Tag Archive: shia labeouf


I’m back from my Christmas hiatus and in the past couple of weeks critics and fans alike have been compiling their lists of the ten best films of 2012 or twenty best or whatever you like, but I have decided to take a different approach to compiling my list and I will be looking at, month by month, what were the best releases. I’ll be using the UK release dates for films and, in doing it month by month there will be some big omissions and some surprise inclusions.

Will any of these films feature on the list?

 

January – The Grey

To be honest, if you look at what was released in January it doesn’t really fill you with enthusiasm for the rest of the year as there weren’t really many films worth noting released this month. I think that people were still more bothered about seeing the previous year’s Christmas releases (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) however there were a few films that stood out. You might think that We Need to Talk About Kevin, Shame or War Horse might win this month but I decided to go for Liam Neeson’s The Grey. Neeson continued his rebirth as an action hero in 2012 and it was largely down to his enounter with wolves in the partially surprising hit: The Grey.

 

February – Chronicle

February brought a lot of very disappointing ventures to the cinema. Safe House was a blockbuster than lacked a punch, Man on a Ledge was a very boring ‘thriller’ and One For the Money is one of the most boring films I have ever seen! However, saying that I was really impressed by Woman in Black which seemed to reinstate Hammer Films at the forefront of the horror scene but for the best film of the month it fell short and I went for Chronicle. Chronicle was seen by many to be very refreshing to an overcrowded superhero genre. The characters that appear in this found footage film are not from the pages of comic books and, like The Grey, Chronicle was another surprise hit but worth of all it’s critical acclaim.

March – 21 Jump Street

If you think that 21 Jump Street is a strange and ridiculous choice to be on this list then I really do encourage you to look at films that were released in the UK in March this year. March saw releases from some very highly anticipated films that were subsequently big disappointments, none bigger than John Carter. Of course, March also brought us the beginning of a huge new franchise with the Jennifer Lawrence led The Hunger Games, however I enjoyed 21 Jump Street a lot more. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much in the cinema, 21 Jump Street was a welcome injection of humour to an otherwise dull month.

 

April – Avengers Assemble

There was a clear winner for this month. Marvel’s Avengers Assemble became the third highest grossing film of all time, breaking no end of records on its way to this achievement. This was the event that film fans had been waiting for for 4 years and it did not disappoint, The Avengers (as it was known sensibly in other countries) provided big entertainment, big action, big characters and big laughs. The only real competition in this month came from another film with Joss Whedon’s name attached: Cabin in the Woods, which was seen to redefine the horror genre but really, nothing could top Avengers Assemble.

 

May – The Raid: Redemption

May saw a lack of big releases as the prospect of going up against Marvel’s box office Goliath seemed a little bit daunting for many studios. And of course there is a bit of a lull in the cinema calender before the big summer smashes get released. The Raid was something that we don’t see nearly enough on this side of the Atlantic, a foreign release… and a successful one at that! The Raid is a brilliant, action packed, adrenaline fueled Indonesian martial arts film and it should come as no surprise that there are plans in America to do an English language remake.

 

June – Killer Joe

Now, June saw the second big release of the year: Prometheus. And don’t get me started on how over rated that was and what a bore fest it unfortunately turned out to be. Rock of Ages was a very very dull adaptation of the successful stage musical and The Five Year Engagement was about five years too long. Killer Joe proved that Matthew McConaughey could really act and it turned out to be a very gritty, gothic crime drama that also featured Emile Hirsch who is quietly going about proving what a good actor he is too.

 

July – The Dark Knight Rises

At the beginning of July The Amazing Spider-Man was released and was a very good attempt at reshaping Spider-Man’s origins; then on the 20th of July Christopher Nolan turned up to show everyone how it was done. Nolan’s Batman trilogy ended with one of the greatest films of the year. Full stop. He brought an all star cast here and cranked up the tension, cranked up the stakes and people flocked to the cinema to see how the greatest superhero trilogy ever made would end. And it did not disappoint. Sure, it never quite reached the heights of The Dark Knight which preceded it but I thought that the ending of The Dark Knight Rises was one of the greatest and most satisfying endings I have ever seen.

