Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Alternate Best Actor 1993: Jeff Daniels in Gettysburg

Jeff Daniels did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in Gettysburg.

Gettysburg divides its time between the Union and Confederate forces during the battle of Gettysburg. The southern forces focal character is sort of General James Longstreet played by Tom Berenger, one of the leading generals on that side. That character is more passive in a way, and his story is in way dealing with the various personalities of his fellow southern leaders. On the northern side though the focus is given to a lower ranked colonel, but one who ends up playing an essential role in the titular battle. This focus is one of the strongest elements of the film, and a great deal for that being the performance of Jeff Daniels as that Colonel. We get a very narrow perspective in his scenes as we are given a man who must deal with everything as they are, and what comes to him. Now what comes from these scenes goes beyond I feel than even just the events of his portion of the battle. Chamberlain story begins when his unit receives a group of soldiers, considered deserters by their refusal to fight, where he is given the choice to deal with the men as he wishes, which includes the possibility of having them shot. At this time we are also introduced to Laurence brother Thomas (C. Thomas Howell) a lieutenant under his command, and his more battle worn Sergeant Buster Kilrain (Kevin Conway).

Daniels instantly establishes something that contributes so much to his work, which is his approach to portraying Chamberlain. He does not present him as this man of the military, which is fitting having been a college professor before the war, but even more so seems so much of a man than a period figure. He never seems to be that to merely represent something, as Daniels performance feels so lived in and authentic even with that overgrown mustache needed to match the historical portrait of the man. Daniels in the early scenes brings this lightness to his performance, that does not stem from a lack of understanding for the material, but rather an effective realization of the state of the person. Daniels shows a man technically living his life, though his life is an unorthodox circumstance. Now in this approach Daniels adds so much more to the role by this. Daniels brings these nice touches that he delivers in such a casual yet wholly authentic way, such as his humorous attempts to get his brother not to refer to him as Laurence. Daniels is great in this moment as he does no show the unease in him stemming from trying to be some tough guy soldier, but rather just so earnestly presents a guy attempting to fulfill his position properly.

In his first scenes we see him deal with the problem of the deserters, and I love how Daniels handles the scene. As he speaks with the man Daniels actually doesn't express the utmost command as he deals with the man, instead portraying a man of a different nature trying to gently get through the situation. In the scene where Laurence speaks with the deserters' spokesman, who names his amount of engagements as well asking Chamberlain his own amount, the humble way Daniels delivers the admission of "less" so effectively realizes the Laurence's modesty. In order to deal with the deserters though Laurence attempts to encourage the men to continue fighting essentially by telling them his own purpose in the war. This is an essential moment not only for Daniels's performance but for the overall film as it gives life to pivotal element in the civil war that is virtually left out due to the constrictions of the narrative. That element being slavery. Daniels in the scene so beautifully renders Laurence argument for the cause to end slavery. It is actually a very quiet and calm yet powerful speech that Daniels gives, so eloquently verbalizing not only his distress towards the institution but also his passion for ending it in order to free men. The majority of the deserters end up joining with Chamberlain, and it is Daniels's performance that makes that result absolutely convincing.

Again though so much of the strength of Daniels's work comes in the quieter moments, and something I love is the way he crafts the relationships with both Howell's and Conway's characters. With Howell, Daniels is terrific in that awkwardness he brings of the older brothers attempting to look out for his younger brother, while trying to be his commander at the same time. Daniels is great in realizing the difficulty in that and helps to suggest how their relationship was before the war, with Thomas perhaps expecting too much from his older brother with Laurence possibly giving his younger brother a bit too much leeway, yet behind it all there is a very assumed love of such a relationship.A different relationship though is with the hardened vet Kilrain. Daniels and Conway's chemistry is even stronger in a way than with Howell, as the two actors convey so honestly this mutual respect the two have one another. It is often stated yet so perfectly assumed in the way Daniels shows just the way he listens in their scenes together. Daniels shows the way that Chamberlain is really taking in what the man has to say and so values not only his experience but also their friendship. It is all so effortless though as you can see the two have spent some time serving together in their ease and warmth in their interactions.

The middle section of the film ends up being the pivotal part that Chamberlain plays in the battle, which is on the second day where he must defend a hill known as Little Round top. The hill is essential to preventing the South from flanking the Union army. This engagement is the strongest sequence in the film, and Daniels's work is one of the major reasons why. Daniels throughout the scenes always so effectively continues to show this man, this professor of etiquette, in this dire situation as he must lead against the onslaught of southern soldiers attempting to take the hill from the Union army. There is nothing taken lightly in this situation as Daniels brilliantly realizes the wear of the battle not only in terms of the physical degradation but also the mental degradation of the fight. Again though he's also a brother in the situation, and one of the most moving moments in the film for me is the anguish Daniels brings in Laurence, brief as it must be given the battle, as he has his brother plug a hole in the defense. Daniels is incredible as he completely shows a commander trying to keep his troops together, a soldier trying to keep himself alive, and an older brother's terrible concern for his sibling he cares dearly for. Daniels makes the distress feel so real, especially in his harrowing scream of "Tom!" when it appears his brother is about to be shot. So much of the intensity in the sequence comes from Daniels's devoted performance, that never allows a single moment to lay flat. He internalizes all of it into his performance. It doesn't end there as Laurence must make a daring decision to lead a charge in order to defeat the southern forces after he runs out of ammunition. Daniels is downright amazing in the scene as he makes it more than simply a man taking the charge when he most needs to. Daniels realizes that of course, but throughout the moment he also keeps alive a real fear of a man who's not entirely sure of  his action but has no other choice. Daniels makes it a particularly rousing moment though because he earns it so much be finding Laurence's inexperience in the moment making the victory all the greater. Daniels only brings this home all the more in the relief and just the right amount of joy Daniels expresses in this success. The pain of the battle is completely embodied by Daniels work yet he makes the triumph all the greater, as this is just a normal man accomplishing something he perhaps wasn't even aware that he could do. Again the whole sequence is made something truly remarkable through Daniels's portrayal of a real man going through every second of the attack. 

