You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2012.
As Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter rounds out its first weekend in theatres, I thought I’d take a look at the filmography of one its stars (and a Times Like Those favourite up-and-coming actor), Dominic Cooper.
While Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter may have only pulled in a disappointing $16.5 million in its first weekend, Cooper is showing no signs of faltering with his career. He seems to be taking a slow-building approach, appearing in supporting roles in a lot of big movies. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed you’ve seen this guy, even if you don’t know him by name. And while movies like Mamma Mia!, Captain America and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter may not be the best vehicles to show his acting skills, they’re getting his face out there. And that recognition seems to be paying off, since he’s got a whole slew of acting projects on the horizon.
Cooper has played a range of characters and proven to have charisma and acting talent. But I don’t think we’ve seen the best he has to offer, yet. He’s worked with some skilled filmmakers, certainly, but not any huge names, and I’d love to see someone like Scorsese or Tarantino snap him up and make something great.Here’s a look at my five performances by the young Brit.
5. The Duchess (2008)
The Duchess came at the peak of the costume drama portion of Keira Knightley’s career (Miss it? Don’t worry – Anna Karenina‘s coming this fall!) In the film, Cooper plays Charles Grey, a politically active young man who comes between The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire (played by Ralph Fiennes and Keira Knightley). This isn’t the meatiest of roles (considering what an important character he is, Grey comes off more like a Jane Austen love interest here), but Cooper makes the best of it. He and Knightley have good chemistry, and you really want their characters to make it work.
4. An Education (2009)
Dominic Cooper and Rosamund Pike could have easily been throwaway players in An Education. They both had small roles, playing the high-flying friends of Peter Sarsgaard’s David. Yet both actors made big impressions here. Cooper, especially, brings world-weariness, and a sense that his character is a guy with nothing to lose, even at such a young age. Initially just seeming shallow and gluttonous, his character becomes more morally questionable as the film goes on, and Cooper deftly explores those complexities.
3. Starter for 10 (2007)
This underrated charmer of a film gave us a few good before-they-were-famous performances: James McAvoy, Rebecca Hall, Alice Eve, Benedict Cumberbatch, and, of course, Cooper. I think Cooper’s at his best while playing a roguish charmer, and that’s exactly what he does here. He plays Spencer, McAvoy’s ruffian best friend from back home. Cooper once again makes a small role memorable, bringing charisma and genuine heart to his wily character. Great little film, all around.
2. The History Boys (2006)
Mamma Mia! may have been the first introduction most film audiences had to Cooper, but he actually had a successful theatre and British television career for years before that. He was involved with the theatrical production of The History Boys from its beginnings in 2004, and he reprised his role as Dakin for the 2006 film adaptation. (Did you know The History Boys play hit Broadway and won the 2006 Tony for Best Play? I certainly did not.) Cooper once again plays a rabble-rouser, but there’s also an emotional complexity to Dakin that is compelling to watch unfold. The generally light story takes some unexpected turns in the second half, and Cooper handles all of them brilliantly. It’s obviously a character he knows very well, and after seeing his performance, I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing it quite so well.
1. The Devil’s Double (2011)
Easily the high-water mark for Cooper’s career thus far. In the eyes of many critics, we went from charming supporting player to legitimate leading man. And not only did he finally get a leading role in the The Devil’s Double – he got two. He plays Uday Hussein (son of Sadam), and also Latif, the man who is forced into being Uday’s “double” (meaning he poses as him in dangerous situations). Cooper is terrifying as the demented Uday, and also relatable and vulnerable as Latif. He turns in two fantastic performances in this intense but ultimately undercooked thriller. More of this, please.
Yet to See: Tamara Drewe, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Sense and Sensibility, Freefall
Oh, SNL. Sometimes I wonder why I watch it every week. But then a character like Stefon comes along and makes me fall in love with the show all over again.
I thought this past season was actually a very strong one for the show. It seemed like the writing was a bit tighter, and with standout performers like Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, and relative newbie Taran Killam stepping up to the plate, it gave us plenty of memorable moments. Here’s a look at some of the best.
Honorable Mention: “She’s a Rainbow” (Mick Jagger)
I didn’t feel right including it on my list, since this wasn’t a proper sketch and wasn’t supposed to be humorous. However, it was such a lovely send-off for Kristen Wiig that I would be remised not to mention it. Love Mick Jagger and Arcade Fire, love the rest of the cast members’ reaction. Wiig is awesome, and I’m sad to see her go.
