Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Alternate Best Actor 2008: Philip Seymour Hoffman in Synecdoche, New York

Philip Seymour Hoffman did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Caden Cotard in Synecdoche, New York.

Synecdoche, New York is film one can feel free to call self-indulgent tripe, however I loved the film and its surreal and ambitious approach in the story of a theater director's rather surreal and ambitious project.

The late great Philip Seymour Hoffman is the center point of director/writer Charlie Kaufman's feature film debut, and one could argue he is very much the author's surrogate though less literally so than the Kaufman scribed Adaptation starring Nicolas Cage. Hoffman's work very much navigates and embodies this heavily symbolic atypical narrative. This appears no simple task as the very idea of the role of Caden Cotard appears to be a man who simply observes his life while failing to participate within it directly. The very idea of such a character could leave the role to be a cipher merely to be present within the scenes, and nothing more. Hoffman's performance prevents this and also prevents the film from becoming excessively distant in my view. The other performances, and characters after all are purposefully some semi-absurd representations of people that do not strive for an exact reality. In a sense neither does Caden, as no normal person, even normal director or playwright would likely undertake his particular project, nor does anyone live a life where years seem to go by in an instance and reality bends as few things appear exactly as they are or they should be. The entire existence is broken within the film therefore Hoffman acts as this essential glue, or least bridge between the audience and the film. Hoffman is very much the anchor of the film even far beyond in the typical sense of a leading performance as the film would likely be an intangible dream without him.

Hoffman's performance as Caden is an exceedingly specific in style and approach. In that he doesn't just simply give a realistic performance, as that also would not quite be appropriate for the material at hand either. It is instead a rather striking balance that he finds within his work in order to basically funnel the high flying central concept towards something cohesive, and something much more honest. A part of this is to, in a way, play along though again nothing is simple about this film therefore Hoffman's own work needs to match the complexity. In that the strange elements within the film are not completely ignored within Hoffman's work. He never breaks the reality by in a sense noticing too much through some over the top reaction. Hoffman though does provide humor within this while still granting Caden as though he is a form of sanity within insanity. There are moments where there is a more inherent comedic element that Hoffman delivers rather brilliantly in his interactions with essentially the most deranged figures within the deranged world. The most notable of these perhaps being his interaction with his daughter's pseudo nanny and eventual lover Marie (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Hoffman's reactions to her are indeed amusing, in that he portrays a more exact realistic exasperation that would be fitting towards any man listening to some of the bizarre nonsense that she espouses.

Hoffman's work here is not to make fun of the film though but in a way it is there to make it some way digestible that is all the while still being an idiosyncratic character within the film. Caden you could potentially argue is both the most grounded and the least grounded character in the film comparing his personal attitude towards his overarching actions. This is only one of the hypocrisies of the role that Hoffman must grant coherence to. Hoffman does somehow accomplish this in his more basic portrayal of Caden as the "sensitive" artist. Hoffman realizes particularly effectively the overarching sense of ennui needed for the role. It is very much just a state of being that Hoffman creates as this essential sadness inherent within his performance. It is not something that needs to be openly stated it just is at is within Hoffman's portrayal that simple embodies that sense of weariness. This weariness though even in a way isn't as simple as it may seem. In that Hoffman captures a sense of distress that is both real and false in a sense. This juxtaposition again is one that seems hypocritical yet isn't through Hoffman's performance. In that the idea of essentially the unease of living is exuded in Hoffman as a reality of the man who in his eyes who most often seems to be trying to decipher his existence for some rational meaning. Hoffman though balances this with a more grounded anxiety almost fitting to the hypochondriac. Hoffman physically portrays Caden as man who never seems wholly comfortable within his skin, almost nervous at the prospect at being alive due to the fear of death.

A great deal of who Caden is comes within the women in his life that end up defining the periods of his experience. Hoffman is essential to realize each relationship that are similair yet subtly different. His initial relationship is with Caden's wife Adele (Catherine Keener) which is perhaps a more basic existence in terms of what we see in the film's opening. Hoffman captures the definition of a relationship based around a rift of jealousy and separation. Hoffman accentuates some history within a relationship to the point of marriage in these interactions, however they are always broken with almost an assumed unhappiness created by this history. This is in contrast to his relationship with box office attendee and later assistant Hazel (Samantha Morton) who makes her attraction to him rather obvious. Hoffman in these interactions is particularly poignant if also painful to watch in a way. In that he is able to portray in his sad eyes a combination of a genuine love in these interactions but also still this distance. His delivery always is hanging with his charge of emotion just behind it yet never quite realized fitting to a man who only goes so far within the relationship. Caden never takes that next step and the tension of this is not quite requited yet not quite unrequited love that Hoffman realizes is strangely harrowing. Hoffman doesn't waste a single relationship within the film though as each creates different insight into the man. This includes his relationship with his second wife Claire, an actress in his plays, where Hoffman grant an initial lust quickly dissolves into a cold distance. This feeling is even stronger in his brief time with Hazel's stage surrogate/lookalike Tammy (perfectly cast Emily Watson). In that brief sequence Hoffman reveals so much vulnerability and a real desperation to the woman who speaks far more openly, and in turn Hoffman brilliantly uses to scene as barely looks at her and only speaks in retiring self-loathing remarks showing Caden as to reveal a man too afraid within his desperation to be proper husband or partner to anyone.

