Category: Debates


A few weeks ago I posted on Twitter (sarcastically) that in around twenty years time a reboot of Harry Potter would be made and Daniel Radcliffe would be limited to a cameo as one of the Hogwarts’ ghosts. And ever since I posted that tweet it seems like Warner Bros. and JK Rowling are doing their best to prove me right.

 

Everyone knows why Hollywood is obsessed with reboots and sequels: because they make money. A whole host of films have been rebooted recently including Clash of the Titans, Total Recall, Evil Dead and there are more in the pipeline: Oldboy, Robocop and Fantastic Four to name just a few. One of the biggest money making franchises ever was the Harry Potter series, and rightly so because it was a perfect franchise that managed to ignite the imaginations of audiences worldwide in a way that I haven’t seen matched in any way, shape or form. Anything branded under the Harry Potter umbrella is guaranteed success commercially, which makes expanding that universe ever so appealing to all the movie bigwigs.

Harry Potter’s story finished back in 2011 and already there are plans to milk the franchise dry for every penny it can possibly produce. That began with the announcement that JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be the spark that sets up a new series of films set in the wizarding world. And is it just me that thinks that is a horrible idea considering the book was released to raise money for the charity Comic Relief and the benefits of the film will more than likely be lining the pockets of Warner Bros. executives? But anyway, who has been asking for an adaptation of that book? I can barely remember the number of times I’ve heard people express their longing to see Newt Scamander on the big screen.. oh actually I can. Zero. This is probably the most obvious money making decision in the history of film making.

And that may not be the only Harry Potter spin-off in the works at Warner Bros. as news that they have trademarked Quidditch Through the Ages and Tales of Beedle the Bard has been announced. When quidditch first appeared in the Harry Potter films it was a revelation and the sequences of the game are fantastic, one of the highlights of the series but this is yet another money making scheme by expanding a universe that nobody has any interest in. The only thing Harry Potter fans want is to see another Harry Potter film, i.e. a film with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson playing Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

 

So how long can Warner Bros. appease fans with their explicit commercially led ventures and have no regard for the opinions of fans? My guess is not long (of course I could be wrong but lets see shall we). Soon Warner Bros. will be receiving millions of please for a new Harry Potter film and what will they do then? They will realise the amount of money they can make by remaking all eight of the films adapted from JK Rowling’s books and that reboot will be ultimately greenlit.

Even the most die hard fans of Harry and his friends had just come to accept that there would never be more adventures told of the boy wizard and that would be absolutely fine. But now this reignites the flames of desperation and it won’t be soon before Daniel Radcliffe is thrown out of the series and replaced with another eleven year old boy with a lightning bolt on his forehead and broken glasses abridge his nose.

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There have been rumblings through the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that there may be a female superhero leading their on film in the near future. Just a couple of weeks ago Katee Sackhoff of Battlestar Galactica fame claimed that her representatives had been meeting with Marvel sparking rumours of a Ms/Captain Marvel casting; now Natalie Portman has come out and claimed that she has heard there is a superheroine film ‘on the way’ (although how much we can trust Natalie Portman with Marvel information seems questionable being as though she made it known she wasn’t too keen on returning for Thor: The Dark World). Also, there seems to be a Peggy Carter television series in the pipeline after the success of short film Agent Carter, while Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy) will be getting a large role in the cinematic universe if they follow her comic book story. Marvel are clearly doing work to balance out the numbers between the male and females on The Avengers team so it seems likely that one of the untitled Marvel films (scheduled for a 2016 and 2017 release) could be lead a female. So who is most likely to fill that spot?

Katee Sackhoff seems like a good choice for the Ms Marvel role.

 

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow

Marvel are taking a huge risk if they go for a female led superhero film after the likes of Elektra and Catwoman went down like a lead balloon with critics and fans alike. And a Wonder Woman pilot as recent as last years got turned down by the studios. What seems like less of a risk is spinning off from the only female member of The Avengers, Black Widow. Scarlett Johansson is a star and has the ability to pull in a male and female audience. Joss Whedon has said that he loves the character of Black Widow and he is known for writing strong female characters. If Black Widow was to receive a solo film then it seems plausible that Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye could also be involved which he would seem to be up for after complaining about the tiny part he played in the first team-up film. A Black Widow film seems like it could work as a sort of female James Bond film which I don’t think anyone would complain about.

