Category Archives: The Best Of…

The best films from your favourite filmmakers..

The Best Of: 6 Incredible Roles by Amy Adams

Amy Adams is one of my favourite actresses. I know it’s a bit unprofessional to start an article so deeply personal but I recently spoke to the great Adams at a press conference. Replying to me in such an astute and intellectual way, I instantly blacked out and cannot quite recall what she said because I was overcome by her perfection (Hooray for Dictaphones!)

Anyway, there is a great presence to Amy, no matter what role she tackles. Whether it’s a joyous naïve princess or a brooding art gallery owner, Adams masters them all. And though I know I am sadly missing tonnes of her work including The Fighter, Junebug, The Master and Catch Me If You Can, here are the six best roles of Amy Adams.

Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)

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Look, when having to chose between Amy Adams’ best roles, I had a tricky decision to make. One could feel drawn to The Fighter and The Master. Oscar nominated roles, indeed do need a lot of mentions and if I didn’t hate David O Russell, I’d pop the former on and if I had seen The Master, I’d have popped that on too. Regardless, they are truly incredible roles.

Instead, I decided to punt for Adams debut role which is a terribly underrated dark comedy. Drop Dead Gorgeous is a mockumentary revolving around a deadly group of girls who are pining for a pageant crown. Adams plays the sexual cheerleader who can put her whole fist in her mouth, which she does as a talent. Stereotypically dumb, Adams executes the role with great affection, gifting us with a hilarious character that stands out alongside the sea of crazy hilariousness!

Enchanted (2007)

enchanted_movie_image_amy_adams__11_Adams’ work as a Disney “princess” saw her shoot to fame in 2007. The film revolves around a young wannabe princess named Giselle who is transported from her animated role to the real live-action one and has to deal with the hard-knock-life that grimy New York offers. In the role, Adams is impeccable. Bouncy and fun one minute yet full of sorrow the next, Adams encompasses every single Disney Princess whilst similarly crafting a new and exciting one. Yes, she technically isn’t a princess but, well, sod it, she’s the best one! Just listen to “How Do You Know?” and tell me you don’t come away with sheer glee at Giselle’s heart-warming optimism.

Doubt (2008)

aa-amyadams-doubt-hallwayPlaying opposite heavy-weights such as Meryl Streep and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman is challenging. Tackling paedophilia in the church is more so. The young Amy Adams, coming off her commercial and critically acclaimed Disney work plunged deeply into this hefty drama and earned an Academy Award nomination for her troubles. She plays young Nun Sister James who suspects that a Father at their parish is abusing a young student, setting off a campaign against him despite there being no concrete proof. Amy Adams is stellar as the earnest young Nun who wanted to do good despite the circumstances. Greatly solidifying her as one of greatest actresses, this is a fine performance from Adams.

No Doubt.

The Muppets (2011)

amy-adams-as-mary-in-green-with-envy-theProving a favourite with audiences and critics alike, Amy Adams completely immerses herself in a colourful and Muppety world opposite the likes of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and Fossy Bear. Here she plays Mary girlfriend of Gary whose affections for her are pulled by his loyalty to brother Walter.  Bringing the charms of Giselle to a brand new character, Adams is somewhat side-lined by the hilarious puppet pals. Within this fuzzy world, however, she has standout moments including her venture across LA by herself singing the vivacious Me Party that y’all need in your lives. Helping to bring the Muppets back for a whole new generation to enjoy, this a fun and fantastic role!

Nocturnal Animals (2016)

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Although the film was only released last week, it is sure enough one of her more accomplished roles. In fact, if the Academy doesn’t shove an award in her face because of it, then it will be a bitter disappointment. As Susan Marrow, she plays a disjointed gallery owner stifled by her loveless  marriage and the façade of people around her. When she receives a manuscript by her ex-husband, she becomes embroiled in the novel and it’s contents, leading to an emotional act of revenge. Adams is ethereal in the role, transcending into many different facets of Susan including her bubbly and charming younger self and the aged, sleep deprived forty-something person she doesn’t recognise. It’s a gifted almost silent role that Adams  elevates into a gripping poetic noir.

