Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Alternate Best Actor 2013: Alden Ehrenreich in Beautiful Creatures

Alden Ehrenreich did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Ethan Wate in Beautiful Creatures.

Beautiful Creatures I guess may be the one YA supernatural romance to go with, if you're to watch one of them, as it's not bad, aside from some not so nifty visual effects and questionable cinematography. This one being about a young man, and a witch.

The young man is an essential ingredient to the film's "not badness" through Alden Ehrenreich's performance that thwarts being just a generalized hunk. In fact his whole performance is a rather wry, nearly satirical, take on the hapless hero for such a narrative. The film features Ethan as our guide initially into the Podunk town in the southern U.S. An accent that Ehrenreich would tweak even further towards the absurd as Hobie in the cowboy in The Coens's Hail Caesar!. This is partially towards the absurd, however Eldenreich really finds the right way with it to evoke a down home sort while still maintaining the right earnestness. This is as Ehrenreich narrates the opening of the film partially making fun of setting up the deep south town, and the general idea of the upcoming romance, in his wry delivery, yet not going so far that it feels as though he is sabotaging the film. In fact I'd say Ehrenreich approaches a tone that I would say is similar to the one that Cary Elwes realizes in his performance in The Princess Bride. A comparison that I do not make lightly, but Ehrenreich earns it through his work that refuses to be the bland any man, that Ethan isn't far from as written.

Ethan's role is actually pretty simple within the story in that he only really needs to do one thing, which is to charm and fall in love with a witch Lena (Alice Englert). The complication then comes in her family which includes her cold, yet still good, uncle (Jeremy Irons), but also her evil fellow witches in her sultry cousin Ridley (Emmy Rossum) and mother Sarafine (Emma Thompson hamming it up to the high heavens). Ehrenreich's part though is just to be this normal guy among it all, and quite frankly it would've been very easy to be bland in this role. Ethan probably would've been closer to a block of wood if a more straight forward actor played the part, even the original choice of Jack Reynor, an actor I generally like, I think probably would've fallen flat here. Alden Ehrenreich, despite some questionable pro-Ansel Elgort propaganda you might've heard around Solo, is a rather dynamic performer. This is seen here where he not only captures a definite charm even within the rather thick accent, but also manages to take it further in finding a bit of an atypical approach to the material that likely would've lost in another actor's hands.

Ehrenreich now of course hits his mark in just bringing such an endearing presence, particularly in the romantic scenes. He doesn't overplay them towards melodrama, rather finds the right combination of an earnest affection in his eyes, against the right sense of befuddlement in his delivery as he discovers every new little bit of lore, or family member to wreck havoc on his poor mortal soul. I thoroughly enjoy how Ehrenreich manages to capture the right sort of confused fear, along with still portraying this low key yet utterly believable passion behind the character's persistence. Ehrenreich's slightly slanted approach honestly does wonders for the film as he brings this consistent humorous yet also grounding element for the story no matter how ridiculous it gets in parts. He keeps the right lightness to it all, yet again in that Elwes's sort of way, he manages to make fun of it all, while never ridiculing to the point of destroying any potential dramatics. Even in the scenes of the most basic exposition, that slight smile of his, that so delightfully bemused look of his, just makes it all the more digestible. There isn't a scene in the film where he just sits back, despite Ethan often being sidelined in the story itself, always bringing a nice extra bit of energy tot he proceedings. Although I won't say Ehrenreich made this film amazing by any means, he does his best to not only bring enough of a sincerity to it all, but also with a much needed sense of fun.

110 comments:

Calvin Law said...

I was genuinely charmed, once again, by him here. Thoughts and ratings for the rest of the cast?

Calvin Law said...

Also thoughts on these retro castings:

2010s Gangs of New York directed by Martin McDonagh (totally different approach, Priest Vallon lives beyond the first frame)
Amsterdam Vallon: Domhnall Gleeson
Priest Vallon: Brendan Gleeson
Bill the Butcher: John Hawkes
Boss Tweed: Michael Stuhlbarg
Happy Jack: Zeljko Ivanek
Hell-Cat Maggie: Samara Weaving

2010s Robin Hood (god forbid they make another one but if anyone can get it right, it’d be) directed by Edgar Wright (not a straight adaptation or anything though, a semi-homage)
Robin: Domhnall Gleeson
Marian: Florence Pugh
Azeem: Barkhad Abdi
Guy of Gisbourne: Michael Smiley
Sheriff of Nottingham: Paddy Considine
Prince John: Simon Pegg
Little John: Peter Serafinowicz
Will Scarlett: Jack Reynor
Friar Tuck: Jim Broadbent
King Richard: Bill Nighy

