Tag Archive: british


As we know, there is a trend of bringing fairy tales to the big screen at the minute. So far there have been Little Red Riding Hood, Mirror Mirror and Snow White & The Huntsman. There is a Beauty & the Beast film in the pipeline but here we have Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, which is not by the same people as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, although it sounds as though it could well be. When this update of the classic fairy tale was first announced it did worry me a little as the title sounded a little corny and the set photos didn’t inspire much confidence. However, now that the trailer has been released I have changed my mind completely.

The casting for Hansel & Gretel does look very good, despite the big age difference between the actors playing the title characters even though they are both shown to be around the same age but we can overlook that. Jeremy Renner is the ‘it’ man around Hollywood right now and has recently given a restart to both the Mission: Impossible franchise and the Bourne franchise (I think he was a great replacement for Matt Damon) and he also played fan favourite Hawkeye in Marvel’s The Avengers. Alongside Renner as Hansel there is one of my favourite British actresses Gemma Arterton playing Gretel. Arterton has shown over the years how incredibly versatile she is and just how wonderful an actress she can be. Now we finally get a chance to see her kicking ass and in real fight scenes which is good news.

Unlike the previous adaptations of fairy tales what we have in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is not a retelling of the original story. This is why I think it could be better than all other fairy tale films that have been recently. Whereas both Mirror Mirror and Snow White & the Huntsman both told the origin story of Snow White so people knew what was coming, however Hansel & Gretel takes place 15 years after the fairy tale, fifteen years on from when Hansel & Gretel were almost killed by an evil witch. This means that there is a lot of space to play with as there is no specific end in mind as there are with other fairy tale stories.

The trailer has filled me with excitement about this film. There is a voice over from Jeremy Renner which isn’t your ordinary emotionless narration that you often get in trailers. The whole film looks like it really has got it’s genre nailed on, the scenery looks fantastic and it visually is a treat for the eyes. The trailer is action packed and you can clearly tell how the event fifteen years prior to the film affected Hansel and Gretel and it is fantastic to get a taste of the fight scenes that will appear in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.

 

 

How well Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters will do when it is released in January is difficult to estimate. I think that it could go either way but if marketed correctly it could go well, especially with Renner and Arterton in the main roles. Hopefully it will pick up the teenage audience which it appears to be aiming for but I know that I will be looking forward to it. I just hope it is as good as I want it to be!

UK Release Date: 3rd August 2012.

Stars: Yimou Zhang (director), Christian Bale, Ni Ni, Zhang Xinyi, Tong Dawei, Shigeo Kobayashi.

Plot: In 1937 China, during the second Sino-Japanese war, a mortician, John arrives at a Catholic church in Nanjing to prepare a priest for burial. Upon arrival he finds himself the lone adult among a group of convent girl students and prostitutes from a nearby brothel. When he finds himself in the unwanted position of protector of both groups from the horrors of the invading Japanese army, he discovers the meaning of sacrifice and honor.

You probably haven’t heard of any members of the cast of The Flowers of War other than Christian Bale but that shouldn’t come as any surprise as this is a huge made-in-China epic. Whilst you may not be familiar with the name of director Yimou Zhang you may be more familiar with a couple of his works; Jet Li’s Hero and the brilliant House of Flying Daggers made him a name to be noticed among the world of cinema in the early noughties.

It seems strange that Christian Bale is in a film with a load of Chinese people just because we are used to seeing him in American or British films but it becomes clear from reading some interviews that he found the experience very educational and entertaining and could help him bring another level to his acting ability. The Flowers of War, at an estimated budget of $90 million, is the most expensive production to ever come out of China.

The Flowers of War has already been released among many nations and is coming to the UK a little late. The film was actually shot before The Dark Knight Rises and perhaps they want to try and make money off the back of Bale’s popularity as Batman. Despite holding a 7.6 rating on IMDB The Flowers of War didn’t go down well with critics but was still nominated for the Golden Globe award for Best Foreign Language Film (it didn’t win). Go see it and make your own mind up though.

Cloud Atlas is getting noticed more and more this week as a few days ago a number of images were released onto the net from the film and now we have an incredible six minute trailer showcasing the vast scope that this story takes on. Here are a number of reasons as to why Cloud Atlas has no choice but to be an absolutely incredible film.

