Tag Archive: Drama


UK Release Date: 15th November 2013

Stars: Ridley Scott (director), Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, John Leguizamo.

Plot: A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.

Brad Pitt seems to really be getting back on the horse and making some really good films after a quiet few years of his career. With 12 Years a Slave (also starring Michael Fassbender) out at the height of Oscar season, this all star cast hits cinemas later this year.

As this serves only as a teaser trailer there is not a lot of the plot released within the minute that we see, but what we do see is very intriguing: what is the motorbike murder about? what exactly does Michael Fassbender do? where does Brad Pitt fit into all of this? And what is going on with Javier Bardem’s hair?

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12 Years a Slave Trailer

UK Release Date: 24th January 2014

Stars: Steve McQueen (director), Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Michael Fassbender, Scoot McNairy

Plot: In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Films about slavery seem to be becoming the new Western. Every year there are now high profile stories of slavery being told on the big screen and 2014 will be no different with Steve McQueen gunning for Oscar glory. Perhaps the most noticeable thing about this trailer is in fact Brad Pitt’s beard, just for the sheer ridiculousness of how it looks… but that might just be me.

However, if you can look past Pitt’s beard what you’ll find is this really touching, almost unbelievable true story about one man’s descent into slavery and his fight against it. Chiwetel Ejiodor is not a name that everyone will be familiar with but he has starred in a huge number of films over the years and finally takes centre stage in a star studded cast.

Established stars Pitt and Fassbender, who looks like he’s playing an incredibly nasty piece of work and doing it so well, join rising star Paul Dano and the incredible Scoot McNairy who I am a big fan of!

UK Release Date: 22nd November 2013

Stars: Francis Lawrence (director), Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Jena Malone, Sam Claflin, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Plot: Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

Arguably the most anticipated film of the rest of the year, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire trailer has just debuted at San Diego Comic Con and it looks fantastic! The original star studded cast has been improved and got even bigger than before for a film that is all but guaranteed to break a few records upon release later this year.

While The Hunger Games went down very well people have argued that the action moved at a pretty slow pace. As a follow up, this is unlikely to be the case again. Since Katniss and the incredibly annoying, never-going-to-be-good-enough-for-Katniss Everdeen, Peeta triumphed in the battle to the death, an uprising has begun around the Districts and the Capitol wish to put an end to any hope that might have stirred by making an example of the two heroes.

I’m sure that a reason will be established as to why all the previous victors don’t just kill the leaders of Capitol and really bring things home but despite that, there is a lot to be excited for and it won’t just be a rehash of the events of the first film (although a few parts seem familiar). There seems to be more drama, more action in the Districts, more Liam Hemsworth, and a lot more action. A real sense of human revolt can be felt and the trailer does an excellent job of exceeding all expectations.

Ask the general public who they think the best actor in the world is and you will probably be met with replies varying from Bradley Cooper to Ryan Gosling and, with the release of Man of Steel, you may even hear people citing Henry Cavill as ‘the best actor ever’: the general public are fickle when it comes to actors/actresses and they tend to follow the trends, whoever is ‘hot’ right now will be in the public eye more and the public will be tricked into liking them. I don’t wish to take anything away from the three particular actors I mentioned as I do like all three of them: they all have potential, but are they brilliant actors? I would hesitate to say so just yet.

Now if you’re reading this you probably have an interest in films and will no doubt know who Paul Giamatti is, but as the everyday cinema goer if they like him and the likely response will be “who?”; telling them that he is an Oscar nominated actor will probably not help either. While the likes of Cooper, Gosling and Cavill make headlines and get on the covers of magazines Paul Giamatti goes about his versatile projects with the utmost respect for the people he is working with and for the target audience. Giamatti is an actor that can consistently be relied upon to give great performances and make anything all the more enjoyable for his appearance. The reason why I have decided to write about him now is because of his insistence to ever expand his repertoire and has recently joined the cast of British ITV drama, Downton Abbey.

After slumming it for a few years, Giamatti got his first big break in 1997 when he starred in Private Parts, a role which catapulted him to face after he received a lot of praise for his performance. This led to Giamatti getting more and more supporting roles in big Hollywood films such as The Truman Show and Saving Private Ryan. His rise to fame in Hollywood continued after the turn of the 20th century appearing in Big Momma’s House, Planet of the Apes and Big Fat Liar. Okay, so not all of his films are good, but how often does and actor have a slate with no spills upon it? And anyway, it’s what he did after this that starts to get impressive.

