Monday, 14 August 2017

Alternate Best Actor 1992: Willem Dafoe in Light Sleeper

Willem Dafoe did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying John LeTour in Light Sleeper.

Light Sleeper, despite some questionable choices by the director, is an often effective thriller though more of a character study about a "high class" drug dealer.

Now I will admit before watching the film I expected a rather different film and performance for that matter with Willem Dafoe playing a drug dealer in a film written and directed by the Taxi Driver's scribe. The name of Light Sleeper even seems to evoke the idea of perhaps a similair insomniac to Travis Bickle slowing going insane in the underbelly of Manhattan. Well that's not the case, the film and Willem Dafoe's performance are far more low key than that. Dafoe here portrays actually a man who is sort of past that phase that probably would have been similair to Travis Bickle. In that we meet his John LeTour after he's no longer a drug addict, and is wanting to escape his life, only staying in it through his by appointment only drug dealing through his supplier Ann (Susan Sarandon) who isn't your typical drug kingpin. John goes on specific assignments to wealthy clients creating a different sort of man of the night. Dafoe's work keeps this in mind and establishes this history of another life in his presentation of who John LeTour is as well when we follow him from one appointment to the next.

Willem Dafoe gives a very quiet performance to the point I will admit to being a bit taken aback by it for a bit as I was watching it. However Dafoe's approach is with purpose. There's a wear in his portrayal of John's demeanor, a wear of the past more even so than his current occupation. When he visits to make some of the deals, there's a certain exasperation not over the act of dealing the drugs entirely, but rather this disengagement with the behavior he once took part in. The idea of the history as a junkie himself is shown in that basically straight resistance to interaction, and even lack of patience with the more aggressive customers. He does not stare them down as just a man who hates, there is a self-loathing within his eyes in these moments, and a forcefulness to be as detached from that as he can. Of course he is technically stuck due to the easy money associated with his life even though this is often a detached life, where again Dafoe portrays that distance. That distance that is not only the suggestion of the past, but also a certain professionalism as the drug dealer.

In his scenes of dealing Dafoe portrays an efficiency and precision in his straight and direct delivery. Dafoe portrays the right awareness as he is not doing it as a junkie anymore, and always carries himself with that certain watchfulness, making his ability to spot when being trailed by an undercover cop convincing. Of course this is not the story of the successful drug dealer, as this isn't the life John wants still. I actually love the scene where we see how this really isn't John, despite his success, in the scene where he confronts the cop. Dafoe begins as the one in charge, seemingly this master of the streets as he prods the badge from the cop. The cop though turns this around pointing out that he's well aware of John's activities which he blackmails him with for information on a murder. Dafoe's terrific as he reveals such a vulnerability and the real guy that John as in the moment, who really isn't any sort of professional criminal. Dafoe crumbles so effectively by losing any confidence, and just revealing the desperation of a man in place he really should never have been in.

We naturally see John trying to escape the life a bit through his old girlfriend, Marianne (Dana Delany), though this is corrupted since they met each other originally as junkies. Now I will admit there is a bit of a problem here because of Delany's performance, who is a better voice actress than actress. This is oddly enough shown here as her line deliveries are very good, but her physical performance is very stilted. Luckily there is Dafoe to pick up the slack. Dafoe is surprisingly affecting in these scenes because he portrays so earnestly. He shows only genuine care in every moment for Marianne and her family. Every moment he depicts only wanting a healthy relationship, and Dafoe finds such a poignancy in the purity of these scenes. This even extend to John purely platonic relationship with Marianne sister Randi (Jane Adams). Those moments I particular love as Dafoe portrays such a palatable warmth realizing John as almost this caring older brother as he offers his support to both sisters as their mother is dying.

Nothing is forgotten easily though for John, as Marianne continues to reject him due to their past, and Dafoe's great in portraying so simply the considerable yet subtle anguish within John as he keeps being kept in his place in the drug world. Of course the drug world is not entirely bleak through his relationship with Sarandon's Ann. The two actually share a splendid chemistry which is basically established just through the way they interact with each other early on. You can sense the attraction and love for one another, in just their silent language towards one another, though they remain employer employee for much of the film. Eventually a tragedy happens that forces all hands in a way, and Dafoe is excellent in the last act of the film. This begins with his two heartbreaking reactions to seeing the tragedy, its initial beginnings, then its end, again Dafoe remains pretty internalized yet so powerfully so. This continues as he seeks a sort of revenge, and again Dafoe stays quiet. He does so effectively though as he conveys just the passion, and pain in this through his eyes. His final act, which is Travis Bickle like in action is not Bickle like in the emotion behind it. Defore portrays not a psychotic reaction, but rather again presents that same earnestness warmth actually in the act of violence. I found this to be a rather wonderful performance by Willem Dafoe, in granting a humane and moving depiction of a drug dealer.

134 comments:

Anonymous said...

Louis: Rating and thoughts on Delany and Adams.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and also your thoughts on Sarandon.

Michael McCarthy said...

Doesn't look like we'll be getting a 5 from this lineup, though it look like Dafoe came pretty close. Who knows though, maybe Stoltz will exceed expectations.

94dfk1 said...

Louis: Your choice for the title role in a 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s version of Baby Driver? I think Dicaprio could pull off the part in a 90s version.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

I've just seen Game of Thrones' latest episode. I would say I did feel the episode to be a little bit rushed, but overall it was still pretty great. Everyone was on point this episode and I would agree with the others about Cunningham who was great. And even if I found Jaime's and Tyrion's reunion to be a bit rushed, Dinklage and Coster-Waldau (who would be my MVP of the episode) were amazing in it.

Anonymous said...

Charles Heiston

I think Crowe will get a 5. i consider that one of his best performances. Surpassing A Beautiful Mind and his Oscar winner.

Deiner said...

I liked him a lot here. Do you guys really think he has a chance of getting nominated this upcoming awards season? Louis, your ratings of these performances:
- Brendan Gleeson and Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Cold Mountain".
- Cate Blanchett, David Wenham, Elijah Wood, John Noble, Karl Urban, Liv Tyler and Miranda Otto in "The Return of the King".
- Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley and Martine McCutcheon in "Love Actually".