2010s The Deer Hunter directed by Roland Joffé/John Hillcoat
Mike Vronsky: Adam Driver
Nick Chevotarevich: Domhnall Gleeson
Steven Pushkov: Shia LaBeouf
Stan: Caleb Landry Jones
Linda: Mia Wasikowska

2010s The Manchurian Candidate directed by Neil Blomkamp
Bennett Marco: Sharlto Copley
Raymond Shaw: Daniel Kaluuya
Eleanor Iselin: Angela Bassett
Eugenie: Daisy Ridley

Robert MacFarlane said...

I fricking love this silly, weird movie. It’s rare to see a movie where everyone just seemed to be having fun. I know it’s objectively not as good as I make it out to be, but I feel compelled to defend it more simply because it got such a raw deal at the time. As for Ehrenreich, even though he’s sidelined in the second half, I’d still go higher with the rating. How he managed to take a potentially boring/obnoxious character and fill on the blanks is something as you say rarely happens in YA movies, and I give him full credit.

Also, please review Irons just for the fun of it.

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: I'd go with Ralph Fiennes for Bill the Butcher. I'd actually like to see what Richard E. Grant would do as Boss Tweed btw.

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Your thoughts on J.C. Chandor as a filmmaker?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top ten comig of age movies?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top 10 mediocre films with excellent cinematography.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the Stranger Things 3 trailer?
https://youtu.be/YEG3bmU_WaI

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on the Once Upon A Time In Hollywood trailer.

Calvin Law said...

Looks great. Actor who’s playing Bruce Lee is nailing it!

Mitchell Murray said...

I'd have to agree, Calvin. Liked how the trailer didn't reveal to much about the plot, either, and if it's accurate to the film, the tone they're going for looks quite enjoyable.

Also, I know this point has been made before, but Brad Pitt is really starting to embrace his resemblance to Robert Redford.



RatedRStar said...

That teaser trailer was great lol, Mike Moh absolutely looks and sounds like Bruce Lee, thats the thing most people get wrong is Bruces voice. Leo, Brad and Margot look amazing. I like how it looks all lighthearted, gotta feeling it aint gonna end like that lol.

Bryan L. said...

I liked the teaser trailer as well and it looks like Pift and Dicaprio will make for a great pairing. I hope Tarantino finds the balance between the Manson stuff and the more lighthearted tone of the film.

Was hoping to catch a glimpse of Lewis as Steve McQueen but I am most intrigued by the portrayal of Bruce Lee.

Bryan L. said...

Also, Robert Pattinson is joining Nolans next film.

Luke Higham said...

Washington, Pattinson and now Elizabeth Debicki.

Emi Grant said...

Luke: That sounds excellent

Calvin Law said...

Nolan just knows what's best for us.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: As far as I can recall, he's only ever had two casting misfires with Hilary Swank in Insomnia and Katie Holmes in Batman Begins.

I did really want Hardy for this project but I have to assume he's far too busy right now with Taboo and Venom 2.

And Debicki and Nolan is a match made in heaven in my opinion.

Luke Higham said...

And with the older male actor that's been mentioned, I hope he brings back Mark Rylance.

Matt Mustin said...

Luke: It'll be Michael Caine.

Luke Higham said...

I sincerely hope not. Rylance or even guys like Jenkins or Dafoe have been alot more reliable as of late.

Matt Mustin said...

Yeah, but Nolan has said he won't stop working with Caine. He calls him his "good luck charm".

Calvin Law said...

To be honest...why not both? :)

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Agreed. Caine was used in a minor capacity with Inception, Interstellar and especially Dunkirk so he'll probably get a bit part again. I was referring however to casting a major role.

Bryan L. said...

Hell, why not both of those gents and maybe...just maybe...*drumroll*...Tom Courtenay? (A man can dream)

Bryan L. said...

Luke: To be fair, Swanks and Holmes roles aren't given much to do to begin with. With that in mind, I would've liked to see Charlize Theron in the former part instead.


I'm also extra intrigued by Nolan casting Pattinson, since I think he would've been cast as The Joker if TDK had been released in 2018.

Charles H said...

After watching Good Time, Pattinson is a perfect choice for a Nolan film along with Debicki.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: I think High Life is very promising for him as well. It's a shame that its a 2018 release as we're gonna be waiting quite a few years for his review.

Luke Higham said...

