Tag Archive: america


UK Release Date: 5th October 2012.

Stars: Josh Radnor (director & actor), Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, Zac Efron.

Plot: When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor’s retirement party, he falls for Zibby (is that really a name?), a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them.

Josh Radnor is best known as the romantic relationship chasing and hopeless Ted Mosby on American sitcom How I Met Your Mother but this is his second feature length film as director, writer and actor. The first was Happythankyoumoreplease back in 2010 which, just like Liberal Arts, was a romantic comedy.

I think the trailer for Liberal Arts is very good and it looks as though it could be one of the most beautiful films of the year. It does have the feel of a small independent film and I think the trailer shows that the love story between Radnor’s and Olsen’s characters will be a great one; you get a good indication from the trailer that the chemistry is very real between them.

The story may seem a little bit recycled: teacher falls for a student. That’s because it is. But nonetheless it does make for interesting viewings and a lot of premises seem similar but it is the characters that are different and the journey that they go on that keeps audiences interested. Liberal Arts will have a limited release so it won’t attract large audiences but I think it could be a hidden little gem in a year where big blockbusters and franchises have been the talk of the cinema.

After the tragic loss of action director Tony Scott a few weeks ago this is another sad week for Hollywood. The incredible Michael Clarke Duncan has sadly passed away just two months after suffering a heart attack that he never really fully recovered from. It’s horrible news especially considering the fact that news reports have emerged that Duncan and his reality television personality girlfriend planned on getting married next year and had talked about having children together. Michael Clarke Duncan is best known for his role in The Green Mile which he was Oscar nominated for but he also starred in Sin City, The Green Lantern and Armageddon.

In other news there is yet another film in pre-production about former American president Abraham Lincoln. This follows the unique take on the 16th president Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and the upcoming Steven Spielberg biopic starring the hyphenated cast of Daniel Day-Lewis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt entitled Lincoln. The title of the new film is The Green Blade Rises and will be directed by Terrence Malick. In the past Malick has taken long gaps between his films but his schedule seems to be pretty busy for the next two or three years. It’ll be interesting to see whether the success of Spielberg’s Lincoln affects this new take positively or negatively, if even at all.

Daniel Day-Lewis as President Lincoln

As many people will know by now The Hobbit has been announced as a trilogy and there has been a release date and title change for the films. The first part, out later this year, will still be named An Unexpected Journey. The second instalment will be titled The Desolation of Smaug to be released around Christmas 2013 whilst the third and final (for now) chapter adopts the name There and Back Again (originally the title for the second film) and will hit summer 2014.

Michael Bay continued to ruin childhoods this past week. He managed to anger Transformers fans when he continued to make each film worse than the previous one and then angered Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans by deciding their new origin would be that they are aliens from another planet. Now the terrible explosion happy director has had to come out and deny that the leaked script for the new TMNT film is actually the final one because everyone who is anyone has been slating it and saying how awful it is. Michael Bay has a lot of work on his hands and is quickly becoming very very unpopular among movie fans and anyone with taste.

I actually enjoyed the most recent CGI outing of TMNT.

Finally, it has been in the pipeline for some time but it has now been announced that Metal Gear Solid, the hugely successful video game, is to be adapted into a film. Avi Arad, who has produced almost every single movie about a Marvel character, will be producing the film. Metal Gear Solid has already been integrated into a hilarious comedy routine by Dara O’Briain but will it be turned into a film just as good? The main problem is who should play main character Snake? Some of the names being touted around fan forums so far include Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Bradley Cooper and Sam Worthington. The favourite and specifically mentioned by the games creator Hideo Kojima seems to be Hugh Jackman. I think Jackman would be a great choice as he can clearly pull off being a bad ass like he has done in the X-Men films playing Wolverine. But if they are to get Jackman they need to start moving forward with the project soon before he gets too old.

Stars: Kathryn Bigelow (director), Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Scott Adkins, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt, Harold Perrineau.

Plot: The Navy SEAL Team 6 tracks down wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden.

Two years after becoming the first woman in history to win the Oscar for Best Director ( for The Hurt Locker, which also won Best Film) Kathryn Bigelow teams up again with writer Mark Boal to bring this dramatisation about the monumental day in history when arguably one of the most infamous international criminals and terrorists was killed in what the trailer describes as ‘the greatest manhunt of all time’.

There are a few recognisable faces among the cast but not many names people will be familiar with; the most notable probably being Jessica Chastain (who will be appearing later this year in the highly anticipated western Lawless). Mark Strong seems to be Hollywood’s go to guy for a villain so it will be interesting to see who he plays. I was surprised to see Harold Perrineau among the cast as he is just one of the many men who has to live his life always being known as “that guy from LOST“. However, with The Hurt Locker relatively unknown actors were used and Jeremy Renner is now a wanted name in the movie industry so it will be good to see if there is a break out star from Zero Dark Thirty too.

The story is one that people want to know of course. The world rejoiced when Bin Laden was killed and no sooner had his death been reported had Hollywood began plans to turn it into a film, to direct I think Bigelow is a very good choice. However, I am very sceptical about how true to life the film will be as it is very unlikely that the general public will ever really know what happened and it seems very unlikely that they would show the American government in a bad light.

As for the trailer itself I think it is very promising; it is only a teaser but it has made me very interested. Not a lot of footage is shown but you can tell there will be a thriller element to it and I would expect it to be as good, if not better, than The Hurt Locker which I very much enjoyed!

