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Archive for the ‘Nicholas Cage’ Category

Snowden

22 Sep

Snowden – written and directed by Oliver Stone. Biopic. 142 minutes. Color 2016.

★★★★

The story: A brilliant young computer whiz mounts a high level career in US government agencies, learns the terrible truth, and breaks it to the press.

~

Any gross invasion of privacy would seem to be, for Edward Snowden, all the 7 deadly sins rolled into one. He is closed off, closed down, closed up. He doesn’t want to be pried-into. And one keeps thinking, thank God Joseph Gordon-Levitt is perfectly cast as him. Why? Because this actor has the face of a man you know is keeping all his secrets. A gross invasion of privacy is what he is shown hating most. No wonder Snowden spilled the beans in the biggest invasion of privacy of all, the invasion of privacy of the US government’s secret invasion of the privacy of its citizens.

Never was such gorgeous use of the big screen. Never was a biopic told with such reliance on the intelligence of the audience to watch and weigh.

And all of that is interesting and consistently vivid, informative and narratively alive.

What is not alive is Stone’s rendering of Snowden’s romance with his girlfriend, which moves through its hackneyed tropes to arrive nowhere. For Stone is not interested in romance or sex or human relations. Stone is a civics teacher, and a darn good one. Besides, it is impossible to take sides with this woman, since Snowden is such a cold fish. His love life is not primarily important to him. Which is why he is such a cold fish.

Narratively, it’s a phony conflict. Snowden’s loyalty would not be between his girlfriend and his job, but rather the tug between his mastery as a computer virtuoso, systems inventor and innovator, smart as paint – and – what would jeopardize this true calling – the disclosure which would result in the loss of this job and this calling. Which is, in fact what happened. Stalled in Russia. In Russia all Russia is a Russian airport.

But Stone never sees this. Instead we get Stone’s canned approbation of Snowden – as though we couldn’t judge that for ourselves.

Still, the film, by Anthony Mantle, is beautiful to behold. We have wonderful actors at their best – Melissa Leo, Tom Wilkinson, Nicolas Cage. And we have superb production values, Mantle’s stunning and convincing pictures, great editing by Alex Marquez and Lee Percy.

And best of all we have not the drama but the biography and background of Snowden well and clearly told, and it is worth the telling and the seeing.

 

The Guy Pearce Papers No 6 — Seeking Justice

01 Dec

The Guy Pearce Papers No 6

Seeking Justice – directed by Roger Donaldson. Action Thriller. A man’s wife is raped and justice is not about to be done, so he takes an offer from a stranger who will take care of the matter – and later he finds out that things are not so simple. 105 minutes Color 2012.
★★★★
How considerate to my dislike of Nicholas Cage that he has made so many movies I would not wish to see anyhow. He’d become The Whisperer. Every speech was uttered sub rosa as though to draw us forward in our seats toward the actor and his material. It’s a TV trick and I object to be thought so easily seduced. Having justly won the Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas, all one saw was a decline in talent and involvement in films of violence. Up until his Oscar he was super. After it, I avoided him. But now, because I had to watch Guy Pearce, I had to watch Nicholas Cage again.

And I must say he is really quite good. He is not whispering at all. He is giving a stand-up performance in a leading role. What he can bring to a role is mad devotion. This trait, both humorous and charming, is not so common as you might think in an actor, and in this role, as in Raising Phoenix and Moonstruck, it is the essential ingredient, and he has it in spades. We believe it completely and we believe that it is also his fatal flaw.

One of the common features action/thrillers, is that halfway through acting ceases and perspiration begins, as the hero rushes toward and away from peril. There is nothing an actor can do but run and sweat. But up until that time, Cage gives a very honorable demonstration of his craft, and it’s good to see.

His nemesis in the piece is a private vindicator played by the masterful Guy Pearce. From the moment he approaches our hero we know something is wrong. What is it though? Is there something wrong with that perfect suit? Is there something wrong with that Teutonicly shaved head? Is there something wrong in that he approaches Cage at all?

All that is good, but just listen to what the actor does. He does not drool. He does not flash a Vincent Pricey eye. In fact, he does not give away a thing. He’s just a normal even high-minded businessman, isn’t he?

All Pearce does is play it a half a stop lower than middle C.

There’s nothing wrong with this guy at all, right?

Well. if there isn’t, why are we asking this question in the first place?

 
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Posted in ACTING STYLE: AMERICAN REALISTIC, ACTION ADVENTURE, CRIME DRAMA, Guy Pearce: ACTING GOD, January Jones, Nicholas Cage

 

The Cotton Club

18 Apr

The Cotton Club – Directed By Francis Ford Coppola. Musical. A jazz musician gets in Dutch with Dutch Schultz over his moll. 127 minutes Color 1984

* * * * *

Well, it’s terrific. It’s another Coppola masterpiece. What riches. What thoroughness. What a scene is Harlem in those bygone days. And the dancing Hines brothers are tops. Richard Gere is, as usual, cast as a badly spoken type and Diane Lane is perfectly cast as the moll – like Michelle Pfeiffer she only shines in lower class roles for some reason. They bring out the buzz in her.

And in me.

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