Saturday, 16 June 2018

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1991: Kevin Bacon, John Candy, Jack Lemmon, Joe Pesci, Michael Rooker and Donald Sutherland in JFK

Kevin Bacon, John Candy and Jack Lemmon did not receive Oscar nomination for portraying Willie O'Keefe, Dean Andrews, and Jack Martin respectively in JFK.

One of the great assets of JFK is its large ensemble. A technically star studded cast, however what is important here is this is less towards making cameos, and instead is about  granting importance to every individual within the film no matter how small the role. The performances back this up in terms of giving the film this certain vibrancy within the characters, even though the plot is the central thrust of the film. This is to every minor character, even the most brief of witness. Three notable witnesses within the film are of very different men that lead New Orleans DA Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) onto the trail of a mysterious man Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones), who he eventually attempts to prosecute for the assassination of the president. All three are played by notable actors of the time, with two being potential distractions, but never as such due to the strengths of the work of the actors. The first being Jack Lemmon who appears as a low grade private eye Jack Martin who claims to have been pistol whipped by his partner, and former FBI man Guy Banister (Ed Asner) shortly after the JFK assassination. Lemmon's performance is a proper representation of the strength of the ensemble though through a specific type of approach. In one part Lemmon's natural presence offers a sense of who is Jack Martin is even beyond the small perspective we see him in. Lemmon brings the right bafflement and general awkward demeanor not only of perhaps a bit of sous, but even more so a man of no importance who is bearing witness to something very important. Lemmon's simple reaction in the flashback scenes are notable of a man completely out of his element if not a little scared. His essential scene though is his words to Garrison which Lemmon delivers so effectively in this paranoid, and hesitating delivery, not of an insane man, but rather coming to understand what he was indirectly part of. Lemmon's work vividly recalls these moments, but also importantly delivers this growing sense of dread through this witness.

Now a rather different witness though comes into play with Kevin Bacon Willie O'Keefe a male prostitute who Garrison visits in prison, and who also claims to be able to connect various men within the conspiracy. Again what is remarkable here is that what is offered in the character, and Bacon's performance is not just this bland slate there to deliver some important information. There is so much more there even though most of what he says is important for the plot. Bacon though fashions his own personal style as Willie brandishing a certain level of flamboyance fitting for such a man who openly brags about his life choices. The swagger that Bacon brings though is only a facet that naturally realizes the man who ostensibly wants to show off a bit towards the government men who have come to visit him. This is a bit different from the Willie Bacon plays in the flashbacks where he is more or less a "boy toy" for Clay Shaw. Bacon actually creates this minor, very subtle, arc within these scenes as we see him very much put up this overt pleasantries and lustful attitude in these interactions. He plays the man trying obviously just to please his John in a way, but there is more when the conversations turn towards the assassination/philosophy. In these moments Bacon effectively breaks that showing this very naive curiosity in his reactions of someone who really doesn't fully understand what he is listening to, but wants to be part of it. This in turn gives a logic towards his explanation for his motivations for coming forward not to expose the truth for justice, but rather to allow the world to know why Kennedy was killed in his mind. Bacon recites this speech as a true fervent zealot, but that of the simple student who believes he's learned something from his master.

Another performance in service of kicking off the case comes with John Candy as New Orleans lawyer Dean Andrews who claimed to have been hired by a man named Clay Bertrand to represent Lee Harvey Oswald. This casting is perfect actually in terms of Candy as Andrews, however it is very much out of the type of roles Candy typically played especially at that time in his career. It was a bit of a departure, but also a sad reminder of the under appreciation of the star's dramatic talents before his untimely death. This is a dramatic character role that Candy excels with in his two major scenes. The real Andrews had a style all his own, very much steeped in New Orleans, and Candy realizes this beautifully. He brings the right tempered style within his accent but his whole demeanor as sort of this southern dandy lawyer. Candy makes him properly a strange character though with a definite charisma who either might just be part of a vast conspiracy or just be willing to make up a phone call. Either way Candy is a proper "character" in the best sense of the word bringing to life such a strange sort of man, yet in a convincing fashion. Candy particularly excels with Andrews's somewhat more stylized dialogue. He does wonders with it first outlining it with this breeziness of a man just enjoying his own eccentricities until Garrison continues to pester him for more concrete information. There Candy brilliantly segues to bringing this serious emphasis by dropping just a bit of the more surface flamboyance. Candy conveys so effectively the severity of the real knowledge Andrews has in this shifting of tone, and reveals the man terrified for his own well being underneath all the false bravado. Candy proves his talent beyond what he knows for and this performance is another sad testament of the lack of appreciation for that talent while he was alive. Candy, Bacon and Lemmon, other than all being all named after delicious foods, show the strength of the ensemble. Not one of them has a lot of screentime yet in each they offer a distinct and memorable witness who live beyond the conspiracy, while also adding their own important contribution to the central thrust of that element of the film.
Michael Rooker did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying New Orleans Assistant District Attorney Bill Broussard in JFK.

Well changing gears a bit in terms of performances we have the very talented Michael Rooker who plays one of Garrison's team of investigators who are trying to make the case. The role of Bill is a composite character and is technically there to serve a purpose that actually feels expanded upon because of Rooker's performance. At first though Bill seems to be just one of the team working with the other members in an attempt to trying to unlock the secrets of the conspiracy. Rooker though is effective as such in essentially presenting a blunter aspect within these scenes who is not quite as squarely in line with Garrisons's thinking as the rest. Rooker's interactions and reactions say a lot more than just merely being part of the scenes. He firstly properly shows the genuine weight of certain moments to create the right sense of the investigators motivation from moment to moment as he tries to understand the plot himself. There is an overarching difference though where Bill is often a voice of dissent, and some would say reason, even in the early stages of the investigation such as even pointing out the lack of credibility of some of the witnesses he has found. Now this is key in Rooker's performance because there was a chance, particularly with Oliver Stone at the helm (though he's particularly on point as a director with this film), for a simplification of this character.

What I mean by that is the specific delivery of the objections, and points of reality brought on by Bill as the "devil's advocate" for many of the early scenes, even as he is shown still to be pretty dogged investigator. Rooker does not for a moment allow Bill to be some simple straw man by providing such straight forward quality within his delivery of his objections and concerns. Rooker doesn't show them as this perpetually naysayer, but rather provides the right substance of consideration just for the facts when he does so. He creates that right basic ability for doubt, but Rooker wisely portrays this as Bill just being less fervent in his belief in the conspiracy rather than in support for Garrison. Rooker creates the right dynamic as this force of dissent in the scenes of Garrison's group discussions. He offers the alternate viewpoint as this convincing perspective by making every initial frustration and reaction of disbelief as something wholly genuine. Rooker by taking this approach makes the pivotal choice in terms of Bill's transition as he is approached to essentially spy on Garrison lest his own law career be sacrificed. Rooker is great in this offer scene as he does not present as this the easy choice of a weasel. Rooker instead finds in the emotional intensity of the moment the right conflict as he speaks. He delivers the sense of a real unease with considering the offer as it mean betraying his boss, but also a frustration knowing that he doesn't want to sacrifice his own career for an investigation he doesn't fully believe in. Although it is a somewhat brief moment Rooker captures so effectively the conflict in Bill in that moment, and again offers more substance within the role than there may have been otherwise.