The crux of the film is the gargantuan theater project of scene after scene of people replicating existence while not a single audience member watches them. Caden just keeps building it and continues to observe even as the lines blur all the more. This initially is commonly inter spliced with the reality of Caden following his wife's successful micro-art career, looking at every piece with a curious longing, and trying to engage with his daughter who is lost in weird symbolic life that leads to an early death. Those scenes with his daughter are pivotal to the film, and to Hoffman's performance. In part it shows his success in creating this bizarre juxtaposition of style that somehow works despite being so odd. In that once his daughter has aged Caden seems always behind a barrier from her whether it be literal, time or language based. He can only see or be told what happens to her, and again it's fascinating what Hoffman is able achieve in his work. He has those moments that are indeed comedic in just observing the strangeness. Concurrently Hoffman is heartbreaking in portraying the genuine anguish of only being the observer, and of having to see his daughter waste away at this distance. Hoffman allows the absurdity yet he humanizes it so beautifully it is an astonishing combination that he achieves by adhering to granting a reality of Caden's state which is only way to adhere to the potentially unwieldy tone. In that Hoffman's work shows how it would be a little comical to be in such a weird state, yet still there is very real tragedy if the overarching experience were true. This directly connects to the theater project in which Hoffman portrays a man constantly searching for meaning while still only being a bystander to it all. With the recreations Hoffman exudes this exhaustion of the search to find something more. Hoffman depicts the direct frustration essential to find the meaning of life, yet remains only ever with moments. This act is in itself powerful even if with a purposeful lack of catharsis as Hoffman makes this need so palatable in every moment of watching "the performances" as in his eyes there is both a longing to find, but also a confusion as he remains lost. He only seems to find any meaning when he takes part in the performance, by assuming the life of another however now with clear direction, literally, of what to do and how to exist. Hoffman finds Caden in this state of solace as he essentially is eased into the end of his life by given this direct path. Hoffman in his realization of Caden's final moments in this state of comfort yet technically decay is haunting. It is again an hypocrisy as the observant only engages in life seemingly at sort of world's end, where the only the companionship is in the form of basically a stranger, and where he is being told exactly what to do. There is a real power there again, the final moments of the film are incredibly  moving. Again what connects this all is Hoffman's work, which is not lost within this concepts, or the extreme stylistic choices of the film. He gives a quietly masterful turn as he is the human conduit for it all to make this exploration of life something truly special.

102 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Ratings & Thoughts on the rest of the cast.

Mitchell Murray said...

This is a movie and performance I really should check out at some point. I think I speak for most everyone when I say we lost an amazing actor the day Hoffman died.

Speaking of which, what would be your updated top 5 performances of Hoffman Louis?

Bryan L said...

Louis: Any reasons in particular you think there are so few films about The Revolutionary War? And which modern director do you see making a great one nowadays?

Calvin Law said...

Fantastic performance and film that's really hard to pin down. I think you pretty much nailed it Louis. And I really hope Noonan gets in for Supporting.

Louis: your ranking of Charlie Kaufman films you've seen (both scripted and directed). For me,

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. Adaptation
3. Synedoche, New York
4. Anomalisa
5. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
6. Being John Malkovich

Emi Grant said...

Where would this one rank on the Top 10 Charlie Kauffman film's Performances?

Michael McCarthy said...

Tom Noonan would be a fun supporting review. My next favorite of the cast is actually Hope Davis, I really wish she’d had a larger role in the latter half of the film because she cracked me up.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Anyone seen Ready Player One?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could Kilmer go up for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Anonymous said...

For this hypothetical 1940 10-review lineup for Best Actor, I think I'll switch Spencer Tracy with George Sanders. I'm not expecting Louis to give Tracy a positive review considering he finds him hit and miss.

Anonymous said...

And while I haven't seen Cagney in City for Conquest, this scene from the film convinces me that he's likely great.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmpKxFfQXfM

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Sorry, Wrong Number and Death of a Gunfighter as missed opportunities.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts on the Westworld trailer?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Saw Ready Player One. Did not like it much at all. Probably the weakest Spielberg of the 2010’s.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Morton - 4.5(Found her performance rather splendid in every respect. In that in one part she makes Hazel incredibly appealing though through really some classic "adorkable" style in creating such an inherent sweetness about it. What I like most though of her own work is the way she works with Hoffman throughout in creating their particular dynamic. She's particularly good in creating the sense of Hazel's own journey from her early smitten reactions of broad shows of obvious affection, to slowly losing it due to his distance, to eventually gaining it back though in a quieter more subtle way built now upon a strong history between the two. Her work also stands well as this contrast to Hoffman's in that Hazel also often is the observer yet in her reactions she conveys more of this engagement and comfort rather distance from them.)

