Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Today's Must Watch: 14 (Silent) Character Types

Oh to have the New York Times arts budget. They've asked 14 actors to recreate classic character types in 1 minute segments and the results are at turns breathtakingly gorgeous (Natalie Portman), funny (James Franco), exciting (Javier Bardem), questionable (Jesse Eisenberg?) and sometimes plain old garden variety awesome (Tilda Swinton's Falconetti?) Yes please.

Tilda Swinton
Noomi Rapace
Anthony Mackie

But my favorite might be Jennifer Lawrence's screaming victim.

Watch all 14 here (also starring Vincent Cassell, Chloë Moretz, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall and Lesley Manville.)  It'll only take you 14 minutes!


Anonymous said...

I was wondering when you were going to post this! Lawrence's is my favorite by far, Portman seemed a bit stiff in hers but maybe that was the point? I still love her.

Robert Hamer said...

Javier Bardem, James Franco and Natalie Portman: You know, these three would be perfect for a silent film. Someone like Todd Haynes needs to try an experiment like that and just let them go nuts. They all have distinct qualities that would suit the format perfectly.

Jesse Eisenberg: Yeah, a little awkward. He's just not a gun-toting badass, sorry.

Chloe Moretz: Ugh, I just...can't...stand her. Awful, awful. When is she going to go away?

Matt Damon: Immensely watchable. Such a great leading man.

Michael Douglas: Wow...that was jarring. He really looks different, and what's interesting is how...well he utilizes it for his segment.

Jennifer Lawrence: Looks like she had fun with that one.

Noomi Rapace: Ooh, having a Batman-fanboy moment...okay, that aside, I do wonder what exactly she was singing?

Vincent Cassel: I didn't like this one. Too many cuts and tricks when just him dancing would've been great.

Anthony Mackie: Something about this segment felt off, but I can't put my finger on it.

Robert Duvall: Ah, nothing better than an old actor taking advantage of his weathered face.

Lesley Manville: Very good. Makes you take a hundred reasonable guesses at what she was talking about but not quite know for sure.

Tilda Swinton, aka GOD: There's a reason they saved her for last.

adri said...

- I thought Jennifer Lawrence was doing Lillian Gish in "Broken Blossoms". Fun.
- I read that Vincent Cassel's actor father was considered the Fred Astaire of France, so kind of cool to see this one.
- And boy, Natalie Portman seems a whole lot sharper on creating a visual image than she was before. The Black Swan work looks like it's going to pay all kinds of dividends for her.
- Michael Douglas looks like Jean Cocteau in this one. What a pro. He really knows how to use what he's got, whatever it is at the time.
- Tilda Swinton, yes the best for last - thanks for the Falconetti reference. I'm ready to watch the whole movie with her.

Robert said...

Lawrence's was my favorite too! Though Tilda's was just too gorgeous for words. And Matt Damon's was great. Chloe Moretz was interesting...I wonder what "type" she was? I can't quite place it.

Brooke M said...

Noomi Rapace is gorgeous. Those cheekbones. Gaahhh. Also did anyone spot a resemblance between Portman here and Kristen Scott Thomas.

My favourite was probably Bardem's.

And gosh, poor Michael Douglas, but everyone's right, good on him for using it.

Silencio said...

Swinton/Falconetti hurts my heart. I think in a good way.

Jesse M said...

Awww, I loved the Chloe Morentz. But I'm a sucker for all those hooks -- the intense close-up, the slow-mo, the melodrama.

I also really liked the Vincent Cassel, maybe because I just saw him in Black Swan and I dug his precision and body language in this piece.

I think what felt off about the Anthony Mackie segment was that he appears to be running in place. There's no sense of inertia or forward momentum... I think they just didn't do a great job filming it. It looks like he's just bobbing.

What a fun project, though.

amir_uk said...

Noomi Rapace obviously doesn't smoke... or sing, for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Chloe Moretz is my favorite. I can't get enough of this girl, she's just so talented!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tilda Swinton is great too.

James T said...

Wow! I loved it!

Were are all of them doing a classic character? I have no idea what each one did but I still loved it.

Andrew R. said...

I agree with Robert on most of them.

But I thought Chloe Moretz was funny, and Cassel was great.

My favorite was also Jennifer Lawrence.

Janice said...

//- I thought Jennifer Lawrence was doing Lillian Gish in "Broken Blossoms". Fun. //

@adri: I had the exact same thought. Good eye.

I actually liked Mackie's, once I got into the "hypnosis" of the bobbing action and concentrated on his face. It reminded me of the crop-duster scene in North by Northwest.

Tilda - there are no words. Literally.

Franco's face is so watchable - but should I feel uncomfortable? Is he playing "gay" or merely "narcissistic" or is it implying gay means narcissistic?

When Michael Douglas turned to the camera he reminded me of both an elderly Picasso and of Pacino in "Angels in America". I think it's startling because I know I'm used to seeing him very virile and handsome - whereas Duvall seems to have been old forever.

Nat, there's also a slideshow related to this and there's a lovely photo of The Bening - she's the only one in the slideshow who was not included in the video. (Criminal!)

Kurtis O said...

My second favorite is the one with Vincent Cassel, who I find extremely sexy. But Swinton as Falconetti? My god. I'm going to pretend that was made just for me.

Unknown said...

Jennifer Lawrence...or Coolidge?? Mother/daughter casting in the future?

Volvagia said...

Swinton as Falconetti: Wow! Biopic us now! (Preferably as silent as her film.)

Deus Ex Machina said...

I'm desperate to know exactly which characters were teach one recreating. I thought Lesley Manville a little Jeanne Moreau in Elevator to The Gallows? Is there a way to find out a post?

Aaron said...

Tilda Swinton looks EERILY like David Bowie here!!! I mean, that comparison has been made before but in this picture...she looks more like BOWIE than Falconetti...I mean...WOW!!!

Andrew David said...

Tilda is undeniably divine, that was beautiful.

I would have liked Bardem and Cassel's a lot more if the editing wasn't doing most of the work for them... whereas Franco and Portman really controlled the frame with great acting.

Nicki said...

Who the hell is Noomi Rapace and why haven't I heard of her before? I already know I'm gonna love her and I haven't even heard her speak.

btw, Chloe Moretz needs to gtfo.

Manuel said...

Tilda Swinton - O M G
Noomi Rapace is Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo triology

Michael Douglas was dangerously good and Jennifer Lawrence would have made Alfred Hithcock very proud I think
Lesley is GOOOD and Javier Bardem ooosing sex, wild and videotape