Thursday 22 March 2018


Since all this is being published after the Oscars, we know who all were the "best" performers of this year were *cough* Gary Oldman shouldn't have won *cough*. Well, my list is a bit different. I actually started making these lists because of how much I loved my #1 performance and HAD to write about it somewhere. So without much further rambling introductions, here are my top 20 performances of 2017:

 Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049

As wonderful as the Gos is at comedy, there's a reason he became known for his strong and silent characters. His K is a replicant who longs to be human, but he cannot show it apart from the most smallest and heartbreaking of gestures. Gosling does so much with so little.

 Lesley Manville in Phantom Thread

The most delicious performance in this list. Again, it's a performance of control and how terrifying it can be when we see it slip ever so little. Also her line readings ARE AMAZEBALLS! Scary, but amazeballs.

Catherine Keener in Get Out

I feel like Keener is Manville's character if she knew hypnosis, and was obviously a rabid racist. Has someone stirring tea ever been more frightening?

Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out

It's one of the most iconic shots of this year, when tears are falling from Kaluuya's face as he sits paralyzed in horror. There's a reason for that. He lets you feel the dread, the utter helplessness. You cannot escape it. Other than that scene too, you can kind of see what he's thinking but still not really, which is an interesting tightrope that he walks on throughout the film, and I am so glad he's been rightfully rewarded for it.

Rajkumar Rao in Trapped/Newton/Bareilly Ki Barfi

He's one of the best Indian actors of his generation and 2017 was a great year for him to showcase his immense potential. Each role couldn't be more different than the other. In Trapped, he is a man battling for survival, both physically and mentally. In Bareilly, he plays the scared pushover and the over-the-top extrovert equally well. In Newton, he is someone who has to witness the complete break of a system and figure out how to be someone who can still be moral in an amoral world. Rao does all of these roles justice and then some.

 Jennifer Lawrence in mother!

For most of the film, I kept waiting for "mother" to turn into the JLaw we all know now- headstrong, vulgar, bold, loud. But she is none of that. Lawrence's personality is so big that we sometimes forget that she's a pretty fantastic actress and mother! is testament to that. The film is focused on her face because she is the eyes of the audience to the madness that is her life. We have to be connected to her emotionally for the movie's outlandishness to make any sense. Lawrence shows exactly such vulnerability. I don't understand the backlash against her at all. Sure, the film is divisive as fuck but Lawrence has given a complete against-type, open and intimate performance that should be lauded by all.

 Meryl Streep in The Post

Let me just say off the bat, this is a very very good performance. But I think one of the reasons why it is so high up is because of the character too and how Streep embodies it. I connected to the character completely, and the arc she goes through and the way Streep portrays it, it really moved me. This is one of my most personal picks, if that makes sense.

Harry Dickinson in Beach Rats

The first of my "WHERE DID THEY FIND HIM/HER?!!" picks. He is so good in this film playing a teenager exploring his sexuality in a world where something like that still isn't easy. Even though his character doesn't speak much, there's an openness about Dickinson's face that I so love in actors. His eyes speak volumes and it's very compelling to watch.

Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird

Ronan is already kind of a legend at 23. Each of her THREE Oscar nominations couldn't have gone to more disparate characters. As Lady Bird, she is all confidence and confusion mixed in a perfectly imperfect concoction. I think all teenage me would have wanted is to be her but (relatively sorta) grown up me sees and appreciates the complexity in the character and how deftly Ronan brings that out.

 Barry Keoghan in The Killing of A Sacred Deer

He's so creepy and unnerving in this. I mean, who can forget that spaghetti scene? Lanthimos has a way with weirdo characters and Keoghan plays one of the most unforgettable ones. Just thinking about him gives me the heebie-jeebies and if that's not an impactful performance, I don't know what is.

 Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water

When I think about Hawkins in this movie, the first thing I think about the scene when she tells Richard Jenkins's character about how the creature completes her and how much that made me cry. Hawkins is such a luminous presence. I'm always excited to see her in a film and she was such a perfect choice for this character because of how well she expresses joy and sorrow and everything in between even without words.

 Hugh Jackman in Logan

Jackman has played Logan/Wolverine for 17 years. You would think one would have seen all that is to offer with this one character but he saved the best for last. There is of course tragedy in the story of Wolverine but there's also the idea of him being invincible to match that. In Logan however, we don't have that safety net anymore and what we are presented with is a broken, dying man, who has lived through so much and probably watched everyone he's ever cared about die. We don't see this in the film but we see it in Jackman's performance. He is so heartbreaking yet ferocious in this. It's a crying shame that the performance didn't get the awards love it deserved but at least we can be happy knowing people will be talking about this more than some damn British guy made of makeup.

Allison Williams in Get Out

Her true brilliance shines upon a rewatch. She is so eerily fantastic in this, dropping enough hints along the way but still managing to shock us with her true intentions. It's perfect casting that is elevated by an even more perfect performance.

