"BRING ON THE MEN!"
Oh, yes. We do love those epic heroes, don't we? Back in times when men had some kind of manners? Spoke flowery pledges of love without shame? Yes, it's all terribly wonderful. Dahling. Without further ado...
He IS the master of the acting kingdom! OK, so his resume isn't even 75% epic. Ask me if I care. (Though I won't be going into all the non-epic films here. Another place, another time. ;-) ) I would watch him watching grass grow, riveted. The man is brilliant. He's a TRAINED actor, too, which you know I love! He's done theatre. SHAKESPEARE! Watch his Inside the Actors Studio interview, he can quote Shakespeare in a snap. Besides this, look at "decent" level movies like the very non-epic "Meet Joe Black." What makes it fascinating? Anthony's performance, and that's all there is to it! His performances are always so terribly ~human~, which I love. Just watch the final scenes in "Nixon" and you'll see what I mean. Of course, he also has that "epic look." (He's the only person in "The Lion In Winter," who doesn't look like they came out of a Brady Bunch episode. IMO, of course.) As for his epics, I've seen "Howard's End" and can't wait to see "Remains of the Day" and, especially, "Surviving Picasso." As for "Howard's End," he pulled off a brilliant performance in an epic on somewhat of a not-so-epic scale. (He also looked great with that mustache, but that has nothing to do with upholding an insightful page on acting in epic-wear, now, does it? ;-) ) There is also "84 Charing Cross Road," which is what I'd call a "small scale" film that still reaches brilliance from the performances and the subject matter that, being a lover of antiue books and letter-writing and correspondance with people you never meet face to face, was by no means small to me.
Take a look at his filmography. By my standards, only three of his films are "non-epic." So he has brilliance in just picking his films. (Though I've read many a review saying the repition is boring--like the TEP and TEOTA comparisons. I'm sorry: No. *G*) So the first epic on this list is "Wuthering Heights." Brilliance, people! I mean, just Cathy's death scene and the aftermath could be worth a whole film of brilliance. Needless to say, I like. *heh* Then we have "Schindler's List." The brilliance goes on. Not exactly a ~likable~ character, but the performance does what ideal villan performances do: it finds some complexity in the character and not JUST "evil, evil, evil..." Anyway. Next up was "The English Patient." I seem to be the only person who sat through this movie. (Well, obviously, it won 9 Academy Awards, I just mean in my circle. Or something.) ANYWAY. My opinion of it's brilliance stands, and let me tell you: IT'S THE BEST FINAL 30 OR SO MINUTES OF ANY FILM EVER! *G* I've watched the ending over 10 times, and the full film only twice. It's absolutely brilliant, and this has a lot to do with the performances. Subtle, brilliant... and I've become a bit of a "rock" while watching "sad" flicks (after all, most epics are, and I've seen a LOT! ;-) ) and this film (and another little film called--*whispers*--Titanic) seem to be one of the few that jerks the tears again... and again... and... you get the idea. (Though thanks to Billy Crystal, I can NOT watch "promise me you'll come back for me" with a straight face without thinking, "You, you, you!" and cracking up. But I digress.) Anyways, "Oscar and Lucinda" comes next, and I'm waiting with baited breath to see this!! I got the book-on-tape which Ralph reads (I'm trying to hunt down all books on tape read by Brit-actors. Why? I don't know myself. Anyway...*heh*) and now I MUST see this film. To just comment on the story, Oscar Hopkins is now one of my favourite characters written. (Could it be just because it's not very often they focuse a character on, among other things, a phobia? *heh* Anyway...) The reading of the book is brilliant, and I can imagine the film is the same. Next comes "Onegin." Thanks to the ever-wonderful Starz! channel I was actually able to see this NYC-and-L.A.