VENICE: Follow the Lido — a festival preview

Posted by · 9:14 am · August 30th, 2011

“Why Venice and not Toronto?” a colleague asked when I mentioned I was heading to the Lido for the world’s oldest film festival for the third straight year. Given the North American bent of this site, it was a fair question, but also one I found easy to answer — and not just for the […]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 performances in Christopher Nolan films

Posted by · 10:25 am · July 13th, 2010

The word of the day Friday will most certainly be “Inception,” as casually interested movie-goers and anxious fanboys alike line up to take in Christopher Nolan’s latest effort. Now, I have suggested in this space that the film’s ensemble is an organic one, alive and driven.  And that the performances are separately less than their […]

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Pacino talks past roles, ‘You Don’t Know Jack,’ etc.

Posted by · 3:39 pm · April 25th, 2010

From 60 minutes, last weekend. Somehow part 2 of this thing has been obliterated from cyberspace, but I guess there’s some good stuff in here (though youc an view the interview in its entirety at CBS):

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The Great Performances: 1997

Posted by · 8:03 am · October 23rd, 2009

1997 was a great year for actors, but a tough year for Oscar; how do you choose when there are so many deserving nominees? It’s that age-old issue that some award-worthy performances are going to be left out, which though unfair and sad, is very much part of the Academy Awards and frankly what makes […]

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Great performers at their best

Posted by · 7:50 am · August 21st, 2009

After spending some time this summer watching some excellent films on DVD, I was inspired to write this piece about the great actors’ (living, with one exception) greatest performances. Narrowing it down to one each (brutal, believe me), I think have come up with a list of actors, young and old, that represents some of […]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 performances from Michael Mann films

Posted by · 11:24 am · June 30th, 2009

With the forthcoming release of Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies” (review) dominating — quite impressively, I might add — the publicity circuit this week, all eyes are on Johnny Depp.  An Ulmer Scale X factor for this character study posing as a summer blockbuster, Depp’s performance is sure to draw champions and detractors alike for its […]

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Great performances in bad movies

Posted by · 8:21 am · April 3rd, 2009

It happens, sometimes when a really fine actor manages to give a brilliant performance in a terrible or weak film, a diamond in the rough. In fact, some of the best actors working have shone brightly in bad films as far back as the 1940s, though I will focus on the 1970s to present day […]

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Best Actor race — shades of ’74 and ’02

Posted by · 6:26 am · February 10th, 2009

The 1974 Academy Award nominees for Best Actor were Jack Nicholson in “Chinatown,” Al Pacino in “The Godfather, Part II,” Albert Finney in “Murder on the Orient Express,” Art Carney in “Harry and Tonto” and Dustin Hoffman in “Lenny.”  There had been some mild surprise that Gene Hackman had been passed over for his work […]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 ‘right actor, wrong film’ Oscars

Posted by · 12:35 pm · December 9th, 2008

As we head into the thick of awards season, one of the biggest “will-they-won’t-they” questions about this year’s Academy Awards concerns one of their most favored sons, Clint Eastwood. Specifically: despite wildly polarized responses to the film, and a widespread perception that he has already been amply rewarded in other categories, can Eastwood ride the […]

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11/28 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 6:49 am · November 28th, 2008

• David Poland is still in two minds about “Benjamin Button,” but agrees with Kris that “Slumdog” is the one to beat. [The Hot Blog] • Kim Voynar, meanwhile, surveys the Best Picture contenders, and is as confused as the rest of us. Interesting point about the potential impact of current events on “Slumdog,” though.  […]

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De Niro and Pacino: “Top 10 reasons I like being an actor”

Posted by · 1:29 pm · September 12th, 2008

From last night’s “Late Night with David Letterman.”  These are all keepers, but I especially like #3 and #1:

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‘Godfather Restoration’ on DVD generates excitement

Posted by · 4:35 pm · August 3rd, 2008

I wonder if any of us really understands the impact of home entertainment, beginning back in the early 1980s with the advent of the VHS and BETA tapes one could rent to play on new machines known as VCRs. My parents, God bless them, bought one right away, perhaps a way to get their eldest […]

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Mr. Beatty, direct another film please?

Posted by · 2:19 am · June 24th, 2008

Interviewing Warren Beatty a few years ago in Toronto, I was struck at once by his intellect, which is laser sharp. The man misses nothing. He speaks slowly, taking long pauses before he speaks, and avoids personal questions, which I dislike and refuse to ask anyway. He was with Annette Bening at the time, supporting […]

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Sydney Pollack (1934-2008)

Posted by · 11:31 am · May 29th, 2008

Trained as an actor at Sanford Meisner’s famed Neighborhood Playhouse — the stomping grounds of Robert Duvall — Sydney Pollack connected to actors because he was one of them…and a damned fine one at that. In fact, his comedy “Tootsie” is not only the greatest American comedy ever made, it is also the greatest study […]

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Best actor contenders join an eclectic list of recent winners

Posted by · 7:16 am · May 6th, 2008

Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Frank Langella seem to be the names bandied about for Oscar consideration this year, which would place them in some impressive company of nominees and winners these last 20 years. Of course, that said, there have also been some bizarre choices for the Best Actor award, which has often […]

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Actors winning Best Director — always deserved?

Posted by · 6:51 am · May 1st, 2008

Of course not. Quite often the Academy gets behind an actor for the simple reason they pulled of the film without screwing too much up. How else can one explain Mel Gibson’s win for “Braveheart” but failure to be nominated for his masterpiece “The Passion of the Christ” and “Apocalypto,” easily two of the finest […]

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The LA Times points and laughs at poor bastards

Posted by · 9:37 pm · April 22nd, 2008

It looks like LA Times is still beating that Oscar drum for the old media sect. This week, Susan King writes up the lackluster career choices that followed a number of Academy wins throughout the years. Here’s a look: Just because you win an Oscar doesn’t mean that every subsequent film you make will be […]

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