Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Alternate Best Actor 1993: Anthony Hopkins in Shadowlands

Anthony Hopkins did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for a BAFTA, for portraying "Jack" C.S. Lewis in Shadowlands.

Shadowlands I found to be a surprisingly effective film detailing the tragic romantic relationship between famed writer C.S. Lewis and American divorcee Joy Davidman (Debra Winger).

Anthony Hopkins was nominated for leading actor for his turn as the very repressed butler in The Remains of the Day, therefore he could not be recognized for this film. I have to admit coming into the film I pondered if this was going to be a similar performance to The Remains of the Day, which is good a performance by the way, due to the fact that he is playing another Englishman around the same general time period. Well that is not the case in the least in this, his fifth collaboration with Richard Attenborough as a director. I suppose the idea of playing such a famous writer one might expect something a bit stuffy, that's not the case. Even from his earliest scenes Hopkins brings such a life to his portrayal of C.S. Lewis, known to his friends as Jack. This is not just some literary figure in Hopkins's hands as he so effortlessly engages the role. Hopkins's performance has this real energy about it, which is rather fascinating since it still entirely fits in the way he realizes Lewis's character. Rather interestingly Hopkins gives us a man who is very happy in his life, even before we get into the central romance, portraying Lewis as someone who at least believes himself to be where he wants to be, more or less.

This performance I'll admit surprised me quite a bit just by how enthusiastic Hopkins is as Lewis. Now Hopkins never only played villains particularly in The Elephant Man where he played the very good hearted Dr. Treves, but that was in a more internalized fashion. Hopkins here is far more extroverted in bringing out Lewis's good nature while keeping in the right confines for a dignified university professor. There is actually one moment I rather love early on in the film when speaking with his fellow professors at the pub. As Lewis turns the conversation to speak of his dream world Hopkins is brimming, almost bursting, with this certain remarkable cheer of man who, in a way, truly believes in what he speaks of. Hopkins shows a different kind of creative spark than is often the case where we deal with the tortured artist. Hopkins is careful to show there is nothing tortured about Lewis. Hopkins instead finds such an endearing passion connected to his own creativity. Hopkins plays these moments as a man almost trying to share the joy he receives from these dreams of sorts with others and brings a real sense of the beauty in this act. Even though it is technically just someone going on about their ideas, that enthusiasm Hopkins brings creates such a sense of purity about it.

Hopkins manages to be equally compelling though even when we see Lewis working directly as a professor. In these lecture scenes Hopkins is rather effective in portraying the charisma of a great teacher. There is this grace that Hopkins brings to his these scenes suggesting the right ease Lewis has in such a setting. Now this is whether he is delivering a larger speech or merely just giving some quieter instruction. The eloquence Hopkins finds is rather perfect actually, aided of course by his very notable voice. Hopkins in no way uses this as some sort of crutch though and I love the nuance he even brings in these moments. There is a running subplot with Lewis attempting to deal with one of his students who doesn't seem to make the right sort of effort in his, non mandatory, classroom. There is a great moment where Lewis uses the man's sleeping in his classroom to explain Aristotle theory on character as defined by action. Now I quite honestly could listen to Hopkins break down such theories all day, but that's not all there is to Hopkins's work. Within that still Hopkins portrays the right fascination in even the difficult student. In that Hopkins is able to accentuate the idea that Lewis very much has a drive to share his own knowledge though he does it in very much his own way.

The central aspect of the film though is Lewis's relationship with the American Joy who comes to see him, basically as a fan, along with her son Douglas (Joseph Mazzello). It is here in which lies Hopkins's greatest challenge in the film in that there is Lewis's arc which has steps to it in the script, yet they are very light and likely would have felt vague without the proper guidance. Hopkins's performance brings this guidance through the way he realizes change in Lewis in his interactions with Joy. Now in their initial meetings Hopkins portrays a real warmth, a rather charming side of him that one does not often see from him. Hopkins shows Lewis in these scenes as a gracious host. He brings a real gentlemanly quality as he complies with any requests though Hopkins still keeps in mind a certain awkwardness in the interaction. An awkwardness that Hopkins makes rather natural in that it actually really is in no way unpleasant rather just something one would expect from an author who is dealing with a fan. Hopkins importantly though shows that the warmth he portrays is in no way a put on at any point, and subtly plants the seeds to the central relationship.

Some time goes on though and by chance Lewis and Joy meet again at one of Lewis's public readings. Hopkins is excellent in the pleasure he expresses in Lewis at seeing Joy again, and there is something truly brilliant how elegantly Hopkins presents this. The happiness Hopkins shows is automatic in a way, and creates the sense that even Lewis isn't quite fully aware of how much he seems to get out of her company. Their encounters no longer become chance though after she moves to England, after abandoning her abusive husband, and Lewis becomes a frequent visitor. In a way to "legitimize" her societal standing she even marries her in the court of law. Now the initial marriage ceremony is a key moment actually in which Hopkins establishes where they are in their relationship. In the moment Lewis gets marries and basically leaves as though all they were doing was taking care of some paperwork. This could be seen as the actions of a cold man, and in fact the more expected way to play this whole thing could have been to have Lewis begin as cold. Hopkins doesn't take this approach, portraying instead something a bit more complex. Hopkins again carries a real affection, but also suggests a certain uncertainty in knowing how to interact with Joy entirely past that. Hopkins though is careful to show this does not come from being uncaring, but rather effectively illustrates Lewis as inexperienced with such matters.