Cloud Atlas is based on the novel of the same name that was released back in 2004. The novel was written by British author David Mitchell (not the comedian). To this date Mitchell has written five novels, two of which have been nominated for the prestigious Booker Prize. Mitchell has received huge praise throughout his career for his work. Cloud Atlas is one of the novels that was nominated for the Booker Prize as well as being nominated also for the Nebula Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award among many others as well as actually winning the Literary Fiction Award at the British Books Award. The novel is clearly held in very very high regard and so turning it into a film will have a huge pressure on it, especially because of the nature of the story which itself is an intriguing piece of imagination.

The official synopsis of the film is thus: An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. This sounds fascinating itself but when you learn of the structure it becomes even more compelling. Cloud Atlas tells six nested stories, all of which are being read or observed by a character in the next story; it then mirrors itself as the second half to each story is revealed one after the other. This means that the cast are playing a number of characters through each time line and this structure is sure to make for a very exciting journey for the cast and audience, but it is going to take one hell of a good cast to make this work.

And a pretty good cast is what they have got for Cloud Atlas. Here we go: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, Jim Broadbent and James D’Arcy.  The cast is a wide range of careers as you have people like Tom Hanks and Halle Berry who are already accomplished actors and you have the wonderful Ben Whishaw who I am a huge fan of and really hoping his career takes off (he will also be playing Q in Skyfall).

Whishaw is destined to become a huge Hollywood property.

The budget is around $100 million and clearly a lot of that has gone to ensure that a cast capable of playing a number of characters over different times and places is gathered and it certainly looks like an ensemble to be excited about!

To direct a film with such a huge scope and with so much pressure with such a talented cast is no easy thing that’s for sure and Cloud Atlas has three directors! Will it be a case of the old proverb “too many cooks…” or will it work perfectly? I suspect the latter. Each of the three directors (Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski) combined to write the screenplay and they clearly have a lot of passion for the project. Because of the size of the project two units were needed to make sure the film was created to the best it could be: Tykwer directed one unit and the Wachowski siblings directed the other. Tykwer has experience with films with a number of narratives as he has previously directed the fantastic German film Run Lola Run. The Wachowski brothers directed The Matrix and it’s sequels so they can handle this vein of films very well too.

 

The six minute trailer is absolutely fantastic. It manages to give an idea of the film, bring together the themes and characters that Cloud Atlas will explore but does not give away any major plot details or spoilers and so it can really be enjoyed for its visual beauty. It is obvious that nothing has been held back as the special effects look absolutely stunning and the actors look as though they will be putting in a shift and a half. Not many people will know about this film yet but now they will have to; it is definitely going to be a big deal. If this is done right it could become known to be one of the greatest films of all time. It is a huge project but hopefully it will all be worth it in the end.

Hanks and Berry in one of their many guises.

I, for one, am very very excited for the arrival of Cloud Atlas. It is set to be released in October of this year however no specific date has been slated yet. The sooner it comes round the better!

This week the first trailer for Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot Man of Steel was released. In the starring role is British actor Henry Cavill. The role of Clark Kent and Superman is always going to be a huge one as he is one of the most famous and iconic characters ever created; the fact that the film is being produced by Christopher Nolan perhaps adds even more pressure onto the film itself too after his success with Batman. This film could make or break Cavill’s career: if it goes well Cavill will be leading a worldwide franchise and will have work set for the next few years, but if it goes wrong he could easily be thrown back into the pool of obscurity.

Henry Cavill is relatively new to this acting lark having really only made a name for himself in 2007. He starred in the films Tristan & Isolde and Stardust in this year but he was far from the leading man. It was in fact on television where Cavill got his big break, in British television drama The Tudors. Cavill starred in The Tudors up until 2010 and then went back to the world of movies full time. Last year he starred in Immortals which was deemed pretty average on all floors and this year he appeared in The Cold Light of Day alongside Bruce Willis so his career certainly seemed to be on the up before he was plucked from nowhere and chosen to don the tights and cape of Superman. It is a huge, very quick leap to the top that Cavill has made but this has not come without his fair share of bad luck and near misses that could have seen his career pan out very very differently.

