Monday, 2 July 2018

Alternate Best Actor 1938: Raimu in The Baker's Wife

Raimu did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying the Aimable, the baker in The Baker's Wife.

The Baker's Wife is an enjoyable film about the fallout of a small town when the town's baker's wife runs off with another man.

Raimu stands as one of the character's indirectly, though the actual wife of the baker is a rarely seen character given her disappearance relatively early on in the film. Raimu's performance here is a rather interesting one in that he is almost playing the part, initially, as what would be a side character within the film. Of course here he is the main character, or at the very least the core character within the film. Raimu though initially very much paints Aimable as the baker you are suppose to laugh at a little bit. This is not within playing too overtly, or without sympathy, but just granting his role this certain inherent joviality. Raimu exudes a natural energy of just a more simple man initially who is living out his life as he should be as this town baker, and with a cheerfulness towards his wife, even if she seems a touch disinterested in him. Raimu though colors the excitement with enough of this shade in his momentary reactions that suggest a certain underlying sensitivity towards this relationship, though he shows this seemingly to only encourage the character's overarching outgoing style that pushes the baker as the village's most happy man, though in a blissfully unaware sort to fashion.

That set up is pivotal within the film as Raimu makes the viewer like this baker well enough, even if he does encourage a little bit of laughing towards the man's own style though again in a rather low key fashion. Raimu's performance establishes the state of the man that he is going to essentially tear down through the rest of the film once it is discovered that his wife has run away. The switch is not immediate and this is where the power of Raimu's performance lies, even as the film's perspective frequently wavers from him towards the various townspeople reacting towards the situation. Raimu very much initially keeps that more positive energy in his work even as the baker reacts towards the news as well as some of the less encouraging words of the townspeople towards him. Raimu initially delivers these reactions though with enough of a humor in his surprise at becoming cuckold. He very much stays as that affable baker though Raimu even in his more joyful deliveries begins to exude more of that underlying desperation that alludes to a far less blissful state of ignorance than he partially suggests to be experiencing.

The story progresses actually closer to the larger scope of the fallout of the baker's wife departure than specifically the baker, given that he stops baking which effects the whole town. Although the film grants focuses to those various reactions, the through line though remains the baker's own connection to the loss, and his slowly fading mental state. Raimu's performance then brings upon this particularly potent emotional impact of the baker's predicament even as others somewhat glibly deal with it, and even the baker attempted to find some humor in the situation. When that fades Raimu's performance becomes a deeply moving exploration of the really depression within the baker. Raimu's work is particularly impactful in the way though is how he eschews that earlier joviality into this nearly grotesque state of the man who others still view as a joke, however the man is clearly deeply pained by the experienced. When some of the town's cruelty to persists the baker resorts to an attempted suicide. Raimu is honestly rather heartbreaking by so naturally realizing this point within the baker's horribly depressed state and showing to be the same kindly man we met in the opening. Of course this also makes his reprieve feel as natural as the baker decides to keep living in hopes of seeing his wife again, and the smallest glimpse of hope in Raimu's eyes as he speaks this desire poignantly refer to that greater joy from the opening scenes. Eventually the town does succeed in bringing back the wife, which leaves Raimu one final scene where the baker both must accept the return, but also deal with the idea of her betrayal of him. Raimu is fantastic in the scene though as it fully embodies the experience that has changed the baker. Raimu at no point simplifies it bringing out that singular joy though far more tempered in his rather blunt delivery of his more critical words towards his wife. Raimu though successfully portrays this moment as reconciliation, however as a reconciliation which doesn't bring things back to they were, but to a different point. Raimu in the end depicts a both the old and new baker, as he does now have a joyful spirit though a far more somber one that defines the man in his bittersweet end.

87 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Ratings and Thoughts on the rest of the cast.

GM said...

He managed to surprise me even with the expectation created by this being Orson Welles's favorite performance

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Any recent viewings.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Horton Foote, Paddy Chayefsky, William Goldman and Robert Bolt as screenwriters.

Anonymous said...

Louis: your top 20 josh brolin acting moments

Bryan L said...

Louis: Your 2000s cast and director for From Here to Eternity? With Joaquin Phoenix as Private Prewitt of course, and perhaps Russell Crowe as Milton Warden?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on the In-Rang trailer.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts on Simon Quaterman, Gustaf Skarsgard, Katja Herbers, Talulah Riley, Angela Angela, and Jimmi Simpson this season of Westworld.

Calvin Law said...

Also, Hiroyuki Sananda and Rinko Kikuchi.

Calvin Law said...

*Sarafayan

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts on the Better Call Saul trailer.

Luke Higham said...

England finally win on penalties. :)

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Kirby Morrow in Legion.

Louis Morgan said...

Finally saw Incredibles 2, thoroughly enjoyed it actually even though I felt the villain's plot and motivation was a little too predictable and a bit too weak.

Luke:

Leclerc - 3(Her role is pretty limited however she certainly hits her two points first of indicating the flightiness of the character in her first scene then also bringing the right awkward repentance in the later scene.)

Vattier - 3.5(Technically the towns person granted the clearest arc within the film given we see the nature of his sermons throughout. Vattier is very good in realizing this though through his definition of the sermons through his delivery. His early attitude carrying this sort overt and closed zealotry that seems beyond an earthly grasp, against his later personal sermon where he brings such a quieter more earnest passion.)

