Tag Archives: Addison Timlin

Born Again


by Hope Madden

It is tough to find a fresh direction to take fiction published 201 years ago, let alone a tale already made into countless films. Is there a new way—or reason—to look at the Frankenstein fable?

Writer/director/horror favorite Larry Fessenden thinks so. He tackles the myth, as well as a culture of greed and toxic masculinity, with his latest, Depraved.

Adam (a deeply sympathetic Alex Breaux) is kind of an act of catharsis for Henry (David Call). A PTSD-suffering combat medic, Henry is so interested in finding a way to bring battlefield fatalities back to life that he doesn’t even question where his Big Pharma partner Polidori (Joshua Leonard, in another excellent genre turn) gets his pieces and parts.

Here’s a question that’s plagued me since I read Shelley’s text in 8th grade. Why take parts of cadavers? Why not bring one whole dude back and save all that time and stitching effort? Frank  Henenlotter (Frankenhooker) and Lucky McKee (May) found answers to that question. Fessenden isn’t worried about it.

He’s more interested in illuminating the way a culture is represented in its offspring. Pour all your own ugly tendencies, insecurities and selfish behaviors into your creation and see what that gets you.

Fessenden isn’t subtle about the problems he sees in society, nor vague about their causes. Depraved is the latest in a host of genre films pointing fingers at the specific folks who have had the power to cause all the problems that are now coming back to bite us in the ass.

It’s the white guys with money because, well, because it is.

Along with Leonard’s oily approach and Breaux’s tenderness, the film boasts solid supporting work from Chloe Levine (The Transfiguration, Ranger) and especially Addison Timlin, who is great in a very small role.

There is a sloppy subtext here, charming in its refusal to be tidy, about the man Adam used to be (or one of them), the girl he didn’t really appreciate, and the way, deep down, a mildly douchy guy can learn a lesson about self-sacrifice.

In its own cynical way, Depraved does offer a glimmer of hope for mankind. Fessenden doesn’t revolutionize the genre or say anything new, though, but you won’t leave the film wishing Shelley’s beast would just stay dead.

Grist for the Emotional Mill


by Cat McAlpine

Submission opens with the sardonic narration of an exhausted novelist/professor. His internal monologue sounds a lot like the opening to a novel but his book, we discover, isn’t being written. Ted Swenson (Stanley Tucci) is uncomfortable, unhappy, and uninspired. Then, in waltzes the first conscious student he’s had in years, Angela Argo (an incredible Addison Timlin).

Writer/director Richard Levine adapts Francie Prose’s 2000 novel Blue Angel (based on Josef von Sternberg’s 1930 film The Blue Angel, which is in turn based on Heinrich Mann’s 1905 novel Professor Unrat). Clearly, the story is not a new one. Fortunately, while the plot feels overwhelmingly predictable, the building tension is immense, largely pulled taught by the strong turns of Tucci and Timlin.

The performances, across the board, carry the film. Kyra Sedgewick is so natural on screen it’s breathtaking. She is also the only likable character, as Ted’s content and then suffering wife. Colby Minifie is delightfully nasty in her short scene as the Swensons’ daughter.

Levine does the good work of leaving breadcrumbs without pointing to them with a neon arrow. It’s hard to trust your audience (mother! being a timely example) but like a good novel, this film works because of its layers. And also because Stanley Tucci can do anything.

Surely a teacher/student affair between two narcissistic artists can’t end well, but I’ll leave the how and why to your viewing.

Honestly, I wanted a little more from Submission. I wanted to know more about the tragic death of Swenson’s father. I wanted to know why Swenson’s daughter hated him. I was desperate to know which of Angela’s somber backstories were real and which were contrived. I wanted more cause to care about the destruction of a man’s family. And shockingly, I wanted more voiceovers ripped from the pages of the resulting novels.

But I guess I’ll just have to read the book.

Submission’s inevitable resolution suggests that no matter the terrible things we do, we’re all just potential fodder for America’s next great novel.