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Entries in Philip Ettinger (2)

Friday
Feb082019

There are no small parts, '18 Edition

by Nathaniel R

Our annual cinematic jamboree, the Film Bitch Awards, continue with the categories of best actors and actresses in limited roles. This category is reserved for the kind of performances given in one or two scenes where'd you'd be happy to wander outside the camera's purview just to spend more time with them. Or, more accurately, since the characters aren't always pleasant, performances so strong that you wish you could follow them into another scene or five to watch the actor dig in yet deeper.

We're talking about performances like Brian Tyree Henry's in If Beale Street Could Talk, who crystallizes the film's conceits about the systematic oppression of black men as his innocent ex-con monologues through the film's most moving sequence. His eyes drop us into the abyss of his prison memories where his words won't take us. We're talking about performances like Bradley Whitford's glib lawyer, oozing shamelessness with his soul long-since sold, who comes at a bedraggled cop threatening him with such confidence that at first you think he'll win and the movie will be a very short one. That is until you watch the star (Nicole Kidman) up her own already impressive game to spar with an actor that's sparking her inner ensemblist.

We're talking about performances like Jeanne Balibar's in Cold War or Jane Curtin's in Can You Ever Forgive Me? that are played with such precise panache that you can imagine a different type of movie just off to the side of the one you're watching, where they're the leads instead and this moment is but a subplot in their narratives.  Check out the nomination page for more on these fine performances and others from Leticia Brédice, Rebecca Field, Elizabeth McGovern, Simon Russell Beale, Philip Ettinger, and Corey Hawkins and a list of other names we also loved in tiny roles this past cinematic year.

Wednesday
Jul042018

C O N S I D E R - Actors of 2018, First Half of Year

With the year half over, it's time to look back on the first six months of the year and what treasures they brought us. Here are the 18 performances by male actors that we liked the most thus far this year. It should probably suffice to say that this list was much easier to come up with then the forthcoming female list since the competition wasn't as fierce. (Four key films I missed that might have played into these categories were The RiderLean on Pete, You Were Never Really Here, and Paddington 2)

5 LEADING ACTORS
(Jan 1st through June 30th releases)

Daniel Giménez Cacho as "Don Diego de Zama" in Zama
Though I didn't much care for this film, Giménez Cacho, the talented Mexican/Spanish star (of Blancanieves and Cronos fame... and the unseen narrator of all time Mexican classic Y Tu Mama Tambien) delivers as the frustrated sickly officer of the Spanish crown longing for a transfer that may never come.

Alden Ehrenreich as "Han Solo" in Solo
Mimicry is overrated. It's better to get the spirit of a thing than to duplicate the tics. He manages the former though the script fights against it, refashioning Han as a hero at the beginning. 

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