Idris Elba is an actor whose career has been equally divided between defining roles on both the big and small screens. A career television actor, Elba broke out in HBO’s The Wire as Stringer Bell and has continued to create and expand one of TV’s best charactes in DCI John Luther for the BBC. Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Asgard’s gatekeeper, Heimdall, gave Elba feature film exposure that has caused the actor’s star to continue to rise. Elba has probably had the best two years of his career over the last two using both his live-action talents in Beasts of No Nation and Molly’s Game as well as the intensity and versatily of his voice in The Jungle Book, Finding Dory, and Zootopia. Hero or villain, TV or film, voice or full presence, Elba commands the attention of audiences, and his best is yet to come. Continue reading Idris Elba’s 10 Best Movies
Mark Ruffalo has quietly put together one of the best resumes of any actor out there. He hasn’t just been in really good movies (which he has); he has been in some of the best movies made in the last 15 years. I would easily put both Zodiac and Spotlight on that list, The Brothers Bloom is and underrated classic, and Eternal Sunshine and Collateral are also both “perfect 10” films. That’s before you get to his contribution to the massive ensemble of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, stepping in for the fired Edward Norton and making the Hulk his own. He has great range and his characters have in common an earnestness to their own personal sense of what’s just or fair. He’s not flashy, he wouldn’t even be well-known without the MCU, but you’re lucky if he’s in your movie.
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For a number of reason, Age of Ultron got a lot of flak from MCU fans for, essentially, not being The Avengers. The film had the thankless task of being a set-up film, masked as a climax film. This is really Civil War Part One. This is the inciting event whose consequences come home to roost in Captain America: Civil War. But the film also had to introduce fractures into the team, introduce a slew of new characters, set up Phase 3 films, and still manage to tell the story of the Avengers fighting their biggest traditional foe. I think it works very well in the larger context of the MCU, and would have just fine on its own had Disney not made one of its very few forays into meddling with the MCU. They felt the film was too long (they have since made longer) and made director Joss Whedon choose between neutering Thor’s storyline, which was the thread connecting the film to the overarching Infinity Gems plot, or cutting the entire sequence at the Barton farmhouse (not much of a choice because cutting that sequence breaks the film). How did that work out? AofU still made a bunch of bank, and angered director Joss Whedon is now directing Justice League and Batgirl for the DCEU. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Avengers Age of Ultron (2015) *Who Is Worthy?*
Jeremy Renner has become one of Hollywood’s most consistent leading men over the last decade. Since hitting A-list status with back-to-back Oscar nominated performances in The Hurt Locker and The Town, Renner has continued to pump out both quality dramas like Wind River, American Hustle, Arrival, and Kill the Messenger. He’s also part of both the Mission Impossible and Marvel Cinematic Universe franchises, contributing to some of the biggest blockbusters of the last few years. He’s a solid leading man and action star with a talent for portraying everyman characters in the tradition of Harrison Ford.
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Scarlett Johansson isn’t even in her mid-thirties and she’s already put together a huge resume of quality dramatic, action, and vocal work. Her five outings as Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have made her the highest-profile female super hero (who NEEDS HER OWN MOVIE), and is probably the best female action star working today. Her voice is so distinct and versatile that she could float out the rest of her career just doing voice over work (Jungle Book, Her, Sing). She’s been acting since her teens so her resume already has over 50 films to it, and her versatility allows her to do so many different kinds of roles that she’ll no doubt be able to skirt Hollywood’s female age ceiling as her career continues to develop.
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