It’s Time to Appreciate the Age of Cage

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It’s time to appreciate the age of the cage


The age of the cage is a perfect synergy of author and actor. You’d be hard pressed to think of a performer with a more interesting career over the past four decades of work than Nicolas Cage, who went from fascinating young star in the ’80s to action headliner in the 90s, only to continue to transform as the film industry changed around him. The age of the cage doesn’t just chronicle the Oscar-winning star’s career, but uses his trajectory as a mirror to the entire film world as public interests and studio business needs have shifted around Nicolas Cage’s career choices. Above all, it shows how arguably no one has been as chameleon-like as Cage, an actor as keen on making a small indie as he is a major blockbuster; someone who can appear in a film by Sion Sono or Michael Bay. He did all genres and all styles. The reason he became such a meme generator is not just because of his sometimes overdone acting, but because he did all. And Keith Phipps covered most of it. After joining The audiovisual club in 1997, he became the editor-in-chief of this formative society before separating to form Dissolve it. It pops up regularly all over the internet, including Variety, QGand rolling stoneand The age of the cage captures his deep knowledge of film history and quick wit on every page.

Phipps takes a chronological approach, deftly going through each chapter of Cage’s career, dropping interesting trivia and anecdotes from each production with an analysis of what it meant for Cage’s trajectory and the movie world as a whole. You don’t really understand what a unique part of the movie scene Cage has been for four decades until you see it all like this. Of course, there have been ups and downs – and Phipps isn’t afraid to criticize Cage’s choices – but the fact that he gave arguably his best performance last year in ‘Pig’ proves that he is far from finished.

Rather than continuing to rave about this must-have book, I thought it might be worth allowing Roger Ebert to participate in the chat, highlighting some of the times he praised Cage’s work in his reviews with links to each one below. get your The age of the cage here.

“Dreamer”

“In a career as a goofball player, Cage has never surpassed his Ronny Cammareri. Who else could bring such desperation into his speech when he declares his love? “Love doesn’t make things beautiful. He ruins everything. It breaks the heart. He messes things up. We are not here to make things perfect. Snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us ! We’re here to ruin ourselves and break our hearts and love the wrong people and die.”

“Honeymoon in Vegas”

“Nicolas Cage is one of those actors that some like and others find excessive. I tend to like him, especially when he’s devoured by love, like he was in ‘Moonstruck’ and is new here.He’s sweating and squirming in the key scene, as he tries to explain to Parker that, yes, he loves her, but no, he can’t pay for his poker losses, and so, yes, maybe she should play with this sinister bizarre obsession.

“Keep Tess”

“MacLaine and Cage are really, really good here. MacLaine plays a woman likely destined to be 10 or 15 years older than her, and she does so without affecting any of the “age” mannerisms that often make such performances feel fake. She’s alert, she’s smart, she knows what’s going on, she keeps her secrets, and if she’s reduced to playing mind games with her bodyguard, at least she’s playing them smart. Cage, who can happily go above and beyond (see “Wild at Heart” and “Honeymoon in Vegas”) is restrained here, but very likeable. We feel for this man who has no life of his own – except to guard a woman who has no life of her own.

“It could happen to you”

“Cage and Fonda are, of course, more or less destined to fall in love with each other, but Bergman never likes bossy schmaltz, and the whole movie has the same upbeat big-city spirit as the headlines. from the New York Post who follow the story. The movie isn’t so much about romance as it is about good heart, which is a rarer quality and not so selfish. And Cage has a certain sweetness to it that brings out lovely soft smiles on his face by Fonda.

“Leaving Las Vegas”

“Cage’s performance in these early scenes is a much-watched record of a man falling apart. It shows Ben imploding, rigid in his attempt to maintain control, smiling when he doesn’t feel a smile, joking when he feels like screaming. He needs a drink. During the film, Cage will take Ben to the regions of Hell.

“Facing/Off”

“It’s an actor’s dream, and Travolta and Cage make the most of it. They spend most of the film acting like they’re in each other’s bodies – Travolta acting like Cage, and vice versa Thanks to the plot of a microchip implanted in his larynx, Travolta would be able to look more like Cage – enough, perhaps, to fool the terrorist’s paranoid brother, who is in prison and knows the secret of the biological weapon.

“Bringing Out the Dead”

“Nicolas Cage is an actor of great style and carefree emotional availability: he’ll go anywhere for a role, and this film is his best since ‘Leaving Las Vegas’. I like the subtle way he and Scorsese embody what Frank learned on the job, the little verbal formulas and silent asides that help viewers suffer.He embodies the tragedy of a man who has a necessary job and does it well, but in a job which is never, ever over.

“Adaptation”

“And Cage. There are often lists of the great living male movie stars: De Niro, Nicholson and Pacino, usually. How often do you see the name Nicolas Cage? He should always be up there. He’s bold and fearless in his choice of roles, and isn’t afraid to crawl up a branch, saw it off, and stay suspended in the air.

“Match Men”

“Cage is charged with showboating, but I’d rather think he’s swinging for the fences. Sometimes he hits (“Gone in 60 Seconds”), but more often he goes on (he took huge risks in “Leaving Las Vegas”, “Bringing Out the Dead” and “Adaptation”). He has a sort of raging zeal which possesses his characteristics; what would be exaggerated in another actor is, with Cage, a kind of fearsome intensity. There’s an Oscar nomination here for him.

“Bad Lieutenant: Stopover in New Orleans”

“No one is better at this kind of performance than Nicolas Cage. He’s a fearless actor. He doesn’t care if you think he’s going over the top. If a movie calls for it, he’ll crawl up hand-over-hand with bleeding fingernails. Watch him in films as varied as “Wild at Heart” and “Leaving Las Vegas.” He and Herzog were born to work together. They are both made restless with caution.

Read more about Roger Ebert on Nicolas Cage here.

Brian Tallerico
Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico is the Managing Editor of RogerEbert.com and also covers TV, Film, Blu-ray and Video Games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times and Rolling Stone, and president of the Chicago Film Critics Association.


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