FEATURE: Cruise Control, Part 2

24 06 2010

“Action is character.  If we didn’t do anything, we wouldn’t be anyone.”

– Carey Mulligan as Jenny in “An Education”

Yesterday, I celebrated Tom Cruise by discussing the roles he didn’t take.  It’s certainly an honor to be considered for so many incredible parts as he has been, and it does show a lot about him.  However, like Jenny suggests in the quote above, we are defined by what we do, not by what we don’t.

So, to top off my look at Tom Cruise, I will offer up what I’ve taken from the movies that he has been in.  As you will probably notice, I have seen very little of his work prior to this decade.  So the portrait I can paint of Cruise with what I have seen is very limited.  It’s definitely not the prime of his career; most will agree that his celebrity has waned this decade, particularly in the past five years.  But nonetheless, he’s still a big draw – or at least a talking point.

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LAMB Alert: Robert Downey Jr. “Acting School”

31 05 2010

On the first morning of summer, I got up and watched “Sherlock Holmes” just because I could.

Speaking of “Sherlock Holmes,” there’s going to be another cool event going on at the LAMB involving the movie’s star, Robert Downey, Jr.  He’s the reason I decided to give it a second view after my less than glowing first opinion.  The movie works largely because of him, and it was commercially viable also because of him.  He has perfected the smug and slightly standoffish character, and Americans can’t seem to get enough of it.  $275 million and counting for “Iron Man 2” speaks as a testament to it.

But Robert Downey, Jr. has made plenty of other contributions to acting other than this character, and his two Oscar nominations have come from playing something entirely different.  In 1993, he received his first nomination for “Chaplin,” a biopic where RDJ played the famed silent movie star.  Just two years ago, he received his second nomination for a very risky comedic role in “Tropic Thunder,” playing (as the movie puts it) “a dude playing the dude disguised as another dude.”  It’s risks like these that have made Robert Downey, Jr. a unique and lauded actor.

The LAMB is celebrating the man, the actor, and the roles.  It’s really worth checking out because there are reviews of all of his movies as well as spotlight pieces on Robert Downey, Jr. and his work.  I contributed the two reviews I have written of RDJ’s latest movies, “Sherlock Holmes” and “Iron Man 2.”  I wasn’t particularly complimentary of the actor in those two movies, but I really do admire him.  In “Iron Man,” he had a dry wit and strange charm while constantly projecting an image of authority.  He showed a very tender side in “The Soloist,” a very good movie that few people saw.  And while I loathed “Tropic Thunder,” I found his turn to be strangely satisfying.

So come join in the celebration; click the image below and you’ll be directed to the event.