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Thursday, January 25, 2007

2006 HUMBY'S: actor

10. Hugh Jackman – THE FOUNTAIN
Three men. Three time periods. One endless love. This is one of the most beautiful films in years and it hinges on Jackman’s performance as a man whose love transcends time and distance. He is strong, vulnerable and emotionally raw. It is a fantastic performance that should not be overlooked and never be forgotten.

9. Guy Pierce – THE PROPOSITION
Charlie Burns (Guy Peirce) is a bad man by any estimation, but there is more to him in this story of moral exploration and complexity. He is faced with the “proposition” of, to gain his freedom and the freedom of his fifteen year old brother; he must hunt down and kill his older brother, Arthur. While Arthur is a psychopath who doesn’t seem to know the difference between right and wrong, Charlie knows the difference, but seems powerless and too weak to stop his brother. Like I said, Charlie is not good man, but he is a human being and it is fascinating to watch this struggle between what is right and what is easy. This is an extremely complex character and one that Pierce excels in portraying.

8. Shia LaBeouf – A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS
Dito (Shia LaBeouf) is a young man struggling with life, friends, family and everything in this great film. It is a stripped down performance that allows the viewer to be immersed in a real time and place. The struggle between friends, family and himself is amazing. This is a performance that will stand as the beginning of an adult career for LaBeouf and hopefully is a glimpse of things to come.

7. Christian Bale – THE PRESTIGE
It wasn’t until the second viewing that I was able to really appreciate the different layers of Christian Bale’s complex portrayal of a magician at the turn of the century involved in a vicious competition with a rival. I won’t get into these layers as to not spoil anything, but THE PRESTIGE is worth watching just for this performance. Bale continues to surprise and amaze in almost every role.

6. Matt Damon – THE DEPARTED
Matt Damon is one of my favorite actors of his generation and he gets a juicy role here in THE DEPARTED. On one side, he is charming, clever, and fun to watch, but there is another side to this character. As a child, Colin (Damon) was drawn into a world of crime and somewhat adopted by crime boss Frank Costello. As a young man he enters the police force and quickly rises to the top as a valuable informant to Costello. It quickly becomes a cat and mouse game between him and Billy Costigan (DiCaprio), an undercover cop in Costello’s crew, in a race of who finds who first. There are moral complexities to Colin that Damon explores and is really able to dig into and makes his performance not only fun, but fascinating.

5. Leonardo DiCaprio – THE DEPARTED / BLOOD DIAMOND
Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) is a young cop, who has gone deep undercover into Frank Costello’s crew of criminals. The duality of being a cop, while also having to be a convincing criminal is tearing him apart. DiCaprio is subtle and effective at portraying this internal conflict and never once goes over the top. A fascinating character and a fantastic performance.

In BLOOD DIAMOND, DiCaprio plays a mercenary who finds himself involved with a man trying to reunite his family. His motivations change from that of greed to ones more pure. The emotions and moral complexity is added to the fact that DiCaprio delivers a spot on South African accent. If there was any doubt about DiCaprio becoming an “adult actor”, there should not be after great performances in THE AVIATOR, THE DEPARTED and BLOOD DIAMOND.

4. Will Smith – THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS
There are no two ways about it… THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS is an Oscar bait role for Will Smith. That being said, he is fantastic. It is an emotional true story of a man that does not listen to people who say “you can’t” and risks everything for his future and the future of his son. Will Smith is one of the most likeable actors around and he uses that to his full advantage as a man that refuses to quit and does any and everything to achieve his dream.

3. Sacha Baron Cohen - BORAT
The most bold performance of the year has to be that of Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat. It is shocking and offensive, sure, but the ONLY reason why this movie works (and is called one of the best comedies ever made) is solely due to the commitment and fearlessness of Cohen’s performance. I wish that the Academy Awards would have at least rewarded this performance with nomination. Is there no love for comedy?

2. Ryan Gosling – HALF NELSON
When I saw HALF NELSON at Sundance, I praised the amazing performance by Gosling. After watching the film again, I not only agree with my original assessment, but think it is even better on second viewing. As Dan Dunne, he is the epitome of a flawed lead character. He is a inner-city junior high school teacher that struggles with a drug addiction while trying to make a difference in the lives of his students. This struggle tears him apart and is destroying his life when he meets Drey, a young girl that needs someone in her life. In many ways she helps him as much or more as he helps her, but it is one of the most incredible relationships I have seen on film and hinges on a spectacular performance by Gosling.

1. Forrest Whitaker – LAST KING OF SCOTTLAND
There is no question. Whitaker’s portrayal of Idi Amin is THE BEST PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR. Every so often an actor comes along with a performance that stands above all others and becomes not only career defining, but raises the bar for all other actors to come. This is that performance. There are no words that can capture the transformation of Whitaker. He is charming one minute and psychotic the next. He is charismatic and magnetic, and then turns to insane and fueled with hate and fear. Whatever he is doing on the screen, there is always one constant… you can’t tear your eyes away.

4 Comments:

Blogger lucdaring said...

Safe choices all around. I see you left out my boy Greg Kinear, whose performance in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE is the lynchpin of the entire film.
No Peter O'Toole either huh? Do you hate old people? Also, I thought you would show some love for Will Ferrell, but I guess you're just a hard-ass with no soul.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Midnight-Angel said...

I certainly agree with your comments in respect of Hugh Jackman in The Fountain. I was so very disappointed at the reception it has received because his talent is way above anyone nominated for Oscar this time.

He was excellent in - The Prestige. Hi characterisation of roles and ability to change accents is unique

7:16 AM  
Blogger Midnight-Angel said...

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7:17 AM  
Blogger tpraja said...

The awaited launch of Burt Young’s official website is now available on internet for his fans. He can be browsed at: http://burtyoungartandfilm.com/

1:04 AM  

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