Tag Archive: keira knightley


Steinfeld made a name for herself as always being one of the best dressed stars on the red carpet.

In 2010, young actress Hailee Steinfeld burst into the world of film with a truly magnificent performance in True Grit alongside Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. Steinfeld’s performance in the Western was nominated for an Academy Award. The nomination strangely came in the category of Best Supporting Actress; strange because Steinfeld was really the only female character, logically making the lead actress er… Matt Damon. Anyway, since that performance Steinfeld has moved away from acting but looks set to return with a very busy schedule ahead for films released in the next couple of years.

Steinfeld began her career acting in short films at the age of 8, in order to gain experience of the acting industry. In 2009 she starred in the award winning short film She’s a Fox which featured at many international film festivals so people in the know really recognised her as a great talent even before True Grit hit the cinema screens. Clearly her talent shone through at the True Grit auditions as Hailee Steinfeld was chosen out of 15,000 girls to play the part of Mattie Ross, the girl who hires Jeff Bridges Deputy U.S. Marshall to find and kill the man who murdered her father. Steinfeld is also the actor granted the privilege of saying the name of the film in the film by telling Jeff Bridges that he has ‘true grit’.

After rising to fame through that performance Steinfeld went off the radar for a couple of years. You’ve got to imagine that a big reason for this was to concentrate on her studies; Steinfeld is, after all, just 15 years old at the time of writing. But she was also chosen to be the face of worldwide fashion brand Miu Miu for their 2011 campaign. But now she has returned with a whole host of projects coming up in 2013 and 2014, most notably perhaps landing the role of Juliet Capulet in Carlo Carlei’s retelling of the most famous love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet.

True Grit

Firstly though, Steinfeld is set to star alongside British starlet Keira Knightley and everyone’s favourite Incredible Hulk Mark Ruffalo in Can a Song Save Your Life? which, in all honesty, is something I probably won’t be watching. Another project Hateship, Friendship sees Steinfeld working with some more big Hollywood names in the form of Kristen Wiig and the rejuvenated Guy Pearce. The upcoming project I am most looking forward to that Steinfeld is involved in is Gavin Hood’s science fiction film Ender’s Game, slated for an autumn release in 2013. Although I am yet to be impressed with Hood’s direction (Rendition was an average, slow burning thriller, and the less said about X-Men Origins: Wolverine the better) but with a synopsis that reads “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” it has grabbed my attention: it also stars science fiction heavyweight Harrison Ford who still has a huge fan following despite winning my award for most boring person in the world.

Hailee Steinfeld

Also this year Steinfeld appeared in the music video for The Cab’s single Endlessly

Steinfeld continues to work in 2014 with The Keeping Room, being directed by the same man who brought Harry Brown to the big screen back in 2009. She is also rumoured to be in the comedy Why We Broke Up although confirmation is still being awaited for that. And Steinfeld has recently been announced to star alongside Kevin Costner in the thriller Three Days to Kill being directed by McG (This Means War) and produced and written by action God Luc Beeson.

It is clear that despite the couple of years break that Steinfeld has had she has a huge career ahead of her. And even though she missed out on winning the Oscar for True Grit I think an Academy Award is more than certain for this huge talent.

Advertisements

Anna Karenina Review

For a film set in Russia, it is pretty strange that all the characters have British accents. It becomes clear early on that authenticity and realism may not be high on director Joe Wright’s priorities. With Wright’s experience in the period drama genre being unquestionable after he has directed Pride & Prejudice and Atonement he was obviously a good choice to direct this piece and the visuals are very well done as you would come to expect from Wright.

Anna Karenina was originally a novel written by the famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. The story revolves around the title character as she begins to question her life, her happiness, her marriage and love itself. And these feelings start to cause some problems after Anna meets the determined Count Vronsky. At the time the novel was written the story itself contained strong political themes but in the modern world as a film this is something that we have seen before; most period dramas are just women in high societal positions having an affair and having to deal with it and more often than not Keira Knightley is involved in some way or another (here she plays the title character).

Knightley seems to be an expert of good performances that aren’t anything special and unfortunately her performance here is good at best, at times falling into the realms of averageness. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (as he is credited on the bill since his marriage to Nowhere Boy director Sam Taylor-Wood) has a great screen presence here and seems to light up the screen and drive the story forward every time he appears. It is great to see him playing a more established and older man than his roles in Kick-Ass and Nowhere Boy. Otherwise, the rest of the cast is pretty lacklustre in performance: Kelly Macdonald is pointless at best, Jude Law is good but I couldn’t help but feel like he was miscast, but Matthew MacFayden brings some comedy highlights to the film which is nice.

