Tag Archive: alan rickman


UK Release Date: 21st November 2012

Stars: Michael Hoffman (director), Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Cameron Diaz, Stanley Tucci

Plot: An art curator decides to seek revenge on his abusive boss by conning him into buying a fake Monet, but his plan requires the help of an eccentric and unpredictable Texas rodeo queen.

Unfortunately, this is not a trailer for a film based around the universally popular X-Men character of the same name, even though if you type ‘Gambit trailer’ into Youtube you will just be forced to watch Taylor Kitsch as Gambit for a few seconds. What this Gambit actually is is a remake of the 1966 Michael Caine film and this trailer is bound to put a smile on anyone’s face.

Written by Joel and Ethan Coen you are guaranteed a hit really, it just seems a shame that they’re not actually directing this one. But since the script is from them you can anticipate lots of humour and great characters. Michael Hoffman’s most recent film was The Last Station which managed to get Oscar nominations for both Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer, so maybe Hoffman can once again get the best out of his cast here.

The trailer for Gambit gives us plenty to look forward to in terms of a charming-as-ever Colin Firth and a hilarious and naked Alan Rickman; it also gives us something not to look forward to: Cameron Diaz putting on a ridiculously annoying accent as if she wasn’t irritating enough already! Luckily, the trailer puts across a suave sense of style and sophistication which Colin Firth can carry single handedly, but it looks as though Alan Rickman will be allowed to let loose and will be the cause of much laughter come the end of November.

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A VERY happy Mr. James Marsden

James Marsden is a recognisable face in the world of movies. Marsden has been in some very popular films of a couple of genres so it strikes me that he is not more famous than he is, but there is a very good reason (or very bad, depending on how you look at it) as to why his career hasn’t quite reached the heights that I thought it would earlier in his career. This reason is the cause of the title for this post and all will become clear in a few minutes.

James Paul Marsden began acting in the 1990s and his career began like so many others, with bit part appearances here and there in a number of, what can only be deemed unsuccessful, television shows. Luckily, in 1996 Marsden landing a lead role in family drama TV series Second Noah and this ran for two seasons, with a further three final episodes being commissioned after fan campaigns. After the shows cancellation Marsden moved into films; after a couple of made for television movies he appeared in Disturbing Behaviour alongside Katie Holmes (the film didn’t do very well) and then Gossip which only made half of its budget back and again failed. After this start it’s a wonder Marsden made it as big as he has done, but he could have been bigger. Here’s what happened…

In the year 2000, after the success of Blade, a movie was being made out of another popular Marvel property. It was of course, the best superhero team of all time, the X-Men. And James Marsden was cast in the role of Scott Summers, or as he is more popularly known Cyclops. This SHOULD have propelled James Marsden into a huge Hollywood star, should being the most important word here. Anyone who knows anything about the X-Men knows that Cyclops is the rightful leader of the X-Men. However, this was a characteristic drastically overlooked during the X-Men films (although this was the only real complaint I have about the first two films, the third is a different kettle of fish altogether). So really, Cyclops and James Marsden should have taken centre stage in one of the most successful trilogies of all time and would have rightfully become a household name; the unfortunate truth is that unless you take a real interest in the X-Men films or make a habit of watching romantic comedies, you probably won’t know who he is. Why? Simple.

Wolverine. The popularity of Wolverine among comic book fans is very rarely matched by another character and it is for this reason that in all three of the X-Men films featuring James Marsden Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine took centre stage. This forced the character of Cyclops into the background and he became a bit of an unimportant character, seemingly his only function was to marginally get in the way of Wolverine and Jean Grey’s romance and he didn’t even do that well. You can’t blame James Marsden for taking the part as leader of the X-Men but surely he would have hoped for a more heroic role in the films before tragically being sort of (I still don’t believe he actually died) killed off in X-Men: The Last Stand.

The reason for Cyclops disappearing in X-Men: The Last Stand was because James Marsden had taken a part in Superman Returns, another film in which he had a relatively small and unimportant part, there again to have his on screen ruined by the main hero of the piece (he does get a bit of bad luck this James Marsden chap) and of course Superman Returns disappeared into comic book movie obscurity rather unsurprisingly as it was very dull. But aside from comic book movies James Marsden has mainly stuck to romantic movies. He had a role in arguably one of the most popular films of all time – The Notebook. He has also starred in romantic comedies such as 27 Dresses and Sex Drive; the musical Hairspray; the fantasy half animated-half live action Enchanted and a film some critics called the worst of all time The Box.

