Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Air Doll Review

Director/Writer: Hirokazu Koreeda

Starring: Doona Bae, Arata, Itsuji Itao, Jo Odeagiri, Sumiko Fuji

Synopsis: A life-size sex doll, Nozomi (Bae), comes to life one day and, after educating herself on her community, starts to develop and soul and heart.

Stories on the subject of sex dolls are seldom explored in cinema. Often times, the preferred manner of looking at sex dolls and their owners are through a darkly comic eye. Lars and the Real Girl mixed sentimentalism, drama and comedy together in its exploration of it and similarly, Hirokazu Koreeda’s Air Doll does the same. Where the Western film with Ryan Gosling and the Donna Bae-led Japanese film differ most is the animation of the doll. Whereas Lars and the Real Girl looked at the purchaser’s state of mind when it came to buying the lifeless thing, Air Doll brings that thing to life in order to reflect on what it means to be human.

Donna Bae as the eponymous doll does a fantastic job at mapping out the evolution of the human mind. She begins “life” with the mentality of a toddler, where curiosity reigns supreme in her outlook on life. She then slowly experiences flourishes of hormones in lust and eventually matures with feelings of grievance, love and gregariousness. The story lends itself to showing the change in her life but it is mostly Bae’s appearance that highlights growth. As she awakes from her plastic, inert state her eyes are wide and unblinking, absorbing the details of life. Slowly, through real-life experiences, the eyelids droop slightly and one or two lines appear on her shiny, immaculate face. The movements of the youngster’s zeal gradually become more restrained and the doll seems like any other civilian. As you have to invest your belief in this story, Bae manages to contribute a lot to its believability.

Problems do occur, however, with how you perceive the mysticism. Fairytales are, of course, fantastical but many show the line between reality and magic. For some stories it may be matters of one character seeing a different, unbelievable event take place whilst those around them are blind to any change. In Air Doll it is difficult to understand the metamorphosis of “reality” to accommodate the living, breathing doll. You could go so far to see the whole film as a figment of the doll’s imagination or maybe even one of the other characters’. In any case, some may struggle with the notion of magic in this film, especially considering its blend with social drama.

Trying to encompass all of the themes is something that detracts from the entertaining factor of Air Doll; had the film been cut down to 90 minutes it would make for a purely enjoyable film. There are several side characters that add more to Nozomi’s perception of urban life, all of them given decent characterisation, and mostly the right amount of screen-time. What’s impressive about the enveloping stories is that even with the slightly too-long runtime the end draws it all together in a beautifully shot montage.

Air Doll is a surreal take on the fairytale model with Nuances of Ozu and Capra. It fuses magic-realism better than most efforts and contains some great humour along with deep reflections on life and love. Certainly not for everyone; for those thinking it’s a light-hearted modern fairytale be warned, it contains frequent adult content.

By Piers McCarthy. Also posted on Flickering Myth

Monday, 19 November 2012

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 5 Review

After last week’s grand spectacle of chaos and loss, I was fearful that episode 5 would slow down. I don’t expect The Walking Dead to continually be a show of amped up action and gore; though after Season 2 I wanted it to take a different direction. As of yet that’s exactly what the show’s writers and directors are doing; episode 5 has to show some mourning but it shows it in a more visceral way. What’s more, the programme is starting to look at deeper, darker themes that effectively catalyse a lot of the drama.

Major spoilers follow

Rick Grimes has had to suffer the loss of his wife twice – when he escaped from a coma and hospital he found a world of death around him (visiting his home he believed his wife and son to be lost in the ruin), and now after she fatally gave birth to his daughter. He has had to endure the stages of grief more than anyone would care for, though he has never had issues with the anger stage. For all the tension between him and Lori since her confession about Shane, and the ambiguity about his feelings for her, Lori’s death sparked something inside of Rick. Episode 5 picks up immediately after 4 and Rick is in a near catatonic state of rage, marching his way through the prison, hacking up all the walkers that he finds.

Andrew Lincoln has owned the show all the way through. Now, however, the push in his character’s situation enables him to explore the more morbid side of Rick and bring more to the character. As he slashes his way through the zombies (fantastically shot to begin with, as the camera acts partially as POV shot with blood splatters surging from the audience’s/zombies’ viewpoint) we are seeing the most animalistic and unrestrained version of this man. We have seen his instinctual side before (more recently with the murder of the Latino convict) though as Glenn later tries to pull Rick back from his sanguine storm, you can see no humanity in his eyes. Rick’s cry in the end of the last episode and his blood-stained avenger in episode 5 show him as a wounded and lost man (it will act as great evidence for Lincoln’s deserved Emmy and Golden Globe nominations).

