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MOVIE BLOG: Spotlight on Michael Fassbender

Posted March 10, 2011 | By Naomi Creason, Sentinel Reporter,

With a slew of his movies coming out, I thought I’d turn the spotlight on someone TheReelist called “the most popular actor right now you couldn’t pick out of a lineup.”

Initially, I planned this blog to come out at the same time as the release for “Jane Eyre,” which does open this weekend, just not around here (you’ll have to wait until April to see it – actually April 15 until it arrives at Midtown Cinema, but who’s counting?). In this most recent adaptation, Mia Wasikowska plays the title character and Michael Fassbender plays the secretive Mr. Rochester (both actors are pictured at the premiere for the movie).

If you don’t know who Fassbender is now, you’ll probably see him and hear his name many times before the year is out. Assuming all of the movies will follow their production schedules, he’s set to star in four movies this year, two of which being pretty major productions.

Even if you don’t recognize the name or recognize the face, most audiences have likely seen him in something before. Most bloggers and critics like to start out by saying that his most notable role is Lt. Archie Hicox in “Inglourious Basterds” (the British soldier/German cinema critic who has the unfortunate job of rendezvousing with a spy in a bar semi-crowded with Nazis). However, I’d argue that his first major film role as Stelios in “300” may ring some bells – he’s the Spartan that tends to do some jumping acrobatic movies during the fight. It was a fairly decent sized supporting role for that film and a character that was very recognizable to many of my female friends who watched it. As a note, I have yet to find an article or blog about Fassbender that doesn’t comment about how good-looking he is (and far be it from me to stop that trend).

The Irish-German actor is relatively new to the movie/TV industry. Unlike many other actors who got their start in England, Fassbender is not a theatrical actor (he prefers acting on camera than on stage) and got most of his first roles on TV shows – he did have a small part in “Band of Brothers” but tended to stick to the other side of the Atlantic for bit parts in episodes before finally landing a male lead role in “Hex,” a supernatural TV show in which he plays a demon (who kind of spends most of his time staring – it wasn’t a great show, but it got him some recognition).

After “Hex,” however, he landed the role in “300” and almost immediately got the male lead in the movie “Angel.” But it was his turn as Irish activist Bobby Sands in “Hunger” that got him critical attention (enough to put him on the top of plenty of critics’ list and helped him earn a No. 10 spot recently on Cinematical’s “Most fearless actors of contemporary world cinema” list, in which he is the only English-speaking actor).

His role in “Fish Tank” only solidified his presence at the critics’ water cooler, and I’m sure he has both roles to thank for his list of upcoming movies – “Jane Eyre,” “X-Men: First Class” (as Magneto) and “A Dangerous Method” (as Carl Jung). Given that critics seem to adore “Jane Eyre” and Fassbender stars opposite Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley in “A Dangerous Method,” this could be as good of a year for him critically as it will be for his star power. Should “X-Men: First Class” not give him the extra attention, he’ll have another shot next year with Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus,” which is based around the world of “Alien.”

While I’m waiting a month longer to see a movie I’ve already been waiting to see, I’m also looking forward to see if audiences will be as quick to embrace Fassbender as the critics.

For those who want to get caught up with Michael Fassbender before the new movies arrive, I thought I’d provide some quick reviews of his previous movie work given that I went on a bit of a Fassbender Netflix spree recently.

“300” (2006) Odds are, you’ve already watched it. If you haven’t, it’s a pretty straightforward action flick that also happens to feature actors in sick shape wearing very little (Fassbender included). So, one for the ladies if you can stomach the gore.

“Angel” (2007) On one hand, the movie is an interesting play on classic romantic stories and focuses on the lead girl (Angel) who becomes far too involved in her own fantasy world to notice what’s really going on around her. On the other side, the lead girl is completely obnoxious and never redeems herself. It’s a bit of a hard watch, especially if you’re only in it for Fassbender.

“Hunger” (2008) This was also a hard watch but for a different reason. Fassbender and director Steve McQueen earned their reputation among critics for this film, but it’s not a commercial movie. The film does not let you hear almost any of the dialogue, though there are scenes where characters are having conversations – one famous scene that lasts 17 minutes. It’s an interesting film, but not one you want to pop in on a whim.

“Eden Lake” (2008) This is one of my favorite horror films of all time. It’s kind of a mix of a horror and a thriller with no supernatural elements but with plenty of scares. It’s a much different take on torture and horror movies, and it executed it well.

“Blood Creek” (2009) Speaking of horror movies that aren’t as good… The only reason why I watched this is that Fassbender shared screentime with Henry Cavill. Otherwise, I wasn’t too interested in the supernatural Nazi story. It’s sort of interesting and Fassbender was kind of eerie as the disfigured villain, but nothing groundbreaking here.

“Fish Tank” (2009) Katie Jarvis is pretty amazing as the lead Mia in this Andrea Arnold film. Although I wasn’t entirely convinced of her ability to do hip-hop dancing, it’s a very engaging film, and both Jarvis and Fassbender put in excellent performances.

“Inglourious Basterds” (2009) An excellent Quentin Tarantino film with an overall great cast. Fassbender plays a fairly minor role, but his “Mexican standoff scene,” as well as Tarantino’s general love for long scenes, makes the movie a must-see.

“Centurion” (2010) Another swords and sandals movie involving the disappearance of an entire legion of Roman soldiers. Fassbender is the lead in the movie, which is an enjoyable enough action movie that never really makes it into the great category. Olga Kurylenko as the mute villainess is pretty good though.

“Jonah Hex” (2010) This is, literally, the only movie of Fassbender’s that I have not watched and have no desire to see. He only plays a supporting role as a villain, though he was sought after by Josh Brolin for the role (so we have Brolin to thank for this being on his filmography). If you go by the critics, it’s a mess of a film that wouldn’t be worth watching for free.

Source | Cumberlink

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