Everyone else is good though whether it be for a scene or a second in terms of creating the sort of "Town's reaction" collectively throughout.

Well hard to make too much of it, but visually compelling to be sure. Sad to see no Byung-hun Lee around, hopefully the two collaborate more substantially again soon. I have to say "The Last Stand" really could have used him as the main villain.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Let me start with the first two.

Horton Foote was listed as my number one for a few reasons one being I haven't seen anything yet, that he has written, that one was bad, that didn't manage to clearly reflect a distinct voice, even in adaptation, as well as his success with both original and adapted screenplays. Foote's work is essential Americana as he successfully creates such a vividness towards that specific experience, while also granting a real poetry within a certain simplicity. His work though so effortlessly weaved within a tender emotionalism while carefully avoiding the broad strokes, while still achieving the needed poignancy. There is such a sense of place within his work through his rich yet unassuming dialogue, and remarkable attention to the more minor details. Of course that is getting more emotional about it myself, as if you just look at a technical sense his screenplays are brilliant pieces of work. His adaptations, whether it is his own work, or what many consider literary masterpieces, reaches towards the heart of the material, simplifying and realizing the cinematic potential of the work whether a play or a novel. His work is wonderful in that sense in just the structure of his work is paced very efficiently yet while achieving the certain leisure one should expect from the material.

Louis Morgan said...

Paddy Chayefsky's career is fascinating and important one being a pioneer within his writing, but also in terms of his evolution as a writer throughout. He is also a representation of sore of the misuse of a "writer" and in a why it seems difficult for even the most talented writer to have a spotless career. As for example his screenplay for Altered States, was fittingly to its though evidently problematically altered by Ken Russell, his work on "Pain Your Wagon" couldn't save a misguided production especially not when directed by one of the worst directors to have multiple nominations, or his stylized work with "The Hospital" was not quite suited for a workmanlike director like Arthur Hiller. Of course forget all that and just look at his career as he notably, for Hollywood at the time though he began with TV, willingly looked at the "any man" in his social realism with "Marty" and "Bachelor Party". The former being such a beautifully, brilliantly written work, in every sense of screenplay, the latter stumbling a bit towards its dramatic intention, which Chayefsky himself admitted, however still so daring for the time in terms of facing blunt realities at the time capturing an authentic grit without sacrificing its entertainment. Perhaps most notably within both is his dialogue which at the time dared to be repetitive, mundane or simple, "Hey where's Marty", yet still could be so colorful, vibrant and beautiful within that simplicity "You don't like her. My mother don't like her. She's a dog. And I'm a fat, ugly man. Well, all I know is I had a good time last night. I'm gonna have a good time tonight. If we have enough good times together, I'm gonna get down on my knees. I'm gonna beg that girl to marry me. If we make a party on New Year's, I got a date for that party. You don't like her? That's too bad.". What's fascinating though is later on he shifted, successfully I would say, towards an ambitious more stylistic approach with "Network" and "The Hospital". Where he broached reflective and also predictive social commentary, while still holding the traits of creating such vivid characters, within a tightly wound narrative. Now while I do think his ambition of the work slightly outreaches his grasp, his success within it as such that one can forgive that. When his work has rightfully fallen into the cultural lexicon "I'm as Mad as Hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore" you cannot deny the impact of such a work and nor should one. His stylized work took a different approach both in dialogue, but also structurally to an extent, yet still reached its own truth, though different in its reach and intention.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Like to hold on if an actor has a saved performance.

Bryan:

From Here to Eternity 2000's directed by James Gray:

Private Prewitt: Joaquin Phoenix
Sergeant Warden: Russell Crowe
Karen Holmes: Charlize Theron
Alma: Gwyneth Paltrow
Private Angelo: Sam Rockwell
Captain Holmes: Ray Liotta
Corporal Buckley: Bobby Cannavale
Sergeant Stark: Thomas Jane
Sergeant Fatso Judson: John Carroll Lynch

Calvin:

Simon Quarterman - (Gets the most improved season award quite easily as every quality of his work got better even outside of this time having an arc to work with. As even his comedic timing was now well on point, perhaps Newton was just the right partner for him to play off of, either way he managed to actually really make the humor with his character play naturally this time around. Of course the best part of his work was his his realization of the character's arc, which technically calls into question the season's "human's can't change" thesis. Anyway though Quarterman realizes quite effectively by just how cowardly he actually portrays every moment within the change. He brings so much fear within it, yet in doing so make it feel wholly natural and believable for Lee to take such a step. Terrific work even his final scene, which was a bit rushed, yet Quarterman did his best to sell it to its fullest.)

Skarsgard - (You know I'll give an actor all the credit in the world if they can make something out of a role like this, but I also won't blame them too much if they can't. His character was designed to be just angry and frustrated, and wasn't even allowed to be the top dog in that sense. Skarsgard certainly brought the anger and frustration, but not anything else. There wasn't anything else written for him though so really what could he do.)

Herbers - (I liked that sort of thrill and confidence she brought in her early scenes that seemed to very much suggest her to be William's daughter even before we met her, though while still bringing the appropriate reality towards it. In addition I actually liked her somewhat glib approach to her scenes very much emphasizing that her character still saw the park as a park, even when speaking to her father about it. I too liked her chemistry with Harris in that she brought a certain callousness, yet not entirely hollow quality to these. She manages to suggest a history that wasn't all bad, but definitely there was plenty of it. Sadly the show really cuts her off early before she really got to make any further steps, though I will say her reaction in her last "real" scene was just a little underwhelming though.)

