Tag Archive: hugh jackman


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.

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Real Steel (2011) Review

Set in the near future, 2020 to be exact, Reel Steel is set at a time where the world of pro-boxing has come to an end and has been replaced by the WRB (the World Robot Boxing League). Two robots slug it out in the ring, being controlled outside the ring by their owners with a sort of futuristic gaming controller.

Our protagonist is Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman). Charlie is a former human boxer, one that never quite fulfilled his potential it seems, who is trying to make money by entering his robot in unsolicited fights. After being told his ex-girlfriend has passed away, Charlie is reunited with his estranged son, Max Kenton (Dakota Goyo). A strained father-son relationship gets put through the its paces as the two bond over their interest in WRB, eventually resulting in a surprise shot at the title belt.

It takes a while to begin to like Charlie. As the protagonist he offers very little to the audience in way of liking him, other than the fact that it’s Hugh Jackman playing him; he is selfish, in serious debt to a handful of people, doesn’t really care about anyone and he runs away from his responsibilities. Cue a family film where a stubborn child teaches his father to be a better person. And that’s where the real star of the show comes into play. Dakota Goyo is making a pretty good child career for himself and with his bright eyed and bushy tailed looks and attitude it’s no real surprise. Goyo is great here and adds a lot of heart to Real Steel and watching his relationship with, not only his father but, the discarded robot Atom grow is really heartwarming.

The work on the special effects in Real Steel is really noticeable and was credited with a nomination for the Academy Award for Visual Effects (losing out to Hugo). Animatronic robots were actually built, combined with motion capture performance, to bring the robots to life and they look 100% real. Everything they do, the way they look, the way they move, is brilliant. Watching the robots go toe to toe in the ring is as exciting as watching any Hollywood fight ever made.

The plot follows a fairly simple path. Nothing new is really offered in terms of the mould of a family film but what Real Steel does is give a masterpiece in how to make a really magical family film. Yes, at it’s core is the world of robot boxing, but really Real Steel is a feel good story with human relations at its core. The characters are really worth investing in and the story really manages to reach out and touch the emotions of the audience.

Slightly predictable, but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless!

My Rating: 7/10.

TWO DAYS LATER – I just re-watched Real Steel and I’m not going to change my rating but giving it the film a 7 I have done Real Steel a massive injustice! This is the latest addition to my ever-growing list of favourite films.

This week has seen a lot of casting being announced for several high profile comic book movies. I will start with The Amazing Spider-Man 2: with the original cast on board and the casting of Jamie Foxx as Electro and Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn. Now it seems like another villain is going to be in the mix: Rhino. Although, recent incarnations of the character have seen Rhino have a more sympathetic side so that may indicate that Rhino may play a similar role to that of Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. The man in talks for the role is the ever wonderful Paul Giamatti. This would be very interesting casting as Giamatti isn’t known for being a very physically fit actor but he is flawless in his performances so this could be something to look out for!

 

Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Hugh Jackman have already signed on to a return to the X-men franchise (although Jackman never really left) but this week has seen more familiar names from the original trilogy return for X-men: Days of Future Past. Shawn Ashmore (Iceman), Anna Paquin (Rogue) and Ellen Page (Shadowcat) are all set to return. Shadowcat plays a very important part in the comic book storyline this film is adapting but it is unclear how she will feature in the film. One thing that Bryan Singer (director) has promised though, is that Days of Future Past will include time travel that ‘makes sense’ and that it will be the biggest X-men film yet. I, for one, can not wait!

Sin City is often forgotten when talking about comic book movies because it isn’t your traditional comic book type film. However, among critics and fans it is one of the most highly praised of the genre. And after the recent casting of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ray Liotta the title role has now been filled in the sequel – Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Playing the dame is the wonderful Eva Green, one of my favourite Bond girls ever, although that isn’t really saying a lot taking into account my view on the Bond franchise as a whole.

And finally, we knew that Marvel would be spearheading ‘Phase 3’ with Ant-Man and we now know that Dr. Strange will also have his origin told in a solo film after The Avengers 2. Also, there are rumours that Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man will be seen going into space in an end credits scene after Iron Man 3 and that he may also feature in the post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy. This would indicate good signs for the future of Marvel’s franchises as it would suggest that Robert Downey Jr is to continue as the charming Tony Stark after Iron Man 3.

