Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Alternate Best Actor 2013: Christian Bale in Out of The Furnace

Christian Bale did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Russell Baze in Out of the Furnace.

Out of the Furnace is a particularly frustrating watch as there is so much potential within it, however its missteps leads it to fall short of greatness, even goodness quite honestly.

Christian Bale's performance stands perhaps as the greatest testament to the potential of the film, in his portrayal of a Pennsylvania industrial worker Russell Baze. Bale's work here from the outset is fascinating as he's known for his transformative turns, often in a way that brandishes that idea. Now technically this is that, in his wiry frame, southern accent and general demeanor. Not a moment of Bale's work, however feels like a facade. The entirety of it has this deeply lived in quality within his work, a performance that just evokes years of a hard life in every harried breath and exasperated words. Bale's portrayal isn't that of a man who is tired of life, but rather evokes the idea of a man who has lived this hard life, and will continue to live this to do. The history he bares on his brow from the second we see him here, in his richly textured work that just makes Russell Baze evoke this place, and even poverty of its setting, far more so than is even achieved within the film's writing or direction. Bale is locked in within this character, and the depth of this performance is quite frankly this consistently compelling element, within a story that may not be worthy of it.

Well in that we have Bale here who just lives within this character in such a remarkable fashion, as Bale does play so close to the chest, fitting of a man of few words and even fewer prospects. One of the essential elements of Bale's performance though is that he doesn't portray a dismay over this, though does not hide the wear of this either. It is a particularly powerful juxtaposition all just within Bale's performance. In that we do see a man living his life with a real essentially stability, even within the hardship of dealing with his dying father, and generally poor means of existence. Bale's work is though with a contentment of the existence that in itself carries with it a definite power. He is able to convey a man who not only has settled rather has never even minded the idea of anything other than this place and time for himself. This is in Bale's performance that carries the weight of the life, but not with a shame within it. This is a carefully realized work that is downright marvelous, as he does express a certain, I wouldn't quite say joy, but there is a warmth even within the harshness that exists within the presence of Russell as portrayed by Bale.

Russell's life quickly becomes worse however through the first bit of unfortunate luck as he accidentally kills two people in an auto crash after having been drinking. This scene of this discovery is a testament of the strength of Bale's performance in the moment. This is as his reaction to the moment is not this big cry of anguish, but rather this beautifully internalized distress as in the scene he slowly conducts this slow realizes building in the man's painful realization of what has transpired. This lands Russell in jail, a plot point almost brushed by in the film, essentially to fulfill a plot point. Bale though does not treat it as a plot point, and is again terrific in portraying Russell's state of being in the prison. Again the restraint is so important in his performance portraying the man as again living it, with a bit more understated concern, however mostly with the same understanding of a man whose life hasn't exactly been anything life affirming to begin with. When Russell explains to his brother (Casey Affleck) that he barely even considers it a hardship, the hope in his voice Bale brings such a truth within it fitting to a man whose always known a similar state.

Russell is eventually released from prison which after he gets out he has more losses the protagonist of an old fashioned country song, as his girlfriend (Zoe Saldana) has left him, his brother has been traumatized by war and his father has died. That's a whole lot, and quite frankly the pace of how each of these is handled should have little to no effect. Bale's work however grants a weight to each and every one of these moments no matter how rushed they are. Bale's portrayal though intends to find the detail within it, even when the material itself rams it through within the narrative. Again Bale's work carries such a conviction of this person, that he manages to brings into the intimacy of the man's mind and the way he deals with the tragedy of his life. Bale brings such a calm nuance in his moment of hearing of his father's death that reveals the real heartbreak, but with also the resigned expectation of a man who has long sense known it was coming. Bale delivers this even with the far more superfluous element of the girlfriend who has left him for the local police chief (a laughably bad Forest Whitaker).

That is essentially made in a single scene of him randomly running into her. Bale's outstanding however he in bringing this hesitant energy, an excitement that he shows Russell almost doesn't know what to do with as he essentially pledges his love for her. Bale brings such an almost endearing unease by making this so genuinely disjointed as this quieter man where such an experience is almost against his nature. Bale in this moments reveals all the greater vulnerability of such sincere love, which is quickly stopped when she reveals she's pregnant from her new relationship. Bale's breakdown is absolutely heartbreaking, in one moment of more overt anguish, that Bale makes natural given his state of vulnerability. He plays it brilliantly though showing how all his losses hit him in this time of realization, granting in this breakdown as a moment of Russell essentially giving into all those feelings that lay dormant within him. I'll admit there is no reason I should've cared at all about this relationship based on the direction and editing of the film, however Bale made me care by offering such a sincere portrayal of what the relationship meant to Russell that he is able to overcome the shortcomings of the film.

The final loss though is in his brother whose experiences in war, a particularly poorly realized element overall, has left him traumatized and searching for a strange relief through bare knuckle fighting/gambling. Bale nonetheless grants a gravity to this situation through his effortless portrayal of his chemistry with Affleck. Bale has never been known as the warmest performer, and nor is Russell what one might say is a cheery character to say the least. It is then so very notable how Bale in these interactions is able to emphasize, in his eyes, and the absolute concern in his voice how much Russell loves and cares for his brother, as his brother goes to the void. There is a moment where his brother reveals all his pains, and though it theoretically should be Affleck's scene, Bale is the who leaves the lasting impression through nearly silent yet oh so poignant portrayal of Russell taking in each word while not knowing what to say. Eventually this leads to yet another loss when a series of events leads to his brother's death by the hand of essentially an evil hillbilly drug dealer by the name of Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson).

When initially told of the news, Bale's performance again is excellent as these circumstances are not of the personal space, as manages to essentially tell it all within his subdued expression. Bale's work though again expresses wholly the anguish even as he does not shed a single tear at the news. His face though just carries that little bit more of wear as there is yet another burden placed upon the man. What follows is a rather typical revenge plot as Russell goes about first seeking out his brother, who he doesn't know is dead initially, then seeking revenge against DeGroat. Bale delivers the needed substance within his own performance, regardless of the material. Bale doesn't portray this as a typical anger, but rather with an intense, yet all the same, subdued conviction. Bale depicts the vendetta less as a personal need, but rather as this duty to his brother. Bale through this, finds a real emotional potency within this attachment to his brother at every point, and a real pathos within the act of violence as he goes to kill DeGroat. In the final moments of the film when he finally confronts DeGroat, Bale's eyes do nearly all of the speaking in his moment. There isn't an overt hate, but rather this incredible calm that evokes the remembrance for his brother more than any other emotion. It is extraordinary as Bale manages to bring the emotional turmoil within the moment of being this avenging angel, and finding a power in it, even with Forrest Whittaker being in the background of the scene and nearly sabotaging through his unintentionally hilarious delivery. This is an outstanding performance by Christian Bale as he delivers such a vivid work that exists beyond the trappings of the plot. His portrait of this man has a life and depth to it that exists beyond the confines of the film, He is able to realize Russell in a way that alludes to a greater potential of the material that is not realized within the film itself. Bale manages though to bring that potential to life within his own work, to the extent it overcomes those weaknesses through one of his most subdued and strongest turns.

250 comments:

1 – 200 of 250   Newer›   Newest»
Robert MacFarlane said...

I tirned this movie off about three minutes in when Woody Harrelson tried to murder his date with a hot dog.

Also, I forgot who it was, but someone referred to this film as “Winter’s Boner” and I’m still laughing about it nearly six years later.

Louis Morgan said...

Robert:

That's a fair reaction, I'll admit.

Matt Mustin said...

Scott Cooper needs a co-writer or something. Someone to help him realize the potential all of his films have.

Matt Mustin said...

Anyway, yeah, Bale's great here, from what I remember. Certainly would've preferred if he got nominated for this over American Hustle.

Charles H said...