The others allow Rick to deal with his unforeseen widower status and instead focus their attention on the newborn. That means for Maggie and Daryl to head out to find supplies (mainly baby formula) – something we haven’t seen for a while. Unfortunately this excursion from the prison is fleeting but adds some humour amongst the gloom of the episode (Daryl shooting a possum and calling it as dinner). Daryl additionally adds some light on the darkness later on by naming the new baby “Ass kicker” after Carl’s ideas of naming the baby after their dead companions.

In the alternate Walking Dead arc the “will they stay/will they go” aspect of Michonne and Andrea’s story is becoming tedious. Thankfully, Michonne’s attitude toward the town finally leads her to walk out the gates. It takes some aggressive interaction between her and the Governor before this happens as both are becoming too wary and hostile to one another.

The episode starts with the Governor combing a little girl’s hair, stroke by stroke until a clump of hair and a patch of skin are pulled out by the brush. As the scalp rips away the girl starts lashing around on the floor. She is a “biter” (as the Woodbury clan call them) and the Governor’s daughter. He has kept her with him in hope a cure would come (one can assume). This is one of the motifs that has ran through the series – the notion of keeping your loved ones close, even if they are undead. The hope that a cure will be found is something Hershel held on to, and clearly the Governor too. Michonne witnesses this from below the Governor’s window and later finds a cage full of walkers who she warms up with up after repossessing her sword. This scene loses some of its credibility due to some very poor CGI work but later model and practical effects fortunately help you forget it.

The Governor confronts Michonne after her little spot of “exercise”. They discuss the caged biters and then talk about secrets (mainly to do with a list Michonne finds). The Governor, on hearing about the list’s names, shows a tiny bit of fear and anger in his expression. Nevertheless, he goes back to his manipulative mode, appearing collected and caring. Michonne, still untrustworthy, grabs her sword and points it to the Governor’s throat. We know she wouldn’t kill him but it’s an affirming nod to Michonne’s hatred of the place and the people who run it; we now know that she will not and cannot stay.

Michonne going, Andrea decides to stay (further adding to the parallel themes of departure and continuation). Michonne desperately tries to tell Andrea of the uncanny nature of Woodbury but, as of yet, it is only Michonne and the audience who can perceive it. A scene with Merle and helpers wrangling together walkers, killing some and maintaining others (by maintaining I mean pulling out their teeth to leave them relatively harmless) adds to the audience’s suspicions about the place. We later discover the walkers to be set up as walls in a bizarre arena where a gladiatorial fight takes place between some of the townspeople. It is set out as entertainment and the crowd go wild as the two men wrestle in amongst a circle of clawing, biting walkers. Andrea watches with the Governor and soon sees some truth in Michonne’s warning. She is appalled at the display and even with the Governor explaining the fake aspect of it (the toothless zombies, for one) she cannot find any decent quality in it. The zombie arena is also a good pretext for keeping the zombies alive (yet, as we understand, the Governor still longs to find out a way to repair the virus’ effects).

The penultimate scene shows Daryl laying a flower on one of the graves Glenn, Axel and Oscar dug. Daryl is perhaps the most likeable in the show – this poignant moment emphasising that further. Amongst the depressing aspects of this and last week’s episode, there are many uplifting and touching moments. Last week’s was Hershel stepping out and this week’s “Say the Word” has Daryl at the grave and Hershel and Glenn momentarily bonding (Hershel obviously sees Glenn as the perfect partner for his daughter Maggie). The Walking Dead is built on humanism (and ironically on zombies) so it always includes a moment or moments like this.

Finishing on Rick’s exhausted charge through the prison, he stops in the boiler room. In there he finds a bloated walker, having devoured all of Lori (though the lack of bones leads me to believe that is not the case completely and maybe Carl did not shoot her). Rick sticks his gun barrel into the undead’s gullet and fires. Not finished there, he then stabs the stomach of the zombie repeatedly, as if to prevent any kind of digestion of Lori (if that is at all possible with them). He slumps back, tired from his day-long excursion and distress. As he stares into space an alien sound suddenly breaks the silence – a telephone in the room is ringing. Rick walks up to it and answers. The more I think about it the more intrigued I become; not only for the fact that there is no power in the prison, but also by the query of who could be calling and why specifically that room. It is a very decent cliff-hanger that highlights the entertaining quality of Rick’s story far more than Andrea’s (that has lost some momentum and personal interest).

