69 posts categorized "HUGH JACKMAN"
BOY CULTURE REVIEW: **** out of ****
I see a lot of Broadway musicals, yet I'm not up to the level of considering myself a theater queen. Maybe my appreciation, but malleable reverence, for the form is why Tom Hooper's very different take on Les Miz blew me away; I had no reservations about the film's much-ballyhooed live-take (and therefore rougher) singing, its emphasis on hitting emotional rather than musical notes.
In the timeless story of a group of characters struggling for happiness or merely for survival on the mean streets of 19th Century France, Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway give two of the most open-hearted performances I can recall seeing in a movie. Jackman's "Jean Valjean"—imprisoned 20 years for stealing bread to help his starving nephew and for attempting to escape—transforms from defiant to embittered to seraphic on his journey to redeem himself, to pay a debt he feels he owes after jumping bail and reinventing himself as a successful mayor. The performance is deeply felt and his singing is beautiful, even if—as with the others—Jackman is usually singing more for the narrative than for ear candy.
As "Fantine," a hapless young mother bullied into a breathtaking slide from a desirable (and therefore resented) working girl to disgraced prostitute, Hathaway shines. Her performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" is as electrifying as Jennifer Hudson's "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" in Dreamgirls—and it should earn her an Oscar, as well.
Russell Crowe as "Javert," Valjean's obsessive nemesis, is a bit wooden and his singing less expressive when compared to those around him, but it's not enough to detract from Hooper's densely emotional epic, nor is the somewhat lazy casting of Helena Bonham Carter as "Mme. Thénardier," a role that's distractingly reminiscent of her turn in Sweeney Todd. Eddie Redmayne as "Marius" and Samantha Barks as "Eponine" live up to Jackman and Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen is spot-on as "M. Thénardier," Amanda Seyfried's "Cosette" is sweet and Broadway vet Aaron Tveit is charismatic as the rebel "Enjolras." The children—particularly Daniel Huttlestone as the heart-tugging little shit "Gavroche"—are excellent.
Overall, there is a palpable feeling that all involved took the story and the characters seriously and that each actor understood every word sung. It's a spectacle, but never for spectacle's sake, a darkly lavish opera. I can't recommend it highly enough. This director and his committed ensemble have truly come together to create a film classic.
Mean but funny and the impersonations are a scream!
Beasts of the Southern Wild
BOY CULTURE REVIEW: **** out of ****
Newcomer Benh Zeitlin, using non-actors (or rather, natural-born actors), has directed a mystical, moving poem of a film about a little girl named "Hushpuppy" (Quvenzhané Wallis) barely existing in a remote Louisiana bayou alongside, more than with, her anti-social, free-living, passionately angry father (Dwight Henry). Animalistic in their day-to-day existence—which consists of eating, blowing off steam and in Hushpuppy's case exploring the abandoned bits of civilization that happen to be under their control—the two are at times allies and at other times combatants, but are drawn together when a massive hurricane destroys their ramshackle community.
Haunted by her childish vision of the world as a place of balance where the presumed melting of massive icecaps has caused the storm which in turn has unleashed wandering beasts the likes of which would scare Maurice Sendak, Hushpuppy almost has to be her own grown-up. She will need to draw on her father's many harsh lessons, which are a combination of tough love and abuse. Her mettle is mesmerizing, as is her journey from her ruined home to the world beyond the levee—and back?
I definitely did not get the impression that these people were to be praised for their stubborn refusal to blend in with society. I would like nothing more than for Hushpuppy to be plucked from her squalor and put into school. But that's not something I felt the movie required me to believe. It felt to me more like an examination of how the mind of a child would work under these conditions, and how the human spirit presents itself in less than ideal circumstances.
This movie is an example of how a cerebral, experimental work of art can also be gritty and touching and real. If Wallis is not given an Oscar nomination, the Academy has no credibility. None.
Above, a bonus gallery of some of these 50 guys—shirtless!
My list of History's Hottest TV Actors went over really well...and also provoked some heated debates whose opening salvos invariably began with, "Where's ...?"
Now, I'm happy (and exhausted) to present the first of three posts detailing my personal selects for History's Hottest Movie Actors. This first post will cover #100—#51 in ascending order, the second will cover #50—#26 and the final post will be my Top 25.
I look forward to your comments, whether they are to lump praise or heap scorn, though I hope you will take all of this in the spirit it's intended—as my own choices and nothing more...
#100 Tom Cruise (1962—) It's something of a statement to put one of the biggest movie stars of all time, and a good-looking one at that, way down at #100. While I haven't found him remotely appealing in years, there's no way I could overlook how scorching-hot he was in his early years on the screen, when he seemed far more connected and natural. With Risky Business, he did for briefs what Clark Gable had done for undershirts—except in reverse.
