Friday, 24 July 2015

Alternate Best Actor 1959: Tatsuya Nakadai in The Human Condition I: No Greater Love

Tatsuya Nakadai did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Kaji in The Human Condition I: No Greater Love.

The Human Condition is a trilogy of films depicting one man's journey during World War II. The first film details the man's attempt to avoid being drafted into the military by taking a job supervising a forced labor camp.

Tatsuya Nakadai perhaps became best known for his more devious turns opposite of Toshiro Mifune or his eventual leading turns as Samurai lords in Ran and Kagemusha, but here he plays technically speaking an average man of the 1940's. As the film opens Nakadai depicts Kaji as a pretty normal man who is fearful of being called into military service. Nakadai in the early scenes properly reflects this certain fear that keeps him also from even making a commitment to his fiancee Michiko. Nakadai portrays this in a particularly honest way as there is a certain cowardice in his behavior, even if there is belief behind it somewhere, the way Nakadai at the beginning portrays Kaji simply believes himself simply to not be suited for war. There is a sentiment of pacifism within this, but it is not the overpowering trait. This is evidenced further when Kaji, instead of taking a life sentence in prison for refusing to fight, is able to get military exemption through a promotion in his work. Nakadai does well not to hide the very simple joy of losing his fear of war as he goes about his new assignment, and seems to intent on living again as he marries Michiko since he no longer fears for his life.

The new promotion though is not a easy position by any means though as he is sent to a mining camp in Manchuria, where he will act as a supervisor for the Chinese who are put into forced labor. Nakadai in those earlier scenes set up Kaji well as basically the activist with only a personal cause, and an activist who simply has never faced a personal trial for these beliefs. He's been able to go along with life just fine without having to confront himself, and Nakadai's performance fittingly realizes this mentality in Kaji as he is first welcomed into the camp by the other supervisors. Nakadai brings the enthusiasm of a reformer, but also the naivety of someone who has never reformed anything when he first attempts to start to speak his mind with his new ideas. Nakadai presents Kaji as being appropriately taken aback when he is informed of some of what his duties will actually be such as organizing the removal of excrement, as well as learning that they expect him to bring prostitute to the camps for the workers. Nakadai naturally strips Kaji of this early enthusiasm as he realizes things are not nearly as simple as he imagined they would be in his head, but this is only the first indication that the job is not quite as he might have expected.

The film offers an intriguing perspective as films set in labor camps are more likely to be from the view of the prisoners, but here we are given instead the view of one of the men running it. Nakadai's fairly unassuming approach works wonders in allowing us to follow very closely along with Kaji as he attempts to make his way as a warden of sorts in the camp. Nakadai starts off by showing Kaji struggling a bit just to get his mind wrapped around the procedures, as well as being particularly  disgusted by some of the mistreatment he does see. Nakadai brings the needed passion of a man trying to make things somewhat better for these men, and this seems to work. His job becomes more difficult though when he must deal with a new set of workers who are full blown prisoners who must not escape in addition to only working for food. Nakadai is terrific in reflecting the extreme inhumanity in the prisoners arrival where they were starved, and forced into a burning train. Nakadai's exudes well Kaji considerable sympathy for their plight, although it is soon the case that Kaji must still supervise their camp, which is proven to be quite the difficult endeavor from the start.

Once the prisoners show the film adjusts its focus somewhat to include some individual stories in and around Kaji though everything always comes back to him. The strength of Nakadai's work here is the way he portrays a very unique transformation of his character. In the early stages Nakadai presents Kaji as the friendly face who is clearly willing to fight for their proper treatment no matter what. Of course even in this there are tasks he is not proud of and Nakadai is very good in showing the awkwardness in Kaji as he brokers the deal with a group of prostitutes to come to his camp. Worse problems arise when a worker is killed and Nakadai brings the power to Kaji's outrage, but he also brings the eventual frustration though resignation when he finds all the authority figures want to sweep it under the rug or they'll sweep him under it. This leaves an unhappy prisoner population and many of them soon begin to plan to escape. Nakadai realizes in a very genuine fashion how the escape attempts seem to change Kaji as it simply becomes harder to be a pure humanitarian. The difficulty of the job mounts and Nakadai manages to portray how some viciousness can come out of a good man due to a terrible system.