Back in 2004 the Superman franchise saw an unsuccessful return to the big screen with Superman Returns. The film was eventually directed by Bryan Singer who dropped out of a third X-Men film in favour of the job. However, originally Superman was to be rebooted with Supernatural producer McG at the helm and when that was the case Henry Cavill was set to star as Superman, but when Singer dropped out so did Cavill and Brandon Routh replaced him. This was probably a lucky escape for Cavill because, well, where is Brandon Routh now?

Henry Cavill and his following probably aren’t huge fans of Robert Pattinson because of what happened next. In 2005, Cavill was the subject of a write-in effort made by Harry Potter fans in an attempt to get their man Cavill cast in the fourth instalment of the franchise Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as Cedric Diggory. As Potter fans will know Diggory has a huge part to play in Goblet of Fire and the success of these films surely would have helped boost Cavill’s profile. In 2008, Twilight was released. The author of these vampire romance books, Stephanie Meyer, claimed that Henry Cavill would be the “perfect Edward [Cullen]” and showed her preference to Cavill being cast in the lead male role. By the time production of the film began Cavill was deemed too old to play the part and lost out to Robert Pattinson once again who has gone on to become a world famous actor (despite his acting skills not being that good).

Cavill still has his eyes on the James Bond role once Daniel Craig leaves.

In 2005 MGM were looking for the man who was going to become the next James Bond for 2006’s Casino Royale. There was reportedly a list of 200 possible people to replace the outoging Pierce Brosnan. The man who eventually landed the life changing role was Daniel Craig, who actually turned down the job after the first offer but upon reading the script decided to change his mind. It was later revealed by Martin Campbell, director of Casino Royale, that the only other actor in serious contention was Henry Cavill, however he was only 22 years old and this time was deemed too young for the role!

Despite all of this bad luck for Henry Cavill it could have been even worse. There are rumours that Cavill auditioned for and almost got the job of Batman before Christian Bale won it but Cavill himself has debunked this rumour and said there was absolutely no truth behind it. With all of those near misses in his career it is really good to see that Cavill has now landed what is sure to be the most iconic role of his career. Man of Steel is in the safe hands of Snyder and Nolan and will surely springboard Cavill’s film career into action making his first option for so many more films in the future!

The three biggest action stars in the world… ever.

During the eighties and nineties the action genre was the place to be and many action stars were born. Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Seagal and Dolph Lundgren all made careers out of being action heroes. Their films were, most of the time, nothing more than a simple storyline where a hero just got to kick ass and the audience would have fun cheering the hero on while he did so, eg. Die Hard, Rambo. Nowadays you won’t really find that among the big Hollywood films, the genre has evolved over time and action films seemed to get more serious, genres started to merge and the days of the real action genre and action heroes are behind us, I think.

While people like the actors mentioned above are still making films I do believe that the only real action hero we have left is the English born Jason Statham. He is most famous for the Transporter trilogy and his films continue to get a cinema release whereas the likes of Lundgren, Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme do not, so why is this? I think it is because Statham does have a real talent for acting whereas a lot of action heroes are just there because of their size and physique; Statham has shown before he can manage the acting as well as the action, he seems like a really nice guy which audiences always like and he is still relatively new in his career, having only started out in 1998. It’s been 14 years sure, but actors these days go for a lot longer than that!

The Expendables 2 is coming out later this year and back in 2010 we saw a return to the sole action genre with the original film directed and written by Sylvester Stallone himself. The idea was to bring together a great ensemble cast of action heroes to bring the genre back to the forefront of blockbuster cinema. The cast included Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren as well as a scene that features three stars synonymous with the action genre: Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis. The sequel retains this cast and expands with Van Damme and Chuck Norris. The idea to revive the big action block buster was a good one in theory and went down well with fans as the film opened to huge commercial success across the globe but critics were less favourable as the film received mixed to negative reviews. Despite this, a third film is rumoured to happen and Steven Seagal says he has been offered a part. But it does seem as though the only way to get a big action film back on the big screen is to bring together an ensemble, otherwise audiences are not going to be grabbed.