Now that sequence is when Daniels leads the film, but he continues to appear in the final day of the battle which focuses upon the South's last effort to advance. Daniels has a few key moments, that have a great impact through everything else in his performance that already helped to establish. Daniels in these scenes again wears the battle, not only in his direct leg injury, but also in the haunting way he presents the horrible experience of it all even now that he is given a "break". The loss of that attack technically is not finished though as evidenced when his brother reports on Killrain's condition, who was shot twice during the battle, which is to reveal that the man died. Although the death is off screen it is the most heartbreaking one in the film, Daniels devastating in his reaction, showing just how torn up Laurence is by the news, and conveys just how much Laurence cared for his friend. His simple delivery of "yeah" to acknowledge his friend is all that is needed, as Daniels infuses it with such honest emotion. In the end Laurence's final scenes in the film are simple yet fitting entirely to the character, and does not feel underwhelming due to all that Daniels brought beforehand. The final sendoff being but an embrace between the Chamberlain brothers after they have survived the events of the entire battle. It is poignant and all that is needed. This is an exceptional turn by Jeff Daniels. I love the performance as it is such nuanced and powerful depiction of one man within a great war.

165 comments:

Charles Heiston said...

Truly a brilliant performance, Great review. Hope to see Bradford reviewed next.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Well worth the wait. :)

By the way, after a few days of reflecting on Silence, I've come to the conclusion that Garfield's work is the best I've seen all year.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke, 1 hour and half until i go to the theater and see Silence, Maybe i'll have the same views. Garfield is starting to prove he can be a versatile actor.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: I have a feeling, it may test your patience, but Garfield really does deliver.

Alex Marqués said...

Great review Louis.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: High hopes.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Of the upcoming reviews from films that you've already viewed, Crowe in Master And Commander is easily my most anticipated.

Charles Heiston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mitchell Murray said...

Such an underrated actor.

Thoughts on his performances in "Looper", "Steve Jobs" and "State Of Play"

Mitchell Murray said...

Just saw La La Land, and yah I have to agree with you Louis. Emma Stone is really great here. She brought a level of charisma and grace I didn't know she was capable of. Singing and dancing are spot on too. A rock solid 4.5 from me - almost an absolute lock for best actress.

Gosling was solid, but in many ways he was out shined by his co-star. I wouldn't be surprised if on your eventual ranking, Louis, if he got a 3.5/5, or 4th or 5th place.

Michael McCarthy said...

Can't imagine Gosling getting less than a 4.5.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Gosling sounds like a proper 4.5 for Louis.

Mitchell Murray said...

Its probably a performance I should rewatch, but at the moment I thought he was good, not great. Again, its a solid turn from Gosling. There really isn't anything substantially wrong. Its just doesn't top his work in Blue Valentine or Drive for example. I'll see if this changes after I re-watch the movie.

Calvin Law said...

I think the Little Round Top scenes are just some of the most incredible war scenes of all-time.

Calvin Law said...

I watched the pilot to Westworld. Dug the storytelling techniques, visuals, all performances intriguing at the very least (that penultimate scene was brilliant) bar whatever the hell Simon Quaterman was doing.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: What did you think of Silence.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I rewatched The Dark Knight after 4 years. I've finally bumped Aaron Eckhart up to a 5, and Bale up to a 4.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: When I asked you about your top 10 male leading and supporting performances of the 90s, I noticed that Daniels didn't initially make the cut for his work here. Would you include him in your list, and if so, in what position?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your 1940s to 2000s castings for Rodrigues, Garrpe, Ferreira and The Inquistor in Silence.

And your Castings for a 2000s/10s British version of Goodfellas.

Louis Morgan said...

Mitchell:

You can find my thoughts on him in Steve Jobs over in the announcement for the official supporting 2015 nominees. I know I gave my thoughts on him in Looper somewhere, and I don't really remember his performance in State of Play.

Calvin:

Glad you liked it. Thankfully Quaterman fades out for the most part later on, though Tessa Thompson shows up eventually who is the only other underwhelming cast member. She's not in it much either though thankfully.

Tahmeed:

I had purposefully omitted him when I had originally made the list.

This would be my revised version:

1. Richard Farnsworth - The Straight Story
2. Morgan Freeman - Seven
3. John Turturro - Barton Fink
4. Philip Baker Hall - Hard Eight
5. Russell Crowe - L.A. Confidential
6. Guy Pearce - L.A. Confidential
7. Ian McKellen - Richard III
8. Jeff Daniels - Gettysburg
9. Clint Eastwood - Unforgiven
10. William H. Macy - Fargo

Luke:

40's:

Rodrigues: Dana Andrews
Garrpe: Anthony Quayle
Ferreira: John Barrymore
The Inquisitor: Sessue Hayakawa (though Boris Karloff would be more likely at the time)

2000's:

Rodrigues: Leonardo DiCaprio (Obviously for Scorsese)
Garrpe: Adrien Brody
Ferreira: David Warner
The Inquisitor: Ken Ogata

Luke:

2000's:

Henry: Clive Owen
Jimmy: Liam Neeson
Tommy: Tim Roth
Karen: Helena Bonham Carter
Paulie: Bob Hoskins
Billy Batts: Billy Nighy

2010's:

Henry: Christian Bale
Jimmy: Ralph Fiennes
Tommy: Cillian Murphy
Karen: Olivia Colman
Paulie: Mark Addy
Billy Batts: Sean Bean

Calvin Law said...