Michael McCarthy said...

I don't see the big deal with Crowe in Romper Stomper. Don't get me wrong, I admire how much conviction he had in the role, but Hando just isn't that interesting of a character in the end. He's a racist asshole who just happens to be slightly smarter and more aggressive than his racist asshole friends...that's about it. Crowe' whole performance seemed like it was searching desperately for complexity that wasn't there.

Luke Higham said...

Deiner: He's probably gonna be campaigned in Supporting, so maybe.

Mitchell Murray said...

So far the only supporting actor nominees that seem to have any steam are Dafoe and Carell. But if anyone can think of other candidates, I'm all ears.

Luke Higham said...

Mitchell: Hammer and Stuhlbarg for Call Me By Your Name.

Anonymous said...

Hammer I reckon has a great chance, I am stunned that he is only 30 years old, I thought he was way older.

Louis: What did you reckon to the trailer to Call Me By Your Name?

Anonymous said...

Mollys Game trailer is out, thoughts on the trailer anyone?

Mitchell Murray said...

Anonymous -

Call Me By Your Name: Certainly looks interesting, and will undoubtedly find an audience that will love it. Hammer has not been my favourite actor but this is an intriguing change of pace - he will probably find more buzz around his work than Stuhlbarg.

Molly's Game: I know nothing about the real story, but Sorkin is a writer with a style all his own so I'd give it a shot. Chastain is again playing a tough, driven type which seems to be her calling card now a days. Costner and Elba will probably be solid, Cera I will need to see for myself.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Delany - 2.5(To reiterate from the review her line deliveries are actually pretty effective yet she gives such a blank performance physically. Her reactions rarely ever feel in the moment, and so many moments where she needs to convey something in silence have no meaning because of that. A most notable one is after she's seemed to reconciled with John, but then still leaves. Delany needed to convey the why, but she just carries the same bland expression through the scene.)

Adams - 3.5(She only has a three scene but is very good in all of them. She really conveys effectively her own history with Dafoe's John, and again I love really the warmth between them, that is purely platonic. Furthermore though she's good, despite not really sharing direct moments with Delany, portraying internally her frustrations with her sister, while maintaining a more overt optimism the rest of the time.)

Sarandon - 4(On first glance Sarandon's work might seem rather light given the subject matter and the character's profession. However this wholly works to her creating this rather unique drug supplier, in that she portrays it basically as someone who has found a get rich quick scheme. There only the slight edge that Sarandon brings but mostly she presents someone just enjoying her life. That makes her scene of a certain danger rather effective as she reveals a genuine fear of being in a situation she had never imagined. In addition to all that she again has great chemistry with Dafoe, throughout unsaid, but then when said at the end it is surprisingly heartfelt.)

94dk1:

70's: John Travolta
80's: Nicolas Cage
90's: Leonard DiCaprio
00's: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Deiner:

3.5
3
2.5
3
4
1.5
2.5
2.5
3
3.5
2
2.5

I'd say Dafoe probably already has that Indie Spirit nomination. We'll see what happens when Telluride and the rest hit, but at the moment seems like he's a got a very good chance since the field is wide open.

Luke:

Since apparently both Hammer and Stuhlbarg have been equally praised, that's sort of a problem for both of them. Also, although it isn't quite L.I.E., the age within the subject matter could lead to the Academy ignoring the film.

Anonymous:

Just from the trailer it looks decent enough, though I did not find anything overly notable about it simply from that alone.

Anonymous:

It's funny that Chastain is playing a Sorkin lead after having played the lead in the ripoff Sorkin film Miss Sloane, hopefully this one is better than that was. I didn't hate the trailer, but there was far too much Jeremy Strong I'd say. Given its Sorkin's first time directing a film, I'd say it could go either way.

Calvin Law said...

Louis and anyone else: I just finished episode 7 of Legion, which I thought was absolutely fantastic (that Bolero sequence was astoundingly tense), but did any of you find it bothersome how Ptonomy was completely left out of the proceedings? Still, that minor quibble which I'll admit did hamper the viewing experience slightly, it was absolutely astounding, and Plaza, Stevens, and particularly Clement were particularly astounding.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Have you finished Season 1 of The Crown.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: I'm afraid I put it off after getting hooked on Legion and with other work commitments. I'll get back to you when I do.

94dfk1 said...

Louis: Thanks. I was also thinking of Cage for the 80s.

I'm a huge fan of Jessica Chastain, but I'm not expecting too much out of Molly's Game.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your cast for a 1970's version of this film.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

I was fine with it just because he had been one of the most active team members in all the previous episodes.

Anonymous:

John: Donald Sutherland
Ann: Lee Grant
Marianne: Dyan Cannon
Randi: Elizabeth Hartman
Tis: Christopher Plummer

Mitchell Murray said...

Just got around to watching "The Founder". Its a decent biopic I suppose but Keaton is indeed terrific. If anything, the movie made me appreciate his resurgence even more.

Anonymous said...

Louis who would be your MVP per episode of Twin Peaks season 3?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

1 - Matthew Lillard
2 - Kyle MacLachlan
3 - Kyle MacLachlan
4 - David Lynch
5 - Kyle MacLachlan
6 - Harry Dean Stanton
7 - Kyle MacLachlan
8 - Robert Broski
9 - Dana Ashbrook
10 - Jim Belushi
11 - Kyle MacLachlan
12 - Grace Zabriskie
13 - Kyle MacLachlan
14 - David Lynch

Everyone, and I mean everyone, except Michael Cera of course, has been great.

Anonymous said...

Louis: your top 20 benicio del toro and tommy lee jones acting moments

Robert MacFarlane said...

Louis: From 2010 to 2016, can you give me what you thought was the single worst performance for each year?

Mitchell Murray said...

Also just gave "Allied" a shot. Disappointing to say the least..

Pitt - 2.5. I'm not going to crucify him like you lot did, but there just isn't anything special about him here. I felt him okay in a lot of his scenes but he really seemed to be going through the motions. Also he was really weak in his final scene.