Margot Robbie in I, Tonya

This movie was so surprising but not Robbie's performance. Ever since the first trailer dropped, I knew this would be one of THE performances of the year. I have an affinity towards arguably terrible characters who are really passionate about something. It kind of made me think of Selina Meyer from Veep. Of course Robbie's Harding wasn't remotely as awful but the scenes that show her love of skating, they were really powerful and have stuck with me ever since.

 James Franco in The Disaster Artist

Franco is just tremendous as Wiseau, the actor and the person. When he commits to a role, there are very few like him. His Wiseau is equal parts funny and poignant and kinda unforgettable.

Timothée Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name

He beat Franco purely based on that last scene. That scene broke me. My other favourite thing about this performance is how I know with every rewatch I'm going to like it more and more. Having read the book, I was on a lookout for certain things Chalamet's Elio does and while in the book his emotions are bursting out of him since we are completely privy to his thoughts, the movie version is more silent and secretive but still grappling with the same feelings and urges. I don't think I was able to see all of it and it still pretty much blew me away. Can't wait to fall in love with him falling in love all over again.

 Chris Pine in Wonder Woman

I kinda need the clap emoji to make my point come across fully but Imma try anyway- CHRIS PINE'S LAST SCENE IN THE PLANE WAS SOME GOD LEVEL ACTING AND WE ARE ALL BLESSED TO HAVE WITNESSED IT! He was so funny and effortless in the movie and the look he gives at the end has been seared into my brain and more importantly my heart ever since. I'll write more about Wonder Woman in other posts but that film works because it makes you feel and Pine's Steve is the actual heart of the film.

Vicky Krieps in Phantom Thread

She's the second of my "WHERE DID THEY FIND HIM/HER" choices. And I mean, where do you find an actress who not only meets Daniel Day-Lewis in a scene head on but out-acts him? What? Is she magic? Krieps is a force of fucking nature in this film. She starts out all shy and redfaced but from the moment she tells Day-Lewis's character that he would lose if he played the blinking game with her, you could sense she's not some wide-eyed ingenue. She drives the movie like her character who breaks the routine of the Woodcocks' lives with her determination and individuality. Again, I had a really good feeling about her because the last time Paul Thomas Anderson introduced an actress in his films, it was Katherine Waterston and lemme just say, he's on a helluva roll in this particular road.

Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird

Well, she sort of played all our moms, didn't she? It's a brilliant performance that is so specific that you find elements in it that you can relate to in your own experiences with your mother. I wrote above about how teenage me would've idolized Lady Bird if it had come out then but I am so glad it came out now because I can see the hurt and pain and love and sacrifice in her Marion which I wouldn't have understood at a younger age. I think the time in a teenager/young adult's life when they realize that their parents are normal people too, who also make mistakes and are trying to make the best of everything, is underrepresented in films and Lady Bird shows that so well and we wouldn't have the full impact of it without Metcalf's multifaceted and true-to-life portrayal.

 Florence Pugh in Lady Macbeth

As I wrote in the intro, the only reason to make any of these lists was so that I can find a way of praising this performance. It is amazing. It actually reminds me of Amazing Amy but like more evil and human at the same time. Pugh's Katherine is all desire. She has to be cunning and cruel to get her desires fulfilled and we're just along for the ride. There's a reason the film is named upon one of the most infamous women in literature, who begged the powers to take away her kindness and fill her with poison... there's a reason she's often called the fourth witch. Funnily enough, watching it, I was reminded of a quote from the film The Witch which was "Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?" Pugh's Katherine does and she's willing to sacrifice everyone in her path for it. Everything that Pugh does in this film is so deliberate and natural at the same time. Her boredom, her lust, her anger, her jealousy, her cruelty- it is all a joy to behold. I can imagine people being disgusted by her but I was just fascinated by this little giant of a woman, who btw obviously also tops my "WHERE DID THEY FIND HIM/HER" picks. It is a brave and gutsy performance, one that takes hold of your brain and doesn't let go, which I suppose is appropriate given the character. She's not one to be forgotten. She simply wouldn't allow it.

So what were some of your favourite performances from 2017? Lemme know in the comments below. Also Next up we have EVERYTHING else I loved about 2017 movies!