Other good news, Radegund might finally have its premiere at Cannes this year along with OUATIH. Midsommar, The Lighthouse, Ad Astra and The True History Of The Kelly Gang could also potentially be shown there as well.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: Ad Astra might not debut at Cannes I'm afraid, since I read somewhere that there's a LOT of VFX work still to be done with that film. :/

Not to mention the Fox-Disney merger.

All the others you mentioned are likely though.

Charles H said...

Louis: Your top ten over the top performances (Like Oldman in The Professional)

Michael McCarthy said...

Anyone else seeing Us tonight?

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Englert - 3.5(She has to sell the more dramatic, and less fun elements, but I won't say she does a bad job of it. It helps that she strikes up that chemistry with Ehrenreich granting a sense of fun there, while still doing her work on the other half without leaning too far into overwrought material.)

Rossum - 3(I'll assume her character was more for some unmade sequels since she seemed rather underused by the end. I actually didn't think she did a bad job at all as the evil sexpot though.)

Thompson - 2.5(Way over the top, though I won't say she quite leans one way or another fully. In that she neither goes so far that she's terrible, but nor does she own it in a way to make it all work either.)

Davis - 2.5(Fine but seemed rather underused throughout.)

For Gangs, not sure about younger Gleeson, as I think you need someone with more of an innate intensity, though elder Gleeson is a great choice. Like Hawkes a great deal, however I don't feel he has enough of a presence for the Butcher, I'd concur on the Fiennes choice.

I could see all of that Robin Hood working wonderfully well in Wright's hands, which I don't say lightly.

Both leads for the Deer Hunter, are extremely challenging roles, maybe Driver and Gleeson could pull it off, though it's obviously hard to say since neither have had parts of that level yet.

Love the cast for Candidate, Blomkamp inspires little faith though.

Bryan:

Well after watching Triple Frontier (which I thought was fine but I would say was easily his weakest effort) it is interesting to see such a varied filmmaker, as he seems to be going for a William Wyleresque career which is not a bad thing. All four of his films, all which I liked though he's yet to make a film I've loved, though not for lack of trying, are extremely different. There is no signature, other than some technical precision and a dynamic eye, even if not idiosyncratic. That again is not a bad thing, though perhaps the limited personal factor has kept me from fully embracing his films. What's notable is how each film has a different focus and method. You'd never guess it was the same filmmaker, as he goes from a dialogue heavy economic commentary in Margin Call, to the dialogue free survival film All is Lost, to the period crime drama of A Most Violent Year and now a men on a mission/heist film. Three of the four being outright successes, the fourth not really being a failure. He hasn't pigeonholed himself, which is admirable in a certain way, so I'll certainly always be interested to see what he does next, since there's no way to tell.

Anonymous:

1
1. Come and See
2. The Last Picture Show
3. 400 Blows
4. East of Eden
5. Boyz N the Hood
6. Stand By Me
7. Risky Business
8. American Graffiti
9. Daze and Confused
10. The Sandlot

Anonymous:

A somewhat common occurrence, so I'll go for the most extreme juxtapositions.

1. The Black Dahlia
2. Only God Forgives
3. Unbroken
4. Mad Love
5. American Beauty
6. Cafe Society
7. Meet Joe Black
8. Vikings
9. Cape Fear (You know what version)
10. Spectre

Tahmeed:

Looks fun, which is all I'm looking for. I'll be honest, I think the series's greatest enemy is its level of hype in some for the series, since everything doesn't need to be an earth shattering work. This does not appear to be earth shattering, but looks entertaining, I think that's enough for the nostalgiatrip.

Luke:

LOVED IT, and seems to confirm what I expected, that being it is more of a portrait of late 60's Hollywood with Manson being a facet of that, rather than the driving force. DiCaprio looks very promising, not completely sure about Pitt yet, but he doesn't look bad at the very least. And yes that an Amazing couple of seconds from Mike Moh as Bruce Lee. I was already in, but that only helped.

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Triple Frontier and ratings and thoughts on the cast?

RatedRStar said...

One of my friends reckoned that 1970 was the worst year ever for film because he chose his favorite film from the other 70s years but not that one, surely it isn't, I might call it one of the most underrated ones actually.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: for a more assured duo for The Deer Hunter, I suppose you can’t go wrong with Ryan Gosling as Vronsky and Ben Foster as Nick.

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: After Spider-Man: Homecoming comes out, would you consider writing an MCU retrospective article? A ranking of the films, with some other thoughts included. Just a recommendation I'd like to throw in.

Matt Mustin said...

