a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Irish’

Oscar Hallowe’en!BOO! It’s Scary Out There for a Contender

Joy1EddieandlilliIt’s Oscar Hallowe’en! Boo! Did I scare you? Not as much as some of the box-office news is scary for some of the Oscar Wannabee Contenders. “Steve Jobs” has just about died at the Box-Office. Michael Fassbender in the title role might not even get nominated! As I said before about “The Joy of Typing”(my title for “The Social Network”) who in the Academy wants to see a movie about the Internet? NO ONE.

Some Academy members don’t even HAVE a computer. You have to call them on the antiquated machine known as the telephone. Or worse, WRITE THEM A LETTER. Some don’t even have email.

They hate the Internet with a vengeance. It’s changed their world in too many ways, none of which they understand, or like (Don’t believe me? Look back at few years at “The Joy of Typing”)

Also sinking like a stone at the B.O. is, sadly, “Suffragette.” Women will love this movie. Men will hate it and the Academy as I’ve always said is made up of the SWORM. The Straight White Old Rich Men, who dominate Hollywood(and the Oscars) since the dawn of time. They’re gonna hate it, since there is NOT ONE sympathetic male in the entire movie.

And “Suffragette”s lack of relatability (to men) will sink it at the Oscars and Carrie Mulligan’s very good performance, too. Perhaps…Sad for Carrie. But good news for Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn.” “Suffragette’s lose, may be the charming, small period film’s gain. “Brooklyn” I mean. As Brit Carrie goes down with her ship, Irish Saorise will rise with hers as the token femme Celt.

A film that is also going to scare all the other contenders is the upcoming “Joy”. With Jennifer Lawrence once again being up for Best Actress for her role as a house-wife who turns into a mega-businesswoman. A single mom, at that. And if you can find it(it’s not hard. It’s everywhere now.)on the Internet, the trailer REALLY looks great for Jennifer to perhaps do it again and win a SECOND Best Actress Oscar.  She’s a star. She’s under 25. She’s box-office. It’s David O. Russell-directed(again) and it’s going to be her v. Brie Larson in “Room.” You mark my words.And strangely Brie Larson’s character is ALSO named Joy. So it’ll be Joy v. Joy at the Oscars this year in the first time in AGES since we’ve really had a race going on in that category.And that IS a joy!

Cate Blanchett’s excellent “Truth” is also tanking at the box-office so she’ll probably be nominated for her other upcoming film “Carol.” But having won so recently for “Blue Jasmine,” I don’t think they’ll give her a third Oscar this year, though Jennifer Lawrence very well may be looking at her second.

Also looking straight at a second Oscar is Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”. Based on a true story(see above^) and featured magnificently in VOGUE with Lupita N’yongo on the cover with a spread that shows his remarkable transition. Lili Elbe one of the first, if not THEE first transgender pioneer, is such a tragic figure. It may also tug at the Academy’s hard heart. I think it will. Eddie makes a beautiful girl. His performance as Lili is nothing short of incredible. He’s even better than he was in “The Theory of Everything” which he won Best Actor for last year.

NOT scaring anyone is Johnny Depp’s “Black Mass” another mis-fire. People admire his performance as Whitey Bulger, a mob informant/killer (Haven’t we seen him in this role before?Wasn’t it called “Donny Brasco”?) Critics like HIM, but not the movie and It’s not scaring up much $ either. Though “The Martian” is! And that could be our Best Picture winner, BTW. And could garner Matt Damon a nomination as Best Actor.THAT is the red elephant in the room.

Also, everyone is afraid that it just may be Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar year FINALLY. But “The Revenant” is still to be seen. I didn’t think it would be ready in time, but it looks like it is. Will the public embrace it more than “The Martian”? Hard to say. And Ridley Scott, “The Martian”s director has never won an Oscar, though his film “Gladiator” did.

So BOO! And Happy Hallowe’en, dear readers, dear cineastes! I’m BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!!

Brit Jack O’Connell Triumphs Over Miscasting in “Unbroken”

Unbroken 1The young British actor Jack O’Connell’s biggest triumph over adversity in the torture porn epic “Unbroken” is making the audience believe he is an Italian American. Director Angelina Jolie WHAT were you thinking? I ask you. Does the above ^ picture look even remotely like an Italian? He looks Irish, if anything, and it turns out he is a through and through Brit.

