Saturday, 5 September 2015

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1976: Hal Holbrook in All The President's Men

Hal Holbrook did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying "deep throat" in All The President's Men.

A funny thing about Hal Holbrook's casting is that its an actual clue to the real life mystery, at the time of the film's release, of who exactly Deep Throat really was. Deep Throat being Bob Woodward's (played by Robert Redford in the film) secretive source who held some high position within the U.S. government and was privy to much of the top secret information related to Watergate. Hal Holbrook was the only choice for the role as chosen by the real Bob Woodward, and Holbrook happens just to look a bit like the man who eventually was claimed to be the real Deep Throat, Mark Felt. Well his resemblance probably should be put aside though, since though it was meaningful to reality it was meaningless to the film other than it allowed for Holbrook to give the performance that he does give. Holbrook's introduction is originally through voice only, which is a short moment since all he does is avoid commenting on Watergate, instead he sets up a secret meeting with Woodward through a complex and secretive process that eventually leads Woodward to a parking garage.

Although his initial vocal appearance was unceremonious, Holbrook's first physical appearance is one of the most memorable images of the film as a figure drenched in shadow with only a cigarette to grant him light. Even as Woodward grows close the man only known as Deep Throat still stays mostly obscured by the darkness. Deep Throat is such a striking image with the most visible part of the man being Holbrook's piercing eyes looking directly at Woodward. Holbrook does not waste this introduction as his performance seems to fit right into his surroundings. Holbrook's voice is cold as engages Woodward on what information he exactly wants. There is a harshness about his delivery though within that though within it there seems to be the truth. The whole demeanor Holbrook gives Deep Throat is brilliant created by him. There is a considerable intelligence that he exudes as Woodward tells him what he knows, and in his reaction Holbrook suggests so eloquently that he knows so much more than what he is being told yet. In that there is a slight smile in his face as he tells Woodward essentially the White House is not as smart as they are made out to be, and in that certain understated venom as he describes this Holbrook alludes to perhaps a personal vendetta in Deep Throat which may be his motivation for helping Woodward.

What's so fascinating about Holbrook's work is that he never loses any of the character's mystery while still giving a uniquely emotional details within the man. One instance of this is when Deep Throat goes into detail of a disturbing story on Gordon Liddy, one of the men involved with Watergate in someway. Holbrook is outstanding as he conveys almost a fear as he describes his story which involves Liddy purposefully burning his own hand, as for that moment Deep Throat is trying to convey to Woodward as well perhaps himself, the potential danger in the men they are dealing with. Holbrook's second appearance actually does not come until over an hour later, although you certainly have not forgotten his existence. This is one of those performances that is just so captivating to watch as Holbrook takes on this enigmatic style so flawlessly. Honestly the ever so slight form of flamboyancy around the character could have easily faltered quite poorly, but Holbrook executes it so perfectly that it never does. Holbrook is terrific in his second appearance as gives Deep Throat even more of edge as he there is a certain viciousness in his words and in the intensity in Holbrook almost as though he is antagonizing Woodward in order to motivate him to find the exact truth. Holbrook's final appearance comes near the  end of the film after it seems Woodward and Bernstein have made a mistake. Halbrook is once again outstanding, and even though this particular appearance is rather brief, it not way diminishes the considerable impact of the moment. In an instance Halbrook creates such an overwhelming sense of paranoia as he no longer that cold assurance about him, and conveys are more apparent fear as he warns Woodward that their lives may be in danger. Once again Holbrook adds so much to the film within almost not time at all helping to realize three of the best scenes in this great film. All three of his scenes are masterfully portrayed by Holbrook as he, almost serves the role of Deep Throat, by providing us enough to pull us in and make the story all the more compelling while never losing the mystique that makes him such a fascinating figure, and this such a fascinating performance. 

61 comments:

luke higham said...

