Tag Archive: hollywood films


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.

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.

The three biggest action stars in the world… ever.

During the eighties and nineties the action genre was the place to be and many action stars were born. Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Seagal and Dolph Lundgren all made careers out of being action heroes. Their films were, most of the time, nothing more than a simple storyline where a hero just got to kick ass and the audience would have fun cheering the hero on while he did so, eg. Die Hard, Rambo. Nowadays you won’t really find that among the big Hollywood films, the genre has evolved over time and action films seemed to get more serious, genres started to merge and the days of the real action genre and action heroes are behind us, I think.

While people like the actors mentioned above are still making films I do believe that the only real action hero we have left is the English born Jason Statham. He is most famous for the Transporter trilogy and his films continue to get a cinema release whereas the likes of Lundgren, Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme do not, so why is this? I think it is because Statham does have a real talent for acting whereas a lot of action heroes are just there because of their size and physique; Statham has shown before he can manage the acting as well as the action, he seems like a really nice guy which audiences always like and he is still relatively new in his career, having only started out in 1998. It’s been 14 years sure, but actors these days go for a lot longer than that!

The Expendables 2 is coming out later this year and back in 2010 we saw a return to the sole action genre with the original film directed and written by Sylvester Stallone himself. The idea was to bring together a great ensemble cast of action heroes to bring the genre back to the forefront of blockbuster cinema. The cast included Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren as well as a scene that features three stars synonymous with the action genre: Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis. The sequel retains this cast and expands with Van Damme and Chuck Norris. The idea to revive the big action block buster was a good one in theory and went down well with fans as the film opened to huge commercial success across the globe but critics were less favourable as the film received mixed to negative reviews. Despite this, a third film is rumoured to happen and Steven Seagal says he has been offered a part. But it does seem as though the only way to get a big action film back on the big screen is to bring together an ensemble, otherwise audiences are not going to be grabbed.

Asian cinema still features a lot of action films and the very successful The Raid (originally titled Serbuan Maut) was even released in British cinemas earlier this year and went down very well with critics so maybe it is just Hollywood that can’t get it right? I suppose that the nearest thing we have to a pure action film these days is the Fast & Furious franchise but you could hardly say that Paul Walker is an action hero or that even Vin Diesel is (come on, he was in The Pacifier) no matter how much he really likes to think he is himself. The Bourne films are marketed as action films and I guess they could be described as such but this is still an evolution from real action films as it features more in crime and even political genres, however the action does feature a lot. And Matt Damon would not consider himself an action hero I don’t think. Liam Neeson isn’t particularly an action hero yet his film Taken is probably the most successful action movie of recent times and is the only really really good one that I can think of right now.

I would argue that the nearest thing we have to real action films now are the superhero movies. The action heroes have been replaced with those of the comic book world as they appear on the big screen and clearly define the theme of good versus evil and the hero goes on to kick some ass very much like Rambo, John McClane or Frank Martin would do. All the time, trying to keep it fun for audiences.

Over time all genres do evolve as audiences crave something new, something that will break boundaries or challenge them to put the pieces together themselves but I, for one, would like to see more old school action films being made. But none of these rubbish straight to DVD films, I want real action blockbusters with real action heroes in them. All it will take is for one new action hero to step out of the shadows and then a flurry of them will follow as it did for he superhero movies and for the fairy tale films too. So whoever he is, he better step up quick.

He's so happy!

There are some actors who work incredibly hard but never reap the rewards that Brad Pitt or George Clooney do; there are some actors who appear in a lot of films but not many people would know who they were. If you enjoy films, especially those directed by Guy Ritchie or Matthew Vaughn, then you will know the face of Jason Flemyng.

Flemyng boasts a wide variety of films in his back catalogue: gangster flicks, comic book movies, big budget blockbusters, small budget indies but interestingly, Flemyng continues to return to his television roots despite, by many people’s opinion, making it as a film star.

Lock, Stock: Flemyng's big break.

In 1994, Flemyng made his first film appearance after dropping in on a number of television series. This film was a version of The Jungle Book, but it was four years later that he got his big break in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, directed by Guy Ritchie and produced by Matthew Vaughn. Ritchie then went on to direct Flemyng again in Snatch.

In the early 2000s Flemyng made a transition to big budget Hollywood films. The two notable films of this time are From Hell, alongside Johnny Depp, and unfortunately the heavily criticised League of Extraordinary Gentlemen where he starred with Sean Connery.

The fun that Jason Flemyng had with Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels‘ co-star Jason Statham led to Flemyng being cast in action sequel Transporter 2. The relationships that Flemyng has forged in the movie industry are clearly important to him as he continued to work with Ritchie, Statham and Vaughn on more than one occasion.

Helping to reboot the X-men franchise

Matthew Vaughn has described Flemyng as his ‘lucky charm’ and this is why Flemyng features in most of Vaughn’s films, whether Vaughn is producing or directing. The partnership formed on Lock Stock has seen Flemyng given roles, however big or small, in Snatch, Mean Machine, Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass and a brilliant role in X-men: First Class as teleporting mutant Azazel. This is a role Flemyng will more than likely return for, especially as Vaughn is once again signed on to direct.

Jason Flemyng’s work has not gone ignored by others in the industry and he has appeared in several other films such as Soloman Kane, Clash of the Titans, Ironclad, the critically acclaimed The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and even an uncredited appearance in The Social Network.

With such a wide range of films to his name it is almost impossible to avoid Flemyng’s work. He is a really really good British star who doesn’t get half the recognition that he deserves. No matter what role he plays, big or small, Jason Flemyng gives it his all.