Thursday, 29 December 2011

New Faces & Ones to Watch From 2011

After watching 283 films in 2011, I've heard thousands of lines delivered, seen hundreds of performances and many of them were memorable from not only new faces but also familiar ones as well. But then there were actors that were more than memorable. Actors who not only lit up the screen but whose performances made me literally sit up a bit straighter and take notice. Who made my eyes widen and heart pound; who made me laugh and made me cry. People who made me search the credit list at the end of the film (yes, I always stay and read them!) to see who they were, so I could tell people to watch for them. They are they are!

The 2011 Movie Moxie's New Faces & Ones to Watch From 2011

Order is chronological according to when I saw them in film during 2011

New Faces

Elle Fanning stars in Sofia Coppola’s SOMEWHERE, an Alliance Films' release. Photo Credit Merrick Morton

Elle Fanning
Although the first film I saw here in was Somewhere, a beautifully naturalistic film where she plays the daughter of a movie star (played by Stephen Dorff) and she does a great job. But what really blew me away was her performance in Super 8, as ‘the girl’ among a gaggle of guys who recruit her into being in their film. Her performance in Super 8 transforms the pitch of the entire film, escalating it to from a nostalgic-set high-entertainment movie to an actually accessible-feeling reality. And it’s science fiction. It’s amazing.
Upcoming: Vivaldi, Bomb


Lucas Till
I won’t hide that X-Men: First Class did not go over well with me, but if nothing else it brought us a formidable performance from Lucas Till as Havoc, and wow, the combination of emotional rawness and contained weight of energy displayed was amazing, especially for such a young actor. After seeing him also in VS (2011) which has its World Premiere at Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2011 I can say that he is most definitely one to watch.
See now: cover video of Someone Like You directed by VS’ director Jason Trost
Upcoming: Park Chan-wook’s Stoker


Rafe Spall
This is literally for his performance as Ian in One Day (2011), which honestly from reading the book I completely glazed over without a second though. He completely brought Ian to life and created the most funny not-funny character I’ve seen, with very little charm and too much wit and a great, big heart. I can’t wait to see more of his work. He also played William Shakespeare in Anonymous which I have yet to see! If his name looks familiar, you have a keen eye and likely are familiar with his father Timothy Spall of Wake Wood & The Harry Potter Series.
Upcoming: Prometheus (Alien prequel)

Juno Temple in KABOOM. Courtesy of eOne Films.

Juno Temple
A new to me actor, Juno Temple I first saw in Kaboom where she plays London, the aggressive new friend to protagonist Smith (Thomas Dekker) in this bizarre, off-beat college comedy that’s not like any other college comedy you’ve ever seen. She also played the young Queen in The Three Musketeers, which was such a different and almost innocent role, and it was exciting to see a nice range from such a young actor. She was also the lead in Dirty Girl (which I haven't seen yet), so she had quite the year!
Upcoming: The Dark Knight Rises

Dustin Ingram in Meet Monica Velour

Dustin Ingram
Another new-to-me person is Dustin Ingram, who plays the porn-star obsessed Tobe from Meet Monica Velour and manages to do so with a beautiful innocence in a very not innocent setting. Although the film title feels otherwise, he’s the protagonist and we watch his coming of age story unfold as he attempts to meet the woman who encompasses his fandom world. He was also in Paranormal Activity 3 as a friend of the family – I had to look it up, even though his tall stature should have given him away!
Upcoming: The Prop Is the Girl

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Jesse Moss
I saw Jesse Moss is two completely different roles this year, tonally and contextually although technically both times as a student. The first was as Jason Moss in the very disturbing film Dear Mr. Gacy, where he plays a student who tries to seduce a serial killer and honestly the film was so disturbing I didn’t end up reviewing it. But then when I saw him as the ‘dumb college student’ Chad in Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, I knew that this was it, that he’s really got it as he stole the every scene he was in. Which is a feat, as that film is hilarious.
Upcoming: Vikingdom, 13 Eerie

Ones to Keep Watching


Garrett Hedlund
Where you’ve seen him before: TRON: Legacy & Friday Night Lights
In 2011: Country Strong. In my notes on Country Strong I wrote he will ‘melt the hearts of millions’. And I really think he will. He's got it. A great actor.
Upcoming: live action version of Akira

