Archive for August, 2012


Let’s start with some great news for fans of Pixar. For a while it has been thought that there would be a sequel coming up to Finding Nemo, which is probably my favourite Pixar movie there has been so far. No plot details have been released yet but surely it can’t just be Nemo getting lost again and needing to be found? They could go the ‘Taken 2‘ route and have Marlin needing to be found instead this time but that would just be ridiculous too. Pixar don’t usually screw up so fingers crossed but the news this week about the sequel is that Ellen DeGeneres is back for the sequel. DeGeneres played Dory who is often thought of as the most popular character of the first film so this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

Lawless is hitting the cinema screens next week and with the cast it boasts (Hardy, LaBeouf, Oldman, Chastain, Pearce) it should surely be a hit. The western is the oldest genre in cinema and is still one of my favourites to this day and I am glad that some big name actors are trying to bring the genre back to the forefront of cinema. Natalie Portman is producing and also starring in a film called Jane Got A Gun where she plays a woman whose husband comes home pumped full of bullets so she reaches out to a former lover to protect her homestead from the criminals who are on the way to finish off her husband. Michael Fassbender is in talks for the role of the former lover! Brilliant news, this could well be another mark of how versatile Fassbender really is.

Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire are set to team up for a new film with a strong message which takes aim at the horrible world of animal trafficking. DiCaprio and Maguire have long been friends with very strong animal rights opinions and DiCaprio has done plenty of work campaigning for better animal rights. Hardy has recently been fully informed of the actions by friends of his that used to be in the Special Forces but now work as anti-poaching fighters across the world. As of now the trio is only producing the film but with all three having such strong opinions on the subject I wouldn’t be surprised to see one, two or all three of them taking a starring role too.

Space Jam was released way back in 1996 and revolved around Bugs Bunny and his Looney Tunes friends recruiting basketball superstar Michael Jordan to play in a basketball match between the Looney Tunes and a group of aliens who stole the talent of some NBA heavyweights. Modern day Miami Heat star LeBron James has said that he is a huge fan of the film and has expressed interest in teaming up with Bugs, Taz, Daffy Duck and the rest for a sequel. Warner Bros. aren’t actually developing a sequel yet but James’ interest could be the push they need: Warner Bros. always want to make money, the Looney Tunes are guaranteed to pull audiences and sportsmen always want to be actors these days so I would suggest everything is already in place to get it going!

And finally… Tom Hanks has become a viral sensation this week and has earned the respect and adoration of thousands of new fans because of a set of pictures that have appeared on the internet. Tom Hanks is known for being pretty easy going and having a quirky and fun personality and now he has proven it once more as three pictures arrived of him pretending to be drunk and have his glasses stolen by a fan of his. Hanks shows he never gives acting a break and really plays up for the camera! See the pictures below…

 

 

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The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud was a best selling novel when it was released back in 2004 and as is the trend these days it was soon made into a film. Charlie St. Cloud tells the story of the title character trying to come to terms with the death of his younger brother until he ultimately must make the choice between keeping a promise to his dead brother or saving the life of a girl that he feels very strongly for. The official synopsis calls it a gift that Charlie can see his deceased brother in the forest but I’m not sure that’s what I would call it, it seems more like a curse not being able to get over the grief or the guilt of such a tragic event happening.

Zac Efron takes the main role as the pretty much perfect guy: he loves and really cares for his mum, he has a very strong bond and friendship with his little brother, he’s one of the best young sailors in the country and has a scholarship to university, he’s got good friends and pretty much his pick of the girls. It’s easy to cast a pretty boy in this type of role but the storyline requires some acting talent too and Efron may have his doubters but I think that he is actually a pretty good actor (he just gets tarnished as rubbish by people who don’t like High School Musical without basing their opinions on anything else). His performance here is pretty good and he gives you a real sense of conflict inside his mind. Charlie Tahan is acting way beyond his maturity in the role of Charlie’s dead little brother Sammy. This duo is supported by Tess Carroll and the surprisingly funny Augustus Prew: there are small appearances from Kim Basinger, Ray Liotta and Dave Franco (complete with the unmistakeable Franco smile).