Bill stays on a spy however Rooker thankfully does not immediately become this villainous force. When espousing on his new discoveries though there is this slight half-hearted quality within Rooker's delivery that properly alludes to his state of mind. He also brings this when he is questioned about his devotion, where Rooker brings the right extreme snap back at any accusations that isn't over the top rather the expected reaction of a man with a guilty conscience. Rooker's best moment comes though as Bill launches into his own alternative theory that involves the mob rather than the entire U.S. government as Garrison proposes. Rooker is great in this scene though as he passionately advocates Bill's view in two frames of mind. One being a genuine passion towards the idea but also this unease towards accepting such a nihilistic view of the government. Rooker fashions another layer though even beyond that to show this certain desperation in his delivery not in terms of selling his idea, but rather towards Garrison's own safety. Rooker does not make it this selfish diversion, but rather shows some better side to Bill making the alternate conspiracy as much of a plea as anything else. Rooker in this way does not make Bill's turn this simple revelation of a bad guy in the wings. Rooker instead offers a real humanity in the changes by showing Bill painfully taking each step from the doubting Thomas before becoming the full blown Judas. It's a terrific performance as Rooker realizes this arc so well within essentially the margins of the film.
Joe Pesci did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying David Ferrie in JFK.

Joe Pesci plays one of the most pivotal roles in the film, technically as important as Jones's Clay Shaw, as one of the men alleged to be part of the cabal who helped to execute Kennedy's assassination. His first appearance though is when he is brought into Garrison's office, long before he begins his formal investigation, stemming from a vague clue about the man David Ferrie for having taken a trip to Dallas the day Kennedy was killed. Pesci in a way has a challenge from the outset with the rather, different, appearance of Dave Ferrie with eye brows of an odd sort, and his ill-fitting blonde wig. Pesci of course is more than up to the task being rather idiosyncratic himself. Pesci is a unique quantity as an actor, indispensable when it comes to comparison, as there is no one who can deliver what Pesci delivers quite like Pesci. This is essential for the role of Ferrie who is suppose to stick out like a sore thumb both in terms of appearance but also really everything about the man. Pesci doesn't just play into this but owns it with his New Orleans accent he uses to only amplify the jarring style of the man. Pesci makes Ferrie very much a man who not only might be part of an assassination plot, but also would probably be the easiest to identify due to his personal style which is anything other than subtle. This is clear from his first scene which Pesci is sheer perfection in every stumbled delivery, and nervous reaction, or false interaction, setting up as a man with clearly something to hide though just smart enough not to fully blurt it out.

After that scene though we see Ferrie in two distinct lenses though those of the past from the recollections of Garrison's witnesses, and the present with Garrison's few interactions with the man. In the flashback scenes we get quite a lot of classic Pesci in his realization of Dave Ferrie as the homosexual "bon vivant" and a military conspirator. Pesci portrays this in an interesting way as this mess of a man though in his mind yet somehow comforted within his place in his world. As the "bon vivant" Pesci actually elicits this overt comfort in the life projecting as a peacock showing Ferrie essentially where he seems most at home wholly being himself in the homosexual underground of New Orleans, rather than the awkward man we meet in Garrison's office. As the military conspirator Pesci is fantastic in delivery that trademark intensity of his of course in the moments of Ferrie going on his long flights of mental fancy that both take him towards killing Castro and eventually Kennedy. Pesci brings this extreme zealotry that he also plays with a certain intriguing duality. Pesci offers this clear conviction within his vicious words of anger and distress over being pulled from his anti-Castro efforts, but when it turns to Kennedy there is an even more obtuse quality Pesci infuses. It is this madness that Pesci finds of a man speaking words with a belief to be sure, but steeped in this insanity that suggests Ferrie doesn't even quite understand the full ramifications himself.

Those past scenes essentially are the seeds to the Ferrie we find in the present that Pesci gives us a proper paranoid mess when he contacts Garrison's men after their investigation, including his name, has leaked to the press. This leads to a stunning scene for Pesci's performance where he brings sort of that same visceral power to his work that was so remarkable in his Oscar winning performance, though translated here for a very different role and purpose. Pesci instead of using that for such an imposing figure, he instead brings that unpredictable violent energy in creating the extreme vulnerability of Ferrie in the moment. Everything about Pesci from his hastened tone of voice to his manic movements echo a man burdened by many things. We see the fear in his eyes in every reaction from every unknown that Pesci makes fitting to a man on the brink of some death, but within that we also have that burden of the past. Pesci creates this increased agitation within his physical portrayal of Ferrie as he begins seemingly to speak of his connection to the assassination. Pesci is astonishing in the way he captures this though as this stream of consciousness of a man neither healthy of body or mind. He constantly changes in these moments from second to second so naturally from moments seemingly of mania, to others of only of terror, and occasionally these wholly lucid moments that seem to reveal some of the secrets he holds. Pesci though always makes him the madness we saw before but amplified ten fold as he reveals the full weight of the assassination on Ferrie as he shows us a man struggling with both what he became a part of and his own actions. The most powerful moment of Pesci's incredible work though comes when Ferrie finally seems to come to calm with an instance of clarity. Pesci delivers this moment as Ferrie reflecting on his own guilt while seeming to look towards some other path he could have taken in his life. Pesci is downright heartbreaking in the moment by so quietly portraying this moment as this brief sobriety in an insane man, as he ponders on his desire to become a priest which never could have been. What makes the moment so poignant though is how naturally Pesci finds it through his vivid tragedy he creates of a man who essentially lost himself through the conspiracy.
Donald Sutherland did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying X in JFK.

Of all the figures in a film filled with mysterious figures the most elusive maybe Donald Sutherland's character who merely goes by the name of X. He differs though then the named of the mystery men as he is a deep state deep source ally to Garrison offering him his own insight on the assassination on one long walk around the grounds of Washington D.C. He is essentially the film's "Deep Throat" who is another real life figure unnamed in the film there to offer the most secret information however while refusing to offer himself as a witness for the investigation. The difference between Hal Holbrook's Deep Throat from All The President's Men and X, other than meeting in broad daylight, is that X delivers all of his information in a single scene. The scene one could argue and simplify as the biggest exposition dump of all time, however it never comes off as such due to the film's brilliant use of editing and Donald Sutherland's performance. Donald Sutherland's performance is explaining, a whole lot of explaining, but some of the most captivating talking one will witness in any film. X is essentially there to give a deeper insight into more a black ops perspective that Garrison is not privy to. This leads Sutherland to give a most fascinating performance on every front. First of all that great voice of his has never been better used as he rattles off detail after detail with such eloquent, and precise delivery.

