Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Best Actor 2019: Adam Driver in Marriage Story

Adam Driver received his second Oscar nomination for portraying Charlie Barber in Marriage Story.

Marriage Story follows the dissolution of a marriage that quickly falls into a custody battle over their son.

Adam Driver continues his streak of an ever growing resume of quality performances in interesting projects. This is as I'll give it away early that I think this is a great performance, but why it is a great performance, is a good question. One might think it is built around one scene, which there is a small nugget of truth in terms of making that scene work, but even that nugget is also not entirely true. Adam Driver here takes on the essential role of just playing a normal man. The idea even of the character of Charlie as a surrogate for writer/director Noah Baumbach isn't something that is focused upon, and I'm glad that Driver didn't try to turn Charlie into Baumbach. This as that would get in the way of what he is doing here, which is to first and foremost just introduce us to the person that is Charlie Barber. This isn't to say he is just some average ole' Joe, given he is a successful avant-garde theater director, but Driver's performance here isn't to make a distance with the character. This offering the right directness in his overall approach, not that he's making Charlie the most approachable man per se either. What he is instead is doing is allowing us just to observe this man, as a man in the most immediate intimacy, though by merely being with him with so many moments in which Driver let's us in on this man. Charlie, again is not some extreme idiosyncratic person, the challenge in Driver's work is to make it all compelling with letting us into basically Charlie's experience.

His essential partner in this approach is Scarlet Johansson as Charlie's wife Nicole. The brief early scenes of their interactions being essential in creating the chemistry between the two. This is not of this sparking love but rather a long standing relationship. What is remarkable in their performances is they do not simplify this towards the other end as their conversations and interactions capture the informality of their marriage experience as a day to day existence. This both in the brief moments where we do see them seemingly in happier moments with their son Henry. Driver and Johansson, right down to the most simple physical interaction they capture the ease and casual manner of a married couple. This with an assumption and connection, that in itself actually plays an essential element within the film. This in the earliest scene as the two prepare for their separation, where they initially speak of just a small scale agreed upon divorce, however after finishing their last collaboration on Charlie's new successful play. This is as in this moment their manner towards another is of a connection of love in the moment but rather an awareness of each other. This in each creating the static attempt of an indifference though with sort of a festering emotion "smoothed" over by their state of marriage. This in their exchange as Nicole asks for notes on the show, which when prodded slightly Charlie puts forth. Driver delivers the rundown on her performance without hesitation, cruelly, though naturally within portraying it as a ease based upon familiarity.

The film then shifts first to Nicole's perspective as she moves to LA to act in a pilot and is talked in lawyering up, serving Charlie surprisingly when he arrives to visit. Driver is outstanding in this scene by making it so vivid in realizing every moment of Charlie's interactions that lead up to having the legal documents given to him. This includes portraying so earnestly just Charlie trying to reconnect initially with his wife and son again, and even in his interactions with Nicole's sister and mother played by Merritt Wever and Julie Hagerty. I give special mention to the latter because the two performers overplay their roles to the point of being cartoons, so Driver deserves special mention in his cheerful moments of playing along with them, that he natural segues into as just someone having fun with what he believes to be his immediate family. Driver makes his part of it genuine even as he's working with one note performances, and in his own way creates a better awkwardness of the situation by showing the comfort of their interactions. This before he is finally served with the documents and Driver's subtle loss of life and sense of confusion is brilliantly performed. This as he creates so subtle in the moment the anxiety and sense of betrayal. It isn't with a curse but just this disbelief that feels so honest within his work. This honesty of his performance, consistent honesty, that becomes so essential in not only bringing the part to life but creating the needed empathy for Charlie.

This is that Driver makes Charlie neither monster nor saint. He rather makes him a flawed complicated man but by offering the necessary genuine detail to every situation makes his experience far more tangible. This as we see him initially attempting to find a lawyer while also getting blindsided by the legal ramifications of a situation he didn't know existed. Driver finds the right sense of detached confusion within these conversations that underlines not a man who doesn't care, but rather someone who has no idea what he is doing. This though with the distinct sense of the unease of the situation. Driver is fantastic in creating such a withdrawn frustration in these moments of trying to do what the law expects him to do in order to get custody of his son while also trying to do his job and see his son. Driver is fantastic in these scenes by carrying with it the constant push pull of emotions of the situation. There isn't a moment Driver is not wholly within through his performance that so captures the clawing intensity of it. This in just delivering the general lines with this attempt at the utmost cordiality, even towards his wife when it appears as though she is doing things to undermine him, though with these minor frustrated outbursts towards his son when he shows little appreciation or concern for Charlie's efforts. Driver essentially though shows in these moments the conviction in the devotion of care for his son, though always burdened by everything else weighing him down in these attempts.

