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We spout opinion, comment on the current zeitgeist and overanalyze pop culture and mainstream movies. Whether in the form of lists, survey questions or straight editorials, we hope to make thinking deeply about film a fun and stimulating activity for all.

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"Bridesmaids" and "Submarine" Herald Great Things for Stars and Fans of UK's "The IT Crowd"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • June 1, 2011 5:20 AM
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  • 2 Comments
It may not be the monster hit that its male-counterpart cousin, "The Hangover Part II," is so far, but "Bridesmaids" has been a pretty steady success (its weekly box office declines are better/lower than most films') and at the end of the day/year it will be remembered as one of the best comedies of 2011. While many will continue thinking of how great "Bridesmaids" is for female roles, though, one gentleman in the movie also stands out: Chris O'Dowd. The Irish actor could possibly be recognized by those moviegoers who saw him in small parts in "Dinner for Schmucks" or "Gulliver's Travels," but to most people, playing Kristen Wiig's adorable, law-enforcing love interest was a breakthrough.

Who Were Your Favorite Breakthroughs and Scene-Stealers of 2010?

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • December 28, 2010 11:07 AM
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  • 3 Comments
If you haven't checked out The Playlist's annual celebration of the year's breakthrough performances, do so as soon as possible. They've noted that it was a good year for the female newcomer/standout, logical since it was a great year for actresses in general. The blog's writers have selected a few obvious choices (Jennifer Lawrence; Hailee Steinfeld; Armie Hammer) and a good number of surprises (Sarah Steele; Whitney Able; Dieter Laser). My favorite breakthrough of the year, listed alongside his "Animal Kingdom" costar Jackie Weaver, is Ben Mendelsohn. He actually may have given my favorite performance of the year, period. I saw the movie a second time specifically to watch him again, much more than for Weaver. The funny thing is, he seemed to come out of nowhere for this movie. But I've apparently seen him in at least a handful of movies over the last 20 years.

On the Move: Jessica Paré Finally Hitting "Stardom"?

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • October 18, 2010 4:04 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Now that actress Jessica Paré is moving up in the world of TV's "Mad Men," perhaps she'll also be able to get better film roles than her recent stint as a random topless blond in a hot tub in "Hot Tub Time Machine." She's had a few decent indie gigs in the past decade -- in spite of her big teeth, which were mentioned as being non-Hollywood-friendly in last night's "Mad Men" season finale -- including parts in Deepa Mehta's "Bollywood/Hollywood" and the 2001 boarding school drama "Lost and Delirious." But I continue to think of her mostly from her lead role in Denys Arcand's "Stardom," which should have been her true breakthrough back in 2000. Unfortunately, it was probably too Canadian and even then it was also probably Arcand's worst-reviewed film ever. Plus, who wants to see a hot 17-year-old in bed with Dan Aykroyd?

On the Rise: Rooney Mara of "The Social Network"

  • By Nigel M Smith
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  • October 8, 2010 9:26 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Not only is David Fincher's "The Social Network" reaping critical accolades left, right and center, with lofty comparisons being made to everything from "The Godfather" (!) to "Citizen Kane" (!!), but the film is also proving itself to be a breeding ground for Hollywood's brightest stars of the future, with star-making turns from Jesse Eisenberg, a surprisingly credible Justin Timberlake, and future Spidey himself Andrew Garfield. Arguably the biggest talent to emerge from Fincher's Facebook drama is Rooney Mara, who reportedly beat out the likes of Ellen Page and Carey Mulligan, to re-team with Fincher for the role of a lifetime as Lisbeth Salander in the English-language film adaptation of Stieg Larsson's first entry of the "Millennium Trilogy" book series, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."

On the Rise: Andrew Garfield of "The Social Network"

  • By Nigel M Smith
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  • September 29, 2010 11:04 AM
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  • 0 Comments
An actor lined up to take on one of the biggest comic book franchises in the world wouldn't normally make the cut for our On the Rise column. But when that young thespian, in this case 27 year-old shaggy haired Andrew Garfield, lands on the Hollywood tent pole ladder three years into his career, kudos deserve to be dolled out accordingly.

On the Rise: Olga Kurylenko of "Centurion"

  • By Nigel M Smith
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  • August 25, 2010 8:41 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The vast majority of Bond girls predating the Daniel Craig era have a bad rep. Sure a crop of 007 flicks have had marquee names fill the hot pants or tight dresses of Bond's dames, but barely any have actually gone on to much following their 007 outing. Denise Richards was on the radar back the late 90's with memorable turns in "Starship Troopers" and "Drop Dead Gorgeous" before landing the role of Dr. Christmas Jones in "The World is Not Enough." Since then, she's become more known as a reality TV star with a beef against ex-husband Charlie Sheen. Many balked when Halle Berry followed up her Oscar-winning performance in "Monster's Ball," with "Die Another Day" - and with good reason. The Bond outing was widely panned but received a gentle lashing compared to Berry's projects that followed ("Catwoman," "Perfect Stranger," "Gothika").

On the Rise: Adam Scott of "Piranha 3D"

  • By Nigel M Smith
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  • August 19, 2010 7:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Considering his first film credit dates back to 1994 (long ago, I know), you'd be forgiven for thinking that Adam Scott, 37, is no up and comer. But ask the Average Joe on the street and you'd likely be hard pressed to find someone who knows the actor by name - not by face. He's the type of thespian that pops up in seemingly everything to reassure the audience that they're in good hands, without drawing focus away from the principals on hand. Scott's not a scene stealer, just a darn fine actor.

On the Rise: Alison Pill of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"

  • By Nigel M Smith
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  • August 11, 2010 8:07 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Up and coming actress Alison Pill shares two things in common with Lindsay Lohan. Both starred alongside one another in the teen dud "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen," and both ladies sport fiery red locks. But fortunately for Pill, that's where the similarities end. For starters Pill loathes Los Angeles, where Lohan resides. "I get honked at when I try to walk down the street!” Pill told the New York Observer. And unlike Lohan, Pill's career is on the rise, as evidenced by her hilarious supporting turn in Edgar Wright's hyped "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World."

On the Rise: Aubrey Plaza of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"

  • By Nigel M Smith
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  • August 4, 2010 9:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Sardonic should be up-and-comer Aubrey Plaza's middle name. The comedic actress, best known for her role as Seth Rogen's hipster love interest in Judd Apatow's "Funny People," knows her way around a good sarcastic jab. Her voice, mannerisms and bookish look are all enthused with a playful detachedness, like she's not in on her own funny girl shtick (think Sarah Silverman's less chipper twin sister). Judging by the rise she's on - as evidenced by her supporting role in Edgar Wright's massively hyped "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" - Plaza's well aware.

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