Posts Tagged ‘rip’

Director Sidney Lumet Passes Away at 86

Without a doubt, perhaps the most saddening news I have heard in quite some time. Sidney Lumet, one of the greatest individuals ever produced by Hollywood, has died this morning from lymphoma.

Lumet started his career in 1957 with perhaps the greatest of all diectorial debuts, outside of “Citizen Kane.” That film was “12 Angry Men” and, to this day, it stands as a benchmark for pure suspense built through nothing more than powerhouse acting and thematic brilliance, both can be largely attributed to Lumet’s talent. Since that day, Lumet has produced a solid and intimidating career. Some classic examples of his greatness include “Fail-Safe,” “The Pawnbroker,” “Serpico,” “Murder on the Orient Express,” “Equus,” “Prince of the City,” “The Verdict,” “Running on Empty,” “Find Me Guilty” and “Network,” which is largely considered to be the most influential film of the 1970s.

Then, there’s my personal favorite, “Dog Day Afternoon,” which is one of the most rousing and unsentimental heist movies ever made. Certain scenes, such as the cheering of “ATTICA!” or Al Pacino on the phone with Chris Sarandon, live, in my mind, as absolutely classic. The film also features a performance by Pacino which I believe to be the greatest acting work of anyone on screen. Ever.

Lumet’s final film, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” was released fifty years since his opening salvo, and overall, it was a fantastic film to close out with. It’s a wholly original script, fresh and wholly captivating at points. The movie also contains my favorite performance of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s career, which says quite a bit.

Lumet was my third favorite living director behind Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. He is also easily ranked as one of the top ten greatest directors of all time, living or dead. However, words cannot fully describe this man’s greatness. Therefore, I’ll be putting together a collection of clips that help best exhibit his raw talents.

Thank you, Sidney, for being one of the greatest contributors to the world of cinema.

Pete Postlethwaite Dies at 64 (1946 – 2011)

January 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Some of the most tragic news I’ve read in a while when I got on my computer this morning, one of my favorite actors who never really got enough credit for his extraordinary career. He is always referred to in passing, “that bald guy with a British accent.” And yet, through the years, he has remained one of the most recognizable actors in cinema. That’s not just because he’s always there, but because he’s always good.

He got his first real commercial success in David Fincher’s “Alien 3” opposite Sigourney Weaver and, ironically, a bunch of other bald guys with British accents. After that, he had a small supporting role in “The Last of the Mohicans,” before receiving his first and only Academy Award nomination for “In the Name of the Father.” In both films he starred alongside Daniel Day Lewis.

Since then, the man has had memorable performances in “The Usual Suspects,” “Dragonheart,” “James and the Giant Peach,” “Amistad,” “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” “Among Giants,” “The Shipping News,” “The Constant Gardener” and “The Omen.”

A story I always enjoyed hearing was of how after working on two projects in one year with Pete, director Steven Spielberg called him the best actor working in the world. In response, Postlethwaite laughed the compliment off, saying, “Steven probably said that ‘Pete thinks he’s the best actor in the world.'”

In 2010, Pete had roles in three American films: “Clash of the Titans,” “Inception,” and “The Town.” Perhaps, as a fitting end to his career, its joyous to think that two of those three films are very likely contenders to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award. No other actor or actress will have pulled off this feat during 2006.

I leave you with a video that actually does not promo Postlethwaite’s silver screen work, but one that displays his acting chops nonetheless.

Goodbye, Pete. We thank you for your many amazing roles and you will be missed.