 

August – Ted

Fans of controversial humour, outrageous humour and toilet humour were delivered an early Christmas present back in August when Seth MacFarlane made his feature film directorial debut in this story of a child’s teddy bear coming to life to become a sex-craved, pot smoking best friend (voiced by MacFarlane himself). I think Ted may suffer from a lack of rewatchability but all in all it was a very funny film with some great cameos and hilarious scenes. The “white trash girls names” scene is one of the best scenes of the year in itself!

 

September – Looper

There were some very popular films released in September: Anna Karenina, Dredd, The Sweeney and House at the End of the Street to name a few. Lawless, featuring wonderful performances from Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Guy Pearce among others was an incredible film and gives Looper a run for its money but when I saw Looper I knew I was watching something special. Looper is one of the best films that I have ever seen and has fast become one of my favourites. The time travel plot device that has long been a staple in the science fiction genre and Looper gave an alternate look while skirting around the edges of Rian Johnson’s own laws of time travel. Looper was incredible! My best film of the year.

 

October – Skyfall

2012 saw the return of James Bond to the big screen in Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes. After a disappointing Quantum of Solace Bond returned in a flood of critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide in the critically lauded Skyfall. Skyfall delivered a more personal look at the characters in Bond’s world, including a small trip into Bond’s background, a more in-depth look at M and revealed a few dark secrets of MI6. Skyfall also brought back some famous characters in a new style, Q and Moneypenny. Skyfall was simply fantastic and should be an outside bet for a couple of Oscar nominations.

 

November – Argo

My heart longs to say that Rise of the Guardians was the best film released in November but my head says otherwise. November saw End of Watch and Silver Linings Playbook released as well but I think that Argo was a really really incredible achievement for Ben Affleck. Argo was crammed full of suspense and tension and had audiences chewing on their nails whilst sitting on the edge of their seats. A true story of a rescue attempt using the undercover story of being a film crew for a science fiction film seems almost unbelievable but Argo brings it to the screen with such perfect realism.

 

December – Life of Pi

Life of Pi was very hotly anticipated as soon as it was announced. Being a best-selling book Life of Pi already had a huge audience waiting to see how the adaptation would turn out. The story is of 16 year old Pi who suffers a ship wreck which kills his family and leaves Pi stranded with just a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. It is a truly touching and emotional story and is already reaping the rewards of their hard work with Golden Globe nominations for Best Score, Best Drama and Best Director.

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I love Anna Kendrick, that’s pretty much the long and short of this blog. There aren’t really that many actresses that I would class as some of my favourite people to watch in films but among them is definitely Anna Kendrick. The last couple of years have seen Kendrick rise to fame and become popular with fans and critics alike.

Like most really good actors and actresses Kendrick’s roots lie in the world of theatre, in particular Broadway. It was clear that Kendrick had talent right from the off as her performance in the musical High Society, at just twelve years old, as she won the World Theatre Award and got nominated for a Tony Award. After a few more shows Kendrick got her first film role in the independent musical comedy Camp and, although the film on a whole received mix reviews, Kendrick’s performance was largely praised and she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in the category of Best Debut Performance.

In 2007 Anna Kendrick got rave reviews once again for her role in Rocket Science but it was in 2008 that she finally got her big break and this came in the Twilight series (although lets not hold that against her, she has done lots of other good films too!). I can’t be bothered talking about Twilight but I thought I better mention it so lets just move on to her brilliant films.

In 2009, Anna Kendrick was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in one of the best films that I think I have ever seen and one of my favourites… Up in the Air. Up in the Air is a lovely, touching story with George Clooney in the lead role and Anna Kendrick puts in the best performance of the film in my opinion. It’s a lovely performance to watch and Kendrick adds some genuine humour in the film and many of the highlights of Up in the Air are down to her. It was Up in the Air where I really became a fan of her.

In 2010 Kendrick appeared in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and didn’t really have a lot to do here where she played the sister to the title character. It was while working on this film that Kendrick met her now partner, director Edgar Wright. Then in 2011, she appeared in one of the best films of the year and an all round near perfect film, 50/50. Kendrick plays the therapist to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s cancer patient and their friendship/relationship and mutual respect towards one another is really heart warming to watch and I think that 50/50 is my favourite performance of Kendrick’s so far.

It’s been a dramatic rise to fame over the last couple of years for Kendrick and that shows no signs of lagging just yet as this year has been very busy for the actress. This year Kendrick voiced a character in stop-motion picture ParaNorman, took the lead role in Pitch Perfect and also sang on the soundtrack and is currently appearing in a film being dubbed “the greatest cop film of all time” End of Watch. She is also in The Company You Keep alongside Robert Redford and Shia LaBeouf which I am looking forward to seeing but has only been previewed at the Venice Festival so far.

