Rising stars or regular reliables, these are the actors and actresses that the LOVEFiLM team are loving right now. For our favourite films so far and what we’ve got to look forward to, read below.
One movie in three years is too long a wait to see what this always unpredictable, intuitive, sensitive actor will come up with next…
Another neglected film (Phoenix has made a stack of them), this black comedy is somewhere between Sgt Bilko and Catch 22, but with a modern edge.
Like Two Lovers, this is another film with James Gray, and it’s another underrated drama, this time about cops. Phoenix is heartbreaking as the “bad” son who renounces his life and his love to avenge his father.
Great fantasy story with a gorgeously happy (and politically correct) ending to it. Yes, yes, ok, I admit I cried, but just a bit.
Even though this pseudo-autobiographical documentary lacks the satiric bite of (say) Borat, Phoenix is extraordinary in a lacerating portrait of modern day celebrity.
The good news is Phoenix has two movies in the can, one with his long-standing collaborator James Gray, and the other, Paul Thomas Anderson’s eagerly awaited The Master, with Philip Seymour Hoffman. That’s a combination to make any film fan salivate.
Michael may have found acting success later on in life – he was 31 when the critically-acclaimed Hunger was released – but since then he’s never looked back. The German-Irish actor is swiftly making a name for himself as one of the most talented stars of his generation.
Part of an impressive ensemble cast, Zack Synder’s stylish take on the infamous Greek Battle of Thermopylae, saw Fassbender join an army of just 300 Spartans as they battled against the might of the Persian army (legend has 1 million people strong), in an intense 2 day battle. It was a huge hit at the 2007 box office, becoming the 10th largest grossing movie in the US that year.
Having dropped his calling card with 300, it was Hunger – artist Steve McQueen’s take on the hunger strikes of Irish Republican Bobby Sands – that really allowed his talent to shine. A gruelling shoot, it saw Fassbender face many challenges, not to mention the physical pressure of losing considerable pounds for the role, but it was a risk worth taking. His performance was internationally recognised.
For me, Fish Tank truly shows Fassbender’s range as an actor. Andrea Arnold’s gripping tale see’s Michael’s character, Connor, play all shades of grades, crossing the boundary from charming, responsible adult to an altogether darker creature. His most impressive role to date.
Returning to Hollywood with a leading role in what is arguably the best X-Men film out there. Fassbender, alongside James McAvoy, offers a level of class rarely seen in big budget productions as the pair square it off as friends and rivals in director Michael Vaughn’s origin take on the franchise.
Three’s a charm for Fassbender. Currently in pre-production, 12 Years a Slave reunites Michael with director Steve McQueen for their third partnership, it also sees him working alongside pal Brad Pitt in their third outing together. It’s another challenging tale of a man kidnapped in New York in the mid-1880s and sold into slavery in the deep south.
One of the most exciting actresses of her generation, Michelle Williams has already racked up three Oscar nominations. Graceful and passionate, she's always a pleasure to watch, no matter what she's in.
German director Wim Wenders engaged young Michelle Williams (Dawson’s Creek) to star in this intensive L.A. drama about terrorism paranoia, poverty and homelessness. Fantastic film, fantastic actress.
Of course this is a film about two guys falling in love. But the way Michelle Williams looks at her unfaithful husband is heartbreaking. One of the best films of the decade.
Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling have the most obvious chemistry of any screen couple for years. An extraordinary and beautiful film.
Marilyn Monroe’s beauty was inimitable, no one can act it. But Michelle Williams is able to illuminate Marilyn’s insights and insecurities about herself during the shooting of The Prince and the Showgirl. A brave and powerful performance.
My comment: Michelle Williams’ first appearance in a blockbuster movie. I am sure that she’ll be wonderful in this prequel to The Wizard of Oz, co-starring James Franco and Rachel Weisz.
He's been around for a while but Ryan Gosling's career is unstoppable right now. Working with top class talent and picking diverse roles that show off his range, he's always exciting and surprising.
This was the film that first opened my eyes to the wonders of Ryan Gosling, he is the embodiment of melancholy in this portrayal of a troubled teen who’s committed a horrible deed.