Hopkins's work is very intriguing in the way he connects that ease of his life into Lewis's certain disconnection with Joy at first. In that Hopkins shows a man who is content with his life therefore almost fails to consider properly the idea of changing it in any real way. When Joy calls Lewis out on his behavior not to exactly challenge himself, Hopkins's performance earns the sentiment since he so honestly presented Lewis's peculiar form of creating a personal distance. Things turn for a worse though when Joy collapses revealing she has an advanced form of cancer that will no doubt be fatal. Hopkins is incredibly moving by showing that in this moment is when Lewis fully realizes that he is love, which had already been there but he had trouble seeing it clearly. Hopkins poignantly finds tragedy in the way he expresses the combination of anguish in Lewis at the same time as he expresses his true feelings for Joy. It is pivotal that Hopkins does not make it just some sympathy for her pain as the cause though, as Hopkins brings this heaviness in Lewis's very being as though the lateness of the realization weighs on him deeply. Hopkins is devastating as he brings so much raw emotion in the second marriage ceremony, in the church, as he makes it as though Lewis is trying so hard to keep Joy with him to make up for lost time. They are given a small reprieve to spend time together, and Hopkins finds the bittersweet tone of these scenes so perfectly through his performance. There is such tenderness and adoration in every word through Hopkins's delivery. Again he brings this curious yet powerful portrayal of a painful elation as Lewis spends the time as well as he can even though the underlying thoughts of a difficult future remain. Eventually the future comes to pass and Joy dies. The story lingers to follow Lewis dealing with the grief. Hopkins's work is downright outstanding as he completely loses that ease of life from before. Hopkins shows even an intense anger at the world and God, as he stresses the difficulty in Lewis attempting to understand why Joy was taken away. The only solace he finds is in trying to comfort her son, though they end comforting each other, and Hopkins is utterly heartbreaking as he depicts Lewis's breakdown as he admits to how much he misses her. Hopkins doesn't provide an easy solution to the grief though as even at the end of the film Hopkins gives us a man changed by this forever, a man having lived through something that finally challenged his life of comfort. I love this performance. Hopkins not only gives an effective depiction of this famous author, but goes so much further in his incredible portrait of so much a man goes through with love, life and death.

151 comments:

Luke Higham said...

YESSSS!
Louis: Ratings and thoughts on the cast.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Question for everyone: What is the single worst performance you've seen? Could be TV or film. You can only choose one.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Robert: The very worst that comes to mind is Billy Zane's atrocious work in Titanic.
Louis: Is it possible for Hopkins to be upgraded to a 4 for The Remains of the Day?

Charles Heiston said...

Great performances, but didn't expect you to like it this much,

Charles Heiston said...

Robert: Eddie Redmayne in Jupiter Ascending.

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

Robert: Everyone in Fred the movie

Calvin Law said...

Brilliant performance, great review that touches upon so many little details, and an underrated film. Where would you rank this among Richard Attenborough directed films? Because I'd say this is easily his best, and I wish it got the same sort of acclaim that Ghandi did because it's a far more nuanced, introspective piece of work.

And speaking of Attenborough he'd have made a fine C.S. Lewis himself.

Anonymous said...

Louis: your top 5 Sergio Leone film performances.

RatedRStar said...

You know what.. after seeing Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson in the trailer for Urban Myths (which looks like an april fools joke) I think he could be a really good future contender.

Alex Marqués said...

Robert: Neil Breen in any of his movies.

Varun Neermul said...

Louis, could you see Aaaron Taylor Johnson in Dead Man Walking? I think he would be great.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Of all the projects Scorsese, might direct in the future, which one are you least looking forward too. I'm really not looking forward to seeing the Mike Tyson Biopic with Jamie Foxx in the title role.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your top ten musicals. Film or Stage.

Luke Higham said...

Robert: Eddie Redmayne in Jupiter Ascending or Justin Theroux in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (The most unintentionally hilarious Irish accent I've ever heard).

Anonymous said...

Robert: Ooh, that's a tough one.

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on Len Doncheff as Omega Red, David Fox as Master Mold, Ron Rubin as Morph and Denis Akayama as Iceman?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: DGA Nominations
Chazelle (La La Land)
Davis (Lion)
Jenkins (Moonlight)
Lonergan (Manchester By The Sea)
Villeneuve (Arrival)

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Winger - 4(Found her early scenes a little vague, mostly focusing on just the surface mannerisms of the character. However in the second and third acts I found she improved greatly in effectively realizing the sort of spark in her that encourages Lewis. I found her chemistry with Hopkins actually very strong in a low key way but I loved the way they both built on in throughout their scenes together. Now obviously Winger did the death bed routine before, but once again I found she handled it rather well.)

Mazzello - 3.5(Always reliable as a kid, and once again gives a good performance here. His role is relatively simple but I liked what he brought to the what he had. Including portraying the right fascination in attempting to discover some secret held by Lewis and then later I found he gave a rather moving depiction of the son's own grief)

The least? The Irishman since they couldn't get Pesci, and I don't think that deaging technology really has worked that well even in the limited qualities we've seen it in so far.

Hopefully he gets on The Devil in the White City next.

Robert:

Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's seems like a good choice.

Calvin:

My ranking of his films:

1. A Bridge Too Far
2. Shadowlands
3. Magic
4. Chaplin
5. Gandhi
6. Oh! What a Lovely War
7. Cry Freedom
8. Young Winston

Tahmeed:

Yes.

Varun:

Maybe.

Anonymous:

Fox - (Certainly properly robotic, though I don't think he brings anything past that exactly.)

Rubin - (Rather effective actually in first being the comic relief then later changing between intense desperation and a vicious callousness.)

Don't really remember the rest.

Robert MacFarlane said...

For the record, the answer to my own question is Sharon Stone's four episode stint on Law and Order: SVU.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Sorry about the musicals list, but I started arguing with myself whether or not Pinocchio constitutes a musical.

Anonymous:

1. Eli Wallach - TGTBTU
2. Lee Van Cleef - For a Few Dollars More
3. Jason Robards - Once Upon a Time in the West
4. Lee Van Cleef - TGTBTU
5. Henry Fonda - Once Upon a Time in the West

Anonymous:

With DGA then updated predictions. I'll go against my own wishes and have Silence be shut out though I still have a personal hope that it will make it.