Louis Morgan said...

Riley - (Fine as the seductress this time around, but her with Dolores scenes were a little underwhelming overall particularly compared to last season. Her performance before was actually pretty unnerving in her hollowness as the follower Wyatt, but here she became just a pretty standard lieutenant. Not in a terrible way, but definitely not in a very inspired fashion.)

Sarafayan - (A very very thankless role however I'll give her credit for somehow finding a modicum of emotion within that singular zombie state that made the character more dynamic than she would have been otherwise.)

Simpson - (He's great as per usual, and once again the waste of William's story this season. The reason being Simpson found a real nuance within his scenes as the changed William, but not just a "pure evil" villain by any means. Simpson captured the complexity with his relationship with Dolores to reveal that certain bitterness as it attached to a honest affection even as he portrayed it hidden by a false indifference. He was also fantastic in his scenes with Mullan in creating sort of the false support of the protege, but also such a powerful undercurrent of emotion in his reaction to the failures of the project. Simpson's work delivers the real complexity within William that still evokes the good man from the first season, even if he as become embittered by that experience.)

Sananda - (Kind of went for riff on what Santoro did on the first season, but perhaps with a variation with a bit of spice known as attempting to Mifune, which I will use as a verb. He's of course not Mifune, no man alive is, however he is pretty effective in crafting his own presence with a sort darkly charismatic style for the character. I actually wish they had given more to do, however he wholly owned his key scene particularly the duel where he just exuded a real cool in the role.)

Kikuchi - (The idea of the duality between her and Maeve I wish had been explored far more than it was. It just felt a bit rushed a bit too surface. Kikuchi to her credit though does attempt to breath a similair charisma in her role that Newton brought to Maeve in a similair combination of sort of emotional indifference. Contradictory, yet effectively so actually as someone who has learned a life, yet has stored a real pain. Kikuchi succeeds in the same way, and does carry her moments, though again wished the show had given just a bit to the plot line since the impact is diluted.)

Well I'm of course intrigued, seems like it might be turning even closer to Breaking Bad in tone given the blood bath depicted, when the show has been relatively tame by comparison, which seems the natural course honestly.

Anonymous:

Well he sadly doesn't have much to do, however he's pretty terrifyingly creepy in his few bits of screentime, particularly in the effective realization of the smiling but only in the eyes.

Anonymous said...

Louis: I find it interesting that you say that Hiller is a workmanlike director. I recall you choosing him to direct that 70's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with Wilder and Garner. I think Altman would be a much better choice.

A while ago, I thought of the idea of William Powell playing Keyes in Double Indemnity. While Robinson was perfect, I think Powell would have worked well. Thoughts?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Again workmanlike does not = to bad. My choice there was based on his work with more straight forward style films particularly his buddy comedy/action based fair where he did quite well in films like the In-Laws and Silver Streak, therefore a natural fit for the Shane Black style.

Oh Powell could have been great as well as he had inherently that sort of similair almost comic intensity that Robinson had in that role.

Calvin Law said...

Additional thoughts on The Incredibles 2 and its cast?

And when you've time, thoughts on Tessa Thompson, Giancarlo Esposito, Ben Barnes, and James Marsden this season.

Luke Higham said...

Ratings for the Incredibles 2 Cast.

Omar Franini said...

Louis: your ratings and thoughts on Jennifer Jason Leigh in Rush and Emmanuelle BĂ©art in La Belle Noiseuse?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: If you've seen Un Carnet De Bal, it's 1937 by your rules.

Luke Higham said...

Want to give Ahmed Best my support after reading his story today. Never knew he received death threats personally. Hate the character all you want and Lucas' writing and direction with it but don't verbally threaten a man's life. He only did his job.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Star Wars "mega-fans" did the exact same thing to Kelly Marie Tran (Rose in The Last Jedi). Being a fan of a film franchise is alright, but being obsessed with it to the point of threatening others over it is downright disgusting.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Star Wars fans are fucking cancerous. They’re a calvacade of entitled nerds that did not get stuffed into nearly enough lockers.

Bryan L said...

Louis: That From Here to Eternity cat is great, especially Rockwell and Theron.

Are there any past films that you could see Ryan Gosling and Jake Gyllenhaal starring in? I'm a bit surprised they haven't worked on anything together.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Past film roles for Paddy Considine.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Everyone: Who would you cast as L from Death Note for each previous decade? My picks:

60’s: Tsutomu Yamazaki
70’s: Brad Dourif
80’s: Keith Gordon
90’s: Johnny Depp
00’s: Jake Gyllenhaal

Luke Higham said...

Robert: Do you want Gyllenhaal to be reviewed for Donnie Darko.

Bryan L said...

Luke: He gave them in Kim Yoon-Seoks review for The Chaser (Alternate 2008)

Charles H said...

Yamazaki as L would be just great.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Luke: Hell yeah I do, he's my win. I actually would like to see Keith Gordon in Christine reviewed for 1983 Actor as well.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your rating and thoughts on Julie Andrews and Richard Crenna in Star!