Keener - 3(The more I see of Keener the more her work can get a little samey with her work. It works well enough here, but in the scheme of things she doesn't leave much of an impact.)

Williams - 4(I rather liked her here as well in creating the sense of her character as always being very much this insecure actress that even extends when she becomes married to Hoffman's character. She provides the right balance with this in her work in that she finds humor in this emphasis yet manages to make something still very believable in terms of the emotional turmoil that slowly boils over. Williams naturally realizes really the decay of the second marriage thorough her work, as again Hoffman's Caden has that level of disconnect.)

Watson - 3.5(Again perfectly cast to the point I thought Morton was just playing two parts at first. She isn't given too much to do however she acquits herself rather well with what she has by bringing such a confidence in her main scene with Hoffman.)

Leigh - 3(Her role is brief however she does her bizarre thing rather well here, in being this essential this strange enigma)

Davis - 4.5(She's particularly entertaining every moment she's onscreen in capturing a rather curious and effective juxtaposition in her character. In that she portrays almost this cheery sadism, and unnerving attempt at comforting Hoffman's character in that everything she does she delivers with such a off-putting optimism. Davis realizes this brilliant sort of character that's whole being seems to exist as creating this contradictions.)

Louis Morgan said...

Mitchell:

1. The Master
2. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
3. Synecdoche, New York
4. A Most Wanted Man
5. Along Came Polly

Bryan:

It's somewhat rare that many even attempt that period, I imagine part budgetary. It seems that is true for most wars that aren't World War II or Vietnam. It's a curious one that I don't have an exact answer for. In terms of a director, even though he seems retired, I'd say Peter Weir do to his overwhelming success with telling a Napoleonic War story.

Calvin:

1. Synecdoche, New York
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
3. Adaptation
4. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
5. Being John Malkovich
6. Anomalisa

Well color me intrigued as I have no idea where this is going, but what is seen here is striking at the very least. Also glad to see that Jimmi Simpson will be returning, however I doubt his role will be very substantial.

Emi Grant:

1. Philip Seymour Hoffman - Synecdoche, New York
2. Jim Carrey - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
3. Kate Winslet - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
4. Nicolas Cage - Adaptation
5. Samantha Morton - Synecdoche, New York
6. Sam Rockwell - Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
7. Hope Davis - Synecdoche, New York
8. Meryl Streep - Adaptation
9. John Malkovich - Being John Malkovich
10. Chris Cooper - Adaptation

Luke:

Probably Not.

Anonymous:

Sorry, Wrong Number just takes a pretty effective radio drama and turns it into such an overly convoluted story. I think there was potential to make a great thriller with expanding the central idea, but the film's approach to expand it by so much just felt ridiculous. It also somehow removed all tension from the central idea which seems like such a waste.

The Death of Gunfighter thematically is fascinating in this idea of the western "hero" essentially losing his worth due to modernization, and this whole dissection of that idea through that. Sadly the film does not capitalize on that central conceit that has a great deal of potential, but ends up feeling wasted.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: If Pepper was to move over to Lead for Three Burials, would you rank him 4th.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Probably.

Mitchell Murray said...

I'm surprised Capote didn't make the cut, Louis. You were very enthusiastic the review of his performance so I wonder, is it a portrayal you've grown less fond of with time or are just not as big on as a lot of people?

Also in regards to The Westworld 2 trailer - as someone who only saw bits and pieces of the first season, and whose not that big on TV to be honest, it does have my attention. From what I have seen of the original show, I felt Evan Rachel Wood upped her game from anything she's done before, while Tandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright made for a better pairing then in "W" thank god. I also have a bit of a pension for Ed Harris in hammy villain roles (History of Violence) and Anthony Hopkins of course delivered a meaty antagonist as he most often does.

So as far as Season 2 goes, it had my curiosity with the premiere, and now it has my attention with this trailer.

Luke Higham said...

Mitchell: That review was written long ago and his writing has developed a great deal since.

Luke Higham said...

Also he was a bit more easily impressed back then.

Calvin Law said...

Pretty much agree on Westworld trailer, I'm particularly excited with what direction they'll take with the Bernard/Dolores dynamic. And I wouldn't be surprised if we see more of Simpson than expected.

Luke Higham said...

Robert: Can't be worse than War Horse surely.

Anyway, your thoughts on Sheridan, Rylance, Pegg and Mendelsohn.

Calvin Law said...

Also on the subject of Simpson, I was thinking of two great 1960s and 2010s versions of Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, and a 1990s Synedoche, New York directed by David Lynch.

Andy: Robert Shaw
Hank: Albert Finney
Charles: Michael Redgrave
Gina: Rosemary Harris

Andy: Jeremy Renner
Hank: Jimmi Simpson
Charles: Brendan Gleeson
Gina: Sally Hawkins

Caden Cotard / Ellen Bascomb: David Strathairn
Hazel: Holly Hunter
Claire Keen: Laura Dern
Adele Lack Cotard: Catherine O'Hara
Tammy / Hazel: Laurie Metcalf
Madeleine Gravis: Peggy Lipton
Sammy Barnathan / Caden Cotard: Richard Beymer

Robert MacFarlane said...