 

Carol Danvers/Ms Marvel

This is the big one. Ms Marvel seems to be the only real competition Marvel has to rival DC with Wonder Woman (although it is probably a fair comment that in terms of revolution and iconic standing nobody can rival Wonder Woman) but she is without a doubt one of my favourite characters from the Marvel comics. She would probably need to have her skill set trimmed down a little so she doesn’t seem like she’s all over the place but with super strength, durability and the ability to fly she could more than hold her own among the likes of Captain America and Iron Man. Ms Marvel’s original creation saw her on a quest to find out her identity and a sort of sole-searching hero is always popular with film audiences so it could work a treat if handled correctly.

 

Tandy Bowen and Ty Johnson/Cloak and Dagger

Now this is a bit of a long shot, but if Marvel are worried about a box office bomb with a female led film then why not make her part of a duo. Bringing Cloak and Dagger to the big screen would give Marvel a new female character and a new black character, although if this was the only reason to make this film then they should leave it alone; there is a lot more to these characters that makes their story a compelling one. Tandy and Ty are runaways from two completely different worlds (metaphorical, not literal) but gradually built up one of the best friendships in Marvel’s comic books. They gained their powers from drug trials (later retconned so they were born as mutants but Fox’s X-men rights prevents the word ‘mutant’ being used in the MCU). Cloak and Dagger are, believe it or not, more grounded and ‘realistic’ heroes and it seems like Marvel are going in a different angle with their cosmic phase three.

 

The other competitors…

Marvel have a large affinity of characters, male and female. Spider-Woman has long been a favourite of mine and although there is no connection between her and Peter Parker it seems unlikely that she would get a film while Sony were still making The Amazing Spider-Man. She-Hulk seems a logical choice because of the popularity of Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and an introduction to her in a solo Hulk film would make more sense than giving her a solo film. Making Pepper Potts into Rescue (as seen briefly in Iron Man 3) would be an interesting gamble on keeping the Iron Man franchise continuing, although Don Cheadle’s War Machine would probably get to take on the mantle if that was the case.

All the signs point to Ms Marvel being the best and most obvious choice but since when have Marvel been obvious? The Guardians of the Galaxy announcement certainly came as a shock to everyone.

Back in 1975 Jaws became the highest grossing film to date. It’s arguably one of the most famous films ever that has been parodied and referenced in countless numbers of films and has a theme tune that everyone can hum and recognise. The release and the popularity of Jaws marked the arrival of the summer blockbuster, which would become a staple in the cinema calendar; the summer blockbuster spots are reserved for the biggest studios to bring out the big guns and rake in the profits over summer. The whole idea of a ‘blockbuster film’ has gone through celebration and survived criticism but you can not deny that they are still apparent and, as we have seen this year, are the most bankable films of the year. But the originality has gone, and with that so has some of the fun.

Among the top ten highest grossing films of the year so far there are eight films that have been released in the summer. Only one of those is an original concept: Pacific Rim. When Jaws was released it marked a trend of ‘event’ films that major studios released to compete with Jaws and its sequels. Taking this into account Pacific Rim seems like a typical summer blockbuster remade for a modern audience. It seems like everything a summer audience want: mindless action, giant robots fighting gigantic aliens and what’s more the film had major clout behind it as it was directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Pacific Rim only just managed to double its budget worldwide despite all the hype surrounding it and Idris Elba booming “today we are cancelling the apocalypse” before every other summer film that you would go and see. Of course, one reason why Pacific Rim could have fallen short of expectations is because Michael Bay did such an awful job with the Transformers film that any film with robots in will now be tossed aside without thought.

