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Entries in Ewan McGregor (43)

Monday
Jun272016

American Pastoral's Poster & Trailer Are A Beauty

Manuel here. American Pastoral, adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Philip Roth has a trio of leading performers that I find myself often rooting for—despite early buzzy career moves, each have become underrated and/or undervalued players: Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning, and Ewan McGregor who's doing double duty here. American Pastoral marks his directorial debut.

I initially wanted to share the beautiful new poster for it which is haunting and simple; a perfect example of a one sheet that establishes quickly the mood of the piece. Roth's title and the film's tagline "A radically ordinary story" surely help. This is the American Dream engulfed in flames which means the nuclear family at the core of McGregor's film (Connelly playing his wife, Fanning his daughter) will be anything but ordinary.

And then I found the trailer had dropped and 30 seconds in I was already sold (which would've made a YNMS an exercise in nitpicking because even as it uses the emo song montage trailer template I immediately wanted to catch the film). I also didn't want to spoil it since, for those us of unfamiliar with the Roth novel, that initial sequence in the trailer packs a heavier punch. The trailer looks gorgeous—Norman Rockwell filtered through 1960s hazy and backlit paranoia—no doubt because DP Martin Ruhe (of Control and The American fame) is behind the camera. Also, don't be dissuaded by the creepy "VFX de-aged McGregor" greeting you below.

Though perhaps I'm burying the lede: the main reason to watch this trailer other than to hear yet another haunting version of "Mad World," is to see Fanning in full 60s radical rebel girl mode: 

But what does everyone else think? Will Dakota remind us what made her such a powerful screen presence? 

Tuesday
Apr052016

Top Ten: Current Stars Who Deserve a Great Role & Still Haven't Been Nominated

psssst. you still haven't been nominated for an Oscar.

Charlize is such a bitch! (I kid I kid.) But Emily Blunt has to be frustrated by know, right?

Herewith a quick top ten list for your Tuesday afternoon. Among currently working actors, who do you think would be most completely justified in righteous fury that they're still waiting for that one special role and even a single Oscar nomination? My answer to that question lies below. Please to note that this list could never be comprehensive. This isn't a list of "most snubbed" so much as 'doesn't it seem like time / past time?' and as such is highly subjective with an unwieldly title. 

Here we go.

10 CURRENTLY WORKING STARS MOST OVERDUE FOR
THAT TRULY GREAT ROLE THAT EARNS THEM THEIR 1ST OSCAR NOMINATION

This list is dedicated to all the greats that Oscar ignored time and again like Donald Sutherland and Mia Farrow who have now aged into "You missed your chance. Give them an Honorary" territory. 

 

RUNNER UP TIE: Kristen Wiig & Greta Gerwig

Funny
Did you hear that?
Funny
Yeah, the guy said
"Honey, you're a funny girl."

Comediennes so rarely get Oscar nominations (Melissa McCarthy got lucky!) but when you can work such comic gold from deep pain and surprise regularly with dramatic depth (Kristen Wiig) or when you're a completely singular star who is endlessly watchable (Greta Gerwig) shouldn't you be able to win prizes?

the top ten after the jump

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar312016

Happy Birthday, Ewan McGregor

Kieran, here. Today, we celebrate the birthday of one of the screen’s most magnetic (and gallingly non-Oscar nominated) stars, Ewan McGregor.

Looking at McGregor’s filmography, there are definite peaks and valleys though that's to be expected with any performer who has been active for over two decades. For McGregor, a lot of the valleys occurred in recent years, but man…those peaks are impressive, aren’t they? The best of Ewan McGregor makes us hopeful for what the future holds for the talented Scotsman. He makes his feature-film directorial debut this year with American Pastoral, which he also stars in alongside Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning and “Orange is the New Black” breakout star (and awards magnet) Uzo Aduba. He also has a sequel to Trainspotting, the role that put him on the map, in the works. Rather than speculating about who he should work with, what projects he should choose and what direction he should take, we do what is done far too seldom for actors who have given us indelible screen performances—we simply say 'thank you' and 'more please'. 


His 5 Most Impressive Turns

5. Big Fish (2003) – I gather this will be a polarizing choice but have any of Tim Burton’s recent outings given us a turn as impressive and lived-in as McGregor’s here? McGregor is versatile, but he shines brightest and shows great skill when he's playing bright-eyed optimism as evidenced by Big Fish (and the top choice below.)

4. Trainspotting (1996) – Confession: I’m not as enamored with Trainspotting as most, but his performance is justifiably lauded and definitely worth your time. He renders addiction believably and charismatically in this black comedy. It’s an understandable worthy introduction to McGregor.

