Yours Are The Sweetest Eyes I’ve Ever Seen

People magazine recently named Channing Tatum as the Sexiest Man Alive and, while he obviously takes very good care of himself, I must admit he just doesn’t do anything for me.  Appearance matters, of course, but just as much (if not more), substance is what makes a man sexy (to women).  By which I mean, his sense of humor, his I.Q., his ability to listen and communicate, his wit and integrity of character – these are the things that draw a woman’s attention.

Charming Potato is by no means unattractive but he seems little more than your average jock.  A beefcake, if ever I saw one.  Here are 8 actors every bit as good-looking and infinitely more interesting than Channing Tatum:

Ewan McGregor

Idris Elba

Joseph Gordon Levitt

James McAvoy

Michael Fassbender

Jesse Williams

Tom Hardy

Chris Hemsworth

~Nikki

For You Are A Magnet, And I Am Steel

If all the big blockbuster/superhero films coming out over the next few months are half as good as X-men: First Class, then we’re in for a helluva summer.

This fantastic prequel, directed by Matthew Vaughan (Kick-Ass, Stardust), takes us back to the days when Magneto, here known by his real name, Erik Lehnsherr, and Professor X, or Charles Xavier, first met, became friends, and joined forces.  We get to see more of Erik during the Holocaust, and meet the sadistic villain Sebastian Shaw (played capably by Kevin Bacon), who helps Erik to discover his powers (albeit in the worst, most horrific way possible) and then experiments on and teaches him how to use them.  We see Charles and Raven, or Mystique as she’s later known, meet as children, as he adopts her into his family.  Once the boys are grown, we watch Erik as he attempts to hunt down Shaw (who’s trying to single-handedly start World War III), yearning to exact revenge for the horrors bestowed upon him by the Bacon-ater.  Xavier is at university, publishing a thesis on mutations, and through various plot devices, the men join forces to try to stop Shaw and prevent a war during the Cuban missile crisis.  Kind of a bizarre backdrop, but it works.

The standout of the film, who I don’t think enough good things can be said about, is Michael Fassbender, who plays Magneto/Erik.  He absolutely OWNS this film – he’s AMAZING.  He brought so much depth and complexity to the character as to make him the best kind of villain:  The multi-dimensional one who isn’t truly evil, he’s just been through the ringer, and the filmmakers have enough respect for us as an audience to show how the character has become what he is today.  This film illustrates Magneto’s journey perfectly, and Fassbender is up for the challenge.  I can’t even imagine anyone else playing this role, and I only saw the movie yesterday.  He’s truly some kind of genius – he carries around such unparalleled intensity, if he wore a paper bag over his head, his eyes would surely burn holes right through it.  Excellent in Inglorious Basterds, I can’t wait to see what he does next – there’s no way this guy won’t get an Oscar in the next five years.

James McAvoy likewise, did a fantastic job.  He brought the sense of fun and kindness to his role that Patrick Stewart so wonderfully has done in the past.  The two leads have superb chemistry, and it’s a complete blast to watch as their friendship blossoms and they’re united, fighting alongside one another, their powers playing off the other as easily as can be.  We want so badly for them to continue working together, but we all know they become enemies, and this film does a great job of helping you get why they need to go their separate ways.  Heartbreaking stuff, in all seriousness.  It makes me wonder how McKellan and Stewart feel to see their roles played again by younger men since there’s no doubt McAvoy and Fassbender have done each character his due justice.

There were a few things I wasn’t too crazy about, one of which was January Jones, who plays Shaw’s right-hand bee-yotch Emma Frost.  Truly, she has to be one of the worst actresses working today.  I know she looks like a living Barbie doll, but aren’t there other super-hot, LESS lifeless choices out there?  She brings new levels of stiffness to the term “wooden”.  I think she’s quite awesome on Mad Men as the crazy bitch that is Betty Draper, but then again, Betty is an insipid, shallow, shrew of a housewife, and I guess those terms probably describe Jones as well.  I don’t think playing Betty taxes her.