Asian cinema still features a lot of action films and the very successful The Raid (originally titled Serbuan Maut) was even released in British cinemas earlier this year and went down very well with critics so maybe it is just Hollywood that can’t get it right? I suppose that the nearest thing we have to a pure action film these days is the Fast & Furious franchise but you could hardly say that Paul Walker is an action hero or that even Vin Diesel is (come on, he was in The Pacifier) no matter how much he really likes to think he is himself. The Bourne films are marketed as action films and I guess they could be described as such but this is still an evolution from real action films as it features more in crime and even political genres, however the action does feature a lot. And Matt Damon would not consider himself an action hero I don’t think. Liam Neeson isn’t particularly an action hero yet his film Taken is probably the most successful action movie of recent times and is the only really really good one that I can think of right now.

I would argue that the nearest thing we have to real action films now are the superhero movies. The action heroes have been replaced with those of the comic book world as they appear on the big screen and clearly define the theme of good versus evil and the hero goes on to kick some ass very much like Rambo, John McClane or Frank Martin would do. All the time, trying to keep it fun for audiences.

Over time all genres do evolve as audiences crave something new, something that will break boundaries or challenge them to put the pieces together themselves but I, for one, would like to see more old school action films being made. But none of these rubbish straight to DVD films, I want real action blockbusters with real action heroes in them. All it will take is for one new action hero to step out of the shadows and then a flurry of them will follow as it did for he superhero movies and for the fairy tale films too. So whoever he is, he better step up quick.

For years and years Danny Boyle has been my favourite director. With so many great and bigger names in the directing world at the minute (Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder, Martin Scorsese etc. etc…) Boyle does seem to fly under the radar because of his low profile and because of the fact that, despite being critically acclaimed and having won numerous awards, he continues to work and remain in his homeland of British film. For the past few months Boyle has been kept busy with his latest project; this time it is not a film though. In just under two weeks the whole world will be watching as the Olympic games kick off in London and the opening ceremony has been put together and directed by Danny Boyle himself, no pressure. It’s been a long but very worthwhile journey for the lad from Lancashire.

Before getting into the film world Boyle began directing theatre projects; he directed plays for both the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company so right from the very beginning he was clearly ready to take on big projects. After that Boyle got into television and directed a few episodes of various television series such as Inspector Morse and Mr. Wroe’s Virgins. Then he finally got his big break in the world of movies with Shallow Grave, a crime thriller starring Christopher Eccleston and Ewan McGregor.

In 1996 Danny Boyle was responsible for directing one of the greatest films ever without a shadow of a doubt; Trainspotting. Again he teamed up with Ewan McGregor who this time took on the lead role and helped to make Trainspotting what it is, often voted the best British film of all time. Trainspotting received one Oscar nomination for it’s scriptwriting and Boyle was unjustly left out of the Best Director nominations. It was always going to be difficult to carry on the wave of success that Trainspotting brought him and his next couple of films were pretty far from that standard; first was A Life Less Ordinary (again starring Ewan McGregor) and The Beach. Originally Ewan McGregor was cast in the lead role for The Beach but rumour has it that Hollywood executives wanted to push through Leonardo DiCaprio as he was the current Hollywood pretty boy and hot property so DiCaprio got the role and, to this day, Ewan McGregor still hasn’t worked with Boyle since that dispute.

Anyway, Boyle returned to his best with horror film 28 Days Later… and followed that up with Millions. Since these two projects Boyle has continued to direct to the very highest standard. It took three years after Millions for another Danny Boyle film to be released but it was well worth the wait. Sunshine is a sci-fi film about a team of astronauts who are trying to reignite a dying sun to save the planet and it is absolutely brilliant! It was also named as one of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite films of recent years, pretty high praise indeed!

In 2009 Danny Boyle finally won an Oscar for his direction on Slumdog Millionaire which pretty much cleaned up at the 2009 Oscars; as well as Boyle’s directing Oscar it also won for it’s cinematography, film editing, original score, original song, sound mixing, adapted screenplay and it won the big one, Best Motion Picture of the Year. This time round as well, Boyle was able to follow the success of Slumdog Millionaire with another one of my favourite films, 127 Hours which got nominated for six Oscars (including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film).