The nature of this slowly caves within Charlie and this is realized so powerfully yet quietly in Driver's work that so succinctly avoids melodrama. Also if one wants to chime in on the scene I will be getting to below to make a claim otherwise, I think you should rethink your position. Anyways, the fantastic work Driver does here is showing the weight of the situation. This as we get his moment where he finds his first lawyer (Alan Alda) who slowly advises him to settle to avoid a battle in the courts. Driver is amazing in the scene in just the way he physically embodies the pain of the situation in his pacing, and his brief moments of yelling out and nearly breaking down. Driver is excellent in showing so well the way Charlie is on the verge of completely losing it, yet doesn't quite, by creating these edges, with also this always palatable sense of the repression that works towards just how worn he is by it all. I love Driver and Johansson's work in the scene, which is tailored to belong to Laura Dern and Ray Liotta as their hot shot lawyers, where we see their first official legal hearing. Driver and Johansson are marvelous in their silence, in showing the sheer shame and bitterness in their down turned faces. Both creating the sense of shame within the situation but also within their out in the open secrets spoken so loudly by both lawyers to undercut each other. Their performances convey the weight of these secrets even in their reserve, particularly in the sense of how much it hurts each to hear every one of them.

Driver's performance naturally works towards a tipping point. This in that underlying sense that only grows, with minor outbursts, such a phone call between Charlie and Nicole were a bit of the venom comes out. This with an exasperation of something that runs deeper than a single betrayal. What Driver though builds towards, and wholly earns, is the scene where Nicole and Charlie truly talk to one another about the situation. This scene I think alone perhaps shows why insta-social media reaction of art, is a particularly um, let's say um... a stupid method too many utilize these days. This as this scene I will be discussing here was dismissed out of context as "bad acting", but hey I guess if you have a poorly informed opinion about something, best be aggressive and quick about it...or maybe not. Anyway, actually taking the time to watch something though is important to appreciating it I suppose. This as this scene exists and is earned through what we see built up throughout the story between Charlie and Nicole, as their conversations slowly begin to become more hostile. Of course this is even brilliantly realized in the scene itself that does begin quiet as the two are just talking, and Driver delivers just an extra bit of a snipe as he remarks not wanting to use a photograph because it has Nicole in it. This with though in Driver's silent reactions as he creates the sense of the wear of just hearing her words as she begins to openly bring up what was said in court. This then begins what is a masterful decay portrayed by both actors, that moves both Charlie and Nicole towards their lowest point. This as each speak of old wounds, and Driver is incredible by making every outburst harder and more emotional as any sense of repression just loses itself through Nicole's words that cut particularly deep. Driver though is even not one note in also portraying the attempts at fighting back by rationalizing his own mistakes or attacking Nicole. In each, Driver finds the mess of the thoughts as they spiral out as urgent pleas or hateful barbs. Driver peels away each real defense as he physically wears the pent up anger until it finally releases as such both through that and vile words at Nicole. Driver makes this as natural as anything else he does, and in turn extremely remarkable, as this is not just some sudden yelling, but rather the breakdown of any sense of love driven really by words that could've only been learned through such familiarity. The two earn this extreme honest to two people at their absolute worst, both through their articulate and truthful work within the scene itself and throughout the film.

