Tag Archive: celebrities


It’s not very often that someone comes along and changes the way that films are made. There are rare moments in the modern movie industry where such significant leaps are made to enhance movie viewing. Ray Harryhausen is one of the most famous pioneers of special effects technology ever to grace the industry. Unfortunately, the sad news has been broken today that this pioneer has passed away at the wonderful age of 92.

Ray Harryhausen was a visual effects legend (and that is no less than he deserves) and he pioneered the stop motion movement. He brought stop motion to the big screen; hand crafting and painting his figures and then shooting them frame by frame in a long, tedious process that eventually ended up contributing to some of the most famous films of all time.

Harryhausen’s work can be seen in films such as The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, but his two most famous contributions were to Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans, it seems even the incredible CGI advances can’t help make a modern Clash of the Titans better than the stop motion original. Jason and the Argonauts produced some of the best special effects seen at the time: the multiple headed Hydra and the skeleton soldiers rising from the ground to name but two.

Compared to modern special effects Harryhausen’s work does look dated, but his contribution to the movie industry cannot be underestimated and his presence will forever be recognised. He may not have been a director but when the films featured Harryhausen’s animation work, they were HIS films.

This brilliant video puts together all of Ray Harryhausen’s creatures together…

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Byzantium Trailer

UK Release Date: 31st May 2013.

Stars: Neil Jordan (director), Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan, Caleb Landry Jones, Sam Riley, Daniel Mays, Warren Brown.

Plot: Residents of a coastal town learn, with deathly consequences, the secret shared by the two mysterious women who have sought shelter at a local resort.

This British attempt at cashing in on the popular vampire series at the minute seems to be a bit of a cross between Dracula and Interview With a Vampire. Will it be as successful as either of those? Probably not, even if it is directed by the same person as the latter.

I don’t really get it. Sometimes it’s set in the present, sometimes it’s in the past? Flashbacks I could understand but the fact Ronan is on the beach with loads of people from the eighteenth century, what’s going on there?

I’m sure all will be revealed, the action scenes look pretty decent and I’m sure the story will all be explained throughout the film. Gemma Arterton is a great actress and I enjoy most of the things she is in (Prince of Persia was poor though by anyone’s standard) so this might be worth a watch.

Obviously the big news of the week was the Oscars but I’m not going to bore you with the names of the winners which I am sure you have seen plastered around numerous blogs in the past weeks. Let’s start with the worst news EVER just to get it out of the way: Michael Bay has announced that Megan Fox has been cast as April O’Neil in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot that Bay insists on ruining. Has there ever been such bad casting? NO.

 

So now that that’s out of the way. Anchorman: The Legend Continues is being released late this year and as if having a cast of Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Luke Wilson and Kristen Wiig isn’t enough. Now James Marsden has been added to that list. Marsden will be playing Ferrell’s main rival in the film, a news anchor over at San Diego TV. I have previously written a blog about the lack of a career that Marsden has had other than starring in the X-Men films but if all goes well here he may become sought after property in actual good comedy films.

 

It’s common consensus that Adam Sandler is not good anymore. If he ever even picked up any of his Razzie awards that he won then he wouldn’t have anywhere to put them all in his house, there is just too many. His recent career has been nothing short of apocalyptic. Sandler has now joined a new romantic comedy following a couple who have had a disastrous blind date and somehow find themselves stuck together in a resort for families, each with their kids from a previous marriage in tow. There are several actresses in the running but the favourite at the minute seems to be Sandler’s co-star in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates Drew Barrymore which could, hopefully, signal a return to form for Sandler.

 

Annie is one of the most famous musicals in the world. Despite being met with mixed responses from critics when the original film was released back in 1982 it has achieved international fame and a few of its songs have become world famous. Now there is a remake in the works with plans for the film to be released at Christmas 2014. Will Smith and Jay-Z are on board as producers and Will Smith made one of the best decisions of his career by deciding to replace his daughter Willow Smith who was originally cast in the lead role. The girl now in the lead role is Quvenzhané Wallis, the youngest ever actress to be nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars for her performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

 

In 2011 Fox released Rio, an animated film about two blue macaws voiced by Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg. The original film also featured the voicing talents of will.i.am, Jamie Foxx, Leslie Mann and Rodrigo Santoro who are all returning for the sequel, among others, but the cast has grown even more. Andy Garcia, Bruno Mars and the amazing Pierce Gagnon (the kid from Looper) are just a few of the names signed on for Rio 2.

There’s a mixture of good, bad and just plain weird news this week. First of all there was the good news that the Godzilla reboot was looking to take itself seriously and add some serious acting talent to the cast. Aaron Taylor-Johnson was, until recently, the only actor attached to the project (set for a 2014 release) but this week both Elizabeth Olsen (Silent House) and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) have joined up.