Picture:

Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land (Winner)
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Usually Oscar goes -2 +1 with the PGA. Deadpool is an obvious loss, I thought the other could be Lion but that does not seem to be the case now. Arrival seems safe now. Maybe Fences or Hidden Figures misses. Or this is the exact set. The only alternates I can see at this time are Silence and *shudder* Nocturnal Animals.

Director:

Damien Chazelle - La La Land (Winner)
Garth Davis - Lion
Barry Jenkins - Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan - Manchester by the Sea
David McKenzie - Hell or High Water

DGA can easily line up though often one or maybe two miss out. Villeneuve I think could miss out similair to Christopher Nolan for Inception (who got BAFTA and DGA as well). That leaves potentially David McKenzie with Hell or High Water if the Academy really did love it as much as the reports claimed. Scorsese again is my hope though.

Actor:

Denzel Washington - Fences (Winner, BAFTA miss is meaningless for him)
Casey Affleck - Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield - Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling - La La Land
Viggo Mortensen - Captain Fantastic

This still seems right.

Actress:

Emma Stone - La La Land (Winner)
Natalie Portman - Jackie
Meryl Streep - Florence Foster Jenkins
Isabelle Huppert - Elle
Amy Adams - Arrival

The fact that Emily Blunt is the very possible alternate is kind of disturbing.

Supporting Actor:

Marhershala Ali - Moonlight (Winner)
Jeff Bridges Hell Or High Water
Hugh Grant - Florence Foster Jenkins
Dev Patel - Lion
Aaron Taylor Johnson - Nocturnal Animals

This prediction does not sit right for me, in that it just seems too easy. I think something will happen that could shake one or two of these guys out, and not just for the obvious alternate of Lucas Hedges either.

Supporting Actress:

Viola Davis - Fences (Winner)
Naomie Harris - Moonlight
Nicole Kidman - Lion
Octavia Spencer - Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams - Manchester by the Sea

Again this just seems right, and there is no alternate with a popular film to back them up. Will it really be this easy, I find that hard to believe.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your favourite stage musicals then.

In terms of Live-Action films, I think the only ones you really like are La La Land and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Cabaret as well.

1. Les Miserables
2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Only saw the parts of it online and it looks great.)
3. Jesus Christ Superstar
4. Sweeney Todd
5. Beauty and the Beast
6. Little Shop of Horrors
7. Cabaret
8. The Book of Mormon
9. Brigadoon
10. West Side Story

Luke Higham said...

Louis: No Phantom, Oh well.

Your quick thoughts on #1, #2, #4, #5, #8 and Phantom Of The Opera.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Seen anything new.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Elle and Christine. I intend on watching A Monster Calls and Patriot's Day this weekend.

Les Miserables - (To me a purity of essentially the extreme operatic nature of a musical. I actually can see why it fell so flat for so many when "literalized" through film, since adapting that tone is incredibly difficult. When in its pure form, where basically emotion matters more than sense I can get enough of it really as it does go for the most extreme yet I find so powerfully so in the end. No emotion is subdued and in this case, in this form, I love it.)

Hunchback - (Already as a supporter of the film, despite its flaws, it's hard not to love the adaptation which basically is a proper correction of those flaws. Out of all the live action adaptations being named by Disney why is this one not being named? I think it would be one of the most fitting and suitable with this adaptation as a good starting point for it.)

Sweeney - (Here's this one where they did bring the good music to the screen but they utterly failed in what I feel was essential to the musical, which was the dark humorous tone of the stage version. That offers the right balance to make the emotion, though still quite palatable, not overwhelm the work.)

Beast - (Effective adaptation and I love the additions to the work particularly the Beast's song (which I wish they had included in the live action film version) and Gaston's extra song.)

Mormon - (A tad overpraised I feel in that Parker and Stone do recycle several things they already did in South Park without adding much to them, in addition I feel that only they themselves really can perform their own material 100 percent, however it still has plenty of their humor and is fairly entertaining.)

Phantom - (Ah Phantom, I guess Les Miserables is my over the top operatic musical of choice as it has very much the same type of approach. For me I find that it suffers from only having one interesting character, The Phantom, and the supporting players in particularly are bit too bland. Also it does not help that there are two songs, "Notes" and "The Point of No Return", I really don't care for.)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the films and your ratings and thoughts on the casts.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: how'd you rank your top 5 Hopkins performances, including Westworld?

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I think it's:
1. Westworld
2. Shadowlands
3. The Silence Of The Lambs
4. The Lion In Winter
5. The Elephant Man

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I really hope you've given either Huppert or Hall a five.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Has Elle leaked online?

Louis Morgan said...

Christine you can buy on youtube, and Elle is on a European Vod site.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your ratings/thoughts on Huppert & Hall.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Elle is a film that uh is most unpleasant, though that is obviously the point, and I suppose should be expected when it is a film about rape directed by Paul Verhoeven. The scenes of wish to really get under your skin even out of those scenes, and I can only give my honest opinion, which is at the moment I am not sure exactly how I feel about the film as a whole. It is gripping to a certain extent even when the film takes so many turns to make you look away.

Huppert - 5(The truth is the film might haven fallen off the rails if it weren't for Huppert's performance. She not only understands the tone but also knows exactly how to maneuver within it. Now Huppert certainly tears through scenes through her effortless depiction of the cold incision of the character whether it through a biting remark or even a sigh of disdain. Huppert is fascinating simple to watch her as she has such firm understanding of her character and the material. She is not merely an ice queen, though a great one at that. She is equally effective in portraying the hidden emotional despair of her character over what happens to her throughout the course of the film as well as the lingering thoughts caused by her character's terrible childhood. It's captivating work throughout that knows when to balance some of the film's excesses or at least humanize them properly. On a side note I'm glad she was so prominent at the globes since she got a chance to show that she's quite unlike the cold characters she's known for.)