Luke: Well unlike you guys I kind of like War Horse. Cheesy as that was, it at least had a soul. Ready Player One is Gen-X 80's nostalgia pandering at its most banal. It's not even interesting enough of a failure to dissect like Hook was.

Anonymous said...

Another animation guy got accused, the creator of Ren and Stimpy.

Bryan L said...

Calvin: I'd like to see what Renner would do with that character and go against his usual presence.

Everyone: Thoughts on this cast for a 2010s Pulp Fiction?

Vincent- Joaquin Phoenix
Jules- Idris Elba
Mia- Margot Robbie
Butch- Jeremy Renner
Pumpkin- Tom Hiddleston, or Ben Whishaw (Layer Cake)
Honey Bunny- Christina Hendricks
Captain Koons- Benicio del Toro
The Wolfe- Viggo Mortensen
Lance- Domnhall Gleeson (think Dredd)

Not sure about Marcellus

Calvin Law said...

Bryan: Can't really see Elba as Jules for some reason, I actually think he'd work better as Marcellus, though Keith David could also work in the role. I would pick Don Cheadle as Jules myself since I don't think the dangerous badass side of him isn't used enough.

Phoenix is a great choice but I would say someone like Ryan Gosling would be an equally good choice. Robbie, Renner, Whishaw, Hendricks, del Toro and Mortensen are perfect, and Gleeson is inspired.

Robert MacFarlane said...

As for the cast of Ready Player One:

Sheridan - Oof, he's not transitioning into these older roles well. Granted, his character is a blank cipher for nerds to project onto, but his performance is generic and charisma-drained. Also, he's looking increasingly and disturbingly like Ansel Elgort.

Cooke - The MVP, even though her character is a Perfect Geek Dream Girl (she's not manic, so that doesn't apply). In both the Oasis scenes and her live-action scenes, she's usually does any heavy lifting for Sheridan. Frankly her performance was so much more charismatic I was wishing she was the main character.

Mendelsohn - I actually liked him here better than a lot of his more recent performance. A villain in the vein of most smarmy 80's corporate villains, but refreshingly restrained and even menacing. Makes up for his awful work in The Dark Knight Rises.

Pegg - Not in it that much, and really talking about him is a spoiler. But I will say his American accent is okay.

Rylance - Definitely mannered, but I see what he was going for. He plays a good sadsack. Can't say much more since it's spoiler territory.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Also: Anthony Mackie as 2010's Jules.

Bryan L said...

I myself was a bit stumped on Jules, but I can definitely see Cheadle (and Mackie) as Jules, and Elba as Marcellus.

I thought of Phoenix because of his work in Buffalo Soldiers and Inherent Vice. Gosling is a good choice too, but now that I really think about it, Oscar Isaac would be actually be kind of perfect for Vincent.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the scene from It's a Wonderful Life where Potter gives George an offer.

Bryan L said...

Louis: Your expanded thoughts on the "No bird, no fowl" scene from The Florida Project and the scene in The Death of Stalin where Kruschev tries to recruit Zhukov in taking Beria down? Oh and who would you cast as Matt Hooper in a 2010s version of Jaws?

Bryan L said...

*"No harm, no fowl"

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your top ten female leading and supporting performances of the 2010s so far.

Calvin Law said...

I'll give mine:

1. Amy Adams, Arrival
2. Rooney Mara, Carol
3. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards
4. Isabelle Huppert, Elle
5. Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
6. Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
7. Vicky Krieps, Phantom Thread
8. Marion Cotillard, The Immigrant
9. Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
10. Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone

1. Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
2. Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
3. Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
4. Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter
5. Jackie Weaver, Animal Kingdom
6. Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer
7. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
8. Nicole Kidman, Lion
9. Felicity Jones, A Monster Calls
10. Viola Davis, Fences

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Calvin: Brilliant choices.

Has anyone seen Six Feet Under? Was particularly intrigued by reviews saying it had one of the greatest finales ever.

Emi Grant said...

Random, but I just finished watching A Taxi Driver.

Apart from obviously Song, did he ever give his thoughts on the rest of the cast?

Matt Mustin said...

Finished season 5 of GoT. Definitely a step down from previous seasons, especially considering how great season 4 was, but still enjoyable. Very weak finale, though, aside from Lena Headey giving probably her best performance yet in the series. MVP of the season for me is without a doubt Kit Harrington, with honorable mentions going to Jonathan Pryce, Stephen Dillane (hated what they did with him, though) and Lena Headey, again mostly for that last episode. And I never do this, but I want to give a special LVP (Least Valuable Player) to the actors who played the Sand Snakes in general, and Keisha Castle-Hughes in particular.

Luke Higham said...

Matt: Your thoughts on 'Hardhome'.

Calvin Law said...