Honorable Mention: “The Real Housewives of Disney” (Lindsay Lohan)
Definitely had some great moments (Taran Killam’s snooty Prince Charming laugh, Wiig’s drunken Cinderella), but didn’t quite live up to its potential as an entire comedy bit for me.
Honorable Mention: “J Pop America Funtime Now!” (Anna Faris)
Killam and Vanessa Bayer play two white kids obsessed with Japanese culture who are gleeful in their unintentional racism. At least they have Sudeikis’ exasperated teacher to try and set them straight. Killam’s moony grin kills me.
10. Bein’ Quirky With Zooey Deschanel (Zooey Deschanel)
Sketches that allow the cast to roll out their celebrity impressions are often enjoyable, but rarely noteworthy. But something about this sketch just worked. We may have seen Killam’s pitiable Michael Cera, Wiig’s giggling Bjork (who knits a sweater for an octopus and leaves “one extra hole for its dreams and ideas”), but they’re perfect in this setting. Abby Elliot’s adorkable Zooey Deschanel and Zooey Deschanel’s Mary-Kate Olsen were also nice.
9. Columbus Day Assblast (Ben Stiller)
Ass Dan will never not be funny to me.
8. You Can Do Anything! (Daniel Radcliffe)
Radcliffe was an eager host, so it made sense to give him such a high-energy sketch to work with. It cleverly commented on the obliviousness and delusions of young people today, and Radcliffe’s little jig was just wonderful. It also gave me a phrase to work into conversation: “I tried, and therefore no one should criticize me.” Radcliffe was actually a great host.
7. Someone Like You (Emma Stone)
It’s a simple premise: everyone listens to Adele’s “Someone Like You” and cries uncontrollably. But it’s really funny. Nasim Pedrad gets the Best Crier in Show award from me.
6. B108FM (Lindsay Lohan)
There wasn’t a lot to this sketch, but I just really, really enjoyed it. It was nice to see Killam and Bobby Moynihan get their own sketch. Playing two morning radio DJ’s in the middle of nowhere, Killam and Moynihan’s enthusiasm was infectious. Lohan’s contribution was less than stellar, but even she couldn’t bring down the gleeful mood of this one.
5. Retirement Party (Jason Segel)
This is a bit of a bizarre one, and some would say that it doesn’t go anywhere. I, however, found it increasingly hilarious to watch Wiig exclaim, “I don’t have anything to say!” repeatedly. “I’m not quick on my feet. I’m not Robin William.”
4.Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (Melissa McCarthy)
McCarthy proved countless times that she was a host up for anything. Perhaps this was never more apparent than in this sketch, which revolved around a focus group sampling ranch dressing. McCarthy’s comedic timing and ability to go with the flow are just two reasons why she was one of the best hosts of the season.
3. Coach Bert (Steve Buscemi)
Definitely an edgy one, considering it came right on the heels of the Penn State scandal. Very funny, though, and Buscemi was the perfect host to pull it off. I love when SNL goes dark (see also: Jason Sudeikis as the Devil).
2. Lord Wyndemere (Anna Faris)
Paul Brittain, you shall be missed. His delightful little sweets-loving lord was an inspired character. Jason Sudeikis as the enraptured father and Bill Hader as the footman, Turlington, were almost just as good.
1. Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen (Sofia Vergara)
I had never heard of Andy Cohen when I watched this sketch, and I’ve actually still never seen him live in action. But something about Killam’s gleeful self-delusions as Cohen won me over. I laughed. A lot. This was one of Killam’s standout moments of the season, and I still can’t get that image of his face on a dog’s body out of my head.
Other Notable Bits (AKA things that weren’t their own sketch, but still were funny):
- Bobby Moynihan as Drunk Uncle on Weekend Update (“Netflix me! Netflix me!”)
- Justin Timberlake as Bon Iver
- Nicholas Cage appearing in Get in the Cage
- Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Seth Myers sharing the Weekend Update desk. That whole Jimmy Fallon episode was just lovely.
- Jason Sudeikis playing both the Devil and Jesus over the course of the season
- The entire Maya Rudolph episode. Seriously. There wasn’t one super standout sketch for me, but it was just an all-around fantastic episode.