After that scene Driver carefully shows even the after effects of it by showing a more detached Charlie in a way. Driver continues to bring us right with Charlie in every scene, even two potentially contrived moments. The first being when Charlie cuts himself in an absent minded way when speaking to a court observer. Again Driver's detachment in the moment captures just someone spent in the way he speaks defeated by it all, and his down turned manner of someone who just is not quite with it in the moment. The same is true in some time later after the court has finally been settled, mostly not in Charlie's favor, and he goes out in the night. The contrivance comes as Charlie, sparked by music in a bar, decides to regale everyone with a song. Driver though again adds truth to it as his first lines in the scenes still carry just that weight and bitterness of the situation until his ears catch the music. There then Driver is amazing in the moment by showing just a hint of mania in his eyes as he begins to sing, suggesting a man just trying to find some way to live up his life just a bit after having been burdened by the custody battle for so long. I'll end this review with two different moments, particularly in focus of the film, but both together I think help to illustrate the greatness of Driver's performance here. The first being one of the final moments in the film where Charlie stumbles upon his son reading a letter from Nicole about all the things she likes about Charlie. Driver is heartbreaking in this scene by quietly building just how moved Charlie is as he hears each word then begins to read the words himself. This in the moment showing Driver so poignantly revealing just how much Charlie did love Nicole even after all that happened, in his pained voice, the sorrow of his expression, though with a sense of tenderness within it all. The other moment though comes before this just as Charlie enters Nicole's house after all has been said and done, and is there to see Henry. This as first Charlie meets Nicole's boyfriend, and brief, so brief, facial downturn, Driver shows the heartbreak in this, before shifting to a welcoming smile to greet Nicole's family and Henry once again. That longer moment and this shorter one though show just how detailed Driver's work is here, in making every moment of Charlie's experience so vivid, while always seeming absolutely natural. This isn't the portrayal of some historical figure, some extreme personality, it is just a man, a man that we get to know, feel and understand his experience through Adam Driver's astonishing work.

82 comments:

Matt Mustin said...

This movie's really frustrating for me, because Driver and Johansson are both outstanding, but everything surrounding them (minus the scenes with Alan Alda) just didn't feel like they fit at all.

Matt Mustin said...

Also, he's definitely winning.

Calvin Law said...

Oh he’s amazing and I hate the social media reaction to that scene too! Thanks for bringing that up.

And yeah that singing scene on reflection was definitely contrived but like you it worked for me. And he made me cry multiple times throughout the film too. Honestly I feel bad he’s not in my top 5, last year he’d have been my #2 easily.

Bryan L. said...

Its very refreshing to see a well-detailed, nuanced description of the scene EVERYONE is talking about without context.

Luke Higham said...

Utterly loved this performance, loved the review. I feel so bad for him not winning it this year.

Calvin: That top 5's gonna be incredibly special if Driver doesn't make it. :)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on Hedges, Affleck, Pniowsky, Turner-Smith and Woodbine.

Luke Higham said...

Now for the big one. Calm acceptance or short-term anger (Or in Robert's case, Long-term).

Bryan L. said...

Louis, thoughts on Keanu in Always be my Maybe? His extended cameo was my favorite thing about the movie. Just fun to watch.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: and Reeves? (I’ve missed him doing comedy)

Luke: well my top 5 is technically cheating, it’s six really and I haven’t set the order in stone besides my #1 which is a very easy choice, but it’d be

1. Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson
2. Adam Sandler
3. Roman Griffin Davis
4. George MacKay (he grew on me even more when I saw it a second time, the one scene I had reservation about his performance with ended up being one of my favourite moments of his)
5. August Diehl

To reiterate I hate leaving Driver out and he possibly could get in over Diehl. I hate leaving him out and having Johansson in my lineup (but also vice versa if I had Pachner in and left Diehl out).

Luke Higham said...

I feel so giddy right now for Alternate Lead. I do wonder who's taking that 10th spot. I think we could rule out Kaluuya and it's between Mullan, Majors and the Honey Boy Leads.

Luke Higham said...

I now think 8 fives are possible for Supporting.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: what’s your rationale for LaBeouf in supporting? I do think it’s borderline but like Majors I’m putting him in Supporting (for now).

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: He put Shia as Co-Lead. I actually just watched the film, and I think it’s because the films mainly about the kids’ (Shia) relationship with his Dad (actual Shia), even if we mainly see the Dad from the kids’ perspective.

Calvin Law said...

*co-Lead my bad, a typo. And that’s fair enough.

Luke Higham said...

I finally saw Parasite and what can I say, An absolute masterpiece in every regard. Loved the social commentary, and the Ensemble (need to think about ratings for all except Song who's an easy five for me) If anything was going to break my British War film bias, it had to be this.