The opening scene shows Charlie and his brother winning a sailing competition and while it does little to get the adrenaline pumping it sets up the story nicely and the next twenty minutes or so help to build up the sense of brotherhood, friendship and respect that the two brothers share. The death of Sammy wasn’t actually the most emotional part of the film. I felt that Charlie’s trips to see his brother in the forest were very touching and really nicely dealt with and really showed the conflict and guilt that Charlie was suffering from inside his head while he wouldn’t let anybody else know about it. His relationship with Tess seems to move pretty quickly which is understandable once you have seen the film all the way through.

The big twist comes about two thirds of the way through and while it isn’t quite as big as The Sixth Sense, which is obviously had some effect on making this film, it is still a good and pretty powerful one I thought. However, I don’t think the film dealt with the twist as well as it could have done and the third act unfortunately lets the film down after a very promising first two acts. The ending is pretty corny as you would expect from a romance film aimed at teenage girls because corny and cheesy sells so well that studios don’t feel the need to do anything else any more.

Saying that though, I really enjoyed Charlie St. Cloud and would certainly watch it again.

My Rating: 6/10.

Obviously, I mean the film… I am not about to randomly profess my love on the internet for some girl who lives on my street, that would be stupid. But The Girl Next Door is one of my favourite films and has been ever since the first time I saw it back in 2004. The Girl Next Door is a romantic comedy aimed at a male teenage audience and that genre of film doesn’t usually go down well with the target audience so it has to be something that will make them watch it so what’s the plot? Pretty much every stereotypical teenage boy’s fantasy: a high school boy starts dating a girl only to find out that she is, in fact, a porn star. Brilliant!

All the characters are really well thought out (if not a little stereotypical) but all of them seem to have layers and layers of character if you look for it in the right place. The casting really does go a long way in this film as well because you can’t imagine anyone else in any of the roles. Let’s start with the three high school friends: Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch), Eli (Chris Marquette) and Klitz ‘with a k’ (Paul Dano). These three characters encapsulate different three different parts of a teenage boy’s personality. Matthew is the one who is awkwardly and hopelessly romantic who falls in love, but he is also lost in his life and feels that he needs to really find out who he is; Eli is the one who just seems incredibly horny every second of every day and is obsessed with women and pornography; Klitz is the shy, reserved, quiet one who just sort of goes along with the ride rather begrudgingly and together their friendship is absolutely fantastic!

Elisha Cuthbert is Danielle the pornstar and as well as being really attractive Cuthbert really plays on the innocence of her character and her longing to be something more, whilst Timothy Olyphant as Kelly is probably one of my favourite movie villains of all time, he is hilarious! I like the fact his character’s name is Kelly; Kelly’s a girl’s name!

The Girl Next Door is one of the funniest films I have ever seen and I have watched it plenty of times (maybe more than any other film now that I think about it) but it still manages to make me laugh with every joke. There is great verbal humour and physical and Timothy Olyphant’s aggressiveness to the jocks is really funny. There are some absolutely fantastic lines, mainly from Eli, including “take her to a motel and bang her like a beast!”, “I just wanna bang hot chicks!” and the outrageous “I just gotta f**k something!”.  Eli’s phone conversation with Matthew whilst Matthew (rather really pervertedly) watches Danielle get undressed is top comedy too, as well as Matthew’s reaction.

The romantic element to the story holds it’s own against the comedy and it is really wonderful to watch the relationship grown between Matthew and Danielle. They are so perfect for each other; Danielle will push Matthew to be the person he wants to be and Matthew is her escape to the real world and a better life, keeping her on the right track. You can really feel for their relationship as they go through the ups and the downs together.

The end is particularly satisfying. I am a big fan of character development and I think that the majority of characters have completed a full arc in the entirety of the film: Matthew goes off to DC, taking Danielle with him, Eli has become a famous director thanks to the sex education video the group made, Klitz is pretty much the biggest thing in town (that’s a little pun you’ll get if you remember the end of the film) and I really like Kelly’s ending. Kelly on set making the porn movies he loves to receive a box of cigars from Matthew with the famous quote from the film “the juice was worth the squeeze”.

I love The Girl Next Door and everybody else should too!

UK Release Date: 23rd November 2012.

Stars: David Ayer (director), Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, Cody Horn, David Harbour.