After the Olympics Boyle will return to the big screen with Trance, a crime thriller starring James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson. He is also working on a follow up to 28 Weeks Later… which he has stated that it should be called 28 Months Later… in theory. Boyle has also expressed in interviews his desire to work with Ewan McGregor again on his next feature film. I hope that he does but I really hope that he continues to make prominent British films and remains to make them of the highest quality!

Alice Creed is the daughter of a millionaire. One day, she is unexpectedly kidnapped by two men; Vic, a hardened professional, and Danny, his newbie accomplice, who hold her bound and gagged in order to get two million pound in ransom money from her father.

The Disappearance of Alice Creed is a British thriller released in 2009 and features only those three characters: Alice, Vic and Danny. The film is the directorial debut of J Blakeson who also wrote the script. It is a very simple storyline, a simple kidnap and hostage situation which Blakeson tries to complicate a little bit but never really succeeds in doing so. Despite this, though, The Disappearance of Alice Creed is still a fantastic example of British film at its best. Gemma Arterton puts in a great performance and at times it really is heartbreaking to watch her as she cries and begs for her freedom, it’s really quite a harrowing performance in places. Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston as Vic and Danny respectively both put in a performance enough to hold the audience’s attention; Compston is given the most complex character (in more than one way) but is probably the worst actor of the three in the final piece.

The film opens very well with about five or so minutes of silence as the two kidnappers prepare a holding room and get ready for the kidnap and from this little sequence the audience is immediately gripped. Then we see Alice Creed brought into the holding room and their first treatment of her is just as gripping as the minutes that precede it. Unfortunately the excitement level drops in the middle of The Disappearance of Alice Creed but this is not completely unexpected considering really, there is only so much you can do in a film with only three characters. But as the deadline to the payment comes even closer and the kidnappers begin to feel the tension and anxieties about their partners and Alice herself the film pumps the stakes higher and the adrenaline returns to the top level. We are treated to suspense and tension throughout the hour and a half.

I was always interested to see this film because of the fact it featured only three characters, which means you are limited to a maximum of only three different types of character interaction but that doesn’t seem to be a problem that phases The Disappearance of Alice Creed. The writing is excellent, the direction is fantastic and the actors put in good performances. It is handled well and will keep your attention from start to finish.

Behind the glitz and glamour of Hollywood it’s nice to return to the basics and watch a very good and very interesting British film.

The Five-Year Engagement sees Jason Segel continuing to try and cement his place as one of Hollywood’s greatest comedy actors following The Muppets and Jeff Who Lives At Home with the help of writing partner Nicholas Stoller. Segel’s latest offering comes in the form of a romantic comedy when exactly a year after meeting Tom (Segel) proposes to his girlfriend Violet (Emily Blunt) but unexpected events keep on getting in their way as they attempt to tie the knot with one another.

With most films of this genre you get the same thing over and over again: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl split up, boy and girl get back together and live happily ever after. In The Five-Year Engagement what you get is an in depth look at the ins and outs of a stable relationship as it journeys through the ups and downs of life. I think that this is a great idea and shows that relationships don’t always run smoothly as plenty of other films would have you believe. I also believe that The Five-Year Engagement separates itself from other comedies aimed at an adult audience by being cleverer and, although we do get to see Jason Segel’s rear end on more than one occasion, a lot of the comedy is very well written and obviously well put together.

There is clear chemistry between the two leads of the film, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt which is obviously helped by their off screen friendship and the fact that the two of them have worked together previously. Segel puts in a great performance but I don’t think that we ever get to see the best of him like we have seen in The Muppets and television sitcom How I Met Your Mother. He is a very fine comedic actor though and brings out some good laughs here; I’m not a fan of Emily Blunt too much and at times her comedy efforts seemed a little forced. Also, her accent seems overly British even though it’s authentic, how weird is that?

