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Entries in James McAvoy (21)

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 ...

Tuesday
Mar152016

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Atonement (2007)

Briony's eyes. Every shot is telling, this one directly, confrontationally to the camera.

Stupendous. It's stupendous, darling."

That's Mother Tallis's review of her precocious daughter Briony's (Saoirse Ronan) very serious new play at the beginning of Atonement (2007). It's also any sensible person's reaction to this amazing motion picture. Seeing it again (I hadn't seen it since 2007) was close to overwhelming. Praise be to Director Joe Wright and Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey because this thing hasn't aged a single day. If anything it's become more beautiful with the passage of time, a neat trick since memory is one of its great subjects. It's superbly acted (particularly by James McAvoy in what is certainly his most moving performance), and features a veritable parade of emblematic, gorgeous, and thrillingly visceral images for this exercize of ours. What to even choose: Cecilia wet and haughty at the fountain; The lovers, already "characters" in future novelists Briony's mind erotically pressed against books in the library (my runner up for Best Shot); that amazing tracking shot at Dunkirk which pulls us out of the story (sort of) just long enough to stingingly remind us that War doesn't care about Individual Characters and Their Arcs -- it's ready to soil everything; any closeup of Briony whether she's imaginatively confused (Saoirse Ronan), guilt-ridden shellshocked (Romola Garai), or, wide-eyed with the fraternal twins of truth and fiction (Vanessa Redgrave); and of course anything and everything involving Keira Knightley in the green dress, the dress that should've won Jacqueline Durran the Oscar in a landslide.

Here are the choices from our Best Shot Club, open to anyone who wants to join after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug202015

YNMS: Victor Frankenstein

Jason from MNPP here with a look at the first trailer for Victor Frankenstein, the tale of... Igor, the hunchbacked assistant. This follows the grand tradition of movies being named after a supporting character that comes to transform the lead (look no further than Carol, which book-wise is really Rooney Mara's story, although I won't be surprised if Todd Haynes gives Cate Blanchett a little more to do and hey look how I turned this into a post about Carol, isn't that funny...)

But back to Igor & Friends (which would've been a far greater title if you ask me) -- the previously ghastly assistant ain't so ghastly this go-round - the hunchback's been swapped out for the big blue eyes and bounteous neck-beard of Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, who is taken under the well-muscled wing of Professor X I mean Dr. Frankenstein, played by Mr. James McAvoy. Let's Yes No Maybe So this sucker.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul132015

Professor XXX

Mmmm, McAvoy

P.S. Tom & Lorenzo reviewed the normcore outfits of male stars at Comic Con - check it out

Monday
May112015

Tra-Link-La

Deadline RIP character actress Elizabeth Wilson from stage, tv, and film (Roz in Nine to Five & Mrs Braddock inThe Graduate!) passed away at 94
Bryan Singer James McAvoy as Professor X finally going bald of X-Men: Apocalypse
Towleroad Natalie Portman as Ruth Baader Ginsburg?! 
CHUD the ongoing drama of Jennifer Lawrence's paycheck for the upcoming Passengers, a sci-fi drama with Chris Pratt. She's not budging on her 20 million,which is double Pratt's salary though he's the lead. Will Sony cave to save face from all those wage disparity complaints after leaked emails?
Boy Culture tells us about a new LGBT movie That's Not Us about three couples on a weekend getaway. Sounds good
Empire Charlize Theron to star as a spy in The Coldest City, based on a graphic novel
Pajiba highlights from the Alex Garland's Ex Machina AMA 
Antagony & Ecstasy another fine take on Ex Machina 

Small Screen
Coming Soon NBC picked up a series based on Steven Spielberg's Minority Report. I know it was probably impossible to top Samantha Morton's precog but the series will focus on a precog only a male precog zzzz. No offense Stark Sands who I've enjoyed in other things!
/Film ... and that's not the only movie becoming a TV series. Next season will also give us serialized versions ofUncle Buck and Limitless 

Cannes News
Cannes Mother of the French New Wave Agnès Varda (Cleo from 5 to 7, Vagabond, The Gleaners and I) to receive an Honorary Palme D'Or. Yaaas.
Film Doctor UK advice for filmmakers attending Cannes -- this is from last year but there are lots of practical thoughts that apply to any year, non filmmakers and other smaller festivals, too
Guardian with Gaspar Noé's Love on the way a look back at the festival's history of erotic cinema
Awards Daily Sasha geers up for Cannes but still seems hung up on last year's awards race dramas

Stage
Playbill looks back at very tight Best Musical races from the past (West Side Story vs. The Music Man, etcetera) with Fun Home, Something Rotten, and An American in Paris battling it out on Tony supremacy this season
Gold Derby Outer Critics Circle Awards. With Fun Home ineligible American in Paris snatches up trophies. Kristin Chenoweth prevails in the very tight Best Actress race (will Tony go for Chita, Cheno or Kelli O'Hara?)