To see the outsider turn into this incredibly charming and passionate guy is nothing less than amazing. This film will turn the hardest of hearts into gooey mush.
Back in the outsider part in this delightful indie where he makes shy, insecure, delusional Lars into one of the sweetest and most lovable characters ever, despite the odd girlfriend… A must see.
If Goslings performance in The Notebook made your heart feel warm and toasty, this one will break it into a million pieces. (Both him and Michelle Williams make their characters feel absolutely real, including the bad parts.)
It’s almost impossible to chose which of Gosling’s coming projects I’m looking forward to the most, but it seems like Gangster Squad will give him a chance to show off yet another side of his talent.
Certainly not 'new' talent but Meryl Streep's career isn't showing any signs of slowing down. Starting the year with another Oscar win, she always keeps things fresh and exciting.
A sensitive family drama. Streep and Hoffman are both excellent, and the contemporary problems of divorce and shifting gender roles make this film an all-time classic.
An emotional and intense film about the suffering caused by the Holocaust and World War II. A brilliant deeply moving story, with Streep at her best.
The film shows the fate of three women from different generations, whose lives are related to Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs. Dalloway. Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep all perform with brilliance.
A dynamic and highly entertaining satire on the fashion world. Streep’s performance makes it a must watch.
After thirty years of marriage, a middle-aged couple attends an intense counseling weekend to decide the fate of their marriage. Looking forward to watching Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell together.
No matter how weird or way-out the role, Johnny Depp is never less than fully committed. And, let’s face it, many of them are very weird and way, way-out. He’s cinema’s own Peter Pan; a character actor, a matinee idol and a movie icon in one. And, best of all, he volunteered for the final ever episode of the Fast Show. Ooh, suit you!
Cry-Baby and Edward Scissorhands were attention-grabbing, then Benny & Joon and Gilbert Grape were sweet, but it was with this darkly comedic romantic drama that Johnny Depp won me over for good. It’s got Faye Dunaway in it, and Marlon Brando as an aging psychiatrist – the latter trying to help a suicidal Depp, who claims he’s actually the fabled Spanish lover, Don Juan.
Depp has kept company with Hollywood princes & paupers, sinners & saints, seeming equally at ease either way, and this excellent true-life mafia drama is powered by the fraternal chemistry he strikes with megastar Al Pacino. Depp’s undercover cop slides deeper into the murk of duality, as Pacino’s low-level mobster takes him under his wing.
Before 2003, Depp was known to many only as the whimsical muse of weirdy-beardy director Tim Burton. And then Captain Jack Sparrow swaggered into life. The role that blasted him across the global popular consciousness is funny, startling (especially for doubtful Disney execs) and actually rather brilliant: a precise, complete and deliberate study of minute character tics, all swabbed with broad, comic brush-strokes.
Shot before Pirates but delayed due to a rights clash with PJ Hogan’s Peter Pan movie, this utterly beautiful film sees a subtle and restrained Depp as Pan author JM Barrie, and tells the real-life tale of his poignant friendship with the family of Sylvia Llewellyn Davies (Kate Winslet). Watch the scenes in which Barrie concocts playlets with her youngest son, Peter, for the genesis of one Capt. J. Sparrow.
Back with Burton. Back with Bonham-Carter. Back in a batty yarn of gothicky comic horror, in which jilted witch Eva Green turns Johnny Depp into a vampire and buries him alive. 200 years later, he springs back into 1972 to find his mansion crumbling and his descendants in desperate need of a little fire in their blood. Mix a dash of Beetlejuice with some Addams Family, add 70s trends, deadpan wit and a spot of slapstick, and serve out of direct sunlight. REALLY looking forward to this…
All the boys will agree with me when I say Emma Stone is so hot right now. She’s beautiful, talented and she’s locked lips with Ryan Gosling and Andrew Garfield. She’s most definitely got the X-Factor.
Jonah Hill’s crush could’ve easily been played by any number of forgettable actresses, but director Greg Mattola took a chance on Emma and effectively kick started her career.
