Saturday, 31 August 2019

Alternate Best Actor 2001: Anton Yelchin in Hearts in Atlantis

Anton Yelchin did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Robert "Bobby" Garfield in Hearts in Atlantis.

Hearts in Atlantis is one of those films that feels as though there just a little too little to it. In that it very much feels like a short story, although not a bad way, but perhaps to brief of one. It is indeed derivative of Frank Darabont's Stephen King adaptations, but even then not in a bad way, particularly not in terms of having great cinematography, even if it definitely falls short of those films. This film, a coming of age story about a boy striking up a friendship with a mysterious boarder, does feel incomplete,  also needlessly depressing in its bookends that take place in the present, however it definitely has value within its flawed whole.

Sadly continuing on with another actor whose career was tragically short, we have Anton Yelchin who like Ledger was showing his most promise at the end of that of his far too brief time in acting. Let's forget all that though and look at the true beginning of his career, here taking upon the role of the young boy living with his single mother (Hope Davis), and eventually the boarder Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins). Yelchin's performance here begins simply enough really as just a boy enjoying his youth with his friends Sully and Carol. Yelchin importantly brings just a naturalism within just being a boy. There's just an inherent attitude of just a normal kid living his life. This is something easier said then done, and Yelchin doesn't have any signs of obvious sort of child actor or needless precociousness. He makes Bobby however just a naturally likable kid, by being so natural. Yelchin just shows the right sort of joys of the innocent as he hangs around with his friends, though is not one note. Finding the sort of right slight undercurrent of sadness, and quiet frustration in just the most subtle ways in his interactions with his mom. He doesn't show a boy who hates his mom, but does rather effectively alludes to the more difficult history with his father no longer around.

The crux of the film however comes with the introduction of Ted who befriends Bobby. Where the film most succeeds in the relationship between the two realized through the chemistry between Yelchin and Hopkins, who are an unlikely pair, however work wonderfully together. Ted offers initially Bobby a job of sorts to read him the newspaper and look out for "low men", but this grows into a paternal relationship between the boy and the old man. Yelchin with Hopkins finds such a real warmth in their interactions. An essential part of this is Yelchin's portrayal of Bobby's genuine interest in Ted's various bit of information and stories he shared. Yelchin brings just the right youthful curiosity within these moments. There is past that though just the sense of comfort in their interactions with one another, as Ted finds ways to help Bobby, while Bobby continues to help Ted. This while in own ways while becoming more invested in him, and his states of seeming to be away mentally. Yelchin is terrific here by making this relationship, which has some undercurrents of the supernatural, wholly honest in terms of the emotion. He never plays it up, but rather slowly earns Bobby's growing respect and love for Ted in these interactions between each other.

Yelchin's work succeeds on the authenticity throughout which grants a needed reality on the story that is often on the edge of excessive sentimentality and even a bit of corniness in hitting both the coming of age and Stephen King trademarks. Yelchin though earns the majority of these by never falling into becoming a cliche within his own work. For example, we have the scene of his first kiss through his friend Carol. This is a basic enough moment, but what makes it something more is Yelchin's work. We get his moment of hesitation, the fear for a moment in his eyes, but also the bit of over eagerness with the scene. Yelchin brings just this honesty to the scene successfully making it rather moving in its simplicity. The same goes for a scene where Bobby randomly learns a bit more about his father on a trip with Ted. Yelchin's quiet, but powerful excitement at every bit of description offered to him. Again such a moment works through the depth within Yelchin's portrayal that grants a realism needed for the role. The same goes for the expected, for Stephen King, scene of a bully going to an extreme when one of them hurts Carol by hitting her with a bat. What elevates the moment is the acting, with Yelchin excelling in creating such a devastating portrayal of real anguish, along with palatable concern. He's terrific by making it messy just as it would be for any child in such a traumatic scene. This scene actually though is almost the climax as the film rushes towards its conclusion with Bobby's mom turning Ted into the "Bad Man". Nonetheless Yelchin is fantastic in his scene with Davis, portraying just this sad disappointment in his mom, and just sadness towards the loss of Ted. Yelchin brings such a powerful force by making it such a natural one. This being just a normal kid showing his despair towards losing a friend and discontent towards a flawed mother. Yelchin's work does that throughout this film in offering only this earned portrayal of the mostly straight forward coming of age story for Bobby. Although it doesn't make the film complete, it offers something while worth while through his earnest and authentic turn.

102 comments:

Calvin Law said...

I’m happy with this even though I’d go higher. He’s exceptional in the role and even though I agree the film is flawed I kind of love it.

Thoughts and ratings for the rest of the cast?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Have you seen Spirited Away yet. If you have, could I have your thoughts on it.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your top ten scenes from the Harry Potter films?

Anonymous said...

Louis and the rest of you guys: Your thoughts on the Joker movie's reception (or if you have seen it, the film itself).



Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Well, I don't think anyone doubted the amount of acclaim Phoenix is getting but I am pleased that it's good.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: Your Top Ten Tom Courtenay performances?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the use of the color red in Goodfellas.