I just knew you'd give him a 5, Come on Shaw.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't expecting a 4,5, but you took me by surprise.
Louis, I know you hated Gary Cooper in The Westerner, but what is your rating on him?
Also, ratings and thoughts on:
Steve McQueen, William Holden, Faye Dunaway and Paul Newman in The Towering Inferno
Dick Powell and Mickey Rooney in A Midsummer's Night Dream
Arthur Kennedy in The Man From Laramie and The Desperate Hours
William Powell in Mister Roberts
John Gielgud in Richard III

Anonymous said...

Also, ratings and thoughts on Lee Marvin in Ship of Fools and The Big Heat.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, have you seen the companion piece to Letters From Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers? If so, what are your thoughts on the film and your ratings and thoughts on the cast?

Anonymous said...

Louis, if Hackman had come out of retirement for Nebraska, would you have preferred his performance over Dern's?

Anonymous said...

Louis whats your thoughts on Manhattan, A Midsummer Nights Dream (1935), Trouble in Paradise, Jewell Robbery, The Most Dangerous Game, and the Murder Case films starring Powell and Rathbone?

Anonymous said...

Very positive reviews for Steve Jobs, guys, with focus on Sorkin (who for sure will get the nod and seems a good bet for the win) and Fassbender (God/Monster character, razor sharp lines in dynamic dialogues, etc. I think he's pretty secure, his bigger problem, I think, is himself in a possibility of vote spliting). Winslet, Daniels and Rogen were pretty good reviewed also - I hope the awards season get more diversified this year, you know, with more differences among the nominees for the biggest awards, so the thing gets more exciting. I see an even bigger "blood bath" of snubs in january.

Peter G. said...

Anonymous: That's very good to hear.

Calvin Law said...

'The biggest transformation in "Jobs," however, involves its director. Boyle, who took on the project following David Fincher's departure, drops his usual whirlwind editing style and instead develops an engrossing chamber piece.'

From Indie Wire's review. Hm, bodes well for maybe Louis liking this more than his usual Boyle. Although I have to say personally that his kinetic direction is usually one of the highlights of my favourite films of his (Transpotting, Shallow Grave)

Calvin Law said...

Though I think Fassbender will be excellent, this project will always be tinged with a bit of 'what if' for me regarding the original choices of Fincher and Bale.

Robert MacFarlane said...

From what I've heard the last ten minutes are dire.

luke higham said...

Robert: What's the running time.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your reaction to the reviews for Steve Jobs.

Anonymous said...

Luke: I see Fassbender already locked for a nomination.

Luke Higham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke Higham said...

Anonymous:
At the moment, I'll go with Redmayne, Fassbender, Depp, DiCaprio and Hiddleston.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: I predict either Fassbender or DiCaprio to win.

Anonymous said...

Luke: Like I told you before, I want DiCaprio to win. Fassy will get his chance in another year and in that particular year he'll likely be my choice.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: I too want DiCaprio to win, what I said was just a prediction. :)

Louis Morgan said...

It sounds like it is indeed Fassbender's horse, and it sounds like he'll be nominated. I don't believe he'll win though.

Since no one mentioned it The Suffragette reactions seem to indicate Mulligan is very much in the race, though the film is less so (that's a fairly common occurrence for Best Actress winners).

Anonymous:

Cooper - 1.5(He's kinda eaten alive by Brennan in every scene they share together, and whenever Brennan is not onscreen the film lags severely. Cooper just is very dull, his romance is dull, and the it's a shame to hear that it sounds like apparently Brennan had an even larger role, but Cooper did not want to overshadowed. Well he was overshadowed anyways.)

Steve McQueen - 3(McQueen is frankly a good fit for such a film since his trademark cool is able to get over just how little of a character he has. McQueen manages to bring something though just through his mere presence.)