At just 27 years old Anna Kendrick is fast becoming one of the most fun actresses to watch and her career is surely going to reach some fantastic heights.

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.

 

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.

Can Shia LaBeouf really act? How much does Gary Oldman need to be in a film to make a lasting impression? How tough can a man in a cardigan really be? These are all questions that Lawless poses and answers in it’s running time. Lawless is a post-western gangster flick based on the novel The Wettest County in the World: during the prohibition era the Bondurant brothers run a liquor bootlegging operation but new crooked Special Deputy Charles Rakes is after a share of the profits. The backbone of the story is the coming of age journey of the youngest brother, Jack Bondurant.

Jack Bondurant is played by Shia LaBeouf and this performance soon put to bed any doubts I had about his ability to be taken serious as an actor, I think that Lawless will be the film that builds the bases for LaBeouf’s future audition tapes because he is surprisingly good! However, he isn’t good enough to steal the show, despite being the main character. Guy Pearce was the stand out performer among an all star cast as the villain Charles Rakes; Pearce is incredibly good that as the film goes on you just can’t help but actually be filled with genuine hate towards his character. Gary Oldman manages to make sure his part of the film, although small, is unforgettable; Oldman pretty much picks up a check for shooting a car to pieces and hitting someone in the face with a shovel. Job done. Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska do their jobs well to stand up well in a very testosterone driven film and the latter is definitely going to steal some hearts with this performance.

Tom Hardy who is having a terrific career puts in a performance just as good as any he has done before. He doesn’t have a lot to say as his character, the leader of the Bondurant boys Forrest Bondurant, isn’t much of a talker but as everyone soon finds out, if you anger him you will know about it. It is Tom Hardy that really proves that even though a man is wearing a cardigan he can still kick your ass ten times over before you even have time to raise a fist in defence. The real quality of Hardy’s performance comes in his timing and delivery which is perfect all the way through the film. There is a running joke (sort of a myth or a legend rather than laugh out loud puns) that the Bondurant boys are invincible, immortal or indestructible and after a few scenes with Forrest Bondurant you certainly believe this to be true.

I have read that the script has been accused of being lazily written in places but I found Lawless to be very well written; it was slow paced that led up to a big ending in the final act with enough action in between to keep everyone happy. Guy Pearce and Shia LaBeouf have a great fight scene which is one of the best and most genuine I have seen for a while. The relationships between the Bondurant brothers and their dynamic is really what makes Lawless interesting and the character development throughout is wonderful.

The final act comes down to what most gangster films end with. A gun fight. A lot of the time I am not a big fan of a shoot out because I don’t really find them that exciting, I would much rather see people going toe to toe in hand to hand combat but I found that the amount of care you had invested in the central characters did enough to make the shoot out a riveting watch as you jump around in your seat hoping and praying that none of your favourite characters are going to die and you can do nothing but wish and wish and wish that Pearce’s villain finally gets his comeuppance.

Lawless isn’t for everyone, but it was certainly for me.

My Rating: 8/10.

UK Release Date: TBA.

Stars: Robert Redford (acting & directing), Shia LaBeouf, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Brendan Gleeson, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper.

Plot: A thriller circled around a former Weather Underground activist who goes on the run from a journalist who has discovered his identity.

StudioCanal has the distribution rights for The Company You Keep in the UK but a date is yet to be named. Despite this, I think that this is one of the most promising trailers/casts/premises I have seen in a long time. With a cast that boasts no less than four Oscar winners and another four Oscar nominees you can’t really expect to be disappointed here.

The storyline looks pretty good to me and seems to be a very good (if not a little similar to other thrillers) story for a thriller film. Robert Redford’s character, Jim Grant, has been hiding from the FBI for over thirty years and is wanted for bank robbery and murder. After his identity is exposed by a journalist he goes on the run to find his ex-lover in the hope that she will clear his name and prevent him from losing his eleven year old daughter (seems to me that if a man Robert Redford’s age was to have daughter she would be older than 11 though so this is clearly for a bit of emotional leverage with the audience).

