Sunday, February 14, 2016

2015 Denny Awards - Pt 2 - Most Compelling Performances (Male)

Part 2/3 of my Annual "Denny Awards" ;-)
(Other Years' Awards)

Part I - Best Films of 2015

Part II - Most Compelling Performances / Character Roles (Male)
Part III - Most Compelling Performances / Character Roles (Female)

CHILD (male)

    Most Compelling:
            Amir and Amiri O'Neill twin brothers who play Michael, an African American boy in the Deep South of the 1950s, who just wanted taste the "white people's water" in White Water [2015]
     Honorable Mentions: 
             Steele Stebbins as Kevin, the "evil little brother" / younger son in the remake of Vacation [2015]     
             Petr Šimčák and Jan Maršál as Tomáš and Haris, 11 year old BFFs video-chronicling their 6th grade year, growing up in the Czech midsized South Bohemian town / regional capital of Česke Budejovice in To See the Sea (orig. Pojedeme k Moři) [2014] 
            Noah Wiseman as Samuel, a 7 year-old Australian boy "with some issues" being raised by a harried widowed mother in Babadook [2014]           
            Bill Melendez voicing Charlie Brown,  Alexander Garfin voicing Linus in The Peanuts Movie [2015]

TEEN (male)

    Most Compelling:
            Atli Oskar Fjalarsso as Ari a 15-year-old child of divorce in the Icelandic film Sparrows [2015] who comes to better appreciate his quite simple fisherman-by-trade of a father (played by Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson) after his mother basically abandons him to him for a "far more interesting" Danish man who "works for some NGO" somewhere in Africa.  
    Honorable Mentions:
             Nat Wolff as the somewhat nerdy high-schooler named Quentin in Paper Towns [2015] who falls in love with (in his view) a far cooler young girl, but as the story goes on, he learns far more than he had expected.
             Dylan O'Brien as Thomas who in The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials [2015] learns that a society that would put quite random teenagers (or any teenagers) into a maze is going to be pretty desperate / messed up.  Why would it do that?  Well, why?
              Pedro Maia as Ciao a high-schooler in Salvador Brazil in the mid-1980s in After the Rain (orig. Depois da Chuva) [2013] a "John Hughes"-like film but set in the context of Brazilian reality: as Brazil was transitioning from nearly two decades of military rule to democracy once again and concurrently Ciao's own school was electing a student government for the first time in a similarly long time.
            Thales Cavalcanti as Jean a previously quite "pampered rich kid" in Casa Grande [2015] in his last year prior to going to college.  The role plays-out as a straighter / more serious version Tom Cruise's in Risky Business [1983].  Basically Jean has to grow-up and to some extent "on his own."  
             Skyler Gisondo as the annoying / übersensitive older brother James in the remake of Vacation [2015] 
YOUNG ADULT (male)            
     Most Compelling:

              Ravi Patel as a somewhat fictionalized version of himself in Meet the Patels [2015] who despite being born already in the States or having arrived here when he was very young, tries very, very hard to fulfill his immigrant parents' dream of "marrying another Patel."  An unforgettable, often funny and heartfelt performance that gives viewers a lovely view into his / his parents' world.
     Honorable Mentions:
               Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Johnson who's grown-up knowing he was the illegitimate son of the boxer Apollo Creed (of  Rocky saga fame), who's had a lot of confusion about this and good deal of anger issues as well to deal with as he tries to decide what he wants to be / do with his life in Creed [2015]
               Sam Riley as Grieder, a "stranger" from America who rides in, on horseback, to a high Alpine village in Austria of the late 1800s in The Dark Valley (orig. Das Finstere Tal) [2014]What's he doing there?  He says his mother was from there.  What's he doing there now?  He's says he's there "to set things right." 
              Alexander Fehling as Johann Radmann a young junior Prosecutor in Frankfurt, West Germany in the early 1960s, who decided in good part out of boredom to follow-up on a seemingly small case that opened-up into the 1960s-era Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials in which hundreds of former Nazis were tried (finally) in German courts for their Nazi Era Crimes, in Labyrinth of Lies (orig. Im Labyrinth des Schweigens) [2014] 
              Daniel de Oliveira as Arminto Cordovi a prodigal son of a rich shipbuilder from Belem, Brazil along the banks of the Amazon in Orphans of Eldorado (orig. Órfãos do Eldorado) [2015].  He returns home, not exactly repentant, at the behest of his father's housekeeper, who knows the father is dying.  Yet instead of reconciliation with dad, he falls in love with a random if attractive lounge-singer he meets at a random river-side bar and spends the next 10 years chasing after her up and down the river in what becomes almost a Brazilian (though sexier) Apocalypse Now [1979]
               Rodrigo De la Serna as Sebastian a random if generally nice / underemployed 20-something Argentinian who's given by an elderly man, who turns out to be an Argentinian Muslim a surprising / challenging assignment in Road to La Paz (orig. Camino a La Paz) [2015]
              Odilion Esteves as simply "Any Man" in the Brazilian sci-fi film Blue Desert (orig. Deserto Azul) [2014] where everyone seemed content, the basic needs of all seemed met, but everyone, communicating almost entirely by computer / smartphone like devices also seemed lonely.
                Alejandro Aguilar as Luis, a gregarious construction worker / part-time referee who in this Colombian film Wasting Time (orig. Tiempo Perdido) [2014] composed of ever so slightly interconnected Crash [2004] / Babel [2006]-like vignettes has put much of his dreams on hold care to take care of his mother who's come down with Alzheimers Disease.

ADULT (male)
    Most Compelling:
                 David Wilmot in the Irish film Gold [2014], Tomasz Kot in the Polish film Life Must Go On (orig. Żyć nie umierać) [2015] and Konstantin Khabenskiy in the Russian film The Geographer Drank His Globe (World) Away (orig. Географ Глобус Пропил) [2013] all playing essentially the same role, that of men in their late 30s-40s who've realized that they've made some very big mistakes in life, disappointing a large number of loved ones, and seeking, with varied degrees of success to "make amends" or at least "make peace" with their situation.
    Honorable Mentions:
                Géza Röhrig as Saul Ausländer in Son of Saul (orig. Saul Fia) [2015] as an inmate in Auschwitz during WW II trying desperately to keep at least a tiny shred of agency / dignity in an otherwise utterly inhuman / Hellish situation.

                Kevin James as the honest if perhaps somewhat "boring" "regular guy" Paul Blart in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 [2015].  Yes, no one aspires to grow-up to be a "mall cop," but he's come to embrace his super-mundane job with awe inspiring sincerity.
                John Cusack as a model Fr. Pfleger-like activist priest in Chi-Raq [2015]
                Arnold Schwarzenegger as an good / honest Midwestern Farmer trying to do the right thing even after his beloved oldest daughter had been attacked and bitten by Zombies and was now slowly, irreversibly turning into a Zombie herself in Maggie [2015]
                Tom Hanks as  James B. Donovan a New York insurance lawyer / former Nuremberg Trial lawyer and quiet Patriot who is recruited by the U.S. government to quietly / competently negotiate an early Cod War Ear prisoner swap Russian spy Rudolf Abel for U.S. U-2 pilot Gary Powers) in Bridge of Spies [2015]
                 Kevin Costner as Jim White, a previously problematic high school teacher / football coach in McFarland, USA [2015] finally lands a job way out at a high school in the San Joaquin Valley where the kids don't really have time to play football.  But what they do is ... run.  So he becomes the coach of a truly remarkable all-Hispanic California cross country team.
                Ed Helms as the now adult Rusty Griswald of American family comedic classic Vacation [1983] fame, who's basically "grown-up to be his dad" in Vacation [2015] the sequel 30 years later, putting "family first" to such an extent that though an airline pilot he spends more time getting out of the parking-lot to come home from work than in the air.  On the other hand, he really cares about his family.
                Édgar Ramírez as Tony, Joy Mongano's ex-husband in Joy [2015] who remains nice and a worthwhile confidante to Joy even after their divorce, reminding us that it is possible divorce / separate amicably.
                Ben Stiller as Josh in While We're Still Young [2015] who for reasons not entirely clear (certainly it's partly his fault, but it's also partly not) has never reached his potential, becoming an increasing disappointment to his wife (played by Naomi Watts) and especially to his former mentor father-in-law (paleyd by Charles Grodin)

