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Actress Review: Zooey Deschanel
Zooey Deschanel is an American actress, songwriter and singer, who has played a range of unique characters and produced popular songs for movie soundtracks. Deschanel is a 3 time Golden Globe nominee for her work in comedy television series New Girl, alongside Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris and Hannah Simone. Deschanel plays a quirky girl named Jess, who moves into a loft with 3 guys after splitting up with her boyfriend. Deschanel also received a number of a nominations for her role in 500 Days of Summer, where she played Summer.
Zooey Deschanel films: 500 Days of Summer, Our Idiot Brother, Elf, Yes Man, Almost Famous, Gigantic, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Fail to Launch, Bridge to Terabithia and a number more.
Zooey Deschanel songs/themes: New Girl theme song- main title sequence, Winnie the Pooh- soundtrack, Rock the Kasbah, 500 Days of Summer, Yes Man and many more.
Deschanel is primarily a comedic actress, who is known for her delivery of comedy being the humour. For me personally, there are only a select number of actresses who can perform comedy roles, and Deschanel is near the top of that list (with Tina Fey, Aubrey Plaza, Diane Keaton and several more). I’m finding it difficult to explain what it is about Deschanel which makes her so unique, the best I can do is recommend watching New Girl, Our Idiot Brother and Bridge to Terabithia. This will not only show her comedic ability, but both her ability as an actress in general and her musical talents.
Actress Review: Zooey Deschanel
Actor Review: Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey is an internationally famous actor, who also occasionally produces on some projects (like Captain Phillips and The Social Network). Spacey’s career has earned him 52 award wins, despite him only starting in the movie industry in the mid 80’s, these include winning Oscars for both his nominations in The Usual Suspects and American Beauty. Alongside his roles in films, Spacey since 2013 has been the star of hit TV series House of Cards, which earned the actor a Golden Globe.
Kevin Spacey Films: American Beauty, LA Confidential, The Usual Suspects, Pay it Forward, Horrible Bosses franchise, Moon and numerous more.
Kevin Space Films (which he has produced): Captain Phillips, The Social Network, Safe, Inseparable and a number more.
Throughout Spacey’s career, he has played a broad spectrum of characters in films and television, from Frank Underwood (House of Cards) to Lester Burnham (American Beauty), from G.E.R.T.Y (Moon) to [SPOILER] Verbal/Keyser Soze (The Usual Suspects). For an actor to nail roles ranging from individuals to extreme power to vulnerable individuals evidences how great of an actor he is, for the audience to in one movie be intimidated by his character to being emotionally attached and sympathetic to some characters he portrays reiterates the above point. Comedy, tragedy, mystery, crime and all the other genres, Kevin Spacey’s versatility is limitless. This can further be seen by his appearances on late night talk shows, engaging in a range of humerous activities, presenting his impressions and musical abilities.
Kevin Spacey is one of my favourite actors for the reason I have repeated above, he is versatile, he is talented, and he consistently gives excellent performances. I’m sure most scripts would have a role that Spacey could play well, if not fit into the lead role. Examples include: The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile or Spotlight, to name a few. Kevin Spacey is, will continue to be, and will be known for his incredible legacy for years to come.
Actor-O-Meter: 1689/2000 Actor Points.
Actor Review: Kevin Spacey
American Beauty (1999)
- Casting: The main characters of American Beauty are Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), Carolyn Burnham (Annette Benning), Jane Burnham (Thora Birch), Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley) and Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari). This movie topped an excellent 90’s for Spacey, who as starred in LA Confidential and The Usual Suspects, making him perfect for the lead in this. In contrast, for Birch, Bentley and Suvari, this was a kick starter to their respective careers, who to date are still going strong in the industry (well maybe not Birch). American Beauty won 5 Oscars after being nominated for 8, and is seen as one of the greatest movies of all time.
- Story: Lester Burnham is a corporate man, who during a delayering at his job, decides that he is not living his life the way he wants. Lester becomes infatuated by his daughter Jane’s friend Angela, and in a bid to impress her starts changing a number of aspects of his life. The result of these new behaviours begin to further alienate his wife, Carolyn, his daughter, Jane, ad himself from his previous lifestyle. As revealed in the opening monologue, Lester will die in the movie, which starts to be eradicated from the audiences mind as it just seems to be heading down the way of an older man finding himself.