I recall him being pretty great despite how horrid i find the film. At least he gets his long awaited 2nd five.

Louis: Could Affleck go up at all for this film?

Matt Mustin said...

Charles H: He should be a 4.5, I think.

Bryan L. said...

I reckon there's a reader of this blog who will be very happy about this rating :)

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Ratings and thoughts on the cast for this film and The Zero Theorem? Unless you're planning on saving anyone from either.

Bryan L. said...

Also, I think it's a bit of a shame that Bale has been a bit wasted actually in mediocre-to-bad films this decade (this film, Hostiles, Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Promise, his two films with Terrence Malick, American Hustle, Vice). Heck, I don't even really hate The Big Short, and McKay still gave him nothing to do.

Even The Dark Knight Rises and The Fighter both aren't great, though not bad. It is a testament to his talent that he's managed to rise above the material though. I hope Ford v. Ferrari actually delivers.

Has anyone here seen The Flowers of War btw?

Emi Grant said...

I'm so glad to see Bale get a second five. I do have to admit to have vastly overlooked some of the film's flaws due to Bale's, Affleck's and Harrelson's performances, though.

Louis: Your thoughts on the film's screenplay?

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Also, your thoughts on "Amulet of the Weeping Maze" from Mandy, by the one and only Jeremiah Sand?

Luke Higham said...

YESSSSS FINALLLLY. :)

Luke Higham said...

Since Google + is more or less dead now, I'm reposting this in case it gets deleted.

Films To Watch:
Prisoners (Possible Re-Examination of Jackman's work)
American Hustle (Possible upgrade for Renner)
Behind The Candelabra
Phil Spector (Al Pacino)
Blue Is The Warmest Colour
Short Term 12
Ida (Paweł Pawlikowski, had a Polish release)
The Past (Asghar Farhadi)
Camille Claudel, 1915 (Juliette Binoche, read that it's one of her very best)
Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch)
Nymphomaniac Vol. I & II (Lars Von Trier, Watch the longer version if you can and I've read that Gainsbourg gave a fantastic performance)
The Wind Rises (Miyazaki)
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
The Garden Of Words
The Great Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio/Carey Mulligan/Joel Edgerton, Please don't let Moulin Rouge deter you from watching it, I found it on the whole much more tolerable to sit through)
The Railway Man (Firth's best work though I haven't yet seen The Mercy)
Stoker
The Conjuring
This Is The End
The Invisible Woman (Ralph Fiennes)
A Field In England (Ben Wheatley)
Le-Weekend
Hummingbird
The Selfish Giant
Borgman
Tangerines
Stray Dogs
Frances Ha
Metro Manila
Stranger By The Lake
Still Life (Eddie Marsan)
Tom At The Farm
Upstream Color
The Way Way Back
World War Z
Monsters University
The Spectacular Now
Drug War
The Bling Ring (Sofia Coppola)
Warm Bodies (Nicholas Hoult as a Zombie)
Oblivion (Tom Cruise)
The Heat (Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy)
We Are The Best!
We're The Millers
What Maisie Knew (Julianne Moore/Steve Coogan)
Trance (James McAvoy)
Welcome To The Punch (McAvoy/Strong)
Good Vibrations (Richard Dormer, Kermode's favourite film of 2013)
Dom Hemingway (Jude Law)
The Kings Of Summer
The Purge (Ethan Hawke)
Oz The Great And Powerful
Jack The Giant Slayer
Jobs (Ashton Kutcher)
Unforgiven (Ken Watanabe)
Venus In Fur (Polanski/Amalric)
The Best Offer (Geoffrey Rush)
Much Ado About Nothing (Joss Whedon)
Byzantium (Neil Jordan)
To The Wonder (Terrence Malick)
Now You See Me
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller)
Coherence
Palo Alto
Mama (Chastain/Coster-Waldau)
Charlie's Country (David Gulpilil)
Young & Beautiful (François Ozon)
Han Gong-Ju
Gangster Squad (Sean Penn should be in your bottom five for Supporting Actor)
Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas (Mads Mikkelsen)
Ender's Game
Oculus
The Lone Ranger
For Those In Peril
Labor Day (Brolin/Winslet)
Last Passenger
After Earth
In A World…
Homefront
Mood Indigo
Charlie Countryman
Gloria
Sunshine On Leith
The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Riz Ahmed)
One Chance (James Corden)
Zulu
Jimmy P: Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian
The Grand Seduction (Brendan Gleeson)
Papadopoulos & Sons (Stephen Dillane)
Prince Avalanche

Bryan L. said...

I did notice that everyone who has a pic as their avatar on here just has the Blogger logo now, so I'm guessing it already went through.

Luke Higham said...

Bryan: Well, at least Louis' comments won't be taken down which is something I guess.

Bryan L. said...

Also, seeing Gangster Squad on that list reminds me of the fact that you could make an argument that La La Land is the only GOOD film that co-star Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

And yes, another Penn appearance at the bottom of the Overall awaits...

Bryan L. said...

Luke: Fortunately so :)

If you don't mind, can I have your thoughts on Tilda Swinton as an actress?

Luke Higham said...

I'll get you those later on today Bryan, have to get ready for work.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Any possibility you could review Pegg last. In all likelihood, His will take the longest to write.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: No worries :) Thanks for throwing in The Reluctant Fundamentalist in there btw Its a good showcase for Riz Ahmed and Schreiber, though a bit less so with Liev

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your top ten updated Bale moments.

And lastly, as of now, what would you consider to be his career best. The Prestige or Out Of The Furnace.

Calvin Law said...

As expected, he deserves this 5.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: With Badlands being '74, do you need to re-watch both it and Chinatown to decide on Picture, Director and Actress. I'll assume Sheen will be 3rd or 4th in the Lead Actor ranking.

Bryan: Swinton is an immensely talented actress with an amazing range who has probably one of the very best resumes in the industry right now in terms of consistency throughout her career. My first exposure to her talent was probably The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe when I was 11 where she was pretty effective as an Ice Queen.

Calvin Law said...

While he’s great here I definitely think Prestige is his career-best by far.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: It's been a rather long time since I've seen The Prestige but I completely understand your preference. His performance there really grows on you with every viewing.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: Your thoughts on Fantastic Mr. Fox and ratings/thoughts on the cast.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: Same for Eyes Wide Shut and Cruise & Kidman

Anonymous said...

Luke: I still think Chinatown will keep its Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress wins. The only win I could see Badlands taking is Best Cinematography from Gordon Willis as I believe Louis ranked its cinematography way higher. Well, at least Willis has won for Pennies from Heaven, I believe.

Louis: Your thoughts on the cinematography of Cafe Society and Wonder Wheel.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on the Joker trailer. I honestly can't wait to see Phoenix's portrayal regardless of the film's quality.

I loved the song choice for the trailer as well.

Calvin Law said...

Okay that’s sold me on it.

Anonymous said...

I'm fairly certain Louis will review Phoenix for 2019.

Luke Higham said...

Radegund has been retitled as A Hidden Life.

Anonymous said...

Love the new photo, Luke. :)

And that has to be the best trailer I've seen in the last few years.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: Thanks for the thoughts on Swinton.

Speaking of Plainview, your Top Ten DDL performances?

Luke Higham said...

1. There Will Be Blood
2. My Left Foot
3. Phantom Thread
4. Lincoln
5. In The Name Of The Father
6. Gangs Of New York
7. The Age Of Innocence (6 and 7 are interchangable)
8. A Room With A View
9. My Beautiful Laundrette
10. The Crucible

All but #10 are fives and I give 4.5s to The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, The Last Of The Mohicans and The Boxer.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: I got some homework to do in regards to DDLs filmography :o

Also, whats your rating for him in Nine?


Oh yeah, the Joker trailer. Count me in.

Luke Higham said...

