Friday, June 24, 2011

Did You Just Say You Don't Like (or know of) Michael Sheen? Get Out of My House. NOW.

*** Remember when I rambled on about how much I love Sam Rockwell... Well here it is again. But this time for another incredible gent. (Hold onto your hats).

Michael Sheen is versatile.
Michael Sheen is believable.
Michael Sheen is sharp.
Michael Sheen is gifted.
Michael Sheen is charismatic.
Simply put, Michael Sheen is incredible.

The other day on television, I stumbled upon what seemed to be a Michael Sheen lineup. It consisted of Unthinkable, The Damned United, and The Queen, and all I could think was, "Are you kidding me? This guy is amazing!" Just seeing his ability to transform from one completely different character to the next was absolutely outstanding. Every time I see Michael Sheen in a film, he is always playing a different character, but always totally believable. Sometimes I even forget that it is Michael Sheen acting, he is that transformed and talented.

If there is one thing I think an actor should be able to do, it's perform in any role given to them, and frankly, Michael Sheen has mastered that. To put it simply, the man is a chameleon, that can absorb perfectly into any character:
A spunky, quick-talking soccer coach? Check.
A deranged terrorist? Check.
British Prime Minister, Tony Blair (3 times!)? Check.
A tough, rugged Lycan (wereworlf)? Check.
A aristocratic vampire? Check.
Serious journalist, David Frost? Check.
A flamboyant, futuristic club owner? Check.

Sure, some actors take on a lot of similar roles because they are just really good at playing that character. But isn't it fun to see someone step outside of where they are comfortable, and become someone so different from who they really are?
I think someone's ability to do this is a testament to hard work, skill, and also a good career choice, because who wants to be pigeon-holed for the rest of their lives, doing the same thing over and over? Because of this, I doubt that Michael Sheen will ever have a lack of work as an actor; being able to adapt to the new stereotypes and evolving characters throughout changing history is one of the strongest assets an actor can have to continue on in the business for years and possibly generations.

Aside from all of this, Michael Sheen also seems to present himself in a pleasant, sprightly manner in public. Is it some of that Welsh charm? Possibly, but he also just always seems to have a smile on his face (as far as I have noticed, at least). I'm pretty sure if I was a bit older... Well, I'm sure you can fill in the blanks. As wrong as it is.

Wait, did you just say that you don't really like Michael Sheen? Well in that case, you have to leave. (That's almost as bad as when my cousin said he wanted James Franco to win the Academy Award this year because he "doesn't really like Colin Firth." Needless to say, he was banished to the other room. But that's another story...)

Now, where were we? Ah, yes:
Michael Sheen is scintillating.
Michael Sheen is dashing.
Michael Sheen is altogether a bundle of goodness.

I know, these weird praising posts of mine are strange and over the top, but where else am I supposed to spread the love?
For the Love of Michael Sheen: I Salute You
(And I'm sure he does as well... At least I would like to think he does.)
Currently look for Michael Sheen in Midnight in Paris (out now) and Beautiful Boy (limited June release).

Friday, June 17, 2011

I've Fallen into a Hole of Love with Peter Capaldi's Voice and Can't Get Out!

*** Not analyzing, and not listing. Just some adorations.

There are certain male voices that you just can't help but love.
The silky smooth. (Alan Rickman. Jeremy Irons.)
The low drawls. (Stephen Fry. Ryan Gosling.)
The eery calm. (John Malkovich. Kevin Spacey.)
The soft foreign. (Javier Bardem. Christoph Waltz.)

And then, there is the spunky.
The kind of voice that only certain people can pull off without being irritating, and are typically associated with a fast-talking nationality.
(You know, that "iconic" association with the Irish, Scottish, Spanish, etc? Or is that just me and my acquaintances?)

With that, I give you one voice that I will never tire of listening to:
(^ Click it. Love it. Especially since he is conversing with another spunky-voiced wonder, Craig Ferguson. See what I mean about the accent thing?)

