Tag Archive: star wars


Back in 1975 Jaws became the highest grossing film to date. It’s arguably one of the most famous films ever that has been parodied and referenced in countless numbers of films and has a theme tune that everyone can hum and recognise. The release and the popularity of Jaws marked the arrival of the summer blockbuster, which would become a staple in the cinema calendar; the summer blockbuster spots are reserved for the biggest studios to bring out the big guns and rake in the profits over summer. The whole idea of a ‘blockbuster film’ has gone through celebration and survived criticism but you can not deny that they are still apparent and, as we have seen this year, are the most bankable films of the year. But the originality has gone, and with that so has some of the fun.

Among the top ten highest grossing films of the year so far there are eight films that have been released in the summer. Only one of those is an original concept: Pacific Rim. When Jaws was released it marked a trend of ‘event’ films that major studios released to compete with Jaws and its sequels. Taking this into account Pacific Rim seems like a typical summer blockbuster remade for a modern audience. It seems like everything a summer audience want: mindless action, giant robots fighting gigantic aliens and what’s more the film had major clout behind it as it was directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Pacific Rim only just managed to double its budget worldwide despite all the hype surrounding it and Idris Elba booming “today we are cancelling the apocalypse” before every other summer film that you would go and see. Of course, one reason why Pacific Rim could have fallen short of expectations is because Michael Bay did such an awful job with the Transformers film that any film with robots in will now be tossed aside without thought.

 

But then a film with fighting robots also became the fifth highest grossing film of all time: Iron Man 3. So this seems to suggest that that was not the only reason for Pacific Rim‘s failure to make a huge impression on the audience. In a world with so many sequels it is becoming more important to see those sequels when they come out, especially with what Marvel are doing with each film becoming a huge stable of cinema in itself and an unmissable event. People want to see what they already know because the first films are so good and successful that it gives a sequel credibility before it is even released. The likes of Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast and Furious 6, Monsters University and even Despicable Me 2 cracked the top ten highest grossing films – all coming off the back of successful franchises or original films. World War Z and Man of Steel also join the list but they’re coming from hugely successful books and comic books. With World War Z it also seems to suggest that star power is also important for a summer blockbuster with Brad Pitt no doubt being responsible for some of the surprisingly huge audience the zombie action film found.

So what of Will Smith, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp? Three of the biggest movie stars on the planet absolutely tanked at the box office in 2013. Smith’s After Earth and Cruise’s Oblivion both seemed pretty similar in their basic premise: Earth has been abandoned and now Will Smith/Tom Cruise come back to Earth and find out that it’s not as bare as they might have thought. It was assumed that one film would take the spoils because they were too similar but as it turned out, neither film did and both failed. Johnny Depp looked to bring a new franchise to the big screen and should have been more successful being as though The Lone Ranger is integrated in popular culture – everyone has heard “Hi-Yo, Silver!” at least once in their lives. But a difficult time in production seemed to put an end to any plans Disney had of making a sequel. And the less said about R.I.P.D the better.

 

Another one of the most anticipated films of the year was Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium. After Blomkamp’s debut feature District 9 was an Oscar nominated film people were expecting something exceptional from Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. However, as of now it has only just managed to make back its budget and not set the world alight as people expected. Of course, a late summer release won’t have helped being as though it seems everyone had already spent their money on previously mentioned films. So why is it so hard to find a spot for originality in the summer months?

For me, I think it comes down to the cost of going to the cinema. Over summer the children are off school and people go to the cinema as a family. This means that you’re going to be spending around £25-£35 on tickets and then another £20ish on drinks and popcorn which makes it seem pretty expensive just to go and sit down for a couple of hours. Nobody wants to go and see a bad film at the cinema anyway but when it’s costing that much you want to know that you’re going to enjoy what you watch. Therefore, I believe people are more likely to go and see Iron Man 3 when Marvel have a spotless record and you’re guaranteed a great performance from Robert Downey Jr. rather than take a chance that something like R.I.P.D or Pacific Rim which you don’t know much about.

 

In the next couple of years we are going to see more Marvel films – Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015. The Man of Steel sequel featuring Batman is coming out too, the same as the seventh chapter of Star Wars and presumably a third in the new Star Trek trilogy: add to that another Fast & Furious film, a sequel to World War Z and X-Men: Days of Future Past. It seems like so many huge franchises are begging for people’s money that it seems impossible for anything new to turn heads. For the sake of cinema that has to change sooner rather than later.

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Star Trek Into Darkness Review

With J.J. Abrams set to direct the new Star Wars film it is as yet unknown whether he will return for the inevitable conclusion to his finely crafted trilogy that has successfully reinstated Star Trek as one of the most important science fiction franchises in the world. Has he left behind a good legacy with Into Darkness?

Star Trek Into Darkness picks up with Captain James Kirk (Chris Pine) and his new crew, at least new in this franchise, already on a mission on the pre-civilisation planet of Nibiru; it is clear right from the off that the crew of the USS Enterprise are not going to be without danger as Spock’s life is immediately put on the line. Luckily, he survives and manages to carry on with the rest of the film. Where eventually they run into John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), who just so happens to be Star Trek’s arguably most famous villain, Kahn. Kahn is carrying out terrorist acts that turn this film into an emotional chess game between Kirk and Kahn as the two battle it out in a test of will, strength and heroics as they battle to save their respective crews: only one side can win.

“Let’s go get this sonofabitch”

The first thing you notice about Into Darkness (and one of the most significant things) is that it does not feel like a sequel: the film immediately places you at the heart of the action with little knowledge of the previous film (or even Star Trek in general) required to enjoy the film. The whole of the Enterprise crew is back including Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), Sulu (John Cho), Scotty (Simon Pegg) and Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) and none of the characters come off badly with each one, even Chekov (Anton Yelchin) having their moment in the spotlight; it would have been nice to have seen Uhura (Zoe Saldana) do more, however as her character does feel less like an equal crew member and more like a pawn to try and evoke some emotion in Spock, something she doesn’t really do that well.

The old faces are joined by new additions such as the incredible Benedict Cumberbatch and the almost