Category Archives: Actor Spotlight

Actor Spotlight: Sexy Beast

I was perplexed by this film before watching it.  Nothing major.  Someone had once said to me that it was a complex, hard to follow, puzzle of a film.    Upon watching the movie, I had a different experience.  I did have to turn on the subtitles since the actors were so cockney it was a bit hard to follow, but nothing too complex.  I didn’t find it really complex at all, though there was one mystery that eluded me the entire time.  Who is the Sexy Beast of the title? Read the rest of this entry

Actor Spotlight: Elegy

Based on the novel The Dying Animal by American novelist Philip Roth Elegy, from director Isabel Coixet, Elegy stars  Ben Kingsley (Shindler’s List), Penélope Cruz (Pirates of the Caribbean, Blow) and Patricia Clarkson (Shutter Island).

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Actor’s Spotlight: Schindler’s List

“I’m trying to thank you. I’m saying I couldn’t have done this without you.”

I’m going to start this by stating the obvious. That Schindler’s List is an amazing movie. Loosely based on real events and inspired by the novel, Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally, it’s quite possibly Steven Spielberg’s best movie. It’s a harrowing, at some points disturbing, look at the horrors of the Holocaust. It’s a movie that I think should be shown in every single high school and college history class as a reminder of the evils of hatred and what happened during World War II. It’s a living monument to both those that died during the Holocaust and the survivors. The movie co-stars Ben Kingsley in the pivotal and memorable role of Itzhak Stern, a Jewish accountant hired by Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) to help run his factory in the Jewish ghetto of Krakow, Poland. Schindler arrives in Poland during the German occupation and quickly sets up a munitions factory for the Nazis using Jewish slave labor. At first, Schindler is only interested in making a fortune through the necessity’s of war, in essence becoming a war profiteer. After seeing first hand the destruction of Krakow and the slaughter of the Jewish people at the hands of the evil Nazi Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), Schindler decides to try to save his workers and as many Jewish people as he can in a plot to smuggle his workers out of Krakow.

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Actor Spotlight: House of Sand and Fog

Personally choosing which Ben Kingsley film to review this month for our actor spotlight was quite easy for me.  I’ve been a fan of Kingsley’s work for years but I have to admit that I for the main part have just seen him in supporting roles.  Roles he excelled in no less but still supporting.  So when I read the synopsis for House of Sand and Fog I was intrigued and geared up to see a more leading role.

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Actor Spotlight: Ben Kingsley

For the month of November, we Devils decided to honor a man who has been in the industry for over 40 years.  One of Hollywood’s underrated actors, we will be reviewing four films of his due to the release of his new movie Hugo releasing this month.  Check back with us each week to find a new review of Krishna Bhanji aka Ben Kingsley.

Week 1 – House of Sand and Fog

Week 2 – Schindler’s List

Week 3 – Elegy

Week 4 – Sexy Beast

Actor Spotlight: The Queen

It’s always seemed to me that most high-profile, biographical/historical movies are more concerned with recreating the people and events than they are with actually making an interesting movie, relying perhaps on the cache and fascination of the real-life events to let the filmmakers off that particular hook. And fittingly, most discussion surrounding said movies seems concerned only with the actual events and people involved, with any talk of the movie itself confined almost exclusively to how close the script is to what really happened, how close the actors’ makeup and mannerisms resemble their real-life counterparts, and how well the production design recreates the actual setting and era depicted.

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Actor Spotlight: The Madness of King George

From Director Nicholas Hynter The Madness of King George is the 1994 adaption of the play by the same name. The film was also written by the same playwright, Alan Bennett and stars Nigel Hawthorne as King George III and Helen Mirren as Queen Charlotte, both of which were nominated for best actor and actress in 1995. The film is about George III and his fall from being the King of England during the 18th century.

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Actor Spotlight: Excalibur

I remember my first joust. It looks far worse than it feels!

When it comes to viewing (and reviewing) older movies, one has to realize how the industry is so much different nowadays. For example it’s been 30 years since Excalibur was made and while visually it was ahead of its time in some aspects, it is far from what Hollywood puts on the silver screen currently. So basically, you have to watch it on a curve so to speak.

