The James McAvoy Escapade Part 2

Part two of the Mr. McAvoy escapade! After the jump, I will be talking about Starter of Ten, Inside I’m Dancing, The Last King of Scotland, Atonement, Penelope, Shakespeare Retold: Macbeth, and X-men: First Class.

Starter for Ten
A nerdy college student with an enthusiasm for quizzes with a massive crush on the blonde bombshell.
James Mode: Dorky everyman.

This movie is a fun harmless ride of the rise of the everyman, and the coming of age story of a nerdy college boy. Will he choose the beautiful blonde, or the smart brunette? As predictable a story as it is, I dig James here… playing probably his most ‘ordinary’ character. He’s so unassuming but earnest and at his adorkable best. Squee!

Inside I’m Dancing / Rory O’Shea Was Here
Michael, a sheltered cerebral palsy sufferer, met crippled but rebellious and larger than life Rory, who taught him to live life like he’s never been.
James Mode: Cocky Sexy Bastard.

If you are a James fan, then you cannot, absolutely CANNOT miss this movie. James’ Rory was plagued by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and could only move his head plus two finger. He’s also a loudmouthed troublemaker, an obnoxious bastard, and exasperatingly charming. Always rebellious and dynamic, sometimes angry and frustrated, sometimes so childlike and full of zest for life. He’s the guy you want to both slap and snog silly. But he surprised me with such genuine warmth and gentleness in his eyes when he looks at Michael. Not only at his cocky bastard best, it’s also such a treat to see James working bleach blonde hair and delish Irish accent.

The Last King of Scotland
Freshly graduated from medical school, Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan crossed path with the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.
James Mode: Pompous Arse

Dynamic movie. One can’t talk about this movie without mentioning Forest Whitaker, who won Oscar, and deservedly so. All attention was on him and how people can forget about the other lead character, the Scottish doctor, is beyond me.

James has his share of playing pompous characters, but each time with nuanced differences. His Nicholas Garrigan was ignorant, naive and young. He used his natural Scottish accent (always a plus!), was kinda horny, exposed a lot of skin, and the lighting made his eyes look so exceedingly green and gorgeous. For once, though, I didn’t find him sexy. I just want to wring his neck.

Blooming writer and precocious teenager Briony wrongly accused her older sister’s lover of rape, to grave and dire repercussions.
James Mode: All-round awesome guy.

This was obviously an Oscar bait and. Intense and heartbreaking, sweeping cinematography and soundtrack, superb acting by a scary good Saoirse Ronan. Keira Knightley (who usually annoys me) did a great job too. Robbie actually was not a very well-fleshed character and was just there as the good guy. But both character and movie is elevated by James’ intense performance and magnetic charm; he gave Robbie passion, earnestness, repressed desire, which all brought realism so that Robbie, who could easily be one-dimensional and boring, is ultimately winning and admirable. He had crackling chemistry with Keira Knightley, and hot damn how did the good guy typing away on his typewriter be so sexy?

A girl was born cursed with a pig snout and ears. The only way to break the curse was to have someone love her as she was.
James Mode: Sexy scruffy boy.

The movie’s sweet, charming, good-natured and has some funny moments, but it’s honestly a very ordinary affair, not as whimsical and quirky as it tries to be. Still, it’s so easily likable and elevated by the charming performance of Christina Ricci and himself, so ultimately it’s a win for me. I can imagine girls renting this out for a relaxing chick-flick night, not expecting to be caught off guard by those wicked loads of charm (or for all I know they’re already McAvoy fans). This guy decidedly looked a little shabby and needed a haircut, and that’s exactly why he’s oh so delightful and sexy. And his attempts on various music instruments and singing / shouting were unabashedly cute!

Shakespeare Retold: Macbeth
Sous-chef Joe Macbeth
James Mode: Neurotically awesome.

Wow. As a TV featurette this is bordering on brilliant. It’s got great ambiance and tone: confident, dark, swanky, with sure and confident choices such as the use of dark colours, the blood, the hand washing. And of course the highlight is the superb acting. I’ve never heard of Keeley Hawes before, but she was amazing. Her morally rotten Lady Macbeth, the force behind the spiraling madness, was layered, affecting, and superb. Now, on to James. Macbeth is the darkest and most complex character I’ve seen him, and he’s fabulous. From the start, it’s impossible to take my eyes off him. We started with a bang; he’s got this electrifying liveliness; he’s commanding, cocky but immensely likable. It’s really fascinating to watch his transformation: first goaded by his manipulative wife, then as he dwindled more and more into a guilt-wrecked paranoid, and finally to a neurotic mess.

However, as for the movie itself, for me the neurotic pace is too quick. I’m mostly Shakespeare illiterate, so it’s hard to understand what’s going on (I had to Wiki).

X-men: First Class
Young, confident, telepathic Charles Xavier
James Mode: HOT!

The first time I saw James in a blockbuster superhero fare was in Wanted, and the movie didn’t impress me that much. But X-men was actually good. James is so good at being the pompous, arrogant guy, and him being cast as young Charles Xavier was spot on. He and Michael Fassbender are capable, confident actors. It helps that they have awesome bromance, bring great energy, and offer two different brands of sexy and charisma to the franchise. Therefore, this movie works.

OK, my mouth has been foaming for some time from heaping too many praise words, and I’m not even finished yet. Love his attitude, self awareness and winning personality in interviews. Love his quote: “I’m 5 foot 7, and I’ve got pasty white skin. I don’t think I’m ugly, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not your classic lead man, Brad Pitt guy”. Love his tactful career and project choice – when he’s on a roll from Atonement and Wanted, he chose to slow down and made a baby instead. I could never be happier to watch him rise from one of Britain’s best kept secret to the golden boy who caught Hollywood’s attention. I’d like him to do more things like Rory, but he more than deserves the success and this means more McAvoy goodness abounds for all of us.


About toopai
part time couch potato, full time movie and drama enthusiast.

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