Tag Archive: matthew vaughn


The X-Men franchise is one of the biggest movie franchises in the world. With six movies released already, another one released in the next week or so and the latest, Days of Future Past, hitting a 2014 release, it should come as no surprise that the franchise has enjoyed the highs as well as suffered the lows. That is why, despite huge excitement from half of the fan base, the other half is looking at Days of Future Past with some skepticism.

The new and old of the X-Men franchise turn up for Comic Con.

When Matthew Vaughn was still attached he claimed that only one new mutant would be added to the cast and that the film would take place in the 70s, perhaps including the Kennedy assassination as a plot point. So not much would be changing, just a timeline shift. Then Vaughn left and Bryan Singer was brought back. A decision which itself split fans; yes, he made the critically loved X-Men and X2 but he also faced criticism for making Wolverine the centrepiece, banning comic books on set, ‘ruining’ characters and giving us two very poor superhero movies by leaving The Last Stand to make Superman Returns. As the man who first brought the X-Men to the big screen Singer immediately set out to bring back his old friends and subsequently brought back (deep breath) an older Professor X, older Magneto, Wolverine, Colossus, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Iceman and Storm while also adding Bolivar Trask, Bishop, Blink, Thunderbird and Quiksilver. Basically, took everything Vaughn had said before and did the complete opposite.

So Days of Future Past contains both X-Men teams. The originals and the team from First Class (minus a few of the characters Singer wanted nothing to do with, surprise surprise) and it will involve Wolverine being sent back in time to the First Class team in order to prevent the devastating future which the present day team now finds themselves in. A world where Sentinels have been created to eradicate all known mutants.

Colossus, Bishop, Professor X and Magneto in the first promo shot from Days of Future Past.

After Days of Future Past, what will happen to the teams? Does the X-Men universe then break into two strands? One containing the present team and one from the past? And where does the recently announced X-Force film fit into all of this? Presumably, the past team are able to prevent the destructive future from happening. This would lead you to guess that the film series would carry on with the First Class team as the team of the future would no longer exist, right? However, the sad thing is, I can see Days of Future Past ending with First Class doing whatever they need to and then the film skipping forward to this new future with the old team (or new team depending on how you look at it) and then Singer carrying on from there.

With Singer back at the helm and his first decision being to bring back the majority of people he had worked with before it does seem like if he stays in charge there will be only one direction this franchise moves in: Bryan Singer’s. The old team have been brought back together and it seems likely that this will be the one to go on, leaving James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult behind (although Fassbender and Lawrence probably won’t mind being as though they’ve actually got brilliant careers going for themselves). There are rumours that the X-Men franchise will be brought to an end eventually with an Age of Apocalypse film and if those rumours are to be believed then surely that will involve the present team and not the past.

Behind (literally) the scenes shot of Wolverine

The X-Men universe and continuity is already a joke. Therefore, having two strands of the universe going at the same time with two different teams, two different Xaviers and Magnetos seems on the whole like a horrifically bad idea. Surely, only one team moves forward, but which one? My hope is First Class. While I am pleased to see the original cast members coming back to get the send off they deserve after their reputation was tarnished by The Last Stand, that team has already had it’s day and told its stories; I want to see the younger Xavier and Magneto continue to transform into the people they become.

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Last week it was rumoured that Matthew Vaughn was being heavily linked with the director’s chair of the new Star Wars film and it has been revealed that the shortlist for a director is now down to just 2 names (we don’t know if Vaughn is one of them but I expect he is). However, the news this week is that Michael Arndt is set to write the script. This is a fantastic choice from a critical point of view: Arndt won an Oscar for best screenplay in 2007 for Little Miss Sunshine and received another Oscar nomination for his most recent feature, the incredible Toy Story 3. Arndt is currently overseeing the writing of The Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire and will then start work on what is sure to be another brilliant script, this time for Star Wars.

Jack Nicholson is being pursued to play Robert Downey Jr’s father in The Judge. Downey has said that he would love to work with Nicholson but the problem is that Jack Nicholson has only made three films since 2003: the critically acclaimed The Departed, The Bucket List and How Do You Know, the latter of the three showing that it is clearly not a quality script that Nicholson is after. The Judge follows a big-city lawyer (Downey) who returns home after the death of his mother only to discover that his estranged Alzheimer’s-ridden father is suspected of murder, so he represents his father in the case. Although this is by no means a done deal I think it would be perfect casting having Nicholson play Downey’s father.