By Piers McCarthy. Also posted on Flickering Myth

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Jesse Vile Interview for Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet

Piers McCarthy: When did you find out about Jason’s story and what made you want to make this documentary?

Jesse Vile: I first heard out about Jason when I was a teenager, and I was taking guitar lessons and a guitar teacher of mine told me about Jason and gave me some of his music and I immediately fell in love with it. Then when I read more about his story and heard more about him I just became more and more interested in him as a musician and as a person. And so over the years [I] just loved his story and wanted other people to know about it.
I would always try and introduce people to his music and show them songs and things like that and tell them, and they’d always go, “Wow, that’s amazing!” And I just wanted to do that visually and I have been involved in film for many years – I studied film – and so, naturally, making a film about him was the next step. 

PM: You’re producer of the Raindance Film Festival, which specialises in promoting new filmmakers, how long were you part of that?

JV: Well I was. I was from 2006-2008.

PM: When did you start prepping for Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet?

JV: It was under 2 years. Essentially I’ve been in the film industry for 10 years or but it was always in the position of helping other filmmakers and I wasn’t doing my own work and I went to film school, I want to be a director, and so I don’t want to take a back seat. I was at a point in my life where I decided I was going to make my own dreams hopefully come true, so that’s what really launched it. And I saw a lot of filmmakers, who I met, and I saw their work, and I saw that it was doing really well and I thought, “Well, I’ve met them and they’re not any smarter or more creative than I am; I’m sure I could do something just as good, if not better.” That’s the attitude you have to have in life – just go and try and do it. So, yeah, it was under two years.

PM: How was it going about the process of making it? How easy was it to get Jason and his family involved, and to collate all that footage and material?

JV: We spent a good three or four months just taking on the phone and on email. I sent them over a ton of questions and they’d send them back and I’d just always ask questions and try and get a better understanding of who they were as people; where they fit into the story, where everyone else fit into the story and then take it from there.

They’ve been a part of the process from the beginning all the way until the very end. It was very important to have them involved for many reasons. Mainly, because I thought it would make a better film. So anything from giving me their archive—their footage of Jason as a kid, as a teenager, photos, any audio, any scrap of anything I wanted. So they had to dig everything out (they hadn’t done that in years) but it’s good because I digitally archived everything and gave them a copy. So now they copies of everything saved on DVD and stuff.

PM: There’s a scene in the last third of the film where Jason and his dad are communicating through the sign language...

JV: They call it “vocal-eyes”

PM: Well when we see them using the “vocal-eyes” technique, it all seems second-nature to them and very interesting to watch, was there any thought about extending stuff like that? With all that footage you mention, how did you decide on a particular length/structure?

JV: Well we went through various cuts and various versions of the film and the final film was the one that we were the happiest with; we felt it was the best film we could make. We initially discussed having a more past/present, present/past in the way we told the story – mixing up the way we told the story/the form – but I was just always more interested in the classic three-act structure. Mainly, with the first two acts being a telling of Jason’s story in a linear fashion, and the third being the present day – that’s just the way I envisioned it and when you wrote it down and laid it out that’s, I think, the easiest way to digest the story and it also helps to tell the best story.

PM: The pacing is handled expertly. And this is your first feature film, is that right?

JV: Yeah.

PM: Well drawing upon that: the start of Jason’s story looks at his musical education (Bob Dylan, for instance), what education did you bring to the project? Did you watch a lot of documentaries before starting?

JV: I watched a ton of documentaries; I mean that’s all I watched. I mostly watched biographical ones; just to get an idea of how other directors did things – not to copy anything but to get a sense of how certain things are done, or how certain things can be done. You watch anything that’ll educate you or help you develop as a filmmaker. There were certainly ones I gravitated more toward – it’s really the ones that were more honest and true, that captured the spirit of the individual as that was more of what I was going for.