Saw Captain Marvel. Kinda loved it, actually, but more than anything I think that just proves that I'm a helpless sucker for the Marvel formula. But honestly, yeah, I had a blast with this. I thought the effects in particular were very impressive (aside from a couple brief moments with the cat) and I actually really like the score, too. The script has issues that I could pick apart, but if I did that for this, I'd have to do that for every MCU film, and that's not the point. I just had a great time watching this.

Larson-3.5(She's got a couple "off" line deliveries here and there, but nothing that really hurts an otherwise rock solid performance.)

Jackson-4(Doesn't really make sense considering the Fury we meet later, but in the context of the film this is an absolutely winning performance.)

Mendeslohn-4(Surprised me, not in the quality of his work, but rather what he's asked to do. Anyway, Mendelsohn delivers as usual, and between this and Mississippi Grind I wouldn't mind at all if he became a regular collaborator with Boden and Fleck.)

Lynch-3.5(Brings the right emotion and sense of history.)

Bening-2.5(Really just kind of there.)

Law-2.5(Standard, uninspired performance.)

Hounsou-(No reason at all for him to be there, but I thought he was OK. Still very much wasted, although not quite as wasted as...)

Pace-1.5(To be honest, he seemed annoyed that he even had to be there, and I don't blame him.)

Great to see Gregg again, but he doesn't do much.

Emi Grant said...

CM Punk is getting some praise for his performance on Girl on the Third Floor. Color me intrigued.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Us was... a lot. I might need to see it again. I definitely liked it a lot, but there’s so much to unpack and it definitely feels like it was made for multiple viewings. Even more so than Get Out. Lupita is fucking aces in it.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis: I've been thinking about Spider-Man villains that haven't been done in live-action yet, and I was wondering who you'd cast for these characters:

Miles Warren/The Jackal
Kraven the Hunter
Hobgoblin

Michael McCarthy said...

I also just saw Us and Robert pretty much said exactly what I was going to. There were scenes of objective brilliance but I really need to think and probably rewatch it to figure it out. Also, I'm very close to pre-emptively naming Nyong'o my actress win for 2019.

Michael McCarthy said...

I can imagine Louis liking Us more than Get Out, the humor is definitely more rooted in character and less sketchlike than Get Out, and the actual horror is a lot more visceral. Also, there were some subtle Jaws callouts that Louis might appreciate.

Mitchell Murray said...

This is perhaps a weird question, Louis, but since you don't do your overall rankings anymore I was just curious. In retrospect, would you say you liked Bradley Cooper's performance from "A Star Is Born" more or less than Timothee Chalamet's "Call Me By Your Name" work? There both 4.5's, and overall Chalamet's review is more positive, but I wonder if his recent choices have made you second guess his potential like myself. For me personally I have a clear preference for Cooper, but I realize that's probably not a universal opinion.

On a separate note, for those that we're following my blog, I'm still looking into the years I left blank to that point. Currently I'm into 2007 having re-watched "Juno" and "Elizabeth: The Golden Age".

Bryan L. said...

Matt: I'll take a crack at that

Miles Warren/The Jackal: Linus Roache
Kraven the Hunter: Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Hobgoblin: Barry Pepper

Emi Grant said...

Mitchell: That, 2012 and 2010 were the years I was most looking forward to. What did you think of Juno and its cast?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top ten movie remakes

Bryan L. said...

Thoughts on this...uh..."alternate" Mandy cast anyone?

Red equivalent: Jennifer Jason Leigh
"Mandy" eq: Sam Riley
Jeremiah eq: Tilda Swinton (Perfection I must say)
Caruthers eq: Pam Grier
The Chemist eq: Gina Gershon


Also, I saw "Us" as well. Definitely going to need repeat viewings, though I will say I thought it felt more like a director's film than Get Out did.


Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Richard Fleischer as a director? And your thoughts on the direction and screenplay of 10 Rillington Place?

Mitchell Murray said...

Emi:

"Juno" is actually a film that I didn't mind watching overall, as I could definitely imagine loving it under different direction. As it stands, however, I never did believe in the world Reitman was trying to create, or the tonal balance he was going for. Frankly I was rather annoyed at the movie's attempts of humour, in it appearing to be quirky simply for the sake of being quirky. There is no substance to many of the jokes and I distinctly recall exclaiming "Stop with the adjectives" upon my first viewing. Now in the movie's second half, Reitman is admittedly a little better in his approach, as he forgoes much of that surface humour to instead portray more genuine heart in the characters. This chance of pace didn't dramatically improve the movie for myself, but it did offer a nice deviation from what I was watching before hand. Still, "Juno" is a strange kind of movie that's been so polarizing to many, and I can see where both the criticisms and praise lie in the film. I think that if you manage to anger both sides of an issue like this picture did (Abortion), your at least doing something interesting. As a stand alone movie, though, I think its merely fine, but hardly deserving of the great acclaim it received by the academy.