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Again really enjoyed the Incredibles 2, partially for the animation which particularly excelled in bringing such an energy to the action sequences as well as finding any new ground there within the superhero genre which is becoming increasingly difficult. There was a real inventiveness throughout them particularly in terms of the "camerawork". Of course more than anything I just enjoyed spending more time with the characters where they found plenty of fun to be had with the role reversals with enough emotional nuance, though in a pretty low key way when it comes to Pixar, which I did not mind at all. I enjoyed just realizing the family dynamic once again, which it didn't anything too "daring" but worked in its pretty unassuming approach. The one major weakness to me though was the villain which felt very slapped together to the point there seems to be plot point missing to facilitate a character arc. The backstory element in particular felt pretty lazy, and was especially underwhelming when compared to Syndrome. That really didn't get in the way of me enjoying the film though overall, and I'd be all in for a third one even without a time jump.

Nelson - 3.5(Altogether terrific work here in bringing that certain overly earnest yet egotistical in some ways bluster for all the comedic needs of the character, but also manages to really effectively covey within his work both the highs and lows in the parenting moments. Nelson's work does go further in really naturally conveying those slightly more dramatic moments delivering a real endearing haplessness.)

Hunter - 4(Hunter's unique voice once again delivers such an original life to the character anyways though but offers even more than that at every point. She particularly excels in terms, though not in an obvious sort of accent way, but just in the way she exudes emotion within her voice sort of the hero voice against the mom voice. She wonderfully plays both with the variation of the more dramatic in terms of intensity on one side, against a genuine concern but also delight with the other.)

Vowell - 4(I'd say Violet is the character who most benefited from the sequel in terms of the writing, the animation and Vowell's performance, which is actually rather different this time around. For the first film she actually offered a more generic take, and I like her approach here that veers closer towards kind of emphasizing the idea of being Holly Hunter's daughter in a way. I really liked that tweak that gives more life to the character. Not only that though she excels with more she is given to included in the more comedic moments, and balancing that with the slightly dramatic moments. Wonderful work in either instance throughout.)

Milner - 3.5(Fine recreation to be sure in brings the same needed energy to the role bringing such a sense of excitement in the idea of superheroing.)

Jackson - 3.5(Jacksoning it in a properly entertaining way once again.)

Keener/Odenkirk - 3.5(The two's performances are the very least do both work in being the polar opposites in terms of emphasizing the state of the character Keener carrying such an intensely overt cynicism well again Odenkirk bringing an excessive positivity at all times.)

Banks - 3(He's doing his typical thing, however it does work as a replacement for Luckey.)

Bird - 3.5(Hilarious once again, doing more or less the same thing, though with perhaps a bit more manic energy this time, and effectively so.)

Rossellini - 2.5(Rather a waste of her distinct voice.)

Louis Morgan said...

Thompson - (Her performance too is an upgrade over her work in the first season where I thought she was often stilted as the corporate hatchet. This time around though I found she pulled out that needed intensity effectively within this sort of venomous callousness. Where in the first season she conveyed it as all too hollow, her she did far better by reworking it as a far more directly emotional idea as this disdain essentially for all life that's not hers. Of course I'd say her best work in the season though does come right at the end where she quite effectively recreated a completely different performance, and excelled doing so to the point I think she could've simply taken over, as I felt she actually brought more nuance in those moments than the true performer had this season.)

Esposito - (It is a fun cameo, and effectively performed by him to be sure. He seems to purposefully evoke Gus, which I think was kind of the point, and is good though feels a bit wasted all things considered. On a side note I find it real shame how it seems he didn't get much of a real boost in his career after Breaking Bad.)

Barnes - (Well with this and the Punisher, I'm turning around on ole "pretty boy Caspian". He was honestly great here in both of his roles. One first being as the guide where he brings the right sort of distance artifice to the character, but with this certain underlying emotional undercurrent within that. Then as his reprise where I found he quite excelled in creating sympathy for one of the most overtly horrible characters from the first season. Barnes though excels in every moment in the return, and even was surprisingly moving in the three states of Logan that we see. Whether that be as the lost in delusion exhausted man, the nihilistic drug addict, or the attempt at the prodigal son. In each Barnes powerfully realizes a different sort of desperation and vulnerability that defines Logan in that moment.)

Marsden - (Also of course liked him in the first season, but really liked him as they took his "other guy" trope and put it through the ringer. Marsden consistently stood as at least one compelling section in certain boring scenes by providing such earnest reactions revealing Teddy's inherently good nature, even when facing the horror of his own existence. He then actually is surprisingly effective as his own terminator of sorts though defined by this brutal hatred that he carries so well. I love the certain shading though that he brought to it as though he hated Dolores as much as the men he was killing in that intensity. Then I thought he was pretty outstanding in the moment of bridging the two sides of the character into one truly emotional moment of decay that he also portrays with this certain defiant resilience at the same time. Marsden I felt quite effectively maneuvered these variations by being both the expected, unexpected, and something in the middle.)

Louis Morgan said...

Omar:

Beart - 3(She's entirely fine in her role however it is perhaps part of the film's great acclaim that still baffles me. So much of her performance is sitting around naked, and I won't simplify that. Beart does her best to adhere some other importance to these moments, and to convey change within these interactions. She does at least illustrate some sense of this though never to the point that I found her character's story particularly compelling.)