I would send Jason DVDs of documentaries to watch also, as I don’t think he watched too many docs and I think, at first, he was a little wary of opening up so much. My initial conversations with him I think he was planning on putting on a front but not revealing himself as much as I wanted him to. So without saying anything I sent him documentaries like Tyson, in which he [Mike Tyson] reveals a lot about himself (he even cries) and Anvil, which Jason was like, “Oh my God, I hope you don’t make me look as ridiculous as those guys!”. But they’re honest and open and they don’t hold anything back, so I sent him those films (and a few more) just so he could see that to make a good documentary it’s really great when people are honest and open.  So I watched a ton of documentaries and I read Jean-Dominique Bauby’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I had seen the film a couple of times before I started making this film but I wanted to read the book and get a sense of what it’s like to be trapped inside your body. So I definitely read and watched a lot.

PM: Sadly, the success of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is something Bauby was not able to experience; this isn’t a nice thing to bring up but the fact that Jason’s disease is terminal, did that dread affect you as you were making the film?

JV: It didn’t in terms of making me feel weird or anything, but because it’s so up in the air (his life expectancy), no one really knows – it’s unprecedented. So I was always panicked that we weren’t going to finish it or that he was going to pass away before we had chance to finish it. Not for any other reason than I wanted him to see it and experience any kind of publicity or fan-fare that he would get from it, and so thank God that that didn’t happen. That’s probably the only time I ever really thought about his terminal illness. Because every day is a miracle for him; I was like “Wow, it’s almost three years—three and a half, that’s a lot of miracles.” So thankfully he’s still around.

PM: Well it is a miraculous story and it has the chance of reaching a massive audience because of that story of a strong human spirit. What are your expectations of the film?

JV: Thanks, and I know what you mean, but unfortunately documentaries aren’t the most popular form so it really just depends on cinemas picking it up and putting it out there, getting it into the press or just something happening (it being on a famous talk show). There’s a lot of great films that don’t get seen by as many people as they should, so I don’t know. I just hope it helps Jason and his family and that people take away something positive from the experience of watching it.

PM: Well documentaries are kind of thriving at the minute, so has there been any push from distributors?

JV: Yeah, well we have UK distribution, US and Canadian distribution and hopefully they’re doing their jobs in trying to get word out as much as they can, and having the film into as many outlets as they can. But they can’t control the cinemas – if the cinemas don’t want to book it, for instance. But we have a Facebook page with 40,000+ strong around the world. And Jason has a huge following. So we just promote every screening and try to get as many people as we can to go, and try to do as many interviews as we can, and that’s essentially all we can do. I’m a one-man-team – doing all this stuff on my end and there’s only so much I can do. But hopefully it gets out there.

PM: Well I imagine anyone who’s seen it so far – me included – hopes the same.

You mentioned being on your own for the promotional side of things but when it came to making the documentary how did you assemble your crew?

JV: Most of them were NFT [National Film and Television School] graduates and so what’s really good about NFT grads is that they’re usually very talented, very creative, and they’re looking for projects; they’re fresh out of film school with all this knowledge and talent and looking for big projects. So I asked one of my co-producers, Peter King, if he knew anyone and he’s worked with some people and he gave me a few recommendations - that’s how I found my sound designer and my cameraman. With my editor I was just asking people – I asked my sound designer for any recommendations he had (people he knew, people he’d worked with) and he gave me a few names and then I went to an editing talent agency – I can’t even remember how I got the other guys – to interview them and the one I gelled with the most, and the one I felt the best energy from, and whose work I liked the most was who I went with.

It was a small budget – they weren’t doing it for free but compared to what the top editors earn it was very little. It was really just getting recommendations from people and meeting them and making sure their ideas for the film gelled with mine and that I got a good feeling from them.

PM: Did their love for music come into that choice at all?

JV: I think originally – it definitely helps if they like music (none of them liked Jason’s music to begin with) – I was looking for an editor who was a shred guitar fan; I felt I needed someone who knew what that type of music was about and just got it. But then that didn’t happen (it didn’t break my heart that it didn’t happen – I wasn’t beholden to that idea) and after I picked my editor I realised it’s actually better they’re not into that kind of music because I wasn’t making the film for fans or fans of shredded guitar, I was making it for people that don’t even know about it but will still like the film. So I thought it was more important to have someone who was into music, but not into that type of music because then you would have had a fan-boy putting in lots of stuff, and as a director I would have stopped them, but it would gotten in the way of things. The main thing was that they were all in love with Jason’s story and that was important. Everyone who worked on it was very passionate about Jason’s story and that was the important thing with putting it together. This wasn’t a money project; it was more about getting experience (of course getting paid, too) and believing in the story. 