Wednesday 21 March 2018

"'Let the past die. Kill it if you have to." FAVOURITE MOVIE SCENES OF 2017

SHE LIVES!! Yes, peeps who still follow this blog (first of all, thank you so much! Second of all, why????), I am back... sorta. I haven't made end of the year lists for the past few years now and that sucks because this was one of my favourite things to do. 2017 was a crazy year for the world and an interesting one for films. I think, if we survive the next few years without a nuclear war breaking out etcetera, that films made 2017 onwards will be studied by future generations for their themes and trends, some of which reflect in the scenes chosen below. So without further adieu, these are my favourite scenes of 2017:

Crossing the wall- Baahubali 2: The Conclusion

For those of you who haven't heard of Baahubali, it is one of the biggest films in Indian film history and a massive pop culture phenomenon. Channeling my inner Stefon, it has everything- men with superhuman strength, dysfunctional families, royal intrigue, romantic subplots, elephants, flying ships, legendary cliffhangers, flashbacks and so on. They're a really fun bunch of films completely sincere about their over-the-topness. For that, I have chosen a scene which is easily the most unrealistic, almost to the point of laugh-out-loud absurdity, where the laws of physics are not just defied but recreated from scratch. It's the FUNNIEST scene of the year if not of all time. I can't write more about it, you just have to experience it yourselves. You're welcome, plebs. 

The soirée- Princess Cyd

Have you ever wanted to live in a scene? This scene is like all my hopes and dreams of being an intellectual with equally intellectual and lovely friends, hanging out, casually reading gorgeous poetry, realized into a perfect little scene. Gaahhhhh, I want!
P.S. I'm definitely not an intellectual.

Stairway fight- Atomic Blonde

Yes, stairway fight scenes done in single takes are kinda over and done with now but this is a really well directed and thrilling scene. My favourite thing about it is how hurt everyone, especially Charlize Theron, appears which is something usually done away with in order to add a layer of coolness, but here we feel every punch or every fall and the scene is all the better for it.

Alma's surprise dinner- Phantom Thread

I love me an awkward, confrontational dinner scene and that's exactly what we get here. The zingers, the acting, the frustration- it is all there and it is all delicious.

The Wake- mother!

Of course the last act's descent into hell leaves a lasting mark, but I think the Wake is like every introvert's personal nightmare come to life- when you have to deal with a lot of strange people but also cannot be angry because of the occasion (unless they break your sink, of course). The Biblical symbolism and Jennifer Lawrence's acting makes it even better, or at least unforgettable.

 Coco- Coco

Few things make me cry as much as Pixar. The central themes of this film- family, memories and of course music all culminate in this scene and man, it's a helluva tearjerker.

Kylo and Rey team up- Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Spoilers but like this was fucking cool. It looked amazing- the contrasting lightsabers, the backdrop, the action. I know people are divided about this film but I don't think anyone was disappointed by this team up. Bonus points for how it ends with the reveal of Rey's origin.

 Punishing the Father-in-Law- Lady Macbeth

Katherine is an evil bitch, no doubt about it. But when this scene comes along, we're still not aware of how full of poison she is and the terrors she's going to unleash. So, we just watch and enjoy how she handles a really dickish oppressive older white man, and it's just fun. 

K vs Deckard in Vegas- Blade Runner 2049

Simply the most aesthetically stunning scene in a film full of them. Elvis!!

 The Sunken Place- Get Out

Apart from maybe the first place entry, this is probably the most symbolic scene of 2017. But it's not just that, it's much more. The sense of dread, helplessness, horror, Kaluuya and Keener's fantastic performances and the complete unexpectedness of it all make it one of the best scenes of the year.

The premiere- The Disaster Artist

Imagine watching The Room for the first time, without being aware of its unique pop cultural position. Now imagine being the person who made it, who has to sit with a blind and blunt audience who carelessly deride your life's work. This scene is really funny and heartbreaking and surprisingly inspiring. What's not to love?

 Laura introduces her claws- Logan

This was one of the coolest, most surprising scenes of last year. Who could've seen it coming? Dafne Keen is the littlest badass ever who makes a big group of strong men tremble in their shoes. Most epic introduction of 2017.

Visions of Gideon- Call Me By Your Name

Okay show of hands- who all were completely destroyed by this?
Me too. So sad. So beautiful. #creys4eva*

The projector scene- It

2017 was a great year for horror and this was the best old-school horror scene in it. The use of the photos, Pennywise's reveal, the utter powerlessness, Pennywise jumping out of the friggin' screen right at you! So scary and so effective.

No Man's Land- Wonder Woman

I wrote about common themes in films at the start of this post. I think this scene directly plays into that. There is, what feels like, a sort of shift in the world. Because things are so bad, when something is good, fighting against it, it feels huge. This scene encapsulated that and then some. Symbols are important- they convey so much with so little and Diana, out on the battlefield, with her shield that doesn't seem magical because it is but because how and why she's holding it, deflecting bullets, saving people, being Wonder Woman without anyone even saying it... it wasn't just important, it felt monumental. Groundbreaking. Earth-shifting. I'm so happy it exists and women of all ages can see it.

And that's it! Stay tuned for my favourite performances, films and everything else of 2017. It's good to be blogging again! Let me know what you thought of these scenes and what were some of your own favs!

*I'm sorry I can't express emotions without added stupidity.