Bryan: I've never watched Nine fully, I've only watched Cotillard's scenes since her work was the only thing Louis had any praise for.

Calvin Law said...

I watched Three Identical Strangers, which I didn’t love like Louis but I thought was pretty excellent nevertheless.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis: I don't know if you're aware of this or not, but it looks like Smokin Aces only had a festival release in 2006 (BNAT in Austin).

Bryan L. said...

Matt: I thought that release date in Austin was the reason he put it in 2006 to begin with actually.

Matt Mustin said...

Bryan L: Probably, but it's still a festival, so it's his call.

Matt Mustin said...

By the way, I'm going to see "Us" tonight, so I'll report back.

Calvin Law said...

Might as well jump on this profile picture trend.

Emi Grant said...

Louis: Seeing how 2 films of 2013 end with a cover of Radiohead's Creep (The Zero Theorem and Filth), what are your thoughts on each of them?

Mitchell Murray said...

This is perhaps a weird request, but if anyone knows where to find a safe, quality online copy of "Amour", could you paste it here? I'm finding that movie to be surprisingly tough to track down.

Louis Morgan said...

Matt:

Probably needs to avoid writing them all together, as from all accounts his re-write only hindered a much better spec script. He probably should stick only to directing, where he does have some talent.

You are correct in regards to Smokin Aces, though it's not as though anyone from that film touches a top ten.

Charles:

No.

Bryan:

I've given them, though I'd upgrade Thierry to a 4.5.

Emi Grant:

Well on the re-written script Cooper seems to waste all potential in just a messy hodgepodge of potentially great ideas. Much like Hostiles, it suffers from this idea of the mere introduction of a potent thematic concept, that itself will deliver on it. This is in his prison stay, brushed over, his losses from that, brushed over, Russell's brother's war record, brushed over. This is all pushed aside in favor in making a strange dichotomy between Russell living his life, and random villain scenes, more fitting a different type of thriller, thrown in there featuring Woody Harrelson, especially that opening one that turned off Robert. Frankly I think DeGroat should've been a reduced element, and it should have spent more time detailing Russell's life, rather than the script's approach that offers so little substance to the material.

Bryan:

I mean it's like the Carpenters....but better. It's an amazing bit of folk psychedelic rock nonsense. This is as honestly you could believe this as a believable song from a certain period in the late 60's. This is with the impassioned, if completely ridiculous lyrics, and I gotta give props to Linus Roache for that vocal work. This all supplemented fitting to its genre, in the mix of the over the top instrumentation choices, that this song is pretty great, even a self-parody.

Luke:

I'd just add his final scene with Saldana at number 5.

The Prestige.

No, I just need to get to it in regards to Badlands being added to 74.

Anonymous:

I mean you have Vittorio Storaro, what more do you need? No really what? Cafe Society is an absolutely gorgeous film evoking a classic Hollywood glamor, but with brand new coat through Storaro's always stunning combination of always dynamic use of lighting, creating such vibrancy in colors, and powerful framing and composition. It's a shame the film itself is a bit inert, as his work offers such remarkable romanticism, take just the way he makes Kristen Stewart so absolutely luminous just at sight there. Every shot though has such wonderful old school tapestry in the setups, and it is an incredible looking film on its own.

Wonder Wheel is a far greater waste of Storaro's talent, given it is one of Allen's least cinematic efforts. But boy is it a glorious looking one. That shot of the Coney Island Beach alone, is just a testament to the vibrancy of his work, granting such elegant, detail with such pitch perfect use of color, to make even a clutter of people somehow look so presentable. The whole film though is beautifully shot, even in the interiors, he's got a brilliant way of giving this powerful saturation of colors, just outdoors, fitting to the Amusement park setting, against the shadowy interiors that is such a fantastic juxtaposition. It's a real shame the lackluster script practically wasted all the beauty Storaro gave to it from the outset.

Luke:

I'm IN, far more than expected to be. I mean I thought, if not expected, Phoenix to impress, but I'm really surprised by what Phillips seems to be doing visually speaking, didn't expect that from him. Hopefully the film lives up to that trailer, because that sold me.

Bryan L. said...

Louis: What directors would you like to see Storaro work with?

Louis Morgan said...

Bryan:

Anyone director of note honestly, however I think his aesthetic would be a particularly good fit for:

James Gray
PTA
The Coens
Damien Chazelle
Denis Villeneuve

Charles H said...

Luke: Fantastic Mr. Fox is an excellent film i think. It has everything i want in a animated film. Beautiful animation, good voice work, and a good screenplay. I also find the film mixes the humor and dramatic moments well and it doesn't get tiresome on rewatch.

The voice cast is a good companion to Isle of Dogs. It's not as good but still good. I especially didn't expect Clooney's voice to work for me but it did.

Eyes Wide Shut i find to be a weaker Kubrick film compared to his best work but i still really like it. The atmosphere & technical aspects are done well. I feel like something is missing from the film but it's still a fine swan song. The cast is fine with Cruise being great but Kidman got really annoying for me on rewatches.

Robert MacFarlane said...

So apparently Tom Hooper’s Cats will be using mo-cap and they will be the size of actual cats.

My retinas are already trying to commit suicide.

Louis Morgan said...

Robert:

And to think, I thought I was joking when I called it the 90th layer of hell.

Matt Mustin said...

Saw Us. I much prefer Get Out, mostly because I find it's screenplay to be much, much tighter and more clever, but this is still a really good horror film that cements Jordan Peele as a master filmmaker. Lupita is drop-dead amazing. Also, not a popular opinion it seems, but I LOVED the ending.

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

Bryan L. said...

AH! As if stealing Fincher's Oscar wasn't enough...

Matt: I...concur with your thoughts, although I'm not quite sure about my rating for Nyong'o.

Bryan L. said...

Louis: I especially would like to see a James Gray collab with him, considering Gray's ambitions as a classic filmmaker and Storaros work back in the day.

Your thoughts on Sam Mendes as a director? I won't mind if you take your time with that, as I've noticed he's a bit all over the place in terms of your reactions to his films.

Matt Mustin said...

Bryan L: Really? I don't even have to think twice about giving her a 5.

Bryan L. said...

Matt: I am thinking of giving her a 5, but I...uh...want to watch the film again just to make sure, if you know what I mean :)

Calvin Law said...

Matt: same one of the easiest 5’s I’ve given in a while.

1980s Out of the Furnace directed by Paul Schrader
Russell: Willem Dafoe
DeGroat: James Woods
Rodney: Gary Oldman

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

So glad Bale has his second 5.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the tracking shot showing the primary school years of Ame and Yuki in Wolf Children.

Anonymous said...

Luke, in your opinion, are there any Paul Newman performances that will be reviewed.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Harper (1966), Hombre (1967) and The Sting (1973, I expect him to be reviewed after the bonus rounds as part of the fives cleanup). I also have him as a possibility for Buffalo Bill And The Indians, Or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976).

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Although Morita was perfect in the role, how do you think Toshiro Mifune would have done as Miyagi in The Karate Kid? Was surprised to find out that he auditioned for it.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: Also, any William Holden performances that you think could still be up for a review?

Luke Higham said...

Bryan: I've been doing lineups in reverse chronological order. I am as far back as 1961 right now so I need to do more research for Holden since he did more work in the 40s and 50s than in the 60s and 70s.

Luke Higham said...

I've taken a look at his filmography on Letterboxd and there isn't anything that's really standing out to me aside from maybe Wild Rovers (1971) which I've read some good to great notices about him yet the film itself is middling.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: Oh I see. Asking because it seems that he did a film with Clint Eastwood directing and a last one with Billy Wilder, both in the 70s. Just wondering if either of those are good.

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

Bryan: We'll see with Breezy but with Fedora, I think I might've had him in consideration for 1978 but pushed him out as there were others that had more appeal to me.