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Actor Spotlight: The Long Good Friday

The Long Good Friday, is the first film in our Helen Mirren spotlight.  We get to see Mirren after her bright career in television and before her breakout role in Excalibur.   Playing opposite of a Pre-Who Framed Roger Rabbit Bob Hoskins, Mirren exudes in her thirties what the late teen/early twenty something crowd wishes they had more of.  Demure sensuality. Read the rest of this entry

Actor Spotlight: Helen Mirren

Dame Helen Mirren, at the age of 66, was recently bestowed the title of Best Body.  Now, this we knew, which is why we decided to make her our spotlight for August weeks ago.  Then again, we’re typically ahead of the curve…or should I say curves?  August is typically pretty hot and we’re hoping that this spotlight can keep up.  Below is a list of the films to be reviewed, so all interested parties can play along at home.

The Long Good Friday

Excalibur

The Madness of King George

The Queen

Actor Spotlight: Proof

With our May’s Actor Spotlight of Anthony Hopkins coming to an end, I close out the month with 2005’s Proof.  Up to a few weeks ago I never heard of the film so I did a quick IMDB search to get  a feel for what I was in for.  Many compared this film to 2001’s A Beautiful Mind with Russell Crowe but since I didn’t see that film I won’t be doing any comparisons of my own.

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Actor Spotlight: The Silence of the Lambs

“Amputate a man’s leg and he can still feel it tickling. Tell me, ma’am, when your little girl is on the slab, where will it tickle you?”

I sat down last weekend to re watch Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs, wondering what there was to say about this movie that hasn’t already been better said a thousand times before. For the purposes of this Spotlight, I decided to just fast-forward to the Anthony Hopkins scenes, as even though this is a movie that I enjoy, I’ve seen it at least six times before. But the fact that I’d already seen the movie so many times before was exactly why, when the realization hit me, I was shocked – to the point where I thought I was losing my mind. But, a quick check of the Internet confirmed it. Read the rest of this entry

Actor Spotlight: The Bounty

The Bounty is a retelling of the true story of a mutiny on a British ship during the late 18th century. Anthony Hopkins stars as Lieutenant William Bligh. When we first meet him he is retelling the story of his failed mission to a board of British Admirals. He must explain himself and his actions that lead to his losing his ship on the high seas. The Bounty was a warship on a mission for the British Navy. It was supposed to sail to Tahiti in the South Pacific and then on to the Caribbean. After reaching Tahiti and setting sail for the West Indies the ship encounters trouble from the sea and within. The Bounty never makes it to the Caribbean. After a month at sea trying to get around the capes of Africa, the ship turns back around and returns to Tahiti. There the crew falls in love with island living and the beautiful women. After months of island living Captain Bligh orders the ship to set sail for home. Instead, the crew already tired of the hardships of sea living while serving under Bligh and his loyal officers stage a mutiny with most of the crew heading back to Tahiti and the other half set adrift at sea. Anthony Hopkins leads a great cast as Captain Bligh. His Bligh is a stern and overbearing sort of Captain. He’s not well liked by the crew or anyone else for that matter. His hard ways alienate him from most of his men. Mel Gibson plays Master’s Mate (First Lieutenant) Fletcher Christian who leads the mutiny after falling in love with a Tahitian island princess.

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Actor Spotlight: Audrey Rose

The first film in our Anthony Hopkins spotlight is the 1977 film Audrey Rose, which is the story of one man’s search to find the reincarnated form of his daughter.  When a couple and their 11 year old daughter begin experiencing some strange happenings, they are confronted with some potentially disturbing news.  Once Hopkins enters the picture, he begins proposing some outrageous notions that Marsha Mason’s Janice and John Beck’s Bill are simply not ready for. Read the rest of this entry

Actor Spotlight: Sir Anthony Hopkins

Great Odin’s Raven, May is upon us and thus a new spotlight as well. With Thor set to hit theaters, we decided to focus on the man responsible for bringing him into the world, Sir Anthony Hopkins. The spotlight begins with Audrey Rose, then The Bounty, followed by Silence of The Lambs, and rounded out with Proof. Check in weekly to see what we say, and tell us what you think.

