Matthew Lickona 11:49 p.m., Dec. 10
Instead of following author Stephen Rebello’s fine Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by turning out a procedural on the art of making a masterpiece, Sacha Gervasi (Anvil: The Story of Anvil) gives us a watered-down romcom directed in the style of an episode of Hitchcock Presents. (It’s ostensibly about the production of the most influential horror film ever made, yet Anthony Perkins only appears in two scenes!?) Anthony Hopkins — encased in a Martin Lawrence fat suit, outfitted with a bad latex nose, and suffering from an oscillating dialect — is simply not convincing as Hitchcock, and Helen Mirren would never be confused, on her best day, with the mousy Mrs. H. Hitchcock purportedly wants to do nothing more than counter all the years that loudmouth ‘Tippi’ Hedren spent publicly branding Hitch a pervert by playing fast and loose with the facts. Beyond that, screenwriter John J. McLaughlin attempts to give Alma her due by dredging up a zipless romantic fling she allegedly had with a screenwriter during the making of The Paradine Case (1947). A fantasy sequence wherein Hitchcock employs the services of Ed Gein, the monster upon whom Norman Bates was based, as a psychiatrist is downright unclean, as is the assertion that Cocky had a Bates-style peephole drilled in his office wall in order to spy on his leading ladies. Perverse as it sounds, the film was shot in ‘Scope, a ratio Hitch despised and never used. Gervasi’s talent did wonders when it came to revitalizing the careers of a pair of bird-brained heavy metal singers. Leave the Hitchcock legacy for the big boys, or not at all. Better yet, re-release all of Hitch’s 54 films and let his artistry speak for itself. With Scarlett Johansson, Toni Colette, Michael Stuhlberg, and the beautifully blank Jessica Biel perfectly cast in the Vera Miles role. 2012.
— Scott Marks