And if you'll permit me, a 1990s British Goodfellas

Henry: Ewan McGregor
Jimmy: Ray Winstone
Tommy: Paddy Considine
Karen: Emma Thompson
Paulie: Bob Hoskins
Billy Batts: David O'Hara

Louis: Glad to hear that, they must've realized he was making a darned fool of himself. Shame to hear that about Thompson, considering how good and dynamic she was in Creed.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: What about your 1980s castings for Rodrigues, Garrpe and Ferreira.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: After seeing Silence last night, I can proudly say i thought it was the best film of the year, and one of Scorsese's best work, I would sure put this in his top 5 or 4. Visually stunning, passionate, and beautifully directed, Scorsese goes on a real limb here, Nothing like any of his other films. The cinematography from Prieto is beautiful, Easily the best cinematography of the year.

The performances are excellent, Driver is superb in a supporting role and disappears too quickly, while Neeson gives a tremendously powerful, affecting performance, Topping his work in Schindler's list. (in my opinion) Garfield is equally excellent, I personally like him here better then him in Hacksaw Ridge, Even Shin'ya Tsukamoto is great. The film is golden, and is better then any Best Picture nominee from the last 3-4 years, easy.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: I'm glad you loved it.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

Have you seen anything new Louis?

Louis Morgan said...

Giuseppe:

Snowden
The Handmaiden

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Ratings and thoughts on the casts, as well as the films.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Have you given Arrival a re-watch yet.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Snowden is a strangely low key film by Stone, in that outside of the scenes with Rhys Ifans, the film is almost as though Stone is doing a Theory of Everything type of biopic around Snowden. It's very atypical as Stone film goes. The film lacks the urgency or even paranoia you would expect from such a film. Instead it stays very much into telling the man's story from his perspective, aside from his banal framing devise, which is questionable because just like W this story is not even close to being finished. It's basically just let's cheer this guy for what he did movie, and as that it is serviceable enough. I didn't mind watching it, its pacing is a bit off mostly due to the hotel room scenes, but it works well enough overall.

Gordon-Levitt - 3.5(He's actually a big reason why it works well enough. The accent ends up working quite well and in the end feels natural within his performance. Past that he just gives a good performance in the fairly limited scope in his character. In that he does well to convey the slowly growing unease and distaste in Snowden as he slowly becomes more engrossed within the surveillance world. It's a solid leading turn to be sure, and he's the best part of the film)

Woodley - 2.5(She's fine as the supportive girlfriend role, though with a bit more conflict than usual. She's doesn't add anything substantial, but she's more than decent.)

Wilkison - (Was David Thewlis not available for this entirely disposable role?)

Cage - 3(I liked what he offers in the part, just the right bit of Cage kind of madness within the character's own discontent with the system. I thought he was underused though, or at least should have been given a more substantial scene.)

Ifans - 3(He's cutting a slice of ham there, but I actually felt it kind of worked in the context of his scenes. I have to admit I wish the film knew what quite to do with him though, as his character isn't quite attached to the rest of the movie. He's kind of sitting outside the film we are given, but you kind of see the passion behind his scenes with Stone and Ifans performance. If someone likes him less I can understand as he is kind of out of a different movie, but I enjoyed those parts we saw of it.)

Quinto - 1(Just an awful, whiny performance. His outrage scene makes Topher Grace's outrage scene in Truth look like Mark Ruffalo's outrage scene in Spotlight which then in turn looks like Bruce McGill's outrage scene in the Insider, the only good outrage scene I have listed. So that is to say he's set a new low as outrage scenes go.)

Louis Morgan said...

The Handmaiden - As usual Park Chan-wook's writing can be a little wonky in just a few areas, but also as usual his direction more than makes up for it. This film is beautifully looking and there is just something so very compelling about the vibrancy he gives the story. The story actually is itself filled with some rather surprising twists and turns, though again not every facet works as well as others, yet it's a pretty compelling off-beat thriller very much elevated by Park's work.

Kim Min-hee - 4.5(Very brief thoughts to avoid spoilers. She's very good though.)

Kim Tae-ri - 4(Overshadowed a bit by the other Kim, though good in her own right.)

Ha - 4(He's very good in that he brings just the right combination of genuine charm with definite sleaze. He has just the right amount of fun balancing the two sides. In addition he's pretty great in his final scene making his character surprisingly sympathetic in that moment and certain finding the visceral intensity needed for the scene.)

Cho - 3.5(He really doesn't make that much of an impact, despite being in plenty of scenes, until his final scene. In that scene he very effectively goes full creep, and is rather chilling as he brings just the right sort of despicable joy in that scene.)

Not yet.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Which films that are now online, do you plan on watching these next three weeks before the nominations. For example, The Light Between Oceans, Toni Erdmann, American Honey or The Birth Of A Nation.

Anonymous said...

Louis, what is ur favorite Choi-min-Sik performance and top 10 Western movie performances (male only)

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: Your overall thoughts on Jeff Daniels as an actor.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: It's I Saw The Devil.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

I don't know, we'll see.