3. Beginners (2011) – It was McGregor’s co-star Christopher Plummer who (very deservedly) won an Academy Award for Mike Mills quirky and plaintive romantic drama, but McGregor anchors the piece so skillfully. McGregor imbues Oliver with beautiful specificity and world-weary warmth. Definitely worth a revisit for anyone who hasn’t seen the film since 2011.

2. Velvet Goldmine (1998) – When McGregor’s Curt Wild enters Todd Haynes’ colorful, electric narrative, a powerful shift is clearly felt. The way Brian’s (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) eyes light up with literal heart graphics when first gazing upon Curt Wild is completely appropriate. McGregor’s magnetism is undeniable. You can hardly take your eyes off of him.

1. Moulin Rouge! (2001) – How McGregor starred in a Best Picture nominee yet failed to land a slot on the 2001 Oscar Best Actor roster (which included Sean Penn for I Am Sam!) is still hard to fathom. Nicole Kidman’s sly, exuberant turn as the mysterious Satine wouldn't work half as well if it hadn't been a duet w/ Ewan McGregor’s career best. He certainly deserved to be a Best Actor nominee and I'd argue the winner. 

Happy 45th Birthday, Ewan! 

What’s your favorite Ewan McGregor performance?

Sunday
Oct112015

Don Cheadle x 4 in "Miles Ahead" 

Nathaniel reporting on the closing night film of the New York Film Festival

Don Cheadle has been an esteemed actor for a full twenty years now. His big reputation began with his breakout turn in The Devil with the Blue Dress (1995) and kept building. Somewhere along the way, despite a Best Actor nomination for Hotel Rwanda (2004) the leading man career didn't materialize (apart from his 4 time Emmy nominated gig on Showtime's House of Lies). The sturdy ensemble player attempts to right that wrong by producing, writing, directing and starring (whew) in a Miles Davis biopic.

Cue the trumpets!

And here we are. Miles Ahead was given the honor of closing this year's New York Film Festival. Sony Pictures Classics will release the film.

It's tough to argue that Cheadle hasn't earned a spotlight as bright as this. [More...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May312015

"This is not going to work..." 

For The Lusty Month of May, we looked at a few sex scenes. Here's Jose for the finale

Peter Greenaway’s The Pillow Book might be based on a text from the year 1002, but it remains one of the most thrilling, groundbreaking portrayals of sex ever put onscreen. The simple plot has Nagiko (Vivian Wu) fulfill her desire and exorcise her demons through the art of calligraphy, which her lovers write on her body. Being Greenaway, this gives way to some very profound philosophical takes on the relationship between the message and how it’s delivered, but being Greenaway, it also gives path to some exquisitely rendered images, most of which involve beautiful bodies.

In the film’s sexiest scene, Nagiko meets her match in the shape of Jerome (Ewan McGregor), a translator who insists she shows him all about her love of calligraphy...

To test him, she asks him to write on her body in a variety of languages. [More]

Click to read more ...

Monday
May112015

Question of the Week: Assign Those "Inside Out" Emotions

Tomorrow night the Q&A series in which Nathaniel answers reader questions returns. But here's an appetizer you didn't order, courtesy of the chef, our Question of the Week. What does Carlos, who dreamt it up, win? He wins the choice of the next banner theme (to replace the food one up top). It has to be a theme that can be conveyed in small pics, otherwise it's hard to read in banner form. So let me know, Carlos.

CARLOS: Inside Out opening at Cannes makes me wonder: which performer or specific performance do you think excels at enacting each of the emotions (joy, fear, disgust, anger and sadness) featured in the movie?

NATHANIEL: What a fun question! But before I answer it with gendered actors show of hands -- were you irritated that they gendered these emotions on their computers over at Pixar? They did that with monsters too and why? There's no reason why pure emotions or monsters for that matter should have to read feminine or masculine.

Since the question hangs on pure expression of emotion, these are literally my purest answers in that I didn't censor myself and named the very first actor that came to mind.

My choice for "Joy" is Ewan McGregor because of how pure and transcendent and contagious his giddy romantic open-hearted smile is (in Moulin Rouge! especially). "Fear" I have to give to Drew Barrymore who made one of the most memorable opening scenes and characters out of only that in Scream. "Disgust" is Catherine Keener who always looks put out by everything (but truth be told I'd prefer her to take a year or two off now for some creative rejuvenation so this isn't the only thing she's giving).  