Anonymous: Jonathan Pryce performances
1. Game Of Thrones
2. Brazil
3. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
4. The Two Popes
5. Something Wicked This Way Comes
6. Carrington
7. Wolf Hall

Nothing else really comes to mind.

Matt Mustin said...

I watched The Two Popes. I hated the flashbacks, and Meirelles really needs to cool it with the handheld shots and random zooms, but overall I enjoyed it, mostly due to the two lead performances, both of whom I'd give 4.5.

Luke Higham said...

Bryan: The films I'm looking forward to most. (In no particular order)
Tenet
Dune
Last Night In Soho
Mank
The Personal History Of David Copperfield
The French Dispatch
Blonde
Next Goal Wins
True History Of The Kelly Gang
The Eternals (Don't know what to expect with this one)
And PTA's unnamed project

Calvin Law said...

Anyone seen What Did Jack Do? by David Lynch on Netflix yet? Hilarious stuff.

Anonymous said...

Luke, in your opinion, what's the greatest performance of all-time.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: The humble side of me couldn't say that because calling something the greatest of all-time without seeing every single great performance that exists on Film (Television is another matter) is a bit disrespectful to them in my view. There's nothing wrong with having your own personal favourite and that's F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus.

Anonymous said...

Luke, understandable.

And do you think Chalamet will be reviewed.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: With Majors and LaBeouf no longer in the picture, yes.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: your top 5 Driver performances? For me, it’d be

Marriage Story
Paterson
The Force Awakens
Silence
The Last Jedi

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I agree with that.

Mitchell Murray said...

And the winner is....

I LOVE this performance. It's outstanding work on Driver's part in his ability to be so sincere, so emotive and so finely observed in every part of Charlie's being. And I think THAT scene is the absolute zenith of his career thus far, as even there the complexity of Charlie's anger isn't simplified. Like when he finally loses his cool entirely, there's a true venom in his delivery of "Every day I wake up.....", but the moment he brings up his son there's an ever so slight voice crack from Driver, showing the real desperation of it all.

Also, I just wanted to mention that the social media reaction you allude to - in regards to THAT scene - is completely fresh news to me. Every time I've looked up or discussed THAT scene I've heard/read nothing but praise for it, though in your defense, I'm not really on many social media platforms to begin with.

Luke Higham said...

Mitchell: I have seen quite a few over-acting accusations when the scene was posted on Youtube which is complete nonsense when they didn't bother to watch the film entirely.

Mitchell Murray said...

Additionally, I'd have to concur with Matt in that Driver and Johansson easily drive the film - there both excellent - but everything else is sadly not to the same level. The idea that Dern will probably will the oscar, and that Driver and Johansson will probably be snubbed, is a bit disheartening.

And in terms of the later's career, I've always believed that Johansson had potential even when I was underwhelmed by her. Thus, its so satisfying to see her tackle a quality role, after many years of maturing as a performer, and channel all that untapped dramatic range into a great, nuanced performance.

Mitchell Murray said...

Luke: Well in that case, I'm glad I missed reading such ridiculous statements.

Luke Higham said...

Mitchell: I'm happy she's done with the MCU so she could further realize her potential.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Hedges - (He does a fine job overall, but his scenes just are very rote, compared to what is going on the past story line. He's fine in terms of realizing sort of the results of that, but you kind of forget he's there every time he disappears. I actually think the scenes might've had more weight if LaBoeuf played both parts.)

Affleck & Pniowsky - (Only suffers in comparison to Mortensen, Foster and McKenzie. The performances here do not resonate nearly as strongly. Affleck though is definitely good here in capturing the sort of combination of exasperation of the situation, paranoia of danger, but also certainty of concern for his daughter. He brings the needed honesty to this underlying constant of the relationship, and the always quiet sense of warmth within as well. Pniowsky is also good though in finding the right combination between precociousness of a young girl who wants to just live her life, though with enough reserve to give a sense of the situation though not the entirety of it. She's good in portraying the way her character has been sheltered, despite being trained to survive, by being unable to understand the full implications of the danger.)

