I recently appeared on another episode of the Lambcast, this time discussing character actors along with Dan Heaton of Public Transportation Snob, Nick Powell of The Cinematic Katzenjammer and Dylan Fields of Man I Love Films. We each picked a dream roster of North American character actors to populate a mythical film, selecting from various age groups, and with an In Memoriam round, and you can go vote on who selected the best lineup here:
Obviously the choice is easy, as my list is comprised of such greats as Ernest Borgnine, Gene Hackman, Sam Elliott, James Woods, Yaphet Kotto, Stanley Tucci, John Hawkes, Christopher McDonald and Giovanni Ribisi. There isn’t a weak link amongst them, and if you look at the films these guys have made between them you get some terrific performances. Here’s a quick five from each actor, to really showcase the power of this cast: Continue reading →
Four Years into the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis), the 16th King of the United States of America, has his eyes set on not just ending the conflict, but abolishing slavery – over which the war is being predominantly fought – in the process. In order to do this he must pass the 13th amendment to the United States House of Parliament, which would outlaw involuntary servitude, but there’s two problems. One, he’s twenty votes short, and two, he needs to pass it before the war ends, or else it may never happen. And on top of this he’s got some familial woes too – a nutty wife and bull-headed son who wants to go off and fight for his beliefs.
Chaos descends onto the world when a deadly, and highly contagious, illness descends worldwide, seemingly beginning with Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow), who has just returned from a business trip to Hong Kong. The CDC are soon brought in to deal with the situation, but things rapidly spiral out of their control as the illness spreads across the country. We follow the outbreak from the points of view of those desperate to stop it, members of the public affected by the crisis, and the few who see it as an opportunity for personal gain. Continue reading →
Soon to be slinking her way into Rebecca Romijn’s azure shoes as a young Mystique in X-Men First Class, Winter’s Bone sees newcomer Jennifer Lawrence as 17 year old Ree Dolly, charged with finding her meth-cooking runaway father, or be turned out into the woods after he placed their house up as collateral for his bail. Ree, who also cares for her 12 year old brother, 6 year old sister and mentally ill mother, sets about questioning her father’s relatives and associates, but is told to stop asking questions and just leave the matter alone.
Lawrence was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress, losing to Natalie Portman for Black Swan, but I’m not sure why. Yes, it’s a difficult character, appearing in every scene and dealing with an awful lot of frustration, anger and desperation, but I don’t think it’s as worthy as the other nominees on the list, it appeared as it showed a promising new talent that could be nurtured by a nomination. I don’t disapprove of this technique of bringing up new actors, but it’s not what the Oscars are for.
The film is not so much slow as it is unhurried, meandering from Ree’s quest as she teaches her siblings basic survival skills, how to shoot, hunt and prepare a squirrel for dinner, showing that for Ree life does not stop just because she has something to do.