Wednesday, July 18, 2007

10 (fairly) fresh faces to watch

Though I cribbed this idea directly from Variety, anyone who's been here before (and, amazingly, there do seem to be a few of you who actually read my ramblings) knows these names are all from my own head and close to my heart.

So, without wasting any more time, here are 10 names of rising stars you probably know already but will hopefully hear a lot more about in the future, with, when I could find it, their most interesting upcoming movie project.

Amy Adams

While I'd hesitate to call it a "great" movie, "Junebug" is easily one of the most charming movies I've seen in many years, largely due to Ms. Adams' great performance as the very pregnant (and not terribly happy about it) Ashley Johnsten. Amazingly, according to the IMDB, she worked at a Hooters restaurant until she turned 18 and they tried to make her wear the customary cleavage-promoting attire. Look for her this December in Mike Nichols' "Charlie Wilson's War."

Paul Dano

In "Little Miss Sunshine," he managed to steal the show in a cast crowded with heavyweights even though he didn't have much to say at all until near the very end. His reward? He landed the lead role in Spike Jonze's sure-to-be-wild adaptation of Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are," which we unfortunately won't get to see until at least October 2008.

Taraji P. Henson

This D.C. girl is, so far, best known as the lady who sang D.J.'s hook for "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" in "Hustle & Flow." Since then, she's been the only good thing about "Smokin' Aces," playing off Alicia Keys, and David Fincher has apparently had the good sense to cast her in his next movie, so look out for her in his take on F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

Jonah Hill

I've already pimped the upcoming "Superbad" to death, so instead I'll recommend another flick that proves Mr. Hill is just astoundingly funny. I rented "Accepted" from that $1 DVD machine at the supermarket, which was surprisingly good, and he was very funny in it. Though I'm not sure I can call this a good thing, he'll soon be contributing his voice to the thoroughly unnecessary update of "Horton Hears a Who."

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The only good thing to come out of the rather excremental TV show "3rd Rock From the Sun" (and no, it wasn't French Stewart) was the very talented Mr. Gordon-Levitt. All the proof you need can be found in "The Lookout," which was probably seen by about 10 people when it came out earlier this year but deserves to garner a lot more fans on DVD.

Derek Luke

Of all the actors and actresses who can claim to have been snubbed at last year's Oscars, Mr. Luke gets my vote for his outstanding turn as a South African man driven to terrorism by torture in Phillip Noyce's "Catch a Fire." Look for him soon in Robert Redford's upcoming Oscar bait "Lions for Lambs."

Ellen Page

Though Ms. Page deserves the most recognition for her surprisingly hardened work in "Hard Candy," I'll always remember her for giving me just about the only reason to smile while watching Brett Ratner's simply awful "X-Men: The Last Stand." Next, she'll be the titular star of Jason Reitman's "Juno." This coming-of-age story about a young lady who finds herself pregnant also stars three of the world's funniest people, Michael Cera, Jason Bateman and Rainn Wilson, so definitely keep your eyes out for it. (And, of course, it was written by Minneapolis City Pages blogger Diablo Cody.)

Keke Palmer

I usually have little time for sweet family films, having no rugrats of my own to tend to, but "Akeelah and the Bee" was a breed apart for its smarts and young Ms. Palmer's spunk. Since then, she's appeared in an episode of Tyler Perry's fairly awful TV show "House of Payne," and her only upcoming credit is for something from Renny Harlin called "The Cleaner," which also stars Samuel L. Jackson in what sounds like a fairly run-of=the-mill thriller.

Freddy Rodriguez

I've liked Freddy ever since his work on "Six Feet Under," and it was loads of fun watching him slay zombies (or whatever they were) in Robert Rodriguez's half of "Grindhouse." He currently resides in my Netflix queue opposite Christian Bale in "Harsh Times," and is apparently working on a flick called "Bottle Shock," to be about the birth of Napa Valley wine industry.

Anika Noni Rose

After holding her own with but ultimately getting overshadowed by divas Jennifer Hudson and Beyonce Knowles in "Dreamgirls," Ms. Rose is soon to get the ultimate last laugh. For what's being billed as Disney's first black princess, Ms. Rose will voice the lead role of Princess Tiana in its upcoming musical extravaganza "The Princess and the Frog," to which I can only offer a hearty huzzah!

So, there you have it. Please feel free to add the names of any young folk who just make you smile when they appear on the big screen, and have an entirely suckfree Wednesday.

P.S. A hearty congratulations to Robert Reichert, who scored a thoroughly impressive victory in the Macon mayoral race in Tuesday's Democratic primary, virtually assuring he will be my city's next mayor. Though the horse I backed, the Rev. Henry Ficklin, only got five percent, I only wish Mr. Reichert all the best in tackling all the serious problems we have to deal with. In his honor, here's a clip of the simply stunning "A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke (audio only.) Enjoy!