Arrival (2016)

ARRIVALAgain, the movie was only released yesterday but it is such a bloody brilliant performance that you can’t help but mention it. In fact, I urge you to fling your computer to one side, grab your nearest jacket, and head out to your local cinema because this is one film you aren’t going to want to miss on the big screen. As linguistics professor Louise, Adams’ plays a key role in unlocking the secrets of other-worldly visitors in Denis Villeneuve’s impeccable alien film. She’s astonishing. Absolutely perfect. Understated, emotionally charged, and full of clarity, Adams is bountiful in this stunning depiction of humanity’s need to work together to survive. Surely now, Adams is destined for legendary status.


Vice is out in cinemas now! 

The Rise of Olivia Cooke

Plastered all over your screens this week is none other than home grown hero Olivia Cooke, who’s chasing easter eggs in Ready Player One and getting up to sinister acts in Thoroughbreds, so what better time to take a look at this star in the making, why she’s got big things coming, and her breakthrough film performance.

Born and raised in Oldham, Manchester, Cooke started acting young in local theatre productions, commercials and music videos. She made her television debut in 2012, with parts in BBC productions Blackout and The Secret of Crickely Hall. The latter of those was only her introduction to the horror/thriller world, as she would then comfort in that genre starring in films such as The Quiet Ones, Ouija and The Limehouse Golem, as well as her regular role in A&E’s Hitchcock prequel Bates Motel as Emma Decody, alongside Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga.

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In 2015, Cooke played one of the titular roles in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, an indie hit directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, starring Thomas Mann as an awkward, uptight high school senior who drifts through life barely scratching the surface of friendship with anyone other than friend Earl (R.J. Cyler) with no real idea of what he wants, until he’s forced to spend time with Rachel (Cooke), a classmate and former childhood friend who’s been diagnosed with leukaemia. This film is incredibly close to heart, topping my best of the year list for being a beautifully scripted coming of age flick with remarkable creativity, great humour and absolute heartbreak on the way to inspiration. At the centre of it all was Cooke’s performance that served as an emotional journey all by itself; she grabs you by the hand and whisks you through the highs and lows of her disease that puts an irresistible smile on your face and then takes it straight away with a sincere punch to the gut. Without spoilers, the most brilliant moment of hers comes with a static camera, her sitting in the foreground, Mann in the background, and nothing but raw emotion seeping out of these two troubled individuals. By all accounts, she is just riveting.

Following that up with indie hits like Katie Says Goodbye and new release Thoroughbreds, Cooke made her proper blockbuster debut in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. Adapted from Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name, it follows a young boy in a dystopian future where people immerse themselves in a virtual reality world, desperately seeking an easter egg left by it’s pop culture enthused creator. Responses have been fairly mixed; for my money, it doesn’t offer much in the way of satisfying character development or tonal consistency, but is a deliriously fun blockbuster by the man who does it best, and Cooke effortlessly steals the show from leading man Tye Sheridan.

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Olivia Cooke is on the rise, and this is brilliant; on top of being very sweet and down to Earth in real life, she is phenomenally talented and is ready to bring her A-game to whatever genre or type of film she’s tackling. I’d hope to see her in more blockbusters, as a leading lady to be excited for, but the future is currently in the indie market still, with the upcoming Oscar Isaac vehicle Life Itself and short film Follow the Roses, whilst also sticking to television as the lead in the upcoming miniseries Vanity Fair, based on the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray. I predict her becoming one of the more exciting names in films, and at just 24, she’s yet another ridiculously talented person to be jealous of.


Thoroughbreds is out on DVD & Blu-Ray today! 

The Best Of…Paul Rudd

Some actors are timeless. In Paul Rudd’s case, he’s just ageless. Yes, the unwrinkled and smooth perfection of Rudd’s features have caused many to proclaim more sinister and mysterious than simple product, Botox, and wealthy, healthy living. Beyond his youthful looks, Paul Rudd has made a staple for himself by appearing as a lovable loser in comedies and beyond. Charming us with his sparkling eyes and great delivery

To celebrate the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp, we’re here to celebrate all things Paul Rudd!

Bonus: Knocked Up for that shrooms sequence; I Love You, Man for “slappa da bass,” and Parks and Recreation for the gift that kept giving – Bobby Newport!

Clueless (1995)

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One of Rudd’s first ever performances gave many young people their first ever crushes. In this modern nineties adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. The film revolves around Cher, a fashion-obsessed popular girl who is trying to navigate high-school the easiest way possible. Using her intellect, she sets-up teachers, friends, and more and reaps the benefits of their pairings. But is she truly happy?