Plot: Two young officers are marked for death after confiscating a small cache of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel, during a routine traffic stop.

From the writer of such crime and action films such as Training Day, The Fast and the Furious, S.W.A.T comes his latest film which is written, directed and produced by this man: End of Watch. Based on his previous films the action should be handled pretty well and will probably be placed above character in the order of prominence.

However, judging by the trailer, End of Watch seems to place more importance on character development and relationships that any of Ayer’s previous work so this could be a step in the right direction. Gyllenhaal and Pena play the two cops who come under attack by the drug cartel and hopefully their chemistry will be believable.

If the film is entirely shot in the same way as the trailer, with the action scenes sliced together with scenes that look like they are from a cop documentary then I would be very interested to see it. But the trailer seems to split itself into two halves. In the beginning it looks like a more realistic and real life look at the work of police officers, then it turns into just a generic action cop film. I think that once you’ve seen so many cop films they all become the same.

Saying that though, I do think End of Watch looks pretty good.

As the success of The Expendables continues to grow and the franchise likely to continue with a third instalment after kick-starting Sylvester Stallone’s and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career it should come as no surprise that this idea is spawning a sister project (of sorts). There are talks for an all female cast to step into the action boots and make an ‘Expendables‘ type film with the biggest female action stars of past and present. Here are my picks of the women I would like to see take part…

 

SIGOURNEY WEAVER

Sigourney Weaver pretty much changed the face of the female action scene with her role as Ellen Ripley in the Alien films. She has even been names the greatest female character in science-fiction film. Her role in this franchise helped carve the way for plenty of female-led action films in the future so Weaver is a shoe-in in my books. She would definitely have to be the leader of the group, the Stallone among our women.

 

HELEN MIRREN

Helen Mirren is a very accomplished English actress and although she is probably most famous for portraying Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen she has recently turned her hand to action films in Red and the upcoming sequel Red 2. She may not be able to keep up with the younger girls in the film but she could definitely fit the Bruce Willis role of the first film with an option for some action scenes later on.

 

ANGELINA JOLIE

Jolie’s film career seems to have waned recently but you cannot dispute the fact that she is an action hero through and through, no matter how serious she tries to be in other films. Tomb Raider, Mr & Mrs Smith, Wanted and Salt have all proven that Jolie has the action credentials to more than hold her own.

 

MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ

Here is one of Hollywood’s most common go-to-girls when in need of a tough female to compete with the action heroes. Rodriquez boasts such credits as Avatar, Fast and Furious and played the rough Anna-Lucia in LOST. I can tell you I definitely wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of her, she just looks like she could kick some serious ass.

 

LUCY LIU

Jet Li is the Asian representative for The Expendables and I think Lucy Liu would be the ideal woman to portray a similar role in a female version of the film. She has been in the (albeit not very serious action) film version of Charlie’s Angels but was terrific in Kill Bill.

 

HALLE BERRY

X-Men, Catwoman, Die Another Day have all shown that Halle Berry is capable of being bad-ass at times. She is clearly a talented actress (even though it didn’t show in Catwoman) and I think she could definitely bring something different to the table.

 

MILLA JOVOVICH

She is the star of one of two of the most famous modern female-led action franchises of all time: Resident Evil. The other being…

 

KATE BECKINSALE

Underworld. And as well as here Beckinsale is showing off some action skills in the recent remake of Total Recall.

 

GINA CARANO

Finally, all of the above women have already proven they have what it takes in their long careers so they’re going to need some young blood too. Female action heroes aren’t something you find much among today’s young actresses but Gina Carano is currently making a name for herself, having appeared in Haywire and had a previous career in kick boxing and mixed martial arts. Would you really want to mess with her?

 

CHLOE MORETZ

This is my final choice. The male version of The Expendables focusses on a team of mercenaries and while Moretz may be too young for this the female version won’t be a carbon copy or remake of the original testosterone fuelled action film. Even if Moretz just had a small part as another character’s daughter who had a couple of scenes where she could really let loose that would be great!

 

Anyway… that’s me done. Who would you want to see take action in a female led action ensemble film?

Ted Reviewed.

