Posts Tagged ‘Sexy Beast’


Dom-Hemmingway-600x400Looks like another actor is taking a page out of Matthew McConaughey’s playbook.

The star’s recent Oscar win for “Dallas Buyer’s Club” was the frosting on the McConaissance cake, the transformation from shirtless rom com star to serious leading man.

Jude Law seems to have taken note, trading in the “pretty young thing” roles of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Alfie” in favor of darker character pieces. His latest, “Dom Hemingway,” is his most noir creation yet.

When we first meet Mr. Hemmingway he’s in jail, a safecracker with anger issues in the midst of a twelve-year stretch. Upon release he looks up best friend Dickie (Richard E. Grant), a one-handed small time crook who reconnects him with former boss Mr. Fontaine (Demian Bichir), an elegant but deadly crime lord. The way Dom sees it Mr. Fontaine owes him a great deal of money for keeping his mouth shut in prison but a near death experience changes everything.

“Dom Hemingway” is not a great movie. It is weirdly paced and betrays it’s hard edge with sentimentality but it is worth seeing despite itself; worth seeing because of Jude Law’s performance.

“I am a legend, a myth, a glorious tale to be handed down from generation to generation,” Hemmingway boasts, with a self worth almost as broad as his vocabulary. He’s an uneducated thug with a way with words and Law brings him to vivid whiskey soaked life in an aggressively comic performance.

Twenty years ago the part would have been played by Bob Hoskins or Ray Winstone, rough and tumble actors with a built in sense of menace. Law, by contrast, doesn’t seem to be an obvious substitute, but it’s the kind of character part that suits him. In retrospect he always seemed an uncomfortable fit in some of his leading man roles that relied more on his charm than talent. Here he brings an unexpectedly dangerous but funny vibe to the film, reminiscent of Ben Kingsley’s work in “Sexy Beast.”

Whether he is bragging that his manhood could save starving children in Somalia, in a bravura opening monologue, or staring moon-eyed at his estranged daughter, Law is better than the movie in a role that could come to redefine his career.

Ben Kingsley: Gandhi aside, this guy is bad to the bone By Richard Crouse Metro Canada – In Focus May 1, 2013

The-Mandarin-in-Iron-Man-3For someone who became famous playing Gandhi, one of the 20th century’s great pacifists, Ben Kingsley has certainly played his share of villains.

His latest character, The Mandarin in Iron Man 3, is one of the great comic book baddies. He’s Iron Man’s oldest foe, a scientific genius and an unbeatable martial artist, who draws his power from 10 finger rings he created using alien technology.

How bad is this guy? This bad: “Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher,” he says. “Lesson number one: Heroes — there is no such thing.”

The filmmakers say Mandarin is partially based on Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now and another character Kingsley made famous.

In Sexy Beast, Kingsley played Don Logan, a vile English gangster who intimidates an old colleague into coming out of retirement for one last job. How bad is this guy? This bad: He starts a brawl on an airplane because he was asked to stub out a cigarette.

“I do know that Shane Black, our writer-director, loved Sexy Beast,” said Kingsley, “and was very influenced in his choice of me playing The Mandarin.”

Logan isn’t the only villain Kingsley has brought to life on the big screen, however.

In BloodRayne, the Oscar winner plays king of the vampires Kagan, a vicious character who must quell a rebellion led by his daughter. When asked why he would appear in a movie that ranked in Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the 100 worst reviewed films of the 2000s, he said, “I have always wanted to play a vampire, with the teeth and the long black cape. Let’s say that my motives were somewhat immature for doing it.”

As The Hood in Thunderbirds, Kingsley uses his mental powers — telekinesis and hypnosis — to take over the International Rescue headquarters. He took the role in the big screen treatment of the 1960s British children’s marionette show at the urging of his kids. “My son has a Thunderbirds alarm clock. That’s how big a fan he is of the TV series.”

He’s also played villains in War Inc, Prince of Persia and Oliver Twist and says, “as an actor, I have to push the word ‘villain’ right to the back of my mind and bring forward their distorted sense of righteousness and destiny. Because I think classic villains like The Mandarin have to have a profound sense of right.”