The interesting thing is that the prisoners have good reason to escape yet Nakadai manages to create a strong sympathy in Kaji's difficulty to control them, and gives sense to his actions even when he treats them roughly. Nakadai does not show this transformation as Kaji becoming evil, rather him starting allow himself to be overwhelmed by an evil machine he's a cog of. Nakadai never loses the humanity but shows how it some of it is forced out of him through the horrible requirements of the job. Kaji still tries to fight for them, but Nakadai realizes this with much less optimism, along with palatable emotional turmoil as he only ever comes to barriers in trying to do the right thing. A choice is forced upon him though when the powers that be decide that a groups of the prisoners will be executed. Nakadai is outstanding in the scenes before the executions as he gives the final burst of Kaji's old self as he tries fruitlessly to get a reprieve, and shows how this almost seems to burn him out to a true complacency when no one seems to care. This leads to the executions which he is forced to watch, and Nakadai is heartbreaking as he expresses the despair in Kaji as the men are killed with a sword. Within the despair though that old passion builds and Nakadai gives the needed power to when Kaji finally stands up to the soldiers. Nakadai's particularly poignant as the fear of reprisal is in his eyes, yet he expresses the conviction of to do what is humane is always evident. Now if this were not a trilogy the film likely would end soon after this scene. It continues though to set up the next film with Kaji being tortured before losing his exemption from the war, and being sent off. Nakadai is exceptional in these scenes as well, but what is most remarkable is Nakadai brilliantly realizing this unique arc for Kaji's character from a unearned goodness, to slowly a man complacent with evil, to finally a man who's learned what it means to be and has become a decent man. Although this is just part one of Kaji's story, Nakadai's performance feels complete. 

152 comments:

luke higham said...

Fuck, Why did I change. :(

Robert MacFarlane said...

Are you going to do a bonus review for the second movie? Because he did that the same year.

luke higham said...

Louis: Can I have your ratings & thoughts on anyone else of note.

Your Female Lead/Supporting Top 5s for 1955 and 1958 with ratings.

And once again, Goodnight. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, he must be great.
1. Grant
2. Nakadai
3. Guinness
4. Stockwell
5. Leaud
By the way, Louis (and I know that I'm annoying you a little with this premake thing, but whatever), your cast and director for Sin City in the 1930's (Pre-Code), 1950's and 1970's and their respective releases.
Oh, and uh, goodnight.

luke higham said...

Louis: Just one more thing before I go, Are Kelly and Ritter's ratings correct, since it was the other way round awhile back.

GM said...

Louis: Rating and thoughts on Michiyo Aratama?

Psifonian said...

As requested, my thoughts on "Southpaw": https://psifonian.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/southpaw-antoine-fuqua-2015/

Calvin Law said...

What rating would everyone give Eminem for 8 Mile?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Haven't seen it, but I will say that his win for Lose Yourself is satisfying if only for beating that atrocious U2 song.

luke higham said...

Anonymous:
Dinklage - (Dinklage is fantastic with his intellectual & absolutely hilarious portrayal of Tyrion and could also be very moving as well. I loved him in Seasons 1, 2 & 4 and despite not having much of an arc in seasons 3 and 5, he was still entertaining. It's hard for me to come up with a personal favourite moment of his, as I love a lot of the moments he has had over the 5 seasons, but it would be a 3 way tie between him slapping Joffrey in the first ever episode, the trial scene and his facial reaction to Oberyn's death. And I also loved his chemistry with Jerome Flynn).
Headey - (Cersei's a real bitch and Headey plays it quite well. Although I felt she took awhile to really get into her own with the character, I thought she was Outstanding in the Walk of Punishment scene and for the first time, I felt sympathy for her).
Coster-Waldau - (He's great playing the smug villain in the first couple of seasons and when Jaime's humbled by the loss of his right hand, he's very effective in the change. The Bathtub Revelation scene is incredible and the best acted moment of the show so far, closely followed by Rory McCann's final scene. I love his chemistry with Dinklage and Christie, as they do create quite a few funny moments from those pairings. He's the standout of Season 3 and when a certain scene almost ruined that goodwill for his character, he's continued to be a likable character and had some good moments in The Dorne Storyline, especially the moment, where his daughter embraced him).
Williams - (Really good child performance, as she's naturally transitioned from an innocent tomboy to a quite vicious assassin. I thought she had excellent chemistry with Dance and McCann and my personal favourite moment of her's is the assassination of Meryn Trant).
Turner - (This performance didn't work for me at first, though that was due to the nature of the character, but after Ned's execution, she's been great ever since and I love her final moment from season 4 where she becomes the spitting image of her mother).
Allen (I have to say, that on the whole, Theon's had the best character arc throughout the show and has been sensational since season 2, Allen's portrayal of Theon as a pitiful man, who unfortunately lost his manhood is amazing and at times incredibly heartbreaking, especially in the Rape scene).
Dormer - (Having seen her work in The Tudors, it was nice to see a somewhat warmer portrayal of a young queen from her and I do quite like the moments she has with Cersei).
Clarke - (Boring, Boring, Boring, Bland, Bland, Bland, Dull, Dull, Dull. In all seriousness, I can't stand Clarke at all, despite having a few standout moments, such as the sacking of Astapor).
Rigg - (She's great in her guest role as the sassy Grandmother and her conversations with Varys, Tyrion and Cersei are very entertaining).