I could frankly listen to Sutherland break down every single detail of the assassination by how well he phrases every single word. Sutherland brings more to the role than that, and I'm not just referring to his few flashback scenes where we get a more of the moment X as he reacts in confusion towards first being sent on a wild goose chase then later fear at discovering the assassination. Sutherland creates such varied demeanor that grants us a sense of X even as he never for a moment loses that dramatic thrust of his monologue that remain effortlessly compelling in his hands. There is a fascinating combination of tones that Sutherland realizes as this certain blithe quality within his work, suggesting properly a man long within the black ops, but somehow still the sense of severity of his words within this. Sutherland delivers this very controlled passion of a man adamant to let the right information out to Garrison while also still having just the right shred of indifference as though it is X's way of coping with the coup d'etat that he could do nothing to prevent. Sutherland brings this bluntness through this approach as both a man clearly concerned for what happened, but also with the sense to know there is very little he can do about what happened given the forces against him. Sutherland's work here is immaculate in not only just making every bit of exposition meaningful, but even still managing to make X more than a mere exposition machine. It is outstanding work from Sutherland as he leaves such an undeniable impression on the film in such short order. Sutherland again creates the sense of the greatness of this ensemble because he doesn't just serve his purpose within the film by making his scene fascinating, but also in turn makes X as fascinating as this mysterious presence within the film. His work creates a highlight within a film filled with highlights, and is one of Sutherland's best performances.

110 comments:

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your cast and director for a 80's Baby Driver?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Baby Driver 1980's directed by George Miller:

Baby: Tom Cruise
Doc: George C. Scott
Debora: Lea Thompson
Buddy: Chris Sarandon
Darling: Maria Conchita Alonso
Bats: Morgan Freeman

Anonymous said...

LOuis: your top 20 jeff daniels, kevin costner and jack lemmon acting moments

Omar Franini said...

Louis: your ratings and thoughts on Mercalf and Spacek? Your updated rating and thoughts on Costner?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Is Jones still a 4.5? Because he’s always been the weak link for me.

Charles H said...

Louis: Great set of reviews here, your cast for a 1960's version of this?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your rating and thoughts on Jay O Sanders in JFK, and your thoughts on Garrison's speech at Shaw's trial.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Brilliant review. :)

Calvin Law said...

I'm so happy Sutherland's a 5 now.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: He's got 4 now.

Mitchell Murray said...

Outstanding ensemble honestly, and it makes me wonder why of all these actors the academy ultimately favored Jones.

Thoughts and rating for Costner?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your ratings for Leslie Nielsen in the first two Naked Gun movies?

Calvin Law said...

I'll do a 2010s cast, directed by Keith Maitland:

Jim Garrison: Jeremy Renner
Willie O'Keefe: Alden Ehrenreich
Clay Shaw: Michael Shannon
Dean Andrews: Jason Segel
Jack Martin: Steve Buscemi
Bill Broussard: Jimmi Simpson
Susie Cox: Sarah Gadon
David Ferrie: Bob Odenkirk
X: Willem Dafoe
Lee Harvey Oswald: Glenn Howerton
Liz Garrison: Naomi Watts

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Have you watched The Best Intentions.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the cinematography of Mississippi Burning and The Truman Show.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the cinematography and score of Barton Fink.

Bryan L said...

I'd like to a crack at a 2010s version as well.

Directed by David Fincher

Jim Garrison: Ethan Hawke
Willie O'Keefe: Chris Pine
Clay Shaw: Thomas Jane
Dean Andrews: Jack Black (In Bernie mode)
Jack Martin: John Lithgow
Bill Broussard: Patrick Wilson
Susie Cox: Rose Byrne
David Ferrie: Yes Odenkirk (Inspired choice btw)
X: James Woods
Lee Harvey Oswald: Jimmi Simpson
Liz Garrison: Yes Watts

Matt Mustin said...

For a 2010's JFK I would say Christopher Plummer as X.

Luke Higham said...

Matt: Plummer's way too old for the part.

Calvin Law said...

I reckon Plummer could still pull it off. Love the Black and Lithgow choices. Woods would fit the role but I always feel a bit weird when watching him take on political stuff.

Matt Mustin said...

Luke: How do you figure? He always seems to be pretty youthful despite his age, and I also don't really think age has much to do with the that part. I mean, Sutherland wasn't exactly young when he did it.

Luke Higham said...

Matt: Sutherland was 55 at the time and Prouty would've been late 40s, early 50s.

I've nothing against Plummer and I believe he would've been great in an 80s version or second choice for 91.

Matt Mustin said...

Luke: Okay, Richard Jenkins then. He's a bit older too, but he could probably pass for being in his 50's.

Bryan L said...

I actually think Kevin Bacon would work as X in a 2010s version.

Calvin Law said...

Sutherland always seemed about a decade older than he actually was.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top 20 best shot films of the 60's.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Daniels:

1. "Yeah" - Gettysburg
2. Speech to the "deserters" - Gettysburg
3. Leading the charge - Gettysburg
4. Pit of the battle - Gettysburg
5. 2nd Act argument with Steve - Steve Jobs
6. Tom loses out - The Purple Rose of Cairo
7. A few words with the general - Gettysburg
8. Final talk with his wife - Terms of Endearment
9. Final embrace - Gettysburg
10. Ex Lax indeed - Dumb and Dumber
11. Speaking to Killrain before the battle - Gettysburg
12. Leg on Fire - Dumb and Dumber
13. Gil shows up - The Purple Rose of Cairo
14. Persuasion - Looper
15. Final confrontation - Something Wild
16. Awkward moment between brothers - Gettysburg
17. "You completely redeem yourself" - Dumb and Dumber
18. First Battle - Gods and Generals
19. Words of advice - The Lookout
20. Initial Press Conference - The Martian

Note: Squid and the Whale is about the consistency of the approach.

Costner:

1. Final Speech - JFK
2. Tying up the family - A Perfect World
3. Through the looking glass - JFK
4. That's not a threat - A Perfect World
5. Ending - Field of Dreams
6. Fight with Terry - The Upside of Anger
7. Things I believe in - Bull Durham
8. Tentative Goodbye - Open Range
9. The Sting - JFK
10. Initial "courtship" - Upside of Anger
11. Initial escape - A Perfect World
12. Just before the shootout - Open Range
13. No separate bathrooms - Hidden Figures
14. Demanding decency - Bull Durham
15. Meeting X - JFK
16. Connecting with the boy - A Perfect World
17. Bill's Blowup - JFK
18. Recommendations to Nuke - Bull Durham
19. Some final requests - A Perfect World
20. Questioning Shaw - JFK

Lemmon:

1. Random call to his wife - Save the Tiger
2. Greenhouse breakdown - The Days of Wine and Roses
3. House visit - Glengarry Glen Ross
4. Failed speech - Save the Tiger
5. Final plea - Glengarry Glen Ross
6. Naming dead people - Save the Tiger
7. Making all the arrangements - The Apartment
8. Playing off Roma - Glengarry Glen Ross
9. Asylum - The Days of Wine and Roses
10. It's not your son - 12 Angry Men
11. Final Letter - Mister Roberts
12. Ending - The China Syndrome
13. Punch to the face - The Apartment
14. Dealing with the heart attack - Save the Tiger
15. Ending - The Days of Wine and Roses
16. The beach - Save the Tiger
17. Opening dissent - 12 Angry Men
18. Offer for the leads - Glengarry Glen Ross
19. Confession - Short Cuts
20. Meeting the arsonist - Save the Tiger

Omar:

Metcalf - 3.5(I'd put her around the same place as Wayne Knight in terms of the more unassuming part of Garrison's crew though they still add nicely to their scenes. Metcalf does well with her accent, and just grants the right dogged demeanor towards his portrayal of both her specific exposition as it relates to the conspiracy as well as her attitude in the arguments with Bill. I honestly would not have minded a bit more of her, but she does well within the limitations of her part.)