- Music: The music throughout the movie is very scene appropriate, yet not directly character appropriate. The music draws the audience to what the future of the characters may include, with scenes with Ricky having darker tones, with Lester having lighter tones until the end as he reinvents himself. The theme song for the movie has gone down as an iconic musical piece, due to the perfect encapsulation of a moment in the movie (like Hero-Family of the Year, in Boyhood, or Don’t You- Simple Minds, in The Breakfast Club).
- Predictability: The first time I watched American Beauty, I narrowed down the shooter to a list of two, one of which was the actual shooter. But to any lay person, the outcome would have not been as expected. The events of the movie unfolding were also difficult to predict, as not many rational people wold have expected Jane to hang out with Ricky after she caught him filming her.
- Rewatch: I have watched this around 5 times, but this does not deter me from watching it again. I could easily rewatch monthly, but then I wouldn’t be able to watch/rewatch other great films which trump American Beauty.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
- Casting: The main characters are Charlie (Logan Lerman), Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson). Another key character for me is Mr Anderson (Paul Rudd). All three of the main characters already had a lot of experience under their belts prior to this movie (Watson in the Harry Potter franchise, Lerman in Percy Jackson and Miller in We Need to Talk About Kevin), yet are all still in their 20’s. The potential Chbosky saw in this cast must have been special, and the end result shows how right he was. As a result of this movie, all the stars have being climbing the film industry ladder.
- Story: Charlie is a freshman who after the death of his aunt and his friend, was admitted to hospital for mental illness reasoning. The story follows how Charlie makes friends with a group of seniors, and becomes involved, a feeling he has not had since the passing’s mentioned above. Charlie can be seen falling for Sam through the movie, but Charlies mental issues may not be completely gone. Charlie has a few moments throughout the movie where concern for him is controlled through the presence of Mr Anderson. Mr Anderson is a background characters, Charlie’s English teacher, but through giving him books allows his mind to be occupied. In my opinion Mr Anderson is the unsung hero of the movie. This story is based on writer (and the movies director) Stephen Chbosky, which is clear as the story presentation can be seen as Chbosky literally setting the scenes which he imagined when writing the book.
- Music: For me, the soundtrack to The Perks of Being a Wallflower is up there with the greats (Star Wars, The Graduate, Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings, The Breakfast Club etc). The music appropriately matches the scenes, which range from light hearted humour to dark depressing scenes of mental instability.To have such a broad emotional spectrum in a movie is difficult enough, let alone perfect matching music to it.
- Predictability: There are a number of elements which can be predicted as you get later into the story, but these are outweighed by the sheer number of surprises along the way. Starting off you expect it to be a traditional high school drama, boy meets girl, but the issues the characters have are intertwined to lead to unexpected moments.
- Rewatch: I have already seen this film around 7 times, and it is likely i’ll continue to watch it a couple a times a year for the foreseeable future, due to its heart touching nature and reassurance of faith in humanity throughout. Of recent romantic-dramas, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is up there with the best in modern society
Tomorrow the movies I will review are:
- Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
- American Beauty (1999)
Tomorrow the actor I will review is:
- Kevin Spacey
Tomorrow the actress I will review is:
- Zooey Deschanel
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Actress Review: Diane Keaton.
Diane Keaton is a worldwide known actress, with versatility in her acting seen through her achievements. Keaton has won 1 Oscar, for her role in Annie Hall (as Annie Hall) which cleaned up most award ceremonies, as well as receiving 3 more nominations for Reds, Marvin’s Room and Something’s Gotta Give (2003) being her most recent nomination.
Diane Keaton Films: The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, The Godfather: Part III, Annie Hall, Manhattan, Interiors, Reds, Marvin’s Room, Something’s Gotta Give, Finding Dory and numerous more.