JackiBoyz said...

Louis I am yet to decide my winning request, but do you reckon both Terence Stamp and John Hurt for The Hit are guaranteed for 1984 Bonus Best Actor?

luke higham said...

Calvin: I Forgot about Laurence, she's a 2 as well.

Anonymous said...

@luke: Agree with many of the things you said, except that I like Clarke a bit more (don't love her though, she is almost robotic in some parts) and I think that Headey nailed Cersei from the beginning. Your thoughts on Michelle Fairley, Kit Harington and Gwendoline Christie?

luke higham said...

Anonymous:
Fairley - (Fairley is very good early on as a fairly protective mother who wants justice for her son's paralysis, has good moments with Robb and is outstanding in the massacre scene).

Harington - (Harington's work has really, really grown on me, since Season 1. I've been an apologist for The Wall storylines since the beginning and Kit was the biggest reason why. I love the way his character starts off as a mature, slightly naive but very compassionate young man, which for me was quite refreshing to a calm, collected and honourable leader, who would do anything to help his friends and save many from the white walkers. I thought his romantic chemistry with Leslie was great, the Slynt execution scene was awesome and his final reaction shot in 'Hardhome' is just about flawless. If he doesn't return, that would really sting).

Christie - (She's fantastic as kind of an Ugly Duckling, who exudes a great sense of honour. As I said, her chemistry with Coster-Waldau is really great and I like her companionship with Podrick. The scene where she reveals why she became devoted to Renly was very well acted).

luke higham said...

Anonymous: I still thought Headey was good early on, but for a character of that magnitude, it did take awhile for her to really get into her own and for me to really appreciate her work. I will say, I might change my mind for the better, when I rewatch it again after the show's finished.

Calvin Law said...

Jackiboyz: Oh yes I'd love it if you requested either of them, they're both solid 4.5's in my book. I think you should probably request Stamp though as he has the meatier role of the two.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, what kind of rating do you think Louis will give to Newman in Sweet Bird of Youth?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Hey Louis, can I get your ratings and thoughts on McConaughey and Cruise in Tropic Thunder and Harner in Changeling?

luke higham said...

Robert: Posted these over a year ago.
Cruise - 4(It's great to see Cruise give such an intense performance in the service of pure comedy)

McConaughey - 4(An indication of things to come I think, and I loved pretty much all of his scenes the hilarious highlights being his crisis of conscience well checking out magazine covers, and his reaction when he thinks Speedman has murdered a prostitute)

Harner - 4 (Where much of Changeling is bizarrely muted in tone Harner enlivens it with his portrayal of a psychopath. His break down scene at the end is particularly remarkable.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Oh, I was hoping Harner would be a 4.5. He was so good in that throwaway role.

luke higham said...

Robert: I'd ask Louis for clarification on the rating, if I were you, since he said he was a 4.5 much earlier than the comment posted, and gave him a 4 sometime after.

luke higham said...

Louis: If your reviewing Nakadai's performances for the other 2 parts in the bonus rounds, then you're gonna have to hold off on '61, until you finish '59.

Though, I think it would be best if you reviewed the second part now instead of later on.

luke higham said...

Louis: Your rating for John Cazale in The Conversation.

Anonymous said...

Luke: He gave him a 3,5.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: Thanks.

Robert MacFarlane said...

You know, I'm surprised Louis didn't have Jason Reitman on his list of overrated directors.

Anonymous said...

Robert: Is Jason Reitman even that praised as a director?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Well, he was for at least his first 3 or 4 films.

Anonymous said...

Robert: Men, Women and Children was probably the Oscar-baitiest film of the last year. Jason's father Ivan only has one good movie, the original Ghostbusters.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Eh, never been keen on Ghostbuster. Always liked Stripes more.

RatedRStar said...

Aww Ghostbusters is so wonderful =D lol I actually dont mind the second film either, the thing I hate most about GB2 is the villain, pathetic.

RatedRStar said...

Robert how could you not be too keen on the first Ghostbusters, I actually feel Stripes is a little underwhelming lol.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Eh, just never really got the appeal. Back to the Future was always more my 80's blockbuster jam.

RatedRStar said...

I knew Nakadai would get a 5 lol he usually does because he is great, I actually wont mind if you review his other 2 films Louis, I feel he will get 5 in both, I mean lets face it, its not like he will be terrible will he, I think I would like it more as either a bonus or a 6th review because I feel we all know what you will say Louis about him.

I am so excited for Anthony, Jean and Alec, in the case of Alec I would love to find a hidden gem.

RatedRStar said...

Louis have you seen Look Back In Anger, I am just curious because, some people suggested him quite a bit, and I have seen him, and if you have you will know the secret =D behind the film and why it isnt what is appears to be, if you get me lol.