The story of Les Misérables, originally written as a novel by Victor Hugo, is 150 years old. The first adaptation of Les Misérables as a musical came in 1980 and it has gone on to become one of the biggest and one of the best musicals on stage in the world. So how do you adapt the musical to film while keeping the operatic feel? How do you make a 150 year old story seem relevant to the 21st century audience? These are the questions that faced director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) when creating this giant production.

Les Misérables primary focus is Jean Valjean, a prisoner released on parole after spendingnineteen years in jail. Upon his release and his attempt to become a better man and live a better life he breaks his parole and ruthless policeman Javert dedicates his life to returning Valjean to prison. Along the way Valjean takes in the child of a dying prostitute. The plot spans seventeen years and is set against the backdrop of political turmoil and rebellion in France, culminating in the June Rebellion of France.

One of the key features of Les Misérables was the fact that the actors did not lip sync; their vocals were actually recorded while they sang on set, which is a very unique way of doing things when making a musical film. This means that the actors are forced to act, sing, move and sometimes fight all at the same time. It is a testament to how talented the whole case is that this never gets in the way of their vocals: this also helps to really keep a theatrical feel about the performance.

Hugh Jackman is Oscar nominated for his performance as prison Jean Valjean and his background in theatre clearly helped his performance in Les Misérables. Jackman’s transformation on screen as his character rises and falls in stature is fantastic and, with his performance, he brings so much emotion to the role it is hard not to feel for him. Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Valjean is probably one of my favourite individual performances I have ever seen. This is also true of Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of prostitute Fantine, although for very different reasons. Fantine is forced to desperate measures in order to raise money to look after her child and the sequence which portrays this (accompanied with the song ‘Lovely Ladies‘) is so harrowing and you can really feel the despair and desperation of the character. I am slightly disappointed that Russell Crowe wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for his performance: even though he plays the villain I thought Crowe made Javert reluctantly likeable and I was really impressed by his singing too.

The songs and the music are the centre piece of Les Misérables and, as you would expect being as though it is a musical, the songs are wonderful. With such beautiful music and compelling lyrics the choice of songs (and addition of new song ‘Suddenly‘) really help to create a wonderful narrative which is vital here as there are very few spoken lines within the two and a half hour running time. Hathaway singing ‘I Dreamed a Dream‘ was a real highlight of the film, ‘Do You Hear the People Sing?‘ was a wonderful team production, ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables‘ was another personal highlight along with my favourite song of them all ‘Stars‘.

At the beginning of this review I called the making of Les Misérables a giant production and the huge scale on which this film is made is evident from the very first shot. Right from the get go it is a real team effort and everybody pulls their weight equally. The sets are incredible, the set pieces are fantastic, character development is wonderful. Lots of characters are introduced at different times throughout the film but they never clog up the storyline.

Les Misérables is a terrific story on so many levels and, even at two and a half hours long, I could have happily sat through it again as soon as it finished!

My Rating: 10/10.

I’m pleased to see Affleck getting the recognition he deserves as a director.

The Golden Globes took place last night and Argo was the hit of the night winning Best Drama and won Ben Affleck Best Director. This would suggest that Argo is now the favourite to pick up the Best Picture Oscar (it was already many people’s favourites and this will just strengthen arguments) but will that be the case?

Argo will face tough competition at the 85th Academy Awards from Les Miserables in particular which picked up the Best Musical or Comedy Golden Globe last night. I’m not sure why the Golden Globes feels the need to separate films into drama and musical/comedy but that’s what they do and they infer that Argo will be going head to head with Les Miserables. The cynic in me still thinks that something like Lincoln or Zero Dark Thirty will get the win thanks to their very strong pro-American vibes. Last year, The Descendants and The Artist were the winners of Best Motion Picture Golden Globes and The Artist went on to stuff its face with more and more awards in the following weeks, I can’t see the same happening for Argo to the same extent but I wouldn’t say an Oscar is beyond doubt.

