The 23rd Best Actress of All-Time: Deborah Kerr

best film: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. I’m anxious to see if this stays above the other Powell and Pressburger films on my ranking (I have it slightly above films like Kerr’s Black Narcissus, Peeping Tom, A Matter of Life and Death and The Red Shoes) with another study and pass thru their oeuvre. It’s a masterpiece, and I’m confident of that so this is a fine film for Kerr to hang her hat on as her singular best film… as would be… best performance:    Black Narcissus where she’s just extraordinarily good and clearly a stronger part

The 23rd Best Actress of All-Time: Deborah Kerr2020-07-03T10:30:39+00:00

The 24th Best Actress of All-Time: Frances McDormand

best film: Fargo Is currently my #1 ranked Coen brothers film and they are arguably the greatest auteurs in the world since their debut in 1984 (also McDormand’s debut) nearly 35 years ago. So, this is a towering achievement for both the Coen brothers and their leading lady/muse Frances McDormand. best performance:  Fargo’s Marge Gunderson is an all-time character/performance that is so unique. She’s in a short film here (98 mins) and Marge doesn’t show up until about 30 minutes in. She doesn’t play a crazy woman, beauty icon, an alcoholic, a saint or martyr. She’s a relatively normal

The 24th Best Actress of All-Time: Frances McDormand2021-04-26T17:05:02+00:00

The 25th Best Actress of All-Time: Elizabeth Taylor

best film: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? Is a weakness as it’s not one I ever think about for my top 100 films of all-time and we’re now into the top 25 actresses on this list. However, It’s still a superb film and is right there with Carnal Knowledge for Mike Nichols’ best after The Graduate. It’s a 4-actor chamber piece and it could feel incredibly stage-bound if it weren’t for Nichols adventurous direction.  In front of the camera, Burton and Taylor deserve almost all the credit- they are both transcendent. best performance: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? is Taylor’s

The 25th Best Actress of All-Time: Elizabeth Taylor2020-07-03T10:30:39+00:00

You Were Never Really Here – 2017 Ramsay

Ramsay, in her last three efforts (I’ve seen Ratcatcher and plan to again soon but it’s been forever) here now has a dedication to an aesthetic I truly appreciate. In this, Morvern Callar, We Need To Talk About Kevin she has these walking zombies (Phoenix, Tilda, and Samantha Morton) who are basically in post-traumatic stress. They are like fever-dreams of reality and alienation (I think the Antonioni comparison is so appropriate). It’s montage that matches their temperament and experience. On their own their impressive but together they show the work of a true unique voice/artist Phoenix third time doing

You Were Never Really Here – 2017 Ramsay2020-07-03T10:30:39+00:00

Erin Brockovich – 2000 Soderbergh

A very strong film for the class action-lawsuit legal/drama subgenre Much more of a triumph for Julia Roberts (her Oscar--- in a year with Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream among others) than for Soderbergh—you can get to a list of 10 superior Soderbergh films very quickly without getting to this one One of five career noms (to date) for Albert Finney and he’s superb here. He’s got a good heart, fumbling around and awkward a little bit (I love the Magnifying bug-eye like Bifocals)—great back and forths with Roberts Solid subdued Thomas Newman score I’m a big

Erin Brockovich – 2000 Soderbergh2021-08-29T11:51:44+00:00

Pan’s Labyrinth – 2006 del Toro

It is eerily similar to The Shape of Water- the mark of an auteur- tragically sad, a meditation on escapism The performances are great—Maribel Verdu from Y Tu Mama Tambien- Sergi Lopez as Vidal “You may think I’m a monster”— He’s Michael Shannon in Shape- --- and to me the top prize goes to Ivana Baquero as the young Ofella- so genuine Ebert called it “one of the all-time great fantasy films” while rallying for and praising the Mexican new wave auteurs like del Toro, Cuaron and Inarritu Jaded adults and realism (with some unspeakable evils)—del toro does lessen