RatedRStar said...

Jack: Louis is not going to ignore Terence Stamp and John Hurt lol I guarantee it lol I know Louis well enough by now that he isnt going to ignore them so I recommend you choose someone else =D and since The Hit is a really good film its so obvious he will not deny them.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: It would be wise, if Louis reviewed his performance in Road To Eternity now and save A Soldier's Prayer for the bonus rounds, as I honestly prefer if he watched both chronologically instead of having another New Land situation, where he saw The New Land before having yet seen The Emigrants.

RatedRStar said...

Luke: I dont mind whatever happens he will do well of course lol


Jack: Stamp and Hurt will be nominated obviously, so I wonder what your winning request is.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: For Sure.

Anonymous said...

I know that we all have different opinions and all, but just check out this video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HCvIrRtyJ8

Robert MacFarlane said...

Meh. Different strokes. He has more tastes catered for by the Oscars than us.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: The moment Tracy came up, Good God. That was it for me.

RatedRStar said...

Anonymous: I have no problems with any of those winners, I will always be fine with a performance so long as I like it, Sean Penn is really the only performance Louis dislikes, I do respect Milk simply because it has its heart in the right place.

RatedRStar said...

Captain Courageous would be the sole bad one for me of course, I assure you Leslie Cheung will appear on this blog again, eight for Concubine or for his final performance which is pure horrifying.

RatedRStar said...

either that meant to say instead of Eight.

RatedRStar said...

Louis did dislike Tracy 2, my god Night Must Fall is such a great film, my fourth favorite film of 1937

Anonymous said...

I know that I'm annoying you guys a little with this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1khKsL42ouI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VdCZ3HIsjo

luke higham said...

Anonymous: I Liked about 80% of the choices for each video.

RatedRStar said...

It isnt annoying lol I dont mind peoples opinions on Picture and Actress, its purely the male acting categories that affect me lol.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: I will say, I'm glad he went with Kravchenko and Mikkelsen, those were great.

Some of his Picture choices from the 90s are shocking.

I'm really happy with Staunton and Mulligan as well.

JackiBoyz said...

Daniel this might be a bit random but what are your favorite films of 1931?
and I don't know who to suggest at the moment.

Anonymous said...

I cringed a little when the guy from the video tied Brando and Bogart, and Bridges with Abraham

RatedRStar said...

Jack I wouldnt know too be honest lol.

Anonymous said...

RatedRStar: Well, you have seen M, The Public Enemy and Little Caesar, right, Daniel?

RatedRStar said...

Ye I have seen those films, I am feeling so weird because my Ex GF appeared on FB and lets just say, I got my revenge on her =D.

Anonymous said...

RatedRStar: I still don't have a girlfriend to tell you the truth.

RatedRStar said...

Oh don't worry if you don't, in my situation sometimes there are people out there who let you down, and when you see them again, you either move on from them, or you get revenge on them and then move on =D I chose the later.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, what's your rating and thoughts for Bruce Dern in Django Unchained?

Anonymous said...

Matt: I bet he gave him a 3,5 or something.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

1955:

Actress:

Simone Signoret - Les Diaboliques
Katie Johnson - The Ladykillers
Vera Clouzot - Les Diaboliques
Barbara Luddy - Lady and the Tramp - 3

(Eh that's all I got)

Supporting Actress:

Lillian Gish - The Night of the Hunter
Shelley Winters - The Night of the Hunter - 4.5
Betsy Blair - Marty
Eleanor Parker - The Man With the Golden Arm - 4
Peggy Lee - Lady and the Tramp - 4

1958:

Actress:

Elizabeth Taylor - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Ingrid Bergman - The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
Kim Novak - Vertigo
Rosalind Russell - Auntie Mame
Doris Day - Teacher's Pet - 4

Supporting Actress:

Kay Walsh - The Horse's Mouth
Marlene Dietrich - Touch of Evil
Gwen Verdon - Damn Yankees - 4
Wendy Hiller - Separate Tables
Janet Leigh - Touch of Evil - 3.5

Kelly and Ritter should be switched around.