 

But then a film with fighting robots also became the fifth highest grossing film of all time: Iron Man 3. So this seems to suggest that that was not the only reason for Pacific Rim‘s failure to make a huge impression on the audience. In a world with so many sequels it is becoming more important to see those sequels when they come out, especially with what Marvel are doing with each film becoming a huge stable of cinema in itself and an unmissable event. People want to see what they already know because the first films are so good and successful that it gives a sequel credibility before it is even released. The likes of Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast and Furious 6, Monsters University and even Despicable Me 2 cracked the top ten highest grossing films – all coming off the back of successful franchises or original films. World War Z and Man of Steel also join the list but they’re coming from hugely successful books and comic books. With World War Z it also seems to suggest that star power is also important for a summer blockbuster with Brad Pitt no doubt being responsible for some of the surprisingly huge audience the zombie action film found.

So what of Will Smith, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp? Three of the biggest movie stars on the planet absolutely tanked at the box office in 2013. Smith’s After Earth and Cruise’s Oblivion both seemed pretty similar in their basic premise: Earth has been abandoned and now Will Smith/Tom Cruise come back to Earth and find out that it’s not as bare as they might have thought. It was assumed that one film would take the spoils because they were too similar but as it turned out, neither film did and both failed. Johnny Depp looked to bring a new franchise to the big screen and should have been more successful being as though The Lone Ranger is integrated in popular culture – everyone has heard “Hi-Yo, Silver!” at least once in their lives. But a difficult time in production seemed to put an end to any plans Disney had of making a sequel. And the less said about R.I.P.D the better.

 

Another one of the most anticipated films of the year was Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium. After Blomkamp’s debut feature District 9 was an Oscar nominated film people were expecting something exceptional from Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. However, as of now it has only just managed to make back its budget and not set the world alight as people expected. Of course, a late summer release won’t have helped being as though it seems everyone had already spent their money on previously mentioned films. So why is it so hard to find a spot for originality in the summer months?

For me, I think it comes down to the cost of going to the cinema. Over summer the children are off school and people go to the cinema as a family. This means that you’re going to be spending around £25-£35 on tickets and then another £20ish on drinks and popcorn which makes it seem pretty expensive just to go and sit down for a couple of hours. Nobody wants to go and see a bad film at the cinema anyway but when it’s costing that much you want to know that you’re going to enjoy what you watch. Therefore, I believe people are more likely to go and see Iron Man 3 when Marvel have a spotless record and you’re guaranteed a great performance from Robert Downey Jr. rather than take a chance that something like R.I.P.D or Pacific Rim which you don’t know much about.

 

In the next couple of years we are going to see more Marvel films – Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015. The Man of Steel sequel featuring Batman is coming out too, the same as the seventh chapter of Star Wars and presumably a third in the new Star Trek trilogy: add to that another Fast & Furious film, a sequel to World War Z and X-Men: Days of Future Past. It seems like so many huge franchises are begging for people’s money that it seems impossible for anything new to turn heads. For the sake of cinema that has to change sooner rather than later.

The X-Men franchise is one of the biggest movie franchises in the world. With six movies released already, another one released in the next week or so and the latest, Days of Future Past, hitting a 2014 release, it should come as no surprise that the franchise has enjoyed the highs as well as suffered the lows. That is why, despite huge excitement from half of the fan base, the other half is looking at Days of Future Past with some skepticism.

The new and old of the X-Men franchise turn up for Comic Con.

When Matthew Vaughn was still attached he claimed that only one new mutant would be added to the cast and that the film would take place in the 70s, perhaps including the Kennedy assassination as a plot point. So not much would be changing, just a timeline shift. Then Vaughn left and Bryan Singer was brought back. A decision which itself split fans; yes, he made the critically loved X-Men and X2 but he also faced criticism for making Wolverine the centrepiece, banning comic books on set, ‘ruining’ characters and giving us two very poor superhero movies by leaving The Last Stand to make Superman Returns. As the man who first brought the X-Men to the big screen Singer immediately set out to bring back his old friends and subsequently brought back (deep breath) an older Professor X, older Magneto, Wolverine, Colossus, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Iceman and Storm while also adding Bolivar Trask, Bishop, Blink, Thunderbird and Quiksilver. Basically, took everything Vaughn had said before and did the complete opposite.