Rudd plays her step-brother Sonny who actively rolls his eyes at Cher’s antics but the pair soon begin to find a kinship. Smart and open, Rudd’s Sonny was on the book of every teenager in the nineties.

Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

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Wet Hot American Summer is a spoof outrageous comedy that tackles all those summer teen movies. It skewers tropes, adds eccentricity, and has become a really fucking hilarious film tht spawned off two television series just as brilliant as the last. The film sees a camp and the counsellors who run it, prepping for the last day of camp as they say goodbye to the relationships they’ve built over summer. Paul Rudd plays hot douchebag Andy who seduces all the girls despite being in a relationship with our leading lady. Rudd is clearly having the best time as the long-haired seventies Lothario who gets his comeuppance in the end.

Also, the film did also provide us with this gif too…

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Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

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“Sixty per cent of the time, it works every time.”

Classic lines a plenty come in Will Ferrell led comedy Anchorman. The sensational comedy that spawned an unnecessary sequel is still regarded as one of the funniest comedy films of the 21st Century. The film revolves around Ferrell’s titular character as he rides the high and low waves of being a TV news anchor. Rudd plays the sex-obsessed woman “charmer” Brian Fontanna , even though his “charms” fail to work. By this point, we just know that Rudd has absolute impeccable comedic delivery and

Prince Avalanche (2013)

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Ugh. You just really want Paul Rudd to continue making these types of films. That brooding and unassuming indie film that broils with character and mute comedy. The movie by David Gordon Green is a charming and eloquent sleeper hit where an odd pairing – the meditative Alvin and the dopey Lance – head to the woods in order paint traffic lines. Bonding over their work and scenery, Rudd alongside Emile Hirsch move greatly with heart and redolent emotion. Their dysfunctional relationship is an absolute draw and intensely beautiful to watch, brooding with that Sundance spirit.

The Fundamentals of Caring (2014)

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There were about two different roles Rudd was type-cast into before he put on a really, really, ridiculously small super-suit: The kinda loser straight guy in a group of crazy drunken idiot friends or the kinda loser adult trying to teach a younger audience the way forward. With The Fundamentals of Caring, he gets to marry both these stereotypes in a great way. Playing the down-and-out Ben, a retired writer who starts to look after a disabled young man, Rudd is in his element. Having great rapport with the young Craig Roberts, Rudd meets many poignant moments in this surprisingly tender and very funny road trip comedy.

Captain America: Civil War (2015)

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There were two great things about Ant-Man. Michael Pena and Paul Rudd. Sadly, it was just a wasted opportunity. Rudd never really got to shine in a lacklustre movie. That being said, for the half an hour he appears in Captain America: Civil War, he’s a riot. Look, Rudd definitely does embody the role of master-thief Scott Lang in a roguish type manner – making him somewhat of a loser but with enough mettle to become a superhero as well as adding undying love for his daughter. In Civil War, Rudd takes those elements to brand new heights, literally, and steals every scene. Ok, he steals every scene until Spider-Man appears!

We’re excited to see what he does next with Ant-Man and the Wasp!

BONUS –


Ant-Man and the Wasp is out in cinemas now! 

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The Best Of…Hugh Grant

Let’s face it: We’ve all been embroiled in some sort of crush on Hugh Grant. I mean, look at him: Foppish fringed hair, bright white smile, and handsome British awkwardness. Hefty sigh.

Yep, back in the nineties, Grant had his own legion of fans but admits controversy and film failures, we sort of lost our way with him and he faded to the background somewhat.

Years before he came on the seen in British romantic comedies, the performer from Hammersmith was a dashing young man in James Ivory’s stunning British romantic film Maurice. To celebrate it’s return to cinema, we’re looking at the Best of Hugh Grant!

Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists (2012)

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I truly believe that Aardman brings out the best in actors and, arguably, this is Grant’s best role. You can fight me on that.  He stars as Pirate Captain in an almost unrecognisable voice casting. As the lead character competes for Pirate of the Year, Pirate Captain isolates everyone around him including his crew. But he soon comes across a dastardly plot and will rise to be  the hero he’s always dreamed of. Portraying a hapless pirate, Grant is genuinely hysterical and funny but strangely endearing too. It’s also a seriously underrated Aardman film so please watch it – it has the best use of a Flight of the Concords song!