It's got a bit of a Sand-Papery quality to it, doesn't it (ie, Jeremy Irons)? His voice I mean. And he just talks so fast and can whip in and out of phrases like nothing else, as evidenced in the hilarious British comedy, In the Loop.
Whether in Skins, denying Sid his "Asian Fanny Fun" or insulting people by calling them Ron Weasley in In the Loop, I could listen to Peter Capaldi cuss for hours on end and not grow tired of it.
Maybe it's the accent (because apparently all girls love a man with an accent that is "foreign" to them), but I'm pretty sure if I was much older, I would find the man quite dashing.
Thank you, Peter Capaldi. Thank you indeed, Sir, for that beloved voice of yours that you have bestowed upon us.

And how about you?
Are there any voices that you can't help but love listening to?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Would You Like Subtitles or Dubbing With That?": For the Love of Foreign Films

Here in North America we often don't have the chance (or motivation) to branch out and explore films from the other ends of the globe, which are sometimes even better than all those Hollywood films flooding theatres nowadays.
Although I personally see a lot of British movies, I never seem to have a companion that wants to watch films in a foreign language with me.
And why is this?
Most of the time, it's because people don't really like to have to read subtitles while they watch a movie. They find it "distracting" from the action of the film. Personally I don't find this too detracting from a cinematic experience, but I've heard a number of acquaintances say lately that they prefer to have English dubbed over rather than using subtitles.

To me, this is a terrible choice. Really? You would rather have another voice go over than to have to (*gasp*) read a little sentence or two at the bottom?
Maybe I'm just a fast reader so it doesn't bother me, or maybe I'm just used to it, but can you seriously say that listening to someone else's voice that doesn't necessarily match the person speaking doesn't distract you from the film even more?

Alright, so the people that do dubbing in different language for films are typically trained voice actors, but having that go over the original acting job just takes away from the performance of the actor.
Do you think Amelie [French] would have been so whimsical and delightful without being able to absorb Audrey Tautou's complete performance? Or would it have sufficed without the intense French atmosphere?

The only stick in my pudding of "Pro-Subtitle/Anti-Dubbing" would be those rare roles that actually use voice actors or others' voices over another. An example of this is in the film Lat Den Ratte Komma In/Let the Right One In [Swedish], which used a voice double for the character of Eli to make her sound older, despite the actress Lina Leandersson's young appearance.
The fact remains, however, that the voice and words matched the movements of the actress, making it seem believable that the voice was coming from her. Were it in another language, her mouth would not have matched the words, and there is nothing more irritating to watch than that. At least, this is what my sister thinks, as sometimes her recordings glitch and she is left watching something with the sound lagging behind the action by a few seconds. To be honest, I find it pretty irritating to watch as well, and would much rather have to read a few lines at the bottom of a screen every couple of seconds, than wonder which words belong where.

Maybe it's just a pet peeve of mine to have dubbing rather than subtitles, but there you have it: When it comes down to foreign language films, I would much rather have to read than listen to another's voice in English.

But please, don't let either of these options deter you from seeing a film in a foreign language, because there are some real gems out there, and it's sad that not as many people are willing to see them, simply because of the language barrier.
(Though sometimes even when a film is in English but with strongly accented actors, people are turned off by it as well... Silly Yanks, not being able to understand the Irish and Scottish! I have no problem with that at all, no Sir, I don't.)

And now, I leave it up to you: What do you think of foreign language films?
Does subtitling bother you? How about dubbing?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Gratuitous (Pictorial) Display of Cheekbones and Jawlines to Make Your Bells Ring

For the most part, this is just a random list of photos, much like when I celebrated my favorite Hollywood Eyes.
I have thus decided to celebrate beauty which comes in another form: Sculpted Cheekbones and Sharp Jawlines.

Are we not allowed to bask in their striking beauty? Wish we could trace those lines with our hands, and possibly plant them on our own faces? Therefore, I give you, "A Completely Gratuitous, Pictorial Display of Jawlines and Cheekbones to Make your Bells Ring."
(In alphabetical order this time.)

Benedict Cumberbatch
Maybe not the best visual of the man's cheekbones, but trust me: This young Sherlock gives the almighty Robert Downey Jr. a run for his money sometimes. (It felt so wrong saying that, but it's oh so right).

