Rachel McAdams will probably spend the rest of her career trying to shed The Notebook, but she’s doing a pretty good job. The film that made her a star also gave her a slight reputation as a serious actress; the kind the gets consigned to rom coms for the rest of their career (Meg Ryan Syndrome). McAdams has bucked hard against that preconception of her, turning in excellent dramatic work in State of Play, True Detective, and her Oscar-nominated turn in Spotlight. She’s a gifted comedienne and extremely likable in films like Game Night and Morning Glory. Those dual gifts are on full display i my favorite film of her’s (Spotlight is better, but you don’t really watch it on a lark): the very underrated About Time. She’s also joined Doctor Strange’s corner of the MCU and Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes franchises in recurring roles. Continue reading Rachel McAdams’s 10 Best Movies→
Jason Bateman has had more success at making a career out of being hilariously deadpan since anyone since Bob Newhart. Bateman was a child star, first appearing way back in 1981 in Little House in the Prairie before, more famously, in Silver Spoons from 1982-1984, and in Valerie from 1986-1991, growing up on the small screen. Bateman was a journeyman, but quality TV actor until the cult-turned-mainstream success of the wonderfully subversive Arrested Development made him a huge star and also made him in-demand for film roles as well. He’s had some great comedies, most lately the awesome Game Night, as well as surprising by showing dramatic range in films like Juno, Up in the Air, and The Gift. As his career nears 40 years already, Bateman has become extremely good at picking projects that showcase his type of laconic humor and expect him to continue to be a fixture on TV and film as long as he wants to act. Continue reading Jason Bateman’s 10 Best Movies→
Ben Affleck has had a number of phases to his career in the 25 years plus he’s been in Hollywood. Starting out, Affleck and a number of young actors first gained notoriety in a number of Kevin Smith’s films (Mallrats, Chasing Amy, etc.) back when Kevin Smith actually made movies. Then he and his best friend Matt Damon had their Hollywood dream come true when their indie film, Good Will Hunting, in which they both wrote and starred, became one of the most critically acclaimed pictures of 1997 and the duo’s Oscar acceptance is one of the best of all-time. From there, Affleck entered a blockbuster phase that didn’t take. The scripts kept getting worse until he hit rock-bottom with Gigli, one of the most mocked films in recent memory.
Affleck, though, didn’t burn out. He started out as a writer, and he started picking quality scripts again. He also began directing, and he showed tremendous talent with Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo. Currently, his career is intertwined with being the current Batman (at least for the moment), and while I may not be a huge fan of any of the films he’s been Batman in (funnily enough he played Superman first in 2006’s Hollywoodland), I like his take on the character, but I’m not certain where the DCEU goes with a Batman in his mid-to-late 40s. Whatever’s next, I think Affleck should get back behind the camera, pick projects that highlight his strengths as an actor (he’s not the strongest, but his overall knowledge of the process gives him an edge), and make the movies he wants to make. Getting sucked into commercial Hollywood blockbusters is what broke his career the first time; I’d hate to see it happen again.
Viola Davis has long been one of the best character actresses on TV and in film, going back 30 years. Especially on television, there are few shows in the 1990s and early 2000s that didn’t get a powerful guest appearance from Viola Davis, but it wasn’t really until her Oscar-nominated turns in Doubt and The Help that she broke out in film. Davis has an ability to be warm and funny but also astoundingly intense in both emotional and cold ways that rival the ability of any living actress. She can be downright scary in her intensity at times. You can pick apart a lot of Suicide Squad, but I don’t think anyone would disagree that Davis was a perfect Amanda Waller for the DCEU. While continuing as one of the premier actresses in film, justly winning an Oscar for her riveting performance in Fences (a supporting actress Oscar for what was really a lead role), she’s also finally gotten a hit TV series of her own with ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder (for which she’s netted an Emmy). Continue reading Viola Davis’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→