William Holden - 2.5(Stuck in a nothing role that gives him almost nothing to do. At least he takes things seriously though so he's not bad but he just has far too little to work with)

Newman - 3(Newman also has little character to work with, but he's good in the action scenes simply by giving realistic reactions throughout)

Dunaway - 2.5(Utterly wasted as Holden, McQueen and Newman's roles seems quite complex compared to her. She's not bad, but she's mostly there to stand around and look pretty)

Dick Powell and Mickey Rooney - 1(Both are completely out of their element since neither clearly understands what it is that they are saying. Powell ends up being horribly bland while Rooney is consistently obnoxious)

Kennedy - The Man From Laramie - 3.5(Again in retrospect Ryan in Naked Spur makes him look worse. This is a good performance from Kennedy, although I think story wise the ending tries to say he's too much of a villain at the end, since I felt Kennedy gave more depth to the character than that effectively portraying the character's struggle that resulted in villainy but not portraying it in a villainous fashion)

The Desperate Hours - 2.5(He's fine, but he's just there for exposition.)

William Powell - 3.5(Powell is charming as ever offering some fine warmth throughout while giving adding a bit of his humor whenever he can as well. It's a shame that this was his final performance, although it is a good one.)

Louis Morgan said...

John Gielgud - 3.5(Apparently Olivier disliked the way Gielgud almost sung his Shakespeare, but it works rather well here painting his character as just an entirely different sort from Olivier's Richard III)

Marvin - Ship of Fools - 2.5(I think if the film had the guts to be funny, and wasn't so caught up with its self-impotence, Marvin might have had something to do with his portrayal of a thick headed baseball player. As it is Marvin mostly moves around the film looking lost, and waiting for a plot line for himself which never materializes)

The Big Heat - 3.5(Marvin good at being the big heavy, and this is a good example of it. Marvin adds a bit extra in that he adds a nice bit of dark humor to his character's rough treatment that work rather well)

Matt:

Haven't seen it.

Anonymous:

Well I thought Dern was great so it's hard to say whether or not I would have preferred Hackman, although I do believe Hackman would have been great as well.

Anonymous:

Manhattan - (Allen isn't quite a favorite of mine, not that I dislike his films, I just don't love them the way some do. Nevertheless this is a good example of one of his "man struggles with philosophy and relationships for a while films".)

A Midsummer Nights Dream (1935) - (It's not quite a perfect adaptation in a large part due to some of those performances previously mentioned. Having said that though it captures the magical and comedic nature of the story through some performances, Cagney of course, as well as the rather memorable cinematography (which apparently was so good it managed to win despite not being nominated)

Trouble in Paradise - (Just a classic enjoyable romantic comedy with that special Ernst Lubitsch touch prevalent through)

Jewell Robbery - (Also an enjoyable romantic comedy with Powell being charming and funny as usual.)

The Most Dangerous Game - (Adding the love interest and other complexities was quite unneeded for the story and perhaps it contributes to this adaptation really lacks the tension you'd want from the story)

The Murder Case Films - (The murders themselves are not made into that compelling of mysteries and there is not much life in terms of the direction either. The Powell ones though are elevated through the exchanges of Powell and Eugene Palette who are great together. Rathbone just does not have the natural humor to elevate his, and it does not help that Eugene Pallette is no where to be found)

Anonymous said...

Louis what are your thoughts on MacArthur (since you liked Peck), The Man Who Came to Dinner, Hope and Glory, The Last of the Mohicans, One False Move, The Passenger, Fire Over England, Arbitrage and Ride the Pink Horse?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your updated nominee predictions for the acting races, as well as Picture and Director.

Michael McCarthy said...

It seems like DiCaprio, Depp, Redmayne and Fassbender are all practically locked in. For the fifth spot I'd currently put my money on Caine, but I kinda wish it was Segel in that fifth spot and not campaigning for supporting.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Also, Room got a lot of praise and Brie Larson could totally get a Best Actress nomination. Which for me would be Christmas and Birthday wrapped into one.

Luke Higham said...

Robert: I'm absolutely pleased by the reception, as it has been on my radar for a while and amazingly, some say Tremblay's as good, if not better than Larson.

Anonymous said...

Louis, ratings and thoughts on:
Robert De Niro in Sleepers, Marvin's Room, Cop Land and Analyze This
Jack Nicholson in Mars Attacks! and Anger Management
Robert Duvall in Captain Newman M.D. and THX-1138
Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman in Runaway Jury
Al Pacino in Stand Up Guys

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

I'll get you those thoughts relatively soon.