Anonymous:

You can find that list in Attenborough's review for The Angry Silence

Charles:

The funny thing is I was thinking that Daniels's performance here was minding similair material to Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan, both teachers trying to lead men in war, though I do believe Daniels achieves far greater heights with the somewhat similair role. That got me thinking Daniels is kind of the non-movie star equivalent to Tom Hanks. In that both kind of play the average man parts, the same parts that could have been played by Henry Fonda and James Stewart back in the day. They both also have proven their measure with both comedic and dramatic roles. Now Daniels's is probably one of the better actors to be so unrewarded as he's been, and in the comparison to Hanks I can see the unfortunate reason why. Hanks's star stature basically forces a certain recognition, that Daniels has never gained. Daniels's problem is basically this. When he's great most don't notice it because he so well realizes this normal person in such an authentic and effective way.

In some cases he might be too good in a way, such as when he was ignored for Terms of Endearment, despite giving the best supporting performance in that film. The problem probably was he played such a realistically unpleasant character so well. Now there are a some misfires in his filmography, though usually he's just forgettable at worst. More often though Daniels gives strong performances with a real ease to them, but unfortunately the type that get you ignored. Just to further support that idea, when Steve Jobs came out his praise seemed kind of muted compared to Seth Rogen, since Rogen was doing something different for him, whereas reactions to Daniels was that "he was good, like usual".

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: Great summary, I tend to agree.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I've always liked Daniels, but there was a stretch of years where he seemed to reprising his Squid and the Whale role over and over again. Even in The Lookout, where he seemed to reuse some of the same mannerisms. It reached a nadir with The Newsroom, which seemed to snap him out of those sort of roles afterwards.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Is it possible for either Keitel or Carradine to be upgraded for The Duellists.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Maybe.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your best director predictions.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Damien Chazelle
Barry Jenkins
Kenneth Lonergan
Martin Scorsese
Mel Gibson

I'm not convinced that Arrival is going to do as well as so many believe, since they did not embrace his previous films outside the techs and sci-fi usually under performs rather than over performs with the Oscars. I do think that maybe David McKenzie could potentially surprise if they love Hell or High Water similair to Lenny Abrahamson last year.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'm actually predicting the McKenzie over Gibson. Apparently the Academy screening for Hell or High Water was enthusiastic.

Luke Higham said...

I hope Foster gets in.

94dfk1 said...

Luke: Me too. A lot of sites are predicting Bridges to get nominated instead of him, since I'm guessing his role is a bit more up their (the Academy) alley. Nothing against Bridges as I thought he was very good, but I'm hoping the Academy pulls an old switcheroo and nominates Foster instead. He's due.

Louis: Oh, you've already watched Silence? If so, are you saving your thoughts of the film if a cast member gets nominated? Or you've given them already?

I'm glad you liked War Dogs btw. Or didn't hate it at least haha.

Luke Higham said...

94dfk1: You'll find his Silence thoughts on the 2nd page of Anthony Wong's review.

94dfk1 said...

Luke: Thanks! I didn't even realize that review had a second page lol.

Calvin Law said...

I really, really hope Gibson and Adams get nominated, and that Garfield doesn't split votes and miss out. Much as I anticipate his Silence performance, I feel his Hacksaw Ridge performance is worthy enough to get in.

Robert MacFarlane said...

As someone totally apathetic to Hacksaw Ridge, I'm honestly okay with the possibility of it being snubbed.

Calvin Law said...

It's my favourite Gibson movie by far, honestly - and I loved Braveheart. I thought the religious imagery this time round was not only entirely justified given the real-life person we were focused on, but also enhanced the experience to a powerful extreme. I'm glad its momentum for Best Picture is carrying on, as well as Garfield's prospects, and if Gibson is snubbed, I'll understand why but I'll be disappointed. Although director is PACKED this year (I'm dreading having to potentially move Jenkins out of my top 5).

Calvin Law said...

Robert: who are your big 8 category wins? For me,

Best Picture: Hacksaw Ridge
Best Director: Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Best Actor: Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Best Actress: Amy Adams, Arrival
Best Supporting Actor: Sam Neill, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Best Supporting Actress: Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Best Original Screenplay: Paterson
Best Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight

Robert MacFarlane said...

Currently?

Picture: Arrival
Director: Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
Actor: Tom Hanks in Sully (I keep switching this)
Actress: Natalie Portman in Jackie
Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali in Moonlight
Supportong Actress: Lupita Nyong'o in Queen of Katwe
Original Screenplay: Eye in the Sky
Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Had Richard Harris never became sick, do you think he would have been a better Dumbledore in the later films than Michael Gambon? I really like Gambon's work in The Half Blood Prince, but aside from that, his pissed off hippie approach rubbed me the wrong way.

Charles Heiston said...

Calvin: Mine would be -
Best Picture - Silence
Best Director - Scorsese - Silence
Best Actor - Affleck or Garfield or Mortensen (Still deciding)
Best Actress - Natalie Portman - Jackie
Best Supporting Actor - Mahershala Ali - Moonlight or Foster - Hell or High Water
Best Supporting Actress - Viola Davis - Fences
Best Writing/Original - Kenneth Lonergan - Manchester by the Sea
Best Writing/Adapted - Silence – Jay Cocks

Calvin Law said...

Supporting Actor is tight for me, could go Ali or Foster like you folks as well at any point.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Mine would be:
Best Picture-La La Land
Best Director-Damien Chazelle
Best Actor-Viggo Mortensen
Best Actress-Emma Stone
Best Supporting Actor-Ben Foster (finally decided he's supporting)
Best Supporting Actress-Naomie Harris
Best Original Screenplay-La La Land
Best Adapted Screenplay-Moonlight
Still haven't seen Hacksaw Ridge, Manchester by the Sea or Silence, so this is definitely subject to change.

Calvin Law said...