The lineup I have right now is:

Steve McQueen - An Enemy Of The People
Bruce Dern - The Driver
Alan Bates/John Hurt - The Shout
Elliott Gould - The Silent Partner
Richard Pryor - Blue Collar
Alt. Alan Alda - Same Time, Next Year
John Amplas - Martin

Anonymous said...

Luke, Any for James Mason, Christopher Plummer and Donald Sutherland.

Luke Higham said...

Mason:
Odd Man Out (1947)
The Fall Of The Roman Empire (1964)
Murder By Decree (1979)

The Prisoner Of Zenda (1952), The Man Between (1953), A Touch Of Larceny (1959) and The Last Of Sheila (1973) are possibilities as well.

Plummer:
The Fall Of The Roman Empire (1964)
The Silent Partner (1978)
Murder By Decree (1979, joint review with Mason)
Remember (2015)

Waterloo (1970) and Nicholas Nickelby (2002) are maybes.

Sutherland:
1900 (Novecento, 1976)
Without Limits (1998)
Panic (2000)

Fellini's Casanova (1976) and Threshold (1981) are other possibilities though I'm fairly doubtful about them making it.

RatedRStar said...

Luke: Same Time, Next Year is really bad lol haha, Alda is so wasted lol.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: Good, Don't need him then. Honestly, I only had him in there due to the Globe nomination.

Mitchell Murray said...

Well having finally tracked down "Amour" this morning, I'm now prepared to offer my ranking of 2012 best actress.

1) Watts
2) Riva
3) Chastain
4) Lawrence
5) Wallis

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Mitchell: Your ratings and thoughts on the nominees.

Calvin Law said...

My ranking of the 2012 actress nominees would be:

1. Wallis (5)
2. Watts (4.5)
3. Riva (4.5)
4. Lawrence (4.5)
5. Chastain (3.5)

Mitchell Murray said...

Tahmeed:

Watts - 4.5 (After being fairly disappointed by her first oscar nominated performance, I'm so pleased to be talking about a great turn from the talented Watts. Her role in "The Impossible" is very much an action based characterization, given how the film's depiction of Bennett is that of a normal woman thrust into a terrifying situation. Watts, although not the sole focus of the movie, per say, absolutely delivers the needed fear and exhaustion. She makes the first half of the story feel so visceral, never resorting to histrionics or vagueness, and instead allowing every second to be completely harrowing. Beyond the obvious physical components of the performance, though, she also emphasizes whatever depth there is in her part, by showing the genuine bond between Bennett and her family, and granting a clear level of hope and perseverance even within such devastation. An incredible performance.)

Riva - 4.5 (A believable and moving turn from Riva, in a role that could've been rather stock and repetitious, admittedly. Thankfully the film prevents its central characters from ever becoming such, and Riva's portrayal is a big reason why. She works quite well opposite Jean-Louis Trintignant, as the two actors share a complex and authentic chemistry, and remain realistic as a you're average senior couple. Riva also proves to be very strong in displaying the progressive degeneration of Anne's stroke, both in the right facial and linguistic inhibitions, and in her poignant gaze that still suggests the same woman as before. Her performance on the whole is a very compelling effort, and effectively supplies a large portion of her film's emotional resonance.)

Chastain - 4 (This is certainly a good performance from Chastain, although the zealousness displayed by a lot of its fans leaves me a little puzzled. I say this because, to be entirely frank, I didn't see her as this dominate presence in "Zero Dark Thirty"; I would've been intrigued by the film's premise even if they didn't write Maya into the screenplay, and Chastain, while a quality choice, never managed to equal the heft found in the rest of the story. Now having said all of that, this is nevertheless a finely calibrated turn from Chastain. She definitely possessed the needed resolve, here, and effectively realized the ambition displayed by Maya throughout. More importantly, she refrained from turning the character into a hollow, one dimensional lead, and took every chance she got to reveal an honest vulnerability behind that externalized composure. Not an amazing achievement in my eyes, but still a consistently good performance in many ways.)

Mitchell Murray said...

Lawrence - 4 (I must say, in the number of times I've revisited "Silver Linings Playbook", Cooper's performance has grown on me all the more. In regards to his oscar winning co-star, my admiration is a little more tempered, admittedly. Part of that stems from Lawrence being fundamentally miscast here, since Tiffany really should have been played by someone Cooper's age, or even in their early thirties. Despite this, Lawrence is nevertheless enthusiastic in her role, as there's never a scene where she appears uninterested in any sense. She proves to be most capable in dialing up her usual energy, which injects the needed spirit into the proceedings, and makes the film's moments of comedy pop out even more. Lawrence also makes sure to ground that energy in her attempts of creating a real character in Tiffany, as opposed to merely coasting on her off-screen persona. The emotional segments of her performance are believably handled, not to the same degree as Cooper, I would say, but definitely in an invested fashion.)

Wallis - 4 (A most atypical performance in regards to academy history, but also an engaging and authentic piece of work from a very young star. Wallis, who gave this performance at an age when most of us have been enrolled in Kindergarten, succeeds in the most basic needs of a compelling performance. The first is simply having a nice screen presence, which Wallis does show here, mainly through a notable amount of charm. The second and more important of such requirements is getting the most out of the movie's tone and narrative goals. Wallis again does this by serving as a realistic focal point in the movie's imaginative story. She allows Hushpuppy to be endearing protagonist that's cheerful and tender, but one that doesn't ignore the darker elements of the girl's environment. Obviously, there is a clear challenge in child performances such a this, because the directors are dealing with very inexperienced individuals with entire decades of physical and cognitive development a head of them. It's a tricky situation for any 5-year-old to be put into, yet Wallis' performance as Hushpuppy is one of the very best examples of such an undertaking.)

Luke Higham said...

Mitchell: What are the 5 best child performances you've seen.

Mitchell Murray said...

Luke:

Can't say I have a concrete order at the moment, but 5 performances I can mention would be as followed, where I'm defining child as anyone under 12 years old.

Jacob Tremblay (Room)
Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
Pierce Gagnon (Looper)
Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense)
Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine)

Bryan L. said...

Luke: Ah yes, I got around to watching The Water Diviner. A solid directorial debut for Crowe. Speaking of...

Crowe-5 (A solid leading-man performance from Crowe once again. He's good at showing how all the losses that The Battle of Gallipoli have affected him, and is also good at displaying the needed passion for finding his sons once he reaches now-Turkey. Also good in his more dramatic scenes.)
Kurylenko-3
Erdogan and Yilmaz- 3.5
Courtney-3.5 (Maybe he should just stick to his native accent, since I wouldn't have minded a bit more of him.)

Calvin Law said...

Saw Shazam! I really enjoyed it, it's not flawless by any means, but it might actually be my favourite DCEU film (though not saying much), or at the very least tied with Wonder Woman.

Levi: 3.5 (exceedingly fun to watch as the literal man-child, and he's not a bad hero either)

Angel: 3 (overshadowed by Levi but he's good particularly in his dramatic scenes, although a bit iffy with his initial 'rebel' routine)

Strong: 4 (strikes the perfect balance between the lighter tones of the superhero comedy he's in with his wry deadpan approach, and actually being rather menacing particularly in one surprisingly macabre sequence he's genuinely great in)

Grazer: 3.5 (occasionally goes a bit *much* but for the most part, very funny comic side relief and as expected hits the dramatic sides of the character very well too)

The other foster kids: collective 3 (none of them stood out too much but they were all more than fine which was good, since they could've become particularly annoying in their roles if badly played)

Andrews and Milans: 2.5 (not much to do but suitably warm and lovely)

Hounsou: 3 (a reservation I do have is that the history and magnitude of being Shazam wasn't delved into quite enough, but his voice is very well utilised with the right amount of gravitas, and I do wish he had a bit more to do)

Luke Higham said...

