Saturday, July 10, 2010

Adrien Brody, Posterized

Oscar winner Adrien Brody is back in theaters with Predators (i.e. Predators 5: A Reboot??? I don't know. I don't follow these things) and it arrives so shortly after his last sci-fi effort Splice... why not feature him? We never discuss him and isn't there plenty to discuss. As in WTF with his career? I can't include all 35 movies so I thought we'd pick up just where things got interesting.

Though he's had his share of straight to DVD or barely released indies over the years, he actually started off with quite a few classy projects with the likes of Steven Soderbergh (King of the Hill) and Francis Ford Coppola (New York Stories). He reportedly expected Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line (1998) to be his film-carrying breakthrough but Malick's film was so fluid in the telling that many famous actors were entirely deleted in the final cut and Brody's part was drastically reduced. The film ended up being a breakthrough showcase for Jim Caviezel instead. Though really, let's be honest, the star of all of Malick's movies is Malick himself.

But Brody's reputation as a quality actor was growing all the time and acclaimed directors like Spike Lee, Barry Levinson and Ken Loach were next...

Summer of Sam (99) | Liberty Heights (99) | Bread and Roses (00)

Love the Hard Way (01) | Affair of the Necklace (01) | Dummy (02)

The Pianist (02) | The Singing Detective (03) | The Village (04)

The Jacket (05) | King Kong (05) | Hollywoodland (06)

Darjeeling Limited (07) | Brothers Bloom (08) | Cadillac Records (08)

Giallo (09) | Splice (10) | Predators (10)

Summer of Sam (1999), an undervalued Spike Lee joint, was a minor turning point, wasn't it? It was impossible not to notice him, his fine performance being all tautly tangled up in spikey punk hair and lanky sex worker physique (Why was everyone surprised by the muscles in King Kong and then again in Predators? Collective amnesia.) His mainstream peak was obviously mashing on Halle Berry when he won the Oscar for The Pianist in spring 2003.

But since then...

Dire choices? Lack of support from the right people in Hollywood? Bad luck? The stars not lining up correctly? Drifting interest (I'm sure all the modelling pays well)? Or are things going just fine... no cause for alarm?

How many have you seen? And, aside from The Pianist, what's your favorite in from his Brody of work?

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P.S. Because it's so funny, let's end with BRODYQUEST [thanks, Nick]


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32 comments:

Nicola said...

The Brothers Bloom! Weirdly I really like him as the romantic leading man (I liked him in King Kong too).

Laika said...

I don't think he's doing that badly since The Pianist - a lot of those films, like The Village and The Brothers Bloom, are really undervalued. He was good in King Kong and The Jacket, and gave the best performance in The Darjeeling Ltd. I think in ten years or so this will look like a particularly fertile and interesting patch of his career, and personally I'm glad he hasn't followed the expected path of the serious film actor. At the minute, he seems to be mixing it up in the way Nicolas Cage managed so successfully in the nineties and early 2000s - although we all know where that ended up ...

Alexis said...

I agree the Brothers Bloom is very underrated...I actually really liked that movie

Anonymous said...

I like him as a celebrity and I think he should won some prizes for The Darjeelin Limited...

remy

NATHANIEL R said...

Nicola -- i like him too as a romantic lead -- so attractive really. and a good actor. But...

Laika -- yeah, the Cage comparison is what worries me.

Remy -- he was good in that but prizes?

I FORGOT TO MENTION MANOLETE ... is that what it's called. He made a movie with Penelope Cruz something like three years ago and it's still not released. Weirdness.

Beth Anderson said...

I think several of these movies were expected to be much bigger hits - King Kong, The Village, and Cadillac Records in particular. Either way, he's worked with some interesting directors and projects. I'll have to check out some of the earlier stuff. I actually saw Predators last night (I've seen the original a zillion times - I figured reboot + Robert Rodriguez producing would pay off). The movie wasn't too great but Brody was very good.