Luke:

Picture:

The Revenant
Bridge of Spies
Steve Jobs
Carol
Beasts of No Nation
The Danish Girl
Spotlight
Joy
The Hateful Eight

Winner: Don't even have an inkling at the moment.

Director:

Alejandro González Iñárritu - The Revenant
Steve Spielberg - Bridge of Spies
David O. Russell - Joy
Todd Haynes - Carol
Cary Fukunaga - Beasts of No Nation

Winner: Also lacking an Inkling.

Actor:

Leonardo DiCarpio - The Revenant (Winner)
Eddie Redmayne - The Danish Girl
Michael Fassbender - Steve Jobs
Michael Caine - Youth
Johnny Depp - Black Mass

Actress:

Carey Mulligan - Suffragette (Winner)
Alicia Vikander - The Danish Girl
Cate Blanchett - Carol
Jennifer Lawrence - Joy
Saoirse Ronan - Brooklyn

Supporting Actor:

Idris Elba - Beasts of No Nation (Winner)
Tom Hardy - The Revenant
Mark Rylance - Bridge of Spies
Bradley Cooper - Joy
Robert De Niro - Joy

Supporting Actress:

Rooney Mara - Carol (Winner, though I don't believe it)
Helena Bonham Carter - Suffragette
Diane Ladd - Joy
Elisabeth Olsen - I Saw the Light
Kate Winslet - Steve Jobs

omar! said...

I'd change Cooper with Samuel L. Jackson and Bonham Carter with Jennifer Jason Leigh, both from the hateful eight

Louis Morgan said...

Omar:

Well my Cooper and De Niro is a no guts no glory prediction. With his last two films they've thrown excessive love to his films and giving two supporting actor slots, the first since Bugsy, would be an easy way to do it.

From what I've heard from those who have read the script Leigh's role is very limited. Though I heard the same in regards to the script for The Master in terms of Amy Adams's role. If Mulligan is the winner though I could easily see just a bit of extra love though a la Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine.

Anonymous said...

Louis, what do you think of Watchmojo in general?

omar! said...

Louis: I read the leaked script of The Hateful Eight, and even if Jason Leigh's role is very limited she could stole all the scenes. I read that Cooper part is no way better then DeNiro and Ramirez ones, so i'd nominate the first one with Samuel L. Jackson the other nominated, and the academy loves the characters that Tarantino have created recently

Anonymous said...

So what made you change Cooper's rating for Sergeant York from 1,5 to a 2? On the performance though, it seems to me that Cooper was afraid of shouting (overacting to him) in that particular scene, wouldn't you agree?

Louis Morgan said...

Omar:

I wouldn't rule that out at all as it seems like she's doing that from the trailer. Russell seems to love Cooper so I could easily see him expanding his part, it also helps that the Academy loves Cooper as well.

Anonymous:

MacArthur - (It has been some time since I've seen it, but as I recall it was very trying very hard to be Patton though was unable to make the same sort of statement on the character that Patton did. Otherwise though was a decent enough scene by scene biography film)

The Man Who Came to Dinner - (Come for Monty Woolley's being an curmudgeon, and then stay for him being one. Outside of him the film isn't much, though not bad, but when he's onscreen it works)

Hope and Glory - (I think Boorman might try a little hard to cover everything, since I don't feel everything quite comes together in terms of the adult relationships. When it sticks to the perspective of children though it works quite well in creating its interesting portrait of a child dealing with the war)

The Last of the Mohicans - (The story probably is a bit thin though it works in the broad strokes of romance and revenge thanks to Mann's direction and Day-Lewis's work.)

One False Move - (One of the worst twists ever to befall a film. Up until that point though it's a decent enough though somewhat standard thriller. The one element that stands out well though is Will Patton's memorable turn as the weaselly though excessively loyal right hand man. Of course that twist is also memorable, but for the wrong reasons as its existence makes the whole film seem kinda stupid.)