In 2004, Giamatti reminded everybody just how good he is: Sideways. In this independent romantic comedy, Giamatti portrays a depressed writer with a very healthy liking of wine. Now I will admit that when I first watched Sideways I failed to see what the hype was about, nevertheless I recognised that Giamatti was putting in a terrific performance. Alongside Thomas Haden Church (another actor I’ve come to like a lot recently) Giamatti is absolutely wonderful, capturing an incredibly realistic portrayal and offering up moments of drama and comedy in equal share and to equal success. Sideways on the whole became a surprise hit and was nominated for five Oscars which helped the whole cast’s career greatly.

But Giamatti was made to wait for his personal Oscar nomination. That came when Giamatti starred alongside Russell Crowe in Cinderella Man, playing Joe Gould, boxing manager and friend to Russell Crowe’s character. Although he lost out at the Oscars to that little known actor George Clooney (Syriana) Giamatti proved once again that he was one of Hollywood’s finest.

Since then, Paul Giamatti has gone on to vary his career as much as possible in terms of the roles he takes. Whether it be in the great action film Shoot ‘Em Up, the animated The Ant Bully, comedy in The Hangover Part II, drama in The Ides of March or even a musical such as Rock of Ages, Giamatti will give it all and continue to dominate films with his performance. I fail to think of a film appearance by Giamatti in which he has ever failed to live up to my high expectations I have of him: he is just ultimately captivating and always exciting to watch on screen.

There are a huge number of projects in the pipeline (not least Turbo and the latest adaptation of Romeo and Juliet) but arguably most exciting is the fact that he will be appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as villain Rhino. This could possibly be the best bit of superhero movie casting since Robert Downey Jr. completely stole the hearts of the world as Tony Stark. Early set photos (pre-CGI) look exciting and as if this is going to be another memorable performance from Giamatti. With critical acclaim being fired at him from every angle, it is about time he became a staple in the minds of mainstream cinema-goers. Here’s hoping…

In my opinion, Paul Giamatti is one of the greatest character actors of all time, allowing himself to completely indulge himself in every aspect of his role and this comes across perfectly on screen. Certainly someone to watch in everything he does.

UK Release Date: 17th January 2014

Stars: Martin Scorsese (director), Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Jon Favreau, Spike Jonze, Jean Dujardin

Plot: A New York stockbroker refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, corporate banking world and mob infiltration.

The partnership of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio have been responsible for some of the greatest films of recent years: Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island. They never bring a dud to the floor and this is why The Wolf of Wall Street is a must see already! It’s been three years since the pair worked together and now they’re working with a script from one of modern television’s great writers, Terrence Winter (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire).

Recently, Leonardo DiCaprio has been performing out of his skin with his performances in Django Unchained and The Great Gatsby earning him bucket loads of critical acclaim. The wonderful thing about his performance in the former is that he was allowed to just let loose and run with it: it looks as though he’ll be allowed to do the same here and it looks to be one of his more comedic roles…but just as brilliant.

A few years ago, Matthew McConaughey could only have dreamed of being in a film like this. Now, with resurgence complete, he seems an obvious candidate. Joining an all star cast in this biographical crime drama about the life of Jordan Belfort. Expect Oscar buzz, but whether nominations or wins will arrive remains to be seen.

Was that a DeLorean?

UK Release Date: 13th December 2013

Stars: Peter Jackson (director), Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Richard Armitage, Hugo Weaving, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Stephen Fry

Plot: The Dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf have successfully escaped the Misty Mountains, and Bilbo has gained the One Ring. They all continue their journey to get their gold back from the Dragon, Smaug.

The new Middle Earth trilogy began last year with An Unexpected Journey which, in my opinion, came nowhere close to touching the Lord of the Rings films and could have been a lot better, the slow pace at which events unravelled being the most alarming concern. However, it built a nice platform for the next films to advance on.

With this trailer it certainly looks as though things will be a bit more action heavy and faster paced. We get glimpses of fight scenes, the reappearance of Legolas and completely new character Tauriel (although how much fans of the source material will like her remains to be seen) and we’re also treated (or not) to seeing pretty much every character in the film jumping.

I think I do watch this trailer with a lot of cynicism, I felt hugely let down when watching An Unexpected Journey because it was so far apart from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The CGI here used for Smaug as well does not look as good as it should do in this kind of big budget movie.

I hope that upon release I am proved wrong and that Smaug looks great and the film will be exciting and action packed! It probably says a lot for this trailer that the most exciting thing, for me, was the return of Orland Bloom. And when that’s exciting, you know things are bad.

Killer Joe (2011) Review

McConaisance: when an actor famous for being the butt of many a jokes due to the nature of his films decides, for some unbeknownst reason, to season his career with incredibly serious roles…and actually does it well. Back in 2011, this is exactly what Matthew McConaughey did: along with The Lincoln Lawyer, Killer Joe helped transform McConaughey’s career in a matter of months and left audiences completely bewildered at the ‘new’ actor.