Mitchell: Louis' thoughts and rating for Daniels in Looper,

Daniels - 3.5(Does a pretty enjoyable job at being a casual villain. He carries himself with an effective menace, but in such a relaxed way which is fitting since his character is from the future and should at least believe he knows what's going on)

Alex Marqués said...

I'm glad you enjoyed The Handmaiden Louis.

John Smith said...

Louis, your top ten Ben Kingsley.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: I just finished watching 3:10 to Yuma for the first time, and you were absolutely right about Foster and his incredible work (he's my win for the year). However, what amazed me was that I liked Crowe even more than Foster, due to his work in the film's final act; would you consider upgrading Crowe?

Luke Higham said...

Tahmeed: He's 10 places off the border, so I doubt that'll happen.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Luke: Here's to hoping anyways xD. And I don't mean this as an example or anything, but Crowe did get massively upgraded for Gladiator (a 2 to a 3.5 to a 4, if I remember correctly), so I'd say stranger things have happened.

Luke Higham said...

Tahmeed: Hope, Hope is a dangerous thing, Hope can drive a man insane.




NAH, I'm kidding. Anything can happen, yet I still have my doubts. :)

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

It's an interesting question about Harris since I've always felt his performance was fitting to the Dumbledore of the first three books, but might have seemed out of place later on when it became more readily apparent the flaws of the character. Then again Harris could give complex performances, and certainly could play flawed characters so maybe dissecting the old grandfatherly version of the character could have been something rather fascinating. Gambon I did feel was awkward in the role until later on, where he became more comfortable with the role and where his approach was more fitting to the Dumbledore of the later books.

Also glad you liked Foster. On Crowe I don't think I'll upgrade him, but I could see him moving up the overall list in the future.

John Smith:

1.Schindler's List
2.Gandhi
3.Death and the Maiden
4.Shutter Island
5.Sexy Beast
6.Hugo
7.Lucky Number Slevin
8.Iron Man 3
9.Dave
10.Sneakers

Luke Higham said...

Louis: As you gave Barry Lyndon a 4, I was wondering, which flaws would you fix, to make it a perfect film.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Speaking of confederates, what did you make of the scene from Gone with the Wind, the scene in which Vivien Leigh gives one a nice surprise on the staircase?

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Replacing O'Neal would get you more than halfway there.

Anonymous:

That's actually a Union deserter in that scene if I'm not mistaken, and it's quite the effective scene to be sure, showing the more literal killer's edge to Scarlet.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Luke: Remember, hope is a good thing, maybe even the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
Loved the Shawshank reference, good man. I guess we all have a few performances we love that we want Louis to upgrade, unlikely as it may seem lol.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: I also happened to see 28 Days Later earlier today. What are your thoughts on Danny Boyle's direction, and the screenplay? Along with your rating and thoughts on Naomie Harris?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Apart from Arkin, Dern, Bean and Astin, are there any other possible upgrades for the 4.5 winners in the supporting actor category.

Luke Higham said...

Tahmeed: Agreed. There are performances that I love that are 4.5s yet are too far from the border like De Niro in Taxi Driver and for me, it just isn't worth it. So I just focus on those that are close to the border instead.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Luke: I'd suppose (and hope for) both Raymond Massey and Takashi Shimura will get upgraded for their respective performances in '55.

Luke Higham said...

The BAFTA Rising Star nominees have been announced and since it's a public vote, Tom Holland will win in a landslide.

Michael McCarthy said...

I'm not sure I want to post my choices until I see Silence, but I've decided that my lead actor win is Denzel Washington.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Robert Shaw and your ten favourite acting moments of his.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Have you seen the 1990 Phantom Of The Opera with Charles Dance. If so, can I have your rating and thoughts on him there.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Wat are your thoughts on clint eastwood in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and your 10 favorite acting moments of the 60's(in no particular order)

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Stephen Lang in Gettysburg.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Lastly, your thoughts on Matthias Schoenaerts.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I thought Lang *kind of* overplayed Pickett's flamboyance, but his last scene was really great.

Charles Heiston said...

Robert: A perfect 4/5 for me.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: Your ratings for the cast of Silence.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke:
Andrew Garfield - 5 (Perfect)
Adam Driver - 4 (Only if he had more screentime)
Liam Neeson - 5 (Perfect)
Tadanobu Asano - 4 (Great)
Ciarán Hinds - 3 (Needed more materiel)
Issei Ogata - 5 (Perfect)
Shin'ya Tsukamoto 4.5 (Couldn't ask for more)

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

I think this is one of the times where his kinetic frenetic energy works since it helps to accentuate the danger and intensity of the rage zombies without going too far. Additionally he creates a real atmosphere of basically the silent city, making the sudden attack all the more effective. He also knows this time when to calm down and let scenes play out in a more understated way.

The screenplay is usual for Garland, brilliant until it gets to the third act. I love the first two thirds in the way it establishes the outbreak through the eyes of Murphy's character in both a terrifying yet emotional way. It effectively realizes the situations and the characters while maintaining a forward momentum. That is until the soldiers show up the film kind of collapses for me. It becomes too messy, with the soldiers being too one note as characters, leaving the film on a disappointing note.

Harris - 4(It's a good performance as she portrays someone who seems to have had already Murphy's initial character arc, in that Harris conveys this inner intensity of someone who has already accepted their losses and has learned how to survive. She carries the rough toughness in her performance, though she let's down just the slightest bit, the right amount, at the end of the film in a very affecting manner.)

Luke:

Maybe the top two from 55.