Christine is a film that is all surface. The direction very much has the feeling of trying to make too much of an impact in the wrong areas while failing to focus on what is more important for the story. Unfortunately the film doesn't successfully choose a path with the story whether that is to examine the obsession of the media with violence or a portrait of this lonely person. It technically could tell both but it does not do that either. It comes off as more of the reenactment scenes you might see in a television documentary on the subject.

Hall - 4(Very well cast and Hall adjusts her mannerisms and voice very effectively to realize Christine. Unfortunately she has to deal with the film's version of her which again feels very surface. We just kind of see an awkward lonely woman and it doesn't go past that in details. This leaves Hall to portray that surface only, which she actually does do very well. I just feel she's held back the entire time by the film. It's a good performance, a great one for a tv documentary reenactment, but I wish she had gotten to tackle the subject with a stronger script backing her.)

Letts - 4(He's the best part of the film actually as I feel he most came across as fully realized person. Letts doesn't just simplify the jerk boss as he easily could have. He internalizes well the stress of the job, and even some of the unease as he tries to deal with his sometimes difficult staff. He's especially great in one scene where Christine personally attacks him, and Letts is great. He doesn't go one note, instead realizing the way the man is genuinely hurt by the insult but as well giving the sense that he knows he's dealing with a troubled person. I could go higher with him honestly.)

Michael C. Hall - 2.5(Decent at showing the anchor side and real side of the man. Unfortunately there are few moments where he goes a bit over the top for no real reason.)

Dizzia - 3(Underused but moving in portraying her character's attempt to try to crack Christine's thick wall, then later her sorrow at seeing her failure to do so.)

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Luke's prediction was correct.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Who's your current Lead actress winner.

Louis Morgan said...

Stone, and I have to admit I had already seen Elle when I had made the ranking, I just didn't want to give my thoughts until I got Hopkins's review out.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: The five you've given to Huppert is the 100th overall for the decade so far and is only 13 behind the 1960s.

Louis Morgan said...

Interesting, though I would say it is helped by the fact that I've seen more films this decade than in others.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: By the end of this decade, I can't see it's overall total being topped.

94dfk1 said...

Louis: Cast and director for a 2010s remake of Heat?

RatedRStar said...

I am not convinced that Hugh Grant/Patel/Johnson are safe, I see a surprise happening with one of those three.

Alex Marqués said...

Louis: I completely agree on Huppert. I recommend you see Things To Come from last year as well, I think she's brilliant in that one as well, and she portrays a different kind of character.

Calvin Law said...

Just a little self-promotion here, but my review of Silence:

https://thefilmmakersmindset.com/2017/01/13/silence-by-calvin-law/

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on The Lion King musical.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: What rating would you give Patrick Stewart as Scrooge.

RatedRStar said...

Calvin Law: You self promoting B..Brilliant review =D lol.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I hope you'll be doing a post on Andrew Garfield's 2016 after the Newton/Hopkins/Wright review.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Lastly, are there any other performances from Day-Lewis that might get an upgrade.

Charles Heiston said...

I do not see Grant getting in the line-up of supporting, he's not safe.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: I have a feeling Hopkins will finish ahead of Day-Lewis.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: Seems that way.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: you betcha!!

RatedRStar: Cheers :)

Saw A Monster Calls. Fine film and I'll admit the ending left me quite emotional.

MacDougall: 4
Jones: 4
Kebbell: 3.5
Weaver: 3.5
Neeson: 3.5

Michael McCarthy said...

I'm sure Hopkins will win the lineup. I honestly hope he takes the overall.

Luke Higham said...

Michael McCarthy: I agree.

Your ratings and thoughts on Garfield, Ogata and Neeson in Silence.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: Are you a wrestling fan, because I discovered your profile on Youtube.

Luke Higham said...

*I've discovered

Robert MacFarlane said...

I saw Silence. You were right, Louis.

Luke Higham said...

Robert: Your thoughts on Garfield, Neeson and Ogata.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Forgive my thoughts if they're brief, my mind is still reeling.

Garfield: Infinitely better than his Simple Jack Goes to War performance in Hacksaw. Totally harrowing work, and probably the most powerful character arc of the year. My new Best Actor win.

Neeson: Brilliant.

Ogata: Unique, but only my fifth favorite of the cast.

Matt Mustin said...

I assume Neeson's in it more than people are saying?

Luke Higham said...

Everyone: Your Acting Winners.

Lead Actor: Garfield in Silence
Lead Actress: Stone in La La Land
Supporting Actor: Ben Foster in Hell Or High Water
Supporting Actress: Jena Malone in The Neon Demon

Luke Higham said...

Matt Mustin: He has about 4-5 scenes, but makes an incredible impact in all of them.

Calvin Law said...

Garfield (Silence, though I love his HR performance too)
Adams (Arrival)
Neill
Davis

Louis: I know you might want to hold off a bit longer, but could I have your thoughts on Ben Barnes, Leonardo Nam, Ptolemy Scolum, Shannon Woodward and Luke Hemsworth in Westworld? Since I don't think you'd need to spoil that much to talk about them.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke:

Lead actor: Andrew Garfield in Silence
Lead actress: Emma Stone in La La Land
Supporting actor: Ben Foster in Hell Or High Water or Ali in Moonlight
Supporting actress: Viola Davis in Fences

Michael McCarthy said...

Luke: I'll get you those thoughts tonight.

Matt: I'd say he's in it about as much as people are saying, which I don't think is really enough to even be nominated in the supporting actor category typically. He does leave a very strong impression.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Actor: Garfield in Silence
Actress: Portman in Jackie
Supporting Actor: Ali in Moonlight
Supporting Actress: Jones in A Monster Calls

Michael McCarthy said...

Actor: Washington in Fences (Though it's really a toss up between him, Affleck, and Garfield in Silence.)
Actress: Portman in Jackie
Supporting Actor: Lewis in Our Kind of Traitor (Though it would definitely be Foster if I moved him.)
Supporting Actress: Davis in Fences (Still haven't seen A Monster Calls or Hidden Figures.)

