Tag Archive: ang lee


With the success of Skyfall and Sam Mendes’ direction it appears that the James Bond franchise is now in an enviable position. For the first time in a few years, the director’s chair on the next Bond film is a coveted seat indeed and so far, only A-list directors are being linked to the role. So let’s take a look at the possible candidates…
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SAM MENDES

Bond 23, or Skyfall if you want to call it by it’s proper name, broke into the top ten highest grossing films of all time and was loved by audiences and critics alike. Part of that reason was the direction which was masterfully handed by Sam Mendes. Early reports suggested that Mendes had refused to return for Bond 24 but if you believe what you read, Mendes is right back in the frame and surely should be the first choice.

What to expect if Mendes directs? Brilliant character development and lots of Oscar buzz but no Oscars.
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CHRISTOPHER NOLAN

From Memento right through to The Dark Knight Rises, every one of Nolan’s films has been critically acclaimed. The Dark Knight, under Nolan’s supervision, is arguably the best film of recent years and one of the best of all time. A technically gifted director who puts a great deal of thought into everything he does, if he gets his usual team of Jonathan Nolan and Wally Pfister together again, it could be a masterpiece.

What to expect if Nolan directs? Bond will either be dreaming, a twin or… Michael Caine.
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ANG LEE

Ang Lee hasn’t had it all his own way since he began making films in Hollywood but he does hit more often than he misses. Sam Mendes became the first Oscar winning director to direct a Bond film, how do you top that? Employ a man who has two Oscars. Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi both won Lee the Oscar for Best Director and would no doubt keep Bond at the elevated status Mendes has now given him.

What to expect if Lee directs? A touching love story between Bond and Q.
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NICOLAS WINDING REFN

Perhaps the least recognisable name on this list among mainstream audiences, Refn has had an extremely good few years. Since Pusher Refn has received critical acclaim and his 2011 film Drive became an instant classic and was loved for its character development and theme heavy plot. However, his most recent effort Only God Forgives has divided early audiences with its controversial content.

What to expect is Refn directs? Brutal fight scenes leaving Bond scarred for life on every limb.
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BEN AFFLECK

Affleck has not been linked with the director’s role… until now! Since shifting his focus from acting to directing Affleck has become hot property. Gone Baby Gone, The Town and the Oscar winning Argo have won Affleck a lot of fans, with his oversight for a nomination at the Oscars being one of the most controversial topics surrounding the ceremony this year.

What to expect is Affleck directs? Bond 24 to win Best Motion Picture but Affleck to not even be nominated.
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I’m pleased to see Affleck getting the recognition he deserves as a director.

The Golden Globes took place last night and Argo was the hit of the night winning Best Drama and won Ben Affleck Best Director. This would suggest that Argo is now the favourite to pick up the Best Picture Oscar (it was already many people’s favourites and this will just strengthen arguments) but will that be the case?

Argo will face tough competition at the 85th Academy Awards from Les Miserables in particular which picked up the Best Musical or Comedy Golden Globe last night. I’m not sure why the Golden Globes feels the need to separate films into drama and musical/comedy but that’s what they do and they infer that Argo will be going head to head with Les Miserables. The cynic in me still thinks that something like Lincoln or Zero Dark Thirty will get the win thanks to their very strong pro-American vibes. Last year, The Descendants and The Artist were the winners of Best Motion Picture Golden Globes and The Artist went on to stuff its face with more and more awards in the following weeks, I can’t see the same happening for Argo to the same extent but I wouldn’t say an Oscar is beyond doubt.

However, Ben Affleck is not even nominated for Best Director at the Oscars! I think the Best Director Oscar is well up for grabs and any of the five nominees (Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Michael Haneke, David O. Russell, Benh Zeitlin) could easily win it. But surely it says something that the winner of the Golden Globe for direction is not even nominated for the Academy Award? Personally, I though Affleck’s direction was one of the best features of Argo!

Lawrence is one of the youngest actresses to be nominated for an Academy Award and the Golden Globes suggest this could be her year.

The Best Actor Oscar looks set to be between Hugh Jackman and Daniel Day-Lewis and these are the two people I would have been backing before last night. I do hope that Daniel Day-Lewis wins the Oscar as he is clearly one of the best actors that his generation has seen, and I would go so far as to say he will go down as one of the greatest of all time. Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain will compete for the Best Actress award and Lawrence is nailed on favourite so it’s hard to look past her for this one.

