Posts Tagged ‘Bradley Cooper

26
Feb
14

Oscar Watch 2014: Actor in a Supporting Role

Oscar Watch looks to break down the different categories for the 2014 Academy Awards. We’ll do our best to give you the inside track for your Oscar pools. Above: Jaret Leto as Rayon from Dallas Buyers Club.

Oscar Watch looks to break down the different categories for the 2014 Academy Awards. We’ll do our best to give you the inside track for your Oscar pools. Above: Jaret Leto as Rayon from Dallas Buyers Club.

Who Should Win: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

From it’s debut at TIFF last fall, Jared Leto’s performance as Rayon is the first thing people talk about when they talk about Dallas Buyers Club. His transformative performance even overshadows McConaughey’s at times. Leto gets to play the entire range with his character; when Rayon is his usual self he’s flamboyant and in your face, but also has emotional moments as well when he relapses into his drug use or in the scene where he goes to see his father. It’s a loud and sometimes showy performance, but that’s the kind of thing that gets supporting actors nominated and an eventual win.

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On everyone else . . .

  • Barkhad Abdi: If there was anyone that I thought that could slay Jared Leto, it would be the other captain in Captain PhillipsBarkhad Abdi’s Somali pirate captain Muse. A first time actor, Abdi shows no signs of weakness in scenes where he goes toe to toe with Tom Hanks. He truely was in command of those scenes where his crew first comes aboard the Alabama. There’s just something about his eyes, his mannerisms, and his dogged determination that makes his character that much more threatening. Sadly, The Academy rarely likes to give statues to actors without a proven record so Abdi’s nomination could be his prize.

  • Bradley Cooper: Though Cooper is good, he had a much better performance in last year’s Silver Linings Playbook. There were times in the film where when he went overboard, he REALLY went overboard; and not in a good way for me. Having said that, I think the overall strength of American Hustle is really what landed Cooper his nomination.

  • Michael Fassbender: Nobody does bad like Fassbender. His role as a plantation owner in 12 Years a Slave is one of the main reasons why some people have had difficulty with sitting through the film. His demented, and at times sadistic, character is just the type that audiences love to hate. While the performance is good, I just don’t think it’s as high as the one Leto is giving.

  • Jonah Hill: This is Hill’s second nomination, but like Cooper, I think it’s the weaker of the two (his first nominated and better performance being in Moneyball). We know Hill can do comedy, so while his scene stealing shenanigans in The Wolf of Wall Street are fun, they’re just not doing enough to really push him over the top and really show us more of a range.

Who Will Win: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

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While it’s a solid field, Leto has been the clear frontrunner since the fall. Almost everyone has fallen in love with his character with Leto picking up awards in this category from both the LA & NY film critic circles, a Screen Actor’s Guild award, and a Golden Globe. Only an Oscar would complete the list.

What are your thoughts on our predictions? Give us your thoughts on the Best Actor category in the comments.

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26
Dec
12

Review: Silver Linings Playbook

Knock knock. Who's there? A potential Academy Award contending movie.

Knock knock. Who’s there? A potential Academy Award contending movie.

Ah the holidays . . . a time when families comes together, talk, and catch up with relatives. And while Silver Linings Playbook isn’t a holiday per se, it’s definitely a film representative of our culture today (at least part of it anyway). It’s got everything you could possibly want from a holiday film: drama, family issues, and love. I mean, what more could you ask for?

In many ways Silver Linings Playbook is sort of a current take on the dysfunctional family movie. Think along the lines of something with the vibe of American Beauty, but updated for 2012. You have Pat who’s just been released from a mental institution, trying to deal with bipolar disorder stemming from a breakdown he suffers when he catches his wife having an affair. Then you also have Tiffany who’s dealing with depression and the death of her husband. Both are supported by their families, but both struggle to deal with how to handle the little things in their everyday lives; some things that us “normal people” would consider second nature. In our world where there’s a medication to solve any of our problems and an abundance of therapies to work through our psychological issues; the story of two slightly broken people developing a relationship based on their common experience with mental instability doesn’t seem that out of place.

Probably the biggest thing the film has going for it is the cast. Everyone in the film is pretty solid and the three top names in the film are all giving Academy Award level performances. Ok, maybe Academy Award level is a bit hyperbolic, but trust me when I say that Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert De Niro are all turning in the performance of their career/the last 10 years.

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Cooper is probably giving his best performance to date in a role that draws from other characters in his filmography. he utilizes some of his doucheyness from Wedding Crashers, mixed with some of his cool guy persona from The Hangover movies, and adding a bit of torturedness that gives his character Pat believable anger management issues and baggage, but at the same time makes him someone you want to see work through his issues. While Cooper dances the line between angry and emotional pretty well, he’s getting a lot of help from those around him; help that makes his performance that much more believable and buyable.

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Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence and becomes Pat’s new love interest, has a few issues of her own. Her hang ups stem from depression from the death of her husband which make her lash out by being with guys who don’t treat her well, thereby reinforcing a downward spiral. In Pat’s first few encounters with Tiffany, Lawrence plays the psycho girlfriend card pretty well and we don’t know if she truly is damaged or just plain crazy. However as the relationship between Tiffany and Pat develops, you begin to see her feelings come through and her outbursts slowly change from “crazy girl” territory to that of someone being upset with a person they genuinely have feelings for.

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Rounding out the acting trifecta is Robert De Niro. Now don’t get me wrong, we know he can give a great performance; as of late though it seems like he’s been chewing on scenery and just taking paydays (we’re looking at you New Year’s Eve). But in Silver Linings Playbook, director David O. Russell manages to get a great performance from the two time Oscar winner. De Niro plays Pat Sr, father to Cooper’s character in the film, and a devout Philadelphia Eagles fan. When it comes time for game day, Pat Sr’s neurotic quirks regarding fandom and bonding with his son soon goes beyond mere team support and sheds light on not just Pat Jr’s problems, but the entire family’s as well. De Niro plays the loving father/OCD super fan really well and is actually emoting in some of the better scenes.

Going in I wasn’t too sure how I was going to feel about Pat’s budding relationship with Tiffany (something that the entire film hinges on); one because I’ve never really gotten behind or really rooted for any of the characters Bradley Cooper has played in the past; and two because of the age difference between Cooper and Lawrence (15 years, though in the film he’s playing younger and she’s playing older). However, over the course of the film I was really sold on Pat’s struggle with his bipolar disorder. From the challenges Pat faced and the way he dealt with them, that’s what sold me on their relationship in the end–it was a challenge that he kept working on, that wasn’t easy and tested him along the way, and one that you could get a good sense of from the emotion he was portraying.

Overall, everything about Silver Linings Playbook feels just a little bit awkward and a little bit off, not in a bad way, but in a way that mirrors its main characters. You won’t be blown away by action or special effects, because there are none to be found. What you will find is a great modern day family film, well acted, and with a great mix of comedy and drama that will entertain. And really, isn’t that all we could ever ask from any holiday film?

Silver Linings Playbook is currently playing at Consolidated Kahala 8 and Regal Dole Cannery.

Rating 4/5 stars // R // 2hr 2min




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