Pan’s Labyrinth – 2006 del Toro2020-07-03T10:30:39+00:00

The 26th Best Actress of All-Time: Jane Fonda

best film: Klute. I adore Klute but this is Fonda’s weakness for sure. She was in a half dozen great films and she’s excellent in 10 of them (Klute being the best in both category by a decent margin) but even I, as a massive admirer of the film and Pakula’s work in general, (a tragically underrated 70’s auteur with that paranoia trilogy—which Klute is the first leg of) think it may be hard for Jane to hold onto this slot as our contemporary actresses add to their resume and we have the benefit of distance from their more

The 26th Best Actress of All-Time: Jane Fonda2020-07-03T10:30:39+00:00

The 27th Best Actress of All-Time: Maria Falconetti

best film: The Passion of Joan of Arc is one of the seminal films of the cinema art form. Dreyer’s silent masterpiece, for many, is the zenith of editing, sparse mise-en-scene, and yes—screen acting. It’s famously Falconetti’s first and only film—so of course it’s her best. best performance:  The Passion of Joan of Arc is the performance most often cited as the best performance ever in the history of film (I think De Niro gets a lot of mentions for Raging Bull as does Brando for On the Waterfront). I can’t disagree who think Falconetti’s is the best—and if

The 27th Best Actress of All-Time: Maria Falconetti2020-07-03T10:30:39+00:00

The 28th Best Actress of All-Time: Gena Rowlands

best film: A Woman Under the Influence is Cassavetes best work and Rowlands clear #1 best film here. Faces comes in second and was the beginning of Cassavetes one-man (for a time) American Independent art film movement (of course Shadows from Cassavetes comes first in 1959). Rowlands worked with Jarmusch, Woody and even Terrence Davies but it wasn’t in their better work. A Woman Under the Influence is a difficult film- but a masterpiece worthy of the journey. best performance:  A Woman Under the Influence is far and away her best performance. She has enough of a resume here

The 28th Best Actress of All-Time: Gena Rowlands2020-07-03T10:30:39+00:00

Victim – 1961 Dearden

An intelligent and engaging take on both social issues and the crime genre This could change as I get my hands on some of his 50’s films (particularly those with Losey) but for now this is the earliest Bogarde film in my archives First film to use word “homosexual” according to IMDB Palpable tension—desperation and urgency in almost every frame The film’s lighting and pulsing score is like a noir Bogarde reaction hanging in close-ups several times- great underacting—stone faced with mind racing The film consistently skews clichés—the head detective is intelligent and reasoned socially- Bogarde’s boss and wife

Victim – 1961 Dearden2020-07-03T10:30:41+00:00

Late Spring – 1949 Ozu

Currently (2018) ranked #73 on TSPDT. I’m not there but this is my second viewing (first in 10 years) and a revelation—it’s the first film of Ozu’s I think you could argue is a masterpiece I don’t know enough about Haiku and Buddism to make the connections but there are many (much smarter) men and women who have done studies and made connections that could add layers This film is known as the beginning of his sublime “late period” but that’s really a distinction marked by content. He rejects “melodrama”(A Hen in the Wind with the “I had to

Late Spring – 1949 Ozu2020-07-03T10:30:41+00:00

The 29th Best Actress of All-Time: Anna Magnani

best film: Rome, Open City. Realism has always been around since the beginning of narrative cinema- some thirty years or so prior to Rossellini’s masterpiece- but the WWII Italian Neo-Realism is/was a real art movement and it’s important—and Rome, Open City is the beginning of it and first masterpiece (and still a formidable companion to The Bicycle Thieves). For Magnani, There’s really no competitor though as much as I admire Momma Roma, The Golden Coach and Fellini’s Roma. best performance: Rome, Open City. Magnani’s performance was a punch in the face to screen acting and Hollywood in 1945. Most viewers

The 29th Best Actress of All-Time: Anna Magnani2020-07-03T10:30:42+00:00
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