Cotillard - 3.5. Far and away the best thing about the movie. Cotillard just has this beauty and mystery about her that fits a character like this. She seemed far more invested and compelling than her co star, but again, no where near her best work.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Del Toro:

1.A Family Dinner - Sicario
2.UN Speech - Che
3.Near execution - Traffic
4.After the victory - Che
5.Bar Pick up - Traffic
6."helping" doc - Inherent Vice
7.Helping Kate - Sicario
8.Comforting Manlolo's wife- Traffic
9."A three hour tour" - Inherent Vice
10.Meeting with Castro - Che
11.Traffic Stop - Sicario
12.Capture - Che
13.pool informant - Traffic
14.Finding Doc again - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
15.Talking corpse - Sin City
16.Incomprehensible - The Usual Suspects
17.Advanced interrogation - Sicario
18.Riding along - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
19.Crazy Dario - License to Kill
20."confession" - The Pledge

Jones:

1. Bell visits Ellis - No Country For Old Men
2. Phone Call - The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
3. Interview - JFK
4. Dreams - No Country For Old Men
5. Demanding he ask for Forgiveness - The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
6. Every House - The Fugitive
7. News story - No Country For Old Men
8. After the fight - Coal Miner's Daughter
9. The Next Morning - The Homesman
10. "I don't care" - The Fugitive
11. The stand - JFK
12. David and Goliath - In the Valley of Elah
13. Preparing for the interview - Coal Miner's Daughter
14. Hotel Confrontation - The Homesman
15. Needed to get my gun - Men in Black
16. The fight - Coal Miner's Daughter
17. EAT ME - Men in Black
18. In the eyes of the law - Lincoln
19. Phone call to wife - In the Valley of Elah
20. Chewing Out J - Men in Black

Robert:

2010: James Frecheville - Animal Kingdom
2011: Adam Sandler - Jack and Jill (I did see about 20 minutes of the film once, not enough to rank his performance officially, but unless he was Daniel Day-Lewis good the rest of the time he deserves this spot.)
2012: Sarah Gadon - Cosmopolis
2013: Jodie Foster - Elysium
2014: Kiefer Sutherland - Pompeii
2015: Eddie Redmayne - Jupiter Ascending
2016: Cara Delevingne - Suicide Squad

Robert MacFarlane said...

Did you give thoughts on Gadon in Cosmopolis before?

Calvin Law said...

Gadon has some of the biggest extremes of any actor. Anyone who does what she did in 11.22.63 could never be bad, one would assume.

omar said...

Louis: what do you think of Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne) in this season of Twin Peaks?

Anonymous said...

Louis: your top 20 sylvester stallone and ralph Fiennes acting moments

omar said...

Louis and everyone: The Killig of a Sacred Deer trailer is out, any thoughts on it? I'm really looking forward to this movie but i thought the song was king of distracting.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Just as long as it's better than The Lobster, though I agree with grimdark ironic use of Ellie Goulding was not encouraging.

Charles Heiston said...

I think it looks pretty good. But i agree on the music. Poor choice

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: Your top 10 John Gielgud acting moments,

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on both Quicksilver Slow-Mo (Pentagon & X-Mansion) scenes and Magneto's family death scene from X-Men: Apocalypse.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

The 6th episode of GOT season 7 leaked online as well, and I saw it. I won't spoil anything for anyone, but I'll just say that the episode was outstanding in all respects.

Luke Higham said...

Tahmeed: I saw it too, can't wait to give my thoughts on Sunday/Monday. :)

94dfk1 said...

Louis: Your Rodrigues, Garrupe, Ferreira and Inquisitor for a 1970s version of Silence? And 1990s Mia & Sebastian for La La Land? My two favorite films of 2016 and I can't get either one out of my head haha.

Louis Morgan said...

Robert:

Her performance is somehow even worse than what she did in Indignation, though very much in the same vein. It's one of those very special performances though that somehow manages to be both ridiculous and over the top, while being lifeless and bland as well. Her performance is something to watch just because of how abysmal she is in the role to the point that she kind of infects those around her, as Robert Pattison becomes far less effective whenever she's around.

Calvin:

It is rather strange, and the thing is they are not entirely dissimilar in terms of approach. The difference though between 11.22.63, and Indignation and Cosmopolis, though is she bothers to realize the style within an actual human being rather than some bizarre caricature of a person.

Omar:

It's hard to quite say fully in that we have yet to receive the context for her brief screentime. I've liked what she's done in that brief time, that is as seemingly random as its been, though judging by how the season has been it won't be random in the end. We get just little glimpses of the old Audrey, yet she effectively portrays this odd yet most intriguing combination of brash disregard for her husband, yet an overwhelming paranoia about her very real concerns.

Had sort of my experience of watching The Lobster in trailer form. In that as it watched the style of the visuals, and seemingly the overt nature of the story, while intriguing at first, wore very thin by time it ended. Although I'll say that ear grating cover did not help matters.

Anonymous:

Stallone:

1. Everything into a bowl - Creed
2. "What cloud?" - Creed
3. The diagnosis - Creed
4. Being forced to leave town - First Blood
5. End of the fight - Rocky
6. Meeting Donny in lockup - Creed
7. Final Fight - Creed
8. "I would have thought about it first" - Copland
9. First Date - Rocky
10. Going to the graveyard - Creed
11. "Nothing is over" - First Blood
12. Yelling at the world - Rocky
13. Asking for help - Copland
14. Message to Trautman - First Blood
15. Meeting Donny the first time - Creed
16. Shaving flashbacks - First Blood
17. "If I can go the distance" - Rocky
18. Final showdown - Copland
19. Looking for his friend - First Blood
20. Not about hard you hit - Rocky Balboa

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the first love scene between Mark and Lisa in The Room.

Calvin Law said...

Finished Legion, the finale was pretty underwhelming in some regards, but I did love how things ended up overall. My ranking:

1. Plaza
2. Stevens
3. Clement
4. Irwin
5. Smart
6. Gray
7. Keller
8. Linklater
9. Harris
10. Aselton
11. Midthunder

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your rating for Andy Serkis in Return Of The King.