Anonymous:

1930's (Pre-Code):

Director: Michael Curtiz

Senator Roarke: Edward Arnold
Cardinal Roarke: Cedric Hardwicke
Manute: Paul Robeson
Jackie Boy: Wallace Ford
Goldie: Jean Harlow
Lucille: Louise Brooks
Nancy: Elsa Lanchester
Kevin: Peter Lorre
Junior: Fredric March
Hartigan: Harry Carey
Marv: Boris Karloff
Dwight: James Cagney

1950's:

Director: John Huston

Senator Roarke: James Cagney
Cardinal Roarke: Pat O'Brien
Manute: Ossie Davis
Jackie Boy: Robert Ryan
Goldie: Marilyn Monroe
Lucille: Ava Gardner
Nancy: Carroll Baker
Kevin: Richard Attenborough
Junior: James Dean
Hartigan: Clark Gable
Marv: Lee Marvin
Dwight: William Holden

1970's:

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Senator Roarke: George C. Scott
Cardinal Roarke: Orson Welles
Manute: John Amos
Jackie Boy: Bruce Dern
Goldie: Cybil Shepherd
Lucille: Tuesday Weld
Nancy: Candy Clark
Kevin: Malcolm McDowell
Junior: Brad Dourif
Hartigan: Steve McQueen
Marv: Robert Duvall
Dwight: James Caan

Gm:

Aratama - 3(For me she was actually the weak link in a rather remarkable ensemble. Her performance simply is a bit on the melodramatic side, and it does not meld all that well with Nakadai's understated work. She has some very good moments here and there but as whole her work stands out in the wrong sort of fashion)

Robert:

I've seen the second film as well. Harner should be a 4.5. Also I'd say Reitman's backlash has suitably, and rightfully, de-rated him.

RatedRStar:

Yes I've seen Look Back In Anger

Matt:

Dern - 3(Well it's great though extremely short cameo, as he manages to bring quite the menace in a couple of seconds, as well even give you some idea of who is character is. Honestly I would have liked to have seen much more of him)

Anonymous said...

Who do you prefer? Edward G. Robinson or Al Pacino?

Calvin Law said...

Look Back in Anger is definitely the weakest of all the 'Young Angry Men' films I've seen. I'd give Burton a weak 3.5 for his performance there, what about you Louis?

RatedRStar said...

Yes um Burton has quite a few problems, the first one is that he is far too old, and the second and most important, he is so stagey, constantly shouting and spitting venom which works sometimes in a Virginia Woolfe kind of way but it is too much, also his change at the end isn't very believable,

luke higham said...

Louis: Your ratings for Katie Johnson and Rosalind Russell.

luke higham said...

Louis: And Kay Walsh.

luke higham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
luke higham said...

Louis: If you're not reviewing him, can I have your rating & thoughts on Nakadai in Road To Eternity.

Anonymous said...

Luke: I remember that he gave Russell a 3,5 for Auntie Mame, but maybe he's changed his mind and now she's a 4, perhaps?
Louis: By the way, Louis, who would write those premakes of Sin City?

Anonymous said...

Louis, what are your thoughts on Nastassja Kinski in Paris, Texas? I do know she's a 5 from you, I just would like to know what exactly do you like about her.

RatedRStar said...

I apologise for that little message I put, If you ever met me in person, I am actually very very quiet and friendly, I don't know what it is, when I am on the keyboard there seems to be a lack of fear whenever I type something, like I always seem to brag or mouth off something that I should keep hidden so lol I need to improve that because I am usually relaxed and reserved in person.

RatedRStar said...

Anyway, I saw Southpaw, there really isn't much to add to it that everyone else hasn't already said.

RatedRStar said...

Going to see Inside Out and the latest Mission Impossible next.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Am I the only one here that sort of loved Ghost Protocol back in 2011?

RatedRStar said...

Robert: No I really liked Ghost Protocol, that was the only one I really liked, it was surprisingly fun lol.

Anonymous said...

Robert: I still love it since it ever came out.

Matt Mustin said...

I really love Ghost Protocol.

luke higham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
luke higham said...

Robert & RatedRStar: I loved it too. :)
I'm seeing Inside Out on Tuesday and Rogue Nation on Thursday

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: The feeling's mutual, mate. :)

luke higham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
luke higham said...

RatedRStar: Your Rating & Thoughts on Gyllenhaal in Southpaw.

RatedRStar said...

Gyllenhaal: A low (3.5) Jake is really good in the physical section of course, and he does have some nice moments with McAdams and shows his troubles well enough, but the film drags him down of course, its the dialogue I feel that has too much cheese in it, I also feel that most of the changes and events seem to be from the direction rather than Jake, he isn't given that much to do really.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar & Calvin: Rank all of the films you've seen so far this year from Best to Worst.
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. Ex Machina
3. Shaun The Sheep Movie
4. Mr. Holmes
5. Kingsman: The Secret Service
6. Testament Of Youth
7. Far From The Madding Crowd
8. Slow West
9. Cinderella
10. Ant-Man
11. Furious 7
12. Avengers: Age Of Ultron
13. Jurassic World
14. Ted 2
15. Terminator Genisys
16. Tomorrowland
17. San Andreas
18. Southpaw

RatedRStar said...

I would be interested in everyone elses thoughts on the best to worst of the year so far as well since they will have seen more movies than me =D.

I havent seen that many films really but ill do a list anyway.