So the audience has to suspend their disbelief for quite a large chunk of the early part of the movie that is receiving mixed critical reaction, and I think I know why. It’s the casting. Don’t tell me that Jolie couldn’t’ve had her pick of any of the young Italian stallions that abound States-side. But no, she has to go to England to cast this super-hot, young, working-class Brit with washboard abs. Angie, he’s CUTE, but not Italian at all! And to add insult to injury the SECOND lead in this film about WWII is played by Domhnall Gleeson, Brendan Gleeson’s son, who is IRISH!

So we’re supposed to believe that these two dive bombers who get stuck in a life-boat for 47 days, after their airplane gets shot out of the sky by the Japanese, are AMERICANS?!?

There seems to be something, well, broken about “Unbroken”, and I think it’s this. Both leads are NOT  UNBELIEVABLY Americans!

As this overlong film wears on and on and on (are they NEVER to be rescued from that lifeboat?) I had to admit O’Connell, as he was beginning to suffer and starve, began to get to me.

And by the time the INCREDIBLY over-extended, over-done, over-heated second half of the film takes place in the several  horrific Japanese prison camps that Louie Zamperini (yes, that’s his real name, and he was an Olympian track hero, and a real person, and 100% I.T.), O’Connell is suffering and suffering and getting punched in the face and hit and caned and starving, and being kicked and well, just about everything you can think of, and yes, it’s all true,  you do begin to feel for O’Connell as an actor and how in the world did he ever endure all this, AS AN ACTOR?

This is the main problem with “Unbroken” I feel. It’s the casting and as good as O’Connell gets towards the end of the picture, you are always aware that it’s a PERFORMANCE. He doesn’t draw you in. You observe him. You admire his acting chops. When you should be feeling the tortures of the damned. Well, actually, you DO feel like you’re being tortured. I left with a headache, there was so much audience-torture going on. Who’s gonna sit through this? Masochists? Is there that big an audience for plain, unrelenting torture? In the end, he does survive, of course, to tell this tale of horror, but YOU, the viewer barely do. I left craving an Ibuprofen.

I don’t think the Academy is going to sit still for this at all, as they watch their screeners, (or should I say screamers?) of this  true horror epic over the holidays.

Jolie’s work is really the great Roger Deakins’ work. The cinematography is picturesque in the classic Hollywood way, and it’s extremely beautiful. Even the torture scenes are perfectly lit and shot.

But Angelina Jolie in her sophomore directing stint, hired the cutest, hottest, masochistic young actor she could find. And he IS CUTE! Blue eyes, cheek bones, incredible physique. Jack O’Connell is clearly going to survive this debacle of a debut and go on to quite a healthy career, despite the pain and agony he has to endure in “Unbroken.”

The ones who are suffering the most are the poor audiences.There’s so much torture and so little uplift at the end, it’s really a cheat. Angelina just got fixated on the S&M of it all as Louie draws the sadistic attentions of the Japanese Prison Camp guard whom they call “The Bird”(rock singer Miyavi) hits him again and again and again.

Last year’s “The Railway Man” starring Colin Firth and an incredible Jeremy Irvine as the older and younger believably British Brit P.O.W.s in yet ANOTHER Japanese prisoner camp, were MUCH more effective, and the torture scenes were there, and were harrowing, (Irvine gets waterboarded!) Because they were a resonable length.

In “Unbroken,” the same scenes don’t work as well,because they go on for sooooo lonnnng. Same with “Bridge Over the River Kwai” the classic ’50s David Lean film this tries to emulate. Lean, who was a film editor, before he became a great director, knew when to yell “Cut!” Angelina Jolie does not.

So rent either “The Railway Man” and/or “River Kwai”, and you’ll have a much better time. “Unbroken” could break you.

 

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Lupita wins at the SAG awards! Again!!!!

Lupita wins at the SAG awards! Again!!!!