So Days of Future Past contains both X-Men teams. The originals and the team from First Class (minus a few of the characters Singer wanted nothing to do with, surprise surprise) and it will involve Wolverine being sent back in time to the First Class team in order to prevent the devastating future which the present day team now finds themselves in. A world where Sentinels have been created to eradicate all known mutants.

Colossus, Bishop, Professor X and Magneto in the first promo shot from Days of Future Past.

After Days of Future Past, what will happen to the teams? Does the X-Men universe then break into two strands? One containing the present team and one from the past? And where does the recently announced X-Force film fit into all of this? Presumably, the past team are able to prevent the destructive future from happening. This would lead you to guess that the film series would carry on with the First Class team as the team of the future would no longer exist, right? However, the sad thing is, I can see Days of Future Past ending with First Class doing whatever they need to and then the film skipping forward to this new future with the old team (or new team depending on how you look at it) and then Singer carrying on from there.

With Singer back at the helm and his first decision being to bring back the majority of people he had worked with before it does seem like if he stays in charge there will be only one direction this franchise moves in: Bryan Singer’s. The old team have been brought back together and it seems likely that this will be the one to go on, leaving James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult behind (although Fassbender and Lawrence probably won’t mind being as though they’ve actually got brilliant careers going for themselves). There are rumours that the X-Men franchise will be brought to an end eventually with an Age of Apocalypse film and if those rumours are to be believed then surely that will involve the present team and not the past.

Behind (literally) the scenes shot of Wolverine

The X-Men universe and continuity is already a joke. Therefore, having two strands of the universe going at the same time with two different teams, two different Xaviers and Magnetos seems on the whole like a horrifically bad idea. Surely, only one team moves forward, but which one? My hope is First Class. While I am pleased to see the original cast members coming back to get the send off they deserve after their reputation was tarnished by The Last Stand, that team has already had it’s day and told its stories; I want to see the younger Xavier and Magneto continue to transform into the people they become.

You won’t find many female directors among the big blockbuster films or many among mainstream films in general really. If you ask someone to name a female film director everybody could probably name one, some may even name two, but to name three or four would present a challenge to the majority of cinema audiences. I have put together this list of who I believe to be the best 5 female directors working today.

5. Andrea Arnold

Andrea Arnold made her debut with the twenty six minute long short film Wasp, which won her the Oscar for Best Short Film back in 2005. Her films have continued to create a great sense of poverty in Britain and she has gone on to direct Michael Fassbender in one of my favourite films of all time: Fish Tank.

Arnold’s previous 3 films: Red Road (2006); Fish Tank (2009); Wuthering Heights (2011)

4. Deepa Mehta

Mehta is an Indio-Canadian director who is most famous for her Elements trilogy which contained the films Fire, Earth and Water. These films tackled strong political issues in India and due to Mehta making Water from an outsiders point of view (looking back at India from her Canadian home) a lot of controversy was caused in the filming of the climax to her trilogy, involving riots and violence forcing the filming to move to Sri Lanka, rather than India.

Mehta’s previous 3 films: Water (2005); Heaven on Earth (2008); Midnight’s Children (2012)

3. Sofia Coppola

Daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia has carved out a very different path from the The Godfather director. She won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay after writing Lost in Translation, which was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. She continues to write and direct her own films with her latest, The Bling Ring, out this year.

Coppola’s previous 3 films: Marie Antoinette (2006); Somewhere (2010); The Bling Ring (2013)

2. Susanne Bier

Bier never seems to miss the mark with any of her pictures. Despite never being nominated for an Oscar in her career I can’t help but think that she should have been. Bier studied in Jerusalem and London before retuning to Denmark to attend film school. The majority of her films have been made in Scandinavia but she has dabbled in American cinema with Things We Lost in the Fire.

Bier’s previous 3 films: In A Better World (2010); Love Is All You Need (2012); Serena (2013)

1. Kathryn Bigelow

Could it be anyone else? Over the last couple of years Bigelow has become the major figurehead for female film makers. The Hurt Locker defied expectations to take home the Best Picture Oscar when up against Avatar and won Bigelow the Best Director Oscar over James Cameron. She was the first to take on the Osama Bin Laden manhunt with Zero Dark Thirty, which was also nominated for Best Picture. Her next project is unknown at the minute but the Bigelow name seems to be a sure signifier of quality in modern cinema.