The Passenger - (Although I thought Nicholson was fine the film itself I felt was far to uninteresting and boring to be as slow as it is. It feels like a film that acts as though it has something important to say, but never bothers to say it)

Fire Over England - (It's kinda intriguing seeing Olivier doing Flynn. The film isn't great but it's decent swashbuckling fun. It has a good enough villain with Raymond Massey, a good enough hero with Olivier, as well as romantic interest with Vivien Leigh, and Flora Robson's Elizabeth offers just a bit more complexity to the film. Plus you get about 3 seconds worth of James Mason.)

Arbitrage - (Features Richard Gere's best performance, from what I've seen anyways, and is an engaging character study. What I like about it is that it does not paint him as an overt villain rather allowing us to see him as a man first and then naturally see how devious of a sort he is without having to point it out at every turn)

Ride the Pink Horse - (I'm interested in seeing the rest of Robert Montgomery's work as a director, but this alone suggests he has a fairly keen eye. The film itself has a great deal of atmosphere as Montgomery bothers to establish a sense of place of the Mexican village while telling a a compelling enough noir plot. What I really liked about the film was the non-romance between him and Wanda Hendrix. It offers rather unique central relationship that really adds to the film. Its kind of an off-beat noir and better for it.)

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

De Niro - Sleepers - 3.5(Really the best of part of a very questionable film. De Niro offers some fine support bringing a great deal of honest warmth through his performance, even though I feel the film does betray his character in the end though De Niro at least gives a bit of substance to his struggle)

Marvin's Room - 3(De Niro offers just a bit natural humor actually to his appearances though he doesn't get to do much.)

Cop Land - 2.5(He's serviceable for the most part, without adding too much, though I feel he's just a tad over the top in the scene where he yells at Stallone's character late in the film)

Analyze This - 3(This is probably a better example of him doing his comedic styling as sometimes he takes it as seriously as a dramatic role which is when his performance works. He's not pure with this though, and there are still though moments where tries to be funny which do not work nearly as well)

Nicholson in Mars Attacks! - 2.5(Well he's no Peter Sellers here, but then again Mars Attacks! is not Doctor Strangelove. I don't think he's actively bad, but he's just not very funny as either the earnest president or the slimy businessman. The closest he comes is his pre-death speech which still isn't close enough)

Anger Management - 2(Almost purity of excessively indulgent Nicholson as I don't know if he ever mugged more than he does here. Every scene you get a typical grin and over emphasized line readings. Also like De Niro he has a serious problem with trying way too hard to be funny without being so.)

Duvall - Captain Newman M.D. - 3.5(His story line feels a bit tacked on unfortunately since it does not quite get enough of a resolution. Duvall is very good in his few scenes portraying his character's condition in almost the opposite way of any one else playing a patient in the film. Duvall is extremely subdued and very effective in showing the way his man has almost withdrawn in himself. I only wish there had been more of him)

THX-1138 - 4(Duvall gives an intriguing portrayal of the future man trying to buck the system since he does not play him as the initiator of this. In the early scenes Duvall plays him as basically a drone until someone else sparks the change. Duvall then is very good in the gradual way he slowly realizes the re-growth of humanity in the man.)

Gene Hackman - 3.5(The best part of the film to be sure as Hackman plays the part with the needed ease and quiet menace that naturally exudes the power of such a fixer. I frankly would have preferred if the film simply focused on his manipulation of the court since that's when the film worked)

Dustin Hoffman - 3(Odd that this was the only time he worked with Hackman. Hoffman is brings the right genuine earnestness to the part, and again I think I would preferred if it was Hackman and Hoffman's characters trying to defeat each other as their confrontation scene is particularly good, plus then we could ignore Cusack and Weisz's annoying characters)

Pacino - 2.5(Well I'm glad he was not over the top but unfortunately it is in service of a rather terrible film. Pacino tries to make something of it, but the film's weaknesses wear his performance down that it wastes his efforts almost completely)

Anonymous:

I don't have an opinion in regards to Watchmojo because I have not watched their videos.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Louis, have you heard about the stage adaptation of Disney's Hunchback that has been off-Broadway?

