Tag Archive: elizabeth banks


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.

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This week has seen the release of two exciting films, albeit for very different reasons: The Lego Movie and Frozen, the new Disney film. The Lego Movie is one of the most exciting films currently being put together, not necessarily because of its story but because it’s a new way of making films that has never been done before; Disney’s Frozen is exciting because with Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph Disney seem to have returned to top form with their animation and Frozen could be another top notch film for them.

Take a look at the two teaser trailers (or don’t) and see which one you prefer:

THE LEGO MOVIE

UK Release Date: 14th February 2014

Stars: Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Chris McKay (directors), Chris Pratt, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Alison Brie, Will Arnett

Plot: An ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together.

Coming from the very safe hands of co-directors Lord and Miller (21 Jump Street) and including a whole array of characters that have been seen in the Lego franchise previously (ranging from DC’s superheroes to the NBA all-stars) this looks like it should be a good ride, especially with Chris Pratt in the driving seat who is one of the finest comedy actors around today and absolutely hilarious in Parks and Recreation.

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FROZEN

UK Release Date: 6th December 2013

Stars: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee (directors), Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel, Tom Kane

Plot: Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna’s sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.

While The Lego Movie certainly has the star power, Frozen has the advantage that it is coming from Disney. It is unknown at this time whether this little scene will be included in the film but it certainly has my attention as you can tell that it has been crafted with the heart and humour of Disney films gone by. Plenty of reindeer merchandise will be sold on the release of Frozen.
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UK Release Date: 22nd November 2013

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

Plot: Katniss and Peeta are dethroned from their respective victory riches and are put back into the arena for the most climatic and menacing of the Hunger Games, known as the Quarter Quell.

Last year, The Hunger Games was one of the most anticipated releases as the best selling series of books were inevitably adapted for the big screen. It went on to gross just short of $700,000,000 worldwide and, despite positive reviews, I forgot that the sequel was even out this years. It’s safe to say I haven’t exactly been waiting for it.

I actually found The Hunger Games to be a bit slow paced and a tad boring at times. But Catching Fire looks to take the action to a whole new level and the trailer here is a terrific one. It’s going to build the excitement for anyone who saw the first film and fans of the books are going to wet themselves at just how good this will be.

The storyline does feel a little like clutching at straws, just putting the characters back in the arena again. But hey, that’s coming from the source material and that sold millions so who am I to tell them to do any different.

UK Release Date: 1st February 2013.

Stars: You name it, they’ve got it: Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Chloe Moretz, Seann William Scott, Richard Gere, Emma Stone, Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, Naomi Watts, Gerard Butler, Kristen Bell, Uma Thurman, Justin Long, Halle Berry, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Josh Duhamel, Liev Schreiber… and the list goes on.

Movie 43 is an ensemble comedy intertwining the stories of several different characters. These types of movies almost never go down well with critics or audience’s alike, but that is because most of them are romantic films and romance requires backstory and depth that ensemble films don’t usually allow for. Comedy allows for people to come in, make a joke, then get out as quick as possible and they’ve had an impact on the audience so this could work!

It’s cast list is huge and is jam packed with stars of past and present, both huge blockbuster names and those actors you recognise from loads of different things but never actually bother to look them up. And with this huge cast comes plenty of directors too including Elizabeth Banks, James Gunn, Brett Ratner and and NINE more! Clearly a lot of effort has gone into this film and there must be something in the script that has attracted so many fantastic actors and actresses to the same project!

This is the red band trailer which are always better for adult comedies as it gives you a true sense of the jokes that will be flung at audiences; you’ve got everything in there from sex jokes, excrement jokes, puberty and even a little gentle racism. Like with the cast and directors, they’ve left nothing to the imagination. I found the trailer to be really really funny and I hope you all do too, but as always I have my doubts about comedy films and ensemble films but all signs suggest promise for Movie 43.