There’s a group of  young mutants who are rounded up by Xavier and Erik to help the cause and while they’re mildly amusing, they’re mostly embarrassing.  Mystique and Beast are the standouts, and much as I heart Nicholas Hoult from his childhood days when he was in About a Boy, once he turned into Beast, I could hardly stand to look at him. Why, when Kelsey Grammar played this role in the last film, was his face painted blue (which looked about as realistic as one could hope for a blue-headed monster) and then Hoult gets his turned into a cross-eyed CGI blue furry monkey?  This was distracting, and probably the only place I thought the look of the film was poor.

In general though, the CGI for once wasn’t overblown or overdone, it seemed to serve the story, instead of the other way around, which is what I loved about the first X-Men.  That film blew me away with its focus more on the characters and their struggles, as opposed to effects and no plot, which is what I’m used to for blockbusters.  I remember just being plain fascinated with those characters, and eager to find out more about the world they inhabited.  This film created that magical sense of wonder for me again, and a desire to rewatch the first couple of films just to see the Magneto/Xavier chemistry again, knowing the things that I know now.

~Annie

All The Right Moves and All The Right Faces

Because Annie & I love to read and watch movies, we’ve decided to list a few of our favorite book-to-film adaptations.  (Okay, we also love to make lists.)  Honestly, I could have named a dozen awesome flicks, easily.  But I don’t want to bore you, so here are the first five that came to mind:

Mystic River: Dennis Lehane wrote some seriously dark, complex and very real characters when he wrote Mystic River, and Sean Penn and Tim Robbins gave 2 of those characters all the gravity and depth they deserved on film.  Even now, thinking of the pain and heartbreak on Sean Penn’s face when his character learned of his daughter’s murder sends a chill down my spine.  And the pure tragedy that was the life of Dave Boyle (aptly portrayed by Tim Robbins) makes my heart ache.  A sad, twisted tale beautifully told in book form and every bit as agonizing on screen.

To Kill a Mockingbird: I first read this book in high school English class and loved it.  I read it again as an adult and loved it more.  I thought no way could a movie capture the greatness of it, the sweet innocence of Scout, the heartbreaking trial of Tom Robinson, the genius and reverence of Atticus Finch.  The film made and released in 1962 proved me dead wrong.  And Gregory Peck blew me away.  It truly did this classic in American literature justice.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy: Forget for a moment that these films were shot in the breathtakingly gorgeous landscapes of New Zealand and that the cast – every fucking one of them – were perfect for their roles.  Even without the scenery and the oh-so-talented actors, Peter Jackson took on these films like a kid with Asperger’s; he got every little detail, from the dialogue down to the beading on the elves’ gowns, exactly right.  And Gollum – oh, sweet Jesus, Gollum could not have been better.  He’s the kind of character that makes literature worth the writer’s sweat and tears, the publisher’s money, and the reader’s time.  I first fell in love with him in The Hobbit and I almost dreaded seeing the Lord of the Rings movies for fear they wouldn’t give him the weight and the intensity that Tolkien intended.  Needless to say, Jackson, Andy Serkis and everyone else involved in the making of Gollum exceeded not only my expectations, buy my every hope as well.  I loved all of the 557 minutes of this epic tale and I think even Tolkien himself would say the same.

Pride & Prejudice: I own a paperback copy of this Jane Austen classic that I’ve read so many times, the spine is broken and some of the pages are loose.  When I first saw previews for the 2005 film adaptation, I wondered if Keira Knightly had what it takes to bring the lovely, vibrant Elizabeth Bennett to life.  The answer: absolutely.  She and Matthew Macfadyen had fantastic chemistry and all of the surrounding actors (shout out to Brenda Blethyn and Tom Hollander!) were superb.  The scenery of the English countryside, the wonderful score and the sharp dialogue made this flick every bit as charming as the novel on which it was based.

Atonement: I actually saw this movie a year or so before I read the book.  I usually do this the other way around and expected not to become too invested in the novel since I already knew the plot and outcome.  Man, was I wrong.  Ian McEwan’s prose felt hypnotic; his vivid imagery and enchanting characters drew me deep into the story before I’d reached the end of the first chapter.  Keira Knightly and James McAvoy made my heart swell and brought me to tears more than once in the 2 hour adaptation.  The film captured all of the heartache and loss, the confusion and anger, the love and the beauty that McEwan put on the page.

What are your favorites?

-N.