Tag Archive: annette bening


So who’s ready for ‘Endgame’?

There are plenty of major and minor twists in ‘Captain Marvel’ so as usual I’ll try to stay away from talking about those for anyone who hasn’t seen this yet. But I liked pretty much every turn the story took.

A few other highlights:

Mendelsohn is, my guy. It’s not even Character Actor Envy, it’s admiration. Maybe our best ‘That Guy’ working right now. Even (especially) the humor they gave him worked.

The third act fight scene is par for the course now, but for the millionth time in the past twenty five or so years I thought, ‘And we still can’t get another entertaining Superman film?’ Hell, even ‘Shazam’ is tracking to be fun. What a shame…

Annette Bening, Djimon, Gemma Chan… you could make a damn good smaller film with those three as the leads, they’re all further down the call sheet on this one. Marvel really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Recommend of course. The hits keep coming with this Universe.

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Oscar Previews, Part II

 

The Lead Actor categories…

Best Actress

Personal Favorite:  I’m a self professed geek and snob, so who else but Natalie Portman? Seriously though, one of the first DVDs I ever bought was The Professional. There are certain athletes you feel like you grow up with, watching their career from college to retirement; Natalie is one of the actresses I feel like I’ve watched grow up in front of the camera from innocent kid to intelligent, fully developed woman.  And I don’t think it’s remotely a coincidence that that last sentence could be a one sentence pitch of the main character’s arc in Black Swan.

Who Should Win: It’s hard to paraphrase Black Swan without either giving the spoilers away or ruining a great visual film, so just take my word for it that Portman did a great job.

Who Will Win: I just feel like Annette Bening is going to sneak in here.  And she wasn’t bad in The Kids Are All Right. Frankly I liked her performance in Mother and Child a lot more.  It’s just my gut feeling, I wish I could tell you I know something I can’t prove.

Best Actor

Personal Favorite:  James Franco, 127 Hours. I think I covered this when I wrote about the film, but a) it takes something special to keep a film interesting when it’s (literally) you onscreen by yourself and you can’t move for the majority of it, and b) it takes something special to get an audience to buy in that you’re breaking and chopping off your arm when we know it’s coming and we know we’re watching a damn movie!  And James Franco did all of the above in 127 Hours. Nuff said.

Who Should Win: The craftsman in me can’t get over how well Colin Firth nailed all the mental and internalized ins and outs that go with being a stutterer.  And to this point, damn near every voting body recognizes how well he played that role too, so…

Who Will Win: Colin Firth.

Mother and Child

 

With The Fighter being a possible exception, the best cast film I’ve seen from top to bottom to come out in the past 12 months has been Mother and Child. The film’s story is centered around three strong female performances: Annette Bening as a middle aged woman who gave up a child at 14 and is still haunted by the experience; Kerry Washington as a happily married middle class woman who can’t bear children of her own and goes through the ups and downs of the adoption process, and Naomi Watts as a career woman with no past, incapable of having a full emotional relationship but still more than capable of getting what she wants out of life.

While I wouldn’t necessarily call this film a ‘crowd pleaser’, I felt it was great for what it was about.  You keep waiting for someone to overact but it never happens (in my opinion); with a multi-layered story you wait for some overly convenient circumstance to bring the parallel stories together (I wasn’t bothered at all by how that happens in this movie).  I can’t say enough about the performance of the women in this film; between this film and The Kids Are All Right Annette Bening nailed two different characters who start as shrill and end up being very sympathetic.  Kerry Washington plays maybe her most vulnerable character to date and draws you into the helplessness that comes with wanting something badly but recognizing it’s completely out of your control.  And Naomi Watts just blew me away hitting all the emotions that you would expect from her character’s backstory: at times cold and distant, a touch of anger, a very strong sexuality, and a heavy level of distrust, in everybody.  Ensemble movies are by design not carried by any one actor, but she comes pretty damn close.

Worth seeing if this one flew under your radar (as it did for me most of last year).

The Kids Are All Right

The opinions I’ve heard about The Kids Are All Right have run the gamut from ‘great indie film’ to ‘whatever word is the opposite of misogyny.’  It got a Globe nomination for Best Screenplay and on the whole I’ve heard good things so I had to check it out.

I don’t know whether this is a good or a bad thing, but I think there’s some value on all the opinions I’ve heard, good and bad.  The premise (a pair of kids who were the products of an artificial insemination seek out and find their biological father) is filled with landmines, while being original at the same time.  What starts in the first act as a lighthearted 21st Century “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, takes a rather interesting (and for my tastes too convenient) turn halfway through the story.  The turn didn’t ruin the film for me, I just thought there were other ‘conflicts’ that could have been used.

That said, the three main actors all did a great job creating sympathy for their characters.  Mark Ruffalo plays ‘the Dude’ who suddenly finds out he’s created this family, and now in middle age wants to be a part of it.  Julianne Moore plays the slightly more free-spirited of the two Moms of the family; with Annette Bening getting the rather thankless role as the ‘head’ of the family, who comes across as a hardass until well into the third act.  Surprisingly none of them were nominated for the Globes though in this film where they all have fairly equal screen time, they may have been seen as an ensemble no one outshined the other two (which I can’t argue).

Good, quiet film that may or may not pick up momentum the next couple of months.  We’ll see.