Bigelow’s previous 3 films: K-19: The Widwomaker (2002); The Hurt Locker (2008); Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Marvel’s Phase Two is now underway with Iron Man 3 becoming the first movie of the year to gross over one billion dollars. With Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The First Avenger and Guardians of the Galaxy resulting in The Avengers 2 it looks to be another successful couple of years for Marvel. Then with Phase Three some new arrivals are set to touch down in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with Ant-Man and Doctor Strange making it to the big screen, and rumours Black Panther will be there, Marvel are taking risks developing new properties. Runaways seems to be a comic book that would fit beautifully into the world that the MCU has taken on.

For anyone not familiar with Runaways, it is one of the most exciting and innovative Marvel comic books in recent years. A group of teenagers find out that their parents make up the super villain group known as The Pride. These teenagers decide to run away from home and set about making up for their parents’ wrongs by becoming superheroes in their own right. Along the way they make some startling discoveries (one of them is a mutant, another a witch, one an alien, one owns a pet dinosaur) but their group dynamic makes for some very interesting reading and would make a great story on the big screen.

Back when the MCU was first coming together Runaways was one of the films under consideration: a script was being written (Drew Pearce actually got the job of co-writing Iron Man 3 due to the strength of his Runaways script), casting calls were put out and actors and actresses were even being contacted about the film. However, Marvel decided (rightly judging by the huge amount of money they have made) to focus on bringing The Avengers to the big screen and as such the Runaways project was unfortunately shelved. Recently though, Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige stated that a Runaways film is being developed along with Ms. Marvel and Iron Fist among others.

So why is Runaways such a good choice? Well the comic book series is laden with references to the wider universe. The teenagers themselves are fans of superheroes like Spider-Man and Hulk, in fact it begins with them role playing as other Marvel superheroes. In a universe like the one Marvel has created with their films it is obvious that children will want to imitate these heroes and they will have an effect on ordinary people, which could be explored in Runaways.

Up to this point, the effect that these films has on the wider world has not been touched upon all that much. That may change with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D television series but it can also be shown in Runaways. The way that Runaways could intertwine with other Marvel characters and franchises would be different to everything that has been done so far. With Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk the movies just focus on the primary characters with nothing else really being explored; Runaways opens up the door for a self referencing corner of their universe where other films can be discussed as well as allowing this new team to have their own stories.

More importantly, with the popularity of Runaways it would be guaranteed to be a financial hit (lets face it, anything with Marvel attached to it is going to make money right now) but it is not a safe choice. This would be their first film featuring adolescent protagonists and can discuss more social and personal issues than the science of Iron Man or magic of Thor allow for. It would take the MCU to a grittier corner where everything isn’t always fine and where fighting your parents or dealing with an ultimate betrayal is everyday life.
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The final half of Breaking Bad‘s fifth series is set to air later this year drawing one of the best television series ever to a close. Aaron Paul has been in it from the beginning and his portrayal of Jesse Pinkman has been one of the highlights of the show for me: his over use of the words ‘bitch’ and ‘yo’ has always been enjoyable to hear and, next to the quite frankly unlikeable Walter White, you can’t help but like Jesse and be amazed at how Paul holds his own in scenes with co-stars Bryan Cranston and Giancarlo Esposito.

Before Breaking Bad Paul began his career appearing in the odd episode of television series’ like NYPD Blue, ER and Veronica Mars and he did appear in a few films, although nothing really ground breaking: Mission Impossible III, The Last House on the Left. Breaking Bad thrust him into the limelight and his acting has earned him rave reviews as well as the achievement of winning 2 Primetime Emmys as well as being nominated for another. Aaron Paul’s acting is incredibly intense and I really do enjoy watching him in Breaking Bad. With Bryan Cranston getting supporting roles in a number of Hollywood films it shouldn’t take long to see Paul star in some either. In fact it’s already beginning…

This year Paul has 3 films out, 2 with a limited release to America have already been released and not caused any real waves but his next two projects seem like they could make his movie career. The first is an adaptation of Nick Hornby (About a Boy, An Education) novel A Long Way Down. This is a drama about four people who happen to meet on New Year’s Eve when they all separately plan to throw themselves off a building to their death; instead, they form a surrogate family and help each other through their problems. Paul will be alongside the likes of Rosamund Pike and Piers Brosnan here and A Long Way Down will certainly find an audience which will mean that Paul will get noticed for his sure to be great dramatic performance: he thrives with drama in Breaking Bad and I think if he followed the drama route in his film roles he could win an Oscar later in his career.