Shaw - (One of the greatest actors of all time. The man could tear through a scene like a shark(no pun intended) yet with such ease. There was no such thing as a small part for him making the most out of the most minor role, there really is no reason for to Lonnegan to be as compelling as he is in The Sting in terms of the writing but he is because of Shaw. He knew how to maneuver a scene whether he was front and center or reactionary. He has such a command of the screen and character. He would never lay flat even when in the background. It is such a shame that we missed out on so many potentially great performances due to his early death.)

1. You know what it is.
2. The ship begins to sink - Jaws
3. Quint's intro - Jaws
4. Red Grant reveals himself - From Russia With Love
5. "The Name's Lonnegan" - The Sting
6. "Do you still execute" The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
7. The Duel - Robin and Marian
8. Mr. Blue kills a hostage - The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
9. Henry visits Thomas - A Man For All Seasons
10. Farewell and Adieu - Jaws

Dance - (Still a television performance so no rating. In fact I would not mind reviewing him some day since I believe this to be the strongest portrayal, performance wise, of the Phantom that I have seen.)

Need to see a bit more from Schoenaerts first.

Anonymous:

I think I've covered it before but to reiterate:

Eastwood - (Again everything that mentioned in my review of him in Fistful holds true but with a few additions. He is a perfect straight man and plays off Wallach so exceptionally well. They're hilarious together. Eastwood also though find power in a few more dramatic moments when needed especially that scene with the dying soldier after the bridge explosion.)

The finale - The Hill
"The private life is dead" - Doctor Zhivago
Archie's last performance - The Entertainer
Sandy confronts Miss Brodie - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
The final fight - The Lion in Winter
Rain as tears - In Cold Blood
Final duel - Yojimbo
The Miracle - Elmer Gantry
The Ending - High and Low
They'll come for me - Lawrence of Arabia

Well that's ten great scenes anyways, nothing definitive as there are so many to name.

Charles:

He certainly goes big, I not sure if Lang is capable of going small, but I think it entirely fits the theatrical nature of Pickett. He's a larger than life leader and Lang matches that with the right rowdy performance. In addition I think he's downright great in his final two moments as he brings such anguish as expresses how deeply the losses affect Pickett particularly in his scene with General Lee.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I'm not sure if you've been asked this question, but can you name 5 to 10 TV Dramas/Mini-Series, Past, Present or Future, that you're really wanting to see.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Can you give me a list of TV Performances that you plan on reviewing in future.

Lastly, can you do a cast review of Game Of Thrones, after the show is finished.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Or just your ten favourite performances from it.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

I suppose:

Peaky Blinders
The Wire
The Shield
Band of Brothers
Deadwood

I should say I have an aversion to any series where people say several seasons are misfires or if they end poorly.

Louis Morgan said...

Don't have a list at the moment.

Ah on Game of Thrones maybe I'll do something special during the final season.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Don't forget Taboo.

I would also add Hannibal, Outlander and War & Peace to that list.

Hannibal - (All three seasons are fantastic, with a brilliant performance by Mikkelsen as Lecter and really great work from Dancy, Fishburne and Armitage, though with it's cancellation, it's left unfinished)

Outlander - (Easily the second best Period/Fantasy show behind GOT on television. Menzies is outstanding in his dual role and Balfe, Heughan, Lewis and McTavish are all terrific)

War & Peace - (I've said enough already about it, but Paul Dano is incredible and is visually flawless)

Anonymous said...

Louis What are your adapted and original screenplay wins?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Adapted: Silence
Original: Hell or High Water (though I could switch to Hunt For the Wilderpeople)

94dfk1 said...

I find it funny how Daniel Day-Lewis has delivered more than his fair share of great performances of the last thirty-five years in several acclaimed films, yet the only film of his that has won Best Picture was Gandhi, where he has a one-scene role.

Varun Neermul said...

Louis, your top 10 Diane Keaton acting moments?

Michael McCarthy said...

So Louis, I just rewatched The Quiet Man and I have to ask, how are you able to stand the scene where where Sean drags and beats Mary Kate through the town while everyone laughs and cheers? The rest of the film is so wonderful, but that scene always keeps me from completely loving it.

Louis Morgan said...

Varun:

I'd say I need to see a few more performances from her, like her much praised turn in Looking For Mr. Goodbar, to construct a proper list.

Michael:

Well I think "beats" might be a little strongly worded. You know I can see someone having some aversion to that scene, but for me the whole fight sequence, that scene included, is purposefully broadly comic, and those moments came off as more Three Stooges slapsticky than anything else, so for me the film gets away with it

Michael McCarthy said...

It's hard for me to see it that way when she seems unable to fight back, but I get what you mean. One more question, are you going to watch Maadadayo before you post the updated overall? I completely forgot to suggest it earlier, but I figured you might be interested since it's Kurosawa's last film, and I'd say Tatsuo Matsumura gives a very strong performance.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Tim Daly as Superman and Christopher Daniel Barnes as Spider-Man (if you've seen Spider-Man TAS).

Calvin Law said...

Louis: I think Hunt for the Wilderpeople is Adapted.

Louis Morgan said...

Michael:

Yes I will watch Maadadayo and thank you for reminding me about it.

Anonymous:

Daly - (The best portrayal of Superman period if you ask me. Daly I find captures just the right combination of the genuine heroic command you need for Superman with just the right touch of sardonic wit to him, very much fitting to the old Superman who would occasionally wink to the audience. He makes him immensely likable, a boy scout in many ways but never boring. Not to forget that in the scenes where he has to deal with more dramatic territory, The Darkseid episodes mainly, he absolutely delivers as well. Great work honestly.)

