James McAvoy

Mystique in X-Men First Class

From the Troma library of films like The Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke ‘Em High to the higher concept blockbuster science fiction movies like Total Recall and Godzilla, mutants have been almost entirely bad news. While some movies have an occasional mutant that puts it in a class of it’s own – like the character of the Rainmaker in Looper – Hollywood generally considers mutations really problematic. Except the X-Men, of course. In the X-Men universe, mutants are the not-so-meek that will inherit the Earth. Senator Kelly (Bruce Davison) in X-Men tries to legally oppress them. Professor Charles Xavier provides a sanctuary for young mutants. There are constant battles brewing throughout these films between good mutants and bad ones. However, one thing remains the same in all of these scenarios: mutants have great powers bestowed upon them. As Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) states at the beginning of the first film: “Mutation. It is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow and normally taking thousands and thousands of years, but every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward.” And that got me thinking… is the human race on the brink of astounding genetic changes? Are X-Men types of mutation the next step in human evolution?

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james-mcavoy-filth-10

Over the past few years James McAvoy has been transitioning into quite a manly actor. McAvoy used to have a welcoming boyishness to him that’s been seen less and less lately. He recently stripped himself of it in Welcome to the Punch before using it to his advantage as an unassuming punk in Trance. It’s not an easy transition to go from the young pretty boy to an actor you buy as the dangerous type, but McAvoy’s managed to pull off that transformation. This summer he’ll convince anyone who thinks otherwise with Filth. He’s a revelation in this Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting) adaptation, playing Detective Bruce Robertson, a man with many, many problems. McAvoy’s performance in Jon S. Baird‘s film has already been experienced in some countries. In fact, you can import the Blu-ray from the UK. It’s totally worth the blind buy, but if you want to avoid the extra costs, the film will soon hit theaters and VOD in the States. It’s a hard-R movie, so keeping in spirit with the tone of the movie, Magnolia has released a red band trailer to let people know what they’re in store for. Behold Detective Bruce Robertson in all of his hideous glory (via IGN):

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The Bent Bullet

Fifty years after his assassination, the circumstances behind the death of President John F. Kennedy has yet another conspiracy theory that can be added to the pile thanks to Bryan Singer and the gang behind X-Men: Days of Future Past. Forget a second shooter or even Lee Harvey Oswald’s true guilt: a new viral video and website entitled The Bent Bullet claims that Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender), is the man behind Kennedy’s murder back in 1963. The Warren Commission determined, after placing Magneto at the Grassy Knoll, that he bent the trajectory of Oswald’s bullets and manipulated the assassination, making him the true killer. While it might be easy to implicate the mutant for the crime, the report suggests that maybe it was too easy — making Magneto a patsy in a time where a nation was struggling to find someone, anyone to blame for the assassination, and already experienced a deep-seated fear and prejudice toward those with mutant abilities. Could it be that Magneto was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or did he really kill JFK?

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X-Men Days of Future Past Trask

X-Men: First Class was a genuine shock — not because of the people involved or the story they chose, but because Fox managed to get out of its own way to deliver a solid comic book movie. X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006 had been cringe-worthy, they’d punted on X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009, and going back in time for a prequel seemed desperate. Fortunately, the clean slate worked. The anticipation leading to X-Men: Days of Future Past is now completely different. No longer the slumping underdog, Xavier’s gifted students are coming off a hell of an introduction, and the latest Wolverine-focused installment was a success at the box office, while 5/6ths of it was a triumph of storytelling. Bringing in old faces like Ellen Page and Hugh Jackman alongside new players like Peter Dinklage to share time with Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy is a potent power play that has stacked the cast being led by director Bryan Singer. It’s still only potential at this point, though. This was a massive undertaking, so the question still looms large as to whether they’ve pulled off a difficult, fan-loved story, but the first full trailer might just have an answer:

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

Bryan Singer has been very generous during the production of X-Men: Days of Future Past about letting us normal people see behind the scenes photos of the coolest aspects of the film. From tweeting a sneak peek at a full-sized sentinel, to even showing glimpses of character concepts (we’re very into X-Men), Singer is all about letting fans know what they’re getting with this movie.

