|Yes, I'm 'feeling' the beard|
So, with the birthday top tens for Fassbender and Caine I totally forgot about my cinematic crush Russell Crowe (a.k.a. God), who turned 49 yesterday. Even pushing 50, this man is ridiculously handsome. Ever since seeing him command an army in 2000, I’ve been hooked and he hasn’t yet been unseated from his place at the top of my cinematic heart. Sure, he’s had his rough patches over the years, as has almost every other talented thespian, but his range and undeniable dedication to his craft continue to make him a relevant face in the world of movies. Back in June of last year, on a high from the prospect of him taking the movie world by storm with ‘Les Miserables’, I posted a top ten (much like Ruth has done yesterday) and some notes on his career so far. I wanted to take a quick minute (been meaning to do this anyways) and note on his performances in his two films from 2012.
A lot of balking has been done over his lack of singing voice in last year’s Oscar winning musical, many critics siting him the ‘worst in show’ and stating that he was sorely miscast. I don’t get this, or share this point of view to be honest. Was he the best? No. I wouldn’t personally nominate him, and an even bigger shock to myself was the fact that I actually preferred Eddie Redmayne (an actor I had yet to enjoy) of the supporting cast. Still, the knocking of Crowe’s singing voice was preposterous. Sure, he couldn’t hit the big notes, but he didn’t need to. The tone of his natural singing voice was soothing and had this beautiful baritone that encapsulated the character of Javert. He was piercing with his eyes, finding the depth of Javert’s rage and passionate exploitation of Valjean and he played with Javert’s emotional and moral compass really well. The scene with the medal was especially heartbreaking, and his final confrontation with Valjean was brilliantly played (those eyes say so much). I may even shake up my personal ‘Crowe Top Ten’ to include his performance here.
The Man with the Iron Fists:
I was anticipating this movie with this odd sense of joviality. I kind of knew it was going to be a hot mess and yet I couldn’t NOT want to see this. It’s Russell Crowe! I have this to say; he is the best thing about the film by a VERY large margin, and despite the fun he has with the character (an overweight, Jules Verne looking set pot) I can’t recommend the film because it really is that bad. RZA has no idea what he’s doing as a director or an actor. Still, watching Crowe go down on some chick in a bathtub and then finger another on his way to having Lucy Liu grope his balls (all in the same scene) was enough to validate watching this drek for me. His performance is light, without much meat to it (his character is awfully underwritten, but then again so is the entire film) but he has a lot of cheeky fun with it. He’s naturally charismatic (something many may not know because of his oft brooding character roles) and he plays up the camp and comic relief aspect of his role rather well. It’s a great counterbalance to his more serious and commanding role as Javert.
This year he already had ‘Broken City’ (which I haven’t seen yet) and ‘Winter’s Tale’ coming out later this year. I’m intrigued by ‘Winter’s Tale’ (possibly my most anticipated of the year) and so I can’t wait to see what else he has in store for us. Noah is still my most anticipated Crowe offering, but I’ll most likely have to wait until next year for that. I’m happy with what he’s given us so far though. He may not have racked up the awards nominations like I predicted he would with ‘Les Miserables’, but I was very pleased with the performance.