News broke this morning that legendary director Sidney Lumet passed away from lymphoma at the age of 86.
Lumet was best known as the director of films such as 12 Angry Men, Network, and Dog Day Afternoon. But he remained active later in life, too, directing Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke) in 2007, which would become his last film.
Lumet was nominated four times for Best Director at the Oscars, but never won. He was awarded an Honorary Award at the 2005 ceremony. As well, Network (which lost Best Picture and Best Director to Rocky in 1977) became the second film after A Streetcar Named Desire to earn three acting awards at the Oscars (Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway, and Beatrice Straight were all recognized).
Personally, the only two Lumet films I’ve seen are 12 Angry Men and Running On Empty, which earned River Phoenix his only Oscar nomination. I enjoyed both quite a bit, and 12 Angry Men has become one of my favourite films. Lumet has a great knack for getting down to the bottom of humanity and exposing his characters’ morals in a way that few directors can. Both Henry Fonda and Phoenix’s characters in their respective movies are highly memorable characters, even though neither are typically showy “leading men” characters.
Lumet may not be as well-known as some of his contemporaries, such as Scorsese, but he had a highly prolific career filled with highlights. His work has left an indelible mark on cinema.
I don’t even like Pierce Brosnan. So how did I end up seeing all four of his movies that he released in 2010 (and subsequently writing a blog entry about it)? But nonetheless, he did make four rather diverse films this year that I watched for entirely non-Brosnon-related reasons, so I figured that I might as well give a rundown of my thoughts on his performance in each.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightening Thief
Released: February 2
This was a throwaway role for Brosnan. His role is small, and he seems to be phoning it in for the entirety of his miniscule screentime. I kind of enjoyed this film (though considerably less so the second time around), but it was certainly not because we got to see Brosnan with horse legs.
Released: March 12
The movie was fairly dreadful, and Brosnan was in full-out growl mode here. But that said, I admit that he had good onscreen chemistry with Robert Pattinson. Pattinson’s acting was iffy all around, but unexpectedly, I think Brosnan brought out the best in him. They’re both exasperatingly self-conscious actors, but it worked weirdly and wonderfully in the ridiculous scene where Pattinson confronts Brosnan at his office. It’s one of the few memorable moments from this movie (aside from the mindfuck of an ending).
Released: April 2
If Brosnan sleepwalked through Percy Jackson, he did the complete opposite here. It’s obvious that he really wanted to give a good performance. And, boy, does he go for it. He cries! He yells! He flails around in the ocean! And at times, he’s pretty good. Unfortunately, at other times, he’s god awful. It’s an intermittently affecting movie (thanks largely to a refreshingly natural supporting turn from Johnny Simmons as the grieving brother), but Brosnan is always in ACTING mode. Distracting, to say the least.
The Ghost Writer
Released: March 19
Definitely his best performance of the year. He plays the cowardly cad well. At times, he actually seems to forget that he’s on camera, which is basically unheard of for Brosnan. He still aggravated me at times, but for him, it was a very dialled-down turn.
…and it was pretty fucking awesome. Not quite the masterpiece that some have been calling it (but virtually no movie is), but still a total ride. Going to a film opening day is almost unheard of for me (something about my extreme cheapness and distaste of crowds puts me off), but I’m so glad that I went.
I just wrote an 800-word review for my school’s paper, so I don’t feel like elaborating too much, but I will say that I love Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield even more now, if that were possible. Still not convinced about their award season prospects, but they’re both quite deserving. Jesse Eisenberg was actually kind of scary in it, in the best way possible. And yay for Andrew Garfield’s little black boxers!
David Fincher’s the man, and he’s done it again. Maybe it’s not quite on Zodiac level, but it’s pretty close.
The final shots of the film were so perfect (though I was kind of not expecting it to end right then). Very sad, in a way, but it seemed like the only way it could have ended.