PM: Speaking of music, what’s your favourite track of Jason’s? It’s incredible that even after being diagnosed and becoming paralysed that he still writes music – are you a fan of the new stuff or more taken with the old classics?

JV: Well I like everything that he’s doing, but my favourite stuff is the stuff that turned me on to him because it’s nostalgic and it’s what launched this whole thing for me. My favourite track (which is probably pretty much everyone’s) is “Altitudes” which is on his first solo album, Perpetual Burn – that’s what made me stop and say, “Wow, I can’t believe this 17 year-old is exuding this much emotion in their music with the guitar” and that’s what made Jason stand out for me, so for those reasons I prefer his early work.

PM: I know you mentioned it not being a money project but would you release the soundtrack for the film?

JV: I don’t think so because I know nothing about the music industry and, again, it’s just me and I don’t have the time or resources to put out the soundtrack and I don’t think his record label does either.

PM: But it’s all out there anyway?

JV: Yeah, the only thing you can’t get is the original score that Michael Lee Firkins did, which is not throughout the whole film (it’s mainly in the first half of the film – it doesn’t appear at all in the third act).
Actually, there are two tracks in the film that you can’t get yet but I’m sure they’ll be out soon.

PM: Right at the end we see that concert honouring Jason – is that more common now? Are people more aware of the man behind the music thanks to the documentary?

JV: I’m not sure how it’s affected his album sales but he’s going to a lot more screenings and he’s a lot more active now because of the film so that’s been really great for him. It gives him stuff to look forward to and to go out with his family and friends, celebrate his life and meet new people – in that regard it’s been really great for him.

PM: Veering off from the film, have you got any future projects lined up?

JV: Yeah, I’m developing one at the moment. It’s way too early to get into it – I’m not supposed to say anything about it – but it’s the early stages of development. It’s quite a complex story but hopefully it does happen.

Thanks to Jesse Vile for taking the time to take part in this interview and to DogWoof Productions for setting it all up.
Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet has a limited release starting from the 16th November, you can read the review for the film here.

Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet Review

Director: Jesse Vile

Starring: Jason Becker, Ehren Becker, Gary Becker, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Marty Friedman

Synopsis: Jason Becker was an extraordinarily talented guitarist whose skill caught the attention of the rock world. As his stardom grew Jason’s health declined and within a few months of becoming part of David Lee Roth’s new band, Jason was diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Jason still lives, 22 years after his initial diagnosis, and continues to write music through special computer software.

Documentaries are a thriving form at the moment, with a string of successes including Senna, The Imposter, Searching For Sugarman and Crossfire Hurricane. With the internet allowing for more extensive research, this type of filmmaking is fast becoming a popular starting point for directors and writers. One such upstart is Jesse Vile, an industry mogul once part of the Raindance Film Festival, bringing his directorial debut, Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet to audiences all around the world. It focuses on the very talented Jason Becker, a guitarist with an innate skill for music. Some, who are not aware of the entire story, may be deterred by the first part of the film that looks at Jason’s abilities. It is easy to think that the documentary is purely about the rise of an adroit guitarist. Give it time and the story changes dramatically, leading to a tale that is enriching and distressing. Music fans will be won over by the documentary – you do not have to have to be a fan of Jason’s music or shred-guitar style – as it promotes the purity of music and what it can do for a person. Those not partial to music can still take something from Not Dead Yet though may not respond to all of its messages.

Bookended with a fuzzy home video recording of Jason and his uncle playing “Mr. Tambourine Man”, the jovial nature of the eponymous guitarist is never forgotten. With the grave matter of Becker's terminal disease, this documentary could have become a grim depiction of a life half lived. Instead, with loving zeal, Jesse Vile and the friends and family of Jason honour a life lived to the fullest. Vile's structure and pace of this documentary is expert - chronicling the years of practice and play, up until the moment of standstill which then gradually evolves into a story of the strength of human spirit.

Set out in a three-act structure, Vile compiles an extensive and deeply-personal account of the ill-fated Becker. The first two acts give you an idea of Jason’s personality and enthralling expertise through archive footage and interviews from friends and family. Sadly, ALS has left Jason unable to speak yet in the third act we still have chance to hear his thoughts as he communicates through the “vocal-eyes” technique devised by his father. These scenes are incredibly interesting and wondrously illustrate the methods used to allow Jason to still interact with people. How Jason remains active is phenomenal; his familial aid (along with his ex-partner’s care) is heart-warming and educational. It is a shame that the third act runs so short that scenes like this are not extended, giving you a fascinating, if brief, look at the juxtaposition of paralysis and pursuit.

