11 December 2009

A continuation: Richard Corliss' Top Ten Performances

In my previous post I discussed Time magazine film critic Richard Corliss' top ten films of 2009. I found that he tried to mix the art house film genre with more mainstream titles. I do not understand how his top two films of the year can be overdone animated films! He also presents us with his top ten performnces of 2009, five female and five female.

Let's take a look at his list:

Les Femmes:
5. Marion Cotillard, Nine
Rob Marshall (Oscar-nominated director of Chicago) has adapted a stage musical (which was adapted multiple times before that) that garnered a lot of Oscar buzz for most of the year. Two weeks before its release Nine has been getting a lot of disappointing early reviews, but only Marion Cotillard (2007 Best Actress winner for La Vie en Rose -- who did not deserve the award over Julie Christie) has received praise. It is a bit early to see if this performance deserves its place on the list, but in a year full of amazing female performances you can never be sure!

4. Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia
I am an avid fan of Meryl Streep and was eager to see the film when it was released. I was disappointed by Amy Adams whiny performance as Julie, and the overall sugarcoated tone of the film, but Meryl Streep was exceptional as Julia Child. Is this performance as good as some of her earlier work? No... but it is deserving of being mentioned as one of the best of 2009.

3. Saorise Ronan, The Lovely Bones
Peter Jackson's return to the human drama (like 1994's Heavenly Creatures) was one of my most anticipated films of the year. It was supposed to put into limited release in Toronto this weekend, but that has been pushed to the middle of January. Is this due to the extremely mixed reviews? If so, this will probably hurt the young Saorise Ronan's chances at a second nomination.

2. Carey Mulligan, An Education
So far, my choice for Best Actress of the year, Carey Mulligan was perfectly flawless as a young sixteen year-old coming of age in An Education. She is the highlight of a wonderful film and her performance brings an incredible amount of promise for the future.

1. Mo'Nique, Precious
I think that my love for Precious has waned since seeing the remarkable film, and even more so after seeing Up In The Air.
I have been thinking that Mo'Nique's career as an outrageous comedienne helped her transformation to create the shocking and volatile Mary Jones. Mo'Nique is scary in her role, but the film belongs to Gabourey Sibide, whose performance should be ranked higher.

What do I believe is missing? Both women from Up In The Air, Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga, gave incredible performances that would be included in my list, along with Carey Mulligan and Gabourey Sibide.

Les Hommes:
5. Michael Jackson, This Is It
Is this a joke? Can someone really be praised for playing oneself in a documentary? Not in my opinion.

4. Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
This is the greatest supporting role amongst all actors this year. Hans Landa is a wonderfully complex character and Waltz's portrayal is flawless. My only complaint: Mélanie Laurent should be receiving the same amount of praise for her role in Quentin Tarantino's film.

3. George Clooney, Up In The Air
So far this is my choice for Best Actor. Clooney brings something fresh and new to this role. I am in love with this film.

2. Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
This is a remarkable film, as I have repeatedly said, but I do not think that this is one of the year's five performances.

1. Colin Firth, A Single Man
Winner of the Best Actor award at the Venice Film Festival, Colin Firth has garnered an immense amount of praise for his role in Tom Ford's first film. It will be exciting to see in the months to come if this small art house film can compete against George Clooney and Morgan Freeman (whose performance in Invictus has also won a lot of praise).

What is missing? Michael Stuhlbarg's performance in the Coen brothers' A Serious Man has so far been unfairly neglected.

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