Turner-Smith - (Her performance works best in creating chemistry with Kaluuya. There her performance does shine as the two are effective together in creating both the sense of love develops but also the tension from their differing existences and reactions to the situation. Having said that I do think there is occasionally a stilted quality to her performance at times, even in what should be extremely emotional circumstances. This isn't to say it is ever ongoing, but it comes up here and there, that keeps this performance from wholly carrying the character. A character I'll admit is flawed in conception to begin with.)

Woodbine - (They through a lot for Woodbine to do in very little time, but I'll say he manages to make a striking impression in his few bits of screentime. This with the attempted swagger of the man, but also the intense desperation that underlines this. Unfortunately the film gives an entire subplot that seems extremely haphazard given the implications of it, and when that comes up it seems as though there was definitely something missing between his and Turner-Smith's interactions. Almost like they wrote the character point after Woodbine left the film.)

Bryan:

Reeves - (A good sign for his return to Ted Theodore Logan esquire. The whole celebrity as themselves is often an overused trope in comedies these days, but here it actually works because Reeves is actually hilarious in portraying such an extreme, and by all accounts opposite version of himself. Reeves brings such a fantastic intensity though with the sort passive zen quality, that makes everything he does very funny in just how much whiplash it causes. For me he stole the whole film.)

Calvin:

Find it hard to put him anywhere else, since it isn't an ensemble and he's actually the only character in both timelines. More so in his scenes with Jupe it cuts back and forth giving equal importance to each. For example, the scene with Clifton Collins Jr. is all about him, when we see Jupe alone, it consistently and just about evenly cuts to what LaBeouf is doing in detailed character centered scenes like his AA speech. Then when it is the two together they're on basically equal footing, I'd say as much or perhaps more so than Dafoe or Hopkins in the other two-handers of the year.

Marriage Story
Paterson
The Force Awakens
Silence
The Report

Mitchell Murray said...

Luke: Well she still has the "Black Widow" movie, of course, but honestly, even there she kind of showed some growth, even though her early outings are a little awkward in retrospect. Lets face it - in "Iron Man 2" she was told to be little more than eye candy, and in "Avengers" she got to do a "bit" more, but nothing to the same degree as her male co-stars, arguably.

The best thing that ever happened to Johansson's role and the character was the Russo brothers...every time she collaborated with them, Widow was far more intriguing and credible in how Whedon viewed her part. This is to a lesser extent in "Civil War" and "Infinity War", however in "Winter Soldier" she got to do expand the character nicely, and in "Endgame" she found a great emotional poignancy in Widow's final outing.

But yes...I suppose now that Johansson no longer has franchise related duties, there is a greater hope in her delivering some quality turns in some more independent fare.

Luke Higham said...

Mitchell: Believe me, she was very good in Endgame. Going by Fighting With My Family, I'm really looking forward to seeing what Pugh has to offer in an action role.

Anonymous said...

Luke, have you decided on your request.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Well, yes and no. At the moment, I've decided on a 2019 performance but for the bonus round because the year's stacked enough already and want Louis to review all of his fives. Perhaps Mullan because The Last Black Man In San Francisco and Honey Boy have had far more attention in 2019 than The Vanishing and honestly, kind of want both Lighthouse films to be set apart and give it its own moment to shine when the time eventually comes.

Aside from that, maybe Gene Hackman in Eureka since 83 maybe coming up soon.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Which year would you put The Nightingale in.

Luke Higham said...

And please do Alternate Supporting first.

Anonymous said...

Luke, do you think Louis might consider doing 15 reviews for Lead with Supporting only having 5.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: That idea was toyed with once before (2014 or 15) but was refuted by the majority here. In this case, I think it might be more acceptable because of the overwhelming strength of it but he would really need to split the double handers in seperate lineups and get one or two contenders in who'd miss out otherwise. He'll still have the same workload as the last two years with Supporting being weaker but at the end of the day, it's down to him.

Calvin Law said...

Just 10 is fine with me. Just for reference my 10 (well, 11) submissions to Louis would be:

Dafoe/Pattinson
Sandler
Diehl
Davis
De Niro
MacKay
Schoenaerts
Majors
Harrison Jr.
Paul

Luke Higham said...

I wouldn't mind personally because I'd really like both Dafoe and Pattinson to be part of the prediction contest so we won't know for sure who his favourite of the two is.

