Tag Archive: star trek


Sometimes, appearing in a huge franchise can make you become a household name across the world and the rest of your career becomes easy, but for some actors (and quite often better ones) are forced to play from the sidelines; consistently being a supporting actor and never the main role, this is the case for Karl Urban. Urban is an actor from New Zealand who, despite having gained critical acclaim for films in his homeland he has never been thought of as a leading man for Hollywood, yet unless you have been living on Mars you will have seen him in quite a few of his films, ones that you could even count among your favourites, but you just might now know.

As I mentioned Urban started out working in his home country of New Zealand and here he started out working in the theatre and appearing on television adverts. Karl Urban then got a break after being seen internationally by appearing on the television series’ Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess in the recurring roles of Cupid and Julius Caesar. After fulfilling his work on television he appeared in an offbeat romance film entitled The Price of Milk for which he received a nomination at the New Zealand Qantas Film and Television Awards; he later appeared in Out of the Blue (2007), a dramatisation of New Zealand’s Aramoana massacre and gained positive reaction and the Qantas Film and Television Award for Best Supporting Actor.

So now lets move on to what I know him for: being a supporting actor in a number of franchises. The first of them, and arguably the biggest of all of his films is Lord of the Rings. Now, Lord of the Rings has a huge cast and story that spreads itself over three films so there’s no doubt that you’re not going to be able to name all of the actors an actresses who were a part of the project, but Karl Urban had a pretty decent role in The Two Towers and Return of the King. Karl Urban played Éomer. Éomer has quite a significant role in the books which is diminished in Peter Jackson’s trilogy but he still plays a part. In the films Éomer is made an outcast but is present at the Battle of Helm’s Deep as he remains loyal to the King of Rohan, he is also responsible for the death of the leader of the Haradrim. After this part in one of the most successful trilogies of all time you could have forgiven Karl Urban for thinking he was going to have a pretty tasty career.

The final chapter of The Lord of the Rings trilogy was released in 2003 and in 2004 Urban appeared in two more franchises significantly differing in quality. First was The Chronicles of Riddick where Urban plays the villain to Vin Diesel’s hero and as such Urban’s character dies in the climatic battle scene. This was a first taste of Hollywood films really and an encouraging start although the film itself didn’t go down well with critics. Despite this, Urban’s next choice was superb. If you missed Karl Urban in Lord of the Rings you may have seen him in The Bourne Supremacy (part of another of the best trilogies of all time). In Supremacy Karl Urban is again the villain playing second fiddle to Matt Damon’s hero who everyone loves; Urban was the Russian agent Kirill who killed Marie but inevitably failed in his mission to kill Bourne himself.

In 2007 Karl Urban got a shot at being the leading man in Pathfinder, a Viking adventure film. The film itself lacks in the dialogue area and replaces it with an emphasis on violence, blood and gore… this was probably a reason for the harshly negative reaction to it, however I don’t mind the film but it certainly didn’t do anything to help Karl Urban’s career.

As a childhood fan of Star Trek Urban actively pursued a role in the 2009 reboot.

In 2009 Urban returned to doing what he does best and decided to hang around in the background of another huge blockbuster: Star Trek. This is probably a role that Urban is most famous for to fans across the globe. In JJ Abrams reboot of the famous science fiction series Urban plays Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy who becomes Kirk’s first (and pretty much only) friend at Starfleet Academy. As Bones, Urban injected (a nice little pun for those who have seen the film) some comedic moments into Star Trek and his performance is held in high regard by fans of the original series.

After appearing in Red and Priest, Urban gets another chance at being a lead man in a big blockbuster this year in Dredd, a reboot of the 1995 film starring Sylvester Stallone, in which Urban will be playing Judge Dredd. The film itself is being hotly anticipated by fans of the comic book character  and it received positive reception at Comic Con which has probably the hardest crowd to please in the world.

At the age of 40 it may be a little late for Karl Urban to make that step to the forefront after being in the secondary roles for so long but it is not unheard of. Urban has a real talent for acting and I have enjoyed every one of his performances that I have seen. In my opinion Karl Urban has not got the recognition or fan base that he deserves but with the Star Trek franchise looking as though it could stretch out easily for a few films then he may get it there or in any upcoming Judge Dredd sequels. He deserves it, that’s for sure.

Here’s a video of Karl Urban talking about his role in Star Trek and just generally being cool. His colleagues seem to love him too!