Louis Morgan said...

94dk1:

I'm thinking:

David Lampson as Sebastian Rodrigo
Don Kenny as Francisco Garrpe
Tetsurō Tamba as Cristóvão Ferreira
Eiji Okada as The Inquistor

Alright alright...

Rodrigues: Al Pacino
Garupe: John Hurt
Ferreira: James Mason
The Inquisitor: Masayuki Mori

Sebastian: Johnny Depp (Remember it's 90's Depp)
Mia: Nicole Kidman

Anonymous:

The candles, the music, the sexy dress, i mean what's going in that scene.

Anonymous said...

Louis: your top 20 willem dafoe and denzel washington acting moments

Calvin Law said...

I'm guessing pretty much all of Denzel's top 10 will be Fences. Though I wouldn't be surprised if Louis bumps up Glory down the line.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I don't think it'll be all Fences, I'd say around 7 or 8.

Charles Heiston said...

Calvin: I agree, i think all top 10 will be Fences. The rest might be some good scenes from Glory & Malcolm X.

Luke Higham said...

Louis' Top Ten

Washington:
1. The Tale of his father - Fences
2. Final confrontations with Corey - Fences
3. Telling the truth to Rose - Fences
4. Midnight breakdown - Fences
5. Seeing Gabriel the first time - Fences
6. Fireside Prayer - Glory
7. Confrontation with his mother - American Gangster
8. First speech - Malcolm X
9. Steve's trial - Cry Freedom
10. Before the last speech - Malcolm X

Matt Mustin said...

Louis: What's your thoughts on "Shivering Soldier" from the Dunkirk soundtrack?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: And 'Home' from the Dunkirk Soundtrack.

94dfk1 said...

Louis: Darn I completely forgot about the fact that there already is a 70s version haha.

I should've specified a "higher-profile version" of the film, since it appears the actual movie is not very well-known.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I'm happy to see Downey Jr. go up for Chaplin. :)

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Chaplin, I hope he gets upgraded for The Great Dictator.

Charles Heiston said...

Love the Downet Jr. reappraisal.

Calvin Law said...

Now onto Rea :)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on these scenes from Amadeus.

'How about this one'
Learning who Mozart is/Salieri describes Mozart's music
Mozart changes Salieri's composition
Salieri reads Mozart's originals
'Play Salieri'/'God was laughing at me'
The Marriage Of Figaro/The Emperor Yawns
Don Giovanni
Salieri's Plan
Writing The Requiem
Ending

Calvin Law said...

I saw Maudie. Ethan Hawke and especially Sally Hawkins are magnificent.

Anonymous said...

Saw Batman and Harley Quinn. It was okay, nothing special, although there was one questionable scene I won't talk about.

Calvin Law said...

So apparently an Obi Wan standalone film is in the works. Will be directed by Stephen Daldry apparently (eugh) but it'll be great if Mcgregor comes back.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: your thoughts on the cast of Arrested Development.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on April Stewart and Mona Marshall's voice work in South Park.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: You've gotta be kidding me. Daldry's one of the most overrated directors in the past 20 years. This decision would be much worse than Ron Howard. The screenplay needs to be fantastic, otherwise I'm expecting a failure with him in charge.

Robert MacFarlane said...

https://youtu.be/Z1mcQ6CzXo8

This movie probably won't be good, but Stanfield looks exactly like how I wanted L to be.

Anonymous said...

Robert: Speaking of Death Note, it'd be cool if any of the dub voice actors appeared in the film.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Anonymous: Apparently some of them do, they shot it in the same city they recorded the dub.

Anonymous said...

Robert: Yeah, in Vancouver. The voice actors that work there are so underused.

Michael McCarthy said...

Just saw Logan Lucky. It's definitely a fun movie, though I wish some of the side characters had been a little more connected to the main plot. Craig is great as expected, though now I wish they hadn't given away so many of his best moments in the trailers.

Tatum & Driver: 4(bordering on 4.5)
Keough: 3.5
Craig: 5
Quaid & Gleeson: 3
Holmes: 3
Waterston: 3
MacFarlane: 3.5
Swank: 1.5 (What the hickity heck was she doing?)

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Dafoe:

Washington:

11. Meeting the "Devil" - Fences
12. Meeting Mouse again - Devil in the Blue Dress
13. Turning down the promotion - Glory
14. Killing Idris Elba - American Gangster
15. Confronting the Sergeant - A Soldier's Story
16. Explaining his cause - Cry, Freedom
17. Figuring it all out - Devil in the Blue Dress
18. Meeting Bono later - Fences
19. Interview - Malcolm X
20. Rose asking about Gabriel - Fences

Luke:

3.5

Home - (An essential element in helping Nolan earn that final hopeful moment without overplaying the hand. This is right in the intro that is filled with such intense dread as though it is the end before it is finally surpassed to such a powerful hopeful realization that is very Vangelis (by the way why doesn't compose films anymore?) in a very good way. It's great as it seems to struggle to reach the point, making it such cathartic and truly inspirational bit of score.)

How About this one - (Well prepare for me to gush just given I'm talking about my favorite film. It's such a brilliant scene though as we are right with the priest as we don't know any of the songs, until we could sing right along with him. We are instantly granted in ourselves the understanding of the greatness of Mozart, while we are given nothing to know who Salieri is other than this bitter man stuck seemingly in the past. All of it of course amplified by the greatest performance of all time and Richard Frank. I love that joy that just drifts away in Salieri's face when the understanding happens, and Frank is perfect as he shifts from caring priest mode, to suddenly just becoming any fan of music.)

Learning Who Mozart is - (Well we have perhaps my favorite reaction ever in a film with Salieri's expression as he understands he's seeing that the genius is nothing but a vulgar child. What we follow though is another moment that is so fascinating because we see the brilliance of Mozart through the description, which is so passionately and perfectly delivered by Abraham, which is then supplemented by forcing us to hear that greatness.)