Leigh - 4.5(The film itself suffers from lacking a distinct directorial vision though even so it is not without its emotions due to the central performances particularly Leigh's. She is terrific as per usual of course in creating this portrait of the rookie cop that goes very differently than expected. In that she portrays this certain growing maturity but shown through this emotional decay as it it attaches to the character's drug abuse. She realizes so well this certain confusion within this as acting well both in trying to maintain this confidence of the cop, but almost as this facade in front of the co-dependent addict. It's moving work at its core and it's a real shame she wasn't working with a better film.)

Bryan:

I mean come Gyllenhaal as Maverick, Gosling as Goose in Top Gun....I apologize.

Seriously though Gosling as Charles Van Doren, Gyllenhaal as Dick Goodwin in Quiz Show, or Gosling as Paulie and Gyllenhaal as Charlie in The Pope of Greenwich Village.

Anonymous:

Andrews - 2(The performance honestly is a representation of her tendencies that one would typically parody as Andrews just goes so head first into giving such a saccharine, and overcooked turn. She goes full Andrews, and it honestly is too much for a part that did not really require her typical "sunshine" so to speak. She just is a little too much particularly for the film's never ending run time.)

Crenna - 2(I typically like Crenna well enough but he needs something to work with. Here he is basically the hunk, but doesn't have enough charm to make such a underwritten role work.)

Bryan L said...

Louis: I am most intrigued by those two in a 2010s version of Pope of Greenwich Village. Do you think they could also work as the two leads in The Departed (with Gyllenhaal as Costigan and Gosling as Sullivan? Or vice versa)

Calvin Law said...

Bryan: I think Gyllenhaal and Gosling could play either Departed roles and nail it, though I like your choice.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the production design of Alice in Wonderland, Gigi and My Fair Lady.

Louis Morgan said...

Bryan:

Yes, and in that order.

Anonymous:

Alice in Wonderland, the CGI monstrosity, is a weird winner to begin with given that so much of the film is green screened to begin with given that typically only the "real" is considered, after all animated films are not considered for a reason. The amount of actual sets is pretty limited. Of course the real sets and set decorations, suffer from the same problem as the art behind the CGI. That is they are either weak derivatives of other similair work from Burton films, like the twisted tree, or an even worse ugly amalgamation of Burton films, and better looking Alice in Wonderland imagery. It is a putrid mix that neither works as a Gothic dark re-working, or a representation of the proper wonder of wonderland. It stays towards being this hideous in-between that leaves the film consistently ugly.

Gigi fails the first test, which is the sort obvious sets test, but you there is a level of leniency one can find particularly in the days of the HD restorations. Of course no restoration is needed to highlight the ill-advised production design of the film. The set decoration itself is horribly cluttered in attempt at what seems to be a beautiful extravagance, yet comes off as horribly ugly. Every bit of the production lacks any real cohesion with the sheer amount of "stuff" thrown into it with no sense of an overarching design to make it all work. The coordination even between that design and costumes, which is probably on Vincente Minnelli, is also absent, such as the big red room, which isn't itself well realized with again all the clutter, and overall design, is not utilized for a striking contrast between the room and what the characters are wearing. It is ugly often senseless work, that I suppose just adds to the misguided aims of the film.

I will say the one thing that helps My Fair Lady's production design, just ever so slightly, is comparing directly to Gigi, it's better than that but not by much. It too suffers from the "looks fake" problem, although at least it has say Higgins's library, which is suppose to be just an library, which hey I guess it work as that. Of course fake does not even have to be bad if one has fun with fakery, which this film does not. The sets for the most part just, on the opposite end of Gigi, are just horribly bland, and decorated without life. Of course it is is all exacerbated by George Cukor's lazy use of them, surprisingly so, however they stand poorly to any scrutiny from the outset. They are all, for the most part, either bland or actively ugly. They create no world, but instead feel claustrophobic in their artifice. They look wholly uninspired at every point.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: From what you've seen of him so far, what do you think of Nicol Williamson as an actor.

Luke Higham said...

And there's two performances you should really consider reviewing. The Reckoning (1970) and Excalibur (1981).

Calvin Law said...

Louis: to cap it off, thoughts on Luke Hemsworth, Shannon Woodward, Ed Harris, and Peter Mullan this season (I'll hold off on Wright and Newton just in case at some point you'd want to do longer thoughts on their performances across both seasons).

And if you've time after that, following up from the previous thoughts on Blue Velvet with your thoughts on 'In Dreams' scene.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on this following scene-
https://youtu.be/BqMdQBox15s

Anonymous said...

Louis: How do you feel Chris Hemsworth could do as Ali from Rust and Bone? I feel it could definitely go all wrong, but he does seem to have flashes of both the brutish intensity and charisma necessary for the role, and your choice for Ali in a 2000s version.

And your top actors who are derided as being bad at acting, but actually have decent or great chops at it.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your ten worst cases of miscasting good actors in roles they weren't suited for.

Bryan L said...

Gyllenhaal could definitely deliver on the intensity, paranoia and the charisma in small doses needed for Costigan, while Gosling subverting his more extroverted turns could be interesting.



Anonymous said...

Luke: Williamson had a great voice.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Well my thoughts would be that I need to see more of him, though I have been impressed with what I've seen so far from him. His final role being itself impressive being in the not-so-impressive Spawn, bringing gravitas to a film in desperate need of it. His earlier work though that I've seen reminds me a bit of Russell Crowe at his best, in that Williamson in The Bofors Gun, and Robin and Marian, in that he has that similair potency of his work through a certain emotional physicality, which is striking to say the least. Again though I need to see more of him.