Bryan: By your analysis, Crowe should be a 4 or a 4.5. I assume that 5 rating is a typo.

Anonymous said...

Happy to see Spacek take the '74 win. Louis, do you intend to move Heflin and Ryan over to '49 soon as well.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Down to 14 fives for 73 Lead. I'm sure it'll go back up again with Sean Connery in The Offence who I could see make the top 5.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: You are correct. Crowe should be a strong 4. Dont know how that 5 slipped in there. Still a good leading man performance from him nonetheless :)

Anonymous said...

Luke, from 1961 to present, could you name all the Lead and Supporting Actor performances that you think are potential fives.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: I'll try but I probably won't have it posted until tomorrow.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Xolo Meriduena and Tanner Buchanan's performances in Cobra Kai. I've watched it recently too, and it's awesome.

Mitchell Murray said...

Louis: Thoughts on the voices of Terrence Howard, Angelina Jolie and Laura Linney?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Thoughts on Ben Barnes in the first season of The Punisher?

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts on these Storaro collabs?

The Duellists directed by James Gray with cinematography by Vittorio Storaro
Armand d’Hubert: Matthias Schoenaerts
Gabriel Feraud: Robert Pattinson
Joseph Fouché: Bob Odenkirk
Bonapartist agent: Luke Evans
Dr Jacquin: Andrew Scott

Othello directed by the Coen Brothers with cinematography by Vittorio Storaro
Othello: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Iago: Glenn Howerton
Desdemona: Elizabeth Debicki
Cassio: Jack Lowden
Bianca: Dakota Johnson
Emilia: Zoe Kazan
Roderigo: Jesse Plemons

The Third Man directed by Paul Thomas Anderson with cinematography by Vittorio Storaro
Holly: Steven Yeun
Anna: Vicky Krieps
Harry: Joaquin Phoenix
Calloway: Jerome Flynn

Sergeant York directed by Damien Chazelle (fascinating subject matter with a new spin) with cinematography by Vittorio Storaro
Alvin York: Ryan Gosling

Rosemary’s Baby directed by Denis Villeneuve with cinematography by Vittorio Storaro
Rosemary: Saoirse Ronan
Guy: Jake Gyllenhaal
Minnie: Sissy Spacek
Roman: Jeff Goldblum
Dr Abraham: Giancarlo Esposito
Dr Hill: Paul Dano
Donald Baumgart: Adam Driver

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: What do you make of a 2010s Korean version of Sweet Smell of Success, directed by the Bong Joon-hoo?

With Byung-hyun Lee as JJ Hunsecker, Yeun as Sidney Falco, and the two other leads from Burning as the Dallas and Susan equivalents.

Luke Higham said...

Saw Shazam!. I think it was a bit more consistent on the whole than Wonder Woman and quite a lot of it I found to be genuinely hilarious.

Levi - 4
Angel - 3/3.5
Grazer - 4
Strong - 4
Hounsou - 3
Rest of the family - 3

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on John Toll, Gregg Toland and Vilmos Zsigmond as cinematographers.

Calvin Law said...

Bryan: great choices except I might go for Hwang Jung-min as Hunsecker, but Lee is a great choice too.

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: Lee was the first one I thought of since I've seen more of his work, but I'm guessing Jung-min has more of a domineering quality in his screen presence? (A must for JJ)

Anonymous said...

Luke, Your 1966 Supporting suggestions.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous:
Donald Pleasence - Fantastic Voyage
John Randolph - Seconds
Nikolai Burlyayev/Ivan Lapikov - Andrei Rublev
Richard Harris/Gene Hackman - Hawaii
John Huston/Peter O'Toole - The Bible: In The Beginning…

Matt Mustin said...

Rewatched The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and as so often happens with the Coens, I liked it the first time, but this time I saw it's genius. All the things I liked originally I loved even more this time, and all the things that didn't work for me before suddenly all clicked and I saw the film as a whole rather than just pieces.

Tom Waits is probably my win now, although I still haven't seen Burning.

Bryan L. said...

Matt: How would you rank the six stories?

Matt Mustin said...

Bryan L:

1. All Gold Canyon
2. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
3. The Gal Who Got Rattled
4. The Mortal Remains
5. Meal Ticket
6. Near Algodones

After my first viewing, "Buster Scruggs" was number one and "Meal Ticket" was last. Which goes with what I said before, on how things clicked for me this time. I kinda hated Meal Ticket the first time I watched it, but I really got what they were doing this time.

"Near Algodones" is only last because I find it to be the least memorable, but I don't dislike it all.

Matt Mustin said...

Also, this time I picked up on a lot of subtle things that sort of connect all the stories together at least in some way.

Bryan L. said...

Matt: I'm glad "Meal Ticket" seems to be growing on several people here, since I actually quite dug it the first time around.

And I think "Near Algodones" could've benefited from being a little longer, but it's still decent.

Louis Morgan said...

Bryan:

Sam Mendes may be the perfect poster boy for a "Hit or Miss" director, in that there are few other directors I can name that have such an extreme gap between the success of their films for me. In that I love "Road to Perdition" and "Skyfall", but hate "American Beauty" and "Revolutionary Road". When compared to those films I don't hate "Spectre", however it is definitely a miss when compared to his previous Bond effort. Hopefully 1917 will be another in the Hit column for me. Although I suppose watching any Mendes film for me is a necessity given I'll probably either love it or hate it. It's worth noting though that he doesn't write his films, which certainly helps when creating such extremes, however I think it also falls into his style as a filmmaker. It's interesting then that despite his background being from the stage, I find his work is best the more cinematic the content. In that Mendes frankly seems to wish a grandiose aesthetic, and a rather overt style towards his films no matter the material. This can work wonders for a well written Bond film and a gangster film by the way of a samurai picture, however seems less fitting to suburban dramas. With those
"Hits" his style amplifies a more operatic emotion, not that it is truly over the top, effectively, whereas his style unfortunately makes the thinly written, broad caricatures, of his urban dramas seem all the more hollow, even past the point of being these supposedly "scratch the surface" dramas. His aesthetic just makes the whole affair then seem aggressively broad and makes the faults in those screenplays all the more evident. Mendes's own efforts in a way aren't inconsistent, however his approach works brilliantly to amplify certain material, while degrading other less appropriate works. So really he should stay away from the intimate dramas, or at least try to find a better script to work with.

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

A wonderful bit of silent storytelling, which obviously particularly welcome in animated form, but this being an especially low key fashion that completely tells you all you need to know about each child's experience without saying a word.

I think it is fair to say that Mifune would've been great, however I think it would've been an extremely different character. As I like how Miyagi is sort of covertly "awesome" in the original film, whereas just looking at Mifune, even an aged Mifune, the guy could obviously hold his own. Although Mifune could do comedy, I think for that particular role he probably would've gone for a more intense route, which might've made "Miyagi's birthday scene" perhaps hit even harder, however I'm not sure it would've benefited the film as well as Morita's lighter approach. I would love to see the alternate reality version of the film with Mifune, and perhaps an Oscar nominated Mifune then, but in the end I'm happy Morita got the role.

Meriduena - (I liked his performance a great deal, as he managed to naturally segue each part of the character particularly well. With some particularly effective chemistry thrown in there with Zabka, both in occasionally a semi-inspirational way, but more often a pretty hilarious way of such an eager student, with a not so eager sensei. This is with sort just the baseline of the endearing kid, not far from the original Daniel, however with a very different teacher in Johnny. I liked though how managed to convey the combination between the confidence in the character growing along with the aggression as well. The sort of turn of the character he managed to make feel natural, without sabotaging the more unassuming kid we first met.)