Actor Spotlight: Quest for Fire

First you get the rocks, then you get the fire, then you get the women.  In the search for fire, we get some proto-man battles, as well as proto-man/proto-woman couplings, which, in both cases, are pretty disturbing. Read the rest of this entry

Actor Spotlight: Hellboy

“Look Sammy, I’m not a very good shot……but the Samaritan here uses really big bullets.”

Back in 2000 when X-Men came out, comic book movies pretty much were very poor received at the box office.  X-Men started a new trend that continued with success for other comic franchises such as Spider-Man and 2004’s Hellboy. While the other two were well-known characters, Hellboy was not a household name and studios were obviously concerned of what kind of draw that the movie would receive.

From the mind of Mike Mignola, Guillermo del Toro brings what he calls “his dream project” to life with a little help from Ron Perlman.

Conjured by evil but raise by good, Hellboy follows a demon that spends his days fighting evil to preserve what’s good in the world.

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Actor Spotlight: Season Of The Witch

This month’s Actor Spotlight is on the great Ron Perlman. Ron Perlman has had a very long career in both movies and tv. He’s also done a ton of voice over work for video games and cartoons. You may not recognize the face or the name sometimes, but I am pretty sure you’ve seen something Perlman’s been in.  From the old Beauty And The Beast tv show from the early 90’s to a memorable co-starring turn in Blade 2, the man has done it all. Heck, he’s even the voice of the narrator of the Fallout games. The man just doesn’t stop. Read the rest of this entry

Actor Spotlight: Morning Glory

Closing out our actor spotlight of Harrison Ford, I was able to catch his latest but  far from greatest new release of Morning Glory. Director Roger Mitchell (Notting Hill, Changing Lanes) brings us the latest rom-com type movie. Taking a bit of 1987’s Broadcast News then throwing in some different aspects Mitchell shows us the life of a workaholic television show producer.

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Actor Spotlight: Regarding Henry

If you woke up one day and no longer remembered who you were or how you got here; what would you do?  Would you find the reflection in the mirror a comfort, or would that reflection be alien?  How would you feel as you got to know yourself; finding that that the person you were, is not who you believe you truly are?  These are the questions that Harrison Ford faces and overcomes as Henry Turner in 1991’s Regarding Henry. Read the rest of this entry

Actor Spotlight: Raiders of The Lost Ark

The powers that be will never get me to call this film…this classic, Indiana Jones and The Raiders of The Lost Ark.  When I saw it in the theaters as a young chap, it was called, Raiders of The Lost Ark.  The poster said so, the credits said so, and the marquee outside the theater backed up both of them.  This is coming from the guy that places Indiana Jones above everything and everyone else.  Well almost everything else. Read the rest of this entry

Actor Spotlight: The Frisco Kid

The Frisco Kid is a cowboy buddy movie starring Gene Wilder and Harrsion Ford. Wilder plays a Rabbi from Poland trying to make his way from Philadelphia to San Francisco in 1880’s America. Harrison Ford plays a bank robber who meets Wilder’s Avram. It’s an Odd Couple comedy set in the wild west.

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Actor Spotlight: Julie and Julia

In this delightful film based on the book, Julie and Julia, we follow the lives of two women: French-American culinary icon Julia Child (beautifully played by Meryl Streep), and Julia (played by Amy Adams), who is a young, married woman at a dead-end government job. The film goes back and forth between the two parallel lives of these two women who live during different times. We see how both Julie and Julia’s lives run parallel to each other with how they are bored and wanted to try something new after moving. Julia Child takes up a few hobbies while her husband works for the US government in Paris. She ends up taking a hobby cooking class, and wants to learn more than basics, and ends up graduating from Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, and writes the first French cookbook in English. Julie Powell takes on the extraordinary task of cooking through Julia Child’s entire cookbook and documenting her results on her blog. Julie’s cooking challenge begins with an idea to make a chocolate cream pie. Julie’s marriage gets strained when the recipes get harder. Read the rest of this entry

Actor Spotlight: Death Becomes Her

“Do you know what they do to soft bald Republicans in prison?…….I’ll get the shovel, dear.”