It’s a strange career that Seth MacFarlane has had; he wrote for Cow and Chicken, Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo; he’s appeared in Gilmore Girls and FlashForward, but it is his more adult animation that he is known for: Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show. Now Seth MacFarlane has released his first feature film to be written and directed by himself and he also voices the main character: Ted.

Ted is the story of a young boy’s teddy bear coming to life after a special Christmas wish is made. And if the storyline sounds right out of a children’s book the humour is completely grown up, grown up in the sense that it is for adults, not that it is mature. The boy who makes this wish is John Bennett, played by Mark Wahlberg who I had my doubts about when the film was released because he doesn’t seem like the usual go to guy for a comedy but he turns out to be a brilliant choice along with his co-star Mila Kunis who’s relationship with John originally gets in the way of John and Ted’s friendship. The supporting cast is full of people who made their names on sitcoms: Patrick Warburton, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi and a cameo appearance from Ryan Reynolds. There is also a voice over in the wonderful tone of Seth MacFarlane’s unlikely friend Patrick Stewart.

The humour comes in all shapes and sizes; the verbal humour and the physical humour are equally as funny and Ted seems to find the right balance between the two. The conversations between Ted and the supermarket boss are comedy gold, although you might not know if you’re laughing because it’s funny or whether you’re laughing because what Ted is saying is completely outrageous…but as long as you’re laughing, does it really matter?

Basically, watching Ted is a bit like watching a 100 minute long episode of Family Guy. The jokes seem to always be in that vein and you wouldn’t be surprised if they had been used in the television show, there are a lot of references to popular culture figures and there are even a couple of cutaway scenes that Family Guy is famous for. All this is great… if you are a fan of Family Guy, but it isn’t very original if you just take your television show, change a couple of characters and put it on the big screen which is what watching Ted felt like. Luckily though, I really like Family Guy so I didn’t mind at all. Again, I love pop culture references but I think if you insist on making pop culture references then keep them limited or else you are at risk of alienating your audience if they don’t know what you’re on about and Ted had everything from Justin Bieber, Van Wilder, Brandon Routh, Aliens and a hell of a lot of Flash Gordon. There were a lot of jokes that fell dud because of the audience’s lack of knowledge about aspects of popular culture but there was just enough brilliant lines throughout the rest of the film to keep everyone laughing.

I am a big fan of Giovanni Ribisi and I’ve seen a lot of his work and I think he is very funny but I thought the whole storyline with him trying to kidnap Ted seemed a little bit thin and it wouldn’t have really mattered if that never took place. The storyline just existed to give a very cliche ending bringing John and his girlfriend back together and so Seth MacFarlane could make jokes at the expense of an overweight child (not complaining about the last bit, it was really funny!)

Ted is not for the faint hearted but if you like cure, close to the bone humour, then you’ll love it.

My Rating: 7/10.

Obviously the big news of the week is the tragic death of film director Tony Scott who directed such hits as Top Gun, Man on Fire and The Taking of Pelham 123. I wrote about this the other day and said what a loss I thought he was to the world of cinema and in particular action films. There have been conflicting reports about the health of Scott since his death but all we know for certain is that it is a very sad time for his friends and family and wish them all the best.

Last week I wrote how Donald Faison was approached for a part in Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall as Dr. Gravity and now it seems as though the sequel to 2010’s hit film is moving on full steam ahead with their casting as there have been two very prominent rumours this week. Lindy Booth (Dawn of the Dead, Cry Wolf) is in talks to play another member of Kick-Ass’ superhero team Justice Forever – Night Bitch. The biggest rumour though is who is line to play The Colonel (or Colonel Stars in the comic book) and that is Jim Carrey! Carrey may seem like too much of a big name for a supporting role next to Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz but in recent years Carrey’s career has been stalling and faltering all over the place and this could be the big reboot that his career needs.

The Dark Tower is a series of books written by the world’s most famous author Stephen King. For a while now Ron Howard has been trying to push through a very ambitious and epic television and film collaboration to produce the books. This would mean that in between the films being released there would be a television series to sort of bridge the gap and provide fans with more of a knowledge of the story so you can see the difficulty of getting this done. And it seems as though big studios are shying away from pushing the project through. Universal Pictures has already turned it down and now so have Warner Bros. who were seen as the best studio to do this. With Russell Crowe attached to star it should have studios begging to produce it but the risk seems to outweigh the ambition at the minute. Media Rights Captial (who produced Ted) are now in serious discussions to produce The Dark Tower so maybe it could finally get to the big screen one day. I have only read the first book, The Gunslinger, but I did find it very very interesting and very different. I would love to see this project being greenlit and moving forward.