Louis Morgan said...

Robert:

Hadn't heard about it. I looked it up though and color me intrigued since it sounds like they fixed Gargoyles.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, what's your ratings and thoughts on John Wayne and Montgomery Clift in Red River?

Robert MacFarlane said...

@Louis: I watched a bit of the Paper Mill Playhouse production on YouTube, and my God I would go out of my way to see this on Broadway. I'm not even that big on musicals (or at least driving to New York to see them).

Anonymous said...

Anyway I've read the novel from which "Carol" is based, and if Rooney Mara goes supporting it will be one of the most embarrassing cases of category fraud. Therese is 100% lead, even more so than Carol (Carol is still the lead as her character is a bit more important during the story's climax), she is the POV in every single page of the book.

Anonymous said...

I was looking at Jeffrey Dean Morgan's review for Watchmen and I saw in the comments many people saying they disliked Katherine Heigl. I haven't seen many movies with her (only Knocked Up in which she was very good and Big Wedding in which she's fine and probably the best thing about it), and she has done some really crappy movies that were much more sexist than Knocked Up, but I think she's very good in Grey's Anatomy (which by the way she didn't call crap, she just said that Izzie's storyline in the fourth season wasn't strong enough to warrant her a nomination, which is totally true), and I think she should have received a nomination for Season 2 (she was heartbreaking towards the end and I felt that she didn't detract from Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Michael Patison said) and I support her win for Season 3 (she was killer in the episode "Time After Time"). She made Izzie one of the most likeable and sweet character of the show, and I don't think that after her depart from the series the show really went downhill (despite being still utterly watchable). She's not the MVP of the show (Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson are) but she's still great in it.

omar! said...

Anonymous: look at Notes on a Scandal, Blanchett was the leading performance but she was put in the supporting race because she wasn't condired as prestigious as Dench, the same thing happened with Al Pacino in the first Godfater; so whether Mara goes Lead or Supporting won't be a shocker from the academy.

Louis: Those are my predictions

BPicture
Carol (winner)
Joy
The Hateful Eight
Spotlight
Beasts of No Nation
The Danish Girl
The Revenant
The Bridge of Spies
Steve Jobs
Alt: Brooklin

BDirector
Tarantino
Spielberg
O Russell
Inarritu
Haynes (winner)
Alt: Hooper, Boyle

BActor
Redmayne (winner)
DiCaprio
Hiddleston
Fassbender
Cranston
Alt: Hanks, Caine, Cheadle, Depp

BActress
Vikander (winner)
Lawrence
Blanchett
Mulligan
Moore/ Bullock
Alt: Ronan

BSActor
Jackson (winner)
Russell
Elba
DeNiro
Hardy
Alt: Ramirez, Rylance

BSActress
Jason Leigh (winner)
Mara
Olsen
Winslet
Someone from Joy
Alt: Streep
Someone from Joy

Robert MacFarlane said...

It won't be a shock if she goes Supporting, but it will still be horrible. She'll be stealing a slot from an actual Supporting performance and a character actress that the category was designed for in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else seen American Horror Story: Coven? If so, what are your thoughts on the season and ratings for the cast?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Haven't seen AHS.

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your Best Supporting Actress choices from 1930-1935? And your choices for 1938, 1944, 1945 and 1947?

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous:
1944: Tallulah Bankhead - Lifeboat
1947: Kathleen Byron - Black Narcissus

Anonymous said...

Luke: Oh, I forgot that those were the winners. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Louis: So when's the review? By the way, ratings and thoughts on Sissy Spacek in Get Low.

Anonymous said...

Louis this will b the final list I ask you for your thoughts on movies at the moment, what are your thoughts on these?

San Francisco
Angel on my Shoulder
The Last Summer
Blazing Saddles
Waking Ned Nevine
Nameless Gangster
To Live and Die in LA
An American Werewolf in London
Office Space

JackiBoyz said...

Louis I recently lent Short Cuts from a friend, any thoughts on the film?