Thriller in ‘The Loft’

Stars: Erik Van Looy (director), Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Rachael Taylor, Margarita Levieva.

Plot: Five married men share ownership of an upmarket loft, which they use to discretely meet their respective mistresses. When the body of a murdered woman is found in that loft, the men begin to suspect each other of having committed the gruesome crime, as they are the only ones with keys to the premises.

The Loft is an upcoming thriller remake of the 2008 Belgian film ‘Loft‘ also directed by Erik Van Looy and also starring Matthias Schoenaerts in the same role he plays in this version. The original became the most successful Flemish movie ever at the box office so this could be quite a good film, even if it doesn’t get that much attention.

The cast, while without many notable names, brings together actors and actresses from some of the best loved films and television shows of the last few years: Urban (Star Trek), Marsden (X-Men), Miller (Prison Break), Taylor (Charlie’s Angels), Levieva (Revenge). While few have acted in feature films before they have all proved their talent and it should make for a good watch.

The premise is very interesting and it has a good story and amount of characters, friendship and trust which will make for a good whodunnit storyline. The film pieces the truth together through a series of flashbacks intertwined with scenes from the present day and hopefully will keep the audience guessing who committed the crime and why until the end of the film (because films are rubbish when the audience knows the truth from the start). It looks very good but doesn’t yet have a distributor in the UK but depending on how it does in the United States upon it’s release at the end of the year we could see it come over to Britain mid 2013.

Some weeks go by when there is not a single thing happening in the movie world that I am bothered about and then all of a sudden three things come along at once:

 

First up, there is a new Van Helsing film in development! Before you question why this is good news, you first have to know that this will not be a sequel to the awful Hugh Jackman interpretation of the character back in 2004, this will be a complete reboot. The reboot is to be written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, a writing pair that can boast hits such as Star Trek, Fringe, Alias, The Legend of Zorro, Mission: Impossible III, Transformers and, to a lesser extent, Cowboys and Aliens. Kurtzman has said that the reboot will be ‘grounded in reality’ and has high aims as he wants to ‘do for Van Helsing what [Christopher] Nolan has done for Batman’. The other piece of exciting news surrounding this project is who is attached to star as the title character: Tom Cruise. His career seems to have had its own little reboot in the last couple of years and he is being lined up to appear in everything, not that I’m complaining, I think he is a great person to watch and has a fantastic on screen persona. Van Helsing has no set release date yet with Cruise’s hectic schedule but a release of 2014/15 may be realistic.

 

Next up, Bourne! The Bourne trilogy is one of my favourites of all time, I think Matt Damon’s portrayal of super spy Jason Bourne is a character to rival any other and the storyline, the directing and the supporting cast are all fantastic. So when I heard that Damon and director Paul Greengrass would not be returning for fourth film The Bourne Legacy I was understandably disappointed. Then my disappointment faded with the announcement of Jeremy Renner becoming the lead role and playing Aaron Cross in what has been dubbed a ‘paraquel’ (the events take place simultaneously with the original Bourne trilogy). Frank Marshall, the producer of The Bourne Legacy has now said that it is his ‘dream’ to see Matt and Jeremy team up in the fifth installment. Of course, this is just a dream at the minute and Damon has fierce loyalty to director Greengrass and recently had a falling out with writer and new director Tony Gilroy but money talks and a huge payday for Damon could be in line if he was to return to the franchise which would be incredible!

Here is the incredible trailer for Renner’s The Bourne Legacy

And finally…

 

Marvel are riding high on the waves of success at the minute and a few months ago announced the line up for their next few films. among the regulars of Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2 there were a couple of surprises with Marvel announcing two secret films. Immediately there was speculation that the 2014 secret movie would be a Black Panther origin story. Black Panther is one of my favourite characters in the Marvel universe and really does deserve a film and in the past week or so there has been no shortage of actors saying that they would love to be a part of the film. Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter) said that he hoped to be a part of The Incredible Hulk but wasn’t and would sign on to Black Panther today; Brian J. White (Cabin in the Woods, Brick) has also said he would love to work with Marvel when he was linked with the role but I don’t think that he looks the part so I would count him out straight away; Aldis Hodge (Leverage) seems to be the current fan favourite out of people who have confirmed their interest in the role and just by looking at him you have to say that he does seem to be the perfect fit. I would still hope that Djimon Hounsou got the part but maybe Marvel will go for a lesser known and cheaper actor for the part.