The March of Welcome - (Something the film does so well is have so many scenes that show the brilliance of Mozart yet not a single one feels repetitive in the least. Here we are granted that, again so well realized through the actual music, but here we are granted more of the perhaps insufferable of that genius. In that the brilliance is undeniable to the point that we see how much suffering it causes in every one of those reactions of Abarham. I love everyone else though as well sort of casually turning against him in that moment, and there is Hulce equally great because you see the joy of performance yet also how that joy could be such a pain for everyone else.)

Salieri read Mozart's Originals - (Yet another one of the greatest scenes ever filmed, yet for me that is basically every scene in this film for me. This scene though again is so special in through its use of the music again in its careful execution of every piece from Mozart that overwhelms you in the way it does Salieri. This is all amplified further by the cross cutting between the Salieris. As we see the younger man being overwhelmed visually, and then we understand why through those vivid descriptions by the older man as the who can understand such genius even if he can't replicate it himself.)

Ask for the rest in the next review.

Matt:

Shivering Soldier - (Reminds me a bit of John Williams's Indianapolis's Theme in its extreme contrast between the treble and bass, with it almost sound like an echo that so effectively seems to evoke memory. That's not Zimmer ripping off Williams, as it is very much his own work yet using the same idea so well in creating his own incredibly haunting piece.)

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Bateman - (A great straight man for the series as his reactions amount to so much and there is something quite hilarious about his particular form of exasperation. I did also love though in the little twitches he'd put that would even make Michael a bit off himself, such as his bit of insanity when it came to Ann Veal. Terrific work though mainly how he bounced off every one else, a severe problem in the fourth season where he so rarely played of the main cast, since that is where he shined best.)

Cera - (Well this is probably where he is the most tolerable to me, but that is not saying too much. I still think a little of him can go a long way, there are times where his awkward routine would work just as it should, but still there could always be just a little too much of him for my liking.)

Tambor - (Absolutely hilarious in both roles, and seemed a bit insane that he was not originally considered to be a regular. Tambor though was great as the laid back yet incompetent Oscar, then was quite great as the various stages of George Senior. Whether that was as the cutthroat we occasionally saw him as, being hilarious by taking it so seriously at times as this dark manipulator, then was also great as the scared man above his head, or the detached man redeemed by finding religion. No matter where George was Tambor was great, well until season 4 where he didn't have anyone to work with.)

Walter - (Terrific performance and the only person, along with one other, who managed to stay above the weaknesses of season 4. Walter though I suppose could get the most out of just working at the others rather than directly with them. She was always hilarious though by being sort of apart in the intensity of just how horrible she'd make her frequent biting remarks at the expense of all. This managed to carry over to that mess of a fourth seasons, since her deliveries remained just acidic and incisive.)

Hale - (His Buster antics could occasionally become a bit too much at times, yet this did make the moments where he broke from that mold particularly funny so in the end I suppose that was the right approach. I wouldn't say he always stood out the most but when he stood out it was a very good thing.)

Louis Morgan said...

Arnett - (The only other main to wholly successfully tread the waters and remain consistent in Season 4. This is in part due to just how funny his creation of GOB was to begin with by playing the part also with this certain misplaced intensity of his own that was perfect in creating both the grand ego of the character, but also his emotional insecurity. When ever Arnett breaks down it is as hilarious as his dramatic presentation and he succeeds in both by bringing such absurd conviction. This perhaps carried in season 4, but I'd also say it probably helped he had someone to play off of with Ben Stiller.)

de Rossi - (Seemed completely lost in season 4, but great in the previous three. Allow again a certain requirement in the interactions as the best moments of hers tended to be her scenes with either Bateman or Cross. With Batemen, being so good in portraying such a hapless misplaced confidence, while being so good in Cross in every way by finding such an effective mad relationship that managed to be anything but normal. Her portrayal of though of an ever changing derision to confusion, to occasionally sympathy though always managed to be something special. Shame they barely had any scenes together in season 4.)

Cross - (Ah a performance that worked on pure and sheer enthusiasm in every regard. Of course again needed the more cynical edged characters for this to work properly. In those original seasons though this worked perfectly with Cross throwing himself into every scene with such a misguided eagerness that was such a perfect representation of the character.)

Shawkat - (The weak link out of the main cast I'd say in the original seasons in that her stories never were nearly as funny and her performance often felt a bit repetitive as just a general "too cool for school". However she was the one who did improve in the problematic fourth season as it threw her out of that comfort zone and that's where Shawkat's performance actually shone as it allowed her to frankly have fun in revealing the same sort of insecurities in such a amusing fashion.)

Daldry is a very bizarre choice.

Anonymous:

Both do a more than credible job of filling in for what Bergman had set up, though for the most part the female roles aren't given all that much of a focus. When they are though they do a more than decent job of at least being within that South Park range, which isn't asking for too much but just enough.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Dafoe:

1. How he became a vampire - Shadow of the Vampire
2. Thanks for not choosing me - The Life Aquatic
3. "Some Day Honey I will" - Wild At Heart
4. Hotel Room - Light Sleeper
5. Proudly Stepping forward - The Life Aquatic
6. Stopping Barnes - Platoon
7. The camera - Shadow of the Vampire
8. "You're dead" - Wild At Heart
9. Thoughts on the war - Platoon
10. Who he may kill - Shadow of the Vampire
11. A Suicide - Light Sleeper
12. Bobby Arrives - Wild at Heart
13. Final scene - Platoon
14. Team B - The Life Aquatic
15. Avenge Me - Spider-man 2
16. "You like Huey Lewis" - American Psycho
17. First Scene - Shadow of the Vampire
18. Burning the money - To Live and Die in LA
19. Ride into town - Mississippi Burning
20. Revenge - Light Sleeper

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'll be honest, I'm way too curious about what a Daldry-directed Star Wars would look like to care if it would suck.

Louis Morgan said...

Robert:

I agree with you in a general sense but the powers that be don't seem to actually want unique takes on the material, making the choice of someone like Daldry very odd.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Daldry has many issues, but I never really thought of him as workmanlike so much as someone desperately trying to find a style (usually to his own detriment). For all we know, Space Opera might be his true calling.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Or maybe it'll just suck.