The Five-Year Engagement starts off very well with some hilarious moments and really sets you up for what should be a laugh a minute film from start to finish. A lot of this is the emphasis put on the characters of Tom’s colleague and friend Alex (Chris Pratt) and Violet’s sister Suzie (Alison Brie). Whilst their relationship offers very little to the film as a whole their individual contribution to scenes are very well delivered. Chris Pratt is wonderfully funny in almost every scene in which he features and a particular scene featuring Pratt’s Alex delivering a presentation of Tom’s former girlfriends is my favourite part of the film and a brilliantly written and acted scene. Unfortunately, their characters seem to fizzle out and so does the film itself.

There is a reason that most romantic comedies are only an hour and a half long; the plot cannot sustain a two hour movie without lagging. The Five-Year Engagement does try and stretch over two hours and you would think that with five years of a relationship to tell then it would easily manage this without getting too boring. You would be wrong. It gets to a point where you think it could be coming to an end only to realise there is still about half an hour left and after a while the laughs become a sparse item. Don’t get me wrong, The Five-Year Engagement at times is hilarious and it is definitely a great romantic comedy with real stock in the lead characters but it tails off towards the end. It is still, though, definitely worth watching!

My Rating: 7/10.

Michael Fassbender is one of the hottest properties in Hollywood right now and over the last few years he has really shot to the forefront of the movie industry. With his choice of films he has really shown that he has a fantastic range of skills and is a very versatile actor. The short answer to the question ‘Is Michael Fassbender really that good?’ is simply Yes; but feel free to continue reading if you want the longer answer.

Fassbender first rose to prominence on television where one of his first main roles was on the Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks produced mini series Band of Brothers which received hugely positive reviews and brought plenty of publicity for the cast. Fassbender continued to work in television with another critically acclaimed television series, this time British: Murphy’s Law.

The first big film that Michael Fassbender featured in and set the sparks in motion of the fire that Michael Fassbender was soon to light Hollywood up with was 300, a fantasy action film directed by one of my favourite directors Zack Snyder. It’s not a film that many people would instantly think of when trying to list Michael Fassbender’s movies but it started off something big in the movie industry. Fassbender won over critics at the Cannes film festival in 2008 with Hunger, directed by Steve McQueen.

But it was thanks to Quentin Tarantino that people were really forced to sit up and take notice of Michael Fassbender. Inglorious Basterds is one of Tarantino’s best films and Fassbender features in one of the best scenes in the movie in my opinion. This film came out in 2009 and overshadowed the small British film that Michael Fassbender also featured in in the same year: Fish Tank. Fish Tank is the story of a rebellious teenage girl growing up on a run down council estate living with her alcoholic mother and tearaway younger sister. Michael Fassbender is the creepy love interest of the mother and manages to pull off a kind of safe but sinister paedophilic character scarily well. To this day this is my favourite role I have seen Fassbender in although it is one of his least well known but the performance he puts in is nothing short of sensational.

If 2009 was one of Michael Fassbender’s best years in films then 2010 was definitely one of his worst. Perhaps high on the success of Inglorious Basterds Fassbender made some rather, well… questionable choices. He appeared in Centurion and the horribly tragic comic book adaptation of Jonah Hex, both films making a loss. Probably a year that Fassbender wouldn’t like to dwell on anytime soon. But these failures didn’t put him off or seem to put him out of favour with movie big wigs.

2011 brought several Michael Fassbender films to the forefront without making people sick of him. Fassbender took up the part of Edward Rochester in an adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre (one of the greatest stories ever written, end of story) for which he received a lot of praise. Another comic book movie, with a lot better fate than his last one, gave Fassbender huge success and stability as it comes with a several movie contract. X-Men First Class is the movie and Magneto is the character; although at times Fassbender seemed to get complacent and his accent slipped back to Irish it was overall a great performance and Fassbender proved yet again how good he is at playing a conflicted and bad natured character. This movie reunited Fassbender with his old Band of Brothers co star James McAvoy.

A Dangerous Method followed starring Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley which was about the relationship between psychologists Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Fassbender then reunited with director Steve McQueen for Shame, which is probably his most critically successful film and role which won Fassbender a number of awards at film festivals and awards ceremonies and picked him up even more nominations. He then returned to mainstream cinema with Haywire which saw him co-star with names like Ewan McGregor and Antonio Banderas.