However, Ben Affleck is not even nominated for Best Director at the Oscars! I think the Best Director Oscar is well up for grabs and any of the five nominees (Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Michael Haneke, David O. Russell, Benh Zeitlin) could easily win it. But surely it says something that the winner of the Golden Globe for direction is not even nominated for the Academy Award? Personally, I though Affleck’s direction was one of the best features of Argo!

Lawrence is one of the youngest actresses to be nominated for an Academy Award and the Golden Globes suggest this could be her year.

The Best Actor Oscar looks set to be between Hugh Jackman and Daniel Day-Lewis and these are the two people I would have been backing before last night. I do hope that Daniel Day-Lewis wins the Oscar as he is clearly one of the best actors that his generation has seen, and I would go so far as to say he will go down as one of the greatest of all time. Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain will compete for the Best Actress award and Lawrence is nailed on favourite so it’s hard to look past her for this one.

The rest of the Golden Globes correctly predict the winners for me: Christopher Waltz for Best Supporting Actor, Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress, Adele to win for Best Original Song for Skyfall and Quentin Tarantino to win Best Screenplay.

In terms of the acting awards last year the Golden Globes were a certain prediction of the Oscar Awards but only time will tell if this year will follow suit.

As soon as I saw the first trailer for Rise of the Guardians I instantly fell in love with it. Just from the trailer you could tell it was going to be something special; the characters, the colour scheme, the animation. It soon became one of my most anticipated films of the year… so how would it stand up to my very very high expectations?

DreamWorks’ latest feature film sees the immortal guardians: North – Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), Bunnymund – Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth – the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and the mute Sandy – Sandman team up to stop the evil Boogeyman Pitch (Jude Law) from covering the world in fear and taking away all the innocence of the children. To do so a new recruit must heed the Guardians’ call: Jack Frost (Chris Pine).

The story is pretty simple, it in no way tries to over complicate things but that doesn’t take anything away from the way in which the story are told. Right from the off we are presented with this sort of outcast character of Jack Frost and we are quickly brought in to his story, feeling his sense of longing and wishing to know where he came from, wanting to be believed in by the children of Earth. And right from here you are wrapped up in the story. You’re rooting for him right from the word go and the introduction to this magical world is all you need to quickly become engrossed and want to see more. I found myself amazed at how emotionally attached I grew to Jack Frost as the film went on, there was a distinct sense of humanity in his character.

Of course, some of this humanity is installed by the wonderful Chris Pine’s voice acting and the whole cast did a terrific job in voicing their characters. I can honestly say that this is definitely one of Hugh Jackman’s best performances in my opinion, or at least one of my favourite roles I have seen him in. I almost forgot it was even Alec Baldwin voicing North as well, this sort of Russian/Eastern European accent and demeanor he seemed to have really made his character stand out and it was terrific work from Baldwin in doing this. And although Sandy doesn’t say a word (he communicates through sand drawings above his head) he quickly transforms into this lovable little guy and no doubt one of the most popular characters in Rise of the Guardians! As for Pitch, I think he may just be one of the greatest ever villains in a children’s film.

The animation is second to none. We’re talking perfection here in terms of animation. There are some wonderful sets created; Santa’s workshop, Bunnymund’s Easter retreat, Tooth’s palace and Pitch’s headquarters. There is so much attention to detail, everything is so bold and bright and it all feels so real, like your looking at something of immeasurable beauty. And there are some great action sequences to go with the wonderful aesthetics of the film. Right from the beginning where we first meet Jack Frost and he messes about on the iced over pond to the sled ride he takes Jamie (the last believer in the Guardians) on, from the scene in which the Guardians help restore belief in Tooth, right up to the final climax and fight with Pitch.

Everything is done so well. Scenes you thought were pointless when they first appear later show their importance in the film and it has a sort of poetic feel to it. DreamWorks is really showing here, as people are starting to doubt Pixar for the first time, that they can make top quality films as well as anybody else.

Director Peter Ramsay, producer Christina Steinberg, executive producer Guillermo del Toro and Jack Frost himself Chris Pine have all expressed an interest in making a sequel. Usually I do like to see films just stand alone, it makes a nice change these days, but I have to confess I would welcome a Rise of the Guardians sequel with open arms!

My Rating: 9/10.