The rest of the Golden Globes correctly predict the winners for me: Christopher Waltz for Best Supporting Actor, Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress, Adele to win for Best Original Song for Skyfall and Quentin Tarantino to win Best Screenplay.

In terms of the acting awards last year the Golden Globes were a certain prediction of the Oscar Awards but only time will tell if this year will follow suit.

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.

 

UK Release Date: 21st December 2012.

Stars: Ang Lee (director), Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Tobey Maguire, Gerard Depardieu.

Plot: The story of an Indian boy named Pi, a zookeeper’s son who finds himself in the company of a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a Bengal tiger after a shipwreck sets them adrift in the Pacific Ocean.

Life of Pi is an upcoming fantasy adventure film based on the award winning novel written by Yann Martel which is also the character that Tobey Maguire will be playing in this film but this is just one of the things that confuses me about this trailer.

There is lots to enjoy really if you’re into animals perhaps; I mean there is a zebra, a tiger, a whale, meerkats and more so that’s good I guess? I think the problem with this trailer is that it is made for people who have read the book. I have not read it. Therefore I am left confused by the trailer and to be honest I think by next week I will have forgotten all about it. However, upon reading people’s opinions over the internet there does seem to be an air of positive feeling and anticipation surrounding the film from fans of the original book. Unfortunately, the movie industry is worth a hell of a lot more money than the world of literature so if you’re going to make a big budget film based on a book you have to make it appeal to everyone, not just the readers of that book or else that’s one huge loss you’ll be making.

Footage of this film was shown at CinemaCon and went down really well as one of the highlights of the event so there must be something to it. Unfortunately I don’t have the slightest interest in this film at the minute; the trailer was boring, it wasn’t very good and didn’t peak my interest in the slightest. Who knows, maybe I’ll read the book and come to understand the trailer more but for now that’s what I think.

What Next For The Avengers?

With The Avengers now released in the UK and several other countries, and around a week away from the release in the US I decided to speculate on what would happen after this amazing event; where will the Avengers go next?

 

Iron Man 3 is set for a 2013 release.

Iron Man

There is a lot of casting news and fan buzz around Iron Man 3 at the minute and this is the project that we, as fans, know the most about at the minute. It will be loosely adapted from the comic book storyline of Extremis and will be directed and written by Shane Black. It will be interesting to see how Tony goes back to his own life after working as part of a team, to see if he has learnt anything new in his time with The Avengers but according to Kevin Feige Iron Man 3 will isolate Tony Stark.

 

 Thor

Thor 2 slated for 2013 release but this seems unlikely.

With Thor being back on Earth for The Avengers it is clearly possible for Thor to return to Earth, despite going back to Asgard at the end of the team up event. It’s unlikely that Loki will be the villain in Thor 2 after being the main villain in Thor and The Avengers; the villain that I would like to see would be Enchantress and possibly Executioner. The only thing is, Thor clearly still cares about Jane and asks about her in The Avengers but will Thor 2 be set on Earth or in one of the other nine realms. I would like to see more of the fantasy world and another realm but I would like the love story of Thor and Jane to relight as well.

 

Captain America

Captain America 2 has a realistic release date of 2014.

With Captain America now in the modern day it seems likely that Captain America 2 will be about getting Steve Rogers back into the world, which I think would be a great road to go down. I think that Cap’s story should be a character building story in the next instalment and how he copes with the changes to everything he once knew and believed. I would like to see a scene with Peggy Carter (which was cut from The Avengers) and it would be interesting to see if Nick Fury helps get Cap back into the world as well.

 

Hulk

The Hulk is the real star of The Avengers.

After Ang Lee’s version of the Hulk and Ed Norton’s version (which was largely outshone by every other Marvel feature to date really) it seems unlikely that The Hulk will receive another solo film, which is a shame because Mark Ruffalo’s interpretation of the character is really enjoyable in The Avengers. I would love to see Bruce Banner, not necessarily the Hulk, in the next Iron Man film with Banner and Stark striking up quite a nice friendship, although it is just as likely that Banner will continue to work with SHIELD.

 

Black Widow & Hawkeye

A backstory is hinted at and would be interesting to explore.

There have been rumours that both of these characters are in line for their own solo films following The Avengers but I find this highly unlikely. Hawkeye is not really given enough screen time to become an important character in the eyes of the movie audience (which is a shame because he is one of my favourite characters in the comics) and Black Widow, in my opinion, does not warrant a film for herself either, and with the drastic failures of female led super hero movies so far it would be quite the risk. Putting them both in a movie together and exploring their backstory and relationship would be interesting but I can’t see it happening. I expect we shall just be seeing them in terms of SHIELD agents from here on out.