Notting Hill (1999)

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It was a toss up between Four Weddings and a Funeral or Love Actually. But seeing as Notting Hill was the first ever Grant film that I saw as a kid growing up in 1990s Britain (that, or the countless VHS ads for Mickey Blue Eyes I still remember,) it will always be the most compelling to me. Here he plays William Thacker, a small book shop worker in the titular place who happens upon famous movie actress Anna Scott and starts a secretive affair with her. Grant has oodles of chemistry with Julia Roberts  and really plays the lovelorn character well here, with the dazzling blue eyes, charming British nervousness, and plenty of “whoopsie daisies.”

Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)

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When Grant appeared on the posters for the timeless comedy Bridget Jones’ Diary we all had the same collective thought; “Oh great, not again, he plays the sappy love interest.” But that’s where the film turned on it’s head: He wasn’t the nice guy, he played the swarmy posh twat Daniel Cleaver who, despite having feelings for Bridget, treats her like shit. As Daniel Cleaver, he is understandably attractive but damn, he is a flirtatious, womanising dickhead. He also has the best on screen fight with Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy.

About A Boy (2002)

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Introducing the whole world to Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Grant became an unexpectedly father figure in this brilliant and lovable role. He plays a single man who has never had to work before thanks to the Christmas song his father wrote. When he winds up part of a young depressed mum’s life, he unwilling befriends her son. Grant manages to grow his character from cheap womaniser who’s shirked responsibility all his life into a compassionate man with this weird but loving friendship.

Maurice (1987)

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Before Call Me By Your Name, James Ivory tackled unbridled gay romance in the stirring movie Maurice. The film, based on a novel by E.M. Forester, and stars the titular character who goes through his life in Edwardian times figuring out his sexuality (whilst it still being a crime.) Hugh Grant plays  Clive Durham, Maurice’s college sweetheart who is more fearful of his true nature coming about. In an intimate performance, Grant captures the tenderness of youthful romance coupled with the anguish of a force hetero-sexual relationship in an amazing supporting role.

Paddington 2 (2017)

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If you’ve never seen Paddington 2, I think you should really re-evaluate your life choices.  I will even allow you to walk away after you’ve read this exact word in order to go watch it. You are about to witness one of the greatest things you’ve ever seen Hugh Grant too. As Phoenix Buchanan, he plays a very on the nose role as a has-been actor turned criminal mastermind when he kidnaps Paddington’s beloved pop-up book meant as a present for Aunt Lucy. As this swarmy and egotistical character, Grant tackles this role with such a gusto and glee that he steals the entire show. FROM PADDINGTON BEAR. That’s an almighty feat. Please stay for the credits though because you will not be disappointed!

BONUS:


Maurice is back in cinemas now! 

The Best of…Tom Cruise

I know what you’re thinking: How can anyone sluice down over forty decades of over fifty films into a compact five movie list? True, the dazzling white teethed Cruise has been the epitome of Hollywood stardom for years and years, producing countless amounts of movies, and running in a hell of a lot of them.

I also know what you are thinking: Here we go, another list of Rain Man, Top Gun, and Days of Thunder. But that is where you are WRONG! Because in celebration of the release of yet another Mission: Impossible film, we’re going to try an attempt a list of different movies that may not initially spring to mind when you think of Cruise.

But then again…if you are film lover, this may be the movies you spring to anyway…

Collateral (2004)

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White-haired and stoic, Tom Cruise took the role of Vincent, a hired hitman who uses a taxi driver (Jamie Foxx) to cart him around, committing his killings. Cruise had rarely been a villain in films (more on that later) and his turn as the brutal, and coldly cool killer that has no qualms bringing in an innocent driver into the fold. It’s a chilling performance set against the seedy backdrop of Los Angeles.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

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One of Kubrick’s last films and such a brilliant drama film. The movie follows Dr Bill Harford as he embarks on an erotic and sexual night-long adventure after he finds out his wife is having an affair. Pairing Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise together, the film is an intense and layered movie about humans and their relations to love and sex. The performances are intricate against a beautiful backdrop and an alluring story. It is definitely one of the best films that Cruise has ever done.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

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While it may be a joke that Cruise has become Hollywood’s running man lately, there is something genuinely enjoyable about his work in Edge of Tomorrow. Why? Because his character sucks. Not in a “it’s a bad character,” but in the sense that he’s a character who has no idea what he is doing. Playing public relations officer in a war against aliens, trapped in a time-loop dying over and over again, Cruise’s performance is about having to survive and figure out why he is caught up in this. All with the help of the ultimate heroine…Emily Blunt.