Now, a few years ago FOX brought out the X-Men films of which number one and number two were absolutely brilliant, there is no denying that, but they followed it up with X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine which kind of tarnished the X-Men brand for a while before a successful reboot with X-Men First Class. At this time FOX were also bringing out movies of another famous powerhouse team of Marvel’s called The Fantastic Four; sorry to remind you. However, after the slating that Rise of the Silver Surfer received FOX announced that they would be rebooting the series (mainly a money spinning idea so the rights don’t go back to Marvel Entertainment. I don’t for a second believe that this is out of kindness to the fans because if they cared about the fans in the first place Galactus would not have been a giant cloud of smoke and Jessica Alba in a bad wig definitely would not have been Sue Storm!). A few days ago it was announced that Josh Trank would be directing the reboot after the praise he got for Chronicle and now it has been reported that Jeremy Slater is being approached to write a script for the reboot meaning that FOX must be serious about this venture; whether that’s a good or bad thing remains to be seen. But who will be playing the family of heroes? Here are my main candidates…

 

Mr. Fantastic – Jon Hamm. Hamm is best known for his television roles where he has appeared in The Unit, 30 Rock and the role he is most known for these days as Don Draper in the hit television show Mad Men. He has ventured into film before with projects such as Shrek Forever After, Sucker Punch, The Town, Bridesmaids and Friends With Kids all on his roster. Hamm has won a Golden Globe for her performances in Mad Men and has been nominated another three times so the man clearly has acting talent; the popularity of Mad Men also make Hamm no stranger to attention or pressure from fans so would be a good choice for the role of Reed Richards.

 

Invisible Woman – Elizabeth Banks. Okay, so this is going to be a cast that a lot of people are going to question but here goes; Elizabeth Banks is a very talented actress and has proven her versatility over the years. Like Jon Hamm, Banks also appeared in 30 Rock but is no stranger to huge summer hits as she recently appeared in The Hunger Games and before that Man on a Ledge. She has proven that she can be both serious and light hearted as well as looking good at all times (something important for anyone playing Sue Storm). Jessica Alba has the looks in the original two films but Banks has the acting ability too and would be a great shout for me.

 

Human Torch – Aaron Paul. FOX have sort of screwed themselves over a little bit in that the only part of the original films that was any good at all was casting Chris Evans as Johnny Storm so whoever gets that part in the reboot has a lot to live up to (unlike the rest of the cast). Fortunately, Paul has the ability to do just that. He has had bit parts in television shows and films over the years but really made it big with his role as Jesse Pinkman in universally acclaimed series Breaking Bad. Jesse is my favourite part of the show and Aaron Paul’s portrayal is the reason for this, I have no doubts that he could bring great charisma to the role of Johnny Storm.

 

The Thing – Bruce Willis. The rest of the cast presumably wouldn’t be that expensive so why not blow the budget to get Bruce Willis on board? I’m not Willis’ biggest fan but a few years ago I heard a rumour that The Thing would be fully CGI and Willis would be voicing him. Obviously that never came to fruition but imagine how good it would be if that actually happened? Bruce Willis is a well known tough guy who doesn’t take any stick and would be a great fit for Ben Grimm whether motion captured or in his human form pre-Thing. Just do it.

 

So there’s my cast for the reboot although I highly doubt that any of them will be correct, but who would you have play the Fantastic Four?

The Hunger Games: Reviewed.

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

The Hunger Games has been impossible to avoid over the past few weeks, maybe even months. Aside from the three big superhero films, The Hunger Games is probably the most anticipated film of the year. It has been adapted from Suzanne Collins’ worldwide best selling novel and directed by Gary Ross who is best known for The Tales of Despereaux and Seabiscuit.

The Hunger Games is set in the future; a future where teenagers are forced to compete as ‘tributes’ in ‘the Hunger Games’ where it is every man for himself and only the last man standing survives. These games are broadcast on televisions throughout each ‘district’ of the world. Katniss Everdeen is our hero and she volunteers to compete in the games in place of her sister.

The film relies a lot on the acting ability of Jennifer Lawrence who plays Katniss. Lawrence is an absolutely wonderful actress and she needs to be brilliant in this film to keep the audiences attention. Despite having a supporting cast that includes Josh Hutcherson, Lenny Kravitz, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland and Woody Harrelson most of the scenes involve Katniss and require Jennifer Lawrence to hold the audience and she proves that she can do that.

It is a horrible world we are taken into that gives the audience a feel of the bleak future which our heroes inhabit. From the offset, even from the trailers, anyone with half a bran could predict the ending considering there are a couple more books (and probable films) to follow The Hunger Games. But it is the journey we go on that holds the audience, how everything unfolds, this is what we are interested in.