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McAvoy-Frankenstein

So far the only casting news we’ve gotten about director Paul McGuigan’s (Lucky Number Slevin) upcoming Frankenstein project has been the delightful decision to make Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, grow a hump, drool a bit, and play the demented lab assistant Igor—who’s said to be a lead character in this new look at the classic material. Okay, so maybe the hump and the drool is just speculation at this point, but by all accounts this Max Landis-written (Chronicle) take on the Frankenstein mythos is supposed to have much more in common with what we’ve seen in monster movies and Halloween decorations over the past fifty years or so than it does with Mary Shelley’s more heady and less fun gothic novel that originally created the characters. Given that premise, it stands to reason that another of the film’s central characters, the eccentric mad scientist Dr. Victor Frankenstein, will likely be a cackling, lab coat-wearing, crazy-eyed fiend. And McGuigan has now found just the actor to play him.

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Filth

What do you get when you cross James McAvoy, hallucinogenic drugs and a rampant sex addiction wrapped up in another Irvine Welsh novel? The answer is something that looks like one helluva good time. Filth is McAvoy’s second time starring in a Welsh adaptation (Trainspotting) has him playing corrupt Scottish copper Bruce Robertson, a man who really used to be a good person, if you can believe it. As his status as a detective climbs, Robertson dives deeper and deeper into a seedy world of sexual favors, violence and cocaine. Mountains of cocaine.

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Filth Movie

James McAvoy is a charming and talented actor who’s done nothing but good work up to this point, so it was probably about time someone rewarded him with a role that allowed him to engage in casual sex, guzzle copious amounts of booze, and snort up enough drugs to kill a donkey. And, as you can see from the film’s brand new trailer, Jon S. Baird’s adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s “Filth” has provided him with just that sort of role. Given all of the sex, boozing, and drugs going on though, the trailer is marked as restricted, so don’t go trying to sneak any peeks if you’re under age. For the rest of you, enjoy, and try to make note of the fact that Filth looks like it’s going to be much more than just a shallow wallowing in bad behavior. This is a story from the same guy who wrote “Trainspotting,” after all, so there’s bound to be some pathos mixed in with the partying. McAvoy’s pervert, junkie cop character seems to be the complex sort of gent who’s struggling with a lot of issues, so this should be a role that’s both fun to play and worthy of his considerable talents. Give the fast-paced trailer a whirl for yourself and see if you can spot familiar faces like Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell, and Jim Broadbent in the midst of all the madness.

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trance 1

In less qualified hands, Trance wouldn’t be this entertaining. The script for Danny Boyle‘s newest quasi-thriller asks a lot from its audience. Suspending disbelief is one thing, but demolishing logic is another matter. In the end, the illogical dramatic ambitions hold back Boyle’s film from becoming another major addition to his body of work. Before logic is diminished, however,  Trance is a gorgeous dream of a film that has the Slumdog Millionaire filmmaker unleashing every visual magic trick he has. This nonlinear story calls for that bombastic Boyle approach. The central idea, which is a unique one for the genre, poses the question: what if you forgot what you stole? For the first two acts we see Simon (James McAvoy) dealing with that dilemma. Simon, a charming dweeb who has himself a wee bit of a gambling problem, went to both the right and wrong guy to help him out, Franck (Vince Cassel). After Franck pays off his debt, Simon must use his position at an auction house to assist him in stealing a painting. The robbery goes smoothly until Franck discovers he didn’t actually grab the painting and, due to memory loss, Simon doesn’t know why that is. This where they enlist the help from Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson), a hypnotherapist. Elizabeth wants to give Franck and Simon what they both want…or at least that’s how her relationship with the two men starts. Elizabeth is the femme fatale of this mystery, pulling some strings the audience doesn’t see.

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Welcome to the Punch Trailer

For a movie made for $8.5 million, Welcome to the Punch is strikingly polished. While that’s a prominent amount of cash, writer and director Eran Creevy makes every penny count. For the brisk 93-minute running time, Creevy makes his routine thriller fresh enough to turn the gruff cop “with something to prove” and cool-minded criminal “pulled back in the game” scenario play exceedingly smoothly. When we’re first introduced to James McAvoy’s Max Lewinsky, he’s in hot pursuit of Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong) and his goons, all of whom are dressed as suavely as possible. Max ignores orders to wait for backup — because whoever waits for backup? — and ends up chasing Sternwood by foot while his team rides off underground on dirt bikes. Max catches up with Sternwood, and the encounter goes as good as it can for the unarmed Max: he ends up with a busted kneecap. From the score to the composition, it’s a fantastic opening that establishes everything we need to know, especially the sleek style of Creevy’s film and his two leads.