Page - 3 (Much like the film this performance has been particularly divisive among viewers - Some people adore her, some people hate her, and as expected, my sentiments are square in the middle of both camps. Page is admittedly not a favourite actress of mine as in the majority of her screen outings, she doesn't appear to be this great charismatic presence, or a performer of considerable range. This applies to her performance here as during the first half, I found her to be somewhat grating in her approach. Its not even that I thought she was unrealistic in her characterization; Plenty of strong performances have been given as broad, colourful characters. In Page's case, however, I never thought she displayed enough charm in the role to make Diablo Cody's writing work. I grew quite tired of her dry delivery and inexpressive gaze, which prevented me from really getting attached to McGuff at the start.

Now like I said before, the movie's second half is slightly better and Page's performance helps to improve the proceedings. This is mainly in her attempts of portraying more sincere emotion in her role, showing the real vulnerability and stress of a pregnant teen. Page is capable in these later scenes and actually manages to convey some authenticity in her reactions, most notably her breakdown in a car. Nevertheless, I'm struggling to remember one moment from this performance that really amazed me, because even in her stronger sequences Page never fully clicked for myself. It's a decent turn, and is rather suited to Page's limited repertoire, but I just don't view it as the unique, compelling portrayal the film wanted Page to deliver.)

Janney/Simmons - 3.5 (My favourite performances in the film as they do fulfill the requirements of their small parts. Even more to that point, though, its simply nice to see an actor like Simmons in such an earnest role, as he brings just a little more charm and tenderness to the movie. Janney is no slouch herself, either, and effectively finds the right balance between overt humour and motherly love, providing the only real laughs I got from the story, honestly.)

Bateman/Garner - 3 (More or less the same thoughts as Janney and Simmons, though perhaps not to the same degree, I would say. This is hardly a stretch for Bateman but he does play his man child character rather well, showing a believable detachment in his duties as an adult. Meanwhile Garner is okay as she shows the earnesty and sadness of a woman longing to be a mother.)

Thirlby - 2.5 (Restricted role, to be sure, but she is fine here.)

Cera - 2 (Yah I'm not a Cera fan, and this performance did nothing but confirm my lack of enthusiasm.)

Calvin Law said...

So...Us. I can definitely say for certain that I really, really liked it, although I’d say that this time round Peele’s direction stood out more than his screenplay which while still great I did have a few issues with some of the earlier scenes. And I wasn’t initially sure about some of the editing but it ended up working really well for me. Pretty much every horror sequence was amazing and I thought the humour was well implemented too.

Nyong’o: 5 (concur with everyone on this, she is AMAZING)
Duke: 4
Curry: 3.5
Wright Joseph: 3.5
Alex: 4
Moss: 4 (could go up)
Heidecker: 3.5

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the cinematography of Meet Joe Black and Cape Fear (that version you mentioned)? I have to say, I sometimes forget Lubezki even shot the former film.

Louis Morgan said...

Saw Us, liked it a great deal, I think the main plot related revelation was stronger in Get Out, but I preferred this as an overall film (and yes especially in the use of humor).

Nyong'o - 5
Duke - 4
Joseph - 3.5
Alex - 3.5
Moss - 3.5
Heidecker - 3

Charles:

Made that list like six times, then got frustrated, at who to cut off and who to include, as many overt performances can be brilliant within the nuance within them, or really aren't over the top in the context of the character or tone.

Bryan:

Triple Frontier is a film with much potential, but not much result, unfortunately. It is fine, but just that. There is a story about these guys moving on from war, that has potential, there is the Treasure of Sierra Madresque story of greed, that has potential, there is the heist itself, that has potential. Chandor needed to hone in on his focus, as there just isn't quite enough substance in any of these ideas. I think he honestly should've removed the romantic subplot which felt extremely cliched and in the end superfluous to the main plot. The film has enough technical precision, and is written, well enough, to get by to be fine. It just doesn't go further than that.

Isaac - 3.5(Thank goodness for this, as this is at least a base hit for him. This is fine charismatic work from him, that anchors the film well even if the part is perhaps just a touch bland. Isaac brings what he can to what is there for him, and gives a nice turn here.)