 

Nick Fury & SHIELD

A Nick Fury film is on the cards.

A script is in the works for a Nick Fury solo film and there are plans for a SHIELD film as well. Personally I think that making the two would be a waste of time and money for Marvel. I think if a Nick Fury film is to be made with Samuel L Jackson it needs to combine the SHIELD movie as well. The film could still focus on Nick Fury but it would also be backed up by Hawkeye, Black Widow, Maria Hill and maybe even Bruce Banner if he works for them. This would be the best way to promote all of the ‘secondary characters’ of The Avengers.

 

But before all this, I urge everyone to go and see The Avengers! What a film!

Casting is a vital part of the film; if you get the wrong actor to play a character it can go horribly wrong and the whole movie could fail because of it. Never is this more true than in the world of comic book movies. Millions of fans all over the world are already in love with the characters before they are brought to the big screen and if you cast someone that the fans are not happy about they will not hold back, you shall know about it! But when casting goes right, it brings out some of the best performances and best characters in the world. Here are my top eight perfectly cast comic book movie characters.

8. Chris Evans as The Human Torch

Known to many comic book fans now as Captain America, Evans made his first appearance in comic book movies in the awful Fantastic Four films. Despite both films being criticised heavily by almost everyone, fans and critics alike, nobody could criticise Chris Evans as Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. He outperformed the rest of the cast by a country mile and bought a much needed charm and sense of humour to the role.

7. Ed Norton as Bruce Banner

When it was announced that Ed Norton would not return for The Avengers as Bruce Banner fans were outraged and with good reason. Norton’s performance as the troubled scientist who turns into the Incredible Hulk was brilliant. Norton had a lot of hard work to do because of the negative fan reaction to Ang Lee’s 2003 interpretation of the character but the casting of Norton and his incredible performance won the hearts of many Hulk fans.

6. J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson

The original Spider-man trilogy, directed by Sam Raimi, may not have been the most perfectly cast Spider-man film in the world but J.K Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson was a masterpiece. He looked identical to the comic book portrayal of the character and fans loved his performance. A highlight of the, soon to be rebooted, Spider-man franchise.

5. Christopher Reeve as Superman

Does this really need explaining? The man IS Superman. There has never been a better Superman before or since on neither the big screen or small screen. Reeve was an excellent casting as the Man of Steel and is still celebrated among comic book fans.

4. Heath Ledger as The Joker

Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his appearance as the Joker and rightfully so. Ledger managed to bring this psychotic vision of The Dark Knight’s arch nemesis to the screen and make him genuinely scary. It was a sad loss when he passed away but he will always be remembered as the Joker and one of comic book movie’s finest castings.

3. Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl

Many people don’t think of Kick-Ass when they think of comic book adaptations but this is where the origins of the story lie. Chloe Moretz is great as the ‘hero’ Hit Girl. She is a small girl who packs a powerful performance and is the star of Kick Ass without a doubt. She has a huge career ahead of her built on this performance.

2. Patrick Stewart as Professor X

Straight off, Patrick Stewart looks the part, down to a tee. But his performance further proves why he was the perfect choice to play the mentor to the X-men, Professor X. His calm and cool demeanour brought a lot of character to the role and then in the second instalment, X2 (one of the best comic book movies ever made) he was able to show off the emotional side to his character even more. And as well as that, his chemistry with Ian McKellen’s Magneto was a joy to behold. A fine casting decision.

And finally…

1. Robert Downey Jnr. as Tony Stark

Perfection!

The perfect casting of a comic book character if ever there was one. Downey Jnr doesn’t just play the character, he actually is Tony Stark. He has the look sorted; he has the charm, the wit, the charisma and you believe his intelligence. Iron Man was the beginning of the whole Marvel Universe which comes together this summer with The Avengers so a lot was riding on this first film and Robert Downey Jnr drew the plaudits right from the offset. Tony Stark came to life in the Iron Man films and made Downey Jnr a household name again; his performance was a joy to behold and I sincerely hope he is Tony Stark for a long time to come.

Honourable mentions

Ian McKellen – Magneto

Kelsey Grammer – Beast

Ron Perlman – Hellboy

Jackie Earl Haley – Rorschach

Anthony Hopkins – Odin