Rightwing Film Geek

Skandie runners-up — supporting females

Chris Rock made a whole sequel about this Miriam Makeba hairdo. But Victor decided acting points mostly for being an incredible singer, even though it's a concert film, might be a bit much.

Rachel Weisz, BROTHERS BLOOM — Disappointed that this film foundered at the box office, as I thought it really showed another side to Weisz’s talents — a heedlessly entitled screwball-comedy heroine like Katharine Hepburn whose both thoroughly charming and thoroughly off-putting.

Jennifer Lawrence, THE BURNING PLAIN — I remembered being impressed by her performance in one of Arriaga’s two stories at the Toronto Film Festival, but I haven’t seen the film since and it’s all just too indistinct in my head to avoid the “shuck that one away” temptation.

Beth Grant, EXTRACT — Gossipy old ladies on the assembly line are always funny. Particularly when the competition they have in their own films is Ben Affleck fumbling away the easiest character in the book — the bartender/best-buddy/shit-stirrer role

Tilda Swinton, THE LIMITS OF CONTROL — OK, sue me for not having seen Tilda’s other performance this year. Who goes to see weird subtitled movies by frog “auteurs.” In a perverse way, though Jarmusch’s repetition of the “people with info” scene makes for tedious drama, it does enable you to determine the best actor among the “people with info.”

Cloris Leachman, NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU — Unlike with Eli Wallach, I did recognize her. But the effect was the opposite — I had affection for her and the memories of all she has done on film. As if she’s an old family member whom we need to take care of, despite her mouth. In other words, an old Cloris Leachman.

Monique, PRECIOUS — I have to join the chorus somewhere. ya know. I was already primed both to hate her character and be annoyed by an over-the-top evil performance, but … well, I wasn’t. However, there is another PRECIOUS actress that nobody is mentioning that will appear later and underline a clear difference in acting philosophy.

Irina Potapenko, REVANCHE — It’s very hard to play shrewder-but-inferior in the relationship successfully. You might actually be hurt by performing in a language (German) other than your audience’s (me only talks English good), thus lacking the linguistic cues. But if it ain’t your language, it makes sense that she’d follow his cockamamie schemes.

Miriam Makeba, SOUL POWER —  Yeah, no joke. I seriously did consider her, only deciding against it at the end because she only has a few moments. But … I remember those moments vividly as shaping a person I had very little previous knowledge of, unlike James Brown. She got bumped or dissed the first night but when her time on stage came, she left it behind and wowed everybody with her infectious joy — a joy she has to feel while we know she doesn’t. (My notes from the time said people applauded in the Toronto theater.) All the while telling people, with the biggest smile in the world, how “The Click Song” is not a novelty, as they were consuming it.

Juliette Binoche, SUMMER HOURS — Maybe it’s time to just acknowledge that she’s always awesome in everything. But here, she plays a San Francisco bobo without resorting to the easy cliche. You can see Natalie Portman in this role in the American remake … and you can be quietly grateful that it’s someone this calm, with this much range.

Vera Farmiga, UP IN THE AIR — Yeah, her character is somewhat of an easy sex fantasy (as if Clooney isn’t). Highlight to see vague SPOLIER: But two words — Red. Herring. (And she’s as good on both sides of it.)

Anna Kendrick, UP IN THE AIR — Seeing her in this role about 3-4 years after she played a high-school debater was so perfect. It’s the same mixture of start-from-zero rationalism and young cocksureness. It’s not exactly arrogance, but a belief that one’s plan is rational and that’s all there is to it. Also nails the awkwardness of firing someone when you’re not used to it. Already regretting dropping her.

February 8, 2010 Posted by | Skandies | Leave a comment

Skandie runners-up — supporting males

Hilmi Sozer (right) steals JERICHOW, especially at the end, playing the unwanted third leg in a romantic triangle someone like Mr. Dietrichson in DOUBLE INDEMNITY.

Ptolemy Slocum, (UNTITLED) — I considered him just to annoy Sicinski, as he’s playing a hilariously vicious caricature of the Bad Modern Artists whom Waz loves. Just kidding bud. Sorta.

Horst Rehberg, CLOUD 9 — Plays a 70-year-old man with a convincingly heedless, romantic (and Romantic) 20-year-old’s soul. He always has the sparkle that Ursula Werner only sometimes does — and therein lies the drama. This year was filled with “nearly” performances in German films.

Timothy Spall, THE DAMNED UNITED — Proves he doesn’t need Mike Leigh to inhabit a working-class Joe (yes … men in his position at that time weren’t filthy-rich — part of the film’s interest). And the reconciliation scene with Clough at his home doesn’t have a hint of anachronistic gayness as a result.

Peter Sarsgaard, AN EDUCATION — Why is Carey Mulligan getting all the Hosannas in Excelsis for this film? The charming villain is always the better role, and Sarsgaard oozes it like pretty pus.

Anthony Mackie, THE HURT LOCKER — After playing the enemies of Tupac Shakur and Eminem … pffft to al Qaeda in Iraq. Mackie has all the charisma needed to be a great star, and maybe his Jesse Owens and (less likely) Buddy Bolden biopics will make him one. He and Jeremy Renner nail soldiers’ ornery chemistry (most importantly, the drunken barracks carousing) without a hint of anachronistic gayness or psychopathy.

Tom Waits, THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS — Why is Heath Ledger getting all the Hosannas in Excelsis for this film (OK, besides THAT)? The charming villain is always the better role, and Waits oozes it like pretty pus.

James Gandolfini, IN THE LOOP — But here’s the opposite end. In a movie that’s all a barrage of would-be farcical “flow” (to the point of exhaustion and without being terribly funny to me — the timing was never right), Gandolfini provided the little “ebb,” the few moments of non-showing-off solidity.

Hilmi Sözer, JERICHOW — Damn. I so wanted to give JERICHOW something. May have been prevented by the fact I didn’t get a chance to see it a second time, in retrospect with full knowledge of everything including … the end … (especially considering how blown away Sicinski was by JERICHOW). Lack of a second viewing meant the film stayed a “solid 7” — and thus always on the (ahem) outside looking in. Sorry Waz. No joke.

Eli Wallach, NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU — It really takes something to stand out in an omnibus of 11 or so shorts. And something else again to be a huge star of decades ago, not rely on the instant-recognition factor, not rely on pity for the elderly. I honestly had to look him up — who played the husband in the last piece, about the love remaining between the old couple? Him? Really?

Kristyan Ferrer, SIN NOMBRE — Had to look up his name too. He’s the young kid who wants to join the teenagers trip to El Norte — for various reasons. Like Wallach, only at the other end of the life cycle, Ferrer plays a role that easily could have reduced to age-pathos  or alternatively to easy kid-brutalism (e.g. the film the people who hated CITY OF GOD imagined they saw).

Christopher Plummer, UP — Hurt to also leave out Plummer, who is having a nice late-career renaissance between this film, PARNASSUS and LAST STATION. Plummer’s also done quite a bit of voice acting lately (IIRC, Burton’s 9 and narrating THE GOSPEL OF JOHN), and ideally for this type of “Bond villain” role, he has a low, quiet but resonant voice with menace he can turn on and off.

Paul Bettany, THE YOUNG VICTORIA — I hated Lord Melbourne. That means Bettany was awesome.

(spoiler), ZOMBIELAND — It’s only a single-sequence cameo, and it very much relies on who he is. But it’s too funny and he’s too good — needed counterpoint, both to downplay Woody Harrelson’s “I can’t believe it” fanboy slobbering and to be taken aback by Abigail Breslin’s “who?” incredulity.

February 8, 2010 Posted by | Skandies | Leave a comment