Although, Paul could go down the path of becoming an action star. Next year an adaptation of the video game series Need for Speed is going to be released and Aaron Paul is to be the star. I’m not sure how Need for Speed will go down with the Fast & Furious franchise getting stronger with every installment.

Can Aaron Paul pull an audience on his own though? I don’t think so. There will be a lot of people (like me) who would go and see a film just to see Aaron Paul and Breaking Bad has obviously had a lot of recognition so could serve as one of the best platforms ever to launch a Hollywood career. One good role could see Paul become one of the most sought after men on the planet. Need for Speed could do that depending on how it is handled.

With the growing impact of comic book movies on the movie industry I think Paul would benefit from joining Marvel’s cinematic universe. I have previously expressed my desire to see him cast in the Fantastic Four reboot as Human Torch but I would love to see him get a part that would be a guaranteed hit. On the other hand though, I would love to see Aaron Paul get the career he deserves on his merit alone; he is one of the finest actors I have ever seen in a television show and I always thoroughly enjoy him on screen. I look forward to seeing what’s next for him.

A couple of days ago I posted The Best Actors Over the Age of 65. It was a list that put together eight of the most talented older actors still working in movies together. However, there were a few people that I didn’t have room for. A lot of wonderful readers reacted positively and wanted a sequel so I thought… if it’s good enough for Hollywood, then it’s good enough for me! Here comes the second part…

Michael Douglas – Born: 25th September, 1944 – 68 years old.

Douglas appeared to slow down in terms of his acting at the turn of the 21st century but in the past twelve months and in the coming year he looks to be speeding up once more. Most famously known for his role as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, a role he recently took on again for the sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. In the past few years he has continued to star in relatively good films such as The Sentinel and Haywire.

Al Pacino – Born: 25th April, 1940 – 72 years old.

Along with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino is synonymous with the crime genre. Appearances in The Godfather trilogy, a legendary role in Scarface and alongside the former in Heat have cemented his place as an acting legend. However, his two Oscar nominations have come for two of his most dramatic roles in Glengarry Glen Ross and Scent of a Woman (for which he won the Oscar). Recently he did his reputation a lot of harm and became a target for many jokes after a cameo in the disaster that was Jack & Jill but he looks set to get his reputation back playing the lead in King Lear.

Sir Patrick Stewart – Born: 13th July, 1940 – 72 years old.

One of the finest thespians ever seen. Patrick Stewart seems like an icon of maturity and has a voice as smooth as Morgan Freeman – a voice he has lent to American Dad which shows off his light hearted side too. He’s the man who was made in the mould exactly to fit the role of Professor X and it has become his most iconic role of recent times. Although he does more voice work these days he is returning to the wheelchair for Days of Future Past next year.

Martin Sheen – Born: 3rd August, 1940 – 72 years old.

Martin Sheen proved he still had the acting chops to cut it with the young’uns in The Amazing Spider-Man, in which he put in the best performance of the film as loveable Uncle Ben, contributing to one of the saddest/mood effecting scenes of summer 2012. He’s no stranger to brilliant films either, appearing in Catch Me If You Can and The Departed as well as, earlier in his career, Wall Street and Gandhi.

Dustin Hoffman – Born: 8th August, 1937 – 75 years old.

Hoffman is a really incredible actor. I don’t think that has ever been in doubt since he made his name in 1967 in The Graduate. He has had a career of terrific films right from the get go: Straw Dogs, All The President’s Men, Kramer vs. Kramer, Rain Man are just a few. In recent years he took a little move to comedy for Meet the Fockers but continues to do voice work for DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda series.