Magnolia (1999)

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Paul Thomas Anderson is one of our greatest filmmakers. He is able to move audiences with intense art and craft some impossibly brilliant movies. From Boogie Nights to Phantom Thread, his work are masterpieces and any actor who happens to be a part of them. Earning Cruise an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, Cruise played a misogynistic public speaker tackling his issues with his estranged father. In a nuanced performance, Cruise reminded us of what a spectacular character actor he could be.

Interview with a Vampire (1994)

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On a personal note, this is my ultimate favourite Tom Cruise performance. Taking on Anne Rice’s infamous and dark vampire Lestat, Cruise transformed himself to a blood addicted animal all with the camp air of 1791. In our cinematic world where the actor has turned into a one note action-star playing pretty much the same character, it’s intriguing to see him play the beguiling vampire that attracts people into his murderous frenzy.

BONUS –  


Mission: Impossible – Fallout is out in cinemas today! 

In Celebration of Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

Rosamund Pike stars alongside Daniel Bruhl in hijack thriller Entebbe, which is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now. There is also upcoming Oscar buzz for her leading role as Marie Colvin in A Private War! 

So that means I can pull my soapbox forward and talk about how Rosamund Pike gave us one of the best performances of all time in David Fincher’s Gone Girl. And I love Julianne Moore. And I love Still Alice. But the Academy Award for Leading Actress should’ve 100% have gone to Rosamund Pike as Amazing Fucking Amy.

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If you have been in the vicinity of my reality self over the past three years, you’ll know far too much that I have carefully and calmly broken down the reasons as to why Rosamund Pike deserved to clinch this award. By carefully and calmly, I mean frothing at the mouth to flailing all over it like Desi all bloodied up on the bed. See, Gone Girl was a truly triumphant thriller that rejuvenated our love for Ben Affleck, whilst similarly adding another level of excellence to directing legend David Fincher. It told the story of a seemingly perfect suburban couple, Nick and Amy, whose lives are flipped upside down when Amy goes missing on their wedding anniversary.

There  are many reasons as to why Pike delivered perfection and then some and I’ll get on to the actual performance in a paragraph’s time. Firstly, Rosamund Pike, roughly a year ago, was not the most assuming of actresses. Sure enough, she had plenty of roles but none that quite cracked into the talent that we knew she had. She was frosty in Die Another Day, wifey in Hector and the Search for Happiness, and crumbled a little in Edgar Wright’s The World’s End. A general audience hadn’t heard much about the actresses, disappointingly, and it felt as though she hadn’t been given the roles she deserved; roles that glinted in her eyes like a jilted wife out for revenge on her cheating husband.

And then she was cast in Gone Girl. Now, with all that back catalogue of films, many would’ve been surprised that Fincher went for this British actress. Sitting down in the cinema, bums firmly on seats, there was tension surrounding just how well she could handle the role. Not only did she handle it, she fucking nailed it on every level. As Amy, Pike encompassed everything about the psychopathic villainess without overplaying the role. She smiled sweetly and enamoured men into her web of lies and deceit. The big lie? That she has no personality and she sickly plays the character that would attract you the most.

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Pike resonates loudly on screen, taking you through a journey of ambivalence and murder all the while fooling even the audience into believing she is the abused and downtrodden wife. As she unravels her schemes in the second half, Pike goes beyond this American beauty and into one of the most disturbingly alluring characters of 2014 (or, indeed, this century) and the actress gets her hands bloody to deliver every last awful blow to those around her. Amazing Amy? Nah, Perfect Pike and she has had us obsessed with her ever since.

As great as the other actresses were, it has all become a little samey for the Best Actress category. It seems that all you have to do to win a Best Actress, is to be suffering from a debilitating illness or a downright awful backstory in order to win. It’s not that The Academy Awards haven’t nominated a psychopath since Rooney Mara straight up went for it as Lizabeth Sander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. While I know the other nominees were outstanding and the stories they were telling were both pivotal and important, how great would it have beeen if a woman who stood up and gave the role of her lifetime won it? I mean someone who really gave it gusto and a fucking murdering psycho that is fully imagined and undeniably portrayed.

That would’ve been fantastic. No wait, fantastic is too flippant.

Amazing.


Entebbe is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!