Anonymous said...

Louis: your thoughts on the movie blood in blood out

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: I don't think Louis has seen that film.

Anonymous said...

Louis: If Marvel ever does an animated adaptation of Old Man Logan, what do you think of Jim Cummings as Wolverine? He hasn't voiced him yet, but I bet he could do it.

Anonymous said...

American Made is getting very good reviews so far, 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, that is a bit of a surprise to me if I am honest, I expected it to be below par.

Stefan Klein said...

On a completely unrelated note... saw Kong: Island of the Weightless Giant Beasts.
Now let me explain something, if you don't mind. I can derive quite a lot of entertainment from movies I know are plain stupid or plain bad, which was the case with this one. But the more I think about it, the more I realize how much I despised it. Yet I felt mildly entertained. That's silly old me (I'm probably older than most of you lot).
Don't ask me about the cast (the notable exception being John C Reilly), because there are no actual people in it.
I really wish I could sneak in on the casting process for a "project" like Kong just once. Must go something like this:
Babe (takes photographs for whatever reason) = check
Hero (does everything better than everybody else) = check
Baddest MF on the planet who can go toe to toe with a 100 foot tall giant ape despite how ridiculous the mere idea of it all is but hey the director somehow might make it work = check
Quirky survivor (we're on an island, right?) = check
Crackpot entrepeneur or mad scientist or whatever, there to give exposition and then die halfway through it = check
Sidekick of said crackpot, (un)funny relief = check
Wise-cracking cannon fodder = check
Likeable cannon fodder that might survive = check
There's no way for me to even try to grade an "ensemble" like this.
Couple that with cgi monsters (monsters are always cool, right?) that not even give a semblance of fitting in their surroundings - I might be harsh on that one, but maybe I ain't at all - and "funny" death scenes for our 13 year-old core audience, and we know once more Hollywood has shat (or shitted, or both) on us once again.

Oh yes, saw Lion, too. Patel's surprisingly good - you guys were right, not that I had doubts -, Kidman's good, and Louis you were spot-on with your thoughts on Mara's casting. I guess I digged it pretty much, it should improve on rewatch.

Sorry for the rant by the way.

Louis Morgan said...

Saw Logan Lucky, didn't hate it though for me Soderberg's choices, though not AS obnoxious as usual, still somewhat got in the way of me enjoying the film as written and performed.

Anonymous:

I'd say bring back Cathal J. Dodd, but Cummings could be a good choice. Although I can't say I'd be overly interested in seeing an animated version to begin with, as I greatly preferred what Logan did in its loose adaptation.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your overall thoughts on Logan Lucky, the cast and are you saving Craig.

Calvin Law said...

Saw The Hitman's Bodyguard. It's not a good film, action and CGI is terrible and it's way too long, but it has plenty of enjoyable moments.

Reynolds - 3.5
Jackson - 4
Yung - 1.5
Oldman - 2.5

Michael McCarthy said...

It's interesting, some things about Logan Lucky are growing on me and something aren't sitting well with me at all. Like the more I think about the editing, the more I think Soderberg should've used more restraint, and I'm also not sure I feel about Tatum's performance anymore (he seemed to flip-flop a bit between a very naturalistic, serious performance and the sort of stylistic deadpan comedic performance that Driver worked so well into his character). On the other hand, Driver's performance and the anding have gotten even better for me with time, as well as all of the scenes directly focused on carrying out the heist.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

The film was frustrating for me even though I didn't dislike it. The heist was there as written, the characters were all there, everything really was there for a great heist movie, but Soderbergh's direction gets the way. Although thankfully he takes it easy with the color palette choices this time, going for something a bit more traditional, but he pulls his usual obnoxiousness with the editing. So many scenes just feel cut wrong, as so many jokes could have hit harder if he cut them a certain way, shortened some moments, or even lengthen other ones. The editing is wrong for a comedy, and it holds the film back in such an unnecessary way. I still had some fun but the whole time the film felt held back by Soderbergh having to indulge.

Tatum - 3(Tatum, who is a natural for comedies, is perhaps misused. In that the film wants him to be both this hilarious sort of caricature, and a more earnest hero. The scenes aren't consistent as established in the film. He's sometimes, more as say the trailer shows, which is overt in a purposeful way, and he's good at that. Other times he's the dogged hero trying to do the right thing, and he's good at that to. The two have no coherence though, and for the film he might have been best just to be the latter since his co-star had the former covered.)

Driver - 4(Well as shown previously in Paterson Driver is great at doing some deadpan comedy. Here he does a terrific job though of creating the unemotional overt, but not too overt brother who is almost one note in the right way. There is nuance there in his consistent expressions, though on the big picture they might appear all the same, and as that they are quite amusing. Driver finds the right balance, though I will say the film makes a few mistakes in terms of letting some his reactions and deliveries from hitting as hard as they could have.)

Keough - 3.5(As usual now she is always a welcome in presence in any film, and that's the case here again. Like Driver she works very well within her initial setup, which is where she stays throughout, but she makes that absolutely work. I frankly though would have liked if we had gotten more time between the siblings to build the relationships between each other as I liked what we saw of their chemistry together but there was not enough.)

Waterston - 3(Technically you could have removed her scenes from the film, however I did like how she performed her scenes by essentially not playing into the caricature but rather humanizing it by the warmth she brought in her couple of scenes.)

Quaid & Gleeson - 3(These two on the other hand go for pure unfiltered caricature, and they're pretty enjoyable as they do it.)

Holmes - 3(She's pretty good here in her few scenes in doing just a straight forward ball bustin' wife routine.)

MacFarlane - 2(I really find his onscreen presence intolerable, and I think the part could have pretty funny with someone else in the role.)

Swank - 1.5(Just awful, although I think in conception her Lance Henriksen in Dog Day Afternoon approach could have worked, but the probably is she doesn't pull it off.)

Calvin Law said...

I've upgraded Keough and Abbey Lee to 4s for Mad Max after a recent rewatch.

Calvin Law said...