Burt Reynolds – Born: 11th February, 1936 – 77 years old.

Burt Reynolds’ film career has taken a bit of a back seat over the past few years with him focussing more on television roles, but his acting talent is still obvious. He was nominated for an Oscar back in 1998 for his supporting role in Boogie Nights and appeared in Adam Sandler’s last (probably ever) good film The Longest Yard. He’s been acting since the 1950s and has given no indication that he is ready to stop just yet.

Clint Eastwood – Born: 31st May, 1930 – 82 years old.

A list like this wouldn’t be complete without Clint Eastwood. He is one of the most popular movie legends of all tine thanks to his roles in Westerns such as A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and his role as Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry and its sequels. Although he has now given up acting to focus more on directing he did return for Trouble With the Curve last year to remind everyone what they were missing.

Sir Christopher Lee – Born: 27th May, 1922 – 90 years old.

At 90 years old Christopher Lee is an actor who is just as great to watch now as he was at the beginning of his career. Incredibly, Lee has been acting since the 1940s, meaning this is the seventh decade that we will have seen him on screen for. If any young actors are looking for inspiration then this man has to be at the top of the list. He helped to make British horror films popular with his role as Dracula in a string of Hammer Horror films and he went on to star in two of the most popular franchises of all time: The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) and Star Wars.

The entertainment industry is an incredibly fickle one; one bad movie can see you go from the top of your game to the discard pile as quick as a flash. So it takes incredible determination, talent and motivation to continue on acting for so many years. 65 is usually the age of retirement over here in Britain but here are a few actors who show no signs of slowing down as they get older, just continuing to get better with age.

Robert De Niro – Born: August 17, 1943 – 69 years old.

This man really does need very little introduction. He’s been acting since the 1960’s but really made his name in the 70s with performances in The Godfather trilogy and of course his iconic performance as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. He’s become associated largely with gangster films but in the last decade or two he’s been slightly less picky with his roles and has taken fun roles rather than the intense ones he used to, as witnessed in Stardust and Meet the Parents. Five releases are slated for this year with more coming in 2014.

Sir Ben Kingsley – Born: 31st December, 1943 – 69 years old.

It’s actually unbelievable that Sir Ben Kingsley was once in English soap opera Coronation Street. Kingsley is often forgotten by mainstream audiences but he is clearly one of the best actors that England have ever produced. He won an Oscar for his role in Ghandi and continues to show his versatility with recent roles in Hugo, Shutter Island and Sexy Beast. Kingsley can now be seen playing Mandarin in Iron Man 3.

Sir Ian McKellen – Born: 25th May, 1939 – 73 years old.

McKellen is a true thespian. It took until the late 80s/early 90s really until McKellen became a certified film star and his career continues to thrive; really, since the turn of the century McKellen has become an actor that all different types of audiences want to see. He has shown off his talents in two iconic roles in particular, Magneto in X-Men and Gandalf in Lord of the Rings (a role he has reprised for The Hobbit trilogy), while at the same time continuing to do short films and television work as well.

Jack Nicholson – Born: 22nd April, 1937 – 75 years old.

What is there left to say about Jack Nicholson that hasn’t been said before? He is undoubtedly one of the best actors that has ever worked. That’s just a simple fact of life. He’s been acting since the 1950s and although he is taking longer breaks between work at the minute that doesn’t mean he is getting any worse. Over the years Nicholson has won three (THREE!) Oscars for his work and turned out great performances in the likes of The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Batman and The Departed. That’s a career well spent.

Morgan Freeman – Born: 1st June, 1937 – 75 years old.

He’s probably the only man in the world that people could just listen to every single day and never get bored. Has Morgan Freeman really ever been young? A lot of Freeman’s work up until the 90s was largely television work but what a decade the 90s became for him: Unforgiven, The Shawshank Redemption and Se7en saw Freeman in quite an incredible rise to fame. One that continues thanks to his role in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy.

Robert Redford – Born: 18th August, 1936 – 76 years old.