“If you insult me again, I will cut your face off and wear it over my own. Do you understand?”

When Chris (Emile Hirsch) has his stash of drugs stolen by his own mother, he concocts a plan with his father, Ansel (Thomas Haden church) and inconsequently his younger sister, Dottie (Juno Temple) to kill his own mother and cash in on her $50,000 life insurance. To do so, Chris gets in contact with ‘Killer’ Joe Cooper (McConaughey), a detective who moonlights as a contract killer. The agreement turns complicated when unexpected events occur and Joe takes a shine to Chris’ younger sister as collateral.

Right from the off, Killer Joe sets itself apart from any other film, introducing quite possibly the most dysfunctional family in the world as Chris is kicked out of his mother’s house and forced to stop with his father and step-mother (Gina Gershon) after, we suspect, beating up his mum. The rain batters down on the ground and sets the mood for the rest of the film. We are quickly rushed into a strip club for a conversation that should probably be happening not in a public place, but this is the second clue that Killer Joe is going to be exciting, different and anything but what you expect.

“This is going to get done, one way or another.”

McConaughey is soon introduced and as soon as he appears he steals the show completely. Long gone is the man who made his career by taking his top off (although he does have a couple of scenes with his torso on show) and making dodgy romantic comedies. He carries the film with so much intensity; no longer a joke but now someone who can genuinely scare you. The character of Joe Cooper is an interesting and complex one and McConaughey brings him to life perfectly, you won’t want to take your eyes off him for a second, even if you don’t agree with everything that he does.

McConaughey is supported by a really fantastic cast who all more than hold their own. Emile Hirsch as a kid with a lot of front but no real guts is great, Thomas Haden Church does a really understated job but Juno Temple is the other star of Killer Joe. As the annoyingly cute and naive Dottie, you really warm to her character as she seems like the innocent victim here when Joe decides that until he gets paid he’s going to be keeping Dottie’s bed warm.

“Why don’t you do us all a big favor and just go kill yourself?”

There are real horrific moments in Killer Joe: it’s an incredibly brutal, morally questionable story but handled so well by director William Friedkin. Some of the scenes are particularly hard to watch from a moral standpoint but the film does a wonderful job of pulling you in that you are willing to be shocked and willing to be, at times, disgusted. At the same time there are jokes planted throughout the script that bring a darkly comic feel to the tone and make you feel guilty for even considering laughing due to the nature of the film.

Killer Joe is adapted from a play and that comes across. There’s a small cast which is often confined to houses and shacks to really constrain the story. All of this is handled with so much intensity, every thing that happens will have your heart pounding. The dialogue is delivered (once again by McConaughey in particular) in a manner that is just so addictive, characters are so interesting that you have no choice once you start watching but to get to the end. And the end is one hell of an ending that will leave you thinking for hours to come.

“Your eyes hurt.”

One of the best films I have ever seen.

My Rating: 10/10.

Prisoners Trailer

UK Release Date: 4th October 2013

Stars: Denis Villeneuve (director), Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Maria Bello, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano.

Plot: A Boston man kidnaps the person he suspects is behind the disappearance of his young daughter and her best friend.

Even if you watch just the first seconds of the trailer without reading the synopsis, you can tell that Prisoners is not going to be a film that makes you cry with happiness. Watch it all and you’ll soon realise that what Prisoners is planning on doing is making you sit there pulling your hair out begging Hugh Jackman not to do everything that he does.

With coming up to seven films as Wolverine, it’s easy to forget that Jackman is an incredibly versatile actor. And with an October release date it looks as though Jackman has Oscar nominations in his sights again as Prisoners seems like a story that is going to resonate with a lot of people and the performances are going to have to be groundbreaking in order to convey such a threatening tale.

Paul Dano must feel a bit of an outcast being as though Jackman, Gyllenhaan, Davis, Howard, and Leo have all either been nominated or won an Oscar, while Bello has two Golden Globe nominations to go with that. However, he is a talented young actor who should hold his own.

Prisoners looks like a journey full of suspense. You get the feeling that there must be a twist to the story at some point. And whatever happens, it seems doubtful that Jackman’s character is going to have a happy ending.

epic Review

Epic. Never has a summer blockbuster been so ambitiously named. After one of the most exciting and visually astounding trailers of the year so far, anticipations are set high for the latest Blue Sky outing. With a voicing cast including the likes of Amanda Seyfried, Jason Sudeikis, Josh Hutcherson, Christoph Waltz and Beyonce Knowles, could the one hour, forty minute journey into the forest live up to the hype of a two minute trailer?