Jesse Eisenberg
Reason #256 why Jesse Eisenberg is not the same as Michael Cera: The sharpest of sharp angles to his face.

Matthew Gray Gubler
I'm going to be totally honest and say that I really just wanted to post this photo of the Gubler somewhere. Can you blame me?

Nicholas Hoult
If I have an excuse to include Nicholas Hoult in something, I will do it. Eyes? Check. Cheekbones? Check.

Josh Hutcherson
It was like this young chap was 14 one minute, and a full-fledged man the next. With a surprisingly geometric face to stare at.

Aaron Johnson
Would you rather have a sharp jaw or nice high cheeks? Or better yet, why choose when you can have both?

Jon Kortajarena
Don't even get me started; I mean, I'm not usually one to fall for the male-models, but come on. I don't think I even need to explain this one.

Matt Smith
Me oh my, and someone call a Doctor: I think I twisted something, and my heart definitely gave way after sliding down that grin. (See what I did there?)

Tilda Swinton
I know vampires are all the rage right now, so who better to represent for all the women out there than this peculiar beauty?

Ed Westwick
I'm always a fan of a man that looks sharp in a suit, especially when his jawbones are of the same cutting calibre.

Anton Yelchin
Please ignore the face that the boy sometimes (often) has Crazy Eyes. Just look at those little apple cheeks.

And now, as per usual, I leave it to you:
Did you enjoy the gratuitous photos?
I there anyone else that I may have missed on here?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fincher, Reznor, and Ross Will Kick Your Teeth In (In the Best Way Possible)

You may have already figured it out that this thought was spurred by the recently released trailer for David Fincher's upcoming adaptation of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. So far the reception to the trailer itself has been pretty positive, as the casting seems to be very suiting to this dark, twisted story, as well as David Fincher being one incredible director. The one thing that stood out the most to me, however, was Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor's remake of Led Zepplin's classic "Immigrant Song" featuring Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
No seriously, have you heard it? Don't get me wrong, I love the original, but that version of the song seriously knocked my socks off. If you haven't seen the trailer to hear the song yet, check it out: Here!
I come from the land of the ice and snow indeed... I mean, how perfect is that for this story?

Just knowing that it was once again Reznor and Ross working with Fincher made me realize how good of a team they could be. Like the next Tim Burton and Danny Elfman (and Helena Bonham Carter triple-threat?). I know, I know, those three aren't really the same and have worked together countless times, but they really do suit each other's style, don't they? I'm just making a comparison is all, you know.

Anyways, it made me remember how much I liked the two composers working together in Fincher's The Social Network last year, and even winning the Oscar for Best Original Score. When that occurred, I got into a bit of a disagreement with one of my friends (on Facebook, no less) about whether it was a good score for the film or not. The male I was speaking to thought their score, entitled "Hand Covers Bruise" was a terrible song with no soul and was just drab. Considering how he has actually studied some music for a few years, you'd think I would agree with him, but no no: I know my film scores, and that song was perfect for the mood of the film. To see for yourself, you can listen to it: Here!

Was it lifeless? Possibly the ominous undertones throughout the score were, but they were drizzled with tinkling piano, as though to express how cold and simple the business of Facebook was (ominous undertones), even though it was trying to connect people and keep/make new friendships in it's creation (the piano bits). You see what I mean? Or maybe I just read a little too much into it, as that has happened before.

I know that these three have only worked together twice now, but I really have enjoyed what they have done together already. And even when we remove Ross from the equation, things turn out really well. Do you remember the opening credits from Se7en (What's in the booooox?!) which used a remix of the song "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails (of which Reznor founded)? If not, you can once again take a gander: Here!
Needless to say, it's pretty chilling in a "gets under the skin" kind of way, and in that respect, absolutely perfect for Fincher's film.

All I really wanted to say, is that I hope these three work together more in the future. Of course business deals, personal issues, and everything sometimes don't make beautiful things happen, but one can hope, right?
And of course I now leave it to you to ponder. Do you like the idea of more Fincher/Reznor/Ross collaboration? Or do you not even like David Fincher to begin with (how dare you!)?