This time on our Actor’s Spotlight I’m taking a look at a movie that I hadn’t seen, Death Becomes Her. Once again, I was surprised by how much fun and good this movie is. I don’t really remember it from when it came out in the theaters and from what I’ve read it wasn’t a box office smash. I never caught it on video or cable. But, it’s a great hidden gem of a movie for fans of Streep and the rest of the cast (Bruce Willis and Goldie Hawn). I’d also recommend it for horror fans. It’s got some nice ideas and twists to the ideas of eternal life and what that entails. It’s really not what I picture when I think of “a Meryl Streep movie”. It’s very funny. And, for me it toes the line between being a dark comedy and a horror comedy like Shawn Of The Dead or Zombieland.

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Actor Spotlight: Out of Africa

Just to give you, the reader, a frame of reference, Out of Africa was Oscar’s sweetheart in 1986.  The film won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Music Score, and Best Sound.   No Best Actress you say.  Why was this month’s spotlight focus not awarded the highest honor for her performance in Out of Africa?  Meryl Streep lost that year to veteran actress Geraldine Page, who had starred in the film The Trip to Bountiful.   Film historians and other people in the field, much smarter than I, all seem to  agree that Page was awarded Best Actress as a sort of  “lifetime achievement award”, otherwise Streep very well could have won.  In fact, Streep would have walked away with the award no doubt.  While Page’s performance was certainly award worthy, nothing came close to topping Streep’s portrayal of Karen Blixen on the big screen.  Read the rest of this entry

Actor Spotlight: Sophie’s Choice

Meryl Streep is considered to be one of the great actresses of this generation. I personally tend to agree. This movie really shows what a powerful actress she is.  Sophie’s Choice is considered Meryl Streep’s greatest performance. It’s the movie that made her a star and won her an Oscar for Best Actress. It’s a gripping, tragic movie about love and loss set in the aftermath of World War II.

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Actor Spotlight: Kramer vs. Kramer

Kicking off this month’s actor spotlight of Meryl Streep is 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer.  A movie that came out when I was merely a year old.  With that in mind, it is no wonder that I didn’t see it till I was selected to do so for this review.

Kramer vs. Kramer is a movie can hits you like a ton of bricks because of the subject that is of hand.  That being a young child in the middle of a custody battle between parents.  However director Robert Benton focuses more on the growth of the father’s character than the custody battle itself.  Dustin Hoffman plays the workaholic father who comes home after getting great news from work to a wife who has her bags packed and heading out the door.  From that point on, his life changes dramatically. Read the rest of this entry

Actor Spotlight: Flashback

Before I get started talking about 1990’s Flashback starring Dennis Hopper and Kiefer Sutherland, I want to take a second and say thank you to Hopper for a long and entertaining career.  You will be missed for not only your film work, but for your television work as well.  Afterall it takes pure talent to make a Keanu Reeve’s film decent like you did with Speed without the use of the Wachowski’s or Patrick Swayze.  All kidding aside, rest in peace Dennis Hopper and for that matter, Swayze as well. Read the rest of this entry

Actor Spotlight: Blue Velvet

I get it.  I get Blue Velvet on every level.  I really do.  Of course, that doesn’t give it a pass.

I will start by saying that this, our third film in the Dennis Hopper spotlight, has one of the best Hopper performances I’ve seen to date.  His Frank Booth was so unbelievably nasty and vile.  A villain you truly love to hate. Hopper delivers each and every venom filled line with gusto and precision.  And when he needs to be a sniveling, drug addled cry baby, he pulls that off without a hitch.  Perfect casting on the part of director David Lynch. Read the rest of this entry

Actor Spotlight: Tracks

“I love. And, I hate. Because I love I hate. And, I love!”

Dennis Hopper was one of a kind and a great actor.  He was the type of actor that makes a bad movie watchable (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2). He did it all.  He was a character in GTA: Vice City. He played the leader of Fiddler’s Green in George Romero’s Land Of The Dead (“We don’t negotiate with terrorists!”). He was also a great director (Easy Rider and Colors). He truly was one of the best talents to come from the generation that gave us Spielberg, Lucas, Scorsese and Coppola. He will be missed. Read the rest of this entry