Wednesday is English actor Ewan McGregor’s 50th birthday. So, if anyone is needing an excuse for a movie marathon – or perhaps justification for watching “Moulin Rouge!” for the 15th time – here are notable McGregor films from the past few decades.
Mark Renton (McGregor) is unemployed, living with his parents and addicted to heroin. But when he meets Diane (Kelly Macdonald), his will to “choose life” slowly starts coming back to him. Talk about a lust for life. “Trainspotting” is available on Amazon Prime Video.
A cross between “Cabaret” and “La Traviata,” Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge!” follows a young writer named Christian (McGregor) as he looks back on a particularly surreal period of his life. Christian moves to Paris’ Montmartre district, intending to join the Bohemian movement, and falls in with a troupe of artists led by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. While helping the group to finish their latest musical, Christian falls in love with Satine, a famous courtesan portrayed by Oscar nominee Nicole Kidman. “Moulin Rouge!” is available on Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV.
“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
Fishery expert Albert Jones (McGregor) is approached by a consultant (Emily Blunt) working for a Yemeni sheik hoping to bring fly-fishing to his country. Jones initially dismisses the project, thinking it totally unfeasible. But when he comes to understand the potentially positive political implications, he devotes himself to making the impossible possible. “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” is available on Vudu and Amazon Prime Video.
“Black Hawk Down”
Based on Mark Bowden’s 1999 nonfiction book of the same name, “Black Hawk Down” retells the events following an ill-fated 1993 U.S. military raid in Mogadishu, Somalia. A team full of new recruits and first-time commanding officers, including SSG Matt Eversmann (Josh Hartnett) and SPC John “Grimesey” Grimes (McGregor), take part in the raid. But when another soldier (Orlando Bloom) suffers serious injuries after falling from a Black Hawk helicopter, the whole plan goes up in smoke. “Black Hawk Down” is available on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.
In her role as mistress of her father’s estate, Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow) is generally more independent than most women of her time could reasonably hope to be. Handsome, clever and rich, Emma has all of the time in the world to meddle in the lives of those around her, including Frank Churchill (McGregor). She has the best of intentions, but even the best-laid plans fall apart. “Emma” is available on Hulu and Apple TV.
Following the death of his mother, Oliver (McGregor) is stunned when Hal, his terminally ill father (Christopher Plummer), finally comes out to him. Just a few years later, after Hal’s death, Oliver struggles with depression – he misses his parents, his art career is failing, and he can’t stop thinking about his childhood. But when Oliver meets an actress named Anna (Melanie Laurent), his world starts looking up again. “Beginners” is available on Hulu and HBO Max.
“Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith”
Three years after the Clone Wars break out, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (McGregor) and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) work together to rescue Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) from the clutches of General Grievous. They are successful, but Grievous escapes. Back among the Jedi Council, questions about Palpatine’s agenda start to mount. Anakin is asked to spy on Palpatine. But, as his bitterness toward the council increases and his bond with Palpatine strengthens, Anakin chooses the Dark Side. “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” is available on Disney+.
Honorable mentions: “Shallow Grave,” “The Pillow Book,” “Velvet Goldmine” and “Big Fish.” McGregor won his first Golden Globe in 2018 for television’s “Fargo” in his portrayal of three characters.
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