Shia LaBeouf is an actor that still has to prove to me that he deserves the title of an actor but here I do think he actually looks decent and I am pretty interested in seeing his performance. Hopefully Redford being the director doesn’t take away anything from his performance in front of the camera. The trailer seems to do the film a real justice (or makes it look good anyway) as it seems to have a very good pacing and could be a good hint at what the film will be: back story to begin with, slow pacing with information through the middle, with a fast paced ending. If so, I can’t wait.

 

Let’s start with some great news for fans of Pixar. For a while it has been thought that there would be a sequel coming up to Finding Nemo, which is probably my favourite Pixar movie there has been so far. No plot details have been released yet but surely it can’t just be Nemo getting lost again and needing to be found? They could go the ‘Taken 2‘ route and have Marlin needing to be found instead this time but that would just be ridiculous too. Pixar don’t usually screw up so fingers crossed but the news this week about the sequel is that Ellen DeGeneres is back for the sequel. DeGeneres played Dory who is often thought of as the most popular character of the first film so this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

Lawless is hitting the cinema screens next week and with the cast it boasts (Hardy, LaBeouf, Oldman, Chastain, Pearce) it should surely be a hit. The western is the oldest genre in cinema and is still one of my favourites to this day and I am glad that some big name actors are trying to bring the genre back to the forefront of cinema. Natalie Portman is producing and also starring in a film called Jane Got A Gun where she plays a woman whose husband comes home pumped full of bullets so she reaches out to a former lover to protect her homestead from the criminals who are on the way to finish off her husband. Michael Fassbender is in talks for the role of the former lover! Brilliant news, this could well be another mark of how versatile Fassbender really is.

Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire are set to team up for a new film with a strong message which takes aim at the horrible world of animal trafficking. DiCaprio and Maguire have long been friends with very strong animal rights opinions and DiCaprio has done plenty of work campaigning for better animal rights. Hardy has recently been fully informed of the actions by friends of his that used to be in the Special Forces but now work as anti-poaching fighters across the world. As of now the trio is only producing the film but with all three having such strong opinions on the subject I wouldn’t be surprised to see one, two or all three of them taking a starring role too.

Space Jam was released way back in 1996 and revolved around Bugs Bunny and his Looney Tunes friends recruiting basketball superstar Michael Jordan to play in a basketball match between the Looney Tunes and a group of aliens who stole the talent of some NBA heavyweights. Modern day Miami Heat star LeBron James has said that he is a huge fan of the film and has expressed interest in teaming up with Bugs, Taz, Daffy Duck and the rest for a sequel. Warner Bros. aren’t actually developing a sequel yet but James’ interest could be the push they need: Warner Bros. always want to make money, the Looney Tunes are guaranteed to pull audiences and sportsmen always want to be actors these days so I would suggest everything is already in place to get it going!

And finally… Tom Hanks has become a viral sensation this week and has earned the respect and adoration of thousands of new fans because of a set of pictures that have appeared on the internet. Tom Hanks is known for being pretty easy going and having a quirky and fun personality and now he has proven it once more as three pictures arrived of him pretending to be drunk and have his glasses stolen by a fan of his. Hanks shows he never gives acting a break and really plays up for the camera! See the pictures below…

 

 

Lawless [Trailer]

UK Release Date: 7th September 2012.

Stars: John Hillcoat (director), Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska

Plot: Set in the Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a bootlegging gang is threatened by authorities who want a cut of their profits.

The Western looks set to make a glamorous return to the cinema screens later on this year when Lawless is released. Directed by John Hillcoat and packed with more than enough big names to overlook the fact that the cast list includes Shia LeBeouf (who will never do anything near as good as Even Stevens in his entire career) Lawless was nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes film festival, therefore proving it must have some merit.

Brits Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman work together again (both will appear in The Dark Knight Rises) and are joined by Guy Pearce as his career continues to have somewhat of a resurgence over the past year or so. The female representatives in Lawless come in the form of critics favourite Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska who are both talented enough to more than hold their own among the male heavyweights here.

Lawless is based on novel The Wettest Country in the World by Matt Bondurant who wrote the book based on his own grandfather and great-uncles. This movie seems to have everything the critics will adore, but will audiences feel the same way? Unfortunately I doubt that this will hit big mainstream numbers as the success of Westerns have been limited over the past decade or more. However, with the stellar cast and the gangster aspect to the film if it is marketed right it could cause a big surprise at the box office!