Emi Grant said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on Patrick Hines in Amadeus?

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Your Top Ten Anthony Carrigan moments?

Anonymous said...

What are everyone's favourite Cinderella adaptations.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Thoughts on this clip of the Japanese dub of Justice League? Darkseid reminds me of what they did with Michael Ironside early on, by pitching his voice lower.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0qp25J_7k4

Luke Higham said...

Bryan: I'll give my response later on today.

Anonymous: Mine would be Ever After (1998) with Drew Barrymore and Anjelica Huston.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Saving Hopkins.

Davis - 4.5(I find it strange that her career really didn't take off much after this slight surge in the 2000's, as she's rather consistently a dynamic and interesting performer. This case included particularly since I think this role could've been quite easily over played or turned into a one note dullard. Davis though finds nuance within even the character's most unsavory qualities and offers humanity within the moments of weaknesses. She never simplifies an emotion, showing at even at her worst the sense of personal betrayals and desperation that compel her. This allowing her moments near the end of trying to make up to Bobby particularly in her final scene, which I love how quietly Davis delivers the moment of earnest apology.)

Boorem - 4(I think her performance effectively matches Yelchin, though obviously with a far more narrow focus, however in terms of also just offering a honesty to the character. This is particularly in the attack scene where she is brutally effective in making the pain the character is suffering as real. Additional points for effectively changing her presence, and even ease in her brief fainl scene.)

Morse - 3(I mean his naturally haunted expression is just perfect for the role, and he does a fine job, even though I think the film would've been better without the bookends quite frankly.)

Tahmeed:

Anonymous:

Well glad to see it has garnered such a response, and am looking forward to it myself. Not sure if I will buy into the Oscar talk for Phoenix yet, only because he's obviously such a prickly pear when it comes to awards season.

Anonymous:

A mean a fantastic, but not overdone use of color. Of course this most notably being in the opening, where we see the red lights of the car followed by a true red of Billy Batts. The whole Batts sequence, using that red almost as this trail of blood that will follow Tommy to his demise. The whole film though accentuation of red works, in a thankfully subtle way compared to something like We Need to Talk About Kevin, as often the centerpiece of the gangster's indulgence (club colors, spaghetti sauce), which is supported by quite literally blood being spilled.

Emi:

Hines - (A testament to the film's great casting that every member of the court stands out in their own little way, even though the roles are technically small. Hines being rather hilarious in his small parts as this fool essentially, whose found himself in the seat of a power of sorts, through smiling, and just doing what others tell him. I especially love him doing this towards Mozart, before ceasing the action when not given the approval of others to do so. He's a great comedic highlight so often just in the background of scenes, as essentially this guy who barely even knows why he is there exactly.)

Bryan:

1. Bus Confession
2. Trying to kill Barry again
3. Yelling at the accordion guy
4. Ordering a table
5. Inconvenient phone call
6. Making up with Esteban
7. Reintroduction narration
8. Reaction to hand stabbing
9. Fake hair
10. "Most evil guy I know"

Anonymous:

Well certainly a properly oppressive Darkseid in emphasizing the deepness of the voice.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: your thoughts on these two retro casts for Cool Hand Luke,The Graduate, and Bonnie and Clyde?

Cool Hand Luke directed by Steven Knight
Luke Jackson: Dan Stevens
Dragline: Benedict Wong
The Captain: Eddie Marsan
Arletta: Emily Watson

The Graduate directed by Greta Gerwig
Benjamin Braddock: Lucas Hedges
Mrs Robinson: Emily Blunt
Elaine: Florence Pugh

Bonnie and Clyde directed by Craig Gillespie
Bonnie: Margot Robbie
Clyde Barrow: Jack Lowden
C.W.: Alex Wolff
Buck: Jesse Plemons
Blanche: Rachel Keller
Eugene: Anthony Carrigan

Calvin Law said...

And thank you for saving Hopkins :)

Calvin Law said...

Also retro castings for Stephen Root and Henry Winkler.

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: Not sure I see Stevens as Luke Jackson. I'd go with someone like Chris Pine.

I like the choices for The Graduate, and Hedges' 2018 films does suggest he'd be able to pull off the young, confused Braddock.

I could also envision Daniel Radcliffe pulling it off (think "What If?")

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Your thoughts on #2, #3, #5 and #10 from your Top Ten Carrigan moments? As in, the scenes themselves.

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: Also, if by retro castings you mean past film roles, then I think Stephen Root would be perfect for Howard in a 2010s Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: With the Oscar nominations being announced two weeks earlier than usual, are you going to do only one more year between now & then and will the interim come earlier as well.

Luke Higham said...

Bryan:
1. Doctor Zhivago
2. The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner
3. King & Country
4. Billy Liar
5. A Dandy In Aspic
6. 45 Years
7. The Dresser
8. The Night Of The Generals
9. Quartet
10. King Rat

RatedRStar said...

