Tag Archives: Oscar Isaac

Meet the New “Star Wars” Cast

star-wars-episode-7-cast-announce

It’s official. Take a look at your cast for the new Star Wars: Episode VII (pictured above). In addition to the returning cast which we already knew about, there are a number of names that should make you perk up your ears, including some recent indie stars…

  • John Boyega hit it big with the lead in Jon Cornish’s excellent Attack the Block (along side Nick Frost). He’s done a number of smaller projects since, but his next big role has been eagerly anticipated, no matter what it would be.
  • Daisy Ridley is still a mostly unknown entity. Given the rest of the cast I take it she’s the female lead, but there’s no way of knowing yet what she will bring to the table.
  • Adam Driver is best known for HBO’s Girls, but he’s also seen a lot of recent exposure in last year’s indie-hits Inside Llewyn Davis and Francis Ha, as well as this year’s critically acclaimed Tracks alongside Mia Wasikowska. He also had roles in J. Edgar and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.
  • Oscar Isaac came within spitting distance of an Oscar nomination last year for his revelatory role as the titular folk musician in Inside Llewyn Davis. Ultimately he fell victim to one of the most competitive fields in decades, but given a normal year he would’ve been assured a nod if not a win.
  • Andy Serkis has been practically a household name ever since his revolutionary motion-capture performance as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. With every new project, including his work in King Kong and especially Rise of the Planet of the Apes, he rekindles the argument for making mo-cap and voice performances eligible for Oscars and other awards.
  • Domhnall Gleeson is most recognizable as Bill Weasley in the final two Harry Potter films. He is the highest profile acting son of legendary character actor Brendan Gleeson, and he recently headlined Richard Curtis’ time-traveling rom-com About Time along side Rachel McAdams. He’s also had notable roles in True GritDredd, and Anna Karenina.
  • Max von Sydow is the most legendary name attached to a Star Wars film since Sir Alec Guinness. His career began over 65 years ago, as protege of Ingmar Bergman. Classics like The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries have cemented his name in the pantheon of all-time giants of the silver screen. More recently he has appeared in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Shutter Island, and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. The latter earned him a near-record-breaking Oscar nomination at the age of 82. (Only Hal Holbrook was older – by 50 days – when he was nominated 4 years earlier.)

And these are the returning cast members from the original trilogy. (If you don’t know these names you have no business watching the new movie.)

  • Harrison Ford
  • Carrie Fisher
  • Mark Hamill
  • Anthony Daniels
  • Peter Mayhew
  • Kenny Baker

From StarWars.com

Director J.J. Abrams says, “We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

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Review – Inside Llewyn Davis

Probably the most honest and accurate reaction I can give is that this is the type of film that defies quick reactionary reviews. For instance, I enjoyed the Coen Bros’ A Serious Man when it first came out a few years ago, but since then I’ve come to absolutely love it – though I’ve still only seen it the once. As I’ve sat and ruminated over it the past few years, it’s grown fonder and fonder in my memory. I strongly suspect this new movie of theirs to have a very similar effect. I can say this is one of the Coens’ best films, but I have to qualify that by saying I think that category includes about 70-80% of their work.

It’s much more of a character study than a plot-driven story. The structure is so cyclical that even after the credits you expect Llewyn Davis [Oscar Isaac] to trod through all the events of the movie again and again, exactly the same, over and over and over like Sisyphus on Groundhog Day. Isaac does a perfect job (including his own singing and guitar work) as Davis. He’s a wholly unpleasant, unlikable guy, until he’s behind his guitar. I kept expecting this or that character (or cat) to be the entry point for the audience to be ale to connect with him, but each of them is merely a passing bystander. Instead the music is the soul that makes us feel for the poor guy.

And soulful it is. In a perfect world this soundtrack would do for 60’s folk music, what O Brother Where Art Thou did for Roots Americana. Unfortunately it won’t. That film had the added benefit of being more easily accessible to the every day movie-goer. This is a bit more cerebral. It’s hilarious too, yes, but headier and darker. But for those of us who enjoy that sort of thing, it’s much much MUCH more fulfilling.

One final note: John Goodman has a “minor” (I use that term ironically) role that has him onscreen for all of maybe 15-30 minutes. But holy SHIT that’s one hell of a show! Seriously that guy is getting better and better with every movie these days, and he’s doing a lot. But this may be his best yet. The Oscars should have a Best Cameo category, for smaller supporting roles, just for him.

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