Redford has slowed down in recent years but he is not only an acclaimed actor but also has been nominated for Oscars for his directing as well (and won). This is a man who starred in some of the most famous films of all time: The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He’s made something of a return to acting in the last couple of years with The Company You Keep (2012), All is Lost (2013) and he is set to appear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).

Sir Michael Caine – Born: 14th March, 1933 – 80 years old.

This year, the great actor turned eighty years old. Unbelievable considering the energy and the emotion that he still brings to all of his characters. Michael Caine has a filmography to rival anybody, he really has reached the top of his game and been there for decades as well now! The Italian Job, Zulu, Alfie, Get Carter, Hannah and Her Sisters and of course more recently he has become a regular collaborator with Christopher Nolan: The Dark Knight trilogy, The Prestige and Inception. A true legend of the acting world.

Christopher Plummer – Born: 13th December, 1929 – 83 years old.

Remember The Sound of Music? One of the most iconic films of all time? Released in 1965? Well Christopher Plummer was in that. And his career is one that seems to have really got better with age and has, in fact, flourished since the beginning of the 21st century. He has recently had roles in A Beautiful Mind, Nicholas Nickleby, National Treasure, Syriana, Up, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and finally won an Oscar in 2012 for his role in Beginners.

These actors are true legends of their profession.

Last week saw the release of the latest (brilliant) trailer for Iron Man 3. It looks as though this is going to be Marvel’s best stand alone film to date and will no doubt be packed full of brilliant moments featuring Tony Stark. With that in mind I decided to look over Stark’s four previous film appearances and pick out his best parts.

10. Court Scene – Iron Man 2

I think that this is a scene that really plays to Tony Stark’s character. Despite being in a formal setting where he is pretty much being attacked by the American government, Stark fails to take the situation seriously and instead decides to crack a few one liners and plays up for an audience reaction.

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9. Tony ‘suits-up’ whilst falling – The Avengers

During the events of The Avengers, after an exchange that also features on this list, Tony is thrown from a window by Loki. It is during this fall that we find out Tony’s technology has come a long way since Iron Man Mark I as his suit flies out of the building and latches onto him moments before he hits a crowded area of pavement that would surely kill him.

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8. “What if I told you we were putting a team together?” – The Incredible Hulk

It’s the scene that first shows Marvel’s multi-strand franchise. A great entrance from Tony Stark and showing that he is willing to work as part of a team, despite his huge ego!

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7. Iron Man’s First Flight – Iron Man

Every superhero scene has that moment where the protagonist masters their ability. Here we have Stark testing out his new suit and pushing it to the extremes as well as getting the hang of flying. With additional comedy landing.

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6. “We have a Hulk” – The Avengers

This is one of the best moments of The Avengers in my opinion. You have the most cunning person in the universe (Loki) in an exchange of words with master wordsmith and one-liner expert, Tony Stark. Full of charm and wit as always.

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5. The Suit Case – Iron Man 2

Before Tony could call his suit to him while he was falling out of buildings he was able to carry it around in a suitcase. Easily one of the coolest gadgets to ever grace the big screen!

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4. Break-Out Cave – Iron Man

This is the Iron Man Mark I armour. Now we really see how smart Stark is at his ability to construct this incredible suit while trapped in a cave. The first time we see Stark using his new weapon and generally just busting out using nothing but brute force.

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3. “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” – The Avengers

It’s the line that has become the most quoted line from a Marvel film ever (probably). It’s how Stark’s fans have come to affectionately know him by and you can’t help but smile at Stark’s overindulging ego.

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2. Saving the world – The Avengers

It doesn’t come much bigger than saving the world. Tony has come such a long way since the first Iron Man film and is now willing to sacrifice himself to save the rest of New York’s population. Stark genuinely believes that he is going to die and this just shows how developed a character he has become over the journey of his existence on screen.

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1. “I am Iron Man” – Iron Man

Not a lot really tops saving the world but I think that this does. In arguably the most satisfying scene of Iron Man Tony Stark admits his alter ego. This is not something that usually happens in superhero films but it completely fits in with Stark’s ego-fuelling attitude and is completely in character. It’s a beautiful ending to a fantastic film!