Louis Morgan said...

94dk1:

Directed by Dan Gilroy

Lt. Hanna: Denzel Washington
McCauley: Russell Crowe (Reverse American Gangster)
Shiherlis: Channing Tatum
Nate: Kevin Bacon
Cheritto: Chris Evans
Waingro: Dave Bautista

Alex:

I'll try to seek it out.

Calvin:

Excellent review there Calvin.

Barnes - (He's a pretty good jerk actually, his performance is not all that varied though I did like the few touches he brought to expand Logan just a bit. Such as his own thrill, at first, at seeing some of Williams's actions, and then later was pretty effective in his last scene.)

Nam - (A tad static at times I feel in that he I just thought he could have brought a bit more, look to Domnhall Gleeson in Ex Machina for a better example of similair performance. He has good moments in there particularly his final scene, but definitely one of the weaker performers.)

Scolum - (Maybe overdoes the obnoxious ahole routine a bit a times, but it does serve enough of a purpose. For me though he made up for it mostly in his rather effective portrayal of a very real fear as his situation became far more dangerous.)

Woodward - (In less than a lot of people but I like the bits of flamboyance she added into the role, as well as managed to do the spunky wunderkind of sorts in an endearing enough fashion.)

Hemsworth - (I'd say the most thankless role in the show as he's basically just there to be the muscle in the show as well. In those limitations I actually thought he managed to avoid being bland, and added a bit of character when he could, such as in his interactions with Woodward.)

Luke:

I haven't seen it nor watched have I watched it online.

A 2 if I'm feeling generous. I could see Gangs being upgraded.

Robert:

I'm so glad it connected with you as well.

Matt:

I think some of the feeling behind the reactions may have come from that the film does have a "problem" in terms of the richness of its supporting cast. I actually feel I underrated Asano and especially Kubozuka when I originally gave by thoughts.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Are Asano and Kubozuka 4.5s.

I really hope you'll upgrade Day-Lewis to a five. His performance is one of my all-time favourite villainous turns.

Louis Morgan said...

Also saw A Monster Calls, really liked it. I'll say more later as now I'm going to see Patriots Day.

Luke:

Yes.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Have a good time. :)

Your thoughts on both films and your thoughts on the casts.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: And ratings.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your cast and director for a 1970's version of Selma.

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: Your cast and director for a 2000's version of Once Upon a Time In The West.

Calvin Law said...

I'll chip in on OUTITW

Harmonica: Jeremy Renner
Cheyenne: Jeffrey Wright
Jill: Monica Bellucci
Frank: Jeff Bridges
Morton: Giancarlo Giannini

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

A Monster Calls I found to be a downright beautiful film, and it's a shame it's doing so poorly. I don't think the trailers really helped it as they tried to inflict it with a slight more traditional YA vibe that doesn't represent the film. Anyway the film itself is an extremely effective depiction of learning to accept and understand loss. It managed to be heartbreaking, yet I never felt its hand, and inspirational all the same. Bayona's direction I found especially effective in the way he soaked the images in emotion whether through the performances, very intelligent use of CGI or some gorgeous animated sequences. The film knows when to essentially hit you, but also when to pull back in order to allow you to honestly absorb it all. The ending I found especially strong since they really could have just crushed you with it, but they don't making it all the more poignant in the end with its quiet yet so powerful final moments.

MacDougall - 4.5(Aside from a few questionable deliveries, this is a very strong performance. I found he managed to so well deliver the stages of Conor's grief every step of the way. He never holds back giving us the anger, the sadness, and the fear of the situation. The steps never feel forced into one another though as he manages to connect every moment in order to give us a full depiction of this boy dealing with his terrible situation. It's assured yet very raw, which is exactly what it needs to be.)

Weaver - 4(Her accent is a bit dodgy. Otherwise though I found she gave a good performance, never overplaying the coldness of her character yet still realizing it in an honest way. She earns her transition in realizing the way her own grief essentially opens her up all the more. I especially loved the way she played through the "destruction" scene as she realized her own surprise, and anger that she transitions from Conor to basically sharing it with him in a way.)

Kebbell - 4(I really liked his performance, and would not have minded more of him. He reminded me of Ethan Hawke in Boyhood, in that he shows shades of the irresponsibility of the guy while realizing the effort as he attempts to be the father he needs to be. It's very endearing work as he finds the right charm and humor, that manages to almost hide his own troubles just beneath the surface.)

Jones - 5(I loved this performance, and I'm not sure the film would have worked if she did not pull of the part as well as I thought she did. She does not have a substantial amount of screen time, rather just specific points throughout the film which she makes such an impact with each. She doesn't simplify anything as she brings the real tension, and history in the brief moments we see her really interacting with Kebbell and Weaver. She as well is devastating in realizing the severity of illness from scene to scene. Then I found her pretty amazing in her scenes with MacDougall. She offers such palatable warmth yet so much more. It never feels surface as she again alludes to a history of a different sort in just the nuance she brings as they speak to one another. She helps the film truly earn the central loss and makes you feel it.)

Neeson - 3.5(Strong vocal work as he manages to be menacing yet heart warming. He adds so much into realizing the complex way how the monster intends to help Conor in the end.)

Louis Morgan said...



Patriots day is rather effective docudrama thriller. It really does a good job of giving you a portrait of the event and all following investigation in a compelling fashion. It manages its various strands very well giving you just enough of each to become invested despite their brevity. I would actually say Wahlberg's every man character probably was not even necessary. The film does go a little on the nose a few times, as well as there are a couple of America F Yeah! moments that seem a little much. Still it's a pretty strong effort.