As it is Johnny Depp’s birthday (can you actually believe he is 49!?) I have decided to compile a list of what I think are his greatest ever movie roles. Depp has been acting since 1984 but I have decided to limit my choices to just five.

 

5. George Jung in Blow.

Johnny Depp plays George Jung in the biopic drama of the man who established the American cocaine market in the 1970s. As well as I can remember this is the first movie that I actually saw Johnny Depp in and since then I have been a fan of his. His portrayal as the drug smuggler here is an excellent one and I think Blow is often forgotten in favour for some of his more commercial work.

 

4. John Dillinger in Public Enemies.

This is another biopic where Johnny Depp plays the star; this time he portrays the notorious bank robber during his final years whilst being pursued by the FBI. The performance by Depp is something new entirely, he doesn’t try to recreate gangsters that have been seen on the screen before him as so many actors in modern gangster films try to do. Instead, Depp brings his own voice, walk and character to Dillinger; he plays him as a fact, as the cold hearted gangster and bank robber that history writes him as. Fantastic performance in yet another under rated film.

 

3. Rango in Rango.

Johnny Depp has only done voice acting twice in movies; The Corpse Bride and Rango. This was something relatively different for him. People are used to being able to look at Johnny Depp on the big screen when they go to see his movies, it’s what draws in probably half of the audience. Fortunately though, Depp gives a fantastic, colourful and vibrant performance as the ‘cowboy chameleon’ in a very enjoyable film.

 

2. Edward Scissorhands in Edward Scissorhands.

Released in 1990, this was one of Depp’s first major film roles and to this day remains one of his most iconic. We see Depp here create the character of Edward Scissorhands as a victim and his performance really helps the audience to feel for his character. I think that this is one of Johnny Depp’s most personal performances and it comes in a fantastic film. It also began the long working relationship between Depp and director Tim Burton.

 

1. Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Curse of the Black Pearl is something very special and is probably up there with my most enjoyable films; Dead Man’s Chest is good and very watchable; At World’s End is mind-numbingly dull and very confusing and who even cares that they made a fourth? As the quality of the movies in the Pirates franchise has declined Depp’s performance remains a staple in popular culture. This is probably his best and most iconic role of all time. Depp excels himself when he puts on the costume for Jack Sparrow and loses himself in the character, he creates a fantastic persona and it is a character that, given the right film, is one of the best characters ever created on film. Depp also loves playing Jack Sparrow and is the only character that he has ever portrayed on more than one occasion (perhaps proving that he should stick to playing characters just the once). But even if the films are not that good anymore people will still see them for Johnny Depp in his finest performances as Captain Jack Sparrow.

Django Unchained is the upcoming western film from critically acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino. It is set for a Christmas release in the States and has a release date of January 18th 2013 here in the UK but so far, very little has been seen from the film. For a film that is already all but guaranteed success being a Tarantino film it is unusual that we have heard little of it; no trailer has been released and limited set photos and official photos have been seen but it is one of the films I am most looking forward to seeing in the next year and here is why:

The Story: Django Unchained is set in the deep south of America and follows Django, a freed slave who travels across America with dentist turned bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. Together, they try to retrieve Django’s wife from the charming but sadistic plantation owner Calvin Candie and his band of ruthless slavers. It sounds like a good old revenge story, something which Quentin Tarantino has done excellently before with the wonderful Inglorious Basterds and possibly my favourite Tarantino film: Kill Bill.

The Genre: This is Tarantino’s first Western. Having dipped his toe in the action, crime, war and thriller genres he now turns his hand to this. The western is the oldest genre of film and cinema owes its heritage to the genre. However, recent westerns such as Appaloosa, The Assassination of Jesse James and 3:10 to Yuma haven’t been critical successes (despite the last two being brilliant films) and maybe the audience has grown tired with the genre as it offers nothing new really. Recently, sci-fi has taken over as the dominant genre of film in cinema but Tarantino obviously just sees that as a challenge.

 

The Cast: Regular Tarantino collaborator Samuel L. Jackson is on board (no surprises there) but in the main role is Jamie Foxx. Foxx seems to split opinion between film fans and it is obvious why, his back catalogue of films leaves a lot to be desired but he does have one Oscar win and another nomination to his name, proving that he does have the talent and Tarantino could easily get the best out of him.

Playing the villain of the piece is the phenomenal Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio started out as a young heartthrob but has developed into a fine actor and seems to get better and better with every film he makes; working with such a highly rated director could give DiCaprio the chance to win the Oscar he longs for. Playing the German bounty hunter is Christoph Waltz who, of course, won an Oscar for Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds where he put in a great performance and I think the same can be expected here. The supporting cast includes James Remar, Kerry Washington and James Russo, all well established actors themselves.

The Director: Everybody knows Quentin Tarantino and everybody on the planet should have seen at least one of his films during their lifetime. Ever since Tarantino made his directorial debut he has churned out success after success with Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and Inglorious Basterds. He is yet to falter in the world of film making and so that pretty much nails success to Django Unchained. Everything that he touches turns to gold and, as a big fan of the Western genre, I hope he has the same effect here. His very unique style and love for action, dialogue and story make his films a delight to watch and Django Unchained should be fantastic!

Django Unchained comes out in less than a year, spot on for Oscar contenders and you have to imagine that this would be a tactical move by Tarantino and the studio. In the build up to its release we can hope for a lot of trailers and more pictures to be revealed soon which will almost certainly raise the hype for Django Unchained.