Tag Archive: friday night lights


Yes, you read that right. After the enjoyable yet unremarkable Rocky Balboa it appears as though it is very likely that Sylvester Stallone is set to reprise the most famous role of his career and bring the underdog boxer Rocky back to the big screen for the seventh time. However, if it does happen, it won’t be in any kind of Rocky VII film, it will be in a spin-off form the franchise. Intrigued?

To date the Rocky franchise has grossed over $1.2billion worldwide

Die hard film fans will have heard of Fruitvale Station (no Rocky connection yet) which is released tomorrow (26th July) in the United States as it has been very well received at the Sundance Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for American Dramatic Film, and Cannes Film Festival where it won the award for Best First Film. Fruitvale Station was written and directed by Ryan Coogler who is only 27 which is quite remarkable when you think about it.

Anyway, it’s Coogler who is planning to bring the next film to the big screen through his passion for the franchise. Coogler will be writing the script and directing the project which will be titled ‘Creed’ and will focus on the grandson of Rocky’s respected rival, Apollo Creed. The story will apparently revolve around Creed’s grandson and his dreams of fighting professionally despite his family’s concerns after Apollo died in the ring (Rocky IV). The young Creed will turn to Sylvester Stallone’s heavyweight champion Rocky to train him and help him become the best boxer he can be.

Left: Ryan Coogler; Right: Michael B. Jordan

The actor set to nab the lead role in the spin-off is Michael B. Jordan who stars in Fruitvale Station and, just in recent months, has been highly touted for some of the biggest films in production. Jordan is probably most famous for his excellent acting skills in The Wire and has also been seen on Friday Night Lights and starred in surprise hit, Chronicle. He has been linked with roles in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and the Fantastic Four reboot (it seems like only a matter of time before he plays a superhero and getting this role isn’t going to hurt his chances). He certainly has the acting chops and the likeability about him to pull this role off, but would a spin-off work and is it even a possibility?

At the minute, reports suggest that Sylvester Stallone will come back on board as producer as well as star, meaning that his baby (the Rocky franchise) will still be in his own hands even if he hangs up his gloves after giving Creed its legs. The Rocky franchise is certainly a popular one and in the modern world of remakes, reboots and sequels it seems as though Hollywood would be daft to shoot the idea down without thinking about it. If Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan want to make it then I say we let them; they are both getting praise right, left and centre and the franchise would be in safe hands. It would also be brilliant to see a new summer blockbuster (with potential to be a series of films in its own right) with a black character at the heart of its story, which is something significantly lacking from Hollywood films.

I highly doubt Sylvester Stallone would turn down the chance to play Rocky Balboa once more. Let round seven begin.

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Taylor Kitsch is not having a year to remember by any stretch of the imagination. So far in 2012 he has headlined two huge box office flops; John Carter and Battleship. With Savages coming out later this year this could be his last chance to crack Hollywood as a leading man. It could have all been so different for Taylor Kitsch.

Kitsch’s first major role was in television show Friday Night Lights and, despite not having a high viewership it went down very well with critics and, the odd episodes I saw, I really enjoyed it; Kitsch himself was praised for his performance as the hard drinking and womanising running back Tim Riggins. It was his performance on the show that got him his big chances in Hollywood in the first place, so he must have some quality as an actor.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine was Kitsch’s introduction to mainstream cinema audiences in the role of fan favourite X-men character, Gambit. This was only a smaller part in an ensemble cast and although the film was heavily criticised (especially by comic book fans) I thought Kitsch portrayed Gambit well and it’s a shame he won’t be reprising the role for The Wolverine.

John Carter of Mars was Taylor Kitsch’s big chance. It was hugely budgeted by Disney and prolifically marketed yet for one reason or another it just didn’t have enough pull to draw in audiences and cost Disney huge losses (which thankfully are now being recovered by The Avengers). Battleship was a chance for Kitsch to win back fans and critics with another starring role in a big budget film and yet this film failed again, largely because of the success of The Avengers. I think anything released at the same time as The Avengers was never going to do as well as it could have done another month.