Calvin:

Hemsworth - (He was underused again in the season, seeming to be constantly pushed around from one place to another all season. I will say though I did like Hemsworth approach as basically playing the part as the most genuine and straight forward individual in the show whether a human or host. Hemsworth purposefully doesn't bring any shading within his role consistently just emphasizing Stubbs as someone trying to protect people from getting hurt, and nothing else. This is a fairly simple approach, however I feel it is the right one for the part, and also in a way makes him stand out by showing one person who is not filled with some ulterior personal motive rather is just doing his job the best way he knows how.)

Woodward - (I once again did like her sort of "spunk" for the lack of a better word in the role, however this slowly became the sad truth to her role where she is essentially there to facilitate exposition and little more. Woodward to her credit within just that life she brings to her performance within that sort of resilience within her interactions with Bernard, and attitude towards him that properly conveys their past history. Again it has no purpose in the end, but Woodward at least grants far more life to her character than could have been there otherwise.)

Louis Morgan said...

Harris - (The more I think about the season the more I genuinely can't stand what they did with William given it became such a waste of an opportunity. Harris's performance in a way worsens this because he's actually quite great at first. He's brilliant in the first episode in bringing that thrill of sort the performance of the performance as he portrays the man in black truly in his element of the game. The lust for violence/life in the dangerous environment that Harris brings is notable, but this idea is quickly pushed aside towards the idea of potential reinvention. There Harris though has some great moments in bridging the gap by doing good by killing essentially, but he has brilliant moments largely reactionary within his work. The moments early on speaking of his daughter, Harris conveys a real loss there, and in turn sparks that motivation in the moment to be a different kind of MIB, though with a similair style. Harris continues to excel in his scenes with Herber by capturing that unique dynamic between the two which isn't wholly lacking affection though is clearly strained. He's also terrific in the past scenes showing a man out of his element just stumbling around the world with certain hollow despair of a man hiding a dark secret. He is also great in his scene where Mullan also reflecting a similair attitude though more overtly in this forceful nihilism. Then suddenly the show decided it is about William's delusions and own rickety sense of self, suddenly. Harris didn't build to this, but neither did the show. He just suddenly is a different kind of crazy for no particular reason. Harris does his utmost to sell this sudden wasteful shift, but it still feels a pointless sabotage of a compelling character. None of it is Harris's fault though as there really wasn't room for the delusion in those other scenes, and there was just no reason for the character to go in that direction.)

Mullan - (Mullan is great in just bringing the expected egotistical swagger of a robber baron. He carries a distinct callousness in all the present scenes of a man wholly full of his own accomplishments, though carefully Mullan finds a bit of nuance in his work. In that though he portrays Delos as nearly heartless he doesn't portray wholly as such. He's great for example in his scene Barnes in terms of conveying some genuine anguish with a more forceful dejection of his son. The point of his performance though is of course his centered episode where Mullan is downright amazing at every point. As we get the egotistical man believing he is besting death then that slow dissolution of that. Mullan is incredible though in the way he realizes is this as both this genuine more human breakdown of the mind both in terms of his sense of self, but also in terms of an emotional despair, but with these shades of artifice of the breakdown. He combines the two so brilliantly to create such a captivating approach as he makes it as much of a machine malfunctioning as he does a human mentally falling apart. It is particularly notable work in that he grants any sympathy towards the character by so vividly realizing the wreck of the man that comes from frakensteining his mind together.)

Louis Morgan said...

Lynch at possibly his greatest as everything about the scene is wholly captivating even in the background from the random Jack Nance, to the way Kyle MacLachlan is being held by his coat as though the henchman is a high school bully, or Dorothy's sad saunter from the back room. Of course one should not distract from the main attraction that is Ben and Frank, where we get some sense of their strange relationship, through the glorious moment that is the song. Everything is cinematic magic in only a way that could be Lynch, from that moment where the work light makes Stockwell's face all the paler to every moment of the song, which is one of the best used songs in any film. Leaving aside Hopper's performance, which obviously written on before, but I love the play between Ben and Frank, where Ben plays with Frank's strange connection to the song's lyrics, before becoming a bit terrified himself by Frank's reaction. It is a fascinating moment that achieves such a potent emotional poignancy, while being unnerving at the very same time in a moment of truly essential Lynch.

Anonymous:

He is the right physical type however I've yet to see Hemsworth truly excel in a wholly dramatic role to the point needed for Ali. Given his most recent work though as Thor, I do think he has some untapped potential, but strangely enough it seems like giving him a comedic base is the best way for him to find it. So not the best suit, but with the right director, maybe. Javier Bardem if changing the setting, as I'm not well versed in the Belgian actors of the 2000's.

John Wayne
Nicolas Cage
Amanda Seyfried
Jude Law
Ethan Hawke
Ben Affleck
John Travolta
Robert Pattinson
Gwyneth Paltrow
Adam Sandler

Tahmeed:

It is fair to say that is one of the greatest scenes of the century. The scene is a testament to a whole lot of things, but one example if is sort of brilliant "unseen" direction by the Coens. In that every choice they make, which are unassuming in a certain sense, yet brilliant in crafting the scene for what it is. The lack of score, and just the specific edits in every moment, the most minute yet important camera movements that just leave an unsettling pause. More than anything though they allow the scene to play out so effectively between the actors both so well played, and both whom are essential to crafting the tension of the scene. Jones in showing a man completely baffled, yet slowly growing in his unease, and Bardem delivering that careful uncompromising hollowness. The Coens have the confidence to allow the scene tension to so naturally build without a single obvious trick. Of course this is also backed up by the dialogue of the scene which is flawless, largely from the book however the Coens slight changes are all fantastic by adding just the right twinges of dark humor further amplified by Jones and Bardem.