Spacek - 4(Watching the film again actually made me appreciate her work more. She very much has a thankless role as the housewife of the 60's who is very much comfortable in being in that role. Spacek however manages to find ways within that limitation to still make an impact by making every one of her character's objections come so honestly from her performance. Thinking about it if it was anyone other than Spacek the role could have been truly detrimental to the film however the always authentic Spacek garners the needed credibility to her scenes and her part.)

Louis Morgan said...

Costner - 4.5(I will stand by that he begins terribly. His "Oh No" at hearing of the assassination sounds more like Jay O. Sanders told him Dunkin Donuts just ran out of crawlers than the president's been shot. After that scene and the one of him reacting to the death of Kennedy, which is also underwhelming, he's completely on point the rest of his performance. For the film's format he makes the right choice in very much giving a old Hollywood leading turn not unlike say how Jimmy Stewart would play the part of Garrison. He delivers the strong presence that manages to be striking both as he speaks and when he listens. He's terrific in every moment of the investigation by showing the way Garrison takes in every fact, and creates the right sense of urgency, paranoia, but also conviction in these reactions. His final scenes though are what makes up wholly for his first two scenes. His delivery of the final series of monologues is absolutely flawless, which I'll get to more down below.)

Robert:

I lowered him to a 4, which is more fitting towards my original thoughts on him. I don't dislike Jones's odd step out of his range in this instance, however even so I would put him in the lower echelon of the ensemble.

Charles:

Jim Garrison: Charlton Heston
Willie O'Keefe: Stephen Boyd
Clay Shaw: Gregory Peck
Dave Ferrie: Eli Wallach
Susie Cox: Lee Grant
Lee Harvey Oswald: Dennis Hopper
Lou Ivon: George Kennedy
Liz Garrison: Ava Gardner
Jack Martin: Edmond O'Brien
Guy Banister: Burl Ives
Dean Andrews: Jackie Gleason
X: John Carradine

Tahmeed:

Sanders - 4(By the way Sanders really needs to play David Harbour's father in something, doesn't he? Any who this is very good performance though as he makes the most impact out of the devoted Garrison investigators, though having a dissenting moment himself. Sanders brings the right conviction, and incisiveness in his delivery though but also with this certain distance as though the man is always trying to wholly figures things himself. He underwrites this all though with the right modest, yet still palatable, passion that he naturally brings out in the confrontation moments with both Bill and Garrison.)

Garrison's speech is utter perfection as performed by Costner, and really as written by Stone I will say. Garrison nails the speech so well though and manages through emotional approach hide Stone's more overt fourth wall breaking purpose. The reason being he makes it so of the moment and still within the character by actually having been affected by the speech himself by saying it. The passion he brings to the moment is just so genuine and wholly moving as he performs less as a call to arms, and more of adherence to convictions that earns even that semi-fourth wall break at the very end of it. Garrison brings an absolute truth to the words by connecting every statement with an absolute emotional truth first.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

4 and 3.5. Though haven't seen either in quite awhile.

Luke:

Yes.

Anonymous:

I will say Mississippi Burning is the cinematography Oscar win of a pretty weak year in the category. The reason I didn't add a background shot for that year was I couldn't find a shot I really loved. It is not as though the films of the year were poorly shot, but no film seemed shot in a way that truly stood out. This perhaps explains Peter Biziou's win, who isn't a notable cinematographer, for mostly just serviceable work in Mississippi Burning. The framing, composition and lighting is all just okay. It does its job but it doesn't add anything beyond just having a generally competent look about it. The lighting does its job, nothing more, the framing and composition does its job, sometimes less, a few shots are a little awkward in that sense. It is not a bad looking film, but it also just looks....okay.

The Truman Show is actually a strange combination with perhaps a more naturally visually distinct filmmaker in Peter Weir combined with Biziou who just is a serviceable cinematographer. It is a clear step down from Weir's other work like Gallipoli and Master and Commander where he was paired with Russell Boyd. There seems something missing in this collaboration as you can see him great visual ideas by Weir throughout in terms of using the different Truman cams, the false world imagery, or the phony TV moments. All of this though you can see in conception yet the execution by Biziou is never all that notable. There are good shots, but some of the ideas seem like they should have resulted in a greater end visually. I mean just imagine the same ideas but with Roger Deakins or Russell Boyd at the helm. Weir's direction is far more than serviceable however Biziou only delivers a near minimum from that.

Anonymous:

Barton Fink's cinematography is an example of a low key beautifully shot film, and of course great work that is to be expected from Roger Deakins. Deakins uses a palette and lighting that creates this subdued vibrancy in the film that successfully makes the film look wonderful while still having the right drab and alienating qualities where needed. On the other hand it also allows for the right bits of overt beauty when needed such as in the case of the final shot seen somewhere to the right and left of this very post. It creates that proper centered aesthetic then plays with it beautifully whether it be a moment like that, or the lighting in the final "Charlie" sequence that delivers the proper heat and intensity of hellfire. Of course that even is only part of it as the camera has the right life of its own offering that voyeuristic movement that adds so much towards the hotel scenes as though the hotel itself is living and watching Barton. Now outside of those scenes Barton himself is framed so perfectly, as everything is honestly, as often the isolated distant man who is only intimate from the viewer's perspective.

The score is equally low key, which isn't used too often, yet also incredible work by Carter Burwell in offering mostly atmospheric music for under lacing of scenes. It doesn't derive intention onto itself, behind the writing montage honestly which is a quiet yet so very poignant melody. The score though works perfectly within the film with Burwell choosing such understated instrumentation and choices that properly amplify the film without every bringing a direct attention to itself. It's very modest work yet just feels wholly right for the film.

Anonymous:

1. Once Upon a Time in the West
2. Lawrence of Arabia
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey
4. The Sword of Doom
5. In Cold Blood
6. Hud
7. The Good The Bad and The Ugly
8. Peeping Tom
9. Yojimbo
10. The Innocents
11. Harakiri
12. A Fistful of Dollars
13. Le Samourai
14. Doctor Zhivago
15. Persona
16. Psycho
17. For a Few Dollars More
18. Doctor Strangelove
19. Bonnie and Clyde
20. Spartacus

Calvin Law said...