"Anger" is an emotion that's all too well represented in our macho cinema so let me come at this answer sideways with a surprise. Hear me out. I will take Heather Graham as Rollergirl in Boogie Nights from that scene in the back of a limo where they're trying to do an improv porn shoot and years of degradation finally busts some sort of dam in her and *stomp stomp stomp" byebye-prettyboy-face, sorry not sorry. It's still one of those chilling and exhilarating 'pure' emotions I've ever seen smeared across a movie screen. (It's actually my current banner on our Facebook page)

"Sadness"... that one is reserved for Michelle Pfeiffer since I always need her back on the screen and since the movie that made me fall for her was Ladyhawke (1985) where she literally has the line

I am sorrow."

...and I believed everything her face told me from that day forward.

 

Thursday
Apr232015

Link-sync for your life!

Silver Screen
Pajiba on the way the media is handling Kristen Stewart's current love life. Somehow I had missed this story (cuz I don't care about celebrity dating) but this is a joy to read.
MNPP Apparently this new movie Beyond the Reach features Jeremy Irvine in states of undress for basically the whole movie but all I can think watching him run barefooted in the desert is what I felt watching Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner sprinting across ice in the nude: OUCH
Grantland Mark Harris on all the Wonder Woman  movie creative shuffling, director and script(s):

I use the word “movie” reluctantly because right now, Wonder Woman is certainly not one: It is a release date (June 23, 2017), and it is a promise to stockholders (as the third of 10 upcoming connected DC Universe films that are meant, between 2016 and 2020, to show that DC can play on Marvel’s field), and it is a recognizable — albeit dusty — title. Right now, that’s all it is. It’s certainly not a movie in the sense of being an entertainment product that starts with an idea and then results in a script that is good enough to attract a director and stars.

MNPP has a great costume design suggestion for Ewan McGregor now that he's been cast as Lumiere in Beauty & The Beast
Shadowplay revisits Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) on Bluray. I loved those Harryhausen movies when I was a wee bairn
Cartoon Brew here's a new contender for Best Animated Feature this year - The Boy and the Beast. Kidding - they don't really like anime and there's no US plans just yet
In Contention reports from Cinema Con with breathless response to a clip of Johnny Depp in Black Mass 

The Rock with a little TayTayOther Screens & Surfaces
The Snap talks Lip-Synch Battle which is fun if you ask me: the complete Hathaway vs Blunt episode is glorious and The Rock doing Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" --what has been seen cannot be unseen. Louis Virtel compares it to RuPaul's Drag Race and finds it considerably lacking. I myself find their goals and souls as shows so different as to only see comparison in the extreme basics (i.e. people move their mouth to other people's recordings)
IndieWire TV's obsession with remakes, revival-sequels (Hello, Fuller House) may well end the Golden Age
Playbill Lily Tomlin wants to do a new one woman show. Yes please.
Boy Culture remember these Raoul Bova kisses Madonna commercials? I didn't! So cute
EW Daredevil renewed for season 2 with a slight change in show runners (basically an exit and a promotion)
Comics Alliance Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood, who play former lovers and badass SHIELD agents may lead the Agents of SHIELD spin-off. Two-part question. 1) Since they're the best part of the existing show this side of Ming Na Wen, you sure you wanna hobble your still creatively struggling original? 2) You already have a spin off of sorts (Agent Carter) which is better than the original show. Why not pour resources into that?

Amy Schumer is back
...and it is a glorious thing. Here are two sketches getting attention right now, "Football Town Lights" a Friday Night Lights spoof as hilarious indictment of rape culture and "Last F**kable Day" guest starring Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Hollywood sexism and ageism. Cue the think pieces en masse -- never mind they're already all over the place.

Finally...
The Eisner Award Nominations (basically the Oscars of comic books) have been announced and it's a great year for female driven series especially the celebrated title Ms. Marvel. I find it strange that they don't have a superhero specific category since comic books have changed so much to include so many types of stories but if you're looking for traditional superheroes Hawkeye, Batman, Daredevil. Elektra, and Silver Surfer were represented in some way or another with a nomination or two.

a page from "The Last Mechanical Monster"Sadly, it's really hard to find solid info about the Eisner Awards. Many webpages are out of date and they don't have their own as far as I can tell so it's difficult to know which series have been nominated previously. Obviously they aren't followes as rapturously as other awards! I'm always personally most curious about the webcomic prize because I always want to do one and I rarely get anywhere (sigh). Those nominations are as follows -- I'm only familiar with Nimona but it's pretty great, so I'll be sampling these others.