The LEGO movie spoken about so long ago is finally taking shape and two big name actors have joined the cast this week: Liam Neeson and Will Ferrell. Ferrell will be playing the main villain of the film while Neeson lends his voice to the villain’s henchman. The synopsis for Lego: The Piece of Resistance is: an ordinary Lego mini-figure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil Lego tyrant from gluing the universe together. Ferrell and Neeson join an ever growing cast of Alison Brie, Chris Pratt and Morgan Freeman.

Finally, what began as an internet rumour has this week been confirmed as an official announcement. Transformers 4 has seen the casting of Mark Wahlberg become a reality. And if the Transformers franchise had cast an actual good action star and decent actor in the first place instead of Shia Labeouf and that waste of oxygen Megan Fox then perhaps I would be more inclined to have given them a watch. However, as I have no interest in supporting Michael Bay I am not even sure Wahlberg can persuade me to begin watching this franchise. Transformers 4 will also be taking place 4 years after the previous instalment, Dark of the Moon.

 

Last week we discovered that Star Wars was going to return to the cinema screens in 2015 with the help of new owners, Disney. This week there has been speculation as to who will be the director and a couple of cast members stating that they would like to return to the series. Harrison Ford, who famously played the iconic hero Han Solo, has stated that he would love to reprise his roles in the sequel/reboot/continuation. Also said to be considering returning are Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. Jeremy Bulloch famously brought Boba Fett to life back in the original trilogy and has stated his optimism and willingness to return but doubts that he will get his chance. I don’t think the story will really involve Luke, Leia and Han that much but it would be nice to see them back to make a connection between the films. Reports this week have linked Matthew Vaughn with the directing gig. Vaughn recently dropped out of directing X-Men: Days of Future Past and is not directing Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall either so his schedule should be pretty clear for this job.

 

One of the most enjoyable films that has been released this year, in my opinion, is The Muppets. The best bit about The Muppets was the music sequences without a doubt and it is not very well known that Bret McKenzie, one half of comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, was responsible for this music. And it has been announced that McKenzie is writing some new music for the sequel, set to his screens Christmas 2013. Nicholas Stoller is once again writing the script even though Jason Segel will not be returning. Attached to star at the minute is Christoph Waltz of Inglourious Basterds and upcoming Django Unchained. Waltz and Kermit the Frog don’t seem to go hand in hand but it can only lead to success!

 

The Amazing Spider-Man successfully rebooted the Marvel hero this year with Andrew Garfield in the lead role. With Garfield, Emma Stone and Marc Webb all returning for the sequel all they need is a villain, and it looks as though they may have found one. Jamie Foxx, who will coincidently be starring alongside Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained at the end of this year, is in very early talks to play the super villain Electro. Electro is another villain that we are yet to see on the big screen and Marc Webb has described Foxx as one of the best actors around today and he is pretty good, it has to be said.

 

Finally, a couple of weeks ago it was announced that Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul would be taking the lead role in the upcoming Need for Speed movie adaptation. Now it has been announced that young British actor Dominic Cooper will be joining him in the driving seat. I am a big fan of Dominic Cooper and this would be something very different to what he normally does, I look forward to seeing it.

Well you don’t really need to look hard to find the big news of this week and when the announcement came yesterday I think it took everybody by surprise! Not content with already owning Pixar, without a doubt the best animation company in the world, back in 2010 Disney paid $4.2billion to take over Marvel Entertainment. And now on top of all that Disney have forked out around $4billion once again to purchase LucasFilm meaning that Disney now owns Star Wars. News which will no doubt be seen as both positive and negative among fans.

Disney have announced that with the rights going to them they are planning to release a new Star Wars film in 2015, with the next instalments coming every other year. These would effectively be Chapters 7, 8 and 9. With the horrible reception that the Episodes 1, 2 and 3 received you can see why fans would not want any more damage done to their cherished sci-fi western series, yet Disney do seem to get everything right; just look at what they’ve achieved with Marvel! There is no shortage of stories and characters in the Star Wars canon and new stories in such a wide and real world can be easily thought of for those with that ability. With a release date set for 2015 you have to imagine that something is already in the works and a director could soon be announced with only three years to work on the project. It is unknown as of yet if any previously seen characters will return and in what form.

