Tag Archive: hugo


Later this year Ender’s Game is set to be released to an audience that is already planning to boycott the film. The threat comes due to Orson Scott Card’s (the author of the original novel) controversial, to put it nicely, views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage; the author is set to earn some royalties from the film and some fans are unwilling to line his pockets, quite understandably. Just how serious these threats are remains to be seen, but for now lets just focus on the film itself. Here’s the trailer:

If you can’t tell from that, which you really can’t, what the storyline is, it is thus: 70 years after a horrific alien war, an unusually gifted child is sent to an advanced military school in space to prepare for a future invasion. With this synopsis comes the promise of all out science fiction glory with special effects and battle scenes that will only be worth seeing on the big screen.

Now, obviously a brilliant cast does not always make a great film (Ocean’s Twelve, Alexander) but it doesn’t help to bring together many critically acclaimed actors, actresses and crew members, so who’s working on this?
Oscar winner Gavin Hood – 2006: Tsotsi won Best Foreign Language Film
Oscar winner Ben Kingsley – for his performance in Gandhi, seen in Ender’s Game sporting an interesting facial tattoo
Oscar nominee Harrison Ford – in my opinion over rated and very dull, but each to their own
Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin – Best Supporting Actress in Little Miss Sunshine
Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld – a young actress with a HUGE career ahead of her
Oscar nominee Viola Davis – Leading actress in The Help and Supporting Actress in Doubt
Basically, not a bad cast on paper!

But the film really hinges on the performance of Asa Butterfield in the lead role of Ender himself. He has previously appeared in Hugo and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and audiences do seem to have taken to him so far, now it is his time to carry a major franchise. Surrounding him with all of the talent mentioned above won’t damage his performance either and can only be a good thing.

The special effects from the trailer look pretty good, however the second half of the trailer does seem to tail off and become a little dull compared to the jumpy, action packed introduction. Ender’s Game does seem very similar to The Hunger Games which, based on its premise, should have been a lot darker in tone than it was; Ender’s Game seemingly takes a pretty darker approach than you would expect and could win many fans for that alone.

I am not entirely convinced by Ender’s Game just yet although I am interested in it. There just seems to be a certain spark missing. Hopefully, towards the release date promotion and marketing will be cranked up and the executives will be doing all they can to make Ender’s Game look as good as it can.

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The entertainment industry is an incredibly fickle one; one bad movie can see you go from the top of your game to the discard pile as quick as a flash. So it takes incredible determination, talent and motivation to continue on acting for so many years. 65 is usually the age of retirement over here in Britain but here are a few actors who show no signs of slowing down as they get older, just continuing to get better with age.

Robert De Niro – Born: August 17, 1943 – 69 years old.

This man really does need very little introduction. He’s been acting since the 1960’s but really made his name in the 70s with performances in The Godfather trilogy and of course his iconic performance as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. He’s become associated largely with gangster films but in the last decade or two he’s been slightly less picky with his roles and has taken fun roles rather than the intense ones he used to, as witnessed in Stardust and Meet the Parents. Five releases are slated for this year with more coming in 2014.

Sir Ben Kingsley – Born: 31st December, 1943 – 69 years old.

It’s actually unbelievable that Sir Ben Kingsley was once in English soap opera Coronation Street. Kingsley is often forgotten by mainstream audiences but he is clearly one of the best actors that England have ever produced. He won an Oscar for his role in Ghandi and continues to show his versatility with recent roles in Hugo, Shutter Island and Sexy Beast. Kingsley can now be seen playing Mandarin in Iron Man 3.

Sir Ian McKellen – Born: 25th May, 1939 – 73 years old.

McKellen is a true thespian. It took until the late 80s/early 90s really until McKellen became a certified film star and his career continues to thrive; really, since the turn of the century McKellen has become an actor that all different types of audiences want to see. He has shown off his talents in two iconic roles in particular, Magneto in X-Men and Gandalf in Lord of the Rings (a role he has reprised for The Hobbit trilogy), while at the same time continuing to do short films and television work as well.

Jack Nicholson – Born: 22nd April, 1937 – 75 years old.

What is there left to say about Jack Nicholson that hasn’t been said before? He is undoubtedly one of the best actors that has ever worked. That’s just a simple fact of life. He’s been acting since the 1950s and although he is taking longer breaks between work at the minute that doesn’t mean he is getting any worse. Over the years Nicholson has won three (THREE!) Oscars for his work and turned out great performances in the likes of The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Batman and The Departed. That’s a career well spent.

Morgan Freeman – Born: 1st June, 1937 – 75 years old.

He’s probably the only man in the world that people could just listen to every single day and never get bored. Has Morgan Freeman really ever been young? A lot of Freeman’s work up until the 90s was largely television work but what a decade the 90s became for him: Unforgiven, The Shawshank Redemption and Se7en saw Freeman in quite an incredible rise to fame. One that continues thanks to his role in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy.

Robert Redford – Born: 18th August, 1936 – 76 years old.

Redford has slowed down in recent years but he is not only an acclaimed actor but also has been nominated for Oscars for his directing as well (and won). This is a man who starred in some of the most famous films of all time: The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He’s made something of a return to acting in the last couple of years with The Company You Keep (2012), All is Lost (2013) and he is set to appear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).

Sir Michael Caine – Born: 14th March, 1933 – 80 years old.