Calvin Law said...

Or with LaBeouf instead of Majors since I think there’s a possibility of him getting a 5

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Yeah, I'd leave Mullan out of it but I keep thinking he likes Jupe/LaBeouf much more than we're expecting him to.

Luke Higham said...

I'm going with Jupe and LaBeouf for the 10th slot and that's my final answer.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Do you think Harrison Jr. will be reviewed for both or just Waves.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: I’m happy with that. I do need to rewatch the film, I think I probably just set my expectations too high.

Luke: Hm. I think he’s great in both. Luce is technically the more calculating work that’s more about small moments here and there and doesn’t pack the same overall punch, it’s more of a fascinating performance than one I truly love. I think I prefer him in Waves even though he’s only really heavily featured in the first half, though I don’t think that should limit him too much so far as reviews are concerned.

Anonymous said...

Luke, which films are you planning on checking out soon?

Bryan L. said...

Luke: I wish I could say the same about Robert Downey Jr leaving the MCU...but Dolittle...

Also glad to hear you loved Parasite :)

Luke Higham said...

The Personal History Of David Copperfield. That's about it really, Works taking so much of my time.

Toan Nguyen said...

Calvin: Incredible top 5 man, just got the opportunity to watch 1917 recently, and I have to say MacKay's performance keeps growing in me. That ending scene when he reveals the photos was like the icing on the cake, which made me treasure the character more than ever!

Luke Higham said...

Bryan: He also has Sherlock Holmes 3 in 2021.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: He’s set to star in a film with Richard Linklater, so I hope it ends up happening and he’ll show everyone his underrated range.

Btw, and if you don’t mind me asking, how did you find this blog? Were you looking for acting reviews or...? And how long ago?

Luke Higham said...

Bryan: Look forward to seeing that

Well to start off, my interest in the history of film and the academy awards began in late 2006/early 2007 when I was 12 and saw my first when The Departed won, where I woke up and watched it at 3 and finished it at 6 in the morning. My interest got stronger and stronger when AMPAS were posting clips from previous ceremonies on their recently created Youtube channel. Now when I came across the blog, I think I just did a random Google search 'Best Actor' or something among those lines and found it. This was around late 2010 and I instantly loved the concept. Now I wasn't as socially active at the time as I am now which explains why I'm not on the comments sections from the very early days but I really liked reading Louis' writing style (It had flaws like all up and coming writers have but I certainly noticed the immense improvement as time went on). I think I made 1 anonymous comment a year or two before I started commenting full time in November 2013 and that was asking when he would do 2008 Supporting because I wanted his review on Ledger.
Now there was one rating decision at the time that really stung like hell for me and that was a 4.5 for Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood (Explains the profile picture) I partially lost interest after that and was on/off for 2 years like Psifonian or Michael Patison are now. (To be fair though, I was 16 at the time and I'm a far, far more accepting person now) When Day-Lewis went up in 2015, I was overwhelmed with happiness and that was the moment where I knew I just couldn't leave again. There isn't really much else after that, However this is by far the best, most knowledgable and fun film blog out there (Calvin's come a long way with his and I hope yours has a great future) and just want to thank Louis for some great memories and to the guys for making me feel welcome, appreciate my opinion and vice-versa.

Luke Higham said...

Also to add to that, I agree with Louis that this may've been the only male performance blog at the time because you had Fritz, Sage Slowdive and Moviefilm who focused only on the female side.

And guys, it's a pity we don't have Psifonian, Michael P., Giuseppe or Charles on the blog anymore.

Anonymous said...

Luke, I really do appreciate what you've said and I'm thankful that your still here. :)

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: It's my pleasure, It feels great and safe to be here when your opinion on any form of entertainment is aggressively scrutinised elsewhere.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: Thanks for telling me/us your origin story, so to speak :) And the only thing I have planned right now is “My Wins/Top Ten” for 2019, but I’ll think of some other stuff.

Luke Higham said...

Bryan: A David Lynch Ranking would be great.

I'd like to see you do some Actor Top Tens with analysis once you have the time or Top Ten Scores by Zimmer or Williams.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Like myself, I know you try to go in with an open mind but which 5 films from 2020 are most likely or destined to fail. West Side Story is one of them for me.