Hoping the rest of the films this year will be good, hopefully we won't get a scene like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbdrL3HH8VQ.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: Man, that film's failure still hurts likes hell.

Luke Higham said...

And I'm eagerly anticipating the first 'The King' reviews.

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

Keep forgetting:

1. Snape's Memories - DH2
2. Harry saving his past self - PA
3. Infiltrating the ministry of MAGIC - DH1
4. Remus's Transformation - PA
5. Riding Buckbeak - PA
6. Dumbledore vs the inferi - HBP
7. The Dementors on the train - PA
8. Neville takes a stand - DH2
9. Arriving at Hogwarts - Sorcerer's Stone
10. Learning the Patronus - PA

Calvin:

For Cool Hand Luke, a fine cast, but I think it's very difficult to rip the material from its southern USA roots. However, if one were to do that successfully, they'd make an effective group.

The Graduate:

Uh, I think it's too difficult to frump up Blunt, even though she has the right sort of incisiveness for the role otherwise, it would be hard to be believe she struggles to find sex in anyway though. Hedges I don't think has a neurotic enough edge for Benjamin, just from his natural presence. As I think like younger Jesse Eisenberg is the type for the role, but not Michael Cera (the less talented version of Eisenberg). Pugh's a fine choice.

Bonnie and Clyde:

Fantastic choices, though not sure about Gillespie, or if Lowden has the darker edge needed for Clyde. Love Plemons as Buck in particular.

Root:

Constable Kockenlocker
Tom Boss Finley
"Whiplash Willie" Gingrich

Winkler:

Young Winkler:

Norval Jones
Leo Bloom

Older Winkler:

Harry Coombes
Clarence the angel


Luke:

I'm not making an intentional changes, I'll just try to see how many I can get through.

Bryan:

Trying to kill Barry again - (Downright amazing scene, from just how awkward the attempt to kill Barry is, from Hank trying to act tough, before completely falling apart into a pile of hilarious nothing while fighting with his "henchman" like a petulant idiot.)
Yelling at the accordion guy - (I mean just a magnificent bit of terrible leadership, though with a such an enjoyably idiosyncratic place for annoyance to come from.)
Inconvenient phone call - (Just a hilarious bit of breaking down of the killing "message" as just a massive inconvenience for the man doing the job.)
"Most evil guy I know" - (Just a hilarious bit of inconsideration as Hank is so perfectly detached from Barry's very real conflict.)

Bryan L. said...

Louis: I adore Hanks' casual remark of "All this talking is making me hungry."

Your thoughts on Barry's rendition of the famous speech from Braveheart? I love how Cousineau still manages to "brag" about pursuing that film when he gets frustrated with Barry.

Lastly, your present film roles for Clark Gable?

Anonymous said...

For present roles for Gable, George Clooney's role in The American. That would have been a very interesting role.

Louis: Where would you put Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Mirror on your top 20 best shot films of the 70's?

Also, your top 5 (or if you can 10) cinematographers that should be shooting better films.

Álex Marqués said...

Has anyone seen Succession? I've heard great things about it, including from an acting standpoint.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Would have you kept Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin in a much better Daredevil film than the one we got in 2003? Honestly, he fit the part perfectly even if the performance was a little too goofy which something that the Kingpin should not be.

Also, rating and thoughts on Sam Elliott in Hulk. It's also a natural casting choice bogged by a weak script and direction.

Calvin Law said...

Alex: no but same.

The King’s been getting mixed to positive reviews, apparently Pattinson is a hoot and Edgerton is good.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Yeah, I'm glad The Dauphin has a somewhat more substantial part to play than usual as it would've been a waste of Pattinson otherwise. Edgerton makes a good impact whereas Chalamet wasn't ready to meet the challenge that is Henry V.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on this opening to Jojo's Bizarre Adventure?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_vux8N4dy4

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts on the Jojo Rabbit trailer?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Could your ratings of any of the individual Harry Potter films go up on rewatch, ie The Half Blood Prince?

Anonymous said...

Luke, Your top 5 David Warner performances.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous:
1. Time After Time
2. A Christmas Carol
3. Little Malcolm
4. Cross Of Iron
5. The Bofors Gun

Bryan L. said...

Luke: Your ratings for GOT Seasons 1-7, and your overall Series MVP?

Luke Higham said...

Bryan:
1 to 4: 5
5: 4
6: 5
7: 4
8: 3

Show MVP: Charles Dance

Bryan L. said...

Luke: Thanks. Lastly, your ratings for each of the Harry Potter films, including Fantastic Beasts I and II?

Mitchell Murray said...

Calvin: The trailer has only bolstered my interest in the movie. No doubt the weight of the historical subject makes the tone Waititi's trying to achieve quite difficult. If any director/actor could pull off such a bizarre balance, however, its him. It also doesn't hurt that the child performances look very assured, and Sam Rockwell is again drawing on his unique, animated screen presence.