Yeah, saw Ready Player One and it's a weird mix of a Spielberg passion project and a Speilberg workmanlike effort. There's fun action sequences, some genuinely affecting scenes particularly with his new muse, but the central hero's journey feels oddly inert and too quick at the same time, while the onslaught of pop culture references oscillated between being fun easter eggs to very distracting. So on the whole...I don't know, one of his weaker recent efforts for sure, but with things to like about it.

Sheridan: 2 (as Robert said kind of a charmless blank slate and miscast to begin with)
Cooke: 3.5 (really enjoyed her genuinely moving work that invests you in her character's plight and her screen presence in general, will defend his Dying Girl work to the death and can't wait to see Thoroughbreds)
Waithe: 3 (fine but underserved by the screenplay)
Mendelsohn: 3 (perfectly decent bad guy rendition with a few well-earned breaks)
Miller: 2.5 (okay I guess but nothing too notable, I think I'm getting a bit tired of his schtick)
Pegg: 2.5 (pretty much a pointless role but he's fine)
Morisaki and Zhao: 2.5 (little to do but they're fine)
Kamen: 3 (quite a bit of fun as the sort of secondary nasty to Mendelsohn)
Rylance: 4

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your top 10 Liam Neeson moments, and your updated top 10 for Sean Penn.

Luke Higham said...

2008 Supporting
Byung-Hun
Noonan
O'Toole (Dean Spanley)
Jenkins (Step Brothers)
Kaneshiro (Red Cliff Pt. 1) or Tse (If he's placed in Supporting)

Omar Franini said...

Louis: before you finish 2008 could you watch Il Paà di Giovanna (Giovanna's Father)?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on David Lean's Empire Of The Sun as a missed opportunity.

Luke Higham said...

Guys, if there was one casting in the history of film that you wish you could change, what would it be?

I'd pick Ryan O'Neal in Barry Lyndon.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Sofia Corleone in The Godfather Part III. Enough said.

Matt Mustin said...

Luke: Well, with Hardhome it's obviously all about the ending, which I think is the single best directed sequence of the series thus far. It's an absolutely spectacular battle sequence that is thrilling, stunning to look at and carries very real stakes, primarily through Kit Harrington's great performance, and it's all topped off by those absolutely chilling final moments. The rest of the episode is more than fine, but it really is all about that masterful finale.

Luke Higham said...

Matt: I'm not sure if you've given your opinion on this yet but what did you think of Coster-Waldau in Season 3, Jaime's bath confession and The Red Wedding Scene.

Matt Mustin said...

Luke: Coster-Waldau is great throughout the series and that bathtub confession is the highlight of his performance. He somehow takes this character who we've grown to truly hate and grants an amazing amount of understanding to why he is who is he is, and manages to be truly heartbreaking. The Red Wedding is a brilliantly directed scene that really brings the horror of the situation to life, and it's made all the more powerful by Michelle Fairley's amazing performance.

Calvin Law said...

So apparently the Safdie brothers are teaming up with Adam Sandler for their next project, not going to lie I'm very intrigued.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could you possibly review Paddy Considine in Dead Man's Shoes.

Calvin Law said...

I've been hearing many great things about Journeyman.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Robert Duvall as an actor?

Plus your 2010s cast and director for Jaws, 1990s for The Dark Knight and 2000s for Sid and Nancy?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Anonymous: Louis gave his thoughts on Hackman and Duvall together in Ralph Fiennes's review for Coriolanus.

Gene Hackman/Robert Duvall - (The two true acting giants of the 70's even if they are not held in the same regard as De Niro, Pacino or Nicholson in the broad general sense, for whatever reason. Perhaps it was because they were somewhat notable character actors already in the 60's, maybe it's because they're bald, or maybe they're just too damn good. The two of them are two of the greatest who have ever lived. I have not seen a bad performance from either of them, and never have seen them phone it in. The two of them never had a phase. Given the stories about Hackman on the Royal Tenenbaums it's remarkable how great he was in that role. The two both seemed to stress being believable above all else. They both have excelled as extroverts, as introverts, in subtle quiet roles, or in broad extremely entertaining roles. The two delivered from decade to decade, role to role, and it is quite bizarre that they are some how kind of underrated.)

Bryan L said...

Anonymous: I'd like to see what Robert Downey Jr. would've done with the part of The Joker if TDK had been made in the 90s. He's good at accents, has a lot of untapped potential and definitely has the right energy for the part.

Bryan L said...

Anonymous: And I think Caine and Freeman would still have worked back in the 90s for Alfred and Lucius as well.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Who do you think is the modern equivalent of Raoul Walsh?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your cast and director for:
The Artist (1930's version)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (1970's version)
We Own The Night (1980's version)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Mark Rylance's voice.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Which Non-Shakespearean roles do you think Scofield would've been perfect for.

Louis Morgan said...

By the way I feel I just needed to share Lesley Manville's and Daniel Day-Lewis's true Oscar scene from Phantom Thread. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=122&v=uBmnU98uk_o

Anonymous:

A fantastic scene in terms of the acting of Stewart and Barrymore, but also brilliantly written. The scene doesn't make it this ridiculous devil's allure but rather makes a far greater impact because Potter makes some legitimate points in terms of George's prospects. There is no straw man making the point George is about to take convincing, in turn making his moments of realization then lashing out at Potter all the more cathartic and powerful.