Louis and Michael: are Driver and Tatum co-leads?

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Tatum without a doubt, I'd put Driver lead as well, but you could argue he's supporting.

Anonymous said...

Louis: your top 20 ben kingsley acting moments

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Peter Cullen's Ironhide voice.

Michael McCarthy said...

Totally agree with Louis on Driver and Tatum.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I loved Logan Lucky. LOVED. It's guaranteed to make my top 10.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I don't really understand the complaints about any of it outside of Swank's awful cameo.

94dfk1 said...

I thought Logan Lucky was pleasant but I felt that it was missing something more to becoming truly entertaining.

Tatum-3.5
Driver-4
MacFarlane-2.5
Craig-4.5
Swank-2
Waterston-3
Quaid and Gleeson-3.5
Keough-3.5
Holmes-3

Seems like Macfarlane is just not cut out to be a live-action actor. I think someone like Jason Sudeikis could've brought more to the part.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I thought my uncle Seth was fine.

Anonymous said...

Louis: your top 20 James cromwell acting moments

Michael McCarthy said...

I actually agree with Robert that MacFarlane was solid (wow that feels weird to say). His character wasn't meant to be likable, and I thought his performance worked as a total sleazeball. However, I'm still with Louis on Tatum's performance and some of the editing, particularly the scene where Clyde loses his arm again.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: LOVE the re-write of Rea's review.

Matt Mustin said...

I watched Romper Stomper, which I don't really recommend to...well, anyone, really. Crowe's pretty good, though.

Luke Higham said...

Very pleased with Rea's five rating.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your 3 best scenes from De Niro's work in Taxi Driver and could he possibly go up a few places in the 1976 ranking.

omar said...

Louis: Can i have your rating and thoughts on Susan Harrison in Sweet Smell of Success?

And can i have your ratings on:
Barbara Nichols in Sweet Smell of Success
Edith Scoob in Things to Come
Anne Consigny and Judith Magre in Elle

Is there any chance for Holden to go up to a 4,5 for Network?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on You Talkin' To Me? and the ending from Taxi Driver.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on these following scenes-

Writing the requiem- Amadeus
"Witness me"-Mad Max Fury Road
The Church scene- Home Alone
"One more"-Schindler's List

Luke Higham said...

Tahmeed: I've asked for thoughts on the Requiem scene and 5 other scenes from Amadeus and Louis will do those on the next review. Plus I'd rather have those thoughts in order.

Michael McCarthy said...

Matt: Yeah I wasn't a big fan of Romper Stomper, it was a liiiiittle to humane a portrait of Neo-Nazis for me, which for obvious reasons I'm especially sensitive to right now.

As for Crowe's performance, I think it's not so much a great performance as a promising suggestion of future great performances.

94dfk1 said...

Louis: Thoughts on the production design of No Country for Old Men? I also do find it curious that it doesn't allude to the 1980s setting.

Charles Heiston said...

I guess i'm in few here that really like Crowe's performance in Romper Stomper. Give or take the film, but i think Crowe found more or just as much of a character as Norton did in American History X.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Louis: Is there any chance Hammer could go up for The Social Network?

Anonymous said...

I think Hammer is simply a good casting decision, I think that Fincher is behind all of Hammers work rather than Hammer himself.

Psifonian said...

Saw "Wind River" last night. For being a debut film, it's got one hell of a strong voice. It's confident, seasoned work despite Sheridan's journeyman status behind the camera. Renner's performance is very reminiscent of the very best of Gary Cooper; if ever they decided to remake High Noon, there's no better choice for Marshal Will Kane. Louis, I hope that if Renner isn't nominated, he is made a priority by year's end for the alternate list. Olsen is a very fine complement to him, and while there are definite shades of Blunt's Kate Macer in her character, she nevertheless has her own strength and energy that stands alone. Gil Birmingham also needs to be in every Sheridan-related film from here on out. The guy has an amazing presence and can do so much with so little. It was also cool to see Graham Greene back, although I wish he'd had a bit more to do. And Nick Cave and Warren Ellis once again prove their godhood in the film score department.

The general mystery at the heart of the story isn't complex by any stretch (I had it more or less pegged in a general sense from the first twenty minutes), but the mystery isn't the crux of the film. It's a meditation on grief, loss, and moving on . . . not from it, but rather with it. Sheridan's strength is in taking basic plots and weaving them into grander tapestries of examining the human condition in relation to such simple ideas. I will say that there are fewer naff lines in Wind River than in Sheridan's previous two films, which (as strong as they are) still had a couple of clangers that needed some reworking.

In terms of comparing it to the other films in Sheridan's trilogy, I'd say in terms of direction: Villeneuve > Sheridan > Mackenzie. In terms of script: Wind River > Hell or High Water > Sicario. In terms of leads: Bridges > Renner > Blunt > Olsen > Pine.

RatedRStar said...

Psifonian: So in terms of a mystery it comes closer to a Laura than a The Thin Man in terms of easy to hard predictions on Murder Mysteries.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Anonymous: That makes absolutely no sense. Like, none whatsoever. In fact, that argument almost never makes sense.

Stefan Klein said...

Hey guys, how do you find out about Louis rewriting a review? I have to say I don't remember much about The Crying Game other than I liked it and I liked Rea's performance very much so this has come as a welcome surprise.
What I really love about this blog is that it makes me wanna watch films I haven't seen or don't even know about or have heard about but kinda forgot they exist. Just saying.

...

And maybe you can help me out: A colleague of mine has seen Dunkirk. He (being German like I am) called it "war propaganda totally unsuited to our times and perhaps even meant to justify Brexit". I haven't seen it (will do) but does he have a point?

Matt Mustin said...

Stefan: That's a ridiculous reading of Dunkirk, and he clearly went into it with an agenda.

Luke Higham said...

Stefan: I'm a Northern Irish Unionist, yet it doesn't stop me from liking films like The Informer, The Wind That Shakes The Barley or even Michael Collins to an extent. I never let politics or past actions by any nation cloud my Judgment of a film. All I want is for a film to be engaging and intriguing.