And my god...what a turn around for Scarlett Johansson this year. Her maternal role here doesn't seem especially plentiful in terms of screen time, BUT then again, that's what I also said when watching Nicole Kidman in the trailer for "Lion". That's obviously not to say her work would be on that same level based on what we've seen, but like "Marraige Story", I still have a good deal of hope.

Matt Mustin said...

Mitchell Murray: Waititi is *great* with child actors.

Luke Higham said...

Bryan:
HP
I: 4
II: 3
III: 4.5
IV: 2.5
V: 3.5
VI: 4
VII: 4
VIII: 4

FB
I: 3.5
II: 1.5

Michael McCarthy said...

Alex: I've seen Succession. The cast is very strong all around, and anyone who's a fan of the writing in Armando Iannucci's films would probably enjoy it. Matthew Macfayden is the MVP for me.

Michael McCarthy said...

Speaking of which, here's my ranking for the drama acting nominees of this year's Emmys, feel free to post your own if you're interested.

Lead Actor:

1. Sterling K. Brown
2. Billy Porter (though he should be in supporting)
3. Bob Odenkirk
4. Milo Ventimiglia
5. Jason Bateman
6. Kit Harington

Lead Actress:

1. Jodie Comer
2. Mandy Moore
3. Sandra Oh
4. Emilia Clarke
5. Viola Davis
6. Laura Linney
7. Robin Wright

Supporting Actor:

1. Chris Sullivan
2. Giancarlo Esposito
3. Alfie Allen
4. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
5. Peter Dinklage
6. Jonathan Banks
7. Michael Kelly

Supporting Actress:

1. Gwendoline Christie
2. Maisie Williams
3. Julia Garner
4. Fiona Shaw
5. Lena Headey
6. Sophie Turner

It's a little hard for me to rank the series themselves because none of them quite stood out as excellent to me, but if I had to:

1. Succession
2. Bodyguard
3. This Is Us
4. Better Call Saul
5. Pose
6. Killing Eve
7. Game of Thrones
8. Ozark

Calvin Law said...

Here would be mine from what I’ve watched (nowhere near as thorough as Michael in the drama category so I’ll do the others too)

Lead Actor: (Drama)

1. Bob Odenkirk
2. Jason Bateman
3. Kit Harington

Lead Actor (Comedy)
1. Bill Hader
2. Don Cheadle
3. Ted Danson

Lead Actor (Miniseries)
1. Jharrel Jerome ( favourite Emmy nominee overall)
2. Jared Harris
3. Sam Rockwell
4. Hugh Grant
5. Benicio del Toro
6. Mahershala Ali (easily the strongest category this year)

Lead Actress: (Drama)

1. Jodie Comer
2. Sandra Oh
3. Emilia Clarke
4. Laura Linney
5. Robin Wright

Lead Actress (Comedy), only seen Phoebe Waller-Bridge who was amazing and Rachel Brosnahan who was great too.

Lead Actress (Miniseries)
1. Michelle Williams
2. Patricia Arquette
3. Niecy Nash
4. Anjanue Ellis

Supporting Actor: (Drama)

1. Giancarlo Esposito
2. Jonathan Banks
3. Alfie Allen
4. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
5. Peter Dinklage
6. Michael Kelly

Supporting Actor (Comedy)
Stephen Root
Anthony Carrigan
Henry Winkler
Tony Shalhoub

All great.

Supporting Actor (Miniseries)
Ben Whishaw (category fraud though)
Paul Dano (same as Whishaw)
Michael K Williams
Stellan Skarsgård
Asante Black
John Leguizamo

Supporting Actress: (Drama)

1. Julia Garner
2. Gwendoline Christie
3. Maisie Williams
4. Fiona Shaw
5. Lena Headey
6. Sophie Turner

Supporting Actress (Comedy)
Alex Borstein
Betty Gilpin
Marin Hinkle
Olivia Colman
Sian Clifford
Kate McKinnon

Supporting Actress (Miniseries)
Emily Watson
Margaret Qualley
Marsha Stephanie Blake
Vera Farmiga

Man, Buckley was snubbed

Series (Drama)

1. Better Call Saul (4.5/5)
2. Bodyguard (4.5)
3. Killing Eve (4)
4. Ozark (3)
5. Game of Thrones (2.5)

Series (Comedy)
Barry (5)
Fleabag (5)
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (4.5)
The Good Place (4)

Series (Miniseries)
Chernobyl (5)
When They See Us (4.5)
Fosse/Verdon (4)
Escape at Danemorra (4)

Calvin Law said...

(Sorry for lazy formatting)

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your present film roles for Patrick McGoohan?

Anonymous said...

Calvin Law: Your thoughts on When They See Us and Escape at Danemorra

Robert MacFarlane said...

Does anyone else have a Switch and played the new Fire Emblem?

RatedRStar said...

Robert: I am gonna get it for Xmas, #BlackEagle.

Anonymous said...

Louis: your thoughts on the work of michael mando on season 4 of better call saul

Anonymous said...