Sexy Sampler: Endless Love (1981), Taps (1981), The Outsiders (1983), Losin' It (1983), Risky Business (1983), All the Right Moves (1983), Legend (1985), Top Gun (1986), Cocktail (1988)
#99 Michael Biehn (1956—) Cute when he was chicken—even when playing an obsessed fan of Lauren Bacall's—Biehn's doe-eyed looks quickly hardened, making him equally handsome as the more world-weary authoritarian or bad-guy types with which he'd become more identified. Could even rock a mustache without losing pretty points, as in Tombstone.
Sexy Sampler: Coach (1978), Hog Wild (1980), The Fan (1981), The Lords of Discipline (1983), The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), Rampage (1987), The Seventh Sign (1988), The Abyss (1989), Navy Seals (1990) Timebomb (1991), K2 (1991), Deadfall (1993), Tombstone (1993), Jade (1995)
Sexy Sampler: Dynamite (1929), The Silver Horde (1930), Lightnin' (1930), Once a Sinner (1931), Kept Husbands (1931), Born to Love (1931), The Common Law (1931), Girls About Town (1931), Business and Pleasure (1932), The Lost Squadron (1932), Bird of Paradise (1932), The Most Dangerous Game (1932), The Sport Parade (1932), Rockabye (1932), The Silver Cord (1933), Chance at Heaven (1933), Gambling Lady (1934), Barbary Coast (1935), Splendor (1935), Adventure in Manhattan (1936), Woman Chases Man (1937), Wells Fargo (1937), Union Pacific (1939), Sullivan's Travels (1941)
#97 Cornel Wilde (1912—1989) A Hungarian fencer who abandoned a shot at the Olympics in order to act, this Wilde man was more than just a cut-rate Errol Flynn—after early acclaim followed by a long run in B-movies, he reinvented himself as a director and had some success in that area. Virile and handsome, he had a build like a fitness buff you'd find bumming around Venice Beach, which might explain why he was in so many mainstream movies that feel like semi-legit upgrades of things that came out of Athletic Model Guild.
Sexy Sampler: High Sierra (1941), Knockout (1941), A Song to Remember (1945), A Thousand and One Nights (1945), Leave Her to Heaven (1945), The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (1946), The Homestretch (1947), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), At Sword's Point (1952), California Conquest (1952), Treasure of the Golden Condor (1953), The Naked Prey (1966)
#96 Mike Henry (1936—) Every big-screen "Tarzan" was hot, but how many were hairy? Just Mike Henry, who only played the role in three movies. His other film work was pretty unspectacular, but considering he'd begun his career as a pro football player, it's not like he had pretensions to win an Oscar. Square-jawed? Squared.
Sexy Sampler: "Tarzan" movies (1966—1968), The Green Berets (1968), More Dead Than Alive (1969), Number One (1969), Rio Lobo (1970)
#95 Christopher Atkins (1961—) With the ultimate innocent look, this boyish blond became an international sex symbol with his naked role in the softcore classic The Blue Lagoon. He only had a few memorable screen appearances, but conquered the teen-mag world handily.
Sexy Sampler: The Blue Lagoon (1980), The Pirate Movie (1982), A Night in Heaven (1983)
#94 Helmut Berger (1944—) Forever memorable from his work in his partner Luchino Visconti's '60s and '70s films, in which he appeared as an impossibly beautiful and impossibly European object of desire. Don't Google him to see how he looks now.
Sexy Sampler: The Damned (1969), Dorian Gray (1970), The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970), Love Me Strangely (1971), The Bloodstained Butterly (1971), Ludwig (1972), Conversation Piece (1974), Salon Kitty (1976)
#93 Antonio Banderas (1960—) Who can forget discovering this mouth-watering screen presence via Almodovar's films, in which he looked like a Spanish David while committing crimes against nature? Then he popped up in Madonna's Truth or Dare, where the icon threw herself at him in vain. A man who could resist 1990-era Madonna? Once he was brought to the U.S. for films, Banderas's sexiness felt a little more canned, a little more stereotypically that of the "Latin lover." But he's certainly had his moments.
