Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Standout Performances: March

Welcome to a new semi-regular feature here at Movies with Abe. A lot of great performances from the first half of the year are forgotten by the time Oscar movies roll out and awards season comes around. This feature is designed to pay tribute to those actors and actresses who have demonstrated excellence in movies that likely will not be remembered at the end of the year. Maybe praise like this can help. Each edition of Sunday Standout Performances will look at a different month, referencing my reviews of the films mentioned. Here’s a look at the best performances from March.

Hye-ja Kim (Mother)

“…it’s the performance of Hye-ja Kim as the mother that really ties the film together. She throws herself completely into the role and presents a woman so fiercely loyal to her offspring whose dedication other proud mothers might yearn to mimic, albeit in a less eccentric and crazed manner. After all, the film is about one mother in particular, but the title doesn’t contain her real name. It may be a stretch to say that this film is a cinematic realization of the maternal instinct, but if any film could be classified that way, this would be it.”

Helena Bonham Carter (Alice in Wonderland)

“It’s an entirely magical world brimming with wonder, and even if Alice isn’t ready to accept it as truly existing, audiences can watch with amazement at the stunning visuals and visualization of this classic locale. Nothing is spared in the creation of this universe, and the three-dimensional animation helps to maximize the majesty of this place and instill a sense of enchantment in everything that occurs within its bounds. Helena Bonham Carter is hilarious as the bigheaded Red Queen, and the way she cries out “off with her head” is absolutely terrific.”

Ciarin Hinds & Iben Hjejle (The Eclipse)

“The caliber of the performances more than matches the depth and complexity of the characters. Ciaran Hinds, whose previous credits include background characters in ‘Munich’ and ‘There Will Be Blood’ and Julius Caesar on HBO’s ‘Rome,’ is mesmerizing as Farr. He is muted and solitary but his face says so much when he speaks to his kids and to Morelle, and takes on an entirely different expression of terror when he faces the unknown in the form of a visiting ghost. Iben Hjejle is equally excellent as Morelle, and the way she interacts with Farr and with an egotistical writer named Nicholas Holden (Aidan Quinn) reveals so much about her.”

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