Deborah said...

I have seen only six of these. I've loved him in every one. He's compelling and hypnotic and gorgeous (and not for nothing, but my son is his lookalike).

Many of these are underrated: Brothers Bloom, Cadillac Records, even King Kong is better than people remember (though certainly not great). Brody doesn't seem to make good choices or know how to manage his career, but he's so wonderful.

The Man Behind The Curtain said...

I've seen The Village, King Kong, The Pianist, Hollywoodland and The Darjeeling Limited, and though I haven't necessarily loved all of those movies (*cough* The Village *cough*), Brody has generally been impressive in them.

I really hope he doesn't end up like Cage, another talent squandered and reduced in paycheck roles.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how to explain, but he sugests something so fragile about his character there, something in his eyes. Maybe its's because the movie clicked on me on very personal ways, so...

remy

David said...

Yeah, I agree with some of the previous posts. I really enjoyed Brothers Bloom, Darjeeling, and even Hollywoodland, and he was great in all of them. I'm not sure where the notion of a career decline comes in.

adri said...

I can't believe I've only seen 4 of these. He's made as much of an impression on me as if I've seen a dozen or more of his movies.

I also think that he is the perfect romantic lead (as he was in King Kong). I can't understand how casting directors/studios don't get that. Look at him! He's gorgeous! Watch him work - he's so smart, thoughtful, romantic, original, alive. Sheesh.

Dylan said...

The Brothers Bloom was a huge disappointment. If only the entire movie could have been as good as the first forty-or-so minutes. My favorite movie of his is the Darjeeling Limited, though I have not seen The Pianist. And Nathaniel? Why did you have to remind me that The Affair of the Necklace existed? Now I'll have to go through the process of burning the memory away all over again.

SoSueMe said...

Hollywoodland was a solid film with lots of great performances...Adrien, Diane Lane, Ben Affleck, and the underrated Robin Tunney. Surprised there was no Oscar love for this movie.

I think the guy is pretty versatile (I totally buy him as an action star and a romantic leading man)...maybe he needs a simple straightforward studio comedy to connect with audiences. Although I find him to be sexy and appealing and immensely talented, maybe the general movie-going public just doesn't respond to his unconventional look.

gabrieloak said...

I'm always more interested in seeing a movie if Adrian Brody is going to be in it. Having said that I probably won't be seeing Predators.

Even when the movie isn't good like The Village, you can't blame Brody. The Brothers Bloom had three of my favorite actors--Brody, Ruffalo, and Weisz--and they were all fine even if the movie could have been better.

My favorite recent Brody film is The Darjeeling Limited. Also liked Cadillac Records. Brody needs to pick his films more carefully but I will continue to support him.

I haven't seen Splice yet but I'm interested.

Nick Duval said...

There's an odd commonality of hands in these posters (i.e. "Dummy," "The Village," "The Pianist).

The only one I've seen is "The Darjeeling Limited," which, even if I had seen others, probably still my favorite. It's my favorite Wes Anderson pic, oddly enough.

MRRIPLEY said...

i think he has played parts in the offbeat and the mainstream,i quite admire his work,you can't expect a turn i nthe pianist to turn up evrry year.give him a break.

Scott said...

6. Loved Brothers Bloom. Dummy was cute, and The Jacket was better than need be, and he was the best lead in Darjeeling, but it's all about Brothers Bloom.

cal roth said...

I. LOVE. GIALLO.

I mean it.

NATHANIEL R said...

i had never heard of Giallo. so... good?

Janice said...

Like Nick Duval, the only one of these I've seen is Darjeeling but he was quite good in it. All three actors played off each other wonderfully - and I understand exactly what Remy means about the fragility his expressions suggested.