Affleck - 3(Technically a low rating for him here as I think the part had a lot more potential than he realizes. Now part of this is in the writing which needed to spend just a little more time in showing the character's greed getting the best of him, but this is also on Affleck whose performance goes to an eleven too quickly as well. Although the part isn't as well written as Fred C. Dobbs, I think a greater performance was possible with that sort of trajectory in mind.)

Hunnam & Hedlund - 3(Extremely well cast as brothers I must say. Both do just fine here, even if Hedlund is a little bland still and Hunnam's accent constantly slips. The two I still found managed to furnish enough of a heart within their performances, and have some good minor moments throughout.)

Pascal - 3.5(MVP, as quite frankly I think he might've had the least of a character, as essentially "the pilot". Pascal though is terrific in making the most out of every silent moment to convey the character's own emotional journey, and own exasperation form his life experience. This isn't really as written all that much, but rather just what he brings in his "off the side" moments throughout.)

Matt:

The Jackal: Cillian Murphy
Kraven: Romain Duris
Hobgoblin: Nicholas Hoult

Mitchell:

Cooper.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Ignoring adaptations of TV movie versions, and re-adaptations (where there's no sense of connection to the original film version, for example Scrooge doesn't feel like a remake of a specific earlier version of A Christmas Carol).

1. The Thing
2. Ben-Hur
3. The Maltese Falcon
4. The Fly
5. A Fistful of Dollars
6. The Departed
7. 12 Monkeys
8. A Place in the Sun
9. The Strawberry Blonde
10. Gaslight

Anonymous:

Richard Fleischer might have one of strangest careers as a director as his work goes from underwhelming to brilliant just randomly. I mean the man who made 10 Rillington Place, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Compulsion, The Boston Strangler also made Doctor Dolittle, Conan The Destroyer, The Vikings and Red Sonja. This was sometimes in just a year of each other in some cases. Of course you can see sometimes the mix of brilliance and, not so brilliant, in the very same film. For example, Soylent Green has some incredible moments within its overall rather bland tapestry. He seems perhaps someone who knew what he was working with as typically his own work seems far more invested when the material itself was stronger. As you take something like 20,000 Leagues, that I really like, though has a couple for the kids silly Disney scenes thrown in. Those scenes are filmed in a pretty standard way, comparative to the scenes focusing in on Nemo, where there is such a greater passion one can see within the work behind the camera. He was perhaps was a slave to the material even more so than any director, as he himself seemed to lose investment when the material was not there.

His direction for 10 Rillington Place is the highlight of his career though of course, as every right decision, he just seems to make it here in granting such a matter of fact horror to the story, that was not really the norm for serial killer films of the time. Fleischer's blunt approach, frankly does not get enough credit, which is nothing to sniff at. This is as there are so many specific, yet unassuming choices throughout. Some small details, of great impact, whether that be just the pan to Timothy upon hearing about his daughter, the focus on Christie at the verdict, the discovery of the bodies by the new tenant, the disturbing calm of every murder or hiding the murder scene. And of course the hanging of Timothy Evans, which is one of the most low key yet disturbing depictions of a death I've seen in a film, as Fleischer's decision to pace the scene so quickly, yet so darkly "efficiently". Fleischer's work does not sensationalize, he simply depicts it, in a still cinematic fashion, yet never in a way that trivializes it. I especially love that final choice of the meaningless freeze frame on Chrisite as the last shot of the film, as it so effectively symbolizes that the catching of him is hardly this "fist pump" moment, as no true justice could ever come from that story.

Louis Morgan said...

The screenplay is a quietly brilliant piece of work as well as it manages to realize such a specific approach as more of a great journalistic piece. This is as it manages to make the story compelling while maintaining an especially factual emphasis on the tale, and avoiding trying to make it a thriller. It rather presents the tale, it does so still in a way where we learn who these people are beyond simple victims, while also giving us all the horrifying details of who Christie was as well without turning him into a typical movie psychopath. It's marvelous work as it is able to naturally just say "here's the story" without simplification, nor does the human element get lost within the facts.

Anonymous:

Meet Joe Black's features some the greatest shots of a cgi Brad Pitt unintentionally hilariously getting hit by a car you'll ever see. Seriously though Meet Joe Black is probably one of the most boring movies I've seen. Martin Brest directs the film as though he himself was asleep throughout the process, as the choices for every scene are so standard and uninspired. However if one is cursed to be bored to death by the film, you will get to enjoy some downright pristine lighting throughout. I mean it is some terrific pointed work by Lubezki, and although Brest seems to settle for the most uninspired setups for every scene, boy does Lubezki do the best he can to find any way to compose, guys standings lifelessly, in an interesting or at least somewhat dynamic way. It is almost comical, as you can almost feel the restriction on the cinematography within the film, as he manages to still do so much, with really so little vision on the part of his director.