Keaton has featured in several films alongside Woody Allen, making a perfect duo often as a neurotic and a ditsy woman. Keaton has done a range of films with a range of actor and actresses, with a range of different character types. Versatility makes being an actress easier, but also being Diane Keaton makes it very easy to be cast.
It is hard to type why i am such a Keaton fan without simply just presenting the work she has done. There is something about Keaton on screen which always works, and works to perfection when alongside Woody Allen. Like most film stars, they fizzle out towards the end of their careers, but with a resume including The Godfather Trilogy, Annie Hall and Manhattan, even into Keaton 200’s she would still be getting job offers.
Actress Review: Diane Keaton
Actor Review: Woody Allen.
Woody Allen is a film industry giant, known mainly for his writing and directing, but in my opinion his acting ability is neglected (arguably because of his self-typecasting of a neurotic romantic). Allen has won 4 Oscars (3 for Writing and 1 for Directing), and has been nominated for an outstanding 24 Oscars in total (nominations ranging from 1978-2014).
Woody Allen Films (where he is the lead): Annie Hall, Manhattan, To Rome With Love, Bananas, Sleeper, The Front, Zelig and a number more.
Woody Allen Films (written or directed, in addition to the above): Midnight in Paris, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Cafe Society (soon to be released), Irrational Man, Blue Jasmine, Magic in the Moonlight, Husbands and Wives, Interiors and many more.
Typecasting is when an actor or actress is cast in similar roles consistently because they are very good as such character, or perceived to be only able to play such a role. Examples include Seann William Scott (American Pie franchise) and Angelina Jolie (every female agent film ever). Woody Allen always casts himself as neurotic characters, often paired with romance, being a Jew, or being an Atheist. But this alleged typecast is what you want, because every movie you watch Woody Allen in, you are guaranteed to enjoy his characters quick wit, sarcasm, neurotic-nature, which he perfects week in week out. Annie Hall earned him an Oscar nod for acting. Bananas, Sleeper and To Rome With Love all have Allen’s characters as uniquely isolated from the situation they are in, yet attach such humour and sarcasm to the characters that Allen expresses absolutely all the time.
Woody Allen is one of my favourite actors, and he will always be. People will probably throw out all the greats, all the incredible upcoming actors, and ask how he is one of the best actors (no question on writing and direction greatness). But looking at how he is the lead in so many unique films, only Allen could play such roles as they are his ideas. Furthermore, Annie Hall, Manhattan and all the romantic-comedies Allen does, he still brought a concentrated and new performance every time, despite being part of the most over-produced genre of modern time.
Actor-O-Meter: 1793/2000 Actor Points.
Actor Review: Woody Allen
Annie Hall (1977)
- Casting: The main characters are Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) and Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). This movie notoriously established Woody Allen as the neurotic romantic comedy god, which still today he remains, and earned him Oscar nominations for Actor, Writing and Direction (winning the latter two). To this day, no other romantic comedy has since won an Oscar for Best Picture. Now to watch the star-studded lead requires a star-studded female lead, so who other than the lead lady in The Godfather, Diane Keaton. If you were to open the dictionary and look up perfect casting, the picture above would be under the answer.
- Story: There is something so simple, relatable and humerous about how a neurotic comedian falls in love with a intelligence-questionable women. On paper it is the standard romantic comedy formula, but in reality it is much more. Alvy Singer has many problems, problems which he always seems to reinvent in his relationships which begin to alienate himself. Through years and years of therapy, Alvy feels he is in a position of mental control, yet the movies premise is him reviewing every element of his relationship with the illustrious Annie Hall.
- Music: The story overpowers the music to such an extent that as I am writing this I cannot recall any soundtrack piece. But I am fairly certain it follows the traditional Woody Allen movie-soundtrack criteria of light hearted and scene appropriate.
- Predictability: The opening monologue reveals Alvy and Annie had broken up, and that would have been the sole aspect to be predicted if it was not revealed, because its a reveal of Alvy and his relationships, notably his one with Annie Hall.
- Rewatch: I have already watched it around 5 times, and will definitely continue to rewatch. Reading above, I would not say I have done Annie Hall justice. But it is definitely worth a watch.