Wahlberg - 3.5(Definitely in his wheelhouse and he technically could have just walked over from Deepwater Horizon. Nevertheless he does a good job. He brings the right stable presence needed for the role yet does really convey the emotional damage from being around the bombings in quite the powerful fashion. I will say his "love" speech was one of the on the nose moments, but I have to say he delivers it well.)

Simmons - 3(Typical solid Simmons)

Monaghan - (Has basically nothing to do.)

Bacon - 3(As usual quite great at delivering exposition well bringing just the right amount of emotion within it.)

Goodman - 3(Typical solid Goodman.)

Wolff and Melikidze - 3(They deserve credit as they could have easily gone very one note. They don't though as they offer the right intensity but also surprisingly bring even some natural humor by portraying these two men still as people committing these heinous acts.)

Yang - 3.5(MVP of the film and I would probably go higher if it were not his delivery of his final F yeah! moment. Up until that point though he's legitimately great in realizing just likable guy then later so effectively internalizing the very real fear caused by his horrifying situation. Yang does a terrific job of basically showing us Dun Meng making his decision to act just through his silence.)

Anonymous:

Selma 1970's Directed by Stanley Kramer:

Martin Luther King Jr: James Earl Jones
Lyndon B. Johnson: Fred MacMurray
Coretta Scott King: Ruby Dee
George Wallace: Joe Don Baker
Al Lingo: Lee J. Cobb

Charles:

I can support Calvin's choices, particularly Bellucci and Giannini, I might suggest though, Viggo Mortensen as Harmonica, Harrison Ford as Frank, and a pre-pirates Johnny Depp as Cheyenne.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Speaking of Hopkins, Your thoughts and rating on Hopkins in Hitchcock (2012) ?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Hopkins - 2.5(I'm pretty sure this is only one of the two performances of his, that I've seen, which I don't think is at the very least good. The other being Nixon, so maybe keep away from the heavy makeup. Any who. He's not terrible and it is hard to overcome that makeup really. It's very basic Hitchcock impersonation. A decent enough of one to be sure, fine for say a sketch, but it never goes any further than that. He really is mainly the imitation, which is not helped by the's film's Hitchcock who is depicted as just kind of a funny teddy bear. When he gets angry even it is all still pretty soft, but then again Hopkins is not out of touch with the tone of the film either. There's plenty against him, and he just doesn't overcome it.)

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'm glad you liked A Monster Calls, Louis. I'd actually go higher with Kebbell myself. He managed to play it in a way that differentiated himself between someone like Hawke in Boyhood, and the film's bittersweet dynamic between him and McDougal was one of the bigger surprises the film had to offer. His final reaction when leaving hit me pretty hard.

Calvin Law said...

A Monster Calls is sitting pretty well with me, I'd say.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Would you be open to upgrading Peter Sellers to a 5 for Being There? Also, could I get your top 5 sequels which are better than the original? (you can include third or fourth films in the series as well)

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts on Louis Herthum, Clifton Collins Jr. and Angela Sarafayan in Westworld.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your overall thoughts on the screenplay of In Bruges.

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on the Beyond Good and Evil episodes of X-Men?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Is Phoenix a 3.5 for Walk The Line, as well as Ken Watanabe in The Last Samurai.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure that Louis should keep upgrading people (some yes definately) it does make getting a 5 less prestigious.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Of those that have been mentioned, who should be upgraded.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Don't worry, I'm not forcing Louis to do these upgrades, it's up to him, whether he wants to or not.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Anonymous: So you're saying performances like John Hurt's in The Elephant Man, or Peter Seller's in Dr Strangelove getting upgraded to a 5 makes getting one less prestigious?

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: I still think Neeson should be a five for Schindler's List though.

Anonymous said...

Luke: Neeson should definitely be upgraded.

Anonymous said...

Looks like The Batman's production is being delayed.

Charles Heiston said...

Phoenix getting upgraded for Walk The Line? This is one world that i'm not looking forward to see.

94dfk1 said...

"Hey, if we distribute Silence, maybe we'll get dibs on The Irishman. One for him, one for us!"

-Paramount probably.

I don't blame them though. Silence was always going to be a tough sell. Really wish it was doing better.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Louis: The ten worst performances of 2016?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: And your bottom five films of 2016.

Robert MacFarlane said...

For the record, theses are my bottom 10 performances of the year:


1. Jesse Eisenberg in Dawn of Justice
2. Laura Linney in Nocturnal Animals
3. Peter Sarsgaard in Magnificent Seven
4. Forest Whitaker in Rogue One
5. Warren Beatty in Rules Don't Apply
6. Sarah Gadon in Indignation
7. Emily Blunt in The Girl on the Train
8. Neil Casey in Ghostbusters
9. Jake Gyllenhaal in Nocturnal Animals
10. Justin Theroux in The girl on the Train

For bottom ten films, refer to my letterboxd rankings: https://letterboxd.com/koook160/list/2016-rankings/

Luke Higham said...

Robert: In your opinion, is Letterboxd far superior to IMDB.

Robert MacFarlane said...

It's definitely more organized.

Charles Heiston said...

Robert: Gyllenhaal got nominated for that sweet Bafta, Hopefully he wins.

Robert MacFarlane said...

His performance in Nocturnal Animals made me singularly lose almost all respect for him.

Luke Higham said...

Robert: It's certainly alot easier to find hidden gems.

Anonymous said...

I seriously hope Eisenberg gets a Razzie.

Charles Heiston said...

Robert: Did you see his performance in Demolition? Just as bad as him in Nocturnal Animals. If he gets nominated for an Oscar this year because of his Bafta nomination it would be a tragedy.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I actually thought he was good in Demolition in spite of the movie being a miscalculated disaster.

Charles Heiston said...

It wasn't a great performance, but it was.....a little good, i didn't like it much.

RatedRStar said...

Jake Gyllenhaal likely won't even turn up to the Baftas lol, look Jake Gyllenhaal is usually a fine actor, he was born in 1980 so he is pretty young still so, I know he wants to get an Oscar nomination, I am sure he will get a second nomination at some point, not now though I dont think.