1. John Wayne - The Conqueror
2. Guy Pearce - As Any Villain
3. Mickey Rourke - Year of the Dragon
4. Nicolas Cage - City of Angels
5. Cary Grant - None But the Lonely Heart
6. Henry Travers - The Bells of Saint Mary
7. Daniel Day-Lewis - Nine (Although really his approach just didn't suit the film, which strangely needed a less "devoted' turn)
8. Leonardo DiCaprio - Gangs of New York
9. John Travolta - As any villain
10. James Stewart - Rope (though he still gave a good performance)

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the cinematography of Marty, The Apartment, Yankee Doodle Dandy and Kings Row.

Calvin Law said...

Lastly, your thoughts on Mr McClarnon.

Calvin Law said...

Also, couldn't agree more on Harris. I think there was capacity for more to be done with Episode 1 William. Have a few episodes of him and Lawrence travelling around exploring Ford's game, allowing him to encounter his daughter and have her 'join in' the games and explore his past while suggesting the hints for reinvention like Sizemore. Have the big MIB saviour moment happen in Episode 6, after which he leaves to be encounter Maeve. I guess they could've just ended his present day storyline their and told the past events of 9 through Emily's perspective, and left that episode with more time to deal with Maeve's storyline, or maybe even a few more Jimmi Simpson moments.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I’m of the opinion that William should have died at the end of season 1 and that any sort of scenes of him be regulated to flashbacks alternating between Simpson and Harris.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top ten “one scene wonder” performances of the decade.

And how do you feel DDL could do as George Smiley? I don’t think it’s too far out of his ability like Reynolds Woodcock even though people have called Smiley a role that requires very little “transformation”, at least on a exterior level (makeup, posh Brit accents etc).

And did you give your thoughts on Frances McDormand as an actress? If so do you know where I could find them?

Mitchell Murray said...

Any recent viewings, Louis?

Charles H said...

Louis: What were your thoughts on John Lone in Rush Hour 2?

John Smith said...

Louis and everyone else. Have you Gud seen the Netflix original 'Sacred Games'. Nawazuddin is great and the show is great.

Please match it (Tahmeed, I Think you Will like it).

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I'll certainly get around to it when I can, thanks for the recommendation :)

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar, Charles and Tahmeed: Your thoughts on England reaching the Semi-Finals and who would you pick as finalists. I feel more comfortable for England to play Belgium in the final than France.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Luke: I'm really pleased that England's made it this far, their team was excellent. France's offense is probably their best in a decade, and I do think that as great a goalkeeper Pickford is, he wouldn't be able to ward off all their attempts. Belgium's defense against Brazil was nigh impenetrable, but I also think England would have an easier time against them.

As for the finalists, it will probably be France vs England.

Luke Higham said...

Tahmeed: Belgium have been made favourites I believe though France scare me more. I'd rather see England/Belgium as most if not all of the players in both sides are in the premier league so there is that familiarity. And Kante's a greater influence on his team than Fellaini is for Belgium.

Luke Higham said...

And I hope it's an England/Russia semi. The Atmosphere would be utterly insane for that match.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

England vs Russia would be awesome, but I do think Croatia will be the ones to reach the semis.

Luke Higham said...

It looks that way, though Russia's goal was terrific. :)

Charles H said...

Well as for the finals, i would like to see England vs. Belgium. But then again France is a powerhouse team this season. But i have hope that Belgium will make it through. I've been quite happy with how this world cu hasp turned out.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Of the Pixar short films you've seen in theatres (like Bao), could I get your thoughts on them.

Augusto BSF said...

The four best teams in this World Cup were on the same side: France, Belgium, Brazil and Uruguay. That's a shame. Really hoping for a first timer to get the trophy now.

Belgium's defense was really good, but Brazil's own mistakes and nervousness stopped it from, at least, breaking even. But I don't think England would have an easier time anyway (we still can actually see it happening or not). And Uruguay without Cavani isn't the same.

France vs Beligum though is gonna probably be the best game of this Cup - high expectations for it. I think the winner will come from this game, by the way, but, hey, surprises can always happen.

Matt Mustin said...

Had my first experience with Studio Ghibli today: Spirited Away, on the big screen. The praise is justified, it's a drop-dead amazing film. I still have a lot to see from 2001, but at the moment it's my Best Picture choice for that year, as well as easily, *easily* my pick for Best Score.

Luke Higham said...

Matt Mustin: Have you seen Fellowship Of The Ring, I've no qualms whatsoever with Spirited Away being your Best Picture choice but for it to be easily your Best Score winner is a bit much considering how iconic FOTR's score is.

Matt Mustin said...

Luke: I haven't seen FOTR.

Luke Higham said...

Matt: That's Ok.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your cast for a 70's Baby Driver?

Anonymous said...

Louis: What were your top 10 most emotional moments in film?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Spirited Away is frankly my Best Picture choice for 2001 as well, with Fellowship a close #2.