Another piece of information from this deal is the fact that George Lucas will not be directing. This will be well received from fans, no doubt, who perhaps feel that in recent years Lucas has done more harm than good to the series and is using it basically to just milk the name for as much as is humanly possible. With science fiction doing so well right now with all the superhero movies being released and the reinvention of Star Trek Disney obviously feel that they can bring something new to the table with Star Wars and that news can only be good.

The deal struck here also concerns the ownership of Industrial Light & Magic, the special effects company will also be traded into Disney’s hands, along with the rights of other LucasFilm productions such as Indiana Jones although Disney have said that Star Wars is the only series they plan to continue at this time. And with Disney having produced Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure recently you can see why they don’t want to be seen to be doing too much of the same sort of style by throwing out Indy too.

So that’s the real big news of the week.

But there has been some other big news that may have escaped many people’s notice thanks to all of this Star Wars stuff. Not so long ago, Matthew Vaughn stepped down as director of X-men: Days of Future Past and speculation was rife as to who would replace him. Thankfully, his replacement has been found in the form of Bryan Singer(!), the man behind the camera of X-men and X2 which will no doubt please fans! This can only spur rumours on of cast members returning from the original trilogy but anyhow, it is great to see Singer back with the X-men.

Last year FOX released X-Men: First Class and up until release nobody really knew whether it was a reboot or a prequel to the original X-Men trilogy. After it’s release and the cameo appearances from Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn still nobody knew whether it was a reboot or prequel and that continues to be a mystery as anticipation for the sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past grows with speculation that characters from the original X-Men trilogy could be in line to make a surprise return to the franchise, something which the Days of Future Past storyline from the comics would allow.

In Marvel’s comics the Days of Future Past storyline became one of the most successful X-Men titles of all time and, along with the Age of Apocalypse and House of M, is a storyline that all X-Men fans have wanted to see on the big screen. The story switches from present day to a future where the X-Men failed to stop Mystique’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants from killing Senator Kelly; in the future mutants are a dying breed as the United States are ruled by Sentinels with the mutants placed in internment camps. The present day (or past) X-Men are forewarned about this by the future version of Kitty Pryde whose mind travels back in time into the body of her younger self.

Obviously there are a few characters missing if this was to take place; both Kitty Pryde and Rachel Summers both had large parts to play in Days of Future Past in the comic books yet neither appeared in First Class and Rachel Summers hasn’t even been hinted at at all throughout the history of X-Men films. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem as the 90s cartoon version of X-Men portrayed this storyline with Bishop taking on the Kitty Pryde role, although Bishop is another character yet to make it to the big screen. However, Patrick Stewart has hinted recently that he could reprise his role of Charles Xavier and so perhaps there is a chance there to make Professor X the centre piece with Stewart’s older character finding a way to contact his younger self played by James McAvoy.

Famke Janssen has also hinted that her character could return to the X-Men continuity (which is already a mess if you want to get into the nitty gritty details, FOX really haven’t even tried to make it all add up to the correct answers) and this shouldn’t be a surprise because, yes she may have been killed by Wolverine in the awful X-Men: The Last Stand but she also ‘died’ in X2 and has died countless times in the comic books but she just keeps on coming back! I have to be honest and say that I would have really liked an X-Men 4 done properly after the travesty of The Last Stand, seeing what took place afterwards with Beast and Angel staying on at the mansion, the return of Professor X, what happened to Cyclops? It may have been poor in comparison to the previous two films but The Last Stand left ideas there for another sequel and I would like to see Cyclops, Storm and Wolverine all back on the big screen (that would also save us any more individual Jackman fuelled Wolverine efforts). But would it be right?

Obviously the storyline makes it possible for the older characters to return and continuity shouldn’t bother FOX as it never has done before but perhaps with the appointment of Mark Millar now as consultant on FOX’s Marvel properties he may manage to reign them in a little. Matthew Vaughn (director of First Class and producer of Days of Future Past) has previously stated that he only wanted to introduce one main character in the sequel and although he said that a very long time ago it would make this possibility of returning X-Men seem less likely, but would you really count the return of the original X-Men as an ‘introduction’ per say?

