Andy Serkis has to be given enormous credit. It isn’t many (if any other) actors who can say they invented an entirely new way to act. Serkis is the pioneer of motion capture acting, used before in film, but never to deliver the kind of performance the Serkis astounded audiences with when he brought Gollum to the big screen in The Lord of the Rings. Continuing to develop, pioneer, and teach others in the use of the technique, Serkis went on to embody King Kong, Star Wars enigma Supreme Leader Snoke, and create in Caesar for the new Planet of the Apes trilogy a character that surpassed even Gollum in emotional depth and nuance. This type of acting is becoming so common that it needs an Oscar category all its own, and Serkis long should have received a special recognition Academy Award for taking technology and using it to enhance acting not mask or diminish it. He’s one of the most exciting actors that no one gives full credit to, but nearly everyone knows the characters he brings to life, and they’ll live on as long as movies do.
Continue reading Andy Serkis’s 10 Best Movies
This is a companion piece, a sequel really, to a two-part video look at Jim Carrey and what has happened to the actor over the last 15 years. Once the biggest star in the world, Carrey hasn’t made a really quality film since 2004″ Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and his career seemed increasingly more desperate and sad until Carrey largely stopped working altogether. His story is inspirational and that was covered in a fantastic video I posted on the site last month. In the discussion on the site about the video, a lot of concern was raised that Carrey, like a lot of comedians might be in danger. People think humor comes from joy. It doesn’t. Humor is the best bad way to deal with enormous pain (I don’t know a good way). People always seem startled when comedians deal with substance abuse or commit suicide, but it’s not surprising at all. Their art is their battle.
I feel much better about Carrey and where he’s at after watching this. I don’t agree with all the conclusions he’s drawn, but-hey-we’re all different. What really resonated with me is right at the beginning when he says basically that if “Jim Carrey” was so easily destroyed in the first place, who was he to begin with? We all make masks of personality to get through certain situations or to deal with certain people. “Fake it until you make it” is a common piece of fortune cookie advice, but its dangerous when the masks become so many or so popular that the real person gets forgotten. I’ve had this happen in my own life when a role or an identity became so integral to what people thought of me, that when it was no longer necessary or sustainable I found myself completely without any self-identity. It seems like the “Jim Carrey” we all thought was authentic turned into a mask that became suffocating to Carrey. I’m glad he was able to get perspective on it, and I’d rather have him happy and not making films than burning himself on a pyre of our own expectations like so many comedians before him.
Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks are, in my mind, the two best actors of their generation. Both started in TV, Hanks in comedy with Bosom Buddies, and Washington in drama on St. Elsewhere. Where Hanks’ career has exceeded Washington’s is not in talent, it is in project selection. Washington elevates anything he’s in, no matter how mediocre, but he’s unfortunately had stretches of his career where he’s picked projects way beneath his astounding talent level. Lately, though, Washington has been on a roll balancing commercial successes like The Equalizer and The Magnificent Seven with astounding dramatic performances in films like Flight and Fences. Like the best actors, there is no limit to what he can achieve if paired with the right cast, project, and director. He can be eminently likable, intensely despicable, sympathetic, heroic, noble and fallen all with an ease that lulls the audience until he turns it up and he grabs the screen by the throat and sears a moment into your mind forever. Glory, Philadelphia, The Hurricane, Flight, Fences, all of these films have moments that transcend what even great actors can do, and you realize that you’re watching someone whose work will be remembered as long as they’re showing films. He’s that good, and he keeps getting better. Washington is also a talented director, helming Antwone Fisher, The Great Debaters, and Fences
Continue reading Denzel Washington’s 10 Best Movies
Ben Affleck has had a number of phases to his career in the 25 years plus he’s been in Hollywood. Starting out, Affleck and a number of young actors first gained notoriety in a number of Kevin Smith’s films (Mallrats, Chasing Amy, etc.) back when Kevin Smith actually made movies. Then he and his best friend Matt Damon had their Hollywood dream come true when their indie film, Good Will Hunting, in which they both wrote and starred, became one of the most critically acclaimed pictures of 1997 and the duo’s Oscar acceptance is one of the best of all-time. From there, Affleck entered a blockbuster phase that didn’t take. The scripts kept getting worse until he hit rock-bottom with Gigli, one of the most mocked films in recent memory.
Affleck, though, didn’t burn out. He started out as a writer, and he started picking quality scripts again. He also began directing, and he showed tremendous talent with Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo. Currently, his career is intertwined with being the current Batman, and while I may not be a huge fan of any of the films he’s been Batman in (funnily enough he played Superman first in 2006’s Hollywoodland), I like his take on the character, but I’m not certain where the DCEU goes with a Batman in his mid-to-late 40s. Whatever’s next, I think Affleck should get back behind the camera, pick projects that highlight his strengths as an actor (he’s not the strongest, but his overall knowledge of the process gives him an edge), and make the movies he wants to make. Getting sucked into commercial Hollywood blockbusters is what broke his career the first time; I’d hate to see it happen again.
Continue reading Ben Affleck’s 10 Best Movies
I’m anticipating a busy week on KT. I have a lot of backlog that I’m newly recommitted to bringing to you and reviews of movies in the theater (Divergent and Muppets) as well as Noah floating his merry way into the cinema on Friday. So it’s a bit ironic that I’m going to start all that by telling you I’m going to be writing LESS of the most popular column on the site: Latest vs. Greatest. Hear me out though.
In over 450 days, I’ve never failed to get at least one article a day up here for readers. I almost never miss a deadline on the other three features. However with Latest vs. Greatest, if it comes out on time, it’s a minor miracle. The reasons for this are manifold. I’ve exhausted the people who I can just sit down and write their article with no research. By “research” I mean, watching their latest and best films which can sometimes mean 1-2 movies and sometimes 6-8 movies. Being currently a non-profit organization, that gets expensive if I can’t track them down on a streaming site (I have Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and HBO at my disposal) but the ones that I haven’t seen are usually obscure and require either renting or buying. I quite honestly can’t afford to do that four times a month. Two, yes. Four, no. Continue reading SITE NOTE: Latest vs. Greatest Moving to Bi-Monthly Feature. Help Pick the Next Five Subjects!