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

Maybe.

1. The Godfather Part II
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
4. The Dark Knight
5. The Empire Strikes Back

Calvin:

Herthum - (Downright brilliant performance in representing this strange combination of artifice with intense uncompromising emotion. It's fascinating as he combines this human breakdown with that of a robot in that he shows both a man and a robot that has something deeply wrong with him. His big scene is down right incredible as he moves from being absolutely heartbreaking to downright terrifying in a matter of seconds as he reveals the terrible state of his "mind". Amazing work to be sure.)

Collins - (Obviously limited in his role, since he's a host who doesn't evolve in any way. He's really good in both roles though as both the smooth and the crusty outlaw. I particularly loved his quietly humorous chemistry with Ed Harris, and as you mentioned there is something special about a particular delivery of his. He's a lot of fun in both roles whether it is portraying the confidence of Lazlo or the world weariness of Lawrence.)

Sarafayan - (Again like Collins has a very specific role but she handles it well. In that she brings this very unique sort of allure to Clementine, that is perfectly fitting to what the host is meant to be. In addition she's great in portraying the intensity of the raw emotion in her "malfunction" scene.)

Anonymous:

It's a masterful screenplay that goes so far with essentially taking the original Pulp Fiction set up of two hit men shooting the breeze. Although it certainly has the two hit men in some casual conversations which are always full of wit if not downright hilarious, it goes further into actually exploring what it truly means to take a life, particularly an innocent life. Both in terms of what haunts Ray but eventually what troubles Ken so deeply as well. It manages its tone though so effectively as the humor never feels out of place, nor does the drama feel overwhelming. They instead meld together to craft an unforgettable experience.

Anonymous:

A pretty good set as recall, though perhaps doesn't really utilize all the characters it had at its disposal. What I liked most though was its effective displacement of certain character in slightly atypical situations for themselves, particularly Bishop stuck in between time. The overall story line is strong though with a real sense of urgency and tension as it reaches its strong conclusion.

Luke:

No to Phoenix yes to Watanabe.

1. Suicide Squad
2. The Girl on the Train
3. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
4. Nocturnal Animals
5. Triple 9

I feel I might need to watch Collateral Beauty sometime, just to know.

Robert:

1. Cara Delevingne - Suicide Squad
2. Neil Casey - Ghostbusters
3. Laura Linney - Nocturnal Animals
4. Jared Leto - Suicide Squad
5. Simon Helberg - Florence Foster Jenkins
6. Kate Winslet - Triple 9
7. Zachary Quinto - Snowden
8. Jesse Eisenberg - Batman V Superman
9. Justin Theroux - The Girl on the Train
10. Peter Sarsgaard - The Magnificent Seven

I know originally I was slightly more forgiving to Delevigne, but in retrospect her Enchantress scenes are so bad that they override her not horrible scenes as June Moon.

Michael McCarthy said...

Gun to my head, I guess I prefer Gyllenhaal in Demolition to Nocturnal Animals. Not really a fan of either performance though.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Tim Robbins is missing from the 2003 overall for Mystic River.

Anonymous said...

Louis: So, Leto is a 1 now?

94dfk1 said...

Louis: Prediction for how Wonder Woman will fare in terms of quality? I like to think of it as DC's last stand, if that makes sense lol.

Matt Mustin said...

I don't understand the hate for Saarsgaard. I mean, he was bad, but he wasn't even really in the movie long enough to make any kind of impression.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Yes.

94dk1:

Hoping for the best, but it easily could be another mess. WB is being far too reactionary, hopefully they'll leave Jenkins alone to make her movie, though that does not mean it will be good either.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: What's the earliest that we should expect Cheung's review to be posted.

Anonymous said...

I honestly am not expecting anything good from Wonder Woman. The only thing that could be good about it is Gadot's performance.

Charles Heiston said...

Watched I Saw The Devil from 2010 last night, Min-Sik Choi gives one of my favorite performances. Loved that film.

Anonymous said...

Louis: How would you rank the voices from Pryde of the X-Men from best to worst?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your top ten songs from stage musicals.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Have you seen Along Came a Spider with Morgan Freeman?

94dfk1 said...

Everyone: What version of Watchmen should I watch? Theatrical, ultimate or director's

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

94fdk1: I only found the ultimate cut online for some reason.
Louis: What would you say is Jeff Daniels's best scene in Gettysburg?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: I don't think he has seen that film.
94dfk1: Probably the ultimate.

Matt Mustin said...

94fdk1: I like the director's cut purely because it adds Hollis Mason's death scene, but the movie's still a mess.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

1. "Gethsemane" - Jesus Christ Superstar
2. "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" - Les Miserables
3. "Heaven on their Minds" - Jesus Christ Superstar
4. "Tonight" - West Side Story
5. "Johanna reprise" - Sweeney Todd
6. "One Day More" - Les Miserables
7. "All I ask of you" - Phantom of the Opera
8. "Cabaret" - Cabaret
9. "I Dreamed a Dream" - Les Miserables
10. "The All American Prophet" - The Book of Mormon

Anonymous:

1.Kath Soucie
2.Neil Ross
3.Earl Bowen
4.John Stephenson
5.Pat Fraley
6.Dan Gilvezan
7.Michael Bell
8.Andi Chapman
9.Allen Oppenheimer
10.Frank Welker
11.Ronald Gans
12.Alexandra Stoddart
13.Patrick Pinney
14.Susan Silo

Tahmeed:

Director's Cut for the aforementioned scene, definitely not the Ultimate since honestly the Black Freighter stuff gets a little tiresome even in the comic book.

Hearing about Kilrain.

Anonymous:

No I have not.

Robert MacFarlane said...

See anymore 2016 leftovers, Louis?

Louis Morgan said...

