The Flix List: Five noteworthy young actors (under 30)

Talk about perfect timing. I had been jotting down this list when I saw yesterday’s assignment from Castor’s 31DBBB event is to make a list post! It’s day 2 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project a bunch of movie bloggers are doing together in an attempt to improve our blogs and help each other become better bloggers.

Inspired by my recent ‘discovery‘ of Robert Pattinson’s talent, it got me thinking what other actors under 30 who’ve caught my attention. So inevitably he made the list, along with four other young male actors who’ve made an impression on me in the past decade:

  1. Robert Pattinson (24)
    I never thought of including this London-born actor on this list until I saw Remember Me. Sure, Twilight made him astar and gained him a bazillion fans, but acting-wise the franchise doesn’t do him any favors. Thankfully he seeks out understated rolesin smaller movies to showcase his acting chops. Let’s hope he continues to mix things up and learn from people like Leo DiCaprio who successfully shed his matinee idol image and become a formidable actor.
  2. Jamie Bell (24)
    The English actor first won me over in the acclaimed dancing drama Billy Elliot, he even beat Tom Hanks (Cast Away) and Russell Crowe (Gladiator) at 2001’s BAFTA! Since then been playing mostly under-the-radar roles: King Kong, Jumper, Defiance. Yet, even in supporting roles, it’s clear Bell is one talented young man. I haven’t seen Jumper but my husband who saw it kept saying how he stole every scene from Hayden Christensen, who got the movie’s top billing. He also won raves in the little-seen Hallam Foe, but hopefully his next movie, Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson’s The Adventures of Tintin will rightfully put him on the Hollywood map.
  3. Daniel Radcliffe (21)
    I had just recently discovered Harry Potter, which was an entertaining franchise to catch up on (all six movies in 2 weeks!). The movies are well-written and well-acted, mixing complete unknowns with award-winning thespians. Radcliffe obviously had the formidable job of portraying such a beloved literary character, and I think he pulls it off quite well, growing more comfortable as an actor as the franchise went on. He’s been known to take some risks in his roles as well, probably hoping to shed his innocent-boy image so he can have a fruitful career post HP. He took on the bizarre role in the play Equus, playing a boy with a pathological fascination with horses, even willing to strip nude on stage! He’s set to star in a Hammer horror flick Woman in Black. After that, he reportedly plans on going back to theater in a Broadway play How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Pretty versatile guy I’d say.
  4. Shia LaBeouf (24)
    Probably known most as the Transformers boy who’s the envy of every adolescent boy for getting to snog Megan Fox, I actually think this guy can act. He was rather good in Disturbia, which was a decent thriller, though its similarities to Hitchcock’s Rear Window got the studios in some legal troubles. Spielberg reportedly was quite taken with him, hence casting him in the sequel that should not have been made. Obviously the inept script didn’t give him a chance to do much of anything in that movie. Hopefully his next movie, which happens to be another sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleep, will fare better.
  5. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (29)
    Gordon-Levitt is pretty much in a whole different league amongst his 20-something peers, having proven his craft in solid roles one after another: The Lookout, Stop-Loss, Brick, and the refreshingly-smart rom-com (500) Days of Summer. The phenomenal success of Inception will no doubt help his career even further. Though with talent like his, he hardly needs a blockbuster to get us to notice. The best thing about Gordon-Levitt is that he’s reliable, we can always expect an excellent performance out of him and not be disappointed.

Honorable Mentions (added 8/11):

  • Henry Cavill (I talked about this guy quite a lot, so it’s simply an oversight for not mentioning him. Thanks Dez!)
  • Freddie Highmore (He may only be 18, but this kid’s resume is impressive. He’s done some great work in Finding Neverland, A Good Year, and August Rush, among others)
  • Rupert Friend (Won me over in The Young Victoria)
  • Ben Wishaw (Bright Star didn’t blow me away, but can’t deny Wishaw’s acting chops)
  • Andrew Garfield (I confess I haven’t seen any movie of his, but I’m making an exception as he’s impressed me in three trailers: The Red Riding trilogy, The Social Network and Never Let Me Go. No doubt we’ll be hearing more about this kid in the future, especially now that he’s been cast as Spiderman).

Ok folks, your turn. Which young actor(s) have impressed you lately?

Random Thoughts: What popular movie franchise(s) did you just recently ‘discover?’

Film is such a vast art form that most people are likely only accustomed to a small fraction of all the genres out there. Even within the contemporary category, there are a bunch of movie franchises I either haven’t got around to seeing or simply have no interest in seeing. One of them was Harry Potter, well, until recently that is. I’ve never read the novels and I always thought these were geared for kids. Besides, even though I quite like the fantasy genre, I didn’t think HP would have the substance and depth like say, The Lord of the Rings. Well, be that as it may, now that I’ve seen three out of the seven movies that have been released so far, they’re actually quite good.

Not sure what started it exactly. I guess my hubby and I have been curious about it for a while, but perhaps my recent conversation with FC’s classic flix contributor Rockerdad might’ve triggered us to finally check it out. He’s a fan of the series and amongst the wonderful things he said about the franchise was that the movies got lots of great British thespians in it, always a very good thing in my book. It’s not the first time he got my husband and I hooked on a show, he also got us watching Battlestar Galactica just as the whole series was on its final season.

In any case, now that the trailer for the last installment of the series, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, has just been released, we’re playing catch-up to make sure we’re ready for it come November. Thanks to IMDb and Wikipedia, we’ve sort of ‘educated’ ourselves with the the wizardry world of Harry Potter and I think we can now properly converse with Potter fans. Speaking of which, what are they called exactly? If Twilight fans are Twi-hards, are HP fans called Pott-heads?? 🙂

Kidding aside, I must say I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen so far. Unlike Twilight, which I’ve seen only once (one time too many IMO), the Harry Potter franchise is in a whole different league. The then-unknown young actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were perfect in their roles and quite believable despite their lack of experience. But I think the best part of it is the script and the level of production that was nothing short of magical. Plus, the massively talented British supporting cast the likes of Richard Harris, Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman, Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes definitely add gravitas that elevates the quality of the movies even more.

Fairly recently, my good friend Prairiegirl also just recently ‘discovered’ The Lord of the Rings franchise:

I decided to see LOTR trilogy after seeing so many positive reviews about the Commentary portion of it on FC and since rtm owned the Special Extended Edition set, she made it easy so I told her to bring it in. Well, fantasy/action thrillers are not my genre, but after watching all (haven’t gotten to the Special Features or Commentaries yet, but will), I’m glad I did, even if just to not be clueless when discussions of Mithril or Gondor inevitably arise ;). I can’t say I loved it, but the New Zealand scenery was arresting, it was very creatively executed and Aragorn (Viggo Mortenson) did tickle my fancy all the way through. And lastly, I got a lot of chuckles out of the sneaky and bipolar Gollum/Smeagol.

Well, it got me curious now whether the same thing have happened to you. So what popular franchise(s) that you suddenly started watching long after seemingly everyone else have embraced them? It doesn’t even have to be a franchise, but perhaps a certain genre you don’t normally watch or a particular director’s body of work. Please do share in the comment section.