DreamWorks animation’s contract with Paramount is coming to an end at the turn of the year and is not being renewed. This would mean that DreamWorks have nobody to distribute their films, however they have now agreed a five year run with 20th Century Fox which will see them through until the end of 2017. The reason behind the contract at Paramount not being renewed is thus: Paramount are putting some serious effort into building up their own studio, possibly to rival that of DreamWorks (I imagine it will still be some way behind Pixar). You can see why Paramount would do this, last year they won the Best Animated Film Oscar for their Rango and that clearly has sparked an idea within Paramount to produce more animated features. As owners of Nickelodeon they already have plenty of animated characters to work with. I see the animation scope of films largely dominated by Pixar and DreamWorks (even though other studios do animated films) and I think Paramount will have a long road ahead of them to catch up with those two.

Director Scott sadly passes away aged 68.

Sad reports among the news today for the world of movies as the famous director Tony Scott has been reported dead after jumping from a bridge in Los Angeles. His death is being investigated as a suicide. It is a horrible loss as he has directed a number of box office successes and big action films while forming strong partnerships with some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

Originally from North Shields in England, Tony Scott is the less famous and less critically successful brother of director Ridley Scott. But despite his films being less favourable with critics he is a celebrated and talented director nonetheless. A common criticism of his work was that he sacrificed story for things that looked great on screen and big action sequences but this obviously went down well with fans of movies and some of his films became huge successes and some of the most famous films of all time.

Tony Scott’s most famous film is of course Top Gun and whether you like it or not you cannot deny it’s place in movie history and popular culture (although more for its homoerotic tendencies than for its quality of film). Top Gun put Tony Scott on the map and he went on to direct a number of even more successful movies including Beverley Hills Cop 2 which became a massive success at the box office making nearly $300million off just a $20million budget. Scott worked again with Tom Cruise (after Top Gun) on Days of Thunder which many critics called ‘Top Gun in cars’ but despite the negative reviews Days of Thunder was another box office smash for Tony Scott.

The list of huge name actors that Tony Scott has worked with is seemingly endless: Tom Cruise, Eddie Murphy, Kevin Costner, James Gandolfini, Gene Hackman, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt, Mickey Rourke, Christopher Walken and the Oscar winning composer Hans Zimmer. But with all these big names it seemed that Tony Scott enjoyed working with Denzel Washington the most as the pair made a total of five films together (with ranging success): Crimson Tide, Man on Fire, Deja Vu, The Taking of Pelham 123, Unstoppable.

A winning partnership: Scott and regular collaborator Denzel Washington.

Whether you like his films or not he is a huge loss to the directing world and he had a big effect on mainstream action films that is still felt today. Critics didn’t praise his films too often but I bet they all enjoyed them as did most people who watched his work. He was a great director (I really like Top Gun, Enemy of the State and The Taking of Pelham 123 in particular) and my thoughts go out to his family.

With Joss Whedon now appointed for definite to helm Marvel’s Avengers 2 and have a hand in writing the sequels, a release date announced for possibly the most anticipated film of all time (May 1st 2015) and a whole host of ‘Phase 2’ films in the pipeline including Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and ill-fated Ant-Man Marvel is really pushing through with their billion dollar making movie projects. After such a huge success with The Avengersthough, how can Marvel move forward and improve?