Buchanan - (I'll admit Robbie isn't exactly my favorite character to begin with and I'll say Buchanan's performance isn't wholly successful in changing that fact. Not that think I think he's really bad in the role, and in a way the spoiled brat, hates "society" is fitting to the lack of depth he offers that element. As that in turn makes his turn towards the good natural in any way, where I think Buchanan is fine with decent enough chemistry with Macchio, though it is nothing compared to the aforementioned Zabka/Meriduena. In the end I thought his performance was fine, though definitely a touch bland, especially if you directly compare his work against Macchio in the first film.)

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Seems like he's assembled quite a cast for "1917", and maybe the material might suit him perhaps.

Also, thoughts on this remake cast for one of his films?

2010s American Beauty, directed by Cory Finley

Lester Burnham: Colin Farrell
Carolyn: Linda Cardellini
Jane: Olivia Cooke
Angela: Anya Taylor-Joy (Gotta be those two for Finley)
Colonel Frank Fitts: Barry Pepper
Ricky: An unknown

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Also, it appears Mendes actually co-wrote the script for "1917", which is the first time he's done so.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Have you seen Shazam! yet.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: I have.

Levi-4
Angel-3.5
Strong-4
Grazer-4 (Could've easily been annoying, but he fortunately pulled off the part)
Honsou-3
The rest of the family-A collective 3

Emi Grant said...

Luke: Me too. My ratings would be the same as Bryan's, except I'd go with a 4 for Angel.

Matt Mustin said...

I saw Shazam. Enjoyed it well enough.
Levi-4
Angel-3
Grazer-4
Strong-3(He makes the most out of some really stupid writing, but I can't see at all where you're all getting 4's from for him.)
Hounsou-3(The man certainly has gravitas.)
Rest of the family-3

Anonymous said...

Luke, could you predict who you think will be the top 5 performers in Avengers: Endgame.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous:
1. Downey Jr.
2. Evans
3. Renner
4. Hemsworth
5. Rudd
I don't think Brolin will have as much of a presence here as he did in Infinity War where Thanos was the closest to a main character.

Mitchell Murray said...

Anonymous: My predictions there would be about the same as Luke, honestly. I am hoping, however, that from their exchange hinted at in the trailer, Johansson delivers in her scene with Renner.

Also, I've just finished watching the 2001 best actress line up, which leaves only 2005 and 2010 for this century.

1) Spacek (One of my easiest winners yet - she's amazing.)
2) Kidman
3) Dench
4) Zellweger
5) Berry

Bryan L. said...

I second Lukes predictions.

Bryan L. said...

Mitchell: I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Witherspoon and Portman won't be the likely winners for those lineups?

Bryan L. said...

Matt: Strong making the most of out his characters writing is actually WHY he's a 4 for me.

Matt Mustin said...

Bryan L: I mean, it's exactly the same performance he's given in every other "generic villain" role he's had.

Bryan L. said...

Matt: Hhmmm...I also thought he managed to switch it up ever so slightly from those other roles, but to each their own I guess.

Matt Cofrancesco said...

As someone who is not a fan of horror movies, how scary is Us? It looks good, but I also want to be able to sleep at night.

Louis Morgan said...

Mitchell:

Howard - (A touch whiny sounding to be honest.)

Jolie - (Interesting that her va va voom, isn't really that much attached to her voice. A fine voice as is, but not really a defining feature for her.

Linney - (A fine very American voice, though not the best for accents then.)

Anonymous:

Barnes - (His performance helped to elevate the entire season as he provided such a real depth to his Billy. This in creating every facet so believably within the character. This from his outset confidence, where he achieves a genuine swagger to be convincingly charming if even a sociopath in that regard. This hiding the vicious bitterness that he uses so well to define the vindictive nature of the character. Barnes though brings a genuine pathos within that though in creating the emotional vulnerability attached with his past that he funnels through the hate of the character. I love most though how he interacts with Frank's past throughout the series. In that he manages to find a real complexity of both respect and hate for the man. He never simplifies this by portraying the man as essentially self-sabotaging in terms of making a real connection with the man. He is genuinely heartbreaking in the flashback scenes as Barnes portrays his interactions with Frank's family honest in the connection, that he conveys as in the end this need to severe it all. It is fantastic work, and I'll give Barnes all the credit as he proved me wrong on my original assessment of his work. This also something he proved not to be an outlier in his work in the second season of Westworld.)

Calvin:

The Duellists, Gray does seem to be the only choice, and that's a proper cast for it.

Othello is a most unusual idea, though I'd be willing to hear it with that off-beatness, and I always appreciate the Howerton support even theoretically so.

The Third Man:

Love the choices, though you gotta bring back DDL for Lime, just imagine the impact of that entrance. Yeun such a fascinating choice, and Flynn is perfection.

Love to see another take on York, and I could definitely see Gosling/Chazelle making that something special, especially with Storaro shooting it.

Can't argue with the choices for Rosemary's Baby in the least.

Bryan:

Well that ought to be interesting, and I will say the subject matter sounds like a good fit for his style.

Eh, fine cast, but you'd have to hit the film with a massive re-write.

Matt C.:

More creepy/eerie than outright horrifying with enough levity to provide a cushion.

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the voices of Oscar Isaac, James McAvoy, Ryan Reynolds, and Bradley Cooper?

Calvin Law said...

Louis: your thoughts on the short film Bao? And glad you liked the choices. And yeah to be honest that would be a great choice, and the age difference could be changed to being Harry Lime as like an uncle like friend or figure in his life or something.

Calvin Law said...

Also confession: I’m not the biggest fan of Cooper’s normal voice, for some reason I find it pretty grating/associate it with obnoxiousness (which is probably in reference to a lot of his earlier roles). Maybe that’s why I like his work as Rocket Rackoon and Jackson Maine so much.

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: I'm guessing most of your reservations about his voice has to do with American Hustle?

Calvin Law said...

Bryan: That, and a few other ones. To be fair it does work for some of his performances.

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: Also, any past films you think Lee Byung-hun and Steven Yeun would be a great duo for? :o

Calvin Law said...

Bryan: Here’s a shout -

The Departed directed by Kim Jee-woon
The mole for the police: Lee Byung-hun
The mole for the mob: Steven Yeun
The police inspector: Bryan Cranston
The mob boss: Choi Min-sik
The mob boss’ second in command: Benedict Wong
Mark Whalberg’s equivalent: Kenneth Choi
Alec Baldwin’s equivalent: Brian Tyree Henry

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: Hhmmmm I think the two moles should be around the same age, like Dicaprio/Leung and Damon/Lau were, though it might work. Min-sik as a mob boss would be too good to pass up though.

How about Yeun and Lee in Redford and Newmans roles in The Sting? With Min-sik Choi as the Lonnegan equivalent?

Calvin Law said...

Bryan: Brilliant.

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Also, speaking of Newman and Redford, Tarantino himself compared the star pairing of Dicaprio and Pitt to those two. Do you think Pitt and Dicaorio themselves could work in the lead roles of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in a 2000s version of the film?

Luke Higham said...

RIP Seymour Cassel

Bryan L. said...

RIP Seymour Cassel

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

RIP Seymour Cassel.

RatedRStar said...

RIP Seymour Cassel

Anonymous said...

Louis, is Pegg or Sol's review coming tonight.

Louis Morgan said...

Bryan:

Isaac - (A fine pseudo-smooth voice to be sure, although in a very common man sort of fashion.)

McAvoy - (British grunge I suppose, not the "smoothest" sound, but works for him.)

Reynolds - (Finding just the right balance between sort of a smarmy and genuine charm.)

Cooper - (I like Cooper, but his voice does indeed come off as a bit grating.)

Well we'll have to wait and see with how they work together in OUTIH, as I have no idea what their chemistry is going to be like, as that was the magic of Redford/Newman. DiCaprio is an apt comparison with Redford, as both work best when they use their star charisma in some way. Pitt less so with Newman, as I'd say Matthew McConaughey is a closer comparison there. Pitt is a bit more like Burt Lancaster, in that it is a bit harder to pinpoint what roles will work for him, and which ones will not.

