Poison – 1991 Haynes

There are three short films or episodes intercut- there’s a Zelig-like fake documentary, a 50’s B Sci-Fi film and a prison film—it’s connected to DW Griffith’s Intolerance and this style would be used again in The Fountain and Cloud Atlas Out in 1991- Slacker, after Spike Lee, Soderbergh’s Sex Lies, before Reservoir Dogs - a rich time for the indie movement even if Haynes never reaches the level of these auteurs (or hasn’t yet) Haynes a constant voice for Queer cinema over the last 25 years- doing strong work—I think in the B-movie for sure we have a bit

Poison – 1991 Haynes2020-07-03T10:30:11+00:00

The 20th Best Actor of All-Time: Leonardo DiCaprio

best film:  Inception. Inception is one of the great films of the decade thus far—a sonic-boom of a filmmaking achievement from Christopher Nolan. I’ve cooled on The Departed a little in the last decade but still think it’s there as a largely narratively-driven masterpiece so I have three masterpieces for DiCaprio. Inception, The Departed, and The Revenant. I had Inception #6 of the 2010’s decade (so far) and The Revenant as #7. I’m confident of the brilliance of both but it’s worth nothing that I’m way above the collective consensus in the film critic community here so we’ll see

The 20th Best Actor of All-Time: Leonardo DiCaprio2020-07-03T10:30:11+00:00

The 21st Best Actor of All-Time: Max von Sydow

best film:  The Seventh Seal. Wild Strawberries is a film many critics argue is superior to The Seventh Seal but I on team Seventh Seal for the time being at least. The Exorcist is also clearly a masterpiece and that would be hard to rigorously argue. Winer Light is superb and a contender (and his scene is brief- but crucial and von Sydow knocks it out of the park). He’s not in much of it but the second film (Seventh Seal) that von Sydow is in that I have in my all-time top 100 is actually Woody’s Hannah and

The 21st Best Actor of All-Time: Max von Sydow2020-07-03T10:30:11+00:00

The 22nd Best Actor of All-Time: Robert Mitchum

best film:  Out of the Past. Most would say Night of the Hunter but I still find some weaknesses in Charles Laughton’s only film as director that I can’t find in Out of the Past. Mitchum maybe be slightly stronger (or at least louder in his brilliance) in Night of the Hunter but Out of the Past is narrative precision at its finest, features a talented ensemble, and the outcome is a hallmark film of the noir genre. Mitchum does the heavy lifting in front of the camera and I’m not sure that script sounds as good if there’s

The 22nd Best Actor of All-Time: Robert Mitchum2020-07-03T10:30:11+00:00

Sunset Song – 2015 Davies

Davies is timeless- this movie could’ve come out in 1935, 1955 or 1985. Shot in Kodak 65--- interiors shot digitally—apparently Davies had been wanting to make it for 18 years— The narrative surrounds one woman’s (Agyness Deyn) struggle- a power feminism story/read—independence, strength, coming of age—a saga really Sumptuous cinematography by Michael McDonough—the vistas—we have the wheat field, tree line, and pond and reflection-- and then you pair that with the natural lighting interior—the entire thing looks like an oil painting Davies blends neo-realism with the David Lean-like panorama--- but he also has his trademark singing (amateurs, folk songs,

Sunset Song – 2015 Davies2020-07-03T10:30:14+00:00

A Night at the Opera – 1935 Sam Wood

I’ve watched each of their films several times now and A Night at the Opera is their second best effort- behind only 1933’s Duck Soup- this is the film directly following so clearly they were at their peak The contract sequence is a highlight between Groucho an Chico—they know it too because they bring it up for a second time at the end Apparently Groucho’s favorite of their films 6th of 13 films—first one at MGM—first one with no Zeppo The verbal comic genius is on full display—and from a slapstick standpoint the state room (another highlight with the

