Aug 21, 2009

[Movies] Starter for 10 (2006)

Starter for 10I first got into James McAvoy when I first saw him in the SciFi Channel (SyFy) adaptation of Frank Herbert's Children of Dune. There he played Paul's son Leto II, who spent a more than essential amount of screen time running around shirtless. Sure, he was a fine enough actor in terms of skill, but the running around in the desert didn't hurt either.

His career has proven rather interesting since then given the diversity of roles he's taken on. He has a flair for dramas but has demonstrated he can work in action settings as well. Either way, he's a man worth following and I'm thankful I picked up that first VCD, hehe.

Like any other actor, he has his fair share of unusual roles of movies that didn't get a lot of promotion but were worth watching in their own right. This was yet another one, and it seems fitting it was brought to life by the folks at HBO Films. Let's face it - HBO tends to know movies!

Starer for 10 is an HBO production made in association with BBC films. This Toronto Film Festival piece follows the story of Brian Jackson (James McAvoy), a freshman at Bristol University who has been a trivia guy all his life. He had been an avid follower of the TV quiz show "University Challenge" and was quick to sign up for try-outs for the college's local quiz group. There he falls in love with his fellow teammate Alice (Alice Eve) while at the same time developing a friendship (or more) with local activist Rebecca (Rebecca Hall).

The movie was decent enough to follow, although there were certainly moments when it felt rather slow or dragging. I guess it's a consequence of these sorts of TV dramas at times, especially given the setting.

What made it a lot easier to survive was definitely the great music used to highlight the era. The soundtrack definitely sounds like the kind of gem any child of the 80's could relate with and totally get into, which is probably what they were aiming for. I'll not spoil this for you - it's something else to just go along with the movie and enjoy the wave of nostalgia you get when you hear each song.

Scottish Actor James McAvoy at Hollywood Life ...Image via Wikipedia

James was his usual quirky, geeky self and was fairly believable as a college student. It also helped that he clearly wasn't as physically fit as he would later be in films like Wanted. The accent wasn't too hard to get around and he still has those odd moments when your mind it torn between him appearing cute or perhaps disturbing because of those deep eyes of his.

The rest of the cast was okay but nothing overly amazing. Rebecca certainly reminded me of Olivia Williams (DeWitt on Dollhouse) at times, but maybe that's just the whole British thing, hehe.

Overall, it's a quaint movie and a different spin on the whole coming-of-age, discovery kind of movie. It's not something I would say that you HAVE to watch, even if you count yourself to be a James McAvoy fan. It really is just a TV movie, the kind of thing that's cool to catch should it be playing but there's no need to go out and look for it.

Starter for 10 gets 3 question cards out of a possible 5.



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1 comment:

Chris said...

It blew my mind when I read that McAvoy started this film just a few days after finishing Last King of Scotland. Now that's versatility!

FYI: This was a theatrical release, not a TV movie and was produced by Tom Hanks' Playtone.

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