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Posts Tagged ‘Olivia Thirlby’

Back in 2009 in the infancy of this sit, I started compiling a top ten most promising actors and actresses.  While I was still deciding on who would make the grade, Caz from Lets Go to the Movies posted a list of top ten actors.  I duly decided to drop my actors list and write about ten young actresses.  I didn’t have a hard and fast criteria, but set an age limit of 25 and excluded anyone who was an established A list star, such as Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley who were both 24 at the time.  So what has happened since then?  The most significant thing, Scarlett Johansson aside, most of the biggest stars have broken through since the my 2009 article they include: Jennifer Lawrence, Shailene Woodley , Carey Mulligan, Rooney Mara, Dakota Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Mia Wasikowska and Emma Stone.  The most significant people I failed to mention were: Saoirse Ronan and Anna Kendrick.  So what of those I mentioned?

The Hunger Games

Dakota Fanning: 15 at the time now 23, Dakota’s most significant performance that I have seen since my original post was as Cherie Currie in The Runaways.  Although still giving good performances the great roles don’t appear to be coming her way.  She seems to have been somewhat eclipsed by her Younger sister Elle (19 today). She does have the interesting looking Ocean’s Eight coming out next year.Dakota Fanning

Kristen Stewart: I sighted Adventurland as proof that Stewart (who turns 27 today), could act and had a career beyond Bella Swan.  I think I have been proved right.   With standout suporting roles in Still Alice, Clouds of Sils Maria and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and excellent starring roles in Personal Shopper and Equals she has not only proved to be a great actress, but also one who makes interesting choices.  I am yet to see Certain Women but have heard positive things about it. Kristen Stewart

Nikki Reed: 13 is remains and will probably remain the actresses most significant work.  Now 28 she has totally dropped off my radar, I don’t think I have seen her in anything since the Twighlight movies.   Nikki Reed

Ellen Page: After my original article Page now 30 went on to star in the hugely successful Inception directed by Christopher Nolan.  She reprised her role as Kitty Pryde in the X-Men franchise playing a relatively small but very significant part in the excellent Days of Future Past. Kitty Pryde Ellen Page

Evan Rachel Wood: I first say  Wood now 29 starring alongside Nikki Reed in 13.  At the time of writing she had appeared in The Wrestler alongside Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei, she appeared to be on the brink of mega stardom but never really made the jump.  She has since found her most significant part and greatest acclaim on TV in Westworld.Evan Rachel Wood

Camilla Belle: At the time of writing back in 09, Belle’s star was on the rise.  Now 30, I haven’t seen her in a single movie.  She is still working with 10 IMDB credits it the time, I just haven’t seen any of them. Camilla Belle

Olivia Thirlby:  Best known as Juno’s best friend Olivia Thirlby was a bit of a long shot for the list.  Now 30, she hasn’t found the breakthrough role she needed.  however, she has starred in one excellent film, the massively underappreciated Dredd. Olivia Thirlby

Kat Dennings: Dennings now 30 is currently best known for the TV show 2 Broke Girls and for providing comic relief in the Thor movies . Kat Dennings

Megan Fox:  Now 30, I expected Fox to try more interesting roles following Jennifer’s Body, unfortunately the Transformers star seems to be concentrated on rubbish comedies and the rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

Amanda Seyfried: At 24 then and 31 now, Seyfried is the oldest star on the list.  She has proved to be a first rate and diverse actor.  Most exciting of all, she is set to appear in the new series of Twin Peaks later this year. Amanda Seyfried

I also had a couple of bonus picks:

Olivia Wilde: At 25, now 33 Wilde was older than the rest on the list and still largely a TV star.  She made the breakthrough with several movie roles, the highest profile being TRON: Legacy.  She continues to work in both TV and film. olivia wilde tron

Jennifer Ulrich: I predicted the German actress now 32 would make the jump to Hollywood, she hasn’t.  She has continued to work in German TV and Movies. Jennifer Ulrichwe are the night

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Following the release of The Expendables 2 earlier this there was a lot of buzz about an all female Expendables. At the time I speculated on the stars of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s who could star in it, but given the action movies from this year I thought I would look at it from a different point of view. Who are this years top female action stars?