Emma shows off her star quality as lead character Olive, in this with a witty and charming film about a young girl who tarnishes her name to help out some sexually challenged geeks.
CSL may be dominated by Ryan Gosling’s abtastic performance – and rightly so – but Emma definitely keeps up with her co-star. It’s worth watching alone for the dirty dancing scene…
She didn’t win an Oscar like her co-star Octavia Spencer, but Emma proves her acting range in The Help – pulling off an endearing performance as aspiring journalist Skeeter.
It’s only been a couple of years since Tobey Maguire stepped into the web-slinger’s shoes, so this adaptation faces some serious pressure. But I’m not sweating, with Emma and Andrew Garfield in the leads it’s bound to a sure fire hit.
Much, much more than just the funny guy. Since humble beginnings in Superbad Jonah Hill has gone on to star opposite Brad Pitt, and deliver a stonking good performance whilst he's at it.
You’ve got to love Superbad. It introduced us to Michael Cera, Emma Stone and Christopher Mints-Please. It gave us a the new “Vote For Pedro” in the form of “I’m McLovin”. It was also Jonah Hill’s first major role, in which he plays a high school senior desperate for one last party before college.
2010 was a remarkable year for animated films. Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon, Tangled, Despicable Me… all absolutely superb. In any other year Megamind may have stood out as one of the films of the year, but seems a little diluted in this first-class field. Hill puts his voice to Hal, a lovesick and slightly unhinged cameraman who expresses his frustrations when accidentally given superpowers.
Stepping away from his trademark comedy roles, Hill was nominated for a slew of best supporting actor awards alongside Brad Pitt in Moneyball. This is one of those films about sport that even sports-haters will love, and Hill is excellent as the slightly ower-awed economics graduate whose number-crunching baseball strategy is taken to the big leagues.
The newly slimmed-down Hill plays Schmidt, an underachieving cop sent on a mission to blend in at a local high school and bring down a drugs ring. This is my surprise hit of the year and if you’ve not seen it, it’s out on DVD in the summer – Don’t miss it! Hill’s opening scene as a clueless Eminem-wannabe sets a hilarious tone that never lets up.
I really hope the film is as good as the trailer! Check it out, and then see it in cinemas at the end of August.
A British talent to be proud of, Carey Mulligan caught everyone's eye when she starred in An Education, winning her the Best Actress BAFTA. Newly married to Marcus Mumford and with heaps of exciting projects lined up, life's treating her pretty well.
She’d been in a few TV dramas before, and had a supporting role in Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice, but this was Carey Mulligan’s breakthrough – and BAFTA winning – performance. A great script from Nick Hornby gave her the perfect material to charm the world with her innocent yet daring performance.
From humble beginnings to big-buget blockbuster in one sweep, Wall Street 2 brought Carey to the bright light of Cannes, made her a red carpet regular and Hollywood hot property.
Starring with Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfiel
Conquering the American accent has done wonders for Carey's career. Starring opposite Ryan Gosling in one of the biggest films of last year, she showed once again she has a knack of picking the right roles, that make-up an eclectic filmography.
From the film stills we've already seen, Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby looks set to be one of the big Christmas releases. Very exciting indeed.
Otherwise known as Mark Zuckerberg, Jesse Eisenberg has that natural, kind of dorky presence on screen that you just want to soak up. Funny in an effortless kind of way, he's not your normal Hollywood star, which is why I like him.
Based on the real life childhood experiences of his of parents’ divorce, Noah Baumbach’s black comedy is a firm favourite of mine and Jesse Eisenberg’s first stand out performance.
Eisenberg stars in this overlooked comedy about the trials and tribulations of working a terrible summer job at an amusement park. This movie has heart and a great 80s soundtrack.
Zombieland is a nonstop, laugh-a -minute, gore fest. “Fasten your seat belts. This is going to be a bumpy ride.”
Possibly his most distinctive performance to date as Facebook’s infamous CEO, Eisenberg makes computer programming look a James Bond mission.
After the brilliant Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen returns to Europe in To Rome with Love, a romantic comedy featuring an all-star cast, including Ellen Page, Penelope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, and Woody Allen himself.