So I saw a Jonathan Rhys Meyers double feature this weekend, and by the end, it got me thinking. It's clear that a single film can make the careers of several actors (The Big Chill, The Breakfast Club, Trainspotting, etc.), but does that mean that the casting directors of those films were just great identifiers of talent; or is it that there's plenty of competent actors out there, and it's just luck that they end up in a huge movie? I'm guessing the latter.
Match Point: 3 Stars. This film is basically Woody Allen remaking his own masterpiece Crimes and Misdemeanors in upper-crust London, just not as skillfully. The beauty of C&M was how he wove together the disparate storylines of people of various moralities in an exploration of human behavior and its consequences (just and unjust). Match Point turns C&M's Martin Landau into Jonathan Rhys Myers, a former tennis pro who manages to get very lucky in life and doesn't manage to fully appreciate it until he's gotten to the brink of screwing it all up. The first hour and change of this film is dreadfully boring to this American Jew, but my guess is that is because I'm not a WASPy Brit. WASPy folks probably feel the same way about the neurotic Jewish banter in Allen's earlier films. The movie really hits its stride in the last 45 minutes, and it was a pleasure to watch them. Scarlett Johannsen is as lovely as always, but doesn't really show the depth of emotion required for her part. Hopefully Woody can get a better performance out of her in their next pairing, Scoop.
My earlier ponderings was due to the appearance, in Match Point, of the ubiquitous Ewen Bremner, Spud in Trainspotting. The dude's everywhere...he's like the British Steve Buscemi...anytime they need a not-so-good looking skinny Brit, they go get him. Think about Trainspotting, though. In addition to Bremner: Ewan McGregor (world-famous), Robert Carlyle (slightly less so), Jonny Lee Miller (was huge for awhile), and Kelly Macdonald (not really famous, but damned accomplished. And I don't need to go through the casts of Big Chill and Breakfast Club because you know them all already. Rhys Meyers points out in Match Point that not enough people attribute luck as an essential component of their success. He's got a point.
Mission Impossible 3: 2.75 stars. This whole franchise has been a style-over-substance disappointment, and MP3 was no exception. Still, there's a place for nonsensical, big explosion movies. It was parts spectacle, fun, and ludicriousness, but I enjoyed most of it, despite the Bond-bad-guy-esque anticlimax. Anyone else find it funny that Billy Crudup and Philip Seymour Hoffman reversed positions from their performances in Almost Famous? Sort of, anyway. Also, Rhys Meyers, pick an accent, dude. I couldn't tell where the hell you were from.