Last night, I had a double-header, double-booked, my mistake and I chose to go to Broadway to see the “Carol King Musical” which is called “Beautiful” and it WAS beautiful. But more beautiful still was coming home to see Lupita Nyong’Os smiling face plastered all over the internet! The hot news being from the SAG Awards that she in ANOTHER surprise upset had won Best Supporting Actress for her heart-rending performance as the tradgic Patsie in “12 Years a Slave.” I also have finally figured out how to post pictures here! Yay!

It’s taken long enough dead readers, dear cineastes, but I’m tech-tarded, as you know and totally Old School in these new techo matters. But at last I think I’ve figured it out.I’m embarrassed to admit it but it’s true. The Internet is an EFFORT for me.

And also I have to be frank I just couldn’t bare to spend ANOTHER night in where “American Hustle” and Jennifer Lawrence were going to be applauded, and I was right. They were. She wasn’t. But Broadway beckoned and boyoboyo am I glad I went!

A+++ for “Beautiful”. The music! The performance by Jessie Mueller, a recent guest on my show for her Drama Desk Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” in which she played an Indian princess named Lawless,Jessie was pitch perfect in both, and may very well win the Tony this year. She also played her own piano music! As Carole King did! Yes! She did!

They are portraying Carol King as the ultimate hausfrau schlep I’m sure she wasn’t in real life. But here the Ugly-Duckling-who-becomes-a-swan narrative worked liked gangbusters for the typical Broadway crowd,

Lupita is also living out that Ugly Duckling scenario in real life, it just occurs to me. Could her unwashed, scarred and scared Queen of the Fields, be further removed from Vogue’s “It” Girl which she has just morphed into. Her acceptance speeches are touching, beautiful, thoughtful and eloquent as she is. She looks SOOOO happy in this picture!

And for those who must know, this is a VERY strong step closer to Oscar. Next for Lupita is the BAFTA awards in London, and I’m sure she’ll win there, too.

Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett and Jared Leto also repeated their Broadcast Film Critics wins. Seemingly all three locked for Oscar now. But HOLT ON!

Neither McConaughey nor Leto will win at the BAFTAS because neither were nominated nor was their film”Dallas Buyers Club”, although all were eligible. Which paves the way, and leaves the door wide open for “12 Years a Slave” to win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor(He’s Britsh, and so’s McQueen) , Michael Fassbender for Supporting Actor (he’s Irish) and of course Lupita who’s lovely Kenyan accent sounds British and African and American all at the same time. And for ALLLL of them to make speeches that may thrill Oscar voters right in the middle of the critical voting period. Cate Blanchett will also win at the BAFTA. As expected.

I chose to go to “Beautiful” because I just couldn’t face “AH” that tiny, weasly, little comedy win “Best Ensemble” which it did. But it’s awards glory may stop there. Remember “The Help” winning two years ago? Well….

This year it really ain’t over til it’s over.

Michael Fassbender’s Non-Campaign for Oscar for “12 Years A Slave”

Michael Fassbender’s declaration in the current GQ mag that he’s not going to campaign for an Oscar for his Supporting Role(really a lead) In the monumental “12 Years A Slave” is just a tiny bit disingenuous to me for voila! There  he is on the cover! Looking great, I might add, and very much a winner already.

At Toronto, he seemed to me to be cramming every minute with press time. I sat through a press conference with him and the director Steve McQueen and the rest of the brilliant cast. And he was of course, fascinating. http://www.FascinatingFassbender.com is a website that is worth checking for all things up to the minute on Fassbender.

But at that press conference, he talked openly and freely and feeling about the character of the slave-owner Epps that he embodies so magnificently and so frighteningly in “12 Years a Slave.”

“I don’t see him as evil or a villain. I see him as a person. A businessman who is protecting his property.” I wasn’t taking exact notes, but it was words to that effect that sort of stunned people there when he said it. Because he seems to be the absolute embodiment of evil.

But an actor, a really good actor, and Fascinating Fassbender is a brilliant actor, ALWAYS has to humanize a character for himself and see the world through that character’s eyes, as he has so memorably done.

He was on Charlie Rose, too, with Steve McQueen and Chiwetel Ejiafor(I think you can watch that on You Tube on http://www.youtube.com/CharlieRoseShow.) So he did A LOT of publicity, and he did it early and now has gone off to New Zealand to film “Macbeth” and HE’s playing yes, Macbeth.