Barnes - (I find that show intolerable I must admit, all the noise noise noise noise, and Barnes's performance doesn't help things for me. He actually isn't wrong for the role but hearing his voice through that constant narration becomes intolerable very very quickly.)

Calvin:

Well that makes it easier, Hell or High Water all the way then.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that Spider-Man: The Animated Series had to be so censored.

Calvin Law said...

Well I'm succumbing to temptation and going ahead to watch Silence now. I was planning to wait till I had a strong atheist and two film aficionados with differing faiths to go into the screening, but I've decided I'll go in and see what it's all about since I'm halfway through the novel, and it's tremendous stuff.

Lezlie said...

Louis, bit off-topic question, but who do you consider to be say, the 5 best and 5 worst actors/actresses in Game of Thrones? I know this depends on the season or even the episode, but I just wonder who do you think are the most consistently reliable or most consistently bland performers. My personal favourite is Conleth Hill, he has great synergy with Dinklage and makes every scene he's in a little better.

Louis Morgan said...

Lezlie:

My top five overall are:

1. Alfie Allen
2. Charles Dance
3. Liam Cunningham
4. Conleth Hill
5. Rory McCann

My bottom five overall probably would be:

1. Jessica Henwick
2. Keisha Castle-Hughes
3. Laurenti Sellers
4. Sibel Kekilli
5. Finn Jones

Luke Higham said...

Louis: If these last two seasons turn out to be really strong for Cunningham, could he overtake Dance.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I'm in the third episode of Westworld and all of you are right: it is a damn amazing show. The cast, aside from one or two cast members (Simon Quarterman, I'm looking at you) is uniformly excellent.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: No surprise with the Sand Snakes taking your bottom 3 spots.

You should do a complete cast ranking after the final season as well.

Anonymous said...

Louis: How would you rank the worst top 10 scenes in Batman v Superman?

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: The only scene I actually like from that film is the title sequence.

Anonymous said...

Luke: I have to admit that I liked that fight scene in the warehouse.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: I enjoyed that scene until 'Martha' had to ruin it.

Anonymous said...

Luke: You want to know something? I have no hopes left for the Justice League movie.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: And Affleck may reconsider directing his solo batman film, so I have no hope at all for DC moving forward.

Anonymous said...

Luke: At least DC has better animated shows and movies. They should have done what Marvel did.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Agreed, Batman blows away everything Marvel has ever done, though to be fair, their Animated division have been making films for only 10 years, whereas DC have been doing it for more than twice that.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Aside from X-Men, DC's material as a whole is far more interesting to me.

Anonymous said...

Anybody here think that Hell or High Water will win Best Picture?

Charles Heiston said...

Anonymous: No, Doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Luke: Is there even a good Marvel animated movie? I think the only ones that were tolerable were the Hulk movies.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: No. It's a terrific film but no.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: No, even if it is a great movie.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Not that I know of, yet I'm just being nice to them.

I find it really bizarre that they haven't done a solo Spider-Man (There's one currently in development) or X-Men for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Luke: The X-Men surely deserve one. I'm surprised that they never made one during the run of the 90's cartoon, but then again, the animation wasn't that good.

Calvin Law said...

Silence was...really something. I'll need a rewatch but the ending was particularly profound.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Your ratings please.

Calvin Law said...

Garfield: 5
Driver: 3.5
Neeson: 4
Asano: 4
Tsukamoto: 4
Kubozaka: 4.5
Ogata: 5
Komatsu: 3.5
Oida: 3.5

I should note that anyone who's not a 5 or 4.5 could easily go up on rewatch. For example, I thought Driver was a bit iffy earlier on, but his final scene was dynamite so actually I might bump him up.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: and yes, The minimal use of music was brilliant, particularly in building up to the first 'song' of the film in THAT scene. Ikiru much, Scorsese?

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Your thoughts on Garfield, Ogata and Neeson.

I have to say, I'm not that surprised you've given Neeson a 4, though he's a definite 5 for me personally.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: That's my favourite scene of the film and there's plenty of them.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: missed a .5 for him, and yes he could easily go up. I thought he gave a terrific portrayal of the world-weariness and attempt to conciliate himself in a world he felt both a part and apart from. Ogata was tremendously entertaining but also rather terrifying, and I'll leave extended thoughts on them to a bit later.

As for Garfield, I'll need a whole article to ruminate on him, but I'll most likely be double nominating him this year.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to watch Silence.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

He could, and I might do something like that.

Anonymous:

1. The bathtub
2. MARTHA!!!!!!
3. Bullet to Jimmy Olsen's head
4. Emailed superheroes
5. Lex's introduction
6. The Atomic Bomb
7. Lex creates Doomsday
8. Batman v Superman (party edition)
9. Superman saves people sadly for some reason
10. "I'm a friend of your son's"

Anonymous:

I don't think it can win, but if it builds up enough momentum, say it really over performs with nominations, I could see potentially upsetting in best original screenplay, though I'm not predicting it do so at the moment.

Charles Heiston said...

Calvin: Glad you like it.
Luke: Scorsese's acting a bit like Kurosawa now.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your five favourite scenes from BVS. :)

Calvin Law said...

More I think about it, the more Garfield's performance in Silence reminds me of Adrie Brody in The Pianist.

Calvin Law said...

*Adrien

Anonymous said...

@Louis: Have you seen Memoirs of a Geisha?

Luke Higham said...

Does anyone think Supporting Actor this year will have the 2nd highest amount of fives behind 2015.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: Certainly.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Glad to hear you are at the very least positive on the film.

Anonymous:

I have not.