If you remember the original Total Recall (Sharon Stone) has one good action scene before getting killed off. In the remake director Len Wiseman has extended the part and cast his wife Kate Beckinsale, she reciprocates by playing the part with relish and being the best thing in the movie totally eclipsing Jessica Biel’s Melina. Beckinsale also stars as Selene in Underworld: Awakening, back for a third time in the fourth installment of the vampire v werewolf franchise. It is possibly the weakest of the series but Beckinsale still does a great job. Resident Evil: Retribution is the latest in Another franchise that has lasted longer than anyone thought possible, the reason to keep watching, Milla Jovovich. From successful franchises to ones that can’t get off the ground; although not a financial success, Dredd is a big improvement on the previous attempt to make a Judge Dredd movie, Olivia Thirlby’s rookie judge Anderson gives the movie a new dimension and direction.

The star of the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Noomi Rapace has made the jump to Hollywood. Elizabeth Shaw is the central character at the heart of Prometheus, she is no Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) but still makes a compelling star. I first saw Naomie Harris in 28 Days Later… 10 years ago, she has had a few decent roles in the decade that followed she has had the odd good role, its great to see her get one Eve in Skyfall. Anyone who has seen Winter’s Bone would probably agree that Jennifer Lawrence was the only person who could have played Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. A reluctant hero, she may not have the ass kicking credentials of Gina Carano or Kate Beckinsale but she has more grit and determination than any actress/character on this list. Lawrence also appeared as Raven / Mystique in X-Men: First Class, with The Hunger Games first sequel Catching Fire due out next year and X-Men: Days of Future Past in 2014 expect to see a lot more of her. Its also worth remembering Rebecca Romijn’s all action take on the part to give an insight on where the character is going.

Given the amount of hits this site has received in the last few years from people searching for “Anne Hathaway Catwoman” its fair to say Anne Hathaway’s Selina aka Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises has been the most anticipated female action role of year. I’m not sure she has replaced Michelle Pfeiffer as the ultimate Catwoman but she certainly didn’t disappoint. The other highly anticipated, big budget franchise movie of the summer was The Avengers (aka Avengers Assemble here in the UK). As a regular human I was concerned at what Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) would have to do in The Avengers surrounded by gods, monsters and super solders not to mention a billionaire playboy with a powered suit of armour. As it turns out her and Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton / Hawkeye are at the heart of the story and are both brilliant.

The biggest action star of the year (male or female) came out of nowhere, former mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano as Mallory Kane in Haywire. There is something old-fashioned about Steven Soderbergh’s action revenge thriller Haywire, using long takes, still cameras and short lenses that give lots of depth of field. This is the perfect showcase for Gina Carano to show of her fighting ability. It takes the movie back to a pre Bourne time for action movies and has resulted in a love it or hate it reaction. Whatever your thoughts it looks like we have seen the birth of a new action star. An honourable mention for Melissa George who impressed again in last years A Lonely Place to Die, she doesn’t have any movies coming out this year but is currently starring on BBC1 in Hunted. The show is formulaic in the style of Spooks but she is really good in it.

Other performances that didn’t make the grade but are worth a quick mention are: Although there was nothing wrong with her performance Nan Yu’s Maggie in The Expendables 2 was a caricature rather than a character. Kristen Stewart was actually quite good as Snow White but the film wasn’t up to much and she was totally overshadowed by Charlize Theron. Rihanna looked good in Battleship but the film was pretty crap and the girl can’t act. Wrath of the Titans was marginally better than Clash of the Titans and Rosamund Pike is reasonably good as Andromeda having been given a much larger role than Alexa Davalos in the first film. Maggie Grace managed to avoid getting Taken in Taken 2 but she more than makes up for this by being held hostage in Lockout. In both movies she does have a few action scenes. Combining this with a part as a vampire in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 she may be moving more towards action roles.

Did I miss anyone out. Can anybody recommend any movies or performances I have missed from the past year?

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Dredd 3D V Judge Dredd “I’ll Be the Judge of that”

Judge Dredd first appeared in the British science fiction comic book 2000 AD in 1977. In 1995 he made his first screen appearance in the movie Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone. This was the first mistake, in casting a megastar Dredd spent most of the movie without his helmet, Dredd’s face has never been seen in the comic book. They could have got away with this given a great script, unfortunately they didn’t have one. The story wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t very Dredd and it played things too funny and camp. Again they may have gotten away with this, but Rob Schneider as a sidekick was the movies final proverbial nail. Diane Lane, Armand Assante and Max von Sydow provide good support but this is a drop in the ocean in comparison to all the films problems. So how does this new version compare? Surprisingly well.

Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie judge who may not be cut out for the job but is being given a chance because of her unprecedented psychic abilities. The pair attend a triple homicide at “Peach Trees” a 200-story slum tower block (essentially a small town/city within a single tower block) controlled by ruthless drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). When they become trapped in the building the judges suddenly have more to contend with than just the assessment as they have to fight for survival.

