Michael Shannon is about to be a movie star. Don’t get me wrong, he’s already an indie-film legend. The actor has loomed large in “small” films by William Friedkin, Sidney Lumet and Sam Mendes. In 2009 alone, the man starred in two (TWO) films by Werner Herzog, who would be the nutcase-genius supreme of indie-guerrilla cinema if it weren’t for Oliver Stone (who ALSO hired Michael Shannon). He’s done action, thriller and comedy (click that one at your own risk, ). He’s even a standout on one of the best shows on TV right now. The guy was even in THIS, for crying out loud! Point is: heâ€™s got nothing to prove to me. Hereâ€™s the thing, though–Zack Snyderâ€™s about to make it hard for him to go to Starbucks without dark glasses and a fake name. Michael Shannon is big bad General Zod in what may be the first good Superman movie in 30 years.
In the meantime, Iâ€™ll tell you about the terrific thriller THE ICEMAN which arrived in my mailbox a few weeks ago (industry contacts are awesomeâ€”also got a screener for this, you jealous hood-ornaments). Best I can tell, it will be released sometime between March and May, 2013. The leading man is one Michael Shannon (have I mentioned how goodÂ that guy is?). The supporting cast is stellar: Ray Liotta, Chris Evans (seen PUNCTURE yet?), James Franco, Winona Ryder, Robert Freakin’ Davi, and even David Schwimmer. Itâ€™s a bio-pic in the school of GOODFELLASÂ or DONNIEÂ BRASCO and in terms of quality probably falls somewhere between the two. Shannon plays porn-dubber-turned-mob-killer Richard KuklinskiÂ who is also a quiet husband and suburban good dad. The film opens with KuklinskiÂ flirting nervously with his future wife (WynonaÂ Ryder) on their first date. Weâ€™re quickly treated to his introduction to mob boss Roy DemeoÂ (Liotta) who drafts the â€œpolackâ€ into his inner circle by commanding the off-the-cuff murder of a hobo (job interviews, right?). Itâ€™s a filmÂ of mostly quiet performances punctuated with tenseÂ violence and plenty of mobbishness. Nothing genre-redefining here, but the execution (oh, Iâ€™m so sorry) is top-notch. The pace, camerawork, soundtrack and performances are worth your time (and a good glass of scotchÂ goes well with the sepia-toned 70s-ness of the bulk of the film). One note: many of you may have some reservations about watching a movie that features gun violence in light of current events. Totally understandable and if thatâ€™s the case, I canâ€™t recommend this one at this time. So here’s my recommendation on the best way to get your Michael Shannon fix. You know itâ€™s already in your kidsâ€™ room. Take another look and get ready for SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL.
And finally, I need your help. I gotta brand-name this column Iâ€™m started. Over the coming months, it will feature commentary about actors, directors, movies, TV, trends and a ton of links that I find interesting. As I home in on the style Iâ€™ll use, Iâ€™m on the lookout for a title. â€œHollywood and Troostâ€ has been mentioned. As has â€œHollywood Royalty.â€ Iâ€™m not sold on either. Keep â€˜em coming?