Scorsese on the other hand is rarely ever asleep at the wheel visually, even if he makes a terrible film. Well here he is working with Freddie Francis, whom I'm sure he probably tried to seek out, and he doesn't waste him, even if it doesn't help the film be any less tiresome in a dramatic sense. Francis though manages to capture a very lurid quality within the lighting of the film, capturing a real sense of place within the story. In addition he captures especially striking compositions in so many shots, of the prosecutor, and his persecutor. Take the shot of Cady on the fence with fireworks, that is one beautiful shot as realized by Francis. There are many such shots throughout the trash film, and really gives a nice quality to gloss to that trash. Still trash, but Francis did his job.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Us as a film, and your thoughts on the cast.

Matt Mustin said...

Tahmeed: Maybe not just yet?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Matt: Ah, sorry, we should wait till everyone gets a chance to see it.

Luke Higham said...

I'm happy to see Nyong'o living up to her potential after her Oscar win.

Luke Higham said...

We're now just 1 five away from 200 for the 2010s.

Calvin Law said...

Bryan: By the way, just saw your question and to that, sure thing - though I'll probably do it right before Endgame.

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: Great. Looking forward to it!

BTW, if anyone's interested, there's a mini-series on Netflix that's inspired by JFK (1991) called "Crime Diaries: The Candidate". It's about a presidential candidate who was assassinated in Mexico in the 90s and the ensuing conspiracy. Worth checking out.

It's not as artfully made as JFK, and it can feel like a bit of a soap opera at times, but I think it works as a complement of sorts to that film.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the Peggy Gordon/Flogging scene from The Proposition.

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Your 80s cast and director for Green Book?

Luke Higham said...

Bryan: Morgan Freeman and James Woods.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: Freeman seems about right. How about Rod Steiger instead of Woods?

Luke Higham said...

Bryan: For a 60's version with Poitier, yes, but for a 80s version, no. Tony Lip was actually 32/33 at the time and Steiger would've been in his late 50s/early 60s in the 80s. I might be contradicting myself when Mortensen was 59/60 but he looks pretty well for his age.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: That's what I has in mind as well, since Mortensen is also twenty years older than Cardellini is right now, and they played husband and wife. He indeed still looks great too.

Maybe Harvey Keitel?

Luke Higham said...

Bryan: Perhaps.

Charles H said...

Woods and Freeman sounds too perfect to me.

Mitchell Murray said...

I've said this before, but had he still been alive today, I think James Gandolfini would've been a great choice to play Tony.

Bryan L. said...

Mitchell: I think he definitely would've been cast instead of Mortensen, since he was breaking out into bigger film roles at the time of his death.

At the same time though, it might've been a bit of a "wink-wink" casting, since Tony Lip himself was a recurring on The Sopranos. But really, he would've been good though.

Calvin Law said...

I watched Hope. I really hope Sol gets a 5, and I thought the film was really good too. Though interesting in that it’s not actually as dark as one might imagine for the most part, more just really heartbreaking, although there are a few pretty unsettling sequences that are hard to get through.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: can I have your thoughts on the electrifying demise/‘Goodbye my Son’ scene in Twin Peaks: The Return

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your rating and thoughts on Robert Duvall and Arnold Schwarzenegger in The 6th Day.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Also thoughts on Luc Besson as a filmmaker.

Michael McCarthy said...

I didn’t like Hope as much as the rest of you. It mostly felt exploitive to me. As for Sol, I suppose he was good but I think my feelings for the film muted the impact he had on me.

Luke Higham said...

Shazam! is 94% on RT. Thank goodness for that and really looking forward to Levi and Grazer.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: Thank goodness indeed. The DCEU is starting to turn things around (there's fun to be had in Aquaman at least). Looks it'll be entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Guys, any suggestions on who could be giving career best performances this year.

Emi Grant said...

Anonymous: I feel like Robert Pattinson and Margot Robbie just might.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: I'll only choose performances from actors that have fives already and whether there's enough details about them prior to watching.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood
Florence Pugh in Midsommar (For film quite possibly, not sure if it'll top The Little Drummer Girl)
Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson in The Lighthouse (Haven't seen High Life yet in regards to the latter)
Robert Downey Jr. in Avengers: Endgame (Depends how great the film is)

I want to include Brad Pitt for Ad Astra or OUATIH but need a bit more information first.