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Welcome to the Punch Trailer

Between Wanted, Danny Boyle’s upcoming Trance, and Eran Creevy’s Welcome to the Punch, James McAvoy is making a nice little cottage industry for himself out of starring in stylish, slick actioners. In the upcoming Punch, McAvoy stars as a straightlaced detective who has spent much of his career chasing after Mark Strong‘s Jacob Sternwood who has, in turn, spent most of his career being a  criminal. Sternwood is a bit of a changed man, though, and he’s about to really switch things up when he teams up with McAvoy’s Max Lewinsky to help uncover a conspiracy that has something to do with that bullet in Sternwood’s son’s stomach and all that weird writing on his hand. It’s all very glossy and shiny and slick and pretty to look at it and more than a touch confusing. Try to figure out what’s going on amongst all the pretty colors in the newest trailer for Welcome to the Punch, after the break.

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SXSW Danny Boyle

So far one of the highlights of SXSW was the panel featuring director Danny Boyle. The enthusiasm he shared with us about the event was evident during his Q&A. Even when the nifty “Danny Boyle’s Filmography” montage Fox Searchlight cut together was playing we saw Boyle dancing to it. He was happy to be there, and so were we. While the Slumdog Millionaire director was there to promote Trance, Boyle discussed many of his films, and the lessons he learned from them. Unfortunately he didn’t have time to reminisce about all his movies, but what the director of Trance did talk about was noteworthy. That’s why we took notes:

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Danny Boyle

One event that was a must-attend at this year’s SXSW was Danny Boyle‘s panel, which happened this morning. Besides the fact Boyle is behind some of the most acclaimed films of the past 20 years – Slumdog Millionare, Millions, 28 Days Later, Sunshine – his personality is as invigorating as his movies. Boyle, as one can hopefully tell from our conversation with him, is drenched in enthusiasm when it comes to film. He’s one of the few filmmakers out there who mainly discusses the joys of filmmaking, not the pitfalls. Whether he is talking about his own movies or someone else’s, he usually has a big smile on his face. If you missed his panel at the Vimeo theater or are unfortunately not in Austin right now, make sure to catch it when it inevitably appears on youtube. When it comes to Boyle’s latest film, Trance, he’s made what has been described as “a trippy, noirish thriller.” Boyle is back to full-on genre, where he can twist expectations, give us a monstrous James McAvoy, and, as he tells us, the power of a good Scottish accent.

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The Crow

James O’Barr’s gothic revenge fantasy comic book, ‘The Crow,” has been on its way toward a big screen reboot for a while. And yes, that’s a full reboot, not another direct to video sequel of Alex Proyas’ original film adaptation of the material. Said reboot will feature the original character, Eric Draven, and it will retell the original story. That, of course, begs the question, “Who are they going to get to replace Brandon Lee?” Given Lee’s taken-too-soon life story, his legendary father, and all of the mythologizing that’s gone on surrounding the fact that he was killed in an accident on the set of The Crow, the Eric Draven role has become seen as being pretty iconically his, especially among film fans who were coming of age around the time of the film’s release. So who could possibly step in and play the same character without being rejected by the public? Over the years a couple of big names, including Mark Wahlberg and Bradley Cooper, have circled the role without anything concrete coming of it, but now Bloody Disgusting is reporting that the man who will allow this movie to move forward might have been found, as another A-list actor has been in talks to come on board and try to fill Lee’s shoes. Apparently X-Men: First Class actor James McAvoy is fairly close to taking the role, with possible scheduling issues due to X-Men: Days of Future Past being the only mentioned stumbling block in front of his […]