ELDER (male)
    Most Compelling:
                 José Carlos Ruiz, Eduardo Manzano, Luis Bayardo) playing three octogenarian friends in One for the Road (orig. En el Último Trago) [2014] who decide to fulfill the dying wish of a fourth life-long buddy (played by Pedro Weber 'Chatanuga') and go on a road trip to carry an autographed napkin given to the fourth friend by a famous mariachi singer with the lyrics of that singer's most famous song back to the museum dedicated to that singer's memory in that singer's home town.  Much, often heartfelt, hilarious, and often _very, very slow_ ensued ;-)
    Honorable Mentions:
                Ernesto Suárez as Khalil in the Argentinian film - Road to La Paz (orig. Camino a La Paz) [2015] an elderly Muslim immigrant to Argentina who near the end of his life decides that he wants to complete the Hajj (the once in a lifetime pilgrimage that Muslims are asked to undertake to Mecca).  To help him along on the first let of his journey, from Buenos Aires to La Paz,  Khalil invites a nice if random 20-something Argentinian driver to take him there.
                Ian McKellen in Mr. Holmes [2015] as an aging Sherlock Holmes, trying to solve one last case whose resolution eluded him up-onto-this point.  But he's ALSO really "starting to forget"
                Robert DeNiro as Ben a retired widower who after 5 years of retirement decides that he'd still like to do some more with his life in The Intern [2015]
                Silvester Stallone as a now older Rocky Balboa serving as a mentor figure to Adonis Johnson a son of his friend / fellow boxer Apollo Creed in Creed [2015]

    Most Compelling:   
                   Michael Shannon as Florida "Real Estate Broker" turned Mephistopheles in 99 Homes [1999] who, "a survivor" that he was had made the 2008 Financial Crisis / Housing Collapse "work" ... for him.
    Honorable Mentions:
                  Sam Riley as Grieder, a "stranger" from America who rides in, on horseback, to a high Alpine village in Austria of the late 1800s in The Dark Valley (orig. Das Finstere Tal) [2014] to "set things right."
                  Dylan O'Brien as Thomas in The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials [2015] who even after escaping "the Maze" at the end of the first episode of this story, spend much of this the second, trying to figure "What the heck is going on?" (Why was I / we in The Maze to begin with?)
                  Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Johnson who's grown-up knowing he was the illegitimate son of the boxer Apollo Creed (of  Rocky saga fame), who's had a lot of confusion about this and good deal of anger issues as well to deal with as he tries to decide what he wants to be / do with his life in Creed [2015]
                 Matt Damon as Astronaut Mark Watney who after being left behind on Mars during sand storm, doesn't lose his head but slowly, methodically works out a means of reestablishing contact with Earth and then surviving long enough to be rescued in The Martian [2015]
                 Daniel de Oliveira as Arminto Cordovi a something of an a-hole (not exactly repentant) prodigal son of a rich man who comes home to his dying father in Orphans of Eldorado (orig. Órfãos do Eldorado) [2015] only to run off again chasing after some random if attractive lounge singer he heard in some random riverside side.  
                 Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Midwestern Farmer trying to do what is right even in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse and after his beloved oldest daughter had been attacked and bitten by Zombies and was now slowly, irreversibly turning into one herself in Maggie [2015]

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