This year, 2012, Michael Fassbender only has one film slated for release after a busy twelve months. This comes in the form of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. After recently seeing this I was not a huge fan of the film but as a fan already of Michael Fassbender I was excited for his performance and I was not left disappointed by him. Fassbender, for me, is the stand out performer of the cast and the only really memorable character or performance from the cast. There is no doubt that Fassbender is set for a huge and successful career in my opinion and he deserves it.

Is Michael Fassbender really that good? Yes.

Recently Trainspotting was voted top in a poll of best British films to be released under Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

I think that this is a little bit of an injustice. Trainspotting is possibly the greatest British film released under any reign. Scratch that. Trainspotting is one of the greatest films EVER made in any language, any country, any genre. Trainspotting is as close to perfect as I have ever seen a film reach.

Released in 1996 to rave reviews from all angles Trainspotting tells the story of Renton, a guy deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene who tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends. After working together on Shallow Grave Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor teamed up to make an absolute classic based on Irvine Welsh’s novel.

Superstar director – Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle is one of Britain’s greatest directors and is one of my favourite directors working today. Christopher Nolan, the Coen brothers, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino get the majority of attention and are perhaps the most famous of directors but Danny Boyle always has been and remains one of the best. Since Trainspotting he has churned out hit after hit including 28 Days Later, The Beach, Sunshine, Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours and while all are very impressively filmed and are gorgeous to look at nothing quite touches all the senses in the same way that Trainspotting does.

Trainspotting introduced Ewan McGregor to the masses and he has gone on to have a very long and prestigious career in film. I am a fan of the Scot and his performance here as Renton is flawless. He gives possibly the best narration to a film ever (along with Ed Norton’s narration in Fight Club) but his presence on screen is fantastic; he really submerges himself deeply in the character’s life and his performance is both harrowing and hilarious at the same time. If McGregor is to be remembered for any film role, it should be this one.

One of the greatest friendships ever caught on film.

McGregor laid down the gauntlet for his fellow cast members to compete with and they picked it up and ran with it. Ewen Bremmer as the dimwitted and closest friend of Renton, Spud, gives a humorous turn while keeping in tune with the dark subject matter. Johnny Lee Miller has gone on to star in American television series’ such as Dexter but he will always be known as Sick Boy and Kevin McKidd manages to put in a great performance as Tommy to the extent that you feel sorry for him but you don’t really care about him. It’s strange. But Robert Carlyle as Begbie, a short tempered frustrated possible homosexual, is amazing; Carlyle always gives a safe performance but he offers up a lot of laughs in an otherwise serious film.

The friendship between Renton, Sick Boy, Tommy, Spud and Begbie is completely believable and authentic. All the relationships are recognisable and take away the drug use (or include it) and you probably know people just like this group of friends in Trainspotting. To me, one of the most important parts of a film is character interaction, development and relationships and each and every one is spot on. The friendship between Renton and Spud is probably my favourite because even though Renton lets Spud go to jail whilst he remains free and later on Renton does them over, you can tell that the only one of that group that Renton really cares about is Spud and I think that is touching really.

The realism captured on film of the drug addiction, Scottish life, friendship, death and sexuality is incredible. Trainspotting could well be real, it is filmed that well, it could well be a documentary with Ewan McGregor’s voice over warning everyone about drugs and the addictiveness of them so it is hard to believe that this is a work of fiction. Some of the scenes become incredibly hard to watch because of the haunting events unravelling but you can’t peel your eyes away from the screen; the dark images will stay with you for as long as you live.

Luckily though, Trainspotting, while dealing with a lot of serious and dark themes does manage to pack in the laughs as well. There is a lot of humour for viewers to find there and the ‘worst toilet in Scotland’ scene manages to be both horrible and hilarious at the same time, absolutely cringeworthy as well as Spud’s ‘dinner table accident’ scene later on.

I can’t express in words how good Trainspotting is. It’s probably not a film for the faint hearted but it’s nothing like any other film ever made.

Combine the greatness of Danny Boyle and the quality of actors like McGregor and Carlyle to name just a couple and you are in for something fantastic right from the word go.

Trainspotting IS one of the best films ever made. No question.