With the news this week that Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Hugh Jackman will all be reprising their roles as Professor Xavier, Magneto and Wolverine from the original trilogy in Days of Future Past, I thought it would be fun to take a look at characters from the X-Men universe that are yet to make it to the big screen in a true capacity and who should play them. Here are my thoughts on the top five I would most like to see:

 

Cable

We’ll start with Cable, one of the most popular X-Men in the comic books. Cable is the time-travelling son of Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Madelyne Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey) and his back story would probably have to be changed in order to fit in with this film series. Although, saying that, with what seems to be a time traveling element added to the series with Days of Future Past then perhaps it is a plausible addition. Suggestions for this role put forward by fans have included Dominic Purcell, Clive Owen (two good actors but bad choices for this role) and Kurt Russell (a better choice). But my favourite is Stephen Lang. This week, Lang has come out and expressed an interest in playing the character and, while he may need to bulk up a little bit more, I think Lang definitely has the bad-assery needed to play Cable.

https://i1.wp.com/www.comicbookmovie.com/images/users/uploads/14267/Stephen%20Lang%20-%20Cable.jpg

 

Bishop

Bishop is another time traveling mutant in the X-Men universe and comes from a dystopian future. Again, a little back story change may be necessary to include Bishop but I know there are plenty of fans that would love to see the arrival of Lucas Bishop on the big screen. Idris Elba is an actor that is linked to every role for a black actor that is going around which is clearly a credit to how highly thought of as an actor he is. However, while I know he can play a complex character with a lot of attitude he wouldn’t be my choice for the role (he’s already appeared in two superhero movies as well). I’m not sure how popular my choice will be but I would suggest the 6’4 hard man Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. His toughness is unquestionable and his ability to act has been proven in his most recent projects.

Dwayne Johnson Bishop

 

Scarlet Witch

All in all, female characters weren’t greatly portrayed in the original trilogy or in X-Men: First Class. Plenty of attention was given to Jean Grey but characters like Shadowcat, Rogue, Emma Frost and Storm didn’t quite reach their full potential in my opinion. Scarlet Witch is one of the greatest and most powerful female mutants there have ever been, with the power to even change a whole universe (which would have come in handy to reboot the series properly). As Magneto’s daughter Scarlet Witch has featured a lot in the comic books over the years. A few big name actresses have been mentioned (Eva Green, Marion Cotillard and Rachel McAdams among them) however I would choose someone younger in the form of British actress Katie McGrath.

Katie McGrath Scarlet Witch

 

Cannonball

Cannonball, aka Sam Guthrie, is one of my favourite characters from the X-Men comics although how it would come across on screen I’m not so sure. Cannonball’s ability is described as the ability to “bodily generate thermo-chemical energy and release it from his skin. This energy is used as thrust to cause his body to be propelled through the air like a rocket”… or to put it simply, he’s a bit like the Human Torch. Someone young would have to play Cannonball for me and I can’t look past Alex Pettyfer (Stormbreaker) for the part!

Alex Pettyfer Cannonball

 

Psylocke

Okay, so technically Psylocke did appear in X-Men: The Last Stand but if you’re going to count that as a true interpretation of the character then you need to get your head checked. Psylocke is a born leader, a fantastic warrior and one of the more prominent characters in a number of X-Men comic book lines and in some of the biggest events to shape the Marvel universe. There is a lot of debate among fans whether Pyclocke in the film should be British or Asian (long story, Wiki it) but the actress I have chosen, and have seen put forward by other fans, is neither of these. Olivia Wilde.

Olivia Wilde Psylocke

 

Who would you want to see join the ranks of the X-Men on the big screen? And who would you pick to play them?

 

 

The X-Men series has come under a lot of criticism in it’s time despite the critical success that X-Men, X2 and X-Men: First Class has enjoyed. So if three of the five films have gone down well then why do fans of the X-Men continue to be critical of the series?  A lot of the criticism comes from the messed up continuity of the franchise and if you look hard enough you will find plenty of issues with the continuity throughout all five films; X-Men: The Last Stand came under fire for ruining a lot of hard work that Bryan Singer had set up in the first two instalments and X-Men Origins: Wolverine upset fans by just not being very good and ruining Gambit, a character that fans had wanted to see on screen for far too long for him to just be dismissed like he is.