1) Mad Max:Fury Road
2) Ex Machina
3) Testament Of Youth
4) Avengers: Age Of Ultron
5) Southpaw



Calvin Law said...

1. Mr Holmes
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. Far From the Madding Crowd
4. Testament Of Youth
5. Ex Machina

My top 5. I need to rethink the positions of the rest.

luke higham said...

Louis: Your rating for Madeleine Carroll in The 39 Steps.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: It's a 4 I think.

I stand by giving Gyllenhaal a 4.5, he was genuinely good in my opinion and gave it his all, I thought he was consistently compelling even if the film wasn't and I'm not a massive fan or anything.

Anonymous said...

Luke and Calvin: Such a shame that Southpaw was such a disappointment for Jake. This could have been his Raging Bull as Nightcrawler was his Taxi Driver. I loved how Nightcrawler combined elements of Taxi Driver and Network.

luke higham said...

Calvin: Like everyone else, you have a fair opinion and I like Gyllenhaal very much, but when the first trailer came up, I knew I was going to be disappointed.

Robert MacFarlane said...

So I saw Ant-Man earlier. The ghost of Edgar Wright loomed a long, dark shadow over the entire thing. The plot feels like one meta joke that was turned serious in pre-production.

luke higham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
luke higham said...

Robert: I enjoyed it well enough, though I completely agree with you in regards to Wright.

Michael McCarthy said...

I'll throw mine in:

1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. Ex Machina
3. Inside Out
4. Trainwreck
5. Spy
6. Far from the Madding Crowd
7. Mr. Holmes
8. Ant-Man
9. Testament of Youth
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron
11. Jurassic World
12. Pitch Perfect 2
13. Love & Mercy
14. Terminator Genisys
15. The Last Five Years
16. Me & Earl & the Dying Girl (it'll take a seriously rancid piece of shit film to beat this for worst film of the year for me.)

Robert MacFarlane said...

I still feel half-compelled to see Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl given the strong vitriol half the people I know have for it. It sounds like event-level awfulness.

Robert MacFarlane said...

As for me, I've only seen ten films this year. Here:

1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. Ex Machina
3. Inside Out
4. It Follows
5. Trainwreck
6. Spy
7&8. Age of Ultron/Ant-Man
9. Dope
10. Slow West

Calvin Law said...

Robert: What did you think of Lebron James in Trainwreck?

luke higham said...

Robert: And that No Talent Dickhole John Cena.

Robert MacFarlane said...

He's a 2.5 for me, probably the biggest misstep the film makes. It's all novelty that wears thin after the third time.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Cena is 3. He fares better than Lebron, but Channing Tatum would have been perfect in the same role in Jump Street Mode.

Michael McCarthy said...

I'm gonna go ahead and play devil's advocate on LeBron and Cena. Cena's a 3.5 for me, that extra .5 is just cuz of his orgasm scene. And brace yourselves...I give LeBron a 4.5. Everything he did cracked me up, and I found him quite convincing as the concerned best friend.

Anonymous said...

Michael: A 3,5 for Cena and a 4,5 for Lebron? Seriously?

luke higham said...

Michael: Nein, Nein, Nein.

Michael McCarthy said...

Sorry y'all, I can't control what makes me laugh. I usually hate Cena when he tries to act too but he had good material that I thought worked for him. As far as LeBron...In all honesty I'll probably bump him down a little the next time I see it, but I still really liked him.

Michael McCarthy said...

I just really liked the movie, the only cast member who gave a performance that was lacking for me was Ezra Miller, and even he was ok.

Michael McCarthy said...

Oh also, I for got to add Kingsman: The Secret Service to the films I've seen. That would be 13 for me.

Louis Morgan said...

Well I had written a long response but it was deleted just before I posted it. I'll try it again tomorrow.

Robert:

I did want to say that I also saw Ant-Man and you're spot on about Wright. I have to admit I did not mind watching it all, but it's really a weird movie. It's clearly was suppose to be a Hot Fuzz style parody with its very abundant cliches, and a villain who was almost as obvious as Simon Skinner.

The odd thing though is that that's all played straight even the ominous music when Stoll's character walks into a room. I assume when Wright told them the tone, Marvel just got scared, or maybe he was not keen on setting up the connections to the rest of the universe. It's only made weirder because Peyton Reed clearly seemed to direct the actions scenes as "What would Edgar Wright do" as the use color felt right out of Scott Pilgrim.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, what's your ratings and thoughts on the cast of Ant-Man?

RatedRStar said...

Ah I forgot I have seen It Follows too and I thought it was fine. I would put it just in front of The Avengers.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Louis. What are your top 10 opinions that many critics would consider cinematic blasphemy?

luke higham said...