I saw Hidden Figures, which doesn't reinvent any wheels, but it does provide you with a very good wheel. That is to say it is a by the numbers (no pun intended) inspirational biopic, though with a very interesting untold story, but those numbers are pretty nice. It hits the expected beats but hits them well. Again nothing about the film's direction is out of this world (again no pun intended), but it remains within the atmosphere quite well.

Matt Mustin said...

Ratings and thoughts on the cast of Hidden Figures?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Yeah, I saw it too and found it to hit the sweet spot of "crowd-pleaser" that a lot of films in its vein fail to. Liked the cast, particularly Monae and Costner.

Calvin Law said...

I haven't seen Hidden Figures yet, but I'm really glad Mahershala Ali's having such a great year. Brilliant in Moonlight (he's close to being my win), excellent in Free State of Jones, starring in another Oscar contender, and by all accounts the best thing about Luke Cage.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Just finished seeing Sherlock's season finale. I found it to be brilliant and frustrating at the same time; Mark Gatiss, unexpectedly, was the MVP of this episode. He was bloody brilliant, as were Cumberbatch, Sian Brooke, Freeman, and even Louise Breasley. If this is the show's finale, I'll be a bit disappointed though.
Louis: You really should see Sherlock, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on the show and cast as soon as you get around it.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I'm still having an insanely hard time choosing a performance for my winning request. I'm torn between Darsheel Safary's work in Taare Zameen Par, and Soumitra Chatterjee's work in Apur Sansar (I'm quite adamant about getting Louis to review a very good Bollywood/Bangla performance)

RatedRStar said...

Tahmeed: I am sure you have got plenty of time =D

I saw Sherlock as well, I really liked the final episode, I have really mixed feelings on the first 2 episodes though.

Anonymous said...

@Louis: Do you think you can watch Things to Come? I0d love to read your thoughts on Isabelle Huppert's performance.

Calvin Law said...

Really liked La La Land. Fun, entertaining, last few minutes were great. Few minor quibbles but overall I think it'll be a worthy Best Picture winner (though I do prefer Moonlight and Hacksaw Ridge among the contenders).

Stone: 5
Gosling: 4.5

Charles Heiston said...

Calvin: I agree.

Anonymous said...

Louis do you think that James Garner and Harrison Ford were surprise nominees for the 1985 lineup, and who do you reckon would have been snub who just missed out?

Louis Morgan said...

Matt:

I'll save Costner just for the moment since I can't shake the feeling someone else is going to show up in supporting actor, and if they love Hidden Figures I could see them giving him a nod.

Henson - 3.5(There were just a couple of moments where I felt she just overplayed them a tad, not to really any major detriment just seemed a little unnatural in a few situations. They just felt like artificial audience cheer moments that didn't quite fit what she did in the rest of her performance. The rest of the time though I thought she gave an endearing and effective portrayal of essentially this certain assurance that reflected her knowledge, but also a bit of exasperation reflecting the various things she had to endure.)

Spencer - 3.5(Very much in her wheelhouse. I good enough example of it but felt a bit standard overall for her. In that she brings just a hint of sarcasm with this certain resilience. For most of the film I felt she was the least interesting of the three, but again her performance is definitely good.)

Monae - 4.5(The best part of the film I felt. She just has a very engaging screen presence to begin with as she really comes across well. Something I felt she more effectively did than Spencer and Henson was to realize kind of the way her character presented herself in when working and when not. In that she brings on the sass so to speak at the right moments, and very effectively so, while smartly giving a more subdued performance when her character was working with others at NASA. Even though her story is given less focus than Henson's, I found myself invested in hers the most. I felt Monae managed to convey what her dream meant to her in just some key moments in a very nuanced yet moving fashion. Strong work and I do believe she should be the one who is nominated.)

Ali - 3(Very limited role but extremely charming in it.)

Parsons - 2(Felt a bit ACTED but he could have been worse. Also his role basically was just him doing variations of "BUT THIS IS HIGHLY IRREGULAR".)

Dunst - 3(Technically a bit wasted but I liked how Dunst managed to not overplay the role giving a proper depiction of a very casual passive aggressive sort of discrimination.)

Tahmeed:

Again another show I'd like to watch, I just need to be able to find the time.

Anonymous:

I will.

Anonymous:

Garner yes. Ford no. Ford got the Drama Globe nomination and the film had been doing well with the precursors (the few there were back then). Garner got nominated for the globe in comedy but the film did nothing else beforehand. Raul Julia was definitely the big snub given how well his film did otherwise.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Where would you rank Monae.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Probably #5.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Is she definitely supporting.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Yes. Spencer and Monae get a bit of perspective, but in very limited doses, and the film always presents them as side stories to Henson's main one.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'm okay with Parsons since they at least had the decency to cast him as a charmless asshole.

Calvin Law said...

I actually find Parsons to be one of the most unappealing comedic actors on television nowadays. His schtick is reaaaalllllly running old.

Robert MacFarlane said...

So do I, which why I was fine with them casting him as a glaring racist schmuck.

94dfk1 said...

Calvin: His episode of SNL where he hosted (which is a perfect showcase for actors like him who want to demonstrate that they truly do have range btw) was terrible. At least he's milked The Big Bang Theory cow so much by this point that he can afford to be selective after the show ends lol.

94dfk1 said...

I'll definitely check out Hidden Figures when I can though.

Everyone: Thanks for the Watchmen suggestions. And Dan Gilroy would be perfect for a remake of Heat, Louis. Any screenplays in particular that you are rooting for this upcoming Academy Awards? The Original category seems more interesting to me.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I have to admit that I found Jim Parsons's work on The Big Bang Theory actually quite entertaining, before they shamelessly Flanderized his character.

moviefilm said...

Don't get the hate toeards Parsons. He eas GREAT in The Normal Heart and his TV show, and just fine in Hidden Figures.

Calvin Law said...

I'll agree he's good in The Normal Heart.