I have nitpicks with the latest Westworld episode, namely the pacing that I felt might have undercut a few of the emotional bits too much, but overall it was strong. Need some time to think.

Louis Morgan said...

Eh sadly I feel they lost their way with William's story and took an illogical leap that they weren't really properly building towards the rest of the season despite Harris's best efforts to sell it. Although I did like the Ford/Maeve scene, and thought Marsden was great in his somewhat brief scenes. Overall I thought the episode was bit messy, hopefully they can salvage it in the finale.

Charles H said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the Opening of Kagemusha

Robert MacFarlane said...

My thoughts on tonight's Westworld more or less echo Louis's. It's pretty jarring going from their strongest episode last week to probably their weakest this week. I did love Marsden's work in it, and Harris acquitted himself damn well in spite of the material he was given. Also, if they're doing what I think they are next week with a certain smarmy ex-prince of Narnia, color me intrigued.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I think this episode justified my own gut feeling that they should have killed William at the end of Season 1.

Anonymous said...

What do you guys think of the performances of Katja Herbers and Sela Ward? (Westworld)

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I am very glad that Michael Lerner is now a 4.5 :)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on The Best Intentions and the cast.

Calvin Law said...

Ward was fine, Herbers was great. I'm probably one of the more positive ones on here about the episode, flawed but it did hit me pretty hard at points. Hopkins or Marsden would be my MVP although Jeffrey Wright had my favourite moment.

Agree with Robert on next week, looks nuts.

Calvin Law said...

I do agree that the drop in quality was very noticeable. Hope Akecheta is back soon.

Bryan L said...

Tahmeed: I'm also glad that Raul Julia is now a 4.5 for The Addams family :D

Louis: Your 2010s cast and director for JFK?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the editing of JFK. For me, it's easily one of the ten best edited films ever.

Anonymous said...

Louis: While I'm not sure if this is true, Michael Wincott was considered for Bacon's role. Jeff Goldblum was considered for Pesci's role while for Candy's, John Goodman. How do you think the three would have fared in those respective roles?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Back in 2011, John Carpenter was planning to make a "Gothic western" with Amy Adams in the main role. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Benicio Del Toro as an actor. And how would you rank the Best Actor winners this decade?

And top ten acting moments of the careers of Monty Clift, Al Pacino and Casey Affleck?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: I'm pretty sure he's already posted their top 10 acting moments.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Who would've been your preferred choice for Clay Shaw/Bertrand.

Calvin Law said...

I'd go for James Caan.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the Welcome to Jurassic Park scene.

RatedRStar said...

What does everyone reckon to the new John Cho thriller "Searching" trailer? its got 100% percent on RT, looks quite interesting as far as mystery films go.

Charles H said...

RatedRstar: I think the film has an average mystery film story, but the way it's filmed looks very intriguing & out of the ordinary. I got a lot of hope in Cho since he looks promising in the lead role. I always thought he had talent.

Calvin Law said...

If an American/British film has an Asian lead, I'm 100% going to see it no matter what. Having said that I think it looks somewhat promising, but not great.

Anonymous said...

Louis: your thoughts on all the execution scenes in the green mile

Louis Morgan said...

Charles:

A brilliant opening not only in terms of so effectively setting up what will be the story of the film, but more than anything that fascinating visual of the Lord and his doppelgangers.

Luke:

I certainly could sense Bergman in the writing, obviously from the story itself, however I never thought the mini-series truly excelled beyond a certain point as it lacked his directorial spark. August's direction is not bad however it is a touch straight forward, and perhaps too clinical at times given the emotional nature of the story. The strength of the writing though does manage to make up for that with some great individual scenes however I don't think it quite earned its run time. It's an interesting, and often effective mini-series but when compared to say the similarly themed "Scenes From a Marriage" it is perhaps just a little underwhelming.

Froler - (His performance is a bit thankless given he plays such a quiet and staid character. Froler does well enough in terms of realizing this type of man in a straight forward way though with at least enough of a charm somewhere in there to make the central relationship convincing. This role though is quite a challenge, and his performance only goes so far. He doesn't make Henrik all that compelling, perhaps that is the point partially, however it is possible to do more within such limits which Froler just doesn't find. His best scenes are his more overt ones, such as his big fight of the marriage ceremony with August, however his "standard" scenes are just that in Froler hands. Not a bad performance, but far from a great one.)

August - (August, along with the script, is the strongest aspect of the series. Her performance is brilliant in terms of encompassing so much in terms of every conflict and every transition within the story. She manages to embody every moment within her work and does so beautifully. In that she manages to find an inherit charm and inherit likability, but also still finds flaws within the character as a natural facet of her as well. The moments where she falls into her family's thinking towards Henrik are particularly well realized as August portrays them as this specific learned reaction that almost becomes instinctual. She balances though by creating this sense of a strong willed spirit within that which she uses a specific consistency to make the central relationship in particular convincing. She excels most in terms of crafting every relationship in the film whether it be with her husband, her mother, her father, her children, or their foundling. Each relationship August offers an additional complexity by creating such a rich history in creating the sometimes subtle, sometimes bigger differences in terms of her interactions with every person. August's performance wholly realizes that as well as the journey of life in a way by creating the changes of every step in her life created by the relationship so vividly, and so powerfully. It is beautiful work that evokes the best Bergman leads.)

Louis Morgan said...

von Sydow - (von Sydow is good as usual, and one of the better parts of the series even though he sadly isn't in it all that much. von Sydow brings his typical low key gravitas though here that works so well as the patriarch and von Sydow excels in creating the right sense of warmth in his scenes with August, but also this powerful sense of wisdom within the old boy. von Sydow is very subdued yet excels in the slight variations within the character that create some of the more poignant moments within the series, and found it unfortunate that he exits as quickly as he does.)

Norby - (Very much in the type as the somewhat shallow, and somewhat passive aggressive mother/mother-law. Norby does well though quite well though in just how effectively she makes her more negative qualities so covertly within her work. Her delivery never oversells it but rather crafts this natural cruelty in a way, but also she very much within this never simplifies it. Her portrayal manages to create the moments of concern towards the relationship that she shows to be in part truly genuine even if somewhat based in a certain degree of vapidness.)

One of the great representations of "movie magic" in the best sense of the word, and one of Spielberg's great moments as a director in how he conducts the scene. From first showing the reactions, that are worthy of what we see in the effects, that used so sparingly yet so brilliantly, to create a true wonder amplified beautifully by Williams's great score, and Attenborough's so poignantly optimistic performance.

Well I don't feel Jones needed to be replaced, but I think Robert Forster would've been great casting for Shaw.