Anonymous: Streep for Sophie's Choice has to be up there.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: Their are many who call it the best female performance of all-time, yet Louis gave it only a 4.5.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Luke, I know that and I talked with you about that earlier. I just want his top 10 opinions that critics would consider cinematic blasphemy.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'm pretty sure Sean Penn is a sacred cow in some circles. I'm happily in the middle ground on him.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: I forgot. :)

I'd say De Niro in Taxi Driver as well, but Louis did give him a 5 initially, so I don't think it'll count.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: I think Louis's criteria for that list should be long held opinions, ever since the beginning of the blog.

Anonymous said...

Robert: So are Spencer Tracy and Gary Cooper, right? They have many defenders.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: Actually, they might find it blasphemous, that he liked Gods And Generals and didn't like Singin' In The Rain.

Anonymous said...

Luke: I know that some of Louis' Best Actor choices would be blasphemous to many critics. To you, Luke, which Louis' Top 10 Best Actor choices would be blasphemous to many critics?

luke higham said...

Anonymous: Louis's Favourite out of the nominees or The Overall Winner.

Anonymous said...

Luke: The favorite out of the nominees.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: Give me 45 minutes. :)

luke higham said...

Anonymous: I'd say there's way more than 10 decisions, that other critics would take issue with. I'll just give you 10, as asked.
1937: Robert Montgomery - Night Must Fall
1941: Walter Huston - The Devil And Daniel Webster (Over Welles)
1942: Monty Woolley - The Pied Piper
1943: Paul Lukas - Watch On The Rhine (Over Bogart)
1951: Montgomery Clift - A Place In The Sun (Over Brando)
1952: Alec Guinness - The Lavender Hill Mob (Over Cooper)
1956: Douglas/Olivier - Lust For Life And Richard III
1959: James Stewart - Anatomy Of A Murder (Over Lemmon)
1962: Peter O'Toole - Lawrence Of Arabia (Over Peck)
1972: Laurence Olivier - Sleuth (Over Brando)

Anonymous said...

Luke: I don't know about 1962, Luke. On who should have won, Peck or O'Toole, it is a pretty divided debate. 1942 isn't that much of a deal, I think. But are there truly many critics who support Tracy's win in 1937?

luke higham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
luke higham said...

Anonymous: Well, I'm not really into reading other critic's picks, (Apart from a select few) who just don't deserve my time, so forgive me. I picked Woolley, because I imagine, not many have seen it, despite it being a weakish year.

O'Toole. As I've said before, I'm hardly the biggest fan of Peck, though I've always loved his work in TKAM and O'Toole is completely flawless in my view, so like almost everyone on the blog, he's my pick for 1962.

Anonymous said...

Luke: I know that you prefer O'Toole over Peck, it's just that I said that 1962 is pretty divided when it comes to Best Actor.
Well, Louis' Top 10 Best Actress Choices that critics would consider blasphemous, I don't know. Is it bad I find Peck's Southern accent unconvincing?

luke higham said...

Anonymous: As everyone knows, Carney's win in 1974 has been disputed by Pacino and Nicholson fanboys, though as always, The Chosen One didn't stick to the status quo. :)

Anonymous said...

Luke: Yeah, 1974 Best Actor. But you do know that 1962 is pretty controversial when it comes to Best Actor, right?

luke higham said...

Anonymous: I sure do.

Anonymous said...

Since 1962 is pretty divided when it comes to Best Actor (O'Toole or Peck), I have a feeling that many critics would tear at Louis for preferring Olivier over Brando for 1972 Best Actor. Oh, and they would also tear him apart for preferring Olivier over Brando as an actor. 1975 is also a pretty divided year for Best Actor. Pacino and Nicholson fanboys attacking each other. :) Brando should have bothered with his career instead of just doing stuff for the paycheck. Newman, on the other hand, bothered with his career. I think that Louis preferring Newman over Kingsley in 1982 would also be a blasphemous choice to critics, but that year is also pretty divided (Kingsley, Newman or Hoffman). When Vanessa Redgrave does a small part in a movie, critics go wild over her, much like Meryl Streep.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: In terms of Actresses, I'm really out of my comfort zone, so I'll give you 4 for now.
2010: Lawrence over Portman
2002: Kidman over Moore
1989: Tandy over Pfeiffer
1962: Page over Davis

Anonymous said...

Luke: I never understood why some people say Fonda is lead in Once Upon A Time In The West. To me, the film seemed more and more about Bronson.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: I have him on the border, leaning towards Supporting, though it doesn't really bother me that others have that view.

Anonymous said...

Luke, what are your top 10 on-screen/off-screen couples?

luke higham said...

Anonymous: I'm the wrong person to ask, but I'll give you two, Leigh & Olivier and Taylor & Burton. In recent times, I quite like Stone and Garfield.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: Another On-Screen couple, that I liked was Hawke and Delpy in The Before Trilogy.