Showtune to Go
With American in Paris celebrating its Tony nominations, why not a little Gene Kelly to brighten your Monday? Here's Kelly doing "Tra La La." Hollywood never had a more cheekily charming male movie star, give or take Cary Grant.

Friday
Sep122014

Is There a Right Way to Watch "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby"?

abstew in the house to ask a Burning Question...

Almost a year ago today, director Ned Benson premiered his film debut, an ambitious two part film about the breakdown of a modern relationship called The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, at the Toronto Film Festival (and Nathaniel was there). The film was not just one, but two films of the same story, each told from the different viewpoint of its two main characters played by Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. It was an interesting concept and much like this summer's Boyhood, seemed like an amazing opportunity to show something unique and ambitious in the cineplex. 

Today the film finally arrives in select movie theaters. However, 12 months later, the way the film is coming to us is far different from the way it was originally conceived. The version that opens in NY and LA this weekend (and expanding next week) is actually a spliced two-hour combination of the two films now subtitled Them (which made its debut at Cannes this past May) with the original concept of two separate films, now called Him and Her, to be released a month later in October. But with three different versions of essentially the same story...

Is there a right way to see The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby? And perhaps more importantly, can all three films sustain enough interest across so many versions? [more...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul102014

Halfway Pt. 5 Best Performances

Are you getting restless about all these halfway posts? We're almost done. The Power of List compels me. There's one more halfway post to go that's basically 'The Oscar Charts are Updated!' as the coding problem I mentioned is fixed and the updates are happening behind the scenes as you read this. We must get all this halfway business behind us by Saturday morning so that we can ape out all weekend with Andy Serkis & Co and start this second half of the year off right.

Herewith...

THE GREATEST PERFORMANCES OF 2014's FIRST HALF


BEST LEADING ACTRESS: Keira Knightley does her most relaxed and fluid work ever in Begin Again as a musician at a crossroads, never letting any one aspect of the character's situation pigeonhole her emotional responses; Agata Kulesza is an abrasive and evasive presence in her first scenes in Ida as a cynical woman who is too guarded to let her affection for the niece she's just met show but the performance keeps revealing more in each scene, like a window opening up; Luminita Gheorghiu sure can hold the camera and doesn't care what you think of her complicated often unpleasant character in Child's Pose; Marion Cotillard often silent and soulful performance in The Immigrant as a Polish woman who is lured into servitude (sexual and otherwise) is a beauty; and Scarlett Johansson proves herself quite the auteur vessel in her enigmatic, curious, unpredictable, sexual and unsettlingly "off" star turn in Under the Skin.

(This was so difficult to narrow down from ten so my apologies to: Emily Blunt who gives one of the great bad-ass performances even if there's not a lot to her Edge of Tomorrow role beyond that; Angelina Jolie who gifts her wicked witch Maleficent with subtle and unfamiliar affections as well as her usual screen presence for days; Gugu Mbatha-Raw who is so beautiful when righteously aggrieved as Belle; Jenny Slate plays abrasive stand-up well and is even better at believable impulsive decision making on the fly in Obvious Child; and Agata Trzebuchowska as the silent and watchful Ida - and yes both actresses from Ida are named Agata which is funny considering the polar oppositeness.)

BEST LEADING ACTOR: Russell Crowe reminds us he's a movie star with his commanding title performance in Noah, a strange collision of righteous pacifism and violent obsessivenessRalph Fiennes is brilliant as the perfect concierge in Grand Budapest Hotel not quite playing against type but subverting his usual sophisticated cad with new comic energy and a remarkably innocent carnality; It's Jake Gyllenhaal versus Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy and it's easy to tell the characters apart (and argue about preferences) which is a real coup for this perpetually underrated if well employed actor; And finally James McAvoy seriously owns X-Men: Days of Future Past in his second go-round as Professor Xavier, never phoning it in (always a danger with reprisals... his co-stars are much flatter than before) and absolutely committing to the genre, the emotional logic of the highly convoluted plotline and Xavier's combustible feelings for his co-stars and his desire not to feel at all.