Bryan:

JFK 2010's directed by Bennett Miller:

Jim Garrison: Patrick Wilson
Willie O'Keefe: Robert Pattinson
Clay Shaw: James Spader
David Ferrie: David O'Hara
Susie Cox: Linda Cardellini
Lou Ivon: David Harbour
Numa Bertel: Josh Gad
Bill Broussard: Giovanni Ribisi
Liz Garrison: Elizabeth Banks
Jack Martin: Jeffrey DeMunn
Dean Andrews: I'll concur on Black
Guy Banister: Jonathan Banks
Senator Long: Stacy Keach
Jack Ruby: Dean Norris
Lee Harvey Oswald: Ben Foster
Fake Oswald: Daniel Webber
X: Yeah Dafoe, alternate Billy Bob Thornton

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

Agreed. The editing simply is flawless on every front. Whether that be the overall effect it that so perfectly paces the over 3 hour film to make it feel as though it flies by, or just in terms of a given scenes of always capturing the needed dramatic intention or tension. The main facet though is its daring, and wholly brilliant faux documentary style, as though the film itself is this living document that shows us its references as it plays. It not only grants that style, which so effortlessly changes between the dramatic, the real documentary footage, and the created footage, but it also creates such a dynamic flow within the film. It creates such a sense of paranoia, and fascination to every scene, and not a single quick cut is wasted, since it also knows when to maintain focus or when to pull one of its "citations". Phenomenal work on every front.

Anonymous:

Wincott I think would have been great, but would have made for a very different Willie. I have no idea what Goldblum would've done, but it potentially could have been something special. Goodman I'm sure would've been good, but I'm glad Candy got the role.

Anonymous:

Popular perspective is that Carpenter has lost his touch, so as strange and weirdly intriguing of a concept it is, it would be hard to put much faith in such a project.

Anonymous:

You know Del Toro is honestly an actor I don't quite know what to make of. In that I'd kind of describe him as "random" actor in that you never know what you're going to get from him which is both a good thing and a bad thing. He gives very idiosyncratic turns, but they don't always work out. He definitely has quite the range, and can pull off great performances, in a way distinctly his own, yet can just as easily turn in an underwhelming turn, though usually not forgettable. Honestly he feels very similair to Sean Penn in a way, though I think Del Toro is far more consistent, however he feels the same way in being this unwieldy ball of talent who is going to do his own thing, which sometimes works sometimes does not.

1. Daniel Day-Lewis
2. Jean Dujardin
3. Matthew McConaughey
4. Casey Affleck
5. Leonardo DiCaprio
6. Gary Oldman
7. Eddie Redmayne
8. Colin Firth

Anonymous said...

Louis: While I haven't seen Annihilation yet, I came across a message board where a member said that to him, it felt like a Cronenberg movie. Think that if Cronenberg had written and directed it, it could have been possibly great?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Well Cronenberg is the high water mark when it comes to body horror, which Annihilation is more than a few cuts below.

To answer your question 80's Cronenberg, yes, 90's/00's Cronenberg maybe, 10's Cronenberg, probably not.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Three distinct scenes to be sure, and three of the best scenes in the film. In that you get the low key realism in the first execution, painful however to the point, a tragedy, but also an acceptance of fate in how straight forward it is. The second is pure King horror, and wholly terrifying in showing old sparky unimpeded by even the slightest bit of mercy. The third being the purest tragedy and is downright heartbreaking through the time taken in showing Coffey's childlike way of facing it, and to show the way every man on the crew has their heart torn out from it.

Anonymous said...

Louis: our top 10 Michael J. Fox acting moments

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your updated top twenty Donald Sutherland acting moments.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the production design of Blade Runner 2049. Ever since I watched the film, the production design really resonated with me.

Bryan L said...

Anonymous: He gave them when the nominations were announced. Here ya go :)

http://actoroscar.blogspot.com/2018/01/best-supporting-actor-2017-results.html

Anonymous said...

Bryan L: I don't see his thoughts in that page.

Luke Higham said...

Blade Runner 2049's work here is unparalleled, and that's saying a great deal with what's the runner up. Every set though has such a richness to it, whether it be the downright stunning Wallace's sets, or the down and dirty city ones. They are either beautiful in the most perfect way, or ugly in the best of ways. Not a single set honestly is wasted as they will speak something to the scene or the characters in the scene. Among the best I've seen in any film quite frankly.

They were on the lineup page, not the results.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: your top 10 Charlie Day, and Glenn Howerton acting moments.

Bryan L said...

Anonymous: My mistake. I get crossed up with Results and Lineup pages for some reason :/

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Why do you think Clue had such a mixed critical reception when it was first released?

Bryan L said...

Louis: Your present film roles for William Holden? And would he be a good fit for Tony Stark/Iron Man, assuming he first played the part in 1958? He seemed to have the right sensibility for it.

Bryan L said...

Iron Man in the 60s, I mean

Bryan L said...

2010s Top Gun, directed by Joseph Kosinski

Maverick- Alden Ehrenreich
Charlie- Teresa Palmer
Iceman- Jack Reynor
Goose- Nicholas Hoult
Viper- Kevin Bacon

Calvin Law said...

Reynor as Iceman is too perfect.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Fox:

1. Recounting the killing - Casualties of War
2. "Earth Angel" - Back to the Future
3. "I told everyone, and they don't care" - Casualties of War
4. Bad Seduction - Back to the Future
5. "Go to hell.....sir" - Casualties of War
6. Meeting George in the past - Back to the Future
7. Refusing to participate - Casualties of War
8. Johnny B. Goode - Back to the Future
9. Death - Casualties of War
10. Goodbye to Doc - Back to the Future

Tahmeed:

Sutherland:

1. "Do you love me" - Ordinary People
2. Breaking it all down - JFK
3. The New Information - Citizen X
4. Seeing the Inspector - Don't Look Now
5. Ending - Ordinary People
6. Ousting Bondarchuk - Citizen X
7. Wrong rain coat - Don't Look Now
8. Elizabeth falls asleep - Invasion of the Body Snatchers
9. Golf Course - Ordinary People
10. Opening - Don't Look Now
11. Trying to Explain how the game is played - Citizen X
12. Homer is pushed too much - Day of the Locust
13. Ending - Invasion of the Body Snatchers
14. Pictures - Ordinary People
15. Oddball takes a break - Kelly's Heroes
16. Breakdown - A Dry White Season
17. Reacting to the boy's "death" - Trust
18. Seeing a suspicious funeral - Don't Look Now
19. Remembering - Ordinary People
20. "You're banned from this historical society, you and your children, and your children's children....for three months" - The Simpsons

That's a good question. For a simple answer I will say I do think the film plays better with the three endings together rather than separately, which might have contributed a little bit. Past that it is a bit of a head scratcher, perhaps just a bit with a stuffiness towards a film based on a board game, but with a broad comedy it is hard to say for sure. I mean I find it hilarious, and rarely do I come across someone who does not. Although even if you look at it more objectively it is easier to argue for it, than say Murder By Death which goes for a similair film yet isn't nearly as successful both in terms of the humor, but also in terms of development of the plot and its themes. Sometimes there is just a disconnect though, as sometimes you also come across a film that critically revered when it came out that is equally worthy of head scratchy when watching it.

