Archive for December, 2012


UK Release Date: 22nd March 2013

Stars: Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders (directors), Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Cloris Leachman.

Plot: The Croods is a prehistoric comedy adventure that follows the world’s first family as they embark on a journey of a lifetime when the cave that has always shielded them from danger is destroyed. Traveling across a spectacular landscape, the Croods discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures — and their outlook is changed forever.

DreamWorks, in my opinion, has always been a bit hit and miss and some of it’s films, I find, are really over rated. Following this years Rise of the Guardians, a hit by all means, they are now releasing The Croods which, judging by this trailer, is a very very big miss.

The Croods seems to have had positive reception on forums across the internet but I cannot for the life of me see why. Judging from this trailer I think the three main voice actors (Cage, Stone, Reynolds) are horrible miscast although maybe their entire performance might change my mind. Their voices aren’t really the best for voice acting I don’t think and because they are three such big names at the minute I think audiences more familiar with their work may be taken away from the film by their involvement.

The trailer doesn’t do anything for me. We have a very boring first half which tries to explain a bit of back story, then we get the introduction to Reynold’s character and what seems like loads of very obvious jokes about fire. There were a couple of things that made me laugh and children will probably love it, but I think I’ll wait for it on DVD… a very cheap DVD… like 50p or less.

I look forward to being proven wrong about this though.

Forbes has released their figures this week of who the highest paid actors in Hollywood are… and it’s not good news for Eddie Murphy. The list piles together the salaries and profits of the films these actors and actresses have made in the last five years and the ‘overpaid’ part comes from how much their films make at the box office per every $1 the actor/actress is paid. Unfortunately for Eddie Murphy, the list does not take in to account voice acting because, according to Forbes, the star isn’t the major pull for animated films.

Here is the list in full:

Shut up and quit, Murphy.

1. Eddie Murphy

2. Katherine Heigl

3. Reese Witherspoon

4. Sandra Bullock

5. Jack Black

6. Nicolas Cage

7. Adam Sandler

8. Denzel Washington

9. Ben Stiller

10. Sarah Jessica-Parker

 

It should come as no surprise that Murphy tops the list, I mean when was the last time he really made a good live action film? He has been off the boil now for at least six years, going on 10. It’s also no surprise that Katherine Heigl appears so high up on the list; as much as I do like her as an actress she doesn’t half make some God awful films, not least One For the Money that I actually sat all the way through this year (medal please?).

The list seems to be made up of actors who have ‘lost it’. Murphy, Adam Sandler, Nicolas Cage, Jack Black, Ben Stiller and Sarah Jessica-Parker are a long time past their best but because they are big names they can still demand a high salary, despite their box office pull not being as strong as they might like to think.

Maybe those ridiculous Ghost Rider films had something to do with it.

The name I most unexpected to see on this list is Denzel Washington but I think that it makes sense he will be on here. I think that, especially in recent years, when you cast Denzel Washington you’re not casting him because you think he will bring in a large audience; you are casting him because you know you’re going to get a flawless performance in a dramatic piece: Flight and American Gangster are the best examples of this.

After the release of these statistics maybe some of these actors should think about stopping making movies… I’m looking at you Sandler!!

Black Swan (2010) Review

It’s getting towards that time of year when all of the big Oscar contenders are released to audiences. With that in mind I decided to recently sit down and finally watch Black Swan for the first time. You may remember that after its release Black Swan was talked about as a major contender at all awards ceremonies; Natalie Portman’s performance as the main character was well received and she went on to win the Best Actress award at every single ceremony, not a bad performance then.

Natalie Portman plays Nina Sayers, a ballet dancer that lands the lead role in her groups production of Swan Lake. Nina is perfect for the role of the White Swan but the lead role requires Nina to also play the Black Swan and as she becomes more and more like the Black Swan Nina begins to lose her mind. Portman is absolutely fantastic and she really plays the part perfectly, bringing with her this sense of a child-like, virgin pure, naive and innocent young dancer who is thrust into this role and is surrounded by highly charged sexual characters, not least Mila Kunis’s Lily. It is this role that led Mila Kunis to become one of the most desired women in the world and a certain scene with Natalie Portman is to thank for that, but Kunis’ performance on the whole is fantastic although it does seem as though she isn’t really in it that much as the drama focuses heavily on Portman. The leading man in Black Swan was Thomas Leroy, the man running the ballet company, played by Vincent Cassel. With such a strong performance from Portman it is easy to see why everyone else seems to be forgotten but Cassel’s performance was thoroughly enjoyable and he played the part so well and, in terms of how well the part was played, he was my favourite part of the film.