Luke Higham said...

Demolition Trailer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fny1Xp-ixgs

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

1931: Jean Harlow - Public Enemy
1932: Joan Crawford - Grand Hotel
1933: Merle Oberon - The Private Life of Henry VIII
1935: Elsa Lanchester - Bride of Frankenstein
1938: Anita Louise - Marie Antoinette
1945: Anna Magnani - Rome, Open City

Anonymous:

I believe I covered Spacek before.

Anonymous:

San Francisco - (The drama before the disaster is just fine though not anything too remarkable. The earthquake sequence is quite impressive though in terms of effects, but it also ends carry a fairly strong emotional heft as well)

Angel on my Shoulder - (A rather memorable twist on Here Comes Mr. Jordan where we get Rains as the devil instead of an Angel. The two central performances really is what makes it work from Claude Rains of course is great as usual as a darker spiritual guide, but Paul Muni surprises, after being a bit mannered at first, he ends up giving a rather affecting and believable depiction of his character's transition from a bad man to a good one)

The Last Summer - (I'll admit this is a film that is problematic form the start because there of the central characters are both just so unlikable and uninteresting. Spending time with them is a bit of torture, things get better when Catherine Burns shows up, who also gives the only good performance in the film. This does not last long as the film ends on its "shocking" ending that does not feel earned,)

Blazing Saddles - (A pretty funny gag fest, although I probably don't like it quite as much as some. I also think that the finale kinda falls apart, and becomes a bit of a mess)

Waking Ned Nevine - (I can love a good quirky village film, but this one just doesn't come together for me. As everything just feels a bit too cloying and feels though that's trying to hard to make every bit of the show eccentric)

Nameless Gangster - (A rather strong gangster picture actually, bolstered well by Choi Min-sik's leading performance. It's an interesting portrait of a wannabe's attempt to be gangster, and I like the way that it pulls us in with him making his apparent successes quite glorious while making the failure of his ambitions appropriately humiliating.)

To Live and Die in LA - (There is perhaps just a bit more than a tinge of the wrong kinda 80's dated to it, nevertheless its still a pretty compelling crime picture with Friedkin once again showing that he knows his way around a city, crafting another memorable car chase, although I won't say it tops The French Connection in that regard. I will say William Peterson could bring a bit more to the role, as he far more successfully portraying an almost insane conviction in Manhunter, but the supporting cast is quite solid with Willem Dafoe making a good villain. It's a fine film with a particularly atypical and effective ending.)

An American Werewolf in London - (A film that strikes up just the right tone in balancing horror with some pitch black humor. It also is surprisingly rather heartbreaking as well. It's wonderfully atmospheric and the make up effects are incredible)

Office Space - (A consistently hilarious film)

JackiBoyz:

It's a good film offering Altman's typical style of the variety of cross cutting stories, and most of them are interesting. I will say that I don't think he quite manages to add them up all to a truly special conclusion. The film is certainly engaging enough up till that point, as well it's not as though that the ending is bad, that it's still a good film.

Anonymous said...

Louis: You forgot of answering one of my questions. What made you upgrade Cooper's rating in Sergeant York from 1,5 to a 2?

Anonymous said...

Luke: Well, let's see if Gyllenhaal and Watts are any good.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'm not really sure what to make of the film or even Gyllenhaal from that trailer. All I'll say is that he looks a lot better there than in Southpaw.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Ratings on these films:
King Kong (1933, 1976 and 2005)
The Searchers
The Gunfighter
The Ox-Bow Incident
High Noon
El Dorado

Robert MacFarlane said...

@Anonymous: He just answered your last batch. Maybe give him a break?

Michael McCarthy said...

The trailer for Demolition makes it look kinda mean spirited...

Robert MacFarlane said...

Yeah, it could really be JMV's Descendants if it's done poorly. Though Gyllenhall is at least more capable of accepting flaws in his characters than Clooney, so he might be able to drag the film down to Earth if it becomes too nasty.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

That was a pretty early review, and just an alteration in more line with how my ratings went later on.