Charles H said...

For the moment i would switch Spirited Away to be my best picture win. Although both films had great of an impact on me. Easy way to cheat is give one the best director win & the other the best picture win. Both are fantastic.

Calvin Law said...

I've never actually seen a Ghibli on the big screen before, so I imagine that must be quite an experience.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see Howl's Moving Castle on the big screen.

Omar Franini said...

Louis: your thoughts on a The Favourite teaser trailer?

Mitchell Murray said...

Omar: Umm... I don't know what to make of it, to be honest. I know its just a teaser trailer but something about it looks off to me. And as much as I love Stone, she does look rather distracting within this time period.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Marty's cinematography from Joseph LaShelle is interesting in that it seeks to do two things it seems first to not replicate the teleplay origins of the material, which is very flatly shot, yet still maintains the intimacy that is appropriate for the material. It accomplishes both in its low key yet still rather dynamic choices. The lighting in particular is beautifully realized as it very much emphasizes, yet never overdoes, this semi-romantic glow within the general emphasis on allowing so much darkness during the night scenes. This fashions a fairly striking contrast that works particularly well in creating this certain warmth directly within the central relationship with the two will often be framed so closely together, and with that bit of glow within them. The film again doesn't show off within this aspect however succeeds in creating a relationship, yet not bankrupt in terms of style. It will often be to the point yet effectively so, such as avoiding that flatness when it is just a scene of two characters talking, but also succeeds with the little touches of more, particularly the realization shot of Marty with the bus sign which is just wonderful.

The Apartment's cinematography, as with most Wilder films, as he purposefully avoided shots that purposefully brought attention to themselves, is efficiently good. LaShelle's work is a good fit for Wilder, as he showed earlier with Marty, in just creating a believable yet still pristine naturalism. Here working with a wider scope yet still evoking a similair effective intimacy with the framing of the characters. The one major shot though is also worth noting, that being the opening, which is stunning in instantly setting the stage for our character, and his life in the grandiose shot of the huge office. Terrific low key work, that is a proper match for Wilder.

Let me get to the others next post.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

McClarnon - (I mean a notable achievement anyways as he managed to steal the whole season with a single episode, that I don't feel the show even wholly capitalized on afterwards. McClarnon's entire performance though perhaps suggested what the series could do at its very best, and what I wish it had done more of in the second season. In that his work is this examination of such a powerful journey wholly through some alternative state of being. Throughout his episode McClarnon's performance simply is almost of another state of being from any other performance through what he is working in by portraying this man with a state of being that essentially has achieved a different form of enlightenment. McClarnon's performance is incredible on every front though which is interesting as it notably is a performance defined by constant speaking yet is largely silent. His narration within the episode is wholly haunting as he evokes that state of being, but also so many years of the hardship of his knowledge. His actual depiction of every moment of the journey though is wholly remarkable, as no moment seem perfunctory or even momentary within his work. Whether that be even his brief moment as just the modest hunter/gatherer, or the moment of being caught within attempting to decipher the maze. McClarnon delivers not only these moments in terms of their concept so brilliantly, but also delivers so powerfully the emotions that define them. His change to the warrior is not a simple switch of makeup for McClarnon but rather redefines the presence of the man. What continues though is that emotional examination and he is incredible in so wholly realizing the heartbreak not only from the burden of the wisdom but also in his moments of seeing others lost within the system still. It is amazing work as he not only realizes this whole journey within the single episode, but wholly earns the investment within his character's journey despite such a sudden introduction of importance. In way McClarnon's performance, which perhaps goes even beyond the the need of the episode, suggests an untapped potential within the series through a focus more within the individual rather than the broader world.)

Louis Morgan said...

Robert:

Probably would have been for the best since the show runners had no idea what to do with him outside of the flashbacks.

Anonymous:

Baby: Tom Hulce
Doc: Jason Robards
Debora: Brooke Adams
Griff: Harvey Keitel
Darling: Elizabeth Dupeyron
Buddy: James Garner
Bats: Harry Belafonte

Anonymous:

"Not Both of Us Not All Of US" - Gettysburg
"They'll Vote with Potter Otherwise" - It's a Wonderful Life
The Assassination - The Assassination of Jesse James
The Vote - The Ox-Bow Incident
"I Like Me" - Plane Trains and Automobiles
"a boy who couldn't run as fast as I could" - Angels with Dirty Faces
"Gondola No Uta" - Ikiru
Three Bullets - The Deer Hunter
"A Contender" - On the Waterfront
Ending - High and Low

Omar:

Well I'm happy to see Lanthimos seems to be a little less strict towards his actors, as the performers are not giving that typical dazed delivery he seems to demand. He's up to his same old tricks with his love of the dutch angles. The debauchery of the court got a little repetitive within this trailer, hopefully there is a bit more nuance in the film or at least it is entertaining enough in its style. I actually am hopeful to the extent because of the way the performances don't seem as restricted.

Louis Morgan said...

Oh also saw Ant-Man and the wasp, that was certainly a series of scenes that I didn't mind watching.

Rudd - 3.5
Lilly - 3.5
The three stereotypes -ehhhh
Goggins - 3
Cannavale and Greer - Fine but nothing to do.
John-Kamen - 3
Park - 2.5
Pfeiffer - 3
Fishburne - 3
Douglas - 3.5