 

A mixture of news in the sequel business this week. The good news first is that Albert Brooks, the voice of Marlin in Finding Nemo, WILL be back for the sequel which already has seen Ellen Degeneres return for her part as Dory. This is good news as you couldn’t really have the film without him; we followed him on his journey all the way through the original film and it would be pretty harsh on Nemo to kill off his dad considering his mum has already bitten the sea’s equivalent to dust. Marlin was the most important, and in my opinion the best, character in Finding Nemo so I’m pleased to see Brooks back. Oh… the bad news is that Night at the Museum 3 is being made which we really don’t need to see after the shambles of the second one.

 

After the success of Ted last year Seth MacFarlane’s next project is going to put him in the lead role once more, this time in live action mode rather than as a CGI teddy bear. It will be a comedy western entitled A Million Ways to Die. We already knew this but this week Amanda Seyfried has been added to the cast. Seyfried (of Mean Girls and Les Miserables fame) will play the wife that leaves MacFarlance’s character to plunge the whole story into motion. Charlize Theron is also set to star.

 

And finally, some really WEIRD and completely unexpected news. Sony has a little project in the pipeline entitled Dodge & Twist which is a sequel update reworking …it’s just a completely new story about Oliver Twist. This story sees Oliver Twist twenty years older than when he was a pickpocketing child and he encounters old rival Artful Dodger who is now on the right side of the law. Twist gets wrapped up in a plan to steal the Crown Jewels and has Artful Dodger in hot pursuit. Interesting…?

Wild Bill (2011) Review

“What did he want?”

“Shooting.”

The best line of the film in my opinion.

The main reason I decided to sit down and watch Wild Bill is because it is the directorial debut of Dexter Fletcher. Fletcher has always provided good performances in front of the camera (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Band of Brothers, Kick-Ass) so I was interested to see how he would get on behind the camera. And any expectations I had before watching were completely blown out of the water within minutes.

Charlie Creed-Miles is “Wild” Bill Hayward, just released from prison on parole after serving eight years for numerous crimes. Bill returns home to find his two sons Dean (15) and Jimmy (11), who he hasn’t seen since he got sent down, have been abandoned by their mother who has fled to Spain. A bond between Bill and Jimmy quickly develops, and Dean gradually comes around to the idea of having his father around. However, their domestic life is short-lived, when Jimmy starts drug-dealing for some local villains.

The story is set against the backdrop of the London Olympic stadium construction site as this is where Dean has been working in order to look after his younger brother. This setting immediately allows the audience to be sucked in to the world of the film and it brings a great sense of realism to Wild Bill.  The grittiness and realism of a working class family in recession hit London really helps the film stand out, especially as it is very easy to recognise several problems that the film brings up including poverty, family breakdown and the fall of society; something we, in the UK especially, can all recognise. Credit has to go to Fletcher and Danny King, the writers of the film, to bringing up these problems for all to see.

From left to right: Fletcher, Poulter, Creed Miles, Flemyng.

As Wild Bill Charlie Creed-Miles is brilliant. The character development is there for all to see and Creed-Miles portrays two very different sides to his character; the thug/prisoner/chav that doesn’t care about anything, and then the caring father trying to make an effort with his children, even if he does get it very wrong at times. But the real star of the show is Will Poulter who plays Dean. Poulter carries a great air of maturity and it is very easy to feel for his character thanks to the emotion that he brings to the role. There are appearances from other British actors that different audiences will recognise: Liz White (Life on Mars), Iwan Rheon (Misfits) Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings), Marc Warren (Hustle) and even a small appearance from Fletcher’s good friend and colleague Jason Flemyng.

Wild Bill is wonderfully acted and is a true example of brilliant character development. Their are strong themes, a strong storyline and even stronger performances. I would argue that Wild Bill is quite possibly the best British film I have ever seen.

My Rating: 10/10.

Clive Owen kills people with carrots! What’s not to love about that?!

Shoot ‘Em Up is one of my favourite films of all time and definitely my favourite action film. Clive Owen plays carrot toting Smith, a man with a mysterious past who just so happens to be around when a pregnant woman is followed into a warehouse by thugs with guns. Luckily, Smith arrives just in time to save the day and deliver the baby in a very unconventional method (shooting the umbilical chord) and teams up with his favourite prostitute in order to save the baby from falling into the hands of Paul Giamatti’s character ‘Hertz’ (I have seen the film countless times and I’m only just finding out the villain’s name now). It’s fast paced, adrenaline fuelled, completely ridiculous but so glorious at the same time.