(left to right) Fan favourite Aldis Hodge; Marvel superhero Black Panther; my pick Djimon Hounsou.

With so many movies made it is inevitable that nobody will enjoy all of them. There are also some movies that are frequently named as the best movies ever made and whilst I think that some of them live up to the hype (The Departed, Back to the Future, Toy Story) there are some classic films that I do not like despite the majority of people thinking they are absolutely perfect. Here are a few of my controversial choices:

Pulp Fiction is ranked at number five on IMDB’s list of Top 250 films and is commonly referred to as one of the best films ever made and Tarantino’s best. I don’t think this is Tarantino’s best work, in fact of all the films I have seen of his this is my least favourite, I much preferred Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill. I was expecting to be blown away by Pulp Fiction when I finally got round to watching it because of the way people spoke so highly of it, yet I was left bored and unentertained. I think the storyline is very weak and the dialogue is dull and unnecessary; it lacks the punch that Reservoir Dogs and Inglourious Basterds packs. And the way fans of the film bang on about it being a non-linear structure you would think it would be the only film to ever have done that and it doesn’t even add anything to the story by editing it in this way.

Taxi Driver, directed by Martin Scorsese and featuring Robert De Niro in an Oscar winning performance, is another film that left me feeling like I had missed something. As I have mentioned in  previous post I do really enjoy the first half of Taxi Driver, the way that the character is created and we get insight into this person and his life is very very good drama indeed. But then the gear changes in the film and the wheels seem to come off; I know some people like it but I just feel like it makes no sense, it becomes boring and where it tries to become exciting it fails. I would definitely place Taxi Driver up there with one of the worst gunfights in movie history for its climatic action scene.

Star Wars is undoubtedly one of the most iconic films in history. Many of the characters have become staples in popular culture: Darth Vader, Yoda, Chewbacca, Han Solo. Everybody knows Star Wars, that much is true. But I don’t see what all the fuss was about. I am a fan of science fiction so that’s not the problem here; I like Star Trek and Back to the Future but I failed to see the hype surrounding this massive franchise. I felt very underwhelmed and very bored, Han Solo who is supposedly one of the coolest characters around disappointed me as did many of the others. I really wanted to like Star Wars but found it impossible.

Whilst there is no news that Daniel Craig has any intention of stepping down as the English special agent, there are always rumours flying around about who will be next to portray James Bond. Skyfall is released later this year and will be Craig’s third Bond film; although he is contracted for another five outings it seems unlikely that Craig will make it this far as he is already 44 years old and these blockbusters take a while to make, especially if there are delays to future films as there have been to Skyfall. So who will be next to don the suit and become James Bond? Here are my five nominations:

  

Henry Cavill

Having had bit parts in a few films during his career, Cavill was then cast as a main character in the BBC’s hit drama The Tudors where he stayed up until 2010 before deciding to try his hands at films once more and, last year, starred in Immortals. Coming up very soon Cavill stars in The Cold Light of Day which will see him put his action skills to the test. Cavill auditioned for James Bond before Daniel Craig was given the nod as producers felt Cavill was too young. But being that extra few years older now could see him as the favourite for the role. This must be a long shot now, however, as since then Cavill has gone on to win the role of Clark Kent (or Superman, as you might know him) in the upcoming superhero reboot.

 

Benedict Cumberbatch

Here is a British actor taking Hollywood by storm. Best known to audiences for portraying Sherlock Holmes in the BBC’s modern adaptation of the famous detective, he is now moving into films. He has recently starred in two critical successes War Horse and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and has a role in the sequel to JJ Abrams Star Trek and has two roles Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit. His name has been banded about by fans of Sherlock as a possible successor to Daniel Craig and having already portrayed Sherlock Holmes, Cumberbatch knows the pressures of playing an iconic character.

 

Tom Hardy

Hardy is without a doubt one of the best British actors of the moment. He has starred in hit after hit with Bronson, RocknRolla, Warrior, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Inception and will soon be playing the villain in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. There is no doubting this man’s talents; he has past experience of playing a spy, showing his serious side in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and his charming and funny side in the less serious This Means War. Hardy always throws his all into any acting role and has expressed an interest in playing Bond, although that relies on Christopher Nolan directing, which does not seem very probable at all.

