Thursday Movie Picks: Unrecognizable Actor Transformation

Thursday Movie Picks

It’s the first Thursday Movie Picks of the month, and it’s April already! Excuse me 2019 but where do you think you’re going? Can we slow down a little? I’m not ready to face my 30th Birthday yet…

This week in the series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves we’re talking about unrecognizable actor transformations. Sometimes it isn’t enough for actors to mentally transform themselves for a role, they have to change themselves physically too, and that’s really quite incredible to me. Trying to eat sensibly a couple of weeks before a wedding is daunting enough!

Anyway, without further ado, here are my picks this week…

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Christian Bale, The Machinist (2004)

Let’s be honest, we could all fill our lists simply with Christian Bale roles this week. The man is nothing but committed to his job. But none of his transformations shocked me more than his in The Machinist. It’s one thing to lose some weight for a role, but he looked like a corpse! He went down to 110 pounds for the role which is shocking enough, but the role he took on next? Batman Begins! Talk about yo-yo dieting! For what it’s worth, The Machinist is a fantastic, twisty movie. I’ve seen it twice now and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

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Tom Hanks, Cast Away (2000)

I spent a long time in the shower hiding from my toddler thinking of options for the theme this week when I suddenly remembered Cast Away. I haven’t seen it for years but it was possibly the first Tom Hanks movie I ever saw. During pre-production, Tom Hanks put on 50 pounds in order to appear middle-aged, and then he was given a year off to transform himself into a real cast away. He stopped shaving and cutting his hair, and shed 55 pounds with a tough diet and exercise regime. I’m feeling hungry just thinking about it.

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Matthew Lewis, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

I can’t talk about dieting anymore, so let’s turn to the biggest transformation shocker of the Harry Potter universe, the moment Matthew Lewis turned into bumbling fool to stunning heartthrob. Okay, his transformation may be something he didn’t really have any control over, but at the time he was living proof for all awkward teenagers that there was hope for us yet!

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Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018)

mowgli-legend-jungle-netflix-movie-review-2018Director: Andy Serkis

Genre: Drama, Adventure

Runtime: 105 Minutes

Main Cast: Rohan Chand, Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, Naomie Harris, Peter Mullan, Eddie Marsan

Plot: We all know this plot by now, right? Mowgli is a human child, raised by wolves, hunted down by the mean tiger Shere Khan, struggling with his own identity.

My Thoughts: It feels like years ago now that both Disney and Andy Serkis announced they were both doing a live-action Jungle Book movie…in the same year. What was up with that? At least as time went on they sorted the scheduling out a little better, although I’d completely forgotten about Serkis’ version until I got a notification on my Netflix account. Whoops!

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is much darker than both Disney versions, and that’s both its greatest strength and weakness. It stands out from the crowd, but I’m not sure who the target audience is here. It’s way too dark for the young ones, and do us grown-ups really need to watch another retelling of the same story?

I think the movie got better as it went on, the start was quite dull. Also, kudos goes to both Rohan Chand for playing an excellent Mowgli, and to Benedict Cumberbatch for being the perfect Shere Khan without really having to do anything. My bottom line here is if you never see Mowgli, you’re not missing out on anything, although there are much worse ways to spend your time, too.

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Best Bit: Baby Mowgli is just the cutest little thing in the entire movie. However, my Mum brain wouldn’t switch off and I started to think about how on Earth those wolves actually raised him. How do you warm up a bottle of formula in the jungle?!

Worst Bit: I haven’t looked this up but I’m guessing because this is Andy Serkis’ movie, motion capture was used for the animals. I’m not saying it was bad quality at all, but it just made the animals look a bit off, somehow. Shere Khan in particular…his face was all kinds of weird?

Fun Trivia: The original Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling is actually an anthology of separate tales, with Mowgli’s story being just one of them. This is one of the few adaptations that reflects this, being titled simply Mowgli instead of The Jungle Book.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 elephant tusks…and you better keep them hidden too because let me tell you right now – elephants hold a mean grudge!

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Review: American Psycho (2000)

american-psycho-movie-poster-2000Director: Mary Harron

Main Cast: Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas, Bill Sage, Chloe Sevigny, Reese Witherspoon, Samantha Mathis, Matt Ross, Jared Leto, Willem Dafoe, Cara Seymour & Guinevere Turner

Genre: Crime, Drama

Plot: Christian Bale plays a hot-shot investment banker working in New York called Patrick Bateman. He does his best to fit in with his work colleagues whilst hiding his violent fantasies. We follow Bateman as he indulges further and further into madness. It starts with rude remarks made out of earshot, and becomes much, much worse.

My Thoughts: It’s taken me a whole week to try and put my thoughts into words. American Psycho has been on my watch list for so long now I don’t remember what conversation with who made me put it there to begin with, but I know it’s a well-received movie by many. I’m just not sure I really loved it to be honest.

Bateman is a complete psycho, there is no doubt. To begin with, I actually found the movie quite funny, but I’m not sure I was meant to? Once the paced picked up and Bateman actually committed murder my attention picked up again, and of course, if you’ve seen the movie yourself you’ll know how confusing the ending is. It didn’t sit well with me at all to begin with, but the more I thought about it (and looked it up on the web – not gonna lie) the more it made sense and I appreciated it.

It’s a movie I’m really glad I watched but I know I don’t need to see it again. One thing for sure though is that Cristian Bale put on a fantastic performance!

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Best Bit: Hands down the rivalry Bateman had with his colleagues about the quality of their business cards. It was just so absurd, and as someone with a total obsession with all things stationery related, I can completely relate.

Worst Bit: There’s no particular moment but I didn’t enjoy the first half hour much at all, I nearly gave up. It just took too long to get me interested in the story.

Fun Trivia: Christian Bale was warned by many that it would be career suicide for him to play the lead in a film like this. This only made him more eager to take the part. Fortunately for him, the opposite turned out to be true: Bale’s role in the movie was considered a breakthrough performance, and enabled him to shift his career from supporting roles to leading man status is the decades to come.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 very high-quality business cards, which are far fancier than yours will ever be.

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