Later on this year Taylor Kitsch is playing the lead role in Oliver Stone’s Savages. Stone is a well acclaimed director and the rest of the cast includes Aaron Johnson, Benicio del Toro, John Travolta and Uma Thurman so these factors could make Savages a success and bring Kitsch to public prominence which I think he deserves. Before casting Taylor Kitsch in the lead role Stone asked to see 30 minutes of footage from Battleship to get an idea of how Kitsch could handle being a leading man and something obviously impressed Stone enough to cast him.

I think that Taylor Kitsch is a good actor and deserves a proper chance. Perhaps it was a bit unfair throwing him in at the deep end in films with huge budgets because huge budgets tend to take away from actors performances and so people will see Kitsch as a failure because of the loss of money rather than his performances. If he started with movies that were more low budget then he would have had a better chance at making it as a leading man; it would have been helpful to build up an audience first before throwing him in as a lead action hero. However, I don’t think this is his fault, it is that of the studios.

Savages could be Kitsch’s last chance at being a leading man without having to start again because with potentially three huge flops with his name on it in the space of a year will not look good on his CV.

John Carter of Mars (as it was named originally before becoming simply ‘John Carter‘) was meant to be the next huge franchise. At least, that was what Disney had hoped for anyway. Disney have had great success with the average Pirates of the Caribbean franchise but have failed to replicate this in recent years with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Tron: Legacy and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. John Carter, the budget suggests, was thought to be a sure fire hit.

Unfortunately, Disney has recently announced in a statement to shareholders that John Carter has made substantial losses. £126 million to be exact. So why did the film fail? Here are a few possible reasons.

Taylor Kitsch had a lot of expectations thrust upon him.

 

The Cast: The films boasts some recognisable names: Thomas Haden Church, Dominic West, Mark Strong, Willem Dafoe and Bryan Cranston and usually this bodes well, but as good as they are none of them are that familiar with huge blockbusters (minus Dafoe in the first Spider-man film) or have a lot of mainstream cinema fans. The big risk was putting a relatively unknown actor in the lead role; Taylor Kitsch had a small part in X-men Origins: Wolverine but is best known for his role in television series Friday Night Lights. My point is, he is not a leading man, he is barely even a supporting man. He is not someone that Disney should have rested such huge expectations on.

 

The Marketing: This movie was given a lot of promotion, there have been trailers all over the television and internet for weeks, maybe even months. But none of the trailers really showed the audience what the film was about, there was nothing that could appeal to the audience or pull them in, nothing to hook viewers. Also, the name change from ‘John Carter of Mars‘ to just ‘John Carter‘ was a mistake in my opinion. At least with the reference to Mars in the title there is something different, it might interest science fiction fans more than just a person’s name would. The film could be about anyone!

Andrew Stanton: One of Pixar's finest but a risky choice?

The Director: This is not an insult to Andrew Stanton at all, more of an acknowledgement of the risk that was taken in his appointment. Stanton co-directed A Bug’s Life and directed himself Finding Nemo and Wall-E; all three are terrific films and he did a good job on them. But there is a difference between directing an animated film and directing a huge scale, big budget blockbuster. It was a risk taken by Disney, but if you’re not going to have an accomplished leading man then surely an accomplished live-action director is a must.

It’s All Been Done Before: The books on which John Carter is based were written over 70 years ago. They have influenced much of modern science fiction and therefore offers nothing new to the film scene anymore. Avatar, for example, used a similar storyline but did it on a much bigger scale. The characters were stronger, the inhabitants of another planet looked better and all in all the special effects were like nothing anyone had ever seen before. Newer science fiction, whilst based on John Carter, has left the source material behind leaving nothing fresh for that audience to see here.

Obviously there are more reasons that John Carter has flopped and these are just a few of my theories behind the huge losses. Disney may be slightly worried by the losses at the minute but with Pixar’s Brave coming up and Marvel’s The Avengers also arriving in cinemas over the next couple of months they can be in no doubt that they will make that money back easily.