Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Popmatters top 20 men of 2008
Here is the companion piece to the Pop Matters top 20 actresses of the year, here's their choices for the top 20 male performances:
#20 - BILL IRWIN in RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
"Actor and clown Irwin shows how far/low the American father has come/gone in 28 years. His is truly a disturbingly good portrayal."
#19 - FRANCOIS CLUZET in TELL NO ONE
"At once detective, suspect, and victim, Beck is defined by loss, and Cluzet wisely plays him like there’s nothing left to lose."
#18 - RICHARD JENKINS in THE VISITOR
"Jenkins is in nearly every scene, and he carries the movie wonderfully as Walter begins to discover joy in his life, and later deals with tragedy and even tentative, tender middle-aged love."
#17 - BRENDAN GLEESON in IN BRUGES
"Gleeson, however, endearingly conveys a big man who wants nothing more than to enjoy life’s small pleasures even as his criminal commitment unavoidably draws him back in."
#16 - VINNIE JONES in MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN
"In this movie, he’s frightening just walking on the street in a business suit, and when he shifts gears to attack unsuspecting passengers on the New York City subway, it’s absolutely terrifying."
#15 - JOSH BROLIN in MILK
"Opposite some of the most sublime acting of last year courtesy of Penn, Franco and Hirsch, Brolin works a minor miracle by nearly stealing the film away from everyone with about a tenth of their screen time."
#14 - BRAD PITT in BURN AFTER READING
"No statement, then, could more highly attest to Pitt’s degree of in-character “transformation” here."
#13 - JAMES FRANCO in PINEAPPLE EXPRESS
"Who knew James Franco was so hilarious?!"
#12 - PHILLIP SEYMORE HOFFMAN in DOUBT
"At every turn, Hoffman seems to hide the truth, leaving the audience ambiguous as to whether or not he’s guilty, misunderstood, or something far more personal. It’s spellbinding to watch."
#11 - LEONARDO DICAPRIO in REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
"Despite his lack of buzz, he has the heavy lifting in this film, though you’d never know at a glance. He makes it look entirely too easy."
#10 - MICHAEL SHEEN in FROST/NIXON
"Sheen exhibits a fresh dynamism that communicates the emotional compartmentalization that comes with the territory."
#9 - MATTHIEU AMALRIC in A CHRISTMAS TALE
"Amalric proves once again to be one of the most engaging, interesting actors working today."
#8 - FRANK LANGELLA in FROST/NIXON
"While he definitely looks the part, Langella’s triumph is in bearing Nixon’s noxious soul. It’s something no mimic can match."
#7 - ROBERT DOWNEY JR in IRON MAN
"Playing a superhero who’s both sleazy and inspiring at the same time, Robert Downey Jr. shows once again that he’s an actor without limits."
#6 - JOSH BROLIN in W
"Josh Brolin’s George W. Bush is a pretty dead-on piece of mimicry, yet as such, it’s only marginally more effective than your run-of-the-mill Saturday Night Live sketch."
#5 - MICHAEL SHANNON in REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
"A powerful performer always circling the main cast, Shannon comes into his own as the insane son of an uptight real estate agent played by Kathy Bates."
#4 - ROBERT DOWNEY JR in TROPIC THUNDER
"Downey was the best thing about the amazing Iron Man, so the fact that Tropic Thunder was his best performance of 2008 should tell you something about just how good he was in Ben Stiller’s comedy."
#3 - SEAN PENN in MILK
"Sean Penn is absolutely astounding in Milk, anchoring an impressive film filled with equally impressive performances with his serenely happy Harvey."
#2 - HEATH LEDGER in THE DARK KNIGHT
"Ledger’s performance truly constructed the devil from his attention to detail, creating an enigmatic sort of subtext to the Joker mythos."
#1 - MICKEY ROURKE in THE WRESTLER
"Each frayed relationship depicted in The Wrestler is written in the crevices of Rourke’s subtly expressive face—a lifetime of professional miscues bubbling just beneath the surface. And yet this isn’t just an exorcism of a careers-worth of demons, but also the performance that Rourke has been building towards over the course of a decade spent in exile. This is the best performance of the year."