Louis: your top 20 naomi watts acting moments

Calvin Law said...

Anonymous -

When They See Us - (once again Ava Duvernay hits the heartstrings very well. I will say as a director her films do have the tendency to maybe feel a bit lost in scope, and to be honest I think her style is actually more attuned to a Miniseries, as here there’s ample time and focus on all facets of the Central Park 5 case, from the initial arrests to the persecution to the fallout. It takes a bit to really get going but once it kicks into gear it is quite a horrifying look into the injustice of the justice system, with a uniformly great cast although I won’t lie in that Korey Wise’s story and Jharrel Jerome’s performance is masterful and by far the highlight, and everything else about the series is very good too)

Escape at Dannemora - (well Stiller as a director is another matter as he doesn’t go as much for the emotional approach as he goes for more of just a blunter look at prison life and the titular escape through the eyes of decidedly unsympathetic characters. The performances are all at the very least good, with Arquette and Lange being particular surprises, Del Toro and Del Toro doing very well as expected as scumbags, but I will say actually that the series could’ve attained greatness if they went just a bit further in exploring these characters through both sides of the bars, so to speak. As it is it’s an interesting character study, and a decent enough prison escape story, though understandably you’re never left rooting for anyone in particular.)

Robert MacFarlane said...

RatedRStar: Black Eagles are fascists. You'll know what I mean when you play it.

Mitchell Murray said...

Everyone: Thoughts on the "Just Mercy" trailer?

RatedRStar said...

Robert: What are the others in your opinion?

Calvin Law said...

Didn’t care for it but more of just how the trailer was designed. Foxx looks miscast, and I’m not sure about Jordan, and I generally like them both a great deal, aspects of it do have potential though (mostly with regards to the real life story).

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Will Poulter has been cast for Amazon's Lord Of The Rings. Any thoughts.

Robert MacFarlane said...

RatedRStar: Blue Lions has the best storyline and themes. It’s more character-driven than the other routes, and Dimitri has a compelling arc. Golden Deer is also good, though I’d recommend saving that one for last since it’s the most cathartic and “happy” story branch.

Also, Louis, I just got back from a screening of Fellowship of the Ring Extended, and I’m wondering if Ian Holm could go up/get reviewed? He stood out for me the most on this viewing.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts on the ‘I like having you as my big brother’ scene in Rain Man?

Calvin Law said...

And your thoughts on George Sanders in This Land is Mine.

Mitchell Murray said...

Calvin: As someone who just got around to watching that movie only a week ago, that scene is a touching one..Predictable, given the well worn story line that's used for Tom Cruise's character, but still decently affecting mainly because of the acting from Cruise himself.

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: I won't lie; Rain Man was one of my favorite films growing up.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis: I would highly recommend you check out The Art of Self-Defense if you can. It's very possible you will hate it, but I think you'll at least appreciate the performances, certainly Nivola in particular.

Louis Morgan said...

Bryan:

A hilarious bit both in terms of the more than a little artificial recitation of the speech made completely ridiculous in its false context, with a bit of the score thrown in for extra hilarious measure. Made funnier in Cousineau's intense anger with both the "chasing" and the "I'm Jewish" line, that Winkler delivers with such a great combination of earnestness and really dishonesty.

Anonymous:

I'll concur on anonymous's choice of Jack/Edward.
Jackson Healy
John Ottway

Anonymous:

Mirror placed last time at #11, "Picnic" I'd place number 19.

Dean Cundey
Caleb Deschanel
John Toll
Vittorio Storaro
Dion Beebe

Anonymous:

I mean possibly, as he definitely could've worked with a far better script, though I do think he'd have to overcome his natural affable quality, where I think Kingpin works better with a naturally menacing presence.

Elliott - 3(Well cast as general military type, though this Thunderbolt Ross is a bit vague as written. Elliott though offers a nice presence, particularly in his voice, and has some good moments in portraying genuine emotion regarding care for his daughter. Not a particularly well written role, but he does a fine job with it.)

Anonymous:

Professor X
Hector (Our Kind of Traitor)
Mr. Holmes

Anonymous:

Mando's performance is an interesting progression, as he comes off as more of just a jerk in the first season, however he's slowly successfully cultivated a sympathy for the character. This making his consistent manipulation by Gus, a particularly painful affair, in his fantastic depiction of the quite literal pain of his "fake shots", but even more so in portraying the mixed sense of loyalties mixed with need for survival. He creates the difficult complexity of the man, and I only wish the latter of the season had let him continue to explore his rather fascinating dynamic created within his performance.

Luke:

Well cast chap, and foot in the right direction, poor roles in Midsommar aside. Have no idea what the series is going to look like, but this is as fine of a start as any.

Tahmeed:

Always enjoy bit a random jazzyness when it comes to the ballad. The images themselves, well animated, compelling enough, though I obviously have no idea what's going on.

Robert:

Not out of the question.

Calvin:

Decided not to watch the Jojo Rabbit trailer, since I already wants to see it.