This year, the great actor turned eighty years old. Unbelievable considering the energy and the emotion that he still brings to all of his characters. Michael Caine has a filmography to rival anybody, he really has reached the top of his game and been there for decades as well now! The Italian Job, Zulu, Alfie, Get Carter, Hannah and Her Sisters and of course more recently he has become a regular collaborator with Christopher Nolan: The Dark Knight trilogy, The Prestige and Inception. A true legend of the acting world.

Christopher Plummer – Born: 13th December, 1929 – 83 years old.

Remember The Sound of Music? One of the most iconic films of all time? Released in 1965? Well Christopher Plummer was in that. And his career is one that seems to have really got better with age and has, in fact, flourished since the beginning of the 21st century. He has recently had roles in A Beautiful Mind, Nicholas Nickleby, National Treasure, Syriana, Up, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and finally won an Oscar in 2012 for his role in Beginners.

These actors are true legends of their profession.

The Best Actresses Under 30

There seems to be a real buzz around a lot of young actresses in Hollywood at the minute and I think that this is a good thing because I think really talented actresses have been hard to come by over the last decade or so. Here are, in my opinion, the most talented actresses working today under the age of 30.

 

8. Dakota Fanning

At only 18 years old Dakota Fanning has been acting for as long as she has been alive pretty much and for years has been talked about as a great young prospect in Hollywood. Having appeared in films such as Man On Fire, War of the Worlds, Push, Coraline and the Twilight series it is easy to see why.

 

7. Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson is probably the biggest name on this list. Having really burst onto the scene in 2003 with Lost In Translation she has gone on to appear in a number of high profile films such as The Prestige, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Iron Man 2 and the third highest grossing film of all time The Avengers.

 

6. Anna Kendrick

Kendrick’s schedule is pretty packed right now with a huge number of projects in the pipeline for this year and the next despite a slow start to her acting career. She has appeared alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt in comedy drama 50/50 and alongside George Clooney in the 2009 Oscar nominated Up in the Air.

 

5. Emma Watson

Everyone on the planet can recognise Emma Watson although she is probably best known as Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter franchise. She is moving away from that image with something completely different later this year in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and next year’s The Bling Ring.

 

4. Chloe Moretz

At only 15 years old Chloe Moretz is sure to be a star of Hollywood for many years to come. She achieved unanimous praise for her role as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass and went on to appear in (500) Days of Summer, Let Me In and Hugo.

 

3. Emma Stone

Stone is currently appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man as Peter Parker’s love interest, Gwen Stacy. Since making her film debut in Superbad she has had starring roles in Crazy Stupid Love and Easy A as well as a supporting role in The Help and will soon be appearing in The Gangster Squad in which she looks fantastic.

 

2. Jennifer Lawrence

Soon to be one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood Lawrence is currently a star of the new X-men franchise as well as heading up The Hunger Games trilogy. She is one of the youngest women to ever be nominated for the Best Leading Actress Oscar for her performance in Winter’s Bone. She has proven in the short time since bursting on to the scene that she has a large range of skills and is a very versatile actress.

 

1. Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan is a 27 year old English actress who has been the subject of critical acclaim in every field of acting; film, television and broadway. Mulligan first appeared in Pride & Prejudice before going on to appear in a number of television programmes. She has appeared in films such as Never Let Me Go, Brothers, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Public Enemies. I recently saw Mulligan in Drive where she put in a really great performance but it was in An Education where I first saw her and where many other film watchers really took notice of her. An Education is a wonderful British film and Mulligan puts in a golden performance and was rightly nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her performance as well as winning a BAFTA. Carey Mulligan definitely has a huge career ahead of her.

 

And the Oscar goes to…

The Artist took home five golden statues

So that’s that. Last night the awards season came to an end with the 84th Academy Awards. Despite winning the award in three of the big five categories The Artist will have to share the honour of most Oscars won this year with Hugo; both films received five Oscars each. The only real controversy came from an obvious source, Sacha Baron Cohen, but ultimately the show was well received and Billy Crystal did an infinitely better performance as host than James Franco and Anne Hathaway last year.

There were no real surprises on the night in terms of winners; The Artist has been a huge success and has won awards wherever it has been. At the Oscars it took home Best Film, Best Original Score and Best Costume Design whilst Michel Hazanavicius won Best Director and Jean Dujardin won Best Actor for their efforts on the film. Meryl Streep unsurprisingly won the Best Actress Oscar for The Iron Lady and Christopher Plummer (Beginners) and Octavia Spencer (The Help) took home the awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively.

It was nice to see Rango win Best Animated Film although the competition in that category looked very weak compared to the 2011 awards which included Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon. The Muppets returned to the cinema this year and took home the Best Original Song award for their ‘Man or Muppet’ number. Perhaps the only surprise on the night, if you’re really looking for one, is that neither Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II or Rise of the Planet of the Apes took home the award for Best Visual Effects with Hugo winning instead.

Below is a full list of winners of the 84th Academy Awards:

Best Picture – The Artist

Best Director – Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)

Best Actor – Jean Dujardin (The Artist)

Best Actress – Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)

Best Supporting Actor – Christopher Plummer (Beginners)

Best Supporting Actress – Octavia Spencer (The Help)

Original Screenplay – Midnight In Paris

Adapted Screenplay – The Descendants

Best Animated Feature – Rango

Best Foreign Language Film – A Separation

Best Original Score – The Artist

Best Original Song – The Muppets

Best Sound Editing – Hugo

Best Sound Mixing – Hugo

Best Art Direction – Hugo

Best Cinematography – Hugo

Best Make Up – The Iron Lady

Best Costume Design – The Artist

Best Film Editing – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Best Visual Effects – Hugo