He did a lot of press already and now he feels he’s done enough. After “Shame” everybody in Hollywood now knows who he is, and then when he didn’t even get nominated(I knew he wouldn’t. And said so. All that nudity and urinating on camera! i mean, it was riveting, but the SWORM, the Straight White Old Rich Men, who form the bulk of the Academy were shocked.) And he was devastated when he didn’t get nominated, and now in GQ he says he wants no part of the process, which he found humiliating and this time is going to sit out Phase I of the Oscar season, which is now upon us.

October, November and early December is when you build buzz and the Oscar campaign machinery begins to shift into full gear. Then the nominating ballots are sent out around the holidays and the nominations themselves are announced in January, which is the start of Phase II.

But after the nominations come out in January and he starts winning awards(how can he not? I mean, they ALWAYS award the white guy, even a villain, in a black movie, like they did just last year for “Django Unchained”s Christophe Waltz) and he’ll come back to pick up his trophies the same time Mo’nique did in Phase II.

And this year the Oscars aren’t being handed out til MARCH! Because of the Olympics, so it’s a super-long Phase II.

Like The Terminator, he’ll be back.

I predict these things.

At NYFF, ” 12 Years a Slave”s Magnificent Achievement Dwarfs All Others

“12 Years a Slave” I’ve never really seen anything like it. I feel it is one of the greatest films of all time, Simply one of the greatest films ever made and yes, I saw it first at TIFF, where it leveled all comers, and now over a month later at the NYFF, the impact is the same. Nothing has changed. It’s a month later and really there’s nothing going to stop it.

It won the Audience Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival and this is just the first step in the many, many awards that are going to come its’ way. It’s seriousness makes “Django Unchained” look like a joke. And yes, it did win two Oscars. Both for the two white men who were nominated. Quentin Tarentino who got his second Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and Christophe Waltz, who stunned all Oscarologists (EXCEPT Tom O’Neil at www.goldderby.com) who didn’t predict it. Waltz won of course for Best Supporting Actor.

This year it will be very, very different at the Oscars I predict. But if we look at the precedent being “Django” as the only other film in recent years to have Slavery as its’ main subject , the white guy in Supporting, this time Michael Fassbender, might just get lucky and win just as Waltz did. He’s playing the evil slave owner Epps, who prides himself in “breaking” troublesome slaves. Being sold to the Eps plantation is akin to being sent to Hell.

And Fassbender, who’s star has been on the rise for years now, mainly due to his other two collaborations with British director Steve McQueen, the harrowing “Hunger” where he lost something like 40 pounds as a Irish hunger striker, based on a true story and yes, also as the lead in “Shame” playing a slightly lighter topic as a sex addict, who is naked for sooo many of the scenes in that film. Also, he’s in “X-Men:First Class” and so he’s well situated to FINALLY be nominated for “12 Years a Slave” and he may win.

The film is certainly going to win Best Picture. Despite “Gravity”s overwhelming box-office achievement this weekend, I don’t think the Academy is ready to embrace 3-D, even yet. And since so many voting members watch the nominated films on screeners or DVD copies of the nominated movies, at home on their television sets, 3-D and certainly IMAX is going to look like not much of anything, compared with the gargantuan thrill it provides on the biggest of Big Screens. It should pass $100 million domestic at the box-office in the next week or two. At most.

But all this is to say that “12 Years a Slave” is going to look just fine on DVD. It’s a film of intense close-ups, and unflinching brutality. And of course, it takes a British director to finally tell the truth of this utterly American horror story that was slavery in the pre-Civil War South. McQueen could become the first Black director to win an Oscar. I think if they give it to the film they are going to give it to him, too.

And also his leading man,  the extraordinary British actor, Chiwetel Ejiafor, who as the freeman kidnapped and sold into slavery, is called upon to do things that no actor in the history of film has ever been asked to do before. He’s breathtaking! The levels of pain AND strength, the inner resources and resilience of spirit he brings to Solomon Northrup are astounding. And his and director McQueen’s intelligence inform every shot. It’s staggering in its’ immensity. But it’s all done utterly realistically and  with total naturalism.