A Night at the Opera – 1935 Sam Wood2020-07-03T10:30:14+00:00

The 23rd Best Actor of All-Time: Brad Pitt

best film:  The Tree of Life. I’ve seen it twice. I was mesmerized but perplexed the first time and then blown away the second time. It has some of the greatest imagery in the art form's 100+  year history. It’s always nerve-racking when proclaiming a film a masterpiece after only two viewings, but I do think, if forced to choose, it’s Malick’s best film of all-time which would put it in the top 40 of all-time and I currently have it as the best film of the 2010’s decade. Pitt’s performance is worthy of any great actors Mount Rushmore—it’s

The 23rd Best Actor of All-Time: Brad Pitt2020-07-03T10:30:14+00:00

The 24th Best Actor of All-Time: Philip Seymour Hoffman

best film:  Magnolia. While recent viewings of Punch-Drunk Love and The Master have complicated things I’m not yet ready to yield the mantle of best PT Anderson film to either of them (the closest contender is actually There Will Be Blood and PSH isn’t in that of course). The 25th Hour, The Big Lebowski, and Boogie Nights are right there as well. PSH is essential to Magnolia. Anderson’s sprawling ensemble doesn’t dote on PSH, and his achievement isn’t on the level of Cruise’s—that’s for sure—but he’s right there after Cruise along with Robards and a few others. best performance:

The 24th Best Actor of All-Time: Philip Seymour Hoffman2020-07-03T10:30:14+00:00

The 25th Best Actor of All-Time: Burt Lancaster

best film:  The Leopard  and The Sweet Smell of Success are 1-2 in both of the big categories. I ended up, untentionally splitting them. Lancaster is very close to equal in both, but Mackendrick’s wonderfully atmospheric New York City potboiler (and Tony Curtis performance) can’t trump Visctoni’s pictorial brilliance and achievement of mise-en-scene. Those are Lancaster’s top two films but 1900 is underrated by critics—that would come in third. best performance: The Sweet Smell of Success. Lancaster’s J.J. Hunsecker is one of Hollywood’s great characters in the 50’s. Tony Curtis’ immoral rogue is our worldview here and narrative vehicle

The 25th Best Actor of All-Time: Burt Lancaster2020-07-03T10:30:14+00:00

The 26th Best Actor of All-Time: Jean-Paul Belmondo

best film:  Breathless is the 16th best film of all-time and Pierrot le Fou is currently at #55 on my list. They’re the two highest rated Godard films and certainly more than worthy to be any actor’s best film. Belmondo just doesn’t show up in these films either- he owns this movie and the credit he deserves is second only to Godard’s revolutionary creative coup here in terms of the film’s success. The film changed cinema. best performance: Breathless. In Breathless Belmondo broods, cracks jokes, talks to the audience, lies, kills. It doesn’t feel like a performance. His charisma

The 26th Best Actor of All-Time: Jean-Paul Belmondo2020-07-03T10:30:14+00:00

The 27th Best Actor of All-Time: Buster Keaton

best film:  The General is still the best Keaton film even if Sherlock Jr. may have the best singular Keaton moment with the changing landscape background sequence. The General is Keaton standing way back—and making set pieces (and a great narrative, sight gags, his performance) out of trains—and into art. best performance: The General though I could be argued down here by a number of performances. In his heyday Keaton’s unmatched deadpan was prevalent in every film. In some films he showed more tenderness than others (College, Our Hospitality—and here in The General) but he’s largely recreating the same

The 27th Best Actor of All-Time: Buster Keaton2020-07-03T10:30:14+00:00

The 28th Best Actor of All-Time: Montgomery Clift

best film:  Red River is an all-time great western and all-time great Howard Hawks film so that’s enough in it of itself. However, I also think it’s an all-time great and landmark film as far as film acting goes. It’s Clift’s debut (landmark in it of itself) which means it’s really an important film for a new school of acting—less stagey, more natural--- method. Clift (some would argue John Garfield) was really the first of a new school (notably Marlon Brando and James Dean) that differed from their predecessors (Gable, Bogart, Cagney---- Wayne). If you have that in comparison

The 28th Best Actor of All-Time: Montgomery Clift2020-07-03T10:30:14+00:00
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