Calvin:

Beautifully animated of course, though that is to be expected I suppose. A sweet little allegory of sorts so to speak, with enough of a fun idea in the central concept that manages to funny while also hitting enough of a dramatic sweet spot as well.

Anonymous:

No, as I'm currently swamped by other responsibilities, it's going to be a bit.


















RIP Seymour Cassel, underrated actor, who was always a delight whenever he popped up.

Calvin Law said...

One of the more obvious ones since ever:

1980s In Bruges directed by Jim Sheridan
Ray: Daniel Day-Lewis
Ken: Ray McNally
Harry: Peter O’Toole

Calvin Law said...

Also always forget that Newman and Redford only did two films together.

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: Do you think Oldman could've worked as Ray in that decade as well? And Albert Finney for Ken too?

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: They were supposed to team up for a third one actually; that being A Walk in the Woods, where Newman's part ended up going to Nick Nolte.

And I think this might've mentioned on here before, but I'll bring it up again: imagine those two as a 70s Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. You know they would've been awesome.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

John Toll in a way defined the look of an epic in the 90's, something that continues on to this day, as this sort of dynamic, "realistic" pristine. His work cultivates atmosphere with the ability of a great landscape painter, but decidedly unfussy in his approach. His work is some of the most vibrant ever shot, without any obvious gimmick in terms of aesthetic. His best work just is about pitch perfect lighting, flawless framing and composition. You know those things. As with any great cinematographer his work exists even within subpar material. Take the most wasted collaboration in he and Coppola. In that you have that most mind boggling films of all time "Jack" where Coppola decided his visual choices would be that of the most generic 90's family film. Toll though does his best to realize that nonsense, with at least a level respectability on his end, as the faults in the visual style of the film lie entirely with Coppola's strange lack of imagination than Toll's efforts. With a prime visual filmmaker like Terrence Malick though, Toll's work reaches near supernatural heights of achievements. Even within the Marvel system, that seems to look down on remarkable cinematography, Toll managed to sneak in a few shots in Iron Man 3, that alluded to the photographic genius behind the camera. Toll delivers on his visual "professionalism" with every film, even when it might be a touch wasted.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on The Lion King trailer.

Anonymous said...

Louis, your thoughts on Ingmar Bergman as a director and which of his remaining films do you look forward to seeing the most.

Luke Higham said...

Not sure how I feel about Ejiofor as Scar.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: Kind of wish they'd gotten Irons for the reprise.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: You last gave thoughts on Bergman over two years ago but watched Scenes From A Marriage, Hour Of The Wolf, Shame, Prison, Wild Strawberries and The Magic Flute since then.

Anonymous: Of the Bergman films Louis has yet to see, my top 5 in terms of anticipation for Louis' opinion are:
1. Fanny And Alexander
2. Cries And Whispers
3. Winter Light
4. Autumn Sonata
5. The Magician
Others that have had good to great notices include Summer Interlude (1951), Summer With Monika/Sawdust And Tinsel (1953), Smiles Of A Summer Night (1955) and The Passion Of Anna (1969).

Luke Higham said...

And his sequel to Scenes From A Marriage, Saraband (2003).

Bryan L. said...

Louis: What past films do you think Mortensen & Ali would be a good fit for?

Calvin Law said...

I think he’ll love Autumn Sonata. I certainly do.

Calvin Law said...

Bryan: I’d previously suggested The Scalphunters.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I'm pretty sure we're getting 5 star performances from the top 4 that I've mentioned.

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: Ah I remember that. I could see it.

Matt Mustin said...

So, I just found myself thinking about Widows, and I don't know if anyone else felt this way, but I kind of feel like *SPOILERS*

...the twist with Liam Neeson's character is made less effective by his casting. Does that makes sense?

Bryan L. said...

Matt: Could you elaborate a tad more on that if you can? I can sort of see what you're getting at.

Bryan L. said...

Also, unpopular opinion: I found Widows to be a slog and quite frankly, boring.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Greg Toland's relatively short career, the man died at only 44, however made one of the greatest impacts of any cinematographer. The sheer influence of his work is nearly unparalleled. A great testament to any great cinematographer is how their work comes through no matter who their director is. That is certainly true for Toland, however his work goes even further in a period where static was quite honestly the norm for so many films. Toland though gave a whole different life to the cinematic form. Yes, in creative shots, sure brilliant composition and framing, absolutely, dynamic lighting, of course, but merged into this vibrancy of the work that was the rarity of the period. A life within the camerawork itself, that few cinematographer could aspire to at the time. Mind you this was even evident in a kind of terrible film like Mad Love, which still looked incredible. When he worked with visual masters in their own right like Ford and Wyler, he made an unforgettable impression, when he worked with Welles, he changed the art form itself. One can only imagine what he would've accomplished if not for his untimely death, as his accomplishments are truly extraordinary.

Luke:

Still left me asking, what's the point? I also think they kind of made things worse for Ejiofor by keeping Jones, since then you expect the same Scar as well (And I actually think Irons was bigger shoes to fit in this instance, as I think I speak for many when I say he was MVP of the original voice cast). The way I see so many buying it wholesale, they might as well start remaking every live action blockbuster as an animated film, since people are apparently content with a slight revision.

Anonymous:

That's a fine list by Luke, re-watch of The Magic Flute however, just for accuracy's sake.

Matt:

The casting actually didn't bother me, as from the trailers I did believe it, however the way the scene was executed I instantly had suspicions, then Brian Tyree Henry's line about "the little piece of him" gave it away fully. What I had a bigger problem with was I didn't think they did much with, part of it being a completely wasted Carrie Coon.

Calvin Law said...

I actually like the voice Ejiofor is using. It’s a different approach and I think it could be great, although Louis is 100% in that using Jones makes you ‘expect’ Irons.

I will say though for the Disney remakes I am looking forward to Mulan and Hunchback to see if they can take the subject matters into new refreshing areas. And with regards to Widows Liam Neeson’s whole subplot I thought was the least interesting part of the film that came at the cost of many other interesting ones being fully realized.

Matt Mustin said...

Bryan L: Well, specifically that he wasn't really dead because he's too big a name to only be in one scene and silent flashbacks, and that there was more to him than they were leading on, because I'm always sort of naturally suspicious of him in movies like this.

Bryan L. said...

Matt: Oh for sure. I see what you're getting at, and I did suspect he'd come back after his "death" when I first watched the film. It's an understandable reservation.

Bryan L. said...

Louis and everyone: What would be your rankings for the Best Picture nominees for each year from this decade? Here's mine.

1) 2013 (Only one I straight-up dislike is American Hustle. I like to love all the other ones.)
2) 2017
3) 2016
4) 2015
5) 2012
6) 2014
7) 2010
8) 2011 (Still haven't seen War Horse though)
9) 2018

Emi Grant said...

Bryan:

1. 2010 (I adore The Social Network and really like most of the others, if anything, the only real weak link to me is The King's Speech and I still haven't watched The Kids are All Right)
2. 2017
3. 2013
4. 2016
5. 2014
6. 2015
7. 2012
8. 2011
9. 2018

Bryan L. said...

Emi: Oh I adore The Social Network as well, and I like Inception, Toy Story 3 and 127 Hours. Not crazy about the other ones I'm afraid, though I should probably rewatch True Grit.

Emi Grant said...

Bryan: Well, I did quite like True Grit (mostly due to The Coens' direction and Roger Deakins) and I might be in the minority who does like The Fighter quite some and Black Swan even more. I do need to fully re-watch Winter's Bone but I thoroughly enjoyed what I did watch from it.

Bryan L. said...