On the face of it, Shoot ‘Em Up looks like a mindless action film that just involves Clive Owen shooting a lot of people all of the time. And while this is partially true, Shoot ‘Em Up is surprisingly more than that. What you get with Michael Davis’ writing and direction is somewhat of a pastiche to action films of days gone by and that’s what makes this movie so fun; it takes everything you like about action films, holds up a mirror to them and reflects them ten times better. This is included in the action where there are some completely outrageous stunts and scenes that defy all laws of logic and common sense but do we care? No. Because we’re enjoying being taken on this wonderful journey and forgetting the troubles of real life for an hour and a half. One of the most enjoyable things about Shoot ‘Em Up is Clive Owen’s deadpan delivery of witty lines; almost every second line of dialogue for Owen’s character is a joke and it is beautifully delivered with a straight face but I tell you now the lines are hilarious. It’s a perfect action comedy.

“What’s up, Doc?”

Shoot ‘Em Up tries to deliver a complex storyline which makes a change from the usual terrorist or revenge plot: the baby that Smith ends up saving has actually been born with the purpose of providing a bone marrow transplant to a corrupt senator who will die without the transplant. The confrontation with the senator leads to a complete disregard to the laws of physics and a mid-air shootout takes place after jumping from a plane! And we are also given back stories of the main characters that, while good, aren’t really needed and don’t really add anything to the enjoyment of the film.

This action spectacular provides action scenes a plenty, it’s practically non stop! We get them in mid-air (as mentioned), in warehouses, in a children’s park and even a brothel. It seems like Shoot ‘Em Up was made to purely entertain and that’s exactly what it does. With acting talent in the form of Oscar nominees Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti as well as the talented Monica Belluci you know you’re getting more than just a standard direct-to-DVD release.

Shoot ‘Em Up didn’t perform well in the cinema but has garnered quite a passionate following in the years since its release and I for one suggest that if you like action, or if you like comedy, then just turn off your common sense switch and enjoy the fun that Shoot ‘Em Up brings!

The nominations for the 33rd Annual Razzie Awards have been announced and after last year saw Adam Sandler heroically sweeping the board by winning (or losing) ten Razzie Awards thanks to his film Jack & Jill, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 attempts to equal that this year after receiving eleven nominations in the ten categories.

Below is a full list of the nominees along with my predictions and other comments.

Worst Picture

Battleship

The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure – seriously, look this up… what. the. hell?

That’s My Boy

A Thousand Words

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2

 

Worst Actor

Nicolas Cage – Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance/Seeking Justice

Eddie Murphy – A Thousand Words

Robert Pattinson – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 – everyone knows he can’t act. Deny it. Try.

Tyler Perry – Alex Cross/Good Deeds

Adam Sandler – That’s My Boy – more as a plea for him to stop making films

 

Worst Actress

Katherine Heigl – One For The Money – not fair really, the film was awful but she did the best she could with it.

Milla Jovovich – Resident Evil: Retribution

Tyler Perry – Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection

Kristen Stewart – Snow White & the Huntsman/Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Barbara Streisand – The Guilt Trip

 

Worst Supporting Actor

David Hasslehoff (as himself) – Piranha 3DD

Taylor Lautner – Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 – the only trick he has is taking off his top. Never work again!

Liam Neeson – Battleship/Wrath of the Titans – everybody loves him for Taken and Batman Begins but he does make some rubbish.

Nick Swardson – That’s My Boy

Vanilla Ice (as himself) – That’s My Boy

 

Worst Supporting Actress

Jessica Biel – Playing for Keeps/Total Recall

Brooklyn Decker – Battleship/What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Ashley Greene – Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Jennifer Lopez – What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Rihanna – Battleship – there’s nothing more gut-wrenching than seeing her name in the credits.

 

Worst Screen Couple

Any two cast members from Jersey Shore – The Three Stooges

Mackenzie Foy and Taylor Lautner – Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart – Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Tyler Perry and His Drag Get-Up – Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection

Adam Sandler and either Leighton Meester/Andy Samberg/Susan Sarandon – That’s My Boy

 

Worst Prequel, Remake or Rip-Off or Sequel

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – should never have been made, I don’t think anyone would argue with that!

Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection

Piranha 3DD

Red Dawn – not sure about this one.

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 

 

Worst Director

Sean Anders – That’s My Boy

Peter Berg – Battleship

Bill Condon – Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Tyler Perry – Good Deeds/Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection

John Putch – Atlas Shrugged: Part 2

 

Worst Screenplay

Atlas Shrugged: Part 2

Battleship

That’s My Boy

A Thousand Words

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2

 

Worst Screen Ensemble

Battleship – responsible for one of the biggest flops of the year

Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection

The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure

That’s My Boy

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 – the best thing about this movie is that finally the franchise is done!