Black Swan was first talked about between Natalie Portman and director Darren Aronofsky back in 2000 so has worked out very well that it eventually became the masterpiece that it deserved to be. The way in which the film is shot is so wonderful, the use of mirrors, costume and colours really enhance the story telling for those looking beyond the surface of the screen. The imagery created by Aronofsky’s direction is superb and the deterioration of Nina’s mind really shines through.

I found the final half an hour of Black Swan to be one of the most enjoyable climax’s (I hate to use that word in the context of this film but it seems unavoidable) I have seen for a while. As a viewer you are always questioning what is real, what is Nina imagining and what is actually happening. And it seems that with every couple of minutes that unfold there is another surprise in store. Nina’s deterioration into madness is superbly shot and incredibly well handled in a way that makes it seem so haunting and disturbing.

Overall Black Swan is a very beautiful film and the whole of the cast puts in performance to be proud of. The only gripe I do have is that it seemed to be a bit of a slow starter and even though it built up suspense towards the end it did seem to lag at times.

My Rating: 8/10.

UK Release Date: 17th May 2013

Stars: JJ Abrams (director), Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Alice Eve.

Plot: After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

The poster for Star Trek Into Darkness was released earlier this week and that has been followed with this brilliant, action packed new trailer. There’s not a lot of things we can learn from this but one thing is that Cumberbatch’s unknown villain is out for “vengeance”, therefore making for a very interesting back story for the villain to have.

We don’t see too much of the crew of the Enterprise in their usual colour coded uniforms in the trailer and that might be an indication to the fact that Into Darkness may not be taking place in space that much. It seems as though a lot of the action will in fact take place on Earth.

This trailer does it’s job perfectly. Star Trek fans across the world have been waiting for their first real glimpse of action from the sequel and they will not be disappointed with this!

“In a race against time, a crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renown works of art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys it” – that is the true story synopsis of The Monuments Men, to be directed by George Clooney. Clooney will also be starring in the film alongside a rather impressive cast: Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville and Bob Balaban. The latest big name actor to join the project is good friend and previous co-star of Clooney’s Matt Damon. Clooney is also co-writing the feature and it is set to start shooting in Europe at the beginning of 2013.

It has long been confirmed speculation, although not actually confirmed, that Jamie Foxx would be playing the main villain Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Well this week it has been announced that what everyone already knew IS true. Foxx seems very excited to be playing the role and he should make for a good villain. Another piece of casting news was announced this week regarding the sequel and that is that Dane DeHaan, of Chronicle fame, will indeed be playing Harry Osborn. Like Foxx, DeHaan has been linked with the role for a while now so it is good to get some solid confirmation about it.

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger has made a swift return to acting since leaving his post as the governor of California, starring in The Expendables 2 and having an incredible four films slated for release in 2013. However, he will also be returning to Conan for The Legend of Conan. The Legend of Conan will not be a reboot or a remake but a catch-up with the old character, a greater hero story apparently. It will completely ignore the Jason Momoa update that was released earlier this year and absolutely flopped. Sylvester Stallone, a good friend of Arnie’s, has relatively good success when he brought back his famous characters (Rocky and Rambo) to the big screen a few years ago and Schwarzenegger will be hoping to do the same with Conan.

 

And how could I ignore the two posters that were released this week for two of the most hyped movies of the next year: Star Trek Into Darkness and Man of Steel.

Superman Into Darkness

Steinfeld made a name for herself as always being one of the best dressed stars on the red carpet.

