Tuesday night trailer: Halle Berry goes full dissociative in “Frankie and Alice”

Members of the headshrinking community can’t even agree whether dissociative identity disorder, aka multiple personality, even exists, but it sure makes for award-winning drama. It got Joanne Woodward, with a little help from shrink Lee J. Cobb, an Oscar in Nunnally Johnson’s 1958 “The Three Faces of Eve.” It helped Sally Field, costarring with Ms. Woodward as Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, shed her “Flying Nun”/”Gidget” past with a nice shiny Emmy for 1976’s “Sybil.”

Now Halle Berry, or at least her producers, are apparently hoping for a bit more of that award-winning subject matter. This time there’s a racial twist and Stellan Skarsgard is probably just the right guy to step into the weighty shoes of the Woodward/Cobb role. Phylicia Rashad costars as Berry’s mom who, if “Frankie and Alice” runs true to form, will come in for most of the blame.

I might sound like I’m making snarky light of this as obvious Oscar bait. In a way I am, but I’m also entirely open to the possibility that, like “The Three Faces of Eve” and “Sybil” before it, “Frankie and Alice” will turn out to be a provocative, terrifically compelling drama with a first rate, if inevitably showy, lead performance. There are worse sub-sub-genres and the issue of ethnic identity and subtle self-hate is certainly not going away any time soon.

One interesting side note. Looking at the IMDb listing for this film, part of the original story credit — presumably the factual basis of the film — goes to the late Southern California-based psychologist Oscar Janiger. Janiger is best known noted for us his experimental use of LSD as a therapeutic tool during the late fifties and early sixties, with his most famous clients being Cary Grant and, a little less surprisingly, Jack Nicholson.

H/t /Film.

  

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It’s your extremely abbreviated end of the week movie news dump

I’ve got just a little less than an hour to write this up tonight, but let’s see how much we can get through.

* RIP Jill Clayburgh. I’ll have more in remembrance of this very fine actress tomorrow. She passed on from chronic lymphocytic leukemia, an illness she’d been dealing with for more than 20 years.

* This makes me feel a bit old since I remember him before he was President of the United States in “The West Wing” and even before he was a very bad possible future U.S. President in “The Dead Zone,” Martin Sheen will be Peter Parker’s oh-so-doomed old Uncle Ben in the Marc Webb “Spiderman” reboot. Making me feel even a bit older, Sally Field is looking like a likelihood as Aunt May, who was always drawn by artists like Steve Ditko and John Romita as if she were about 99 years old. Of course, these days we mainly see her selling hawking Boniva for bone health, so I guess should just adjust to the new reality that Sister Bertrille (aka “The Flying Nun”)/Sybil/Norma Rae isn’t a baby anymore. And I really do like her. I really do.

* The very interesting, talented, and occasionally irritating (when he writes op-eds about with premises about the impact of movie violence I disagree with) Mike White has been offered the gauntlet of “Pride and Prejudice with Zombies” recently dropped by the equally interesting but more experienced David O. Russell. White is best known as a writer and actor. His most fiscally successful screenplay — in which he also acted — was the terrific “School of Rock.” In quirkier times, he starred in and wrote 2000’s “Chuck and Buck” as well as “The Good Girl.” This will be his second directorial outing, the first being…I don’t remember the name and you don’t either. It’s a bold and interesting choice, I will say that.

* A lot of people thought his “Hot Tub Time Machine” was kind of toxic (others thought it funny; I thought it not seen by me…I’ll get to it someday), so I guess it makes sense that Steve Pink’s next project will apparently be a remake of “The Toxic Avenger.” Gross-out franchise, here he comes.

toxicavenger7

* Boy, that Lars von Trier is so f*cking suave.

* AFM, the American Film Market, has been going all week. It’s an event where lots of smaller films find distribution and foreign deals are made. Deadline has some interesting deals today. “The Giant Mechanical Man” might sound like one quirky rom-com too many, but any film with Jenna Fischer and Topher Grace in the lead has my attention. Starting up also is the AFI Film Festival, which I’ll be checking out some over the weekend and there may be some quickie off-the-cuff impressions of the movies there coming from there.

* And finally, I’ve been guilty of ignoring the MGM bankruptcy this week, and I’m writing this directly across the street from the Sony lot, the home of Leo the Lion in his prime and for many years past that. Anyhow, the Wall Street Journal summarizes the situation numerically. Reminding us that, adjusted for inflation, “Gone With the Wind has made $1.6 billion. On the other hand, the studio only had one movie in the top 50 this year. What was it? The aforementioned “Hot Tub Time Machine.”

  

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