This year, Marsden made a successful move back to television with a role in comedy 30 Rock although his time on television this time looks set to be short lived with 2013 having quite a few films slated for release with James Marsden attached. There’s dramedy As Cool As I Am, thriller The Loft, Enchanted 2 is in the pipeline to be made in the next couple of years. Perhaps the most exciting movie James Marsden is attached to at the minute though is something I am very much looking forward to and is a shoe-in for a few Oscar nominations when it is released. This is The Butler about the life of Cecil Gaines who served as White House butler to eight American presidents over three decades. The cast is full of real Hollywood stars and emerging talent: James Marsden, Forest Whitaker, Alan Rickman, Robyn Williams, Alex Pettyfer, Melissa Leo, Minka Kelly, John Cusack,  Jane Fonda, Terrence Howard, Liev Schreiber and Lenny Kravitz. James Marsden will be playing the great John F. Kennedy himself.

With The Butler, James Marsden has the chance to get the recognition he deserves and reach the heights of fame that he should have done a decade or so ago. If the films had been more true to the comic books with the X-Men then James Marsden would already have achieved so much more than he has. Of course, this isn’t to say that his career has been a washout because he has still had it pretty good; but if X-Men didn’t focus so much on Wolverine it could have all been so different for James Marsden. He never looks disappointed though, I’ve never seen a picture of him without a smile on his face!

James Marsden on set as John F. Kennedy – he’s either blinking or sneakily checking out Minka Kelly… you decide.

The Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings franchises are too of the highest grossing in cinematic history, with the boy wizard being ranked at number one. There is a lot of debate among fantasy fans as to which franchise is actually better and audiences tend to fall on one side or the other, rather than both.

There are many similarities between the two film series’: the unsuspecting hero (Harry and Frodo), the ever faithful best friend (Ron and Sam), the tale of friendship and companionship, both taking place in completely new worlds and the battle between good and evil. Both franchises are based on books by British authors, also; Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien.

Return of the King is joint holder of the most Oscar awards won by a single film.

If we go by recognition from the Academy Awards then there is, of course, a clear winner in terms of which film series is better. Whilst the Harry Potter series won the BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema, it received zero Oscars, despite six of the eight films being nominated for 12 between them. Lord of the Rings, however, was nominated for a total of 30 Oscars, winning 17 of them including best picture for Return of the King.

Throughout the course of the Harry Potter series it remained British in its casting. It made child stars of the main three newcomers Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson but accompanied them with some of the best British actors around. Some of the best include Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Julie Walters, Helena Bonham Carter and Maggie Smith.

Whilst some of the actors in Lord of the Rings are British Peter Jackson (director and creative mind behind the films) went abroad too for Elijah Wood and Viggo Mortensen. Lord of the Rings also combined the new actors and old actors by pairing Orlando Bloom with the likes of Ian McKellen and Sean Bean. So both film series have superb casts, there is no doubt about that.

Dobby won the hearts of audiences the world over throughout the Harry Potter series.

 

The special effects for both films are again fantastic. Both franchises had to create these brand new worlds for audiences. Harry Potter had it slightly easier because it’s world is still based in human territory really but did what it had to; the flying cars, Dobby the house elf, the massive basilisk, the whomping willow, werewolves and the brilliant scenes of the Quidditch World Cup.

 

Lord of the Rings created the Shire, Mordor, Mount Doom, Rohan and more. Making each place look as though it belonged on the screen and looking as though you could actually be there. The creative process that went into those scenes is unimaginable. And where Harry Potter created the basilisk and the house elves, Lord of the Rings created Gollum, the Balrog and Sauron himself.

There is no doubt that the two franchises are up there with the best of all time, but there is one factor that, I think, separates them. That is the rewatchability factor. When I like a film, really really like it, I want to watch it again and again and enjoy it as much as I did the first time. As much as I like Lord of the Rings every time I consider watching them again it dawns on me how long they are and as the first one is slightly slow paced it seems like a much daunting task than perhaps it is. This is even more true if you happen to own the extended cuts.

Millions of children have grown up with Harry, Ron and Hermione.

This is where Harry Potter triumphs, in my eyes, as each film is an enjoyable journey. Despite the story getting darker and darker as each film progresses the films manage to keep a light heartedness about it that makes it easy to watch, easy to follow and easy to watch again. As well as this, Harry Potter is something for the whole family to enjoy, whereas Lord of the Rings is perhaps targeted at a more mature audience.

As you might be able to tell, I fall into the category of Harry Potter fans. I do think that this series is better than the Lord of the Rings. This is not a slight on Lord of the Rings at all, as I still think it is a superb trilogy and look forward to The Hobbit later on this year. But for sentimental reasons, perhaps more than other reasons, I think that The Boy Who Lived will always be my favourite film series no matter how long I live.