Bryan:

Oh as I've written before that scene is perfection as performed by Dafoe and his feathered co-stars. In terms of the film it is a wonderful sort of respite, of just this natural bit of humor but also kind of a bit pathos still in showing his easiest interaction comes from one with a bit of birds.

That is possibly the funniest scene of 2017 even as it so effectively sets up the downfall of Beria. This is obviously through every reaction of Zhukov who is an absolutely hilarious troll in every second of his screentime in that scene.

Paul Dano

Tahmeed:

1. Marion Cotillard - The Immigrant
2. Frances McDormand - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
3. Yoon Jeong-hee - Poetry
4. Emma Stone - La La Land
5. Jennifer Lawrence - Winter's Bone
6. Charlize Theron - Mad Max: Fury Road
7. Amy Adams - Arrival
8. Vicky Krieps - Phantom Thread
9. Marion Cotillard - Two Days, One Night
10. Rooney Mara - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

1. Jennifer Jason Leigh - The Hateful Eight
2. Jackie Weaver - Animal Kingdom
3. Lesley Manville - Phantom Thread
4. Jessica Chastain - Take Shelter
5. Ana De Armas - Blade Runner 2049
6. Taraneh Alidoosti - The Salesman
7. Lesley Manville - Another Year
8. Marion Cotillard - Macbeth
9. Doona Bae - Cloud Atlas
10. Sylvia Hoeks - Blade Runner 2049

Luke Higham said...

How do you think Scofield would've fared as:
Sir Randolph Nettleby (Was the original choice but broke his leg while filming)
O'Brien
Salieri (Had played the part on Stage)

Louis Morgan said...

Neeson:

1. One more - Schindler's List
2. Ferreira meets Rodrigues - Silence
3. Live and Die on this day - The Grey
4. True Power - Schindler's List
5. Pray with your eyes open - Silence
6. Angry Prayer - The Grey
7. Making the list - Schindler's List
8. Our lord - Silence
9. After the crash - The Grey
10. Watching the liquidation - Schindler's List

Penn's would be the same.

Omar:

Sure.

Luke:

Any film not made by Lean has to be considered some sort of a loss I suppose. The film as is, is a film I need to re-watch, however as I recall it is not a masterpiece. Having said that the child's view does feel more Spielberg than Lean who rarely worked with children come to think of it. Not sure how it would have looked, would've had a grander scale to be sure, but Lean could excel within the personal story so I think it potentially could have been a perfect match, again though child angle is a bit of a wild card in that regard.

As always Stephen Lack in Scanners.

Possibly.

Calvin:

Sandler can be a great quantity if properly used. I share your intrigue.

Anonymous:

Well no one exactly specializes in Westerns and Gangster pictures as he did. To force myself to name one though, sorta Ben Affleck though in terms of sharing an efficient "to the point" directing style, and both sharing a background as actors.

Anonymous:

Jaws 2010's directed by Denis Villeneuve:

Brody: Joel Edgerton
Hooper: Paul Dano
Quint: Russell Crowe
Mayor Vaughn: Dean Norris

The Dark Knight 1990's directed by Martin Campbell:

Bruce Wayne: Johnny Depp
The Joker: Robert Downey Jr.
Alfred: Richard Attenborough
Gordon: William H. Macy
Harvey Dent: Tim Robbins
Rachel: Embeth Davidtz
Lucius Fox: Sidney Poitier
Maroni: Joe Mantegna

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Would Tom Hardy be your choice for Quint in a 2020s Jaws.

Anonymous said...

I think Scofield could have worked as Rudolf Abel. I don't know why, but he's kind of like Mark Rylance.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: I think there's a strong comparison between the two. Rylance's work in Wolf Hall does remind me of Scofield in A Man For All Seasons though granted an even greater complexity due to the mini-series format.

Calvin Law said...

That Phantom Thread scene is a hoot.

Robert MacFarlane said...

You see any 2018 movies, Louis?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

The Artist 1930's directed by Ernst Lubitsch:

George Valentin: Fredric March
Peppy Miller: Ginger Rogers
Al Zimmer: Adolphe Menjou
Clifton: Lewis Stone
Uggie: Skippy

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 1970's directed by Arthur Hiller:

Harry Lockhart: Gene Wilder
Gay Perry: James Garner
Harmony Faith Lane: Liza Minnelli
Harlan Dexter: Peter Graves
Mustard and Frying Pan: Richard Pryor and Sylvester Stallone

We Own the Night 1980's directed by John Mackenzie:

Bobby Grusinsky: Mickey Rourke
Joe Grusinsky: Dennis Quaid
Amada Jaurez: Maria Conchita Alonso
Burt Grusinsky: Burt Lancaster

Luke:

Rylance's voice is one of his many facets of what makes him sort of the heir apparent to Scofield. In that he similarly has such a pleasant, fatherly, if not grandfatherly, calm about his voice, yet can brandish such an effortless command within this. There something fascinating about how much ease in his voice, yet how striking it remains.