Emi: I'm planning on rewatching Winter's Bone as well, though mainly for Lawrences performance. Same for Black Swan, so I could switch 2010 with 2014 honestly. Glad we agree on a couple of the other years though.

Luke Higham said...

Damn, didn't think Hellboy would be THAT bad.

Matt Mustin said...

Luke: I kinda did. Those trailers were baaaad.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your top 5 most improved characters in the MCU. Thor has to be #1.

Louis Morgan said...

Bryan:

1. 2012
2. 2013
3. 2016
4. 2015
5. 2017
6. 2010
7. 2014
8. 2011
9. 2018

Luke:

1. Thor
2. Bucky
3. Scarlet Witch
4. Nebula
5. Hawkeye

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Do you intend on seeing Shazam! anytime soon.

Mitchell Murray said...

Bryan:

1) 2017 (The Shape of Water, Phantom Thread, Lady Bird, Get Out, Three Billboards*)
2) 2016 (La La Land, Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Moonlight, Hell or High Water*)
3) 2013 (12 Years A Slave, Captain Phillips, Her, The Wolf of Wall Street, Gravity*)
4) 2015 (Spotlight, Brooklyn, The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian*)
5) 2012 (Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lincoln, Les Miserables - The later is quite flawed, however there are several aspects of the film I legitimately love.)
6) 2010 (The Social Network, Winter's Bone, 127 Hours, Inception, True Grit*)
7) 2014 (Birdman, Whiplash, Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel...The Imitation Game I guess.*)
8) 2018 - (The Favourite, Roma, Blackkklansman, A Star is Born, Black Panther*)
9) 2011 (The Artist, Moneyball, Hugo, Midnight in Paris..and I "suppose" War Horse.*)

Luke Higham said...

Mitchell: The lack of a Nolan war film kills me. :(

Mitchell Murray said...

Luke: My apologies.. hopefully the inclusion of a Nolan Sci-fi venture softens the blow.

Mitchell Murray said...

Truth be told, I actually have yet to see "Dunkirk", so perhaps it would've replaced one of the 5 I mentioned.

Bryan L. said...

Hhmmm I'm starting to notice a pattern with the bottom two years...

Bryan L. said...

Mitchell: Oh you gots to get around to watching Dunkirk :)

Calvin Law said...

My ranking:

1. 2012
2. 2016
3. 2017
4. 2015 (would be top if not for The Big Short)
5. 2013
6. 2010
7. 2014
8. 2011
9. 2018

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: I feel the same about 2015. I honestly regret liking The Big Short at one point, since the success of that brought us Vice.

Anonymous said...

Luke, could you give your reasons for those top 5 Bergman picks.

Mitchell Murray said...

Bryan: I'll just be the devil's advocate here and say "The Big Short" isn't completely terrible; It has some fine moments here or there, a couple mildly amusing jokes, and two decent performances from Christian Bale and Steve Carell (Neither deserved to be nominated over Benecio del Toro, Idris Elba or an assortment of other men, however). The main problems with the movie stem from McKay's frankly superficial understanding of the subject, and his confused attempts of realizing such a dense historical event in a fairly lighthearted fashion. This primarily shows itself in his scattered tonal balance, between broad, vulgar comedy and more serious drama, which simply doesn't mesh at all. Again, I don't think "The Big Short" is entirely without merit, but it is a sadly overrated picture that I've grown more detached to with time. More unfortunately, though, it obviously gave McKay a false sense of infallibility, which reared it's ugly head all to frequently in "Vice".

Bryan L. said...

Mitchell: Thats pretty how much I feel about the film. I think the fact that the movies based on a novel saves McKay a bit, since he at least had a timeline of events to work from, though he still largely fumbles it.

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: Also, as perhaps the blogs biggest Donald Sutherland fan, think he'd be a great 1980s Matt Graver (Sicario)? Imagine him spouting off complications about the drug war.

Emi Grant said...

Louis: I know it might be a bit too early to ask, but seeing how close Christian Bale is to a 4.5 for Vice, do you think that, if you ever want to torture yourself with Vice in the future, he could go up?

Bryan L. said...

Emi: I think it's for the best that he stays at a 4, since I think Louis probably hated the film even more on rewatch.

Emi Grant said...

Bryan: I think that might just be a common reaction to watching Vice a second time, but yeah.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on this scene from Game of Thrones-
https://youtu.be/JsHmkqUJfd8

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Apologies for the late response.

1. Fanny And Alexander (I firmly believe it'll be Louis' favourite Bergman, it's technically immaculate, Bergman's best in terms of direction & writing and is a greatest film acting ensemble of all-time contender)
2. Cries And Whispers (Amazing use of the colour Red, great ensemble and was a Best Picture nominee)
3. Winter Light (Another Crisis of Faith film with 5 star performances from Björnstrand and Thulin)
4. Autumn Sonata (Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann, nothing more to be said)
5. The Magician (Pretty intriguing premise and Sydow & especially Thulin should be very good)

Anonymous said...

I'm kinda sad that Willis lost his Godfather Part II win, but hey, Badlands is also incredible in terms of cinematography. At least he has Pennies from Heaven. I can't think of any film from 1981 that could take away his win.

I forgot, great review Louis. While the film isn't great or even good, at least Bale's great.

Mitchell Murray said...

Emi: For what its worth, Bale will probably stay a 3.5 for myself. A lot of that comes down to the weaknesses and insufficient nature of the film, which Bale certainly helps to alleviate to an extent. For me personally, his Cheney mannerisms, while fairly accurate, still came across a little labored, and were perhaps not as integrated into his performance in the most naturalistic manner.

It's for that reason that I put Mortensen ahead of him in my ranking, though not by any large margin, as both great performers are held back by the superficial writing behind their roles, and the confused intentions of their movies. Comparing the two, I was able to buy into Mortensen's approach a little more, as it felt less constrained by a set physical challenge. To reiterate, however, neither Bale or Mortensen provide their best work by a long shot, and I was frankly disheartened to witness their flashy but superficial performances recognized over several accomplished, more nuanced turns.

Calvin Law said...

Rise of the Skywalker lol

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the Star Wars: Episode IX trailer.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Except Solo, they know how to cut a trailer, and this one is no different in that regard. Those are certainly a series of compelling images. It appears that this is going to be one strange trilogy as the title, which doesn't roll off the tongue but...whatever, and that final reveal suggests very much diving back into the orignal's lore against Last Jedi's sentiments. Which, I guess given my feelings towards the last film, fine by me.

Emi Grant:

I will never watch Vice again.

Tahmeed:

In terms of the overall character moments, it is actually a nice one at the beginning for Jon, in the moment of returning to the old room, and seeing where the character's come. Now recognizing his status not with a pout but rather an understanding of what he did have in comparison. The reason for the scene though is of course the confrontation, and I'll say what stands out more than anything from it are the performances of both van Houten and especially Cunningham. van Houten nicely showing the move towards a more empathetic figure in the moment of shame against Cunningham so powerfully finally delivery the character's anguish over the death of Shireen. Cunningham is though especially amazing there as he manages to bring both the brunt of the sadness over the loss, while naturally revealing the sheer intensity of his anger.

Emi Grant said...

Mitchell: We'll just have to agree to disagree in regard's to Bale's mannerisms.

Louis: Understandable.

Luke Higham said...

I got some sad news today, my paternal grandfather has passed away today and will be attending his funeral in Wales, in 2 or 3 weeks from now.

Calvin Law said...

I’m sorry to hear Luke. My condolences to you and the rest of your family at this time.

Luke Higham said...

Thank you Calvin.

Mitchell Murray said...

Luke: My condolences, as well.

Emi Grant said...

That's awful to hear, Luke. I'm sorry for your loss.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: My dearest condolences.

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the direction of Trainspotting and Inside Man?

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