I suggest that Joss Whedon and Marvel kill off one of the main Avengers characters. Yes, they killed off Agent Coulson in the first film but I think everyone expects him to turn up again in some form or capacity. I am talking about completely killing off one of the main heroes, never seeing them again, cutting a limb from the Marvel cinematic universe for one character. It would be a bold, brave and maybe a little bit crazy but surely worth the risk? I think that killing off a central character would surely add to character development and team development as we saw the Avengers become a team and, whether they liked it or not, friends and one of them dying could have huge repercussions. With so many new characters going to be added to the Marvel cinematic universe they can’t all stay as one team forever so maybe they will have to consider killing characters off in order to move forward… but who would they kill?
Let’s look at the nominees:

IRON MAN – Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man. Iron Man is the money maker for Marvel. He was the one that started it all off and the character that is probably most popular with fans due to his quick wit that the other characters lack. However since he was the first character to kick off The Avengers maybe he will be the first to be kicked out as well. This is probably the least likely to happen I would say though because Stark Industries is such a huge player in the world and with his technological advancements he is the only one of the core heroes who can’t call upon his power at any time he needs which also gives him something different to Thor or Captain America. Iron Man is my favourite character so I’m definitely hoping he won’t be killed off.

THOR – Killing off Thor means severing all ties to other universes as Thor is the Avengers’ connection to the fantasy genre of other universes and dimensions being available to travel to. Losing Thor also means losing Loki who has become one of the greatest villains of all time and losing him as well would be a huge shame. However, with Guardians of the Galaxy also being introduced, if they come into the Marvel cinematic universe, they offer another route to the cosmic worlds that exist beyond Earth which means we could lose Thor without losing Asgard or any other realms. Chris Hemsworth also seems to have been the breakout star of Marvel’s films so far and he has quite a busy schedule to continue on. Killing Thor off would free up Hemsworth to take advantage of the praise and attention he has been getting.

THE HULK – On paper it seems as though killing of Bruce Banner/Hulk would be the most likely option. Although a very successful character of the comic books The Incredible Hulk was the worst performer of Marvel’s films at the box office and there are no plans for another sole film for the big green monster so it wouldn’t be that much of a loss. However, after Mark Ruffalo’s incarnation of the Hulk it was proven that this conflicted character could be brought to life brilliantly on the big screen and it was Hulk who many people believe to have been the best character in The Avengers. It would upset a huge fan base if Hulk was killed but it makes smart business sense and would also offer a new dimension to Tony Stark after their new found friendship was formed in the ultimate team up movie.

CAPTAIN AMERICA – Captain America is the leader of the Avengers in the comics and this came to fruition towards the end of The Avengers also so it seems highly unlikely that the leader of the team would be killed off. This did happen in X-Men: The Last Stand though with both Professor X and Cyclops ‘dying’ and we all know how that film turned out so maybe killing off the leader isn’t the right way to go. I think that Captain America has fewer stories to tell though than the others and he doesn’t really bring anything to the table with his character because, yes, he is a very moral and very good guy and he probably keeps The Avengers on the right side of the line but I’m not sure how far they can explore his character in the modern day. Once he has adjusted to his new life, what can they do? Although in the comics they seem to have done a good job of keeping him fresh and ultimately popular so I could be wrong.

SHIELD AGENTS – This includes Nick Fury, Black Widow and Hawkeye. Nick Fury should be safe, he is the glue that brought the characters together and he is the head of SHIELD therefore making him necessary to the film franchise but if he only has cameos here and there then nobody will miss him really, although his loss of life would drastically affect the films. Black Widow is the only female character on the team and it seems as though there are no plans whatsoever to change that with ‘Phase 2’ unless Wasp is introduced in Ant-Man previous to Avengers 2. This makes Black Widow pretty much immortal for a fear of backlash from female fans. Couple this with the fact that Joss Whedon is famous for his strong female characters and Black Widow is pretty much the only safe character. Hawkeye was criminally underused and treated poorly in the original film and as a fan favourite character this was pretty hard on him. I hope that his part will grow in future films but he could just as easily be removed from the universe as, at the end of the day, he is just a man with a bow and arrow. Hawkeye is one of my favourite characters and it would be a shame to see him killed off. However, the point of killing a character off would be to develop more story and I’m not really sure how killing Hawkeye would have any impact on any characters other than Black Widow.

Of course, this is purely speculation and there have been no official statements of rumours saying that one of the central characters in The Avengers will be killed off. This is just one way they could go and the way that I would do it, but I didn’t just write and direct the third highest grossing film of all time so I doubt Joss Whedon will listen to me (even though he should).

But if it was up to me I would kill off Hulk or Captain America (cue uproar).