The first twenty or thirty minutes of Anna Karenina would lead you to believe that you were about to watch an actual masterpiece. The way that Anna Karenina is directed is as if it is a theatrical performance with scenes and sets being moved and people seeming to walk from one scene just straight into another. This was a very novel and creative way of doing things but it seemed as though everyone got bored with it and they decided against doing this half way through the film and that was largely disappointing. The characters aren’t well rounded really, there are hints at back story that we never really get to know and the lack of background that we are given makes it almost impossible for us to get to know or get to care about any of the characters. Eventually, I became so fed up and disheartened with the characters that I wondered if it was too much to ask for the writers to just include a nuclear bomb that would end the film there and then. I must state that this isn’t the actors fault, I think they managed to do a pretty decent job with what they were given. Just what they were given wasn’t all that good.

Interestingly though I found that the sub plot was a lot more interesting and I found the story to be more compelling than the main one, which is probably a bad thing. The sub plot revolved around Domhnall Gleeson’s and Alicia Vikander’s characters. It seemed to me as though these two characters had a better love story and a more believable connection to one another than the main relationship at the centre of this film. They only pop up every now and again and the sub plot has little to no effect on the main storyline so it does seem pointless and takes up time in a film that suffers because of it’s running time.

Anna Karenina is good in places but unfortunately very bad in others.

My Rating: 5/10.

Rumours are flooding the internet today surrounding the topic of the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel and whether Kristen Stewart or director Rupert Sanders will return for a second film. With the recent news coming out that Stewart and Sanders were having an affair it is clear this would cause more problems than its worth if these two worked again together, therefore it seems as though the sequel will not be happening with Kristen Stewart playing Snow White because Sanders looks set to return to direct. The attention instead will shift towards Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman and create a sort of spin off from the first Snow White fantasy film. This was always the plan to do so in the third film but have two films about Snow White precede this. They could always hire Lily Collins to replace Stewart in the lead role, she made a fantastic Snow White in Mirror, Mirror and really looks the part, but if they’ve decided to tell a story based around the Huntsman then so be it; but it better be of a much higher quality than X-Men spin off, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

There seems to not be a week go by at the minute when Marvel and its film properties aren’t in the news: be it Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy or this week Daredevil. Work had apparently been moving forward on a reboot to the Daredevil film franchise at FOX and a director was even pretty much set to go for it; Joe Carnahan (director of The A-Team and The Grey) was tweeting about his excitement to adapt Daredevil in the world created by Frank Miller’s successful run on the comic books back in the late seventies/early eighties which had a darker film noir feel about them. Now it seems as though those ideas have gone up in smoke as FOX are clearly in no rush to get the project off the ground and are apparently willing to let the rights go back to Marvel come October. As soon as Marvel gets the rights back (even before probably) work will be done to get a film reboot going and it would be my guess that he would be set in the same universe as Marvel’s Avengers series probably. I hope that Ben Affleck comes in to direct the reboot, he loves the character and even though his starring role as Matt Murdock wasn’t very good he should be considered to direct, I think his Daredevil would be great and have a similar feel and tone to Gone Baby Gone.

And now here’s the latest casting news that has caught my eye this week: first of all, Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame has landed himself a lead role in Nick Hornby adaptation ‘Long Way Down‘ which follows four people who plan to commit suicide by jumping off a building on New Year’s Eve, but become friends with each other before the jump. Keira Knightley has gone and landed herself a part in her first franchise since Pirates of the Caribbean in Kenneth Branagh’s new Jack Ryan film in which Branagh also plays the villain to Chris Pine’s hero. It will be great to see Knightley swap her corsets and what not for a more modern attire in this film. And finally Scrubs‘ Donald Faison or ‘Turk’ has signed on to appear in comic book sequel Kick-Ass 2:Balls to the Wall as Dr. Gravity, a hero who is inspired by Kick-Ass and becomes an ally of his in his new team ‘Justice Forever’. This looks like a fun piece of casting and it is fantastic to finally see some real signs that the sequel is moving ahead!

Michael Fassbender is one of the hottest properties in Hollywood right now and over the last few years he has really shot to the forefront of the movie industry. With his choice of films he has really shown that he has a fantastic range of skills and is a very versatile actor. The short answer to the question ‘Is Michael Fassbender really that good?’ is simply Yes; but feel free to continue reading if you want the longer answer.

Fassbender first rose to prominence on television where one of his first main roles was on the Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks produced mini series Band of Brothers which received hugely positive reviews and brought plenty of publicity for the cast. Fassbender continued to work in television with another critically acclaimed television series, this time British: Murphy’s Law.