UK Release Date: 7th June 2013

Stars: M. Night Shyamalan (director), Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Isabelle Fuhrman, Zoe Kravitz

Plot: After a crash landing, a father and son explore a planet that was evacuated by humans 1,000 years earlier.

After Earth is the latest film looking to cash in on the ‘end of the world’ feeling as we head towards the mythical end of the world predicted by the Mayan calendar. This follows Tom Cruise’s Oblivion which featured last week; I wasn’t really intrigued by Oblivion‘s trailer and I have to say I am even less intrigued by After Earth.

When was the last time Will Smith actually starred in a really good film? I think you have to go all the way back to 2006 for The Pursuit of Happyness. That means that it will be seven years since a good film by the time After Earth is released; a gap made all the more worse by the fact Smith is trying his damnedest to force his son upon us. As for M. Night Shyamalan, yes his career started promisingly but after The Happening and The Last Airbender his career has become the butt of many jokes.

The trailer for After Earth offers us nothing new, except for the idea that human’s evacuated 1000 years ago and now every animal on the planet (which has somehow survived whatever humankind felt the need to flee from) has evolved to try and kill any humans that come back. There are some great shots of lovely visual treats but as far as story goes, I’m not sure After Earth will pull up any trees. Expect a huge box office though being as though it’s Will Smith.

I expect two questions to be raised by the title of this post. One: Who is Anthony Mackie? Two: Why will he be a household name? These are both questions that I am set to answer in the next couple of paragraphs. Simply enough, Anthony Mackie is an actor, an actor who has starred in some of the biggest films of the last few years but has so far had very minor roles or exposure in the public domain. However, his talent is undoubted and soon enough, everyone will know who he will be. But let’s not just say random things, people want proof. So what has he been in so far?

Anthony Mackie has made quite an impression on the stage and his theatre roots have not been forgotten as he has grown as an actor and he regularly returns in between filming to perform on stage. On stage he has played Tupac Shakur, starred in three plays written by award winner August Wilson and starred in an ancient Greek tragedy The Bacchae. But while his performances on broadway got him noticed by critics and the people in the know, he would still be unknown by millions around the world if it wasn’t for his film career.

His film career began ten years ago in Eminem’s film 8 Mile. Here, Mackie played Eminem’s rival Papa Doc. I really liked 8 Mile and thought it was a decent film so this was a good place to start for Mackie in my opinion, it was an easy break into the world of film making. His first starring role came a year later in Brother to Brother and Mackie received a nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards for best debut performance. In the next couple of years he appeared alongside Denzel Washington in The Manchurian Candidate, Spike Lee’s She Hate Me and multi-Oscar winning Million Dollar Baby. He later appeared in Helf Nelson and then another multi-Oscar winning film and one that received huge critical acclaim and is probably the best film still to have been made about the Iraq war: The Hurt Locker. With such big hits under his belt how is he still not more famous?!

In the last couple of years it looks as though Mackie has been pushing for more fame, but his choice of roles may just be letting him down. Since 2008 he has appeared in blockbusters such as Eagle Eye, The Adjustment Bureau, Notorious (where he once again plays Tupac Shakur), Real Steel, Man on a Ledge and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. None of the aforementioned films turned out to be as big as their studios or casts had hoped unfortunately. So that leaves us with what he is going to do next… after ten years of being a successful but little known actor Anthony Mackie finally looks set to receive the fame that that handsome face and charming smile deserve.

One of the most anticipated films of next year is Gangster Squad. And here Mackie is included in an all star cast that boasts names of the quality of Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone… basically it’s a sure fire hit. This could get Mackie the exposure that he deserves but if not, then his project in 2014 will definitely get him noticed. Comic book movies have become the biggest genre of the last few years without a doubt! And Anthony Mackie has been confirmed to be in Captain America: The Winter Soldier where his role will be Sam Wilson, better known as Captain America’s modern day sidekick with the power of flight Falcon. If the film stays true to the comic books then Anthony Mackie will have a big part to play as it is likely that Falcon will be Cap’s best friend and the person he can confide in while he deals with the change of waking up in a whole new world. Anthony Mackie is a perfect choice for the role and the casting decision has been greeted with great positivity by fans of the comic book hero. With a role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it is also likely that Mackie could be in with a chance of getting some screen time in The Avengers 2 which would be a dream for most actors at the minute, I believe.

The comic book movie genre shows no signs of flagging and this casting choice could throw Anthony Mackie into the limelight and who knows, in a few more years he might even be headlining films rather than just being a sidekick.

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.