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Posts Tagged ‘Saoirse Ronan’

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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Movies seen in May:

Dead Man Down: Two damaged people (Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace) looking for revenge find each other. A disjointed crime thriller that has its problems but gets away with them because they are outweighed by the charms of the leading actors.IMG_5538.CR2

Star Trek Into Darkness: Kirk, Spock and the crew of the Enterprise go after a terrorist (perfectly played by Benedict Cumberbatch). Lots of well placed nods to the original series but the movie feels a little hollow and undoes some of the great work of the excellent first reboot movie.Star Trek Into Darkness

Mud: Two young teenage boys find a fugitive living in a boat stranded in a tree on a river island. They agree to help him despite the obvious dangers. Further proof that given a decent movie Matthew McConaughey is one of the most underrated actors of his generation coupled with the emerging talent of Tye Sheridan who you may have seen in The Tree of Life.Mud

The Great Gatsby: Baz Luhrmann’s take on the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel is as good as it can be for a story that belongs on the page not the screen. The best things about it are the visually stunning party scenes and the stunning performance from Leonardo DiCaprio. Sadly the best things about the film work against each other not with each other making a good and stunning film but not a great and mesmerising one.The Great Gatsby

Fast and Furious 6: Dominic Toretto, Brian O’Conner (Vin Diesel & Paul Walker) and their crew are once again hired by Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). This time they are after British thief Shaw (Luke Evans) who is working with (back from the dead) Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). The story is rubbish leavening the film feeling flat after the surprisingly good previous film. There is enough car action for fans of the series and the fight between Michelle Rodriguez and Gina Carano is good.Fast & Furious 6

Byzantium: After being discover by a mysterious organisation who is tracking them a pair of female vampires (Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan) flee and end up in a rundown English seaside town. Neil Jordan returns to the vampire movie in the atmospheric and melancholic British horror that may just be the antidote to twilight.Byzantium

The Purge: Set in a near future America where on one day every year there is a 12 hour window when murder is legal. A suburban family get caught in the crossfire when the son decides help a man fleeing from a mob. What could have been a great sleazy B movie or a classy allegoric tale tries to be both and ends up being neither. Interesting and fun but flawed.The Purge

Byzantium Just misses out as movie of the month to Mud:Mud Poster

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After being discover by a mysterious organisation who is tracking them a pair of female vampires (Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan) flee and end up in a rundown English seaside town. It quickly becomes clear that the duo are mother and daughter (posing as sisters) and they are being hunted by other vampires. Living a lonely existence they do what they can to survive, in Clara (Arterton)’s case them means reverting to the only profession she knows, prostitution. Meanwhile Eleanor (Ronan) forms a bond with young local man Frank (Caleb Landry Jones).byzantium poster

It is interesting that in a month when biggest cinema release (The Great Gatsby) tries to get to grips with a character wishing to relive the past that there is a better film that will go largely unnoticed that has a more telling angle on the same idea. While Clara is always looking to the present and the future trying to forget or deny the past, her daughter Eleanor wallows in the misery of the past and is chained to the limitations of it preventing her from enjoying the present and planning for the future. This is explored in a particularly well handled scene when a character who is clinging on to what life he has mocks Eleanor for the desperation and unhappiness she carries with her into immortality. Like Gatsby, the prison the characters create for themselves is in the lies that live by hiding their past, and like Gatsby the freedom that may come honesty is fraught with danger.Byzantium Gemma Arterton

Every vampire story has to create its own “lore” whoever it by Nosferatu’s (1922) invention of sunlight killing vampires (that’s right it wasn’t in Bram Stoker’s novel) or Twilight’s glittering vampires. Other than the drinking of blood Byzantium does away with most conventions of the genre. These vampires don’t even have fangs. They do have another more subtle but equally as effective way of taking their preys blood. They are also more human and vulnerable than we have seen in other vampires in other years, making them more interesting. This vulnerability and humanity along with the tone of the movie and lack of cliché’s helps create a fantasy setting that feels closer to reality and more believable than many other vampires. The difficulty of introducing this lore is handled with the lightest of touches. There is almost no exposition, it is all implied of neatly worked into the plot of the movie. There is a scene where we see Eleanor watching Terence Fisher’s classic Hammer Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), interestingly they show a scene not involving Christopher Lee as the eponymous Count. This is a scene that like the rest of the film is handled supremely well. With a more heavy handed aproch it could have come across as either exposition or could have been an alienation device. These pitfalls are avoided, instead we get to see a nice juxtaposition of the perception of vampires and the reality of them (within the confines of the movie). This is further explored in aspects in reaction to things the characters say for example: When Eleanor explains that she learnt to play piano so well (she plays Beethoven’s complicated Piano Sonata Opus 2, No. 3) by practicing for 200 years, frank brushes it of as it feels like 200 years when you are practicing.Saoirse-Ronan-In-Byzantium

When you see Neil Jordan’s name attached to a vampire movie, you immediately think Interview with the Vampire (1994), while it may have plot similarities, Byzantium feels closer in tone to his earlier film The Company Of Wolves (1984). The story of lonely vampires travelling through a world where they have no place looking for love or acceptance chimes with many other vampire stories. Notably Tony Scott’s movie The Hunger and Mark Burnell’s novel Glittering Savages. Let the Right One In (2008) is certainly (in my opinion) the standout vampire movie of the generation, there are lots of parallels that can be drawn between the movies both in theme and tone. There is something about the seaside in winter that feels bleaker than any other place, this is used to full effect in what is essentially a melodrama of extreme melancholy. The charred remains of Hastings Pier (that burnt down a couple of years ago) give us a foreboding feeling of an inevitable ending. This has a similar effect as the snow and concrete architecture of Let the Right One InGemma Arterton Byzantium

Arterton and Ronan are both perfectly cast and play of each other brilliantly. Arterton is brash, loud and overtly sexual, Ronan is quieter, more reserved and introverted. The difference between the characters forms the crux of the plot and had we not believed in them the whole movie would have fallen flat. As it is the movie works supremely well. It isn’t going to bring any new fans to the vampire genre and those who come with certain expectations will be disappointed. It doesn’t have the action of Blade, the comedy of From Dusk Till Dawn , the sexuality of The Hunger, the horror of Near Dark and it certainly isn’t Twilight, but it does have the tone and style of Let the Right One In. And it is on that level that the movie works, it is beautifully shot, perfectly acted, expertly directed modern gothic melodrama that may just be the antidote to twilight and its imitators.  It lacks the depth or clear subtext that enervates some films to greatness, but don’t let that put you off, it is still a very good movie in a genre that hasn’t had many really good movies in recent years.   

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