Aaron Poole (left) with Peter Stormare in Small Town Murder Songs

Aaron Poole
Where you’ve seen him before: This Beautiful City
In 2011: Small Town Murder Songs and wow, I had to triple check that he was the same person in the two films because the performances were both so transformative. He’s a truly great actor. I quite loved his understated performance as a small town cop in Small Town Murder Songs alongside Peter Stormare. I had a chance to talk to him about the film, you can see my interview with Aaron Poole here.
Currently on the TV series 'King'

Kat Dennings in DAYDREAM NATION. Courtesy of eOne Films

Kat Dennings
Where you’ve seen her before: Defendor
In 2011: Daydream Nation and Thor. This actually was a bit of a retrospective notation as she’s the protagonist in Daydream Nation and easily carries the film, an amazing feat from a young actor especially alongside the company of Josh Lucas and Andie MacDowell.
Upcoming: Renee (2012), Lives of the Saints


Chris Hemsworth
Where you’ve seen him before: as Kirk’s Dad in the 2009 Star Trek
In 2011: Thor. I don’t really know much more to say about him, he’s fantastic. Won me over in about 5 seconds in Star Trek and continues to impress in the title role of Thor showcasing a character that has a much greater range and arch than I anticipated, and does so believably at every turn from humorous to oh so very human.
Upcoming: Snow White and the Huntsman and The Avengers

Olivia Colman (right) with Tryannosaur director Paddy Considine

Olivia Colman
Where you’ve seen her before: Hot Fuzz (female police office)
In 2011 (Festival Screening): Tyrannosaur. Powerful and challenging film that’s a directorial debut from Paddy Considine and she stars alongside 2 of my always must-see actors: Peter Mullan and Eddie Marsan, and after seeing this she easily is added to my must-see actor lists. A challenging, emotional film full of human drama and she’s fascinating in it.
Upcoming: The Iron Lady

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Left: ANTON YELCHIN stars in THE BEAVER. Photo Ken Regan Courtesy of eOne Films / Right: Anton Yelchin in Fright Night

Anton Yelchin
Where you’ve seen him before: Star Trek, Terminator Salvation
In 2011: Fright Night & The Beaver; and he’s getting this for The Beaver which was one of the harder films to watch this year as it focuses on mental illness / stability but getting through it did mean I finally got to see Anton Yelchin in a non-reprisal role. I’ve had my eye on his work for a while and although I was impressed before, the characters in Star Trek, Terminator: Salvation & Fright Night were all established characters and/or remakes so I didn’t feel like it was enough to say YES, he can do it. Now I feel confident in saying YES, he can do it. Great actor.
Upcoming: The Winter Queen, Star Trek Sequel


Michael Eklund
Where you’ve seen him before: ‘Intelligence’, Walk All Over Me, Hunt to Kill
In 2011 (Festival Screening): The Divide, which technically is a 2012 film but I'm sneaking him in here because he is absolutely formidable in the film. I've been impressed with him since catching up with the show 'Intelligence' on DVD last summer, and he's also in Hunt to Kill and guest stars on many shows. Every time I watch him in something I want to watch it again, because you can feel the layers to the characters are deep and rich and I always want to see more. He is a truly great actor and this feels like a great launching point, I’ve already heard tons of well-deserved acclaim for his performance in The Divide and anticipate hearing more, and seeing much more in the future.
Upcoming: Errors of the Human Body; plus The Divide hits Toronto theatres January 2012.

And the Awesome & Ubiquitous Award for being EVERYWHERE Goes To


Ryan Gosling
As if people didn’t love him enough from The Notebook or were floored by his performance in Half Nelson, but in 2011 we saw more and more sides of Ryan Gosling. An amazing performance in one half of the trying relationship in the relationship drama Blue Valentine (and yes, I count that as 2011) to the formidable performance in Drive, we also got to see him ‘like he’s photoshopped’, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Upcoming: Gangster Squad, Lawless

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Mrs. O'Brien (Jessica Chastain) and her boys, in THE TREE OF LIFE Courtesy of eOne Films / Jessica Chastain stars in THE DEBT, an Alliance Films release. Photo credit Laurie Sparham

Jessica Chastian
With prominent roles in 4 films from 2011 (The Tree of Life, The Debt, The Help and Take Shelter), she takes the cake this year for being everywhere. Plus with the diversity of the films themselves means she was seen by different people from different taste groups whether it be art house lovers watching her as the 50’s mother in The Tree of Life to the book to film adaptation of The Help to the post apocalyptic drama of Take Shelter, she literally was every-when-where.
Upcoming: Coriolanus

That's who impressed me. Who did you have your eye on in 2011?

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