 

Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender is fast becoming a wanted man in Hollywood with his performances gaining praise whatever he does. After bursting onto the scene, the half-Irish, half-German actor has become a favourite of mainstream audiences. When X-Men First Class was released there were many comments about the similarities between James Bond and Fassbender’s Magneto at the beginning of the film. There is no doubt that Fassbender has the ability to carry off the part if he was given it but with his commitments to the X-Men it may be hard to find time within his schedule.

 

Dominic Cooper

Okay, so this suggestion is a bit out there but Dominic Cooper is a fine British talent and deserves more recognition across mainstream audiences than he gets at the minute. I think that he definitely looks like a guy who could play James Bond and despite having a career more geared towards drama and romance he is stepping into action films; he was in Captain America and will soon be seen in Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. He may not have the full set yet, but who knows, when the time comes Cooper might be in with a shout.

 

I think that the next James Bond definitely has to be British. Bond is an English spy and so an English actor is necessary, although with the recent influx of British actors taking over American icons such as Batman, Superman and Spider-man film makers may feel that the nationality of the actor is no longer important. Daniel Craig still has the suit at the minute though and this is purely speculation, but my choice would definitely be Tom Hardy.

 

***MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***

Film makers have always wondered how they could get men to go and see a rom-com without being forced by their partner, the solution they came up with? Cast Bane and Captain Kirk in the leading roles. And, luckily for them and for audiences everywhere, it is a right little treat.

Directed by McG (executive producer of hit TV shows Supernatural and Chuck; director of Terminator Salvation and the Charlie’s Angels films) This Means War is a ‘brom-com’ about two of the best CIA agents who put their friendship to the test when they discover they are dating the same woman.

Reese Witherspoon is Lauren, the woman at the centre of the exploits. When her friend signs her up to a dating website Tuck (Tom Hardy) finds her and asks her out on a date, then after the date she bumps into FDR (Chris Pine) whose persistence, after a rocky start, eventually persuades her to date him too. When the agents find out they are dating the same woman they put down ground rules, soon to be broken, and begin spying on (and sabotaging) each other’s dates with Lauren. All this whilst also trying to catch Heinrich, an international criminal.

Witherspoon’s character is important to the story but, in my opinion, was not likeable as a character. At the start I just found her to be annoying and at the end I was still annoyed by her, especially when she tried to take the moral high ground over FDR and Tuck even though she had been dating the both of them behind each other’s backs.

Tom Hardy’s performance was a calm, understated one, slightly outshone by Chris Pine, but he put in a good performance nonetheless and was believable as a character. You felt his feelings for Lauren but more importantly you felt his friendship with FDR and his love for FDR also. The friendship between the two male leads was vital for this film to work and it was believable down to every single factor.

 

Chris Pine is the real star of This Means War though. He is doing what he does best here, he plays cocky agent FDR who has a real eye for the ladies and, in his own words, is an ‘expert’ with them. Pine’s performance is also the funniest of the three and hopefully he will be in more comedy films throughout his career, if he has enough time away from captaining the USS Enterprise. FDR’s character arc is easily charted throughout the film too and he shows real growth by the end of the movie.

There are plenty of laughs and the film is thoroughly enjoyable. The character’s interactions between the two men are always pretty funny, especially the little ‘relationship-esque’ bickering and FDR constantly calling Tuck when he hasn’t heard from him for over an hour. This Means War is also clever too as one of the very first lines in the film ends up being very important as it foreshadows how they are eventually found by Heinrich.

This Means War provides a lot of enjoyment and is well worth a watch. The real love story isn’t between Lauren and the two agents, but between the two agents themselves: Tuck and FDR. Their friendship is what makes this film work and the fact that they care so much about each other allows the audience to care for them just as much. It will make you laugh a lot and give you some good fight scenes at the same time.

My Rating: 7/10.

In 2009, J.. Abrams introduced Star Trek to a whole new generation of fans with a fantastic reboot of the series. Next year he will be hoping to follow that up with the, as yet untitled, sequel to the blockbuster that was a critical and commercial success.

Not a lot is known about the sequel so far other than the fact that everybody from the crew of the original film will be reprising their roles. Benicio Del Toro reportedly turned down the role of villain which was then passed on to the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch although it has not yet been announced who he will be playing. When that character is revealed we might be able to guess a little about the story.

These first pictures show Spock with the villain in the Vulcan nerve pinch. The villain, by the way, in a Starfleet uniform which is very interesting. The second shows Uhura and the villain after he escapes Spock’s pinch. Hopefully more pictures will be released soon and get anticipation high before a trailer hits, fingers crossed, before the end of the year.