The beauty and dare I say it the brilliance of the movie is its simplicity. Sylvester Stallone’s Judge Dredd went through an epic story with a large but ultimately uncharacteristic character arc. The development of the character as portrayed by Karl Urban is tiny and only exists as a reaction to Anderson whose character is constantly developing and evolving throughout the movie. Judge Dredd had a budget of around $90million (around $135million adjusted for inflation) the new movie was made for a more modest $45 million. With financial constraints come artistic solutions. Dredd does this by confining the plot to a single tower block, think more The Raid (2011) than Die Hard (1988), and like these two movies it is set over a single day (and night). As a day in the life tale, the events are more significant to Anderson than to Dredd who is portrayed as an established character. The casting is good, with Karl Urban (or at least his chin) making a convincing Dredd. Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey are also good. The rest of the cast is as disposable and insignificant as you would expect in a movie like this. Written by Alex Garland who is a self-confessed fan of the comic book and has ideas in place for a trilogy based on existing 2000 AD Dredd stories. As well as a striking look the production and costume design make for a more believable movie universe that the first film. Only enough information about the city and the judges is explained for the plot to make sense leaving the viewer wanting to know more.

It has its problems, the 3D is jus as pointless as you would expect it to be. The film is really well shot with artistic style and flair, but the 3D hampers rather than improves this. Looking down the 200-story tower block does not give the same sense of acrophobia that we got from the Burj Khalifa scenes in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. The “Slo-Mo” drug and the effect it causes are overused within the plot without the appeal of it as a recreational narcotic been explored. The action scenes are well choreographed and films but lack originality or finesse.

So back to the original question, how does it compare to the 1995 version? It is better in every way. Knowing just how seriously to take itself and focussing on being fun not funny it isn’t a classic but it is an enjoyable movie full of good ideas and with an unexpected visual flair. I don’t expect everyone to like it, I actually know a lot of people who will hate it. I would recommended it to any fan of action movies or comic book movies but they may be better served waiting for the DVD where they don’t have to suffer the 3D. You’re probably thinking “I knew you’d say that!”

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I don’t mind bad movies, I actually sometimes like them, there is something charming and fun about crap movies. Take a look at the works of Edward D. Wood Jr. Enzo G. Castellari or more recently Uwe Boll, none of them are particularly good but equally none of them are completely without artistic merit or entertainment value. These movies should not be confused with a far worse crime against cinema, disappointing movies. The Darkest Hour is certainly a disappointing movie. It has so much going for it but fails to deliver. There is an attractive and talented leading couple (Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby) and a director (Chris Gorak) who impressed with his debut feature (Right at Your Door), to add to all this Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch) is attached as a producer.

So what’s the problem? Before exploring the problems it is problem worth explaining what is going on for those who haven’t seen the movie, I think that my well be most of you! Two young wannabe dotcom entrepreneurs (Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella) fly to Moscow in the search of investors for their new social media website. Finding themselves shafted by a colleague (Joel Kinnaman) they head for a trendy bar to get drunk. They quickly hook up with two American (although one is clearly Australian) girls (Olivia Thirlby and Rachael Taylor) until things go wrong. A power failure in the bar signals the start of an alien invasion involving an invisible advisory that devours electricity. Not knowing how far the invasion has spread the group look for a way out.

Where to begin! Although clichéd, the characters aren’t bad thanks to the charisma of Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby and Max Minghella. Rachael Taylor lacks dimension but that is more down to the script than her performance. And that’s the big problem the story and the script. Given the huge global scale of the events, not a lot happens. The same can be said for the characters attempts escape from the aliens, they never seem to be in that much danger except from the stupid positions they put themselves in. While they are able to work out the aliens intentions and weaknesses with ease they still do senseless things and inevitably get themselves killed. The people who run upstairs when they should be running out the front door in a slasher movie display genius in comparison to some of their actions.

There is a convention in creature movies to not show the monster. As they are virtually invisible most of the time this is an easy trick for the film to accomplish. When we do see more of them towards the end of the movie they are like the movie itself, disappointing. And that’s the crux of it. Every good thing the movie does eventually falls flat and fails. To top all this off it claims to be in 3D. I don’t like 3D at the best of times but after seeing Hugo I am prepared to admit it can work however here, other than the opening and closing shots I couldn’t see any 3D.

The result is a movie that could easily have attained four out of five stars if all the parts had gelled but in reality it is so dull at times that I feel generous giving it two stars. The finall scenes suggest this is the setup for a sequel or franchise, good luck with that!

Two Stars out of Five ★★★★★

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