The unimaginable atrocities that are depicted here are ALL TRUE.

And last but not least, we have to praise the Oscar chances, and the rise from complete obscurity of its’ ingénue star, Lupita N’yong’o, the young African-American actress, who plays Patsie, the beautiful slave who endures the most unmentionable cruelty, sexual and otherwise by Fassbender’s evil Epps. She will be nominated for Best Supporting Actress for sure, and will give Oprah Winfrey a run for her money in that category.

It’s overwhelmed all comers I feel at the New York Film Festival, just as it did previously at Telluride and Toronto. You see, nothing much has changed since audiences saw it in September. And oh yes, I have seen something like it before! It was also in the capable hands of Fox Searchlight and the name of the film was “Slumdog Millionaire” which debuted and wowed at Toronto and went on to wow the world and win every prize in sight, including the Oscar. It’s one of those kind of years. The word is unstoppable.

Downton Abbey, Season 3, Episode 5 – Things begin to calm down

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT!

“Downton Abbey” Season 3, finds in Episode 5, things have kind of calmed down after the traumatic experience (for the viewers as well as for the characters) after Lady Sybil Crawley’s untimely death in childbirth The suddenness and the shock value of the death scenes superbly played by all involved is something I don’t think I’ll ever get over. It was one of the greatest episodes in series television history. The impact of the death of  the beautiful, young, titled, rich woman, only 24, hit me more like the death of someone I knew IRL(in real life) than a character on a TV series.

Many people feel that the best work being done today is on series television and not in film, and when you consider Downton Abbey, it certainly seems to right.

And what happened this week?
Well, grief was being played out on every level in the house, upstairs and downstairs and in the Ladies Chamber. The Lady in Question is the brilliant Maureen McGovern, as the beautiful American Lady Grantham. She is utterly devastated by her “baby”s death. And has decided that it is all Lord Grantham(the magnificent Hugh Bonneville)’s fault for listening to Sir Phillip Tapsil’s advice as to how to handle Lady Sybil’s childbirth.

Lady Grantham, Cora, had brought in the local doctor, Dr. Clarkson and he had advised an immediate hospitalization and a Caesarian section last week at the height of Sybil’s birthing debacle and when Lord Grantham and Sir Phillip Tapsil, a fancy London doctor with a title(Tim Piggot), disagreed and didn’t move her, and Sybil tortuously died, we now find Cora blaming Lord Grantham, Robert, for her death.

Cora has banished him from her bedroom and bed, and the scenes between the two of them are excruciatingly painful. Also, grief-stricken is the Irish former chauffeur husband, Tom Branson. Allen Leech is incredibly strong and moving in all of his scenes. And your heart is just with him the entire time as he tries to piece together his shattered life.

Of course, he has his new-born daughter, who survived her mother, whom he now chooses to name Sybil, and he announces this over the dining room table to Lord Grantham, who doesn’t approve. He also forcibly states that he wants his daughter to be baptized a Catholic, like he is. And NOT in any way to be an Anglican.

There is much amusing action downstairs as the focus this episode shifts, surprisingly to Daisy, the former kitchen maid who has no been promoted to assistant Cook.

And everyone has conflicting reactions to Ethel’s continuing to be Isobel Crawley(Penelope Wilton)’s cook and housekeeper.

 

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Year’s Ten Best Pt.2 #5-1 ~The Stephen Holt Show at Tavola!

And here’s the top five of my year’s Ten Best of 2012, the best of the best! With “Picnic”s Matthew Goodrich at Tavola, the hot new Italian restaurant. 488 9th Ave.
This has been one of the best year’s for movies in many, many years, soooo many grrreat films! If you’ve been following this blog, you probably know what I’ve picked before I announce it!

TIFF ’11 Begins! And the Oscar Race is ON!

Just a quick HALLO from Toronto! Yes! I’m at TIFF 11 my 13th consecutive year here and I always have the time of my life at the Toronto International Film Festival.  You just NEVER know what magic can happen here! And it always does in one way or the other.

