...the movie, not so much.
This weekend I wallowed in a mini-marathon and watched four movies.
In each there was at least one performance that was memorable but the movie as a whole was just OK.
In no particular order...
Zodiac- Robert Downey Jr. was the standout performance although he plays a secondary character who almost disappears for the last third of the film. Jake Gyllenhaal, apparently the protagonist (it's hard to tell honestly), manages to drain the life out of the story of one of America's most notorious serial killers.
By movies end I didn't even care that the Zodiac killer was never caught, I just wanted it to be over.
Shadow of the Vampire- a very quirky film about the making of the legendary vampire flic Nosferatu. Both John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe are excellent but the film suffers from a few really odd editing choices that distracted from the overall impact.
Truly beautiful opening credits and a very interesting concept, but somehow the sum was less than it's parts.
I'd recommend it despite my misgivings.
Note: If you haven't seen, or aren't at least familiar with, the original Nosferatu, you might not get some of this film's premise. Nosferatu is worth checking out for the vampire alone...still one of the most genuinely creepy characters in film history.
Bridge on the River Kwai- a multiple Oscar winner from 1957, this movie is your typical Hollywood blockbuster of the time but Alec Guinness gives a performance that still stands up and makes the whole movie worth watching.
I thought his character was betrayed by the writers at the very end but that doesn't tarnish his achievement in creating a tragically principled, but crazed, British officer.
Plus, it has the Col. Bogey March as it's theme song...try getting that out of your head.
TransAmerica- I consider this a must see just for the performance of Felicity Huffman.
Best known now for Desperate Housewives (although she hit my radar in Sports Night), she plays Bree, a man in the final stages of a gender change operation.
So, what you have is a woman playing a man who wants to become a woman.
Amazingly, you don't doubt the character for a minute so nuanced and total is Ms. Huffman's performance.
She was nominated for an Oscar which is pretty weird given the limited release and general lackluster nature of the rest of the movie but that just shows how stellar her creation was.
Watch it just to see an artist at work.
Of these four, I'd willingly see TransAmerica and Shadow of the Vampire again- shortcomings and all, they both have some really interesting performances.