On the one day in a hundred years where Tara (Knowles), Queen of the forest, is set to select her heir an evil group known as the Boggans, led by Mandrake (Waltz) intend to kill her and destroy the forest in order to take complete control. The Leafmen are the group charged with the order of stopping the Boggans but in particular the soldiers that have to carry that weight belong to the incredibly uncharismatic Ronin (Colin Farrell) and rookie Nod (Hutcherson) with the help of a human girl, M.K (Seyfried) who gets shrunk down to two inches tall Alice in Wonderland style in order to save the forest.

No time at all is wasted in introducing the miniature world of the forest and the ongoing battle as three birds tussle in the sky with Nod and the little bird that he rides. Then the real life sized world comes into play with M.K arriving to live with her mad scientist father (Sudeikis) and you get the feeling that there is going to be a strong father-daughter relationship at the centre of this animated war film but when it ends there seems to be a great gaping hole where the human emotion of the film should have been.

It’s a film that lacks any intensity at all. For a film where the whole of the forest seems to be at stake you would expect that there is at least going to be a huge battle at the end but alas, this is not the case. The one time you think you will get to see a huge fight it is cruelly ripped away from you and you are forced to travel with the more boring companions on the quest.

There is a little humour provided in the form of a slug and a snail voiced by Aziz Ansari and the wonderful Chris O’Dowd respectively. And there’s a nice little musical number about halfway through the film in an attempt to lift the film more upbeat from its second act which is certainly lacking any determination at all.

The only thing that comes remotely close to being epic are the brief action sequences. The animation during the fight scenes does stand out as some of the best animation in recent years and the action scenes are full of potential and wouldn’t look out of place in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (although the fact that its animated might make it stick out a little).

There are some laughs, good fight scenes and another great (if underused) turn by Christoph Waltz. You cannot doubt that Epic will find an audience as it is enjoyable at times, but it does feel someone’s followed a dot-to-dot for making a children’s animated film and decided to miss out the dots that contain heart and emotion.

My Rating: 6/10

The final half of Breaking Bad‘s fifth series is set to air later this year drawing one of the best television series ever to a close. Aaron Paul has been in it from the beginning and his portrayal of Jesse Pinkman has been one of the highlights of the show for me: his over use of the words ‘bitch’ and ‘yo’ has always been enjoyable to hear and, next to the quite frankly unlikeable Walter White, you can’t help but like Jesse and be amazed at how Paul holds his own in scenes with co-stars Bryan Cranston and Giancarlo Esposito.

Before Breaking Bad Paul began his career appearing in the odd episode of television series’ like NYPD Blue, ER and Veronica Mars and he did appear in a few films, although nothing really ground breaking: Mission Impossible III, The Last House on the Left. Breaking Bad thrust him into the limelight and his acting has earned him rave reviews as well as the achievement of winning 2 Primetime Emmys as well as being nominated for another. Aaron Paul’s acting is incredibly intense and I really do enjoy watching him in Breaking Bad. With Bryan Cranston getting supporting roles in a number of Hollywood films it shouldn’t take long to see Paul star in some either. In fact it’s already beginning…

This year Paul has 3 films out, 2 with a limited release to America have already been released and not caused any real waves but his next two projects seem like they could make his movie career. The first is an adaptation of Nick Hornby (About a Boy, An Education) novel A Long Way Down. This is a drama about four people who happen to meet on New Year’s Eve when they all separately plan to throw themselves off a building to their death; instead, they form a surrogate family and help each other through their problems. Paul will be alongside the likes of Rosamund Pike and Piers Brosnan here and A Long Way Down will certainly find an audience which will mean that Paul will get noticed for his sure to be great dramatic performance: he thrives with drama in Breaking Bad and I think if he followed the drama route in his film roles he could win an Oscar later in his career.

Although, Paul could go down the path of becoming an action star. Next year an adaptation of the video game series Need for Speed is going to be released and Aaron Paul is to be the star. I’m not sure how Need for Speed will go down with the Fast & Furious franchise getting stronger with every installment.

Can Aaron Paul pull an audience on his own though? I don’t think so. There will be a lot of people (like me) who would go and see a film just to see Aaron Paul and Breaking Bad has obviously had a lot of recognition so could serve as one of the best platforms ever to launch a Hollywood career. One good role could see Paul become one of the most sought after men on the planet. Need for Speed could do that depending on how it is handled.

With the growing impact of comic book movies on the movie industry I think Paul would benefit from joining Marvel’s cinematic universe. I have previously expressed my desire to see him cast in the Fantastic Four reboot as Human Torch but I would love to see him get a part that would be a guaranteed hit. On the other hand though, I would love to see Aaron Paul get the career he deserves on his merit alone; he is one of the finest actors I have ever seen in a television show and I always thoroughly enjoy him on screen. I look forward to seeing what’s next for him.