The best moment for me in that film was at the end, when Brody's character turns and smiles, silently, at his brothers. That's the first real smile we see in that film and the connection that is made in that moment felt seismic, compared to the disconnection that came before it. And I can't think of any other actor off the top of my head who could have made that intensity of feeling come across whilst doing so little. (Except maybe Chris Cooper, or Heath in Brokeback.)

NATHANIEL R said...

Nick & Janice -- get thee to The Pianist then. I don't love it the way many do but some swear it's one of the best movies ever.

i'd also recommend Summer of Sam just because it's really fascinating from a filmmaking and sociological perspective.

/3rtfu11 said...

He’s won Best Actor --- however like Kathy Bates he’s not the Hollywood type. He could very well be best served as a supporting player in mainstream and art house ensembles.

Invisible Woman said...

"As in WTF with his career?"

i've thought that several times in the past few months :-(

i have a huge crush on him for some reason, but have ever been crazy about his films....i guess summer of sam and the darjeeling ltd. were most memorable, though i thought the second film was almost too preciously quirky.

still want to see the brothers bloom.

Glenn said...

I'd always had the belief that Brody's career post-Oscar was terrible and filled with dreadful movies, but while he certainly has his fair share of them there's also some really great stuff and some box office hits, too (which is always pleasing to see for something one different from regular).

My favourite would be Summer of Sam - LOVE that movie, although The Pianist would probably rank easily as the "best". Predators (a sequel to the first two films) is actually a good, bloody, action sci-fi film. And made on a budget of less than $40mil, too! Economical!

Kyle said...

I said it before and I'll say it again, Splice is the worst movie I've seen this year.

cal roth said...

Giallo is not exactly great. It's stylish, smart and over the top, like a Brian de Palma movie with more blood. It's entrancing.

Its director is Dario Argento, you know, that one loved by Juno, who sees Suspiria, his major classic.

Googs said...

I've seen most of them and my feeling is that he does great films which hardly anyone sees.
I agree with everyone who has pointed out he would do a great romantic lead. In addition to Bloom and King Kong, he was good, although a bit awkward in Dummy.
I personally go see films based on his presence alone, because I trust him to pick good story lines and directors.
Massive exception was The Affair of the Collier, which is one of the most ridiculous film on the French Revolution ever made.
Manolete got quite a lot of buzz in the European media when it was being filmed, I remember he got the cover of Vogue Men for it, so it's a bit weird it never got released.
Apparently, The Experiment with him and Forest Whitaker is going straight to DVD because it struggled to find a distributor because of the disturbing nature of the story. I don't think it means the film is necessarily bad, just that America isn't ready to pay for it.
I'd like to see him on stage.

Katie said...

I have the BIGGEST crush on Brody. I'm obsessed!

I loved him in "Love the hard way" - he's such a sexy beast in that film, but the film itself was a large UGH. But his body, that lanky and lean physique especially with the Queens accent, Hmmmm. You know he'd make a great Tarzan if they ever make another live action film.

The Brothers Bloom was definitely underrated, and I really liked him in Dummy too. Summer of Sam is my favorite, and he was pitch perfect and captured Sorrow so well in The Pianist.

This site has been on fire lately, it's so weird, all the things I've been obsessing about on the Internet have been featured on the site during the last week. Charlize Theron: Badass Ninja Slayer, Elmer Gantry, and now Brody! Nathaniel, we are so connected right now.

NATHANIEL R said...

Katie -- glad to hear we're in synch. I sometimes think i'm too all over the place at TFE so positive reinforcement is appreciated.

Movie Tim said...

Brody was good in Predators. I wasn't sure how he would do in a lead action role... but I would totally support him coming back for a 2nd and maybe even a 3rd Predators movie in the franchise reboot.

Guillaume said...

I agree with Cal Roth,GIALLO is pretty good even if minor Argento...Brody's weird characters (Brody being both the cop and the killer "Giallo") were interesting...i hope that it will be released soon in theaters or dvd/blu ray!
I really like Brody too in "The Pianist" and "Harrisson's flowers".

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