Well I would not want to ever take that "swansong" from Mason which did have an extra umph because of that. Having said that Scofield would've have been a great Sir Nettleby as well in that he easily could have captured that same regal demeanor though with such an incisiveness with the few words he does speak throughout.

Scofield would have been a wholly terrifying O'Brien. Hearing him cut through the requests of big brother would have had all the greater efficiency and incisiveness to them.

Scofield would have been too old to play Salieri in the film, that sort of thing matters less on stage. I'm sure Scofield technically could have been great otherwise since from what I've seen from him he's never had a misstep with a performance.

....sure in regards to Hardy.

Robert:

Unfortunately no.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: do you think Jude Law would have done well in Jackman's role in *The Prestige* had things gone to plan? Personally, while I think he might've been great, if he'd done that strange American accent he used in Huckabees it might've been a bit distracting, plus Jackman does have a bit more of an inherent 'showman' vibe to him. He might've been a bit better with the extra characters.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on Jonathan Pryce on Game of Thrones?

Anonymous said...

Feeling a little bored, how about a retro casting?´

Dog Day Afternoon (1930's, directed by Michael Curtiz)
Sonny Wortzik: Paul Muni
Sal Naturale: Joseph Schildkraut
Leon Shermer: Peter Lorre
Sergeant Moretti: Edward Arnold
Agent Sheldon: Pat O'Brien
Agent Murphy: Humphrey Bogart
Angie Wortzik: Glenda Farrell

Bryan L said...

Louis: Your reason(s) for Martin Campbell being your choice for a 90s TDK? I would've guessed Michael Mann since Nolan has mentioned Heat as an influence on the film. And your thoughts on my 2010s Pulp Fiction cast above, but with Elba as Marcellus and Cheadle as Jules instead? (Thanks Calvin)

Anonymous said...

Another retro casting.

The American (1950's, directed by John Huston)
Jack: Clark Gable
Clara: Giuletta Massina
Father Benedetto: Aldo Silvani
Ingrid: Ingrid Bergman

Thoughts?

Calvin Law said...

Everyone: your early predictions for the acting categories this year? My guesses:

Best Actor
Christian Bale, Backseat
Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased
Ryan Gosling, First Man
Steve Carell, The Women of Marwen
Hugh Jackman, The Front Runner

Best Actress
Carey Mulligan, Wildlife
Saoirse Ronan, Mary, Queen of Scots
Toni Collette, Hereditary
Glenn Close, The Wife
Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace

Best Supporting Actor
Joel Edgerton/Russell Crowe, Boy Erased
Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
Stephan James, If Beale Street Could Talk
Sam Rockwell, Backseat
Ben Foster, Leave No Trace (from what I've heard you could category fraud him here)

Best Supporting Actress
Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased
Amy Adams, Backseat
Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Calvin Law said...

Anonymous: Gable as Jack is inspired.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Collette's a great pick from what I've heard. I'm not gonna make my early prediction until Late May-Early June once Cannes is finished. Your picks are good, though I hope it'll be subject to change once the festival contenders come in and Matthias contends for Best Actor.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I would have Ethan Hawke in First Reformed as a dark horse for best actor. I've a really good feeling it'll be his first 5 star performance.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, McKay is directing and writing Backseat.

Mitchell Murray said...

(Luke) Having seen the First Reformed trailer I must say I'm excited for it: A24, meaty subject matter, and Hawke in a role that looks perfectly suited for him.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Paul Dano and Sylvester Stallone as actors? Plus your top five directors who work in the crime drama area? Plus your favorite single scene from all of last year?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your Top 10 voice acting performances?

And also Top 8 Will Ferrell acting moments?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the South Park episode 'Doubling Down'. Felt like their most accurate political commentary in a long time.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous:
1. Elizabeth Hartman - The Secret of NIMH
2. Tony Jay - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
3. Robby Benson - Beauty and the Beast
4. Mercedes McCambridge - The Exorcist
5. Betty Lou Gerson - 101 Dalmatians
6. Tom Hulce - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
7. Jeremy Irons - The Lion King
8. Vincent Price - The Great Mouse Detective
9. Robin Williams - Aladdin
10. Luis van Rooten - Cinderella
11. Jerry Orbach - Beauty and the Beast
12. Eleanor Audley - Cinderella
13. Tom Noonan - Anomalisa
14. Kathryn Beaumont - Alice in Wonderland
15. Douglas Rain - 2001: A Space Odyssey

I would like to see John Hurt make the list for The Black Cauldron, Watership Down or The Plague Dogs which I'm thinking of recommending along with Chicken Run and Fantastic Mr. Fox (If he doesn't see it before Isle Of Dogs) for viewings next year.

Combined, they would take less than 6 hours to watch compared to The Hollow Crown films that I chose this year, which took little over 8 hours to complete.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin & Tahmeed: Could you give a list of animated films that could unseat The Secret Of NIMH as Louis' all-time favourite animated film.