The visual elements of the film are spectacular and it is such a wide world in which events take place that the effects need to be perfect to really suck the viewers into the arena. From the fire in the forest to the spaceship flying above the district, the special effects are really powerful without distracting from other aspects of the film which is great as it the story could have easily been lost in the big wide world of The Hunger Games.

Katniss is a conflicted character in terms of film making. We are introduced to her as this strong, family kind of girl who sacrifices herself for her sister. Yet, as the film goes on, to me, she actually seemed like a weak person, completely opposite to what we were promised at the beginning. Whilst she proves that she is smart and adept with a bow and arrow, she still needs saving a couple of times and gets overruled by feelings inside the arena with a love story that really was not needed.

The poor character development is not unique to Katniss, however, and it is this that lets the film down in my opinion. Other characters are not given enough time to develop really and Josh Hutcherson’s character Peeta Mellark, I thought, was really really unlikeable and I was actually hoping that Katniss would kill him at the end of the film, but alas it was not meant to be.

The Hunger Games has proven successful with audiences already, opening to the third biggest weekend in history. It sets the foundation of the franchise and is an entertaining film, but character growth and strength of story hold back Jennifer Lawrence’s fantastic job in the lead role.

My Rating: 7/10

Man On A Ledge Review

*MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*

I had my reservations about seeing this film: the title is lazy, the cast doesn’t excite me at all and the trailers did absolutely nothing to sell this film to me. However, I really wanted to go to the cinema today and the only film on in the time slot available was Man On A Ledge, so I ended up watching it, and I have to say, despite it’s flaws, it surprised me.

Sam Worthington plays Nick Cassidy, a cop turned convict, who has escaped from prison and is now the man on a ledge, protesting his innocence and wanting everybody to know that he is innocent. But whilst the police are negotiating with what they think is a suicidal man Nick’s brother, Joey Cassidy (Jamie Bell) and Joey’s girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) are using this cover to attempt a robbery from a building across the street in order to steal a diamond which Nick has supposedly stolen, cut down and sold on. Therefore, stealing this diamond would prove Nick’s innocence. Got it?

So I guess we have to talk about the acting, unfortunately. Sam Worthington is again given the lead role in a movie and again puts in an average to poor performance. Up until his character actually has something to do Worthington doesn’t really do enough to keep the audience interested in his character. I still like Jamie Bell from his days in Billy Elliot and I really do think he is a talented young actor but I think he needs to be wiser when choosing which films to appear in; his performance is below par and I was really hoping for something stronger from him. And as for Genesis Rodriguez, she is apparently only there to provide an eyeful of cleavage and to get a few shots of her body in the film to keep men interested. It’s as if the makers of this film doubted they could keep the attention of the audience themselves. The one bright spark in this film though, both in character story and portrayal, is Lydia Mercer played excellently by Elizabeth Banks and quite frankly I was interested in her character and her scenes a lot more than any other character of this film.

The story doesn’t really offer up anything we haven’t seen before. It plays out with a lot of back story, trying to create some mystery for the audience, but it fails. From the fight at the funeral I managed to guess every single twist the film had in store and I don’t want to be able to do that when I’m seeing a film for the first time! The film does pick up, however, once Nick is forced to run from the attempts to get him off the ledge and the sequence with him running around the edge of the hotel before jumping through a couple of windows was very enjoyable, as were the rest of the action scenes. Okay, so there’s a few things that are VERY unbelievable (when he jumps from the building, lands on the pad at the bottom and then manages to still get the diamond from Englander for example) but they can be overlooked in this film as it clearly isn’t trying to take itself seriously by this point.

And as for the ending… it seems very rushed and very ‘Hollywood’. One minute the film is still going on, he’s just got the diamond back, he’s proved his innocence, what’s going to happen now? Oh right, you’ve got the girl, you go to a pub and another twist is revealed that I managed to guess the second time of seeing that character. Well, thanks for that. And as for the proposal at the end… give me a break! The relationship between Joey and Angie made me cringe all the way through the film, the pair clearly had no chemistry and it just seemed forced.

But if you can overlook the bad acting and the routine story then you will enjoy this film as it does have a lot to enjoy. Just make sure you don’t go expecting to see something that’s going to make you think.

My rating: 5/10