Saturday, November 12, 2011


A briefish intro. I neglect this blog. It'd be fine if i had something better to do, however--hold up! I'm here so wtf - let's get cooking. I like a good performance. i daresay I gravitate toward certain actors, more for what they bring with themselves than what project they're working with. Sometimes these "character actors" harmoniously weave their uniqueness into a god project. A lot of us movie dweebs use the aforementioned term, and the more you think about it, the stupider it sounds. USA Network's "Character's Welcome" tagline kinda sealed the deal. No show on there has any real or enjoyable characters. But they no doubt have good character actors reading the plotty, lackluster dialogue.

Anyway, seeing the trailer for the buzzed about new indie Tyrannosaur, it struck me as wasteful that interesting actresses like Peep Show's Olivia Coleman don't get more large scale film roles. The one's with character actors (I'll drop the quotes, the battle for reason is moot) in starring roles tend to be better. Not that I don't like stars. Mel Gibson. Russell Crowe. With any luck, Boardwalk Empire's Michael Shannon will be the next action star (that's right, whether he wants it or not). As Soprano's showed beyond a doubt, character actors can carry a friggin story. Leo cannot. Depp, despite some good turns here and there, cannot. Surely Pitt... Actually Pitt's only improving. Same with Damon... Clooney, Cruise, Costner, Gibson cannot....

Ramble gramble puddin pie. Future posts will be succincter, I promise. But for now, do I want to chuck anything else in? Oh yeah - there are character actor imposters out there. People who are good looking. maybe a little like Matthew McCannahough (Kris Kristofferson's ne'er do well henchman son in Steven Segal vehicle Fire Down Below) or Viggo Mortensen (lead copacter in Walking Dead). In fact the whole cast of Walking Dead or Lost consists of these actors. Bland archetypes to hopefully identify with. washed out and empty but shimmery enough to allow to zonk you. Actually, they sneak in some true blues in Lost. There is no one quite like man-mountain Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Adebisi from Oz) and Terry O'Quinn (The original Stepfather) has that insidious normal guy/cretin anti-charm down pat. But let's just leave the rest of those pretty things (yeah, Hurley too)to the bottom of the cliff they're always hanging off of and do this thing already.

Helena Kallianiotes

Was watching Ravi Shankar's performance in D.A. Pennebaker's Monterey Pop documentary and besides crying, was startled to see none other than the lovely and exotic Palm Apodaca. She looks, like many of the audience members filmed during Shankar and co.'s performance , radiant with the palpable uplift the music instills. Her and Toni Basil always seemed liked something out of another dimension in the otherwise somber, hardscrabble drama of Five Easy Pieces. They don't fit, and Karen Black is acutely aware of this, despite her tendency to be friendly to the roadside lesbians.

Chances are her and Basil were meant to be just director Rafelson's angry feminazi armchair liberal flunkies, but there's something lived-in and knowing about Kallianiotes performance (and her natural quiet/loud chemistry with Basil) that transcends the "get-a-load-of-these-freaks" framing. They are eventually dumped on the side of the highway, but not before establishing that their antipathy will get them as far as they need to go. You don't feel bad for them and they don't much want you to anyway so everyone's happy.

It fascinates me to no end to read that she lives on Nicholson's estate and manages it as well. Apparently she used to belly dance at a Greek restaurant called The Intersection. It's not hard to picture her and Jack having an occasional exchange resembling the one at the end of Carnal Knowledge. There's something of the gypsy love goddess to her, even if she's a little chilling.

Like Kim Darby or Galaxy Craze, Kallianiotes is an eye-catching but elusive actress. She's in an old Roller Derby movie with Raquel Welch called Kansas City Bomber. Then there's Shanks, the last William Castle film starring Marcel Marceau as an evil puppeteer of dead bodies. Haven't seen that yet but I can't imagine why not -- especially if this actress is in it.

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