Sexy Sampler: Labyrinth of Passion (1982), Matador (1986), Law of Desire (1987), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), Tie Me Up! Time Me Down! (1990), Truth or Dare (1990), The Mambo Kings (1992), Philadelphia (1993), Interview with the Vampire (1994), Miami Rhapsody (1995), Evita (1996), The Mask of Zorro (1998), Original Sin (2001), Take the Lead (2006)
#92 Sal Mineo (1939—1976) Not high on many other "hottest movie guy" lists you'll find, Sal ranks on mine for his interesting mixture of innocence (especially early in his career) and edge (especially off screen). Who would've guessed that the lonely kid from Rebel Without a Cause would be a late-blooming gay man with a strong fetish for defiling all-American boys (Bobby Sherman and Don Johnson, reportedly) and for tightie whities? Read my pal's bio to get the full scoop on Mineo, who was a complex and driven artist and man. Or just watch him on the big screen in the admittedly laughable Who Killed Teddy Bear? and then challenge me for including him here.
Sexy Sampler: Rebel Without a Cause (1955), Crime in the Streets (1956), Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), Giant (1956), Rock, Pretty Baby (1956), Dino (1957), The Young Don't Cry (1957), A Private's Affair (1959), The Gene Krupa Story (1959), Exodus (1960), The Longest Day (1962), Cheyenne Autumn (1964), Who Killed Teddy Bear? (1965)
#91 Colin Farrell (1976—) This bad news bear cub has been setting hearts aflutter (against brains' better judgments) ever since appearing in Joel Schumacher's beef-fest Tigerland. He reeks mischief both on and off the screen, lost his looks for a bit when the partying got out of hand, but has bounced back admirably to continue as a reliably good-looking lead.
Sexy Sampler: Tigerland (2000), American Outlaws (2001), Hart's War (2002), Minority Report (2002), Phone Booth (2002), The Recruit (2003), Daredevil (2003), Veronica Guerin (2003), S.W.A.T. (2003), Intermission (2003), A Home at the End of the World (2004), Alexander 92004), Miami Vice (2006), In Bruges (2008), Fright Night (2011)
#90 Nick Scotti (1966—) This tragically underused multi-hyphenate was sweetly funny in Kiss Me, Guido, a gay comedy that received a major release at a time when LGBT movies were making in the millions instead of the tens of thousands at the box office. As appealing as he was, he barely got a chance to make another impact in the movies, instead falling back on his modeling, his Madonna-approved singing career and a short-lived reality series that capitalized on his New Yawk roots. Movie experience aside, we're talkin' about hotness here, and he's always had that to burn.
Sexy Sampler: Kiss Me, Guido (1997); Detroit Rock City (1999)
National Examiner (December 24, 2012) takes its crack at the shopworn "Who's Gay Who's Not!" cover story, muddying the waters by placing Keanu Reeves (not out), Lily Tomlin (out) and David Hyde Pierce (out) under "New Stars Come Out!" (Lily's been out for many years, David's been out for several.)
The most interesting write-up involves Rush Limbaugh:
"The 61-year-old conservative radio host has been married four times—his latest wife, Kathryn, is only 35.
"But he's never had any children, and he's long been the subject of homosexual rumors.
"In 2006, he was snared in a bizarre sex scandal when customs officers at Palm Beach International Airport found a bottle of 29 sex-boosting Viagra pills in his luggage—with the prescription written out in another man's name! At that time, he was flying home from a visit to the Dominican Republic, dubbd the 'sex capital of the Caribbean,' famous for its many red-light districts where young boys and girls sell their bodies for sex...
"The whispers in chi-chi Palm Beach, Fla., where Limbaugh has a $40 million compound, are that currently, Kathryn spends a lot of 'quality time' in her own nearby condo, which was a wedding present from her groom."
Here are the rag's conclusions...
The SAG Award noms were announced today with very few surprises. But for me, one big surprise was the inclusion of Helen Mirren for her performance as Alfred's wife in Hitchcock, an unspectacularly reviewed film. I suppose the absence of little Quvenzhane Wallis from Beasts of the Southern Wild can be chalked up to her not having been a professional actress—and being all of five years old—at the time it was shot.
The nominees are...
Hugh Jackman covers Best Life (Fall/Winter 2012). Inside, he reveals when he first found out he was going to be famous:
"I worked at the front desk of this gym called the Physical Factory. I handed out locker keys to people, towels. I'd sign people up and give tours of the gy. So this woman came in. She was very vivacious. I showed her around and she said, 'I want to join.' I said, 'Terrific. Would you like a 3-, 6-, or 12-month membership?' Right at that moment she looks at me, gasps, and goes 'Ohmigod.' I'm like, 'What?' And she goes, 'I just want you to know, I'm a white witch and I see things. And you're going to become a massive international star.'"
The fool doubted her.
Unfortch, I hear Stephen Amell is one straight Arrow. Below, perhaps one would have better luck with Hugh Jackman? Here, he's flashing his dense biceps at the beach in Life & Style (October 8, 2012):