I would have liked to have seen an X-Men 4 and maybe a Days of Future Past film would be a good way to sort of make it happen and tie up loose ends for fans that want answers but if FOX have any sense I think they should stay away from this idea. The continuity has been tampered with too much and I think now is their chance to make First Class the real start of a reboot and cut all ties with the original trilogy. There are still plenty of characters they could introduce to still make the Days of Future Past storyline anything like the comics by introducing Bishop for example. The X-Men roster is always growing so there are countless ways to take this story.

What do you think?

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.

 

As we approach the end of April/beginning of May The Avengers is getting more and more attention and it hasn’t exactly been flying below the radar anyway. But over the last couple of days Marvel have announced a couple of interesting things and released a couple more pictures to go with their sure fire summer superhero smash!

A new picture of the Hulk has been released, a still from The Avengers giving audiences a better look at the big green monster. Since they are using motion capture on Mark Ruffalo to film the Hulk’s scenes you would expect the Hulk to resemble Ruffalo. But just how much the two do look alike is still amazing to me. Where Ed Norton’s Hulk didn’t really look like the actor you can really see here the effort that has gone into the Incredible Hulk and he looks fantastic, you can clearly see Ruffalo in there.

A new still featuring Captain America has been released from the set of The Avengers but that’s not all. Marvel have announced that the release date for Captain America 2 will be April 4th, 2014. It was expected that the super soldier would be receiving a sequel as Marvel continue their domination on the superhero scene at cinemas but it was unclear when this would be. Now it has been announced along with a brief synopsis stating that Captain America 2 will pick up where The Avengers leaves off and will follow Steve Rogers as he continues his integration into a new world and continues his affiliation with S.H.I.E.L.D and Nick Fury.

And finally… It has been announced that the sequel to X-Men: First Class will start filming in January of next year. Fox needed to be quick out of the gate with this sequel as Lionsgate are planning to film Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, which also features Jennifer Lawrence, who stars as Mystique in the new mutant films. It was a competition for Lawrence’s schedule and it looks as though X-Men will win. Nothing is known about the plot for the second X-Men film yet but we do know that Matthew Vaughn is returning.

The pictures from The Avengers and the news surrounding X-Men and Captain America is sure to please comic book fans.

Aged just 20, Jennifer was nominated for an Oscar.

Jennifer Lawrence is not a name that mainstream cinema audiences may not be all that familiar with. Yet, now starring in what look set to be two of the decades biggest franchises (X-men and The Hunger Games) she looks set to conquer the world of cinema.

Lawrence began her career in television, having parts in Monk, Cold Case and Medium (although she only featured in one or two episodes of these) before she got her break in the American sitcom The Bill Engvall Show. This ran for three seasons and gave Lawrence a platform to build upon which she did.

Her first project after the sitcom was cancelled was a film called Winter’s Bone. Now, many people may not recognise the name but Jennifer Lawrence’s performance here was very well received and she became the second youngest person to be nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. As well as the Oscar nomination she also won several awards at film festivals for this role. And so began a very promising film career.

As Mystique in Matthew Vaughn's X-men: First Class.

Roles in Like Crazy and The Beaver followed before Jennifer Lawrence made her debut in mainstream cinema with the X-men reboot/sequel (still nobody is quite sure what it is) X-men: First Class in which she played Mystique. This was the first real chance that mainstream audiences had to see her work and I thought she did a great job as Mystique and brought real character to the role and a believable friendship with Xavier and a sense of wanting to fit in that everyone feels at some point in their lives. This was her first big commercial success.

In 2011, it was announced that Lawrence had been cast in the leading role of The Hunger Games as Katniss Everdeen. This series looks set to be Hollywood’s next big film series to be adapted from books following Harry Potter and Twilight. And with Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role it can only elevate her career even more.

Jennifer Lawrence takes on the coveted role of Katniss in The Hunger Games.

It seems like she is choosing her roles carefully as she continues to interchange between mainstream movies and those that may not get her mainstream audiences but where she can put in a strong and heartfelt performance. House at the End of the Street is her next film and looks set to go under the radar before she returns with The Silver Linings Playbook and Serena, both co-starring Bradley Cooper.

On the red carpet, Jennifer Lawrence has been turning heads. Not just because of her looks but for her fashion choices as well which are always impeccable. With the acting talent she has combined with her image, she could well be a huge star in Hollywood for years to come. After all, she is still only twenty one.