The first big film that Michael Fassbender featured in and set the sparks in motion of the fire that Michael Fassbender was soon to light Hollywood up with was 300, a fantasy action film directed by one of my favourite directors Zack Snyder. It’s not a film that many people would instantly think of when trying to list Michael Fassbender’s movies but it started off something big in the movie industry. Fassbender won over critics at the Cannes film festival in 2008 with Hunger, directed by Steve McQueen.

But it was thanks to Quentin Tarantino that people were really forced to sit up and take notice of Michael Fassbender. Inglorious Basterds is one of Tarantino’s best films and Fassbender features in one of the best scenes in the movie in my opinion. This film came out in 2009 and overshadowed the small British film that Michael Fassbender also featured in in the same year: Fish Tank. Fish Tank is the story of a rebellious teenage girl growing up on a run down council estate living with her alcoholic mother and tearaway younger sister. Michael Fassbender is the creepy love interest of the mother and manages to pull off a kind of safe but sinister paedophilic character scarily well. To this day this is my favourite role I have seen Fassbender in although it is one of his least well known but the performance he puts in is nothing short of sensational.

If 2009 was one of Michael Fassbender’s best years in films then 2010 was definitely one of his worst. Perhaps high on the success of Inglorious Basterds Fassbender made some rather, well… questionable choices. He appeared in Centurion and the horribly tragic comic book adaptation of Jonah Hex, both films making a loss. Probably a year that Fassbender wouldn’t like to dwell on anytime soon. But these failures didn’t put him off or seem to put him out of favour with movie big wigs.

2011 brought several Michael Fassbender films to the forefront without making people sick of him. Fassbender took up the part of Edward Rochester in an adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre (one of the greatest stories ever written, end of story) for which he received a lot of praise. Another comic book movie, with a lot better fate than his last one, gave Fassbender huge success and stability as it comes with a several movie contract. X-Men First Class is the movie and Magneto is the character; although at times Fassbender seemed to get complacent and his accent slipped back to Irish it was overall a great performance and Fassbender proved yet again how good he is at playing a conflicted and bad natured character. This movie reunited Fassbender with his old Band of Brothers co star James McAvoy.

A Dangerous Method followed starring Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley which was about the relationship between psychologists Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Fassbender then reunited with director Steve McQueen for Shame, which is probably his most critically successful film and role which won Fassbender a number of awards at film festivals and awards ceremonies and picked him up even more nominations. He then returned to mainstream cinema with Haywire which saw him co-star with names like Ewan McGregor and Antonio Banderas.

This year, 2012, Michael Fassbender only has one film slated for release after a busy twelve months. This comes in the form of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. After recently seeing this I was not a huge fan of the film but as a fan already of Michael Fassbender I was excited for his performance and I was not left disappointed by him. Fassbender, for me, is the stand out performer of the cast and the only really memorable character or performance from the cast. There is no doubt that Fassbender is set for a huge and successful career in my opinion and he deserves it.

Is Michael Fassbender really that good? Yes.

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.

The Duchess (2008) Review

***WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***

The Duchess (based on Amanda Foreman’s book Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire) is a romantic period drama that chronicles the life of the titular Duchess Georgiana (Keira Knightley) after her marriage to the Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish (Ralph Fiennes). Georgiana becomes famous due to her beauty and fashion and exploits of gambling; but Georgiana’s inability to give the Duke an heir forces him to look elsewhere, in turn leading to the Duchess seeking another lover herself.

The cast is excellent, full of British talent both accomplished actors and relative newcomers to the industry. The two leads of the film really bring depth and emotion to their character. Ralph Fiennes manages to portray the Duke really well as a cold and bitter older man and shows just why he makes a perfect baddie. And Keira Knightley excels herself with one of her best performances; she really stands out from the rest of the cast as the best performer in the piece. The main characters are supported well enough by two of my favourite young British actors, Dominic Cooper and Hayley Atwell who play their parts sufficiently enough, despite Cooper looking rather daft in his wig.

The relationships between all of the characters are wholly believable: the ‘marriage’ between Duke and Duchess, the friendship between the Duchess and Lady Foster (Atwell) and the hidden love between the Duchess and future prime minister Charles Grey (Cooper). They make for good viewing in themselves.

Much of the plot, though, is very predictable from the offset. There are clues early on as to what is going to happen later and they’re not even subtle clues which the audience has to look very carefully for, the whole film is practically spoon fed to viewers which was a shame as the story was really quite interesting. The costumes and set design were very well done and made the film very aesthetically pleasing and easy on the eye.

Whilst necessary for the film I wasn’t keen on how often it took a huge leap forward in time, although this is more of a pet hate rather than a bad thing in the film because the way that it shows time passing is very simply but cleverly done. It did enough to keep me interested and Knightley herself makes the film good enough to watch, but there are some places where you just will the film to move along with a bit of pace.

My Rating: 6/10