It's a good scene, sold by Cruise, who if someone needed to win the Oscar for the film should've been the one as he carries the film, and in a way Hoffman's performance. Anyway though It's moving though because Cruise makes his arc from just burden of responsibility to genuine care, and makes it such a natural moment through his performance.

Sanders - (Sanders gives a fine performance as sort of cowardly confidence. A strange dynamic, but works in contrast to the brave man without confidence. Sanders is weak willed in a most effective of portraying an ease in convenience, but nicely adds enough of a shame that makes his role more than a one note traitor or charmer.)

Matt:

I'll certainly try to give it a look.

Mitchell Murray said...

Calvin: Oh, and I just so I don't forget to mention this, I pretty much second your thoughts on the "Just Mercy" trailer? It's being promoted as your usual film of this sort, however I'm just not sure the casting or direction will fully pay off. I'll be perfectly frank: While its nice to see Brie Larson in a dramatic role again, something she just seems better at than comedy or action, I'm questioning whether or not her character will draw skepticism upon the film's release.

Luke Higham said...

Kurzel's True History Of The Kelly Gang is getting great reviews with MacKay, Davis, Crowe and Hoult getting much praise. Sucks that it won't be released this year.

Luke Higham said...

Saw It: Chapter Two. Overlong but still has great moments throughout and thankfully, the ending is far better than the mini-series.

Luke Higham said...

I'm holding off ratings for the moment.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I saw It: Chapter Two as well, and as someone who really liked the first one, I kind of thought it was a mess. Jay Ryan and Hader were MVP’s for me.

Luke Higham said...

I didn't expect Chapter two to live up to one but I'm happy that there was none of that space turtle nonsense.

Mitchell Murray said...

Louis: I'm not sure if you remember this now, but I asked you a little while back about your thoughts on 1994's "Death and the Maiden" - Specifically, the performances of its three main stars. I bring this up now because I just watched, in my own estimate, 3/4 of the film (This being all the events after Paulina steals Roderigo's car). To be clear, I rarely like to comment about a movie if I haven't seen it from start to finish. In this case, however, I feel as though I would be able to extrapolate my overall thoughts on the picture fairly well...

I'll go ahead and say that much of the movie, in my view, was effective. As play to screen adaptations go, Polanski actually did very little to change the general structure of its dialogue; Thus, it did come across as "stagy" much of the time, which can be both good and bad, though it was closer to the first option for me personally. I thought it showed the better elements of such stage productions mainly through its use of the single location. More crucially, the mystery at the heart of the film's plot is kept throughout, since Polanski never overplays his hand in favoring Roderigo's innocence or guilt. Speaking of which, while Wilson gave a decent turn, I felt he was fairly overshadowed by Kingsley, who does indeed offer one of his strongest performances. That final monologue alone is outstanding.

Mitchell Murray said...

Louis: Of course when I asked you about the film, Weaver was the main focus of my inquiries. Here's what I will say about her performance...

I concede that its not her best work, and there are some sequences where she perhaps forces the extreme reactions of Paulina past authenticity. I don't think it veered into "look at me, I'm acting" territory, but it at least came off as "noticeable acting" some times, which is unfortunate for such an intense role. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of merit to her performance in my opinion. Weaver of course has that great screen presence, which is something that's very difficult to overlook, and its utilized pretty well here. I'll go even further in saying that a lot of Weaver's silent, reactionary performance was credible. She definitely showed an understanding of Paulina's pain, and I did get the sense of a broken, unhinged soul through her efforts. Honestly, my favourite scene of her's might be when Paulina asks Gerardo about his affair, where Weaver nicely lets go of some of the aggression in revealing the woman's true despair.

It occurs to me that had Weaver given a performance like this on stage, it would probably have been more lauded, because it does seem like that's the tone she was going for here. In practice, though, the film performance that this reminded me of was, strangely enough, Leonardo DiCaprio from "Revolutionary Road" - You know, a turn that hits a lot of the notes it should, but is perhaps too obvious/transparent in other areas to truly be exceptional. That's pretty much me admitting that this is not a perfect performance, or one that necessarily realizes all the potential of her meaty part. Still, I did end up liking Weaver's performance on the whole, and therefor, I do not subscribe to the criticism it seems to get at points.

Emi Grant said...

Also watched It Chapter 2 (without watching first one...my bad), it does have nice moments throughout, but despite it's length, I couldn't help but feel it was so rushed. Therefore, I feel some arcs didn't quite come together as well and some scenes came off as clumsy. Still, really enjoyed the cast and will share ratings when everyone does.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Could I have your thoughts on the original Pokémon theme song?

Álex Marqués said...

Finished the first season of Succession. Strong is great (particularly in the finale, which wow), Snook is a star, Cox is as good as you imagine, Braun and McFadyen are pure perfection as a duo, and Culkin absolutely nails the qualities of despicable asshole you love to hate.






Luke Higham said...