Linda said...

What a great list! I would see anything any of these actors were in. Taraji Henson is also excellent in Talk to Me. Good suggestions for films to look forward to, thanks!

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm about to head down to my multiplex tonight to have a somewhat angry discussion with the manager about Talk to Me, Linda .. For the last two weeks, they've had the poster up, but the movie is nowhere in sight .. Similarly, most of the U.S. gets Sunshine this week, but we don't (although we do get a belated Sicko, so that's one good thing)

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you on the Paul Dano. He should've been the one from that movie to get an Oscar.

Lorraine said...

We just saw "Akeela and the Bee". The Spouse was all, "I have no interest in that" and I was all, "Yeah, well, we'll just do it for the kid" and suffice to say not only did he not leave the room, he got choked up a couple times. Keke is a very fine little actress.

Vance said...

Totally great list! Taraji Henson totally made it for me in Hustle and Flow and was a burst of energy in Talk to Me. Can't WAIt for Superbad. I was super excited that Amy Adams actually got an Oscar nom for Junebug so I'm excited to see her in more roles.
I will see anything Joseph Gordon Levitt is in now (and I group him and Ryan Gosling together of great newcomers that were on bad TV shows before (Ryan on the hilariously addictive so bad-its good Breaker High)). And yey Ellen Page! with fellow CDN Michael Sera too (in Juno)!

Anonymous said...

Excellent list. I can't say I disagree with anyone on the list.

Really excellent choices!

Terence Towles Canote said...

I'd have to say this is a good list. I have to say I have been a fan of Freddy Rodriguez ever since Six Feet Under. And he did a bang up job in Grindhouse. One thing I really like about Rodriguez is that between Harsh Times and Grindhouse, he seems to be shaping up as an action star, even though he isn't six foot two!

Reel Fanatic said...

I"m not sure Freddy will ever really make it as an action star, Mercurie, but as a man of very short stature I'd have to say I would certainly be cheering him on!

Shorty said...

Jonah Hill - Hysterical

Hard Candy -- Disturbing

The Lookout -- I can't wait to see it when it comes out on DVD

gr8 work as always...

Sameer Vasta said...

Here's my admission: I've got the hugest crush ever on Ellen Page. The fact that she's Canadian makes it even better. Just thought I'd share that.

Great list overall, and you're completely right about The Lookout. I really wish more people had checked it out while it was in theaters.

Reel Fanatic said...

I think it's OK to admit that, Vasta, and if it's not, we're both in the same kind of trouble!

Divinity said...

Wasn't Rodriguez the .5 bodybuilder in "The Lady in the Water"? ;>

Divinity said...

I'd add Summer Glau and Jewel Staite to the list (although you can't really consider Jewel to be a newcomer). Oh, and Ivana Baquero from Pan's Labyrinth.
I just know I'm going to think of twenty more as soon as I post this.

Reel Fanatic said...

I have to admit I had to IMDB Jewel Staite just to figure out who she was ... And ha, it just shows you how soon I forget, because she of course played Kaylee on my beloved "Firefly" .. She and sultry Summer Glau would indeed both be welcome additions, and Ivan Baquero only didn't make the cut because I limited it to 10 (she and Rinko Kikuchi were the last two to go)

Reel Fanatic said...

And oh yeah, Freddy was indeed that 1/2 bodybuilder, but I just couldn't stand that flick!

Neel Mehta said...

You'll have a chance to see Paul Dano a little earlier than that -- he's opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood. Both are getting buzz.

In unrelated news, there's finally an advanced movie screening in Macon. "No Reservations" plays there this Saturday, courtesy of Film Metro. It's also showing in about 150 other cities.

Reel Fanatic said...

Wow .. thanks for the heads up, Neel .. Mostly Martha is one of my favorite movies, so I don't have terribly high hopes for the remake, but as you pointed out, I shouldn't pass up the chance for a sneak peek in the rare chance that I get one

* (asterisk) said...

Levitt was outstanding in Mysterious Skin and not bad in Brick. I hope he continues to deliver.

I really didn't like Junebug much, but Adams was the highlight. Ditto Dano in LMS. Interesting: the one character talked non-stop; the other hardly at all.

Reel Fanatic said...

I've never seen Mysterious Skin, Mr. *, but it's going in my Netflix queue right away .. thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hey great list, agree with most that made it to your list...I'm putting a link.
I'm looking forward to catching the Lookout when it does get released on DVD too.

Fletch said...

"she's been the only good thing about "Smokin' Aces,"

How dare you.

But seriously, I rather enjoyed "Smokin' Aces." Expectations were low and it delivered an entertaining two hours.

Reel Fanatic said...

I guess I just didn't lower my expectations quite enough, Fletch .. I knew going in it would be a brainless barrage of bullets, but while it delivered that much with style, I didn't find it to be remotely funny or even interesting