So when The Wolverine was announced to be yet another film focussing on the escapades of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine the news was met with less than positive response on internet forums. Yet this week, finally, The Wolverine is connecting with fans and getting people actually hyped up due to one little quote that director James Mangold made to Empire magazine. Mangold won fans over by saying “Where this film sits in the universe of the films is after them all, Jean Grey is gone, most of the X-Men are disbanded or gone, so there’s a tremendous sense of isolation for him”. Everybody was assuming The Wolverine would be another prequel because it is set in Japan (the storyline from the comics in Japan happened before Wolverine met the X-Men) and now it appears that everything we thought about this film was untrue.

Everyone wanted a sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand and it seems as though The Wolverine could be the closest thing that we see to this. With this being a sequel it also gives the opportunity for former characters to return to the franchise. Returning characters was hinted at with the other prequel titled Days of Future Past but it seems that maybe fans were misled and Patrick Stewart’s and Famke Janssen’s comments about returning to the franchise could have been meant about The Wolverine rather than Days of Future Past. I, for one, would love to see some of the old characters return and it might be able to give an explanation to what happened to Cyclops, explain Professor X’s return and feature more of Angel perhaps. Unfortunately, I don’t think that this will happen though because the film will be set in Japan.

One of the main things that has been hinted at is that Wolverine would set up the Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters and whilst this would be a very touching moment for the character and could set up some more stories for future X-Men you can’t help but feel this SHOULD have been done before the prequels of First Class came into existence. It seems as though The Wolverine will be a stand alone film and you have to hope it will be because right now there are too many strands of the same franchise going on:

X-Men prequels – First Class, Days of Future Past

Wolverine Prequels – Origins

Original X-Men timeline – X-Men, X2, The Last Stand

Wolverine sequels – The Wolverine

That is four different strands of the same franchise and you can see why so much confusion and continuity errors will be made! However, James Mangold says that he wanted to set the film in the timeline so you imagine he will try to stay true to events that have already happened. Mangold has been hit (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line) and miss (Knight & Day) in his career so far but hopefully The Wolverine will be a hit! Regrettably, hopefully The Wolverine will be the last we see of Hugh Jackman too and the X-Men franchise is finally brought together and made simple once again.

Let’s get straight into it. American Bullshit. That was the original name of the film that Christian Bale has recently signed on for. The now untitled movie originally had Bale set to lead the ensemble cast but he dropped out, and now he has jumped back into the movie. When Bale dropped out he was replaced with the frankly quite obvious replacement Jeremy Renner. It has been announced that Renner and Bale will now both be in the project so everyone’s a winner! The film also stars Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper and will be directed by David O. Russell who previously worked with Bale on The Fighter.

Paul Dano, fresh from Ruby Sparks and Looper this past month has now signed on to what should be another film that will see positive press and Dano is fast becoming into a very recognisable and reliable face in the world of movies. The latest project he has signed on for is a revenge thriller entitled Prisoners. Prisoners is about a Boston man who kidnaps the person he suspects is behind the disappearance of his young daughter and her best friend. Hugh Jackman will be playing the lead role with Jake Gyllenhaal and Oscar winner Melissa Leo in support, so not half bad casting really.

A movie currently in production that is causing quite a stir is Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac. The reason for all of the attention on this project is because it revolves around a woman beaten up and found in an alley, then cleaned up by a bachelor who finds her and along the way she recounts all the details of her sex life from when it began up until her 50s (why?). And it has been announced that Lars Von Trier wants the sex scenes to be completely real – he wants his cast to ACTUALLY have sex on film. Anyway, this week has seen Uma Thurman sign up to a cast that already includes Stellan Skarsgard, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Shia LaBeouf.

And finally, after all of that casting news there is some absolutely ridiculous news coming out this week that after the unsuccessful Battleships film, Hollwood execs are now planning to turn several other games into big blockbusters. Along with a Monopoly film, which has been in the works for some time now, an Action Man movie is being planned (which should lend itself to the medium more easily than others, perhaps). But the weirdest news is that a Hungry Hippos movie is being planned. It’ll be interesting to see how that one turns out.

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.