Some Oscar wins are the product of decades of work. Some reward powerhouse performances that carry a film. Sometimes, though, they go to the best five minutes of the year. I’m not a giant Anne Hathaway fan. I am not a part of the disturbingly vocal “Hathahate” community on the net, but I honestly have never been blown away by her. The giant exception to that is the best five minutes performed by any actor or actress in 2012: Hathaway’s phenomenal performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” in Les Miserables.
Holding the camera for five minutes by simply acting your way through a song performance is about as difficult a task as a screen actor can be handed, but Hathaway is mesmerizing. “I Dreamed a Dream” is unquestionably Les Miserables’s signature number, and there are a staggering amount of awful things happening to her character by the time she breaks into the anthem about shattered hope. It would have been easy to end up chewing the scenery or being swallowed by the material, but Hathaway gives a nuanced and powerful vocal that stole this film. I saw this on Christmas Day 2012, which was a bit of a surreal experience. To me, misadventures of tuberculosis-ridden French revolutionaries does not exactly say, “Seasons Greetings!” I was, however, soundly outvoted by my family. While I may be lukewarm on the film as a whole, this scene was easily more than worth the ticket price.
Helena Bonham Carter is connected by blood to the aristocracy and democracy of England, being the great-granddaughter of a British Prime Minister and the first cousin of a Baroness. Early in her career, she became known for embodying works of English fiction such as A Room with a View, Lady Jane, Howard’s End, and her pinnacle in those roles in The Wings of the Dove. She’s excelled in TV, starring opposite Sam Neil in the underrated 1990s miniseries Merlin, opposite Michael Keaton in HBO’s excellent Live from Baghdad, and most recently playing Elizabeth Taylor in Burton & Taylor. Fight Club, The King’s Speech, Harry Potter, and her relationship with director Tim Burton (with whom she’s made seven films) catapulted her into the top rungs of Hollywood actresses where she remains. Continue reading Helena Bonham Carter’s 10 Best Movies
Hugh Jackman is done playing Wolverine. As Logan continues to do well at the box office, it seems so weird to think that we’ve seen Jackman as the X-Man for the last time. Perhaps only Sean Connery as James Bond has so indelibly taken a popular culture character and married it to his own identity. For 17 years, Jackman embodied the character from the first time we saw him cage fighting in a bar in X-Men to his farewell in Logan. Not too shabby for a song and dance man.
X-Men was most people’s first exposure to Jackman, but his talents are far from merely dicing people in super hero films. He’s a consummate Broadway actor; an old-fashioned song and dance man, as I said. He’s hosted the Tony Awards on four occasions; winning an Emmy for one of the shows. He most famously got to put his musical gifts to use on screen as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables; Jackman’s only Oscar nomination. He’s an outstanding dramatic actor, you need only watch The Prestige and Prisoners back-to-back to see the amount of range he has. His good nature also makes him a gifted comic actor, which I think has been best shown in the underrated Real Steel and Eddie the Eagle (where, yes, he is playing Wolverine as a ski jumping coach, but it WORKS!). It’s always possible that a payday or Ryan Reynolds stalking him to be in a Deadpool or X-Force film could give us another Jackman as Logan turn, but his career is far from over just because he’s said farewell to his most famous alter ego.
Continue reading Hugh Jackman’s 10 Best Movies
Latest vs. Greatest looks at directors, actors, actresses, screenwriters and composers to assess the state of their career as it stands. We’ll look back at the latest 10 movies the artist has done, rate them and then average them out to see where they stand today. We’ll also rank their 10 greatest movies and give them the same treatment to compare what they have been doing to their very best work. (A quick side-note: if an artist is/has been a regular on a TV show we’ll also grade the seasons individually; artists need 10 projects to qualify).
Roughly ten years ago, if you wanted a prestige actor to anchor your film, you really could do no better than Russell Crowe. Ten years later, Crowe seems to have lost all passion for acting, mostly sleepwalking woodenly through a series of mediocre films. It’s not something that you can put your finger on and trace as easily as Johnny Depp’s descent into addictive twitchiness, but the decline is just as steep. Crowe just seems to have lost the passion to act. I saw a little of that fire back in Noah and it made me think that possibly the right project could turn things around, but then I watched Winter’s Tale last night and so I’m really trying hard not to let that color my entire article. Continue reading Russell Crowe’s Latest 10 Movies vs. Greatest 10 Movies