 (...and I'm going to stop there at four since I cheated on the next category with six though please note that I also appreciated the work of Aaron Paul who is believably limited in the parental skills department as a grieving widower in Hellion, Pierre Deladonchamps who serves Stranger by the Lake's vision with unobtrusive being on camera as opposite to "Acting!", Chris Evans minimalist but effective leading man skills twice over in Captain America: The Winter Snowpiercer and Colin Firth's Firthishness as filtered through PTSD and bookishness in The Railway Man.)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: I cheated with six women (Shut up! I don't do such things once we get official. You know that by now.) but at the moment I'm going with Jillian Bell who is so much the comic MVP of 22 Jump Street that it positively hurts... like a punch to the face; Rose Byrne who is sharp, sexy, funny and alive to all the ways she refuses to play a stock wife character in Neighbors; Laura Dern, The Face, who gives The Fault in Our Stars its most genuine tears; Gaby Hoffman who is a complicating but also soothing and sobering presence (neat trick) in the funny Obvious Child; Scarlett Johansson in Captain America 2 who is getting better and better all the time (and she was no slouch at the start) and proves it by upping her Black Widow game every damn time infusing character, layers and specificity into the mandatory surface sexiness and showmanship; and I'm holding a spot open for Uma Thurman in Nymphomaniac because.... well... let's talk about that one next week since both Volumes just came out on DVD.

(I'd tip my hat to several other ladies too -- how much time do you have? -- but none were quite on this level so let's not list them all. But please know that this does not mean that I am any less obsessed with Tilda (who was possibly genius but also possibly bad... I'm still deciding... in Snowpiercer) or Nicole (whose role was a dud even if her performance wasn't in The Railway Man, sorry about it.)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: May I abstain? No. Fine... I guess I'd go with Patrick D'Assumçao for fish-out-of-water directness and unfussy depression in Stranger by the Lake; Song Kang-Ho for embracing the selfish agenda of his character while giving generously to the spark of Snowpiercer; Adam Levine for surprisingly natural ease with acting in Begin Again - no false notes; and Jeff Goldblum and Tony Revolori from Grand Budapest Hotel though I should see the film again before justifying those names with any explicit commentary on their performances; And I'd make those five choices while glancing over at Scoot McNairy (The Rover), Jeremy Renner (The Immigrant), Wyatt Russell (22 Jump Street), Christopher Walken (Jersey Boys), Jake Lacy (Obvious Child), and everyone else in Snowpiercer and wishing all dozen or so men either had more complicated characters to play, more screen time to prove themselves, or were just a bit more transcendent of the limitations of their roles. I like all of these performances but it's been an uneventful year in this particular category. 

LIMITED OR CAMEO ACTRESS: Emma Levie is somehow malevolent and frightening without doing much at all in Snowpiercer; Alison Pill is an atypical joy in one of Snowpiercer's oddest scenes; Susan Prior does a lot with a very little in her extended scene in The Rover as a dog loving doctor - the movie doesn't care about her but she sure cares about the movie; Charlotte Rampling wows and completely elevates Young & Beautiful in one of its last scenes; and Tilda Swinton is sublime and memorable as the horny ancient heiress in Grand Budapest Hotel who sets the plot in motion.

LIMITED OR CAMEO ACTOR: Matthew Goode is believably progressive and stalwart in a very short bit in Belle; Harvey Keitel and Edward Norton are great fun in their small roles in Grand Budapest Hotel; Luke Pasqualino is magnetic in a nearly silent role in Snowpiercer; and Craig Roberts is hilariously deadpan as "Ass Juice" in the raunchy comedy Neighbors

And I'll end with a tweet about Luke Pasqualino because it's uncool that more people aren't talking about him...

 

 

Oh wait one more...
BEST ENSEMBLE: Grand Budapest Hotel; Neighbors; Obvious Child; Snowpiercer; Young and Beautiful

YOUR TURN. Which performances and characters were you just wild for in these past six months?