VERY hard to top getting Colin Firth and Tom Hooper BANG right out of the box for “The King’s Speech” ON THE VERY FIRST DAY last year! And then having Tom Hooper naming me “The Oscar Messenger!” Hard to surpass that…but there’s lots of buzz on the ground level, particularly surrounding the great Glenn Close for her performances AS A MAN in “Albert Nobbs”! Yes! And as improbable as that sounds, people who have already seen it have responded very enthusiastically. And don’t forget that Hilary Swank WON the first of her two Oscars for playing a cross-dressing man in “Boys Don’t Cry.” Which also started its’ Oscar career here in Toronto, and THAT was deemed REALLY improbable. I’m seeing it “Albert Nobbs” shortly.

I interviewed Glenn, and I’m not making this up, about her WIGS when she was on Broadway a while back(Seems like a lifetime  ago) for the New York Times’ Arts and Leisure section. Yes, I did! I was in Beauty School at the time. YES! I was! And I liked her tremendously. So here we are once again on a collision course. With me do to interview her in New York closer to the opening of the film around Thanksgiving. Just so it’s FRESH in Oscar voters movie-filled mine.

“Albert Nobbs” is set in Ireland, so here, in English Canada, which is Ontario, which is where Toronto is, it’s BOUND to have a good, strong reaction.

Check out Oscar Goddess’ Sasha Stones great posts from Telluride’s Film Festival! She saw it there and loved it. And BOY did she love Telluride and wrote very strongly and movingly about it. http://www.awardsdaily.com  She went there with Jeff Well’s who blogs his brains out on a daily basis at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

So that’s TWO views on Telluride that actually differ wildly on the films they both saw.

Another film that was there, and also in Montreal, and is now here, too is the fantabulous French film “The Artist” which I wrote about at awards daily . It’s the B&W silent movie that I think the Academy is going to fall madly in love with.

It’s ABOUT them. Hollywood in  ’20s.

And I’m looking forward to talking about a things Oscar with Anthony Del Col of http://www.killshakespeare.com

Yes, he’s going to be on my show and on my You Tube Channel, too. And of course, you can see MUCH MORE of the Montreal Film Festival at http://www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Skies are gray today in TO. But nothing like the wild rain predicted. Not even drizzling. Ooops! Just looked out the window! Yes, it IS raining! Torrential downpour in NYC as I flew out of Newark. THAT was scary! BUT I’M HERE! And TIFF ’11 begins! I always feel like it’s a miracle!

Yes, I do. But it’s real!

Heat Wave in New York today! Ugh! Tomorrow, James McAvoy of “X-Men” Yay!

Ok, it’s going to go into the 90s again today in New York City! I have been reluctant to write about just how bad the heat gets here, because heat effects me greatly. The cold, not so much. Guess I’m a true Celt in that sense. With an ethnic background of Irish-English-Scottish-German, I’ve always been better in cooler climes and weather. And New York in the summer is a bummer

Me, I prefer the blizzard we had this winter. Worst winter in NYC in my memory and I hope this summer doesn’t match last summer which was a 90 degree heat wave through almost all of July and August!

I got drenched by stupidly misjudging the rain one day on my way to tape my Tony show. You can see it here www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

I was soaked, then had to sit in the air-conditioning for four hours or more at the lovely Bombay Palace Restaurant while we were filming. Then got sick from it and developed what was probably Walking Pneumonia.

I wonder if people realize how strenuous it is to keep doing a weekly TV show? Esp. when you’re sick.

Also for the first mega-heat wave last week, which lasted five days, I didn’t have any air-conditoner. I thought I was going to die. And got sicker. But fortunately, I went to the doctor, got the right antibiotics AND a brand-new air-conditioner and am fine now.

The doctor said “Rest and lots of liquids” so basically what that amounts to in New York is staying IN ALL DAY. Or at least til the Sun begins to set.

I’m getting ready to do Editfest this weekend, which is this really neat two-day festival of all Editors, mostly film, but TV, too, talking about Editing.

As someone who does a weekly show, I have a new mantra “You can never know enough editors!”

Fortunately, it doesn’t begin til after the heat wave is supposed to be over. But we’ll see. I basically don’t trust the weather men, anymore. They almost always seem to get it just a bit WRONG. So I hope this heat wave will be over by Friday. And Editfest.