Vile’s talent at storytelling has not been explored to the fullest yet (this being his first feature) though it’s clear that he has been educated on the art-form. He unearths a ton of material on Jason to begin with, showing the gradual ascent to stardom; on their own these elements would appear dull and may not emphasize the affability of Jason, so Vile underscores them with candid interviews. Friends and family are questioned in an assertive, yet supportive manner – enabling the viewer to hear stories about the highly private aspects of Jason’s life without it seeming exploitative. Vile needn’t depend on clich├ęd customs when it comes to generating empathy, he relies on the audience having a heart and responding to his depiction of Jason’s life.

Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet is a sweet, informative and poignant documentary – one of the best of the year. It centres on a charming figure whose determination to live his life, despite damning circumstances, is astoundingly strong. Life-affirming and memorable, and something to recommend to all your friends and family.

By Piers McCarthy. Also posted on Flickering Myth. Interview with director here.

Top 10 Interesting Male Voices in Cinema

Perhaps when flicking through channels it’s not so much a sight but a sound that grabs your attention; many times with actors such as the ones below you are attentive largely due to that voice. Here are ten of the most recognisable and interesting male voices in cinema:

10. Jeremy Irons – With a defining set of elocution skills and a gravelly voice, Irons blurs the idea of the seducer, the villain, and the intellect all with his lithe voice-box. 

9. James Earl Jones – Voicing two of the most iconic father-figures in cinema (spoiler alert), Darth Vader in Star Wars and Mufasa in The Lion King, Jones will always be remembered in cinema for lending his vocals to two hugely successful family films.

8. Sam Elliot – Maybe he chewed on coal through his teenage life, maybe his Adam’s apple was moulded in clay, but whatever happened to Sam Elliot’s voice it has worked wonders for the actor. Most famous for his part in The Big Lebowski as The Stranger, Elliot has a voice that you could listen to all day. He narrates parts of Lewbowski and one would wish he could narrate nearly every film.

7. Michael Caine – Wonderfully dissected by Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan on The Trip, the varying tones and tempos of Caine’s voice has, throughout the years, brought more class and worth to his career. One of Britain’s most celebrated actors and a shining national treasure – a legacy certainly aided by the familiar delivery of lines such as “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”

6. Arnold Schwarzenegger – One of the most parodied and imitated voices in cinematic history, Arnie’s muscles weren’t the only thing that brought him to the attention of millions. Getting few lines in the classic Terminator, one made him the legend he is today – “I’ll be back” – spoken with intensity and malice, cementing his popularity.

5. Werner Herzog – Another Eastern European on the list that is arguably less well-known (though his role in the new Jack Reacher film may change that) but with one a hell of an intriguing voice. Never easy to impersonate but one you wish you could. Herzog’s wondrous, curious mind is perfectly matched by a voice that alters with every question and philosophy he adds to his documentaries’ narration.

4. Patrick Stewart – Admired by so many people, and enamoured by Seth McFarlane so much that Stewart has offered his voice-work for many episodes of Family Guy and American Dad, Stewart is another British legend that can raise the roof on a theatre, invigorate an entire cinema audience and entertain everyone around the TV by the power of his voice.

3. Jimmy Stewart – The affable, charming and funny actor of Hollywood’s Golden Years could strike a chord with his smile and his jovial voice. The voice captures your attention; nuances of the stammers and drawl immortalise the personality of Stewart.

2. Morgan Freeman – A man with the ability to read the phone book and still keep you fascinated and emotional with every entry read out. Morgan Freeman has the perfect voice and it’s no wonder that he is asked to narrate an array of films and documentaries – you want to hear the man wax lyrical for hours on end.

1. Christopher Walken – The man with the most insane and entertaining voice around. The wacky, altering patterns in Walken’s dialogue cannot be found with any other actor. He appears menacing and confused all at the same time – his voice appears just as discomforting but nothing you cannot turn your attention away from.

Notable mentions: Jeff Bridges, Jeff Goldblum, Seth McFarlane, Ian McKellen, John Wayne, Tom Hanks, Patrick Warbuton, William Shatner, Jack Nicholson, Tommy Lee Jones, Willem Dafoe, Alan Rickman, Peter O'Toole

By Piers McCarthy. Also posted on Top10Films