Tag Archive: frank langella


‘Captain Fantastic’

 

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To you, he will probably always be Aragorn from ‘Lord of the Rings’.  To me, he’s always Lalin, the pretty boy pimp snitch from ‘Carlito’s Way’.  Either way, Viggo Mortensen has built a hell of a career, and ‘Captain Fantastic’ is a worthy Oscar nomination for a solid character actor who’s good looking enough to jump to leading man status in the right films.

A ‘Wes Anderson film’ in a year where we didn’t actually get a Wes Anderson film, Viggo plays the hippie patriarch of a free spirited family, raising six kids outside the standards and norms of society.  But when his wife dies, Ben (Viggo) treks his family out of the forest and back to civilization to attend their mother’s funeral.  Against the explicit wishes of his father in law (a great Frank Langella).  Missi Pyle, Kathryn Hahn, and Steve Zahn round out a murderer’s row of an indie film class.

Funny, quirky, sad and thoughtful; this was more than I thought it would be and a fun watch.  Recommend.

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Best Actor

 

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Here are the nominees for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture:

  • Richard Jenkins in ‘The Visitor’
  • Frank Langella in ‘Frost/Nixon’
  • Sean Penn in ‘Milk’
  • Brad Pitt in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
  • Mickey Rourke in ‘The Wrestler’

What Could Happen:  This is probably, probably a two man race.  Sean Penn has won quite a few awards for his performance as Harvey Milk, and he’s won an Oscar in recent memory (Mystic River, probably my favorite Clint Eastwood film).  In the other corner is Mickey Rourke, this year’s ‘feel good/comeback’ story, for his performance in The Wrestler.  Another performance I enjoyed immensely by the way.  The irony in this category though…

What Should Happen:  is my favorite Lead Actor performance listed here is the one put in by Frank Langella playing Richard Nixon.  Frost/Nixon wasn’t a film I was dying to see, but once I got into it, I was immediately drawn in by Langella’s performance.  He’s already won a Tony for playing the same role, but that shouldn’t take away from how well he transitioned his performance from stage to screen. 

Who I’m Cheering For:  I’m sure I’m one of many who wouldn’t mind seeing a win from Penn, Langella, or Rourke.  Penn proved (again) how he can disappear into a character and make it his own; Langella took one of the most unpopular Presidents in American history, and made him a sympathetic flawed human being; and Rourke famously drew from his own career missteps to portray a past his glory days legend trying to stay relevant in a young man’s game.  If I have to choose among the three, I’ll roll with Penn.  From the outside looking in, the character he played seems the least like ‘Sean Penn’ or the characters I normally associate with him (i.e. super machismo man’s man).

 

 

Frost/Nixon

 

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Finally caught up to Frost/Nixon over the weekend.  For those unfamiliar, Frost/Nixon is a highly fictionalized account of the buildup to the real series of interviews that took place between Robert Frost and Richard Nixon following the resignation of the former president.  Based on the critically acclaimed stage play of the same name, Frost/Nixon is nominated for Best Picture, and for his performance as Richard Nixon, Frank Langella is nominated for Best Actor.

Now, it’s a stretch for me to say I lived through this.  I haven’t watched the actual interviews that took place; I haven’t seen the Broadway production.  So I’ll let you decide if I’m an ideal person to review the film or if I need to do more ‘homework’ before giving you my opinion.  I can say I’ve enjoyed the work of the two leads in other Oscar nominated movies I’m fond of: Michael Sheen for his portrayal of Tony Blair in The Queen; Frank Langella for his small but important role in Good Night and Good Luck. 

I’ve seen my share of Nixon impersonations over the years, but I have to say Langella’s performance is up there with the best of them.  He really played the character from the inside-out (the Method I’m most fond of), making it his own.  In almost any other year, I’d say he’s a strong candidate to win the Best Actor award.  But with Sean Penn’s Harvey Milk and Mickey Rourke’s wrestler in the mix, it’s hard to imagine Langella pulling off the upset. 

So who do I think is going to win?  Well…stay tuned.

My Golden Globe Pics

 

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Alright gang, the Globes is this weekend, and as you can probably guess, I’ve seen almost every nominated film and performance.  Here are my picks for the film categories:

Best Performance by an Actress in a Comedy or Musical

I could make a case for Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia (the biggest hit) or Emma Thompson in Last Chance Harvey  (solid as always), but I’m going with Frances McDormand in Burn After Reading.  With Clooney, Pitt, and Malkovich all hamming it up, McDormand brought the comedy more through mannerisms and behavior than over the top theatrics.  Well played.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy or Musical

Not even his best work this year in my opinion, but I’m going with James Franco in Pineapple Express.  I’ve said this before, but at a pretty young age he’s shown a) range, b) he takes his craft seriously, and c) no real love affair with being a ‘celebrity.’  My kind of actor.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

If this were the People’s Choice Awards I’d easily choose Mamma Mia, but instead I’m taking Burn After Reading.  A tightly written genre piece by the Coen brothers, that’s pedigree enough without the all star cast. 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

At this point, we know Penelope Cruz can be more than a pretty face.  Doubt is a good movie, but I keep hearing it’s better on the stage where it originated.  Call me biased, but I say Kate Winslet for the Reader.  With all due respect to the other four actresses in this category (and I admire and respect all of them, they were great), I feel with some rewriting Kate Winslet could play the characters that they’re nominated for.  But watch the Reader, no one else on this list could play that role but Winslet.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

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I think you and I are destined to do this forever.  (sigh…)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Jolie, Streep, Winslet…there are some heavyweights in this category.  I’d cast my vote for Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married.  She’s been around so I don’t want to use the word ‘breakthrough’, but she definitely wasn’t playing the glamour girl in this role.  The Globes are more of the ‘feel good’ awards, and the timing would be perfect.  Speaking of feel good…

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Frank Langella is my dark horse here for Frost/Nixon, and in my opinion, Sean Penn as Harvey Milk was the best performance of the year.  But this is a ‘who I think will win’ column, and all signs point to Mickey Rourke for the Wrestler.  I didn’t bring as much of his past into the theatre with me as most people, but I still thought it was a great performance.  Now I’m hearing he’ll co-star in Iron Man 2.  Got to love Hollywood…

Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Motion Picture – Drama

If you want to see a fun, politics free, well crafted movie, Slumdog Millionaire is the way to go.  Written by Simon Beaufoy and directed by Danny Boyle, Slumdog is way, WAY lighter than its competition (Frost/Nixon, Benjamin Button, Reader, Revolutionary Road).  And the way things are in the real world right now, that lightness is the perfect tonic.