In 2010, young actress Hailee Steinfeld burst into the world of film with a truly magnificent performance in True Grit alongside Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. Steinfeld’s performance in the Western was nominated for an Academy Award. The nomination strangely came in the category of Best Supporting Actress; strange because Steinfeld was really the only female character, logically making the lead actress er… Matt Damon. Anyway, since that performance Steinfeld has moved away from acting but looks set to return with a very busy schedule ahead for films released in the next couple of years.

Steinfeld began her career acting in short films at the age of 8, in order to gain experience of the acting industry. In 2009 she starred in the award winning short film She’s a Fox which featured at many international film festivals so people in the know really recognised her as a great talent even before True Grit hit the cinema screens. Clearly her talent shone through at the True Grit auditions as Hailee Steinfeld was chosen out of 15,000 girls to play the part of Mattie Ross, the girl who hires Jeff Bridges Deputy U.S. Marshall to find and kill the man who murdered her father. Steinfeld is also the actor granted the privilege of saying the name of the film in the film by telling Jeff Bridges that he has ‘true grit’.

After rising to fame through that performance Steinfeld went off the radar for a couple of years. You’ve got to imagine that a big reason for this was to concentrate on her studies; Steinfeld is, after all, just 15 years old at the time of writing. But she was also chosen to be the face of worldwide fashion brand Miu Miu for their 2011 campaign. But now she has returned with a whole host of projects coming up in 2013 and 2014, most notably perhaps landing the role of Juliet Capulet in Carlo Carlei’s retelling of the most famous love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet.

True Grit

Firstly though, Steinfeld is set to star alongside British starlet Keira Knightley and everyone’s favourite Incredible Hulk Mark Ruffalo in Can a Song Save Your Life? which, in all honesty, is something I probably won’t be watching. Another project Hateship, Friendship sees Steinfeld working with some more big Hollywood names in the form of Kristen Wiig and the rejuvenated Guy Pearce. The upcoming project I am most looking forward to that Steinfeld is involved in is Gavin Hood’s science fiction film Ender’s Game, slated for an autumn release in 2013. Although I am yet to be impressed with Hood’s direction (Rendition was an average, slow burning thriller, and the less said about X-Men Origins: Wolverine the better) but with a synopsis that reads “70 years after a horrific alien war, an unusually gifted child is sent to an advanced military school in space to prepare for a future invasion” it has grabbed my attention: it also stars science fiction heavyweight Harrison Ford who still has a huge fan following despite winning my award for most boring person in the world.

Hailee Steinfeld

Also this year Steinfeld appeared in the music video for The Cab’s single Endlessly

Steinfeld continues to work in 2014 with The Keeping Room, being directed by the same man who brought Harry Brown to the big screen back in 2009. She is also rumoured to be in the comedy Why We Broke Up although confirmation is still being awaited for that. And Steinfeld has recently been announced to star alongside Kevin Costner in the thriller Three Days to Kill being directed by McG (This Means War) and produced and written by action God Luc Beeson.

It is clear that despite the couple of years break that Steinfeld has had she has a huge career ahead of her. And even though she missed out on winning the Oscar for True Grit I think an Academy Award is more than certain for this huge talent.

Here are a collection of trailers for, what I think are, the best movies to be released in the UK this month and will be well worth a watch!

 

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS – 5th December

This is something I have been looking forward to since I first saw the trailer. An exciting cast that combines Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken all brought together by Martin McDonagh in his In Bruges follow up.

 

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY – 13th December

This is obviously the biggest film to be released this month and I’ve said enough about it already in previous posts so here is just one of the many TV spots for the epic Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings prequel.

 

SMASHED – 14th December

Mary Elizabeth Winstead and the brilliant Aaron Paul play a married couple whose bond is solely built on their love of alcohol. Their marriage is put to the test when the wife decides to get sober. Smashed has already been adored by critics and could serve as a little treat this December.

 

LIFE OF PI – 20th December

I was more than a little dubious when I watched the first trailer for Ang Lee’s adaptation of the epic novel but with the release of this second trailer I don’t see how anyone can doubt this. A clear Oscar contender for sure.

 

PITCH PERFECT – 21st December

Anna Kendrick stars (and sings on the soundtrack) in this obviously Glee inspired musical that has gone down well with critics and audiences alike in America. I found the trailer a lot funnier than I thought that I would and it does look really really fun.