-only distrubted film. This is yet another brilliant epic. I'm still not too sure about Liv Tyler's pre-six-years-later performance, but the ending performances make up for it, anyway. R.F. is brilliant, again, especially in the "six years later" where it really lights up. (Hmm. What is it with me and film ENDINGS? Anyway.) Oh, and they have some great aristocrat comedy here, too. Which you know I eat up. Next comes... *drum rolls* TEOTA, more commonly known as "The End of the Affair." THIS IS THE TOPS! *heh* This film, quite simply, makes me happy. *heh* (And let me take a moment to comment on how brilliant Stephen Rea is as Henry. OSCAR-WORTHY, DARN IT!) Anyway. I can just eat this film up, and the performances, again and again. It treats it's story with intelligence, which not many films do nowadays. Here we go again, with the final scenes, but... the whole film can be summed up with the final words written into the keyboard, that are not even spoken: "Leave me alone forever." To quote a certain someone, "That's like cheesecake." I tell you, it doesn't get any better. Now... "Leave me alone forever!" Or, er, go onto the next man. ;-)
This needs to get out of the way: Neeson is the lost Fiennes brother! *heh* Now, to move on to more "intelligent" (or as intelligent as you get late at night) comments. I've only seen him in two epics but I know there are more on his filmography and I plan on seeing them soon. (Watch out, all video stores and libraries and See guides within a 20 mile radius!) Anyway. I first saw him in "Les Miserables" and he is certainly the best Valjean I've watched on screen. 1998's "Les Miserables" is yet another under-appreciated film, like many I've already mentioned. Sure, it takes a bit of a departure from the actual book, but that's OK. If you want to see some real butchering of the book, rent the 53 version. (In a nutshell: Valjean has a side kick, Fantine is a slut, and Valjean's after Cosette... OH MY! *heh*) The film is brilliant, just look at (not the ending: *shock*!) the courtroom scene for the proof of the brilliance of Neeson's rendition of Valjean. Then, of course, there is "Schindler's List." I ask, I ask, and ask again: Why wasn't the Oscar just handed over, here? *G* Look at the "A person, a person for this..." scene. Again, it just doesn't get any better.
Moving from Valjean to Javert faster than you can say "2-4-6-0-1!" *heh* Anyway. Minus a few films I'd rather forget (i.e.: Mystery Men) his performances--and films--are brilliant. There is, of course, first and foremost, the 1998 "Les Mis." The best Valjean I've seen on film. Besides the very wonderful "IIIII KKKNNNEEWWWWW IITTTT!"-*heh*-one only needs to look at the suicide scene to see the brilliance. (And how much do I love the whole change of handcuffs scene? Oh, the symbolism! Anyway...) Then we have "Shakespeare in Love." Very, very brilliant film, very Shakespearean, very epic, and... wait a second... IS THAT A BIC PEN? (Watch the scene with the auditions if you are wondering what I'm talking about.) ANYWAY. Rather entertaining role. Has my personal favourite line from the film... "That'll have em rolling in the aisles." *heehee* ANYWAY. Then we have "Elizabeth." More brilliance and good, ol' fashioned scheming aristocrat fun--and, yes, historically inaccurate. But it's for drama's sake, I'll live with it.
OK. So he mainly shows up in TV-movies which can be very annoying to Amm, the TV-movie hater. But let me tell you. Nothing beats his performance as Mr. Andrews in Titanic. That's obviously my favourite film, and his performance is mny favourite out of this film. You most certainly can see the iceberg in his eyes. It's just brilliant, and worth a mention, that could be longer if he could get himself in more epics already! Peter Vaughn
The master of supporting roles in epics, I say. *G* We first knew and loved him as the Bishop in "Les Miserables," a very brilliant role in a brilliant film, indeed. He then popped right up in "An Ideal Husband," rather entertaining as Phipps. Then he popped right up in "The Crucible" as Giles, which was rather entertaining and brilliant all in one.
"Here's to the Ladies Who Lunch"
What woman in her right mind doesn't want to wear a corset?? OK, so I'm the only one. Anyway, here we go.