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Trance Red Band Trailer

Holy brain-splattering hell. Danny Boyle. Yes. The director is back with Trance, a film that looked interesting and now — because of this red band trailer — looks un-missable. The movie stars James McAvoy as an art auctioneer who loses his memory after hiding a painting that a bunch of thieves are willing to kill for, so they force him to undergo hypnosis to find what they want. Featuring a percussive punch that gives immediacy to the idea of time running out as McAvoy’s character hovers in a mental limbo, this new trailer is aggressive and, no matter how much this phrase has become overused, jaw-dropping. Just watch it. Just watch:

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Trance Movie

Danny Boyle is back in March with Trance, a movie that sees James McAvoy forgetting where he put a stolen painting, the Vincent Cassel- led gangsters that want it and Rosario Dawson attempting to use hypnotherapy to bring that memory back. The first trailer is the best kind of bait and switch. It opens like an airy, empty art house attempt before bashing McAvoy’s head in and revealing the twisty, violent Boyle goodness buried within. Check it out for yourself:

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Trance

With the release of his Best Picture winner, Slumdog Millionaire, in 2008 and his critically acclaimed follow-up to that film, 127 Hours, in 2010, Danny Boyle appeared to be a director whose career had finally broken through to the next level. He had always made cult films that were popular among certain niche segments of the filmgoing audience, but now he was a mainstream brand, the sort of director whose name and credits could sell future products. The only problem is, we’re creeping up on 2013 and we still haven’t seen any new projects from him. That isn’t for lack of effort on Boyle’s part, though. He’s actually had another movie filmed since back in 2011. And not just any other film, a really cool-sounding throwback to his gritty crime origins called Trance that features work from actors as talented as James McAvoy, Vincent Cassell, and Rosario Dawson. The reason we’ve yet to see this film is because Boyle spent so much time directing that big, dumb Olympics opening ceremony, then did some work on the stage, that it’s only been recently that he’s been able to go back and cut together all of the footage he shot for Trance.

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Welcome to the Punch Trailer

Over the last half-decade or so James McAvoy (Atonement, X-Men: First Class) has proven himself to be one of the most relatable young lead actors currently making a name in the film world. Conversely, Mark Strong (The Guard, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) has spent his time playing a steady stream of dastardly villains. What would happen if you took the positive and negative forces of these two guys’ careers? It turns out you’d get a trailer for an action movie called Welcome to the Punch, and, honestly, the results look to be pretty generic. Sure, this movie seems to be full of enough gun fights and explosions to keep your attention, and there’s a mystery about some scribblings on a hand to add some extra intrigue, but other than that Welcome to the Punch seems to be the same urban crime drama with tough cops and slick robbers scowling at each other—all presented in an icy blue color palate—that you’ve seen a thousand times before.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s starting to wonder how many times Hugh Jackman can play Wolverine before his sideburns start to stick that way. Hot on the heels of the announcement that the original Professor X and Magneto, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, would be joining Bryan Singer’s X-Men: First Class sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, comes word that yet another actor from the original X-Men trilogy, Hugh Jackman, is also negotiating. This makes sense, of course, because Jackman’s brief cameo in First Class was the first indication we got that Matthew Vaughn’s reboot and Singer’s original films might actually exist in the same universe. Now that Singer has Stewart, McKellen, and Jackman on board, the only other actors he needs to poach from those first X-Men movies is…well, no one. It’s kind of amazing how well those movies cast these three guys and how poorly they cast every single other character. Hopefully this is the end of the colliding of worlds. [THR]

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What is Casting Couch? Despite the fact that the movie business seems to be slow to get back to work after the long weekend, it’s a column that’s managed to dig up a couple exciting casting coups. Bryan Singer out-scooped everybody in the news breaking business today when he suddenly started tweeting big updates on how the cast for his upcoming X-Men: First Class sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, was developing. He started off small by first confirming that a few members of the First Class crew would be returning. He tweeted, “I’d like to officially welcome back James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, & Nicholas Hoult to #XMEN for #DaysOfFuturePast.” But then he got a little crazy and started confirming rumors that actors from his original X-Men movies will be joining the film as well by tweeting, “Thrilled to announce @ianmckellen118 (Ian McKellan) & @SirPatStew (Patrick Stewart) are joining the cast of #XMEN #DaysOfFuturePast #magneto #professorX More to come…” Do you think we could get scenes where old Professor X and Magneto meet young Professor X and Magneto? The head spins with awesome possibilities.

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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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