McAvoy - 3.5
Chastain - 4
Ryan - 4/4.5
Hader - 4.5
Mustafa - 3.5
Ransome - 3.5/4
Bean - 3
Skarsgård - 3.5

Luke Higham said...

The kids are a collective 3.5.

Calvin Law said...

Saw Midsommar. I think the issue I have with Ari Aster is actually I don’t think he’s a great conventional horror director but he’s a really good portrayer of grief. Those sequences hit hard and are actually really great, like in Heridetary. Otherwise the film was very generic and occasionally even bad, and the pace was tortuous.

Pugh : 4.5
Reynor: 1.5
Poulter: 2.5
Harper: 3
Blomgren: 3

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the cinematography and score of The Punisher (2004)?

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: You know, I honestly wouldn't have even hated Midsommar if Aster had trimmed off about 30-40 minutes from the film, since my main problem with the film is its tiresome and slow pace.

Of course, the problems with the script would still be there, but I would've filed it under the "Eh" pile if it had a tighter runtime, instead of "Ugghhhh".

Emi Grant said...

McAvoy: 3.5
Chastain: 4
Hader: 4
Ryan: 3.5
Ransome: 3.5
Mustafa: 3
Bean: 3
Skarsgard: 3.5

Emi Grant said...

Also, Joker just won the Golden Lion. That's amazing.

Luke Higham said...

Emi: That's an astonishing achievement.

Mitchell Murray said...

Well then...I guess there's hope for Phoenix after all.

Bryan L. said...

Mitchell: Any chance of your blog coming back? It seems like you still do have quite a bit of things to say regarding female performances.

Luke Higham said...

Mitchell: If you ever decide to bring your blog back, could you review performances randomly instead of having to start from scratch again.

Emi Grant said...

Mitchell: Yeah, man. I'd be very interested in seeing your reviews for different performances (not necessarily nominated)

Mitchell Murray said...

Bryan, Luke and Emi:

As much as I'd want to, guys, that's pretty unlikely at the moment. That took a lot of energy, time and motivation to maintain, and I'm afraid that with the new developments in my life, it simply was more practical to leave it where it was. It's really weird for me to say this, but for the first time in a long while, I feel....driven, like I'm on a good path that will lead to a good future. Make no mistake; Both my affection for film and my gratitude for you people that enjoyed my writing hasn't wavered. Again, it was simply a choice of what would be more productive in the long run for my adulthood, and possible career.

I will continue to keep up with this blogspot as much as I can, because to be entirely frank, its the best website of its kind I've ever stumbled across. In many ways, it still offers a kind of outlet for my passion as a film buff, in that there are people here who share my interest. There are obviously movies and performances I didn't talk about but genuinely wanted to, not to mention those I haven't even watched. There are great turns, as well as not so great turns, that I felt would've been worthy of discussion. There are years that are still rather incomplete for me (Ex, Best Actor 1990-1992 and 1996-1998, or Best Actress 1988, 1994 and 1995). There are also actors who I probably wouldn't have even been able to cover based on the rules I set up for my own blog IE Kevin Kline, Bill Paxton, Marisa Tomei, etc..

I just feel very lucky that for that whole year, I was able to keep up my blog as consistently as I did. Not everyone has the privilege or time to do that, and I can assure everyone here I enjoyed doing it, and seeing your feedback. And like I said before, any chance I do see a film/performance of interest - old or new - I'd be more than happy to comment about it here just like I did for "Death and the Maiden" last night. I'm busier now than I was back then, but that doesn't mean my interest has lessened in any way. Along with it being a nice way to de-stress, it's also just exciting to be a part of such conversations here, however fleeting, so for that I thank you guys.

Louis Morgan said...

Saw It Chapter 2, thought it was a bloated, repetitive mess, though not entirely bereft of quality. There is no excuse for the length, especially the "alternate scene" kid scare scenes, which felt like filler, which is a weird choice for a nearly three hour film. Also falls into the mistake of believing bigger is better, particularly in its absurd over use of CGI, where the only terrifying CGI was that horrifying deaging used on the kids. There are some good individual set pieces, and I liked the group dynamic, which I wished they had exploited more of, rather than constantly breaking them apart as well as cutting to the kids as though the first movie really came out 27 years ago.

Saving Hader.

Chastain - 3.5
McAvoy - 3.5
Ryan - 4
Mustafa - 3
Ransone - 4/4.5
Skarsgard - 3.5
Grant - 3
The kids all were good in their technically limited reprises.

Tahmeed:

Sure, I like to think of it as the very best, a song like no other song ever was, to sing the lyrics was the real test, to remember them was my cause. Anyway, it's a proper "classic" theme song, in providing such a pseudo-epic ballad, that is rather invigorating when it comes to the concept of pokemon training.

Anonymous:

Conrad W. Hall sadly doesn't seem to be as talented as his father. The Punisher featuring really some very standard, cinematography, with only the vague competence one would hope for, for a film with a decent budget. It's often pretty flat when it comes to the framing and composition of shots, looking with only some vague attempts to try something a bit more dynamic with lighting that rarely amount to much of anything. There are worse looking films but this is a below average, decently budgeted film, of the 00's.