Calvin:

Day:

1. Mail Conspiracy
2. Charlie's Life Song
3. Day Man Reborn/Proposal
4. Attacking Santa Clause
5. Dance Master
6. Hearing of his birth
7. Evil Charlie
8. Bird Law
9. A True Wild Card
10. Spider Song

Howerton:

1. Breaking down the D.E.N.N.I.S
2. The Implication
3. "Ever been in a storm Wally?"
4. Blank Stare
5. Dennis's Tools
6. Deciding to change
7. "Accidental" predator
8. A glass Box
9. "I'm not allowed to eat it with the skin"
10. 80's Ski Villain

Bryan:

Jack Healy
Simon (The Gift)
Sheriff Hunt (Bone Tomahawk)

And yes.

Bryan L said...

Calvin: Thanks. I first thought of Jack O'Connell for Maverick, but I don't think he has that "brash young American" look required for the part.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top 10 director/cinematographer collaborations.

Calvin Law said...

Surprised for Dennis that 'A starter car' (my favourite moment of his), 'NEWS FLASH ASSHOLE', and his initial pitch to Fatty Magoo don't make the list, and in 'The Gang Tend Bar' I actually thought Howerton's performance at the end was surprisingly moving. Guess it was a hard top 10 to make.

Agree that Pepe Silvia is Charlie's finest moment.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

1. Coens/Roger Deakins
2. Powell&Pressburger/Jack Cardiff
3. Kurosawa/Asakazu Nakai
4. PTA/Robert Elswit
5. Ingmar Bergman/Sven Nykvist
6. Bernardo Bertolucci/Vittorio Storaro
7. Sergio Leone/Tonino Delli Colli
8. David Lean/ Freddie Young
9. Alfred Hitchcock/Robert Burks
10. Kenji Mizoguchi/Kazuo Miyagawa

Villeneuve/Deakins will probably soon make this list.

Calvin:

Well I can't argue with you that those are great moments since honestly I could do an easy top 50 for Howerton in terms of moments I love from him.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the voice of David Lynch.

Bryan L said...

Louis: And the voice of Martin Scorsese? (I was going to ask about Lynch as well.)

Matt Mustin said...

I saw Isle of Dogs and absolutely loved it. Might be my favourite of the year so far.

Cranston-4
Norton, Balaban, Murray and Golblum-3.5
Gerwig-2.5
McDormand-3
Johansson-3
Keitel-3.5
Abraham and Swinton-3
Schreiber-4
Vance-3.5

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top 10 Hugo Weaving acting moments?

Alex Marqués said...

Wow, the new Gotti movie became a meme quite fast.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Not sure if you gave them before, but could I have your thoughts on Rob McElhenney's work in It's Always Sunny?

Mitchell Murray said...

Anyone have thoughts on the trailers for Welcome to Marwen and Creed II?

For the former, I'm very concerned about the tone Zemeckis is going for, since he's never been a director who could blend comedy and drama especially well. I hope Carell delivers, though, because he looks promising.

For the latter, it will be difficult to live up to the first Creed entirely, and to find new beats within either Rocky or Adonis. Its a different director as well which seems even more debatable, though I'm confident that Jordan and Stallone will be good once again.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Who would you cast in an Ingmar Bergman biopic. Going by a photo in his younger days, I'd choose Andrew Garfield and Ben Kingsley for the older Bergman.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your top ten favorite screenwriters, and your thoughts on Aaron Sorkin and Charlie Kaufman as screenwriters.

Bryan L said...

Tahmeed: Here ya go :)

http://actoroscar.blogspot.com/2016/09/alternate-best-supporting-actor-2011_9.html

Calvin Law said...

Welcome to Marwen looks pretty promising. Creed 2 looks perhaps a bit too similar to Creed, but then again that's how all Rocky films are and I love 'em all, just don't pull a Tommy on us Donnie.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed that Louis is starting to like Jennifer Lawrence less and less as an actress. I kinda expected it to happen.

Mitchell Murray said...

Anonymous: I'm guessing that's because Lawrence herself seems far less inspired in her recent performances, or perhaps is choosing roles that don't play to her strengths ala Winter's Bone.

Calvin Law said...

I don't think she's choosing the best roles, but I still like Lawrence a great deal as an actress. Wouldn't say it's a rut either, they're just not to my liking.

Bryan L said...

Mitchell: I think it's a case of both actually, since now it seems like she couldn't care less about X-Men (although she is in the upcoming sequel) and that she was miscast in Joy. I did like her in mother! though.

Charles H said...

I'd agree that it's both. she has less enthusiasm in roles & her acting. I think she's been miscast a little recently but it's nothing she couldn't turn around fast.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Well Lynch's voice is something quite magical in a purely Lynchian way, in that it has the tenets of something that should be off-putting yet is instead so wonderfully obtuse. Plus his soft down home optimistic accent is such a strangely perfect subversion of expectation if one only were to have ever heard about Lynch's films.

Bryan:

I also love Scorsese's voice, he and Lynch are always a treat when they show up as actors partially because of their idiosyncratic voices. Scorsese's also being quite unique for a distinct voice as well though with sort of his "shaky" NY accent that actually you might describe as kind of a "gritty" Woody Allen, which strangely makes sense.

Anonymous:

Hold off Weaving, as I'm currently watching something that seems like it might have a few moments.

Tahmeed:

McElhenney - (I'll admit I can understand why he is sometimes seen as a bit of the Jerry Seinfeld of the group, in that very important creative force though perhaps doesn't have the greatest range as an actor, I'd be a bit more generous though than that though in that he is more of a Larry David, in that yeah maybe he doesn't have a great range, but what he does is PERFECT for Mac. Perfect for Mac in particular to how Mac is used within in the series as the more over eager presence possible with a ridiculous amount of unearned bravado. McElhenney's over eagerness is exactly what the role needs and is very entertaining by essentially staying within that certain range of a constant excitement as well as that pointless assurance. What really works best about this is his "straighter" performance (no Mac joke intended) works well as this constant against Howerton's technically far more dynamic work. McElhenney probably goes off the fewest limbs performance wise however for me his more "consistent" work is a nice stabilizer of sorts, although notable for this show since Mac is anything but.)

Favorite Screenwriters (To make it more interesting I only listed if they are primarily known for screenwriting or else the list would be all auteurs. Also didn't include writing partners of said auteurs.)

1. Horton Foote
2. William Goldman
3. Paddy Chayefsky
4. Ernest Lehman
5. Robert Towne
6. Robert Bolt
7. Steven Zaillian
8. Charlie Kaufman
9. Aaron Sorkin
10. David Webb Peoples

Also addendum to my Kaufman thoughts that the "director" may not be required given his success with Synecdoche, New York.

Luke:

Well if we were going for a "western" treatment then yeah Garfield for the young, and maybe Christoph Waltz for the old.

Mitchell:

Yeah I'm hoping for the best with Welcome to Marwen, but if it goes wrong I have a feeling it is going to go very wrong. Although I would argue Zemeckis has proven adept at bringing drama within comedy, e.g. Back to the Future, however this looks more like comedy within drama. I'm quite unsure about the trailer, as I'm all for a successful Capra style picture, but that's a hard trick to pull off which Zemeckis looks like he is going for.

