festival: Tom McCarthy's 'Win Win' attitude

The first to see films: film festival gatekeepers


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