Luke Higham said...

Stefan: And yes, I personally supported Brexit, yet there's positives and negatives on both sides of the argument.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I've heard that reading of Dunkirk, and while I like the movie a great deal, I kind of see how would read it that way.

Charles Heiston said...

Stefan: After myself seeing Dunkirk, i'd say your colleague walked in the film with a bias, or as Matt said, an agenda.

Luke Higham said...

Also, is it wrong to feel patriotic in this day and age. Dunkirk brought a lot of patriotism out of me especially when Elgar's Nimrod played and 1 of my great grandfathers was one of the evacuees there.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Given patriotism gave my country the single stupidest man alive the presidency, yes, I would say it is bad.

Luke Higham said...

Robert: Point taken. :)

God, The USA deserves so much better than him.

Robert MacFarlane said...

We were stupid enough to elect him, so maybe we did deserve. Good luck to you all when our guy starts WW3.

Charles Heiston said...

Robert: Well, at least the majority didn't want him in.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: Agreed, The Electoral College vote makes zero fucking sense to me, when Clinton won the popular vote.

Calvin Law said...

Stefan: Louis has been rewriting reviews he did for Oscar nominated performances since the bonus reviews. You can usually distinguish them by their comment sections. They've mostly been upgrades (Rea has been the most substantial thus far), with a few downgrades (Robbins in Mystic River).

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: *Rea and Depp

Luke Higham said...

Stefan: We also tend to know in advance when Louis plans on re-watching or re-examining a performance.

Anonymous said...

Luke: It makes zero sense to everyone.

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: Could Eastwood go up for Gran Torino.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Kingsley:

1. The List is Life - Schindler's List
2. Confession - Death and the Maiden
3. Execution of the father and son - Schindler's List
4. Forcing his wife to clean - Gandhi
5. Pleading for his life - Death and the Maiden
6. Reflecting on his work - Hugo
7. "Convincing" Teddy - Shutter Island
8. "Don't let things fall apart" - Schindler's List
9. Leading the people - Gandhi
10. Initial interrogation - Death and the Maiden
11. Being saved from the train - Schindler's List
12. Being Kicked from the train - Gandhi
13. Taking the boy in - Hugo
14. The Threat - Shutter Island
15. It was wires - Death and the Maiden
16. Walking back to the camp - Schindler's List
17. Interview - Gandhi
18. You will! - Sexy Beast
19. Meeting with the authorities - Gandhi
20. "I love you" - Sexy Beast

Anonymous:

The right voice in that fits for the tough old timer character, and differs well from Optimus, except when they got lazy later on.

Anonymous:

Cromwell:

1. "That'll do pig" - Babe
2. "hush hush" - L.A. Confidential
3. Raise your Badge - L.A. Confidential
4. Dance - Babe
5. Rollo Tomasi first - L.A. Confidential
6. After the raid - L.A. Confidential
7. Putting out the cat - Babe
8. Questions to Exley - L.A. Confidential
9. Not killing Babe - Babe
10. Nightmare - W
11. Wife's diagnosis - The Green Mile
12. Clifton encouraging George to accept help - The Artist
13. Before the launch - Star Trek First Contact
14. We Need to have a conversation - L.A. Confidential
15. Being fired - The Artist
16. Drunken George - W
17. Dead Sheep - Babe
18. First contact - Star Trek: First Contact
19. After the healing - The Green Mile
20. Marcel argues - Murder by Death

Louis Morgan said...

Omar:

Harrison - 4(She is perhaps overshadowed by the duplicitous central pair, but I think that actually plays into the film. As for much of the film she is an effective pawn by portraying the right innocence, yet not in some otherworldly way, just that she is not a horrible person like her brother. She however is good at not overplaying her sort of turnaround at the near of the film. She effectively portrays it less as this overt change but rather a sudden act of desperation that leads to be more like her brother in that moment.)

3
2.5
3
3

Probably not, I always feel the exact same way about his performance.

Luke:

I guess maybe.

You Talkin to Me
Breakfast with Iris
Speaking to the Secret Service

You Talkin' To Me - (It has become incredible iconic and it is a good scene for De Niro simply to perform. It's a more effective scene in just kind of creating the juvenile fascination Travis has in the act of using the gun.)

The Ending - (Its multiple interpretations perhaps alludes to some weaknesses to it actually since it really doesn't mean much of anything. Bickle's fixed, no he's not, he's a hero, no he's not, he might have a future with Betsy, wait no he doesn't if its all a dream. It doesn't effectively resolve anything, but nor does it effectively not resolve anything either. It accomplishes nothing and only gets away with it through its assumed ambiguity.)

94dk1:

Well it is surprisingly modest for Coens brothers film which can be seen in the fact that it in no way represents the period. It however is still always effective in creating every setting, whether it is in those bleak plains, or just how little comfort there is in any setting whether it is the hollow corporate building, or the solemn gas station. It still serves its purpose incredibly well, even if it is perhaps less technically impressive than most films made by the Coens.

Tahmeed:

Witness Me - (If we're referring to the first time its such a brilliant piece of cinema and such flawless visual exposition in a way. In that we find what essentially motivates and rules the warboys in this moment of action. It's such a brilliant moment though as Miller, through the performance and the sheer kinetic power of it brings us right into the mindset of the other warboys urging the man to fulfill his destiny by blowing up that car in his last breath.)

The Church Scene - (It's really a very nice scene with the best work by Culkin within the movie and Blossom so poignantly turning around our own view of the old man in the scene. It goes further though as it is well written scene by Hughes, alluding back to his work in Planes Trains and Automobiles, but Columbus also shows the right reserve by leaving the actors to deliver the emotion of that moment that sums up the theme of the film in a natural and moving way.)

One More - (I know some feel this is Spielberg overplaying his hand, but I don't agree, the graveyard scene on the other hand I say is unneeded. It is earned I feel as it delivers on the finale of Schindler's arc so effectively seeing the man, whose original motivation was greed, fall apart in realizing how the tiniest bit of wealth could have saved another person.)

Robert:

It's possible.

Charles:

No.