I'll concur with Calvin on Creed II. It looks very much like the Rocky 2 of Creeds, which hey I like Rocky 2, but it also means it looks like it could be good however probably not great.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: If you've seen it, could I have your thoughts on A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Louis: I wasn't expecting Horton Foote to take the number 1 spot. Does that mean that you prefer the screenplay of TKAM to LOA's? Or do you prefer LOA's screenplay?

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

I have, love it a true Christmas classic in the best sense of the word, and the best Peanuts related material one will fine. It is pretty simple yet in a very wonderful way with just quietly yet sweetly it tells its simple morality tale of the true of meaning Christmas. Supplemented well by some nice unassuming animation, and great unassuming score filled with great original pieces as well as some memorable arrangements.

Anonymous:

No, however Lawrence of Arabia was also in part written by Michael Wilson, however (again) this results in the problem with looking at the career of any non-director screenwriter where so much of their work can be re-written at any stage, or so much of their work can go unaccredited, which in turn makes sense why most screenwriters try to become directors to get more control in both in terms of ensuring their work will be used, and will be used properly.

Anonymous said...

Louis: How would you rank the 1962 Adapted Screenplay nominees (except for David and Lisa)?

Bryan L said...

Louis: Do you think Widows has the chance to be this year's Drive? The premise of the film sounds like it has a fairly standard revenge plot, but the execution, judging from the trailer, could be something unique.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

1. Lawrence of Arabia
2. To Kill a Mockingbird
3. Lolita
4. The Miracle Worker

All very good if not great.

Bryan:

Short answer yes, perhaps a more concise plot will bring the best out of McQueen as it did for Refn.

Mitchell Murray said...

This may have been asked and answered before, but what's everyone's thoughts on the review channel "What the Flick"?

Emi Grant said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the scores of Battle Of The Sexes, Moon and Darkest Hour?

Mitchell: I'm more of a Chris Stuckmann guy, to be honest.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the cinematography of A Place in the Sun and Giant.

Bryan L said...

Louis: It's a bit of a surprise (though a welcome one) that he decided to direct a more "popcorn flick" as his next film, considering the topics that his previous films covered of course.

Anonymous said...

Louis: In their reflection upon Oldman’s performance as George Smiley compared to Guinness, one reviewer noted: “By contrast [with Guinness], Oldman's Smiley is virtually blank for most of the film. His frog-mouth, half-open or clamped shut, remains impassive. Guinness lets us into Smiley's mind as he interrogates his targets, but Oldman's most marked reactions are brow-wrinkling concentration and puzzlement. The high point, George's discovery of Ann's disloyalty, elicits only a gasp and a gape (and a pushing up of the glasses). As usual, even that reaction is muffled a bit, this time by the profile angle.”

They further remarked:

“Guinness's Smiley isn't hard to read, once you tune to his high, narrow frequency, but Oldman's Smiley is a sphinx...”

So I guess what I’m asking you is this, what performance was more successful in portraying Smiley’s individual manner; Oldman or Guinness?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Mark Strong has been rumoured to star in Bond 25, your thoughts on this. Considering how close he and Craig are as friends, I would like to see Strong play something similar to Alec Trevelyan but with more of an emotional undercurrent.

Luke Higham said...

Tahmeed: Don't cry for three, Argentina. :) Feel bad for Messi.

Charles H said...

Japan might be an interesting underdog this world cup.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Luke: Not gonna lie, watching that game was painful. It's a damn shame that Messi's going out in the group stage of his last World Cup.

Louis Morgan said...

Emi Grant:

Battle of the Sexes - (Although I hadn't thought about it much after watching film this is actually a pretty good score. Melodically it actually for kind of a triumphant, invigorating tempo and style in his melody however adjusted towards a much more modest style. The instrumentation is all downplayed with quieter choices in each facet of the score fitting together with the nature of the central story rather well.)

Moon - (As to be expected by Mansell it is an interesting blend as he goes for sort of an atmospheric yet still melodic score. Overall it uses sort of the colder sci-fi template that has been established at least since Alien, here though fashioned a little differently to be a bit more upbeat if still alienating (if you'll pardon the pun) through its combination of that more hollow sound in its instrumentation however with a bit of "cheery" melodies in there almost to inspire a bit of hope within it all. This is cleverly built upon, then allowed to be more expressive towards the end making for a rather wonderful score that fits right in while also slightly subverting scores of its style.)

Darkest Hour - (The score, as used by Wright, but also with Wright's direction perhaps alludes to a flaw in the film in there never seems confidence in the material as written to play out without excessive touches being placed in and around every bit of dialogue. In turn the score is rather overt if not overbearing by Dario Marianelli at times with his full use of the orchestra at hand. Every piece sounds frankly more fitting of some great adventure film at times due to this. I will say if you look them wholly on their own there are certainly some nice pieces in there whether it be the sprightly meeting the King piece, or even the dynamic "Action Churchill" piece. I'd actually say the score has many good qualities within the actual compositions, even if it is a case of I don't love how it was actually implemented within the film.)

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

A Place in the Sun is excellent work from William C. Mellor as really a particularly notable example of 50's black and white pristine. The film is simply gorgeous to look at in that it very much beautifully fashions its "dreamy" style especially in the scenes of the two young lovers. It is still dynamic though in creating a "nightmare" of sorts through the lighting of grey when it comes to scenes with Winters. Mellor crafts a real emotionalism with the lighting in any given scene, in a rather subtle yet potent way in just the most seemingly minor of choices. That isn't even mentioning the framing and composition of the film which is simply immaculate in terms of crafting a particular vibrant look with a notable depth of focus that makes the most of its on location work.

Giant now is Mellor bringing that same appeal though now in the pristine style of the 60's color. That being that careful combination of capturing the grandiosity expected of the period, but also doing so well maintaining the right dynamic intimacy within shots. Neither is lost, and his lighting now also remarkable this time creating such a vibrancy within the literal use of colors this time. Although notable is the effective shift in the film in that his camerawork naturally becomes less grandiose as the characters become more "civilized" while also introducing more shadows essentially within the work to create the needed change in mood within the film.

Bryan:

Well prepare for a low Cinemascore, as though I do think this could be McQueen's most accessible film the trailer could give the general audience the wrong idea, as Drive also did.

Anonymous:

Well you'll have to let me know who this "their" is. I personally think Oldman and Guinness are equally effective with consideration for the limitations set upon Oldman working with a whole lot less screentime. He equally effectively crafts his own Smiley though but from a different starting point. I have always felt Guinness portrays Smiley as the man he is, which is a carefully guarded man yet that is the man he is. Oldman though portrays Smiley as very emotional man who has crafted a facade as needed for the world he lives in. Both different approaches yet both wholly realize the man brilliantly.

Luke:

I'd actually prefer him not to be the main villain(unless it is indeed a more complicated sort), but I certainly wouldn't mind seeing Strong show up in some way.