I’m interviewing James McAvoy via Satellite tomorrow. I think he’s in London. For “X-men: First Class” which is very exciting, esp. since I liked and actually SAW the movie!

This franchise will put James in the multi-millionaire category. Where he belongs. And he’s so good in this film, too. Never your typical leading man, he’s so right for the good guy, Professor Xavier. Can’t wait for that moment!

“X-Men:First Class” is exactly that! Michael Fassbender is a Magnetic Magneto!

Topping the box-office charts this weekend and packing the fanboys and everyone else in  is the “X-Men” pre-quel, now called “X-Men:First Class” and it really is a first class entertainment. An Action Hero flick with pyrotechnics galore. But it’s Irish actor Michael Fassbender as the most magnetic Magneto imaginable that powers this flick into the stratosphere. An actor I’ve admired greatly in many smart Indie films like “Hunger”, which was on my year’s 10 Best List that year,”Fish Tank” and many, many more. He makes smart choices and smart directors seek him out.

And here he is in the role he was born to play. I never thought of him as an action hero. I just thought of him as a very, very talented, but underappreciated actor. Although he works constantly, his really good work in a big film of two years ago “Inglorious Basterds” went pretty much unnoticed. He was also doing sword and sandal duty in “300” in a Supporting Role.

Supporting roles will no longer be something you see him in because he’s the real break-out star of this very well done popcorn movie. It’s NOT in 3D thank goodness. I hate those glasses. They sometimes make me quite sick.

And the lead in this film is James McAvoy as Xavier, and he and Fassbender really make the chemistry, the human, acting kind of chemistry, not just the CGI- kind these super-heroes are constantly capable of producing really work. There are ACTORS here! And the best of the younger generation I might add, and attention must be paid.

I will go see every sequel to this prequel from now on because their dynamic duo dynamism is dynamite.

Less successful, but I don’t rate her much as an actress anyway, YET is the least deserving Academy Award Nominee of All Time Jennifer Lawrence, who certainly nails the babe-licious part of this character, who when she turns blue and scaly, often sheds all her clothing at the same time. Since I don’t think she has much range ALREADY, the blue make-up, with the yellow CGI cat’s eyes, made her look like she was acting more than she actually was.

There was a certain poignancy that she exhibited as Mystique and she’s certainly easy on the eyes. And VERY TALL. That they kept pairing her with the much shorter James MacAvoy (she’s his adopted sister, or something like that), I kept wondering how many boxes he was standing on or how many holes she was standing in, to make them look equal in height. But they do! That’s one of the neatest special effects of all in this special effects laden movie.

I couldn’t keep who did which effect and who has what super power straight, there are so many mutants in this movie.

Oliver Platt plays the small part of one of the only humans in this mutant-filled movies, but his only super power seemed to be that he was simply fat. But at least he WAS a human.

Kevin Bacon seems to be having the time of his life as the villain of villains here. You really need a score card to keep all the Super Heroes straight in this movie. I’m not an X-Man addict, so I can’t parse them all and who they all turn into later. Although I do remember vividly Ian McKellen’s gleeful, older Magneto. An Action Hero At Last! At age 60 something!

And one of the indelible moments I have with Sir Ian, was when I was interviewing him in his dressing room on Broadway back in 2001 and he had a Gandalf figurine and a Magneto one, too, and he made them fight with each other! Hilarious! He was on Broadway with Dame Helen Mirren having a gay old time screaming at each other in one of Strindberg’s more strident pieces “The Ghost Sonata.”

And my favorite Michael Fassbender moment was when I was interviewing him for “Fish Tank” and I was the one who broke the news to him about the death of a mutual friend, the great Irish movie critic, Michael Dwyer, and how he nearly burst into tears, when he realized he was here in NYC and was missing the funeral that was taking place in Dublin.

Michael has a great, sensitive soul and will make a great, great movie star.

Unfortunately, both these interviews were for print, so I never got either of them on camera, for my TV show, but I look forward to many, many more with these two terrific stars,James MacAvoy and Michael Fassbender acting their hearts out in and giving class to “X-Men:First Class.”

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