Luke Higham said...

And maybe Robbie as well.

Luke Higham said...

Emi Grant: If High Life is 2019 by your criteria then possibly but it was released in France last November.

Emi Grant said...

I don't really have a criteria, I'm just so excited for the film that I forgot about that. But yeah, I guess by Louis' rules it's 2018.

Bryan L. said...

Hhmmm...I think Dev Patel might give a career best performance in The Tale of David Copperfield, since I have good faith that Iannucci sees something in him.

Also, Scarlett Johansson and Waititi himself for JoJo Rabbit, since Waititi might get an at least 4-star performance from ScarJo.

Hanks I think could at least equal his performance in Captain Phillips.

I love me some DiCaprio as the next guy, but he honestly seems more of a 4.5 to me for OUATIH, since I'm getting some "directors film" vibes for the film. Same for Pitt. Robbie has a chance though, since I think she'll have the meatier character in the film.

I concur on Pugh.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top ten animation directors

Calvin Law said...

Okay, I saw Like Father, Like Son, and I absolutely loved it in every regard - though cried ugly tears almost every step of the way. I really hope Louis loves the film as a whole, it's very easily my 2013 runner-up now, and the whole ensemble is downright brilliant, Fukuyama doing brilliantly in a very hard role. MVP though is Kore-eda's direction and screenplay.

Michael McCarthy said...

I also really liked Like Father, Like Son and it's stayed with me beautifully.

Charles H said...

Glad you guys enjoyed Like Father, Like Son. I find it Kore-eda's greatest work. Fukuyama's performance is one of the most genuine i've seen this decade.

Luke Higham said...

I guess Fukuyama has the best chance of breaking into the top 5.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I know you usually don't give thoughts on any other films or performances until the results are posted but is there any possibility you could give thoughts on Blue Is The Warmest Colour, Short Term 12 and ratings and thoughts on Exarchopoulos, Seydoux, Larson and if you've seen it, Juliette Binoche in Camille Claudel 1915.

Calvin Law said...

I’m hoping Ejiofor stays in the top 10 and possibly even goes higher up.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Agreed. :)

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I hope McAvoy keeps his win, because that's a performance that has only gotten better with time for me.

Robert MacFarlane said...

If anything I hope McAvoy loses his 5.

Calvin Law said...

I wouldn’t want McAvoy to lose his 5 but there’s plenty of performances I’d prefer to take the win. My current top 10 now is probably:

1. Isaac
2. Ejiofor
3. McConaughey
4. DiCaprio
5. Hanks
6. Fukuyama
7. Gyllenhaal
8. Bale
9. Sol
10. Brühl/Hawke

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Robert: Could you elaborate why you think so? For me, I think he's the only actor who could have played that role, without falling into the obvious pitfalls brought about by the screenplay.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Tahmeed: Because I didn't think he was that good? I mean, I hated the movie too, so it's hard for me to judge. Honestly I liked his skeevy shtick better in Atomic Blonde.

Bryan L. said...

Robert: You didn't even like McAvoys final scene in Filth? You gotta admit he was pretty moving there.

Calvin Law said...

I don’t think Robert thinks he’s bad, I think he just doesn’t see the hype. Personally I do really like his performance in it, but I probably preferred him in Days of Future Past and Atonement, quite frankly.

Bryan L. said...

I think his performance in Filth is a career-best, but I do like him in Days of Future Past (4.5) though. I'd probably give him a 3.5 for Atonement.

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on Woody Allen as a filmmaker?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone here seen Deadwood? The TV movie trailer recently came out and I'm freaking out. It's one of my favorite tv shows, fantastic dialogue (David Milch is a genius), great direction, great production and a perfect ensemble. Ian McShane give one of the best performers on television and Brad Dourif, Powers Boothe, Keith Carradine, Robin Weigert, Gerald McRaney, Garrett Dillahunt, William Sanderson, Timothy Olyphant, Kim Dickens, Paula Malcomson, Molly Parker, John Hawkes, Dayton Callie, W. Earl Brown, Jeffrey Jones, Jim Beaver and the entire cast is fantastic:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKdWhrWJxt4

Charles H said...

McAvoy is obviously not going to lose his five, but he may lose his win. My revised top five would be:

1. Isaac
2. DiCaprio
3. McAvoy
4. Fukuyama
5. McConaughey

Emi Grant said...

I *really* hope McAvoy keeps his win. His performance only improves with each re-watch to me.

Louis Morgan said...

Will get to all requested comments on the next post.

Álex Marqués said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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