Luke:

1. Batman in the warehouse (right up until the aforementioned line)
2. The opening credits
3. The destruction of Metropolis
4. Wonder woman appears
5. The Senate hearing (mostly due to Hunter's performance)

Though those scenes/moments also have their flaws.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Do you plan on watching A Monster Calls.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Eventually.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your top ten best shot films of the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and 2010s.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

60's:

1. Once Upon a Time in the West
2. In Cold Blood
3. Lawrence of Arabia
4. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
5. Hud
6. 2001 A Space Odyssey
7. Yojimbo
8. Peeping Tom
9. Doctor Zhivago
10. Persona

70's:

1. Days of Heaven
2. Barry Lyndon
3. Apocalypse Now
4. The Conformist
5. The Duelists
6. Badlands
7. Bound For Glory
8. The Godfather Part II
9. Ryan's Daughter
10. All the President's Men

80's:

1. The Last Emperor
2. Ran
3. Paris, Texas
4. The Mission
5. The Elephant Man
6. Amadeus
7. Pennies From Heaven
8. Blue Velvet
9. Blade Runner
10. Gallipoli

90's:

1. The Thin Red Line
2. Braveheart
3. The Shawshank Redemption
4. Fargo
5. The Straight Story
6. Barton Fink
7. Unforgiven
8. JFK
9. Boogie Nights
10. Goodfellas

00's:

1. There Will Be Blood
2. The Assassination of Jesse James
3. The Proposition
4. The Road to Perdition
5. The New World
6. No Country For Old Men
7. Master and Commander
8. The Fellowship of the Rings
9. Children of Men
10. The Man Who Wasn't There

10's:

1. Silence
2. Drive
3. The Tree of Life
4. Birdman
5. La La Land
6. Mad Max: Fury Road
7. True Grit
8. Skyfall
9. Mr. Turner
10. The Neon Demon

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your 11-20 for the 2010s.

Alex Marqués said...

This guy is so fun to read:
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443614/better-list-critical-review-2017-best-worst-movies

Luke Higham said...

Alex: The biggest troll in the history of film criticism. Safe to say, I don't like him at all.

Alex Marqués said...

Luke: I agree, but he's oh so entertaining.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

11. The Master
12. Sicario
13. Only God Forgives
14. The Immigrant
15. The Revenant
16. Prisoners
17. A Most Violent Year
18. Gravity
19. Creed
20. Inside Llewyn Davis

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Are you doing the 2016 reviews after 1993 lead. We have less than 3 weeks and with the time that's being taken between reviews, I don't think you have time to do supporting before then.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Well I generally do supporting more swiftly, so I think it'll be fine.

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: What's your favorite cinematography you've seen in a film?

Luke Higham said...

Charles: It's The Thin Red Line.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Ur thoughts on Patrick McGoohan as an actor? and do you think he gave one of the best villain performances ever in braveheart?

Charles Heiston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RatedRStar said...

I am gonna watch Fences soon, I hope Washington approves of my claim that 2016 will be the greatest ever Best Actor lineup.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Although Cooper was good in High Noon, do you think someone could have done better in the role?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your top 10 emotional breakdown scenes in films, in terms of the acting.

Charles Heiston said...

RatedRStar: Currently i'm agreeing with your claim that it might be the strongest year for Best Actor.

Luke Higham said...

Rating predictions for the lineups. You may take them with a grain of salt if you wish, these are just mine.

Lead Actor
5s for all 5

Supporting Actor
Ali - 5
Bridges - 5
Hedges - 4.5
Grant - 4/4.5
Patel - 3.5 (I'm sorry Louis, I fear Neeson won't make the cut)

Lead Actress
Portman - 5
Adams - Upgraded to a 5
Bening - 4.5

Supporting Actress
Harris - 4.5
Kidman - 4
Spencer/Monae - 3.5/4

RatedRStar said...

I am fairly confident now that Affleck, Garfield, Gosling, Mortensen and Washington will all recieve 5 ratings now =D.

RatedRStar said...

Louis: I did manage to see The Good, The Bad and The Weird =D, I look forward to seeing it appear on this blog of course =D.

Charles Heiston said...

RatedRStar: Is Denzel a 5 worthy for you?

RatedRStar said...

Charles Heiston: Yes I would give Denzel a 5 for Fences.

Charles Heiston said...

RatedRStar: Yeah i'm tempted to give him a 5 too. But he's currently at a strong 4.5 for me.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Clark Gable

Tahmeed:

1. "They'll Come for Me" - Lawrence of Arabia (the breakdown the first half of the scene.)
2. George Lashes out at his family - It's A Wonderful Life
3. "In dreams" - Blue Velvet
4. Betty's breakdown - Mulholland Drive
5. "Not both of us Not all of us" - Gettysburg
6. Nick can't give his name - The Deer Hunter
7. Party dress - Rebecca
8. "I'm your older brother Michael" - Godfather Part II
9. The Ending - High and Low
10. First Processing scene - The Master

Anonymous:

McGoohan - (I have to say it would have been interesting to see his Gandalf and Dumbledore, to which he was apparently the first choice for each. I've actually only seen a handful of his performances, but from what I've seen he's a very precise actor. Kind of an American Paul Scofield in a way, by they way his American mixed with Irish accent resulted in a great voice. Anyways McGoohan's performance carry almost this inherent dignity and he plays with that rather brilliantly whether it is to reveal two shades of a man, a more emotional man or a mad man underneath. He's an incredibly compelling actor with such palatable screen presence, and is one of the actors that I am always excited to see a performance of his that I haven't seen.)

His Longshanks would certainly be up there. "Alive if possible, dead....just as good"

RatedRStar:

That's one I'm definitely looking forward to see.