Watership Down
The Plague Dogs
When The Wind Blows
Spirited Away
Princess Mononoke
The Iron Giant

Luke Higham said...

I could see all of the above getting 5s and I'm hoping Chicken Run and Fantastic Mr. Fox will get 4.5s and a 4/4.5 for The Prince Of Egypt.

Anonymous said...

When Louis reviews the 1940 bonus rounds, he should consider upgrading Chaplin to a 5 for the Great Dictator.

I'm expecting him, Olivier and Robinson to be the only actors who will get fives for 1940.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: I don't see any need for a 10 slot lineup if there's only gonna be 1 five (Robinson) from it.

Luke Higham said...

With that year, I'd rather have a Brandauer-esque surprise outside the lineup than do a full 10.

Anonymous said...

Luke: I think it's because there are so many interesting performances to review, but if he's going to do only five reviews, then fine.

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

Anonymous: If enough requests are made by then, it won't bother me. Anyway it'll actually be the last year of the bonus rounds if Louis doesn't switch with 1939.

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

Anonymous: I'm quite satisfied with the '07 lineup I came up with though I'm really anticipating 1982 again.

1982 Lead
Klaus Kinski - Fitzcarraldo
Max Von Sydow - Flight Of The Eagle (3rd of 4th Lead collaboration with Jan Troell, the 4th is Hamsun)
Bertil Guve - Fanny And Alexander (Will request him along with Sydow at some point, I'd like Louis to watch the film before the supporting lineup as there's a possibility of a cast review)
Stellan Skarsgard - The Simple-Minded Murderer
Alan Bates - The Return Of The Soldier
Alt.
Gerard Depardieu - The Return Of Martin Guerre (Could request him if he's received well for Danton and Jean De Florette)
John Hurt - The Plague Dogs (Could make Louis' Animated lineup if received very well)
Sean Penn - Fast Times At Ridgemont High

Supporting
Fanny And Alexander cast review (Jan Malmsjo, Erland Josephson, Jarl Kulle, Gunnar Bjornstrand and maybe Allan Edwall & Borje Ahlstedt)

Luke Higham said...

I'm also gonna request Gaspard Manesse in Au Revoir Les Enfants sometime soon as I'm curious about the comparison between his work and Bale's in Empire Of The Sun.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Luke: A few of the films Louis may love include -
Howl's Moving Castle
A Silent Voice
The Garden of Words
Wolf Children
Only Yesterday
Ghost in the Shell (1994)
Five Centimetres Per Second (not as good as Your Name, but very much worth a watch)
The Wind Rises
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
When Marnie Was There
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Did you watch A Silent Voice during the pre-nominations interim since it was one of two recommendations from Tahmeed.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: My 2007 Supporting suggestions
Max Von Sydow - The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
Paul Dano - There Will Be Blood
August Diehl - The Counterfeiters
Stephen Graham - This Is England
Chiwetel Ejiofor - Talk To Me

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Would you be able to do the voice acting lineup sometime next year.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your 40's, 60's and 70's Open Range casts.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

I agree about Law, in that he probably would have been better as Root and the Lord, but I don't think he would have been as good as Angier which is one of the few cinematic performances that have fully capitalized on Jackman's considerable off screen charisma.

Matt:

Pryce gives a brilliant performance particularly in the way he slowly reveals the nature of the character. In that he effectively portrays a certain type of persuasive power through this certain modesty. Pryce is great in that he makes this modesty both wholly convincing yet brings this certain glint in his eyes that reveal always cunning hidden within it. I especially find his menace particularly effective in how casually he reveals it making it especially incisive when he calls upon it by sort of finding the zealot at his most extreme.

Bryan:

Campbell with Casino Royale, and to a lesser extent Goldeneye proved his ability with darker, more character driven action film. As long as he had the same script I think he could have done great job with it.

Fine choices there, definitely lean closer to Whishaw for Pumpkin, and perhaps get someone who seems a bit more off-kilter for Honey Bunny like perhaps Melanie Lynskey.

Anonymous:

I think I've covered Dano before.

Stallone - (Stallone is an actor with very exact strengths that he needs pulled out of him with a devoted director or perhaps the right director. If Stallone coasts it's not a pretty sight. Whenever Stallone works with a talented director though he always delivers and quite frankly delivers a very specific quantity as no one is quite Stallone. He's best frankly outside of what he became famous for, unless we're talking about the two R's. In that his straight action work is usually the most underwhelming. If there is something to work with, something to realize in the character, he's usually decent, and always memorable.)

Well I'll take that as a director who frequently does films from the perspective of a criminal.

Hard to narrow down exactly as a lot of talented directors have worked with crime films, which itself can have a lot of different variations.

Checking the memory from Blade Runner 2049

Tahmeed:

I didn't love the episode, didn't really love any of them last season though. The episode for me failed in terms of it struggling to build the narrative around the commentary, and it is one where the commentary definitely felt like it came first with the actual story structure of the episode taking the backseat. Not a bad episode, but fairly messy, though their political points were far less vague than in the other episodes of the season.

Luke:

Probably.