Calvin Law said...

Bradley Cooper is starring and directing a Leonard Bernstein biopic. Pretty cool.

Also I actually think West Side Story will be okay.

Michael McCarthy said...

Fun fact, there was a nationwide open call for Spielberg's West Side Story and the only reason I didn't go out for it was that at the time I literally didn't have enough money in my bank account for a bus ticket to New York.

Calvin Law said...

Michael: Damn. That sucks - but with all these new musicals coming out bound to be another opportunity!

I will say In the Heights looks like it’ll be the superior musical.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Aww, but I knew Dolittle was going to be terrible..and by most accounts it was.

Sonic the Hedgehog - (I mean his design was just one, of many problems with that first trailer.)

The Woman in the window - (Production problems and that trailer looked terrible. Looks like potentially Girl on the Train part deux.)

Morbius - (Mediocre director and generic looking trailer. Looks like a proper followup to Venom.)

Venom 2 - (There's the proper followup to Venom, Serkis in the director's chair does not inspire hope.)

The King's Man - (Matthew Vaughn seems to have bought into his own "brilliance" in the worst possible way, Golden Circle was awful so I'm starting with very low expectations for this one.)

Michael:

Sorry to hear that.

Calvin Law said...

Oh yeah The Woman in the Window looks terrible. I think Tracy Letts has basically admitted that already.

Anonymous said...

Will you review Alda for alternate supporting? Wanna spare your thoughts on him?

Lucas Saavedra said...

Does anyone know where I can find Louis' thoughts on Little Women (2019) and his ratings and thoughts on the cast?

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Alda - 4(Alda delivers the best supporting performance in his few scenes, by completely rejecting any caricature notions, that I think even this role had a threat to. This is Alda brings a warmth to the part as the elder lawyer, but also a weariness. He manages a balance of the two though to portray a genuine wisdom that is based both on being genuinely concerned about people past there money, but also the knowledge of the pain for all concerned if it proceeds. Alda doesn't simplify this, despite only have a couple scenes, and realizes the one completely altruistic character authentically.)

Anonymous said...

Will you review Alda for alternate supporting actor? Wanna spare some of your thoughts on him?

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: I gave you his thoughts

Lucas: It's on the 99 supporting results post but there's 2 pages, go to the 2nd one.

Unknown said...

Sorry, I'm having connection issues and postes it twice. I loved Alda in it and I also thought he could have been even better if nos character had more screentime. Kinda felt the same about Dern.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: No problem. :)

Lucas Saavedra said...

Thanks Luke!

Luke Higham said...

Lucas: Your welcome. :)

Luke Higham said...

Calvin & Michael: Since we're talking musicals, where's the Hamilton adaptation.

Michael McCarthy said...

Luke: Lin-Manuel Miranda is gonna be pretty busy for a while between promoting In the Heights and directing Tick Tick Boom, plus it's been less than five years since the show opened, so it probably won't be for a while.

Calvin Law said...

I started listening to Hamilton recently and honestly love the songs. I hope to see a live-action film rendition of ‘Wait For It’ at some point, that’s legitimately one of my favourite new tunes.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Also, I guess I'll include The Nightengale 2019, as I couldn't confirm the 2018 release beyond festival. I'll also say I tried watching it a couple weeks ago, but I guess just wasn't in the mood for what goes on for the first 30 minutes that day.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Yeah, that's what I thought and I'm willing to wait for your opinion once in a better mood.

Emi Grant said...

Louis: I forgot to ask on the last post, but what are your thoughts on the final scene from Pain & Glory?

Emi Grant said...

Oh, and your thoughts on "Claqueta Final" if possible.

Calvin Law said...

Yeah Nightingale hasn’t stayed with me that much beyond Franciosi. Jennifer Kent really needs to learn how to balance tones.

Louis Morgan said...

Emi Grant:

An effective fourth wall break of drawing back the curtain, and playing with the idea. Although I really didn't get much out of the childhood portions of the film, the use of it as this recollection realized as a film within the film about film is effective.

Claqueta final is a fine piece by Iglesias which he specializes in really which is a pretty chaotic mix between strings and piano basically clashing against one another, though that does manage to form a strange harmony in its disjointedness that is rather remarkable.

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