Movie Marathon Wrap-up #03: Paul W.S. Anderson

BEST PICTURE:
Death Race

This is more like choosing the lesser evil than the best, really; and given that, I gravitate towards Anderson’s most fun film. It’s stiff competition between Death Race and The Three Musketeers, but I choose the former.

The Dreadnought falls in Death Race

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE:
Laurence Fishburne, Event Horizon

Kurt Russell in Soldier is easily the lead performance that’s most in keeping with Anderson’s style, but I think Fishburn’s work in Event Horizon keeps that film grounded, with a sense of dignity and reputability that could easily have been lost by the time it turns into a gorefest.

Laurence Fishburne in Event Horizon

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE:
Ian McShane, Death Race

Plays the Morgan Freeman to Statham’s Tim Robbins. Seems to always come across as a badass even when his role really isn’t. Totally game for what was required from him in Death Race… which wasn’t much, really.

Ian McShane in Death Race

BEST SCENE/MOMENT:
Milady steals the queen’s jewels, The Three Musketeers

Milla Jovovich kicking ass in slow motion, stripping down to a corset, rappelling off the top of a palace, and maneuvering through laser alarm tripwires. Laser tripwires… in 17th century France. Come on, no contest.

Milla Jovovich as Milady de Winter

CAMPIEST SCENE/MOMENT:
“Soldiers deserve soldiers, sir”, Soldier

“How do you know they will be back?” 
“Because they are soldiers, sir…like me” 
“Why are they doing this?” 
They’re obeying orders, sir…it’s their duty” 
“Do you know how many they’ll be?” 
17 more, sir” 
“You can’t fight 17 on your own. You have to organize us. We’re not cowards. We’ll do as you tell us. We’ll fight” 
“No” 
“why not?” 
“Soldiers deserve soldiers, sir” 
“But one soldier…against 17? What are you going to do?” 
“I’m going to kill them all, sir” 

Nuff said.

Kurt Russell. Soldier. 

MARATHON SCORE: 54/100

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Movie Marathon Wrap-up #02: Ernst Lubitsch

BEST PICTURE:
To Be or Not to Be

All of Lubitsch’s strengths in top-form and mixed seamlessly into a smart, biting satire of Nazi Germany. Wit and humor are fired in rapid fashion and hit their mark perfectly.

The acting troupe from To Be or Not to Be


BEST ACTOR:

James Stewart, The Shop Around the Corner

A charismatic and charming performance, laced with subtlety and nuance, fitted perfectly for Lubitsch’s sophisticated style.

James Stewart from The Shop Around the Corner


BEST ACTRESS:

Miriam Hopkins, Trouble in Paradise & Design for Living

Yes, I it’s a tie. Miriam Hopkins and herself again because one Miriam Hopkins is not enough. Feisty, sexy, vibrant and impassioned, she easily is able to give life to any picture she’s in.

Miriam Hopkins in Design for Living


BEST SCENE/MOMENT:

“Heil Myself”, To Be or Not to Be

The single scene in the entire marathon that made me literally laugh way out loud in an instant. Lubitsch’s funniest moment, and the surprise factor is essential for the gag to work.

Tom Dugan as Bronski as Hitler in To Be or Not to Be


BEST “LUBITSCH TOUCH”:

“Concentration Camp Ehrhardt”, To Be or Not to Be

One of the smartest things about it is how it’s used once in an already fairly amusing fashion, and then again later in a scene that is genuinely comedic and bitingly satiric at the same time. 

Jack Benny and Sig Ruman in To Be or Not to Be


MARATHON SCORE:
 74/100

Movie Marathon Wrap-up #01: Michael Mann

BEST PICTURE:
The Insider

Mann’s most cohesive film. No weak areas. The domestic drama works. He’s able to produce thrill and suspense to great effect without the heist sequences, gunfights, car chases and the like.

Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer and the 60 Minutes team from The Insider


BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE:

Russell Crowe, The Insider

I just realized that I didn’t touch on Crowe’s performance in the review of The Insider. Russell Crowe was a surprise in his nuanced and controlled performance.. He captured the rollercoaster of emotions caused by all the internal turmoil that Wigand had to go through in the story.

Russell Crowe in The Insider


BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE:

Brian Cox, Manhunter

Simply stole every scene he was in.

Brian Cox as Hannibal in Manhunter


BEST SCENE/MOMENT:

McCauley and Hanna in the Diner, Heat

Quoting from my review: ” (Heat) can maintain tension even in its quiet moments, and has one of the most electric scenes you can ever have between two people talking in a diner.” — This is that scene.

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in the diner scene from Heat


BEST STYLIZED ACTION SEQUENCE:

The Second Heist, Thief

It was either this or the downtown shootout from Heat. This heist scene just impressed me more because of how meticulously detailed and believably authentic it was.

The Second Heist from Thief


MARATHON SCORE:
66/100