Anthony Hopkins is the King of acting, and Judi Dench is the Queen. I've only seen her, really, in two films, but, my, my, are they brilliant! The first is "Mrs. Brown," which is so absolutely exquisite, let me tell you. Her performance is brilliant, she does "Queen" SO WELL! *G* Brilliant performance by Billy Connely, too, and various others. Of course, I'm also a big fan of propriety being the subject matter of films and so I loved this. Of course, then there is "Shakespeare In Love." She absolutely STEALS the show. The eight minutes she is on screen are the most fully realized minutes in a brilliant film, it truly is the best of the best. This is also, obviously, the humourus side of aristocracy, unlike "Mrs. Brown." Let me tell you, the Queen Elizabeth in "Shakespeare In Love" is my hero! ;-) Anyway, the other film I have seen her in is "84 Charing Cross Road." While she has a small part, she does get a brilliant monologue at the end. She has done her share of epics and theatrical productions that have made their way to video and I can't wait to get more! ;-)
Much like Ralph Fiennes, about 90% of her filmography is epic, and that's A-OK with me. There's "Titanic." The performance is brilliant, I love the "perfectly proper... until you get a rise out of me" character, considering that it screams AMM! *G* Anyway, it's brilliant, just look at "I'll never let go" or the lifeboat lowering scene for that. There's also "Sense and Sensibility," which I've only seen on NBC (which means commercials! ACK!) but I LOVE it. More brilliant characters, and I just love the poem-in-the-rain scene... K.W. won a BAFTA for her performance in S&S and rightfully so! Then there is "Hamlet," which is my personal favourite performance of hers. She is definitely the best Ophelia I have yet seen. Why is this? Well, her performance is the one that most fits the way I vision Ophelia, and since my vision is always right, there you have it! ;-) Ophelia is one of my favourite Shakespearean characters and always misunderstood. Yes, she is innocent at first, but not as child-like as some actresses have performed, or I don't think so. And while she clearly goes mad, there's some reason behind the madness. K.W. portrayed this perfectly. There is also "Jude" which I haven't seen yet but am sure is brilliant.
I want a movie made where C.B. portrays young Queen Elizabeth and Judi Dench portrays old Queen Elizabeth. And that, my friends, is what I'd do if I ran Hollywood. *heh* ANYWAY. There is, of course, her performance in "Elizabeth" which was definitely Oscar-worthy (and it did win the BAFTA). She showed the total change the Queen goes through, from innocence and frailty to being forced to be an ideal. I love it. Then there is "An Ideal Husband." Cate Blanchett (and Julianne Moore) definitely had the BEST roles... *heh* And they performed them perfectly. I love the "proper-than-thou" character, and she does it just brilliantly. She has also been in "Oscar and Lucinda," which I'm sure was another brilliant performance.
OK. So I've only seen her in--count them--ONE epic. But her performance in one epic is as brilliant as ten performances of someone else put together. This is, of course, her Fantine in 1998's "Les Miserables." It's just BRILLIANT. (And deserving of an Oscar, a BAFTA, and such, but I digress.) It's just... WOW. *G* Again, I've seen many-a-Fantine on screen, stage, and recording, and she definitely has the "Amm-vision" of the role. "Fantine's Arrest" is the most brilliant moment in the 98 film, and I only wish they had the full monologue. (Want to see it? Go to my monologue site! *shameless plug*) I mean, it's beyond-praise-brilliant. I also found it very interesting that even in mediocre reviews of the film they all seem to comment on the brilliance of her performance. She has been in a few other epics, however, I've yet to see. Mainly "Dangerous Liasons," which has scheming-scandaling-aristos-a-plenty. Many of her upcoming projects--practically all of them, actually--are epics, most notably "The Golden Bowl," and I can't wait for it!
Coming soon... More rambling... and photos to go with the rambling, because you need to show off that epic-wear somehow... and films on their own besides just performances! Oh, I just feel your excitement. ;-)