Cillian Murphy strikes me as being a very interesting performer; I have seen quite a few of his films and always find his performances enthralling and I consider him to be a fantastic actor. For a time, though, it seemed as though acting would not be Murphy’s destination in life as his first real passion for entertaining was music. When in his teens and early twenties he formed a band with his brother, most of their (small scale) successes came while they performed under the name of The Sons of Mr. Greengenes. In 1996 the band were offered a five album record deal by Acid Jazz Records which the Murphy brothers had to turn down because Cillian’s brother Paidi was still in school. Murphy went on to attend University College Cork where he studied law and failed his first year exams; the reason being he had ‘no ambition to do it’ and later admitted that within days of starting the course he knew law wasn’t going to be it for him. So he came to be an actor.

Murphy started off his acting career on the stage where he quickly got noticed and then started making several short films and independent films in his home land of Ireland, including On the Edge and How Harry Became a Tree. It was a role in the film version of Disco Pigs (a role that was Murphy’s debut on the stage too) that he has to thank for the way his career has panned out afterwards as it was his performance here that brought him to the attention of Danny Boyle. Boyle was looking for someone to cast in the lead role of his film 28 Days Later and Murphy seemed to fit the bill. 28 Days Later subsequently became a hit all over the world and put Murphy in front of the huge crowds he could only ever have imagined. His performance earned rave reviews and Boyle was hailed for finding such a talented unknown actor.

Murphy starred alongside Colin Farrell in Intermission which became the highest grossing Irish film at the Irish box office ever (the record was broken in 2006 but Intermission held it for a while nonetheless) and Murphy also bagged himself supporting roles in his first Hollywood features: Cold Mountain and The Girl With the Pearl Earring. Even with his new found fame and success Murphy still returned to the stage and toured Ireland in theatre roles proving that he still had great affection for his beginnings. Then he got a call that would change anyone’s career…

Cillian Murphy was asked to come and audition for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in 2005’s Batman Begins. Murphy himself suggested that he knew he wouldn’t get the part because he didn’t have the physique to play a superhero yet he went and auditioned anyway. Director Christopher Nolan was so impressed with his performance that he cast Cillian Murphy in the role of Dr. Jonathan Crane, Scarecrow, the villain. He also appeared as the villain in Red Eye, a thriller in which he was the antagonist to Rachel McAdams’ protagonist. Murphy received huge acclaim for his villainous roles and got himself a handful of nominations at several awards shows.

Making it big in Hollywood didn’t change Murphy though and he once again returned to his roots to make Irish film Breakfast on Pluto, in which he played a transgender Irish foundling in search of her mother. Murphy had actually auditioned for the role back in 2001 but director Neil Jordan was hesitant to make the film so soon after his earlier works; Murphy continually tried to get Jordan to make the film before Murphy was too old to play the part and Breakfast on Pluto was eventually made. I think that this shows Murphy has a serious passion for his career and is desperate to take on roles that will not only challenge him as an actor but also challenge that audience’s perception of Murphy.

In 2007 Cillian Murphy reteamed with Danny Boyle to make science fiction film Sunshine, in which Murphy had the lead role. This is the first film that I remember seeing Murphy in and actually knowing who he was and it was this performance that led me to search for some of his earlier works because I thought the film was fantastic and Murphy himself was brilliant to watch. Another director who clearly found Murphy a great actor to work with is Christopher Nolan as he not only cast him in his masterpiece Inception but also allowed Murphy to reprise his roles in his Batman sequels: The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.

And even appearing in one of the biggest, most loved and most successful trilogies of all time still can’t keep Cillian Murphy away from Ireland as he continues to ply his trade in independent cinema with turns in Perrier’s Bounty and Broken. Cillian Murphy is an actor who clearly loves his work and he has a very clear idea of how he wants his career to go as he aims to work with Michel Gondry, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep. Yet it is amazing that he still remains down to earth, very genuine, humble and homely; despite being friends with fellow Irish actors Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson Murphy’s closest friends remain those he had before he became successful, he keeps his private life just that which is why not many people may know him as they should. Best of all, I think, Murphy could have his pick of Hollywood films if he wanted but he won’t have because he refuses to move to Los Angeles full time because he doesn’t wish to distance himself from his family. What a nice guy!