Here be found odd comments, observations and thoughts which don't fit anywhere else, but might just be of interest...
Some films manage to stumble upon an almost perfect confluence of acting talent – and 1997’s Donnie Brasco is just such an occasion. A seasoned Al Pacino alongside an emerging Johnny Depp makes for a brilliant acting double-hit, with both actors evidently enjoying the company of the other: Pacino has the volume customarily turned way up, and Depp dutifully follows suit. What the audience gets as a result is a whole plethora of brilliant and captivating scenes in which the two seem to be at once in harmony whilst simultaneously trying to swallow all of the oxygen in the immediate vicinity. In short, they’re just a great deal of fun!
For Pacino, this would be one of his (as yet) final ‘big’ performances in a major picture, whilst Depp would sadly transmogrify into a strange parody of himself through much of the following decade.
Anyway, enjoy a few choice highlights…
(Courtesy of movieclips.com)
Some more Eddie-Murphy-of-the-80s magic in this scene from Coming to America (1988). Directed by John Landis, this was a late-in-the-decade showcase for Murphy’s talents and this scene features himself and co-star Arsenio Hall playing all of the various characters. Crude, ridiculous and racially insensitive, it’s absolutely brilliant!…
Continuing a recent Goodfellas/Robert De Niro theme in this section, here’s another great scene from Goodfellas. No particular analysis or commentary here; I just love the scene – very funny and capturing that maniacal Scorsese style brilliantly. Enjoy.
Watch the two scenes below: the first is from A Streetcar Named Desire whilst the other is from Raging Bull. The similarities between two are startling, not only via their overarching tone, but in the performances of Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro respectively. There are several scenes in Scorsese’s Raging Bull that pay homage to other films (including one scene where De Niro’s Jake La Motta recites Marlon Brando’s famously poignant lines from On the Waterfront), but I had never noticed some of the more subtle referencing like this scene until recently.
Both scenes are absolutely dripping with uneasy tension, as Brando and De Niro brood menacingly before exploding into violence. We know what is coming in both scenes – it is just a case of when – but that delay and suspension is almost unbearable to sit through and is brilliantly accomplished in both scenes.
Also, with an honourable mention for James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, are there two more captivating on-screen ‘eaters’ than these two?
What a stunning piece of cinema this is, and one of the finest examples of a steady-cam long-take you’ll see. I love the kinetic energy and dynamism of the whole scene; just watch it over and over – there are so many little details… Just brilliant.
Here’s an interesting teaser to begin the day: is a fictional narrative successful because of its story, or is it because of the way its story is told?
Think about a film, novel or episode of T.V that you rate highly – then consider what it is that makes it effective in your view: Is it that the underpinning story (the ‘fabula’) is fundamentally strong, or is it that the execution in telling the story (the syuzhet) is handled so adeptly that it drives the work?
Furthermore, to what extent can a fictional work survive if one of these two perquisites (the idea and the execution) isn’t satisfied properly? Can very weak raw story material by arranged into something much more powerful through effective constructive processes, and, likewise, can a strong story be ruined by poor arrangement?
Anyway, the master of cinematic storytelling Alfred Hitchcock has some pertinent views on the matter below. Take a look and give it some thought. I’m certainly going to…
The extent to which artists intend to promote and embed specific values, ideological perspectives and ideas into their works is fascinating area of debate. John Ford’s film-making has been scoured by academics and film critics for decades – rich, it has been suggested time and again, with powerful subtext on American culture and society; this achieved through a series signature stylistic motifs.
But Ford himself was absolutely resolute in his refusal to acknowledge the ‘artistic’ intentions (or indeed pretensions) of his films. In fact, Ford often appears derisory toward his profession entirely. The clip below is an interview with him and writer and fellow film-maker Peter Bogdanovich. I say ‘interview’, but what I really mean is ‘attempted interview’.
Ford’s obstinacy and impatience with any implication that there were intentional purposes and goals for his works is thought-provoking and begs questions about the relationship between artists and their work…
I don’t think anyone could have got closer to Brett Easton Ellis’ American Psycho protagonist Patrick Bateman than Christian Bale; Hollywood’s new ‘go to’ man for generally unhinged character portrayals. Great scene this which captures the Bateman of the novel
Utterly captivating performance from Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross; viciously hilarious…
Eddie Murphy at his very best; long before he sailed off into some distant, darkened land, never to be seen in a good film again. This is one of those scenes that you cannot imagine any other performer pulling off the way the Murphy does here…
William Shatner slightly misinterprets the director’s call for ‘a mildly surprised reaction’.
Shiver with fear, ye who remember this… Three hours to load; three seconds to realise the game was shite…
This guy deserves a bigger audience. Shuggie Otis – Check him out:
For those who’ve never heard of ‘The Room’, be assured that the clip below is a genuine scene from a ‘serious’ film and not a parody.
Kirk: in a quiet, reflective mood…
Damned Dirty Apes?
I’ve seen this noted somewhere before, but it’s worth a mention… Below, is a 2001 DVD copy of the original Planet of the Apes film. Great bit of artwork, no quibbles there, but there’s something wrong with it… Leave a post at the bottom of the page or get in touch @ItsOnlyStatic if you spot it
Mercurial, obstinate and disconcertingly detached – it’s impossible to know what to make of Marlon Brando in this clip below. In line with many recollections of him on and off set throughout his life, he’s simultaneously bored, utterly compelling, impishly difficult and just completely detached from reality…
Count the cuts – a lesson to film-makers that quick edits don’t have to fracture a scene. Hitchcock evades the clutches of film censors by editing around any actual violence, losing none of the threat in the process…
Gotta love this. No other actor can spontaneously explode like Pacino. I wonder if the other actors even know what’s coming…
And this is just great; a perfect storm of Pacino’s exuberance and some superb writing…