The Punisher's score by Carlo Siliotto isn't horrible, it's main heroic theme is more than decent in fact. There's a problem though as it sounds more fitting to a different type of superhero film than a gritty one Punisher aspires to be. This of course stems from poor direction which has no idea how to tell its story, or the tone to set for its protagonist. This within the score itself which sounds of something more grandiose, which the direction only rarely goes for, in its random awkwardness. This exact score I honestly think could've been used well in a different film, with its very much Morricone The Untouchables vibe, sadly the film just isn't there.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on the cast. Did you prefer the ending over the Mini-series though.

Bryan L. said...

"Saving Hader"

:D

Mitchell Murray said...

Out of curiosity, guys, what leading performances, nominated or not, would you have wanted me to cover most, or were most intrigued in my opinion of? Because I can certainly watch then now when I have the chance and get back to you.

Mitchell Murray said...

*them*

Luke Higham said...

Mitchell: Aleksei Kravchenko in Come And See. My favourite Child Performance of all-time and my favourite war film as well.

Michael McCarthy said...

I also just saw It: Chapter 2. I agree with a lot of what’s been said so far (thank you Louis for calling out the horrible use of de-aging CGI) it was very messy but I was still engaged with it all the way through.

I really didn’t like any of the scenes involving Henry Bowers, they all felt kind of wedged in. As for the individual flashback scenes, I actually didn’t think any of them were bad on their own, but I agree that all of them together bloated the film and honestly cheapened Pennywise’s horror value.

I really liked the main cast, Bill Hader’s been one of my idols for about 10 years now so I was never not going to love him but I’m thrilled that he’s probably going to be reviewed on the blog. I actually think McAvoy’s being slightly underrated personally, I think he did better in realizing his character’s arc than most of the others (he had a little bit more focus but still). I’ll echo that the child actors were uniformly good, but I’ll add that Wyatt Oleff deserves a special shoutout, both for his stirring bar mitzvah speech in the flashback and for the creepy, demonic energy he brings when he shows up in the present.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

This ending is better, but it's hard not to be when you're going up against a Star Trek TOS Space Spider. I will say it's a considerable step up from the mini-series's adult portion which is so goofy and awkward. This one frustrated me as I think there was more to mine regarding the idea of nostalgia, and dealing with one's past with how it effects one's future, when it actually did that I thought the film was easily at its best. Unfortunately this got pushed off to the side too often in favor of just another obvious scare sequence, almost to the point like there was a studio quota.

Chastain - (Her performance is good here, but I wish I could be more passionate about it. Where Lillis was the highlight of the previous film, Chastain I suppose would struggle a bit to live up to that, with admittedly less substantial material since the film barely gets into Bev's abusive relationship. Chastain does fine with what she has and really just is left behind by the script a bit. There was plenty of time after all to delve deeper but they don't do it. Leaving Chastain just to give a fine portrayal of perhaps the calm center of losers.)

McAvoy - (This is interesting in that my reservation towards his work comes in his earliest scenes where his somewhat stilted American accent holds him back. Interestingly enough once he begins to stutter again I felt McAvoy came far more into his own, and into the role. This as he ended up giving a pretty strong portrayal of struggling with the guilt with this sort of lone hero attitude.)

Ryan - (I'll give him a great deal of credit because they don't do too much more with him than showing that the former fat kid is now the chiseled hunk. Ryan works with what he has well in largely making the most out of some key reactionary moments. His moments of interacting with Chastain are particularly effective when portrays him on the edge of speaking the past truths, and conveying the conjuring up of his old feelings.)

Mustafa - (Stiffed a little by extension that his child counter part also had such a minor role. Having said that he's fine most of the time, but I honestly think he could've brought a bit more into the character's potential obsession/mania that was the focus.(

Ransone - (Wonderful and the clearest one to one when it comes to his child counterpart, as he just really looks like a grown up Jack Dylan Grazer. Ransone captures that same spirit so well though with this sort of power in his sarcasm, while also being so genuinely moving in portraying the nervous paranoia. What stands out most though is his great chemistry with another cast member, that was EASILY the best part of the film, even if there is a minor writing thing I actually think was unneeded there.)

Skarsgard - (He is actually overused here a bit, as his shtick occasionally becomes that particularly in parts of his final scene. Skarsgard though does a fine enough reprise but I only felt he really stood out here in his second onscreen victim scene, and his protoPennywise moment.)

Grant - (Agreed with Michael that his scenes didn't work. In fact they felt especially sloppy at times like they were just hitting the point because it was in the book. Grant though gives a fine performance that matches his child counterpart in portraying just the right viciousness to the character.)

Calvin Law said...

Louis: can I have your thoughts on Lorenzo Music’s voice work as Garfield if you’ve ever watched the Garfield and Friends series?

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