Tag Archive: gemma arterton


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.

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Lara Croft is the most recognisable female video game character in the world. At the beginning of this century two Tomb Raider films were released with Angelina Jolie taking on the role and, despite the original film still being the most successful film adaptation of a video game in the United States, both this and its sequel were not too well received by critics. Also, in recent years, the video game side of the Tomb Raider franchise has been waning. Until 2013. Earlier this month a reboot of the video game series hit the shelves, simply titled Tomb Raider. It received huge critical acclaim, is one of the best games I have ever played and obviously went on to sell more than a million copies in less than 48 hours. So it seems the time is right to reboot the franchise on the big screen, but who should play Lara Croft?

Here are my candidates:

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Gemma Arterton

Arterton has had experience in big action films before: Quantum of Solace, Prince of Persia, Clash of the Titans. While none of these films were exactly brilliant it has given Arterton the skills necessary to be let loose on her own big action franchise. She is currently one of the best British actresses working today and her talent is undeniable. I would definitely like to see her given a chance as Lara Croft.

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Hayley Atwell

Atwell is more of a television actress but made her break in Hollywood recently in Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger where her performance as Peggy Carter won her a lot of fans. She has shown her skills in Pillars of the Earth and The Duchess. However, her stock as a leading lady is yet to be tested and helming the Tomb Raider franchise could be a leap too far so early in her film career.

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Camilla Luddington

You may not know who Camilla Luddington is but she is the voice behind Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider reboot of this year. On screen she has been in Californication, True Blood and Grey’s Anatomy but is yet to make her break in the film industry. However, depending on how closely involved the game’s publishers and producers are in making the film (my guess being not very) then she may have an outside shot at landing the role.

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Alice Eve

This is a long shot and probably won’t be considered. She is set to appear in Star Trek Into Darkness later this year so will be getting a lot of exposure both on screen and off it (if you’ve seen the new trailer you’ll know what I mean) and so she may be worth the risk?

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Bryce Dallas Howard

As the only non-Englishwoman on the list she would probably be my least favourite for the role (I just think that as Lara Croft is English it would be nice to see an English actress take the part this time) but Bryce Dallas Howard could be a nice fit. Previously appearing in Spider-Man 3, Terminator Salvation, 50/50 and The Help she has shown off her action credentials as well as her acting abilities.

For me, it’s between Gemma Arterton and Hayley Atwell with Arterton just winning in my mind!

Everyone knows the traditional story of Hansel and Gretal: two children who get lost in a forest manage to find their way to a house made out of candy. There, they encounter a witch who intends to fatten them up and cook them for herself, but eventually the children manage to defeat the witch and escape with their lives in tact. It’s a common fairy tale that children are told all over the world. But nobody quite knows what happens to little Hansel and Gretal after their encounter with the witch.

Witch Hunters imagines what does happen to them after the story ends. We catch up with Hansel and Gretal in the town of Augsburg where they prevent a woman from being killed as a witch. Here, we find out that since their first encounter with a witch they have become bounty hunters and are leaving no witch alive in their journeys across the country. But with a series of kidnappings taking place in town they realise that the fabled Blood Moon is approaching and Hansel and Gretal must do all they can to stop it.

It’s a pretty good idea for a film, you have to give it that. And with it being rated at a 15 here in the UK, it opens up the idea of this being a film for adults; blood and gore aplenty. Therefore, there is potential for a dark and gritty story to be told, just the way the Grimm brothers originally envisioned their work. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Hansel and Gretal: Witch Hunters decides not to take itself seriously and aims at becoming just a generic action/fantasy film. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. Compared to other action/fantasy films of recent years this is a contender for the best, but it is not a genre that generally does well in cinemas unless it’s related to Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. But when Hansel & Gretal gets it right, it gets it right. There is a lot of blood, there are some big laughs too (and a few little ones).

Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton do their best in the title roles and these are two actors that I really do like. But it seems odd to me why Renner in particular would have chosen to make this film. I’m not really sure I buy into the brother/sister relationship which is supposed to be conveyed by the two actors despite good solo performances.

The special effects work was probably the best thing about the movie. Edward the troll (who names a troll Edward?) looks like a fantastic piece of CGI work and the witches do look genuinely creepy and a little bit frightening. It does feel, however, that despite being an enjoyable film there are a few too many flaws, leaving Renner, Arterton and Famke Jansen wandering around in hope of finding a better script somewhere.

My Rating: A generous 6/10, purely for entertainment value.

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!

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.

Keira Knightley: A British Star

Keira Knightley seems to have been around for a lot longer than she actually has. In fact, the English actress is still just twenty seven years old and along with Carey Mulligan and Gemma Arterton, she spearheads the representation of young, talented British actresses working in Hollywood.

Before becoming the big film star that she is today, Keira Knightley cut her teeth in television. As a child she had small roles in several episodes of television shows, including British institution The Bill. It is not common knowledge, but at just 14 years old Knightley appeared in the heavily criticised Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Despite the commercial success, it would take another couple of years for Keira to land the role that would launch her career.

After appearing in television series Oliver Twist, she made a couple more films specifically for television before showing up in the psychological thriller The Hole alongside Thora Birch. 2002 was the year that really kick started Knightley’s career. She picked up a role in a film centring around a young female Sikh’s rebellion against her parents as she joins a women’s football (or soccer) team; the film, of course, is the brilliant Bend It Like Beckham. This was a brilliant performance by the young Keira Knightley and really raised her profile within the film industry.

Keira Knightley is a brilliant English actress. Orlando Bloom is just English.

In 2003 Keira Knightley became the new Hollywood ‘It’ girl with the lead female role in smash hit Pirate of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (the best of the Pirates films) as Elizabeth Swann. Knightley put in a great performance in Curse of the Black Pearl and you can tell how good it is by the fact that she actually manages to make Orlando Bloom look like a half decent actor too. The Pirates franchise made Knightley well known to Hollywood audiences and she went on to star in the next two films in the series as well.

After breaking Hollywood Knightley appeared in British romantic comedy Love Actually alongside a whole host of British stars including Emma Thomspon and Hugh Grant. Unfortunately, her career seemed to stall after this (aside from the Pirates films) as she starred in King Arthur, Domino and The Jacket; all of which were flops with critics and audiences.

After failing to impress as an ‘action chick’ Keira Knightley moved into a genre that most audiences now would associate her with: the period drama. In 2005, Knightley portrayed Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice for which she was awarded her only Oscar nomination to date. Knightley continued to impress in this area with Silk, Atonement, The Edge of Love and The Duchess. Atonement saw Knightley nominated for a Golden Globe and a Bafta for her performance and left many critics puzzled as to why she had not been nominated for an Oscar as well.

Knightley gives one of her best performances in The Duchess.

In 2010, Keira Knightley appeared alongside other bright British talents Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield for Never Let Me Go. She then went on to appear in Last Night and then London Boulevard which teamed her up with one of the most hot and cold actors of our time, Colin Farrell. She was most recently seen on cinema screens in A Dangerous Method with Viggo Mortensen and the brilliant Michael Fassbender which details the birth of psychoanalysis from Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung’s friendship.

I think that Keira Knightley is one of the best young actresses that England has produced over recent years. And despite the fact she gets acclaim for a large majority of her performances it seems like she is forgotten when she doesn’t have a film out and so is very hard done by. She is certainly a talented actress and I think it’s great that she continues to make British films and resisting the lure of big budget Hollywood blockbusters.