Anonymous said...

Luke: What about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward?

luke higham said...

Anonymous: They're great too. :)

Anonymous said...

Top 10 Best Actor Oscar nominees for me:
1. Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia
2. James Stewart in It's A Wonderful Life
3. Laurence Olivier in Rebecca
4. F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus
5. Alec Guinness in The Bridge to River Kwai
6. Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
7. Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot
8. Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront
9. George C. Scott in Patton
10. Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind

luke higham said...

Anonymous: Great, Great List. 100% Perfect. :)

Anonymous said...

Luke: Anyway, another year that would be hard for me is 1949 Best Supporting Actor. Guinness, Richardson, Welles or Rains? All four are great. I'm surprised that Rains never got an Honorary Oscar. I think that the most wonderful thing about Notorious is that Rains, despite playing a villain, makes you feel sorry for him. Rains was such a scene-stealer.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: The greatest character actor of all-time. I'm not that surprised that he wasn't given an Honorary award, since in the academy's eyes, he wasn't a huge name.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: And he was British.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: I'm gonna have a lie-down for a couple of hours. :)

Anonymous said...

Luke: Well, I truly understand why they gave the Oscar to Russell in 1946 since he was a WW2 veteran, but he was very deserving. Peter Lorre could have not been nominated for M, since it was a German film. Lorre was very underused. Anyway, even though Bogart and Bergman were great, I thought Rains was easily the best thing of Casablanca. Edward G. Robinson should have easily scooped that Oscar in 1944 for Best Supporting Actor (even if he wasn't nominated) over Fitzgerald. Robert Shaw sadly passed away too soon. He was amazing in almost everything he made (Battle of the Bulge, A Man for All Seasons, Young Winston, The Sting, Pelham 123, Jaws, Robin and Marian). I really wonder what films had he made if he never died in 1978.

Calvin Law said...

For me personally I'd give 1949 supporting over to Richardson purely because my other top choices for that year have other wins (Trevor Howard for Outcast of the Islands and Brief Encounter, Alec Guinness for Bridge on the River Kwai, Orson Welles for Touch of Evil, Claude Rains for Now Voyager and Mr Smith Goes to Washington)

Calvin Law said...

I imagine Robert Shaw could've played the following roles:

Hannibal Lecter
Dumbledore (feel free to question)
Oliver Reed's role in Gladiator

Anonymous said...

Then who's your choice for Best Supporting Actor in 1946, Calvin? Barrymore, Russell or Travers?

Calvin Law said...

Travers.

luke higham said...

Goodnight. :)

Anonymous said...

Luke: Goodnight. :)

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Robinson. As I've yet to see a bad performance from him.

Luke:

4.5, 4, 5

Nakadai - 4.5(He has a less dynamic arc in this film but it is still very good work. It's particularly remarkable because he continues right where he left his character. You feel the age and understanding in his portrayal, as you see the man who now knows what it means to be human through earned experience. In this way Nakadai is terrific in suggesting a more subtle manner of persuasion in Kaji rather than being so upfront about it. Also though there is a slight arc, that Nakadai effectively portrays which is Kaji becoming a soldier as he brings those sort of mannerisms well into his performance. And again Nakadai brings so much just in his honest reactions to the various situations in the film)

Anonymous:

Billy Wilder, and then the directors themselves.

Anonymous:

Kinski - (First off she does a wonderful job of becoming the character in terms of her mannerisms and behavior. She is absolutely convincing as a woman of this background. She wonderful luminous of course in the footage scene, then breaks this apart brilliantly when we see her later. She puts up the allure of the stripper, but undercuts it well by conveying the desperation of her character. Then there is that final masterful scene with Stanton. Kinski's portrayal of her character's realization then reactions to the story are incredible. Then her few words to Stanton are marvelous as you understand there connection while you see what separated them as well)

Matt:

Rudd - 3.5(Fits right into the Marvel oeuvre of heroes as he's just knows exactly how to capture that light breezy tone while having just enough substance there to bring some weight to the material)

Lilly - 3(Well since I actually liked her in the Hobbit movies, I think I have to like her here as well. She's charming here though, and I liked her chemistry with Rudd. She does not have a lot to work with, but delivers where she needs to)

Douglas - 3.5(Loved that there was not a moment where he looked like he was sleep walking through the material. He really brings a nice energy to the part that I did not expect and has touch of humor that works well while still being the wise mentor as he should be)

Stoll - 3(Really has almost nothing to work with, but boy does he do his best to sell that personal side of the character that's really underdeveloped. Past that, he's no Timothy Dalton, but I did enjoy him being evil almost for evil's sake)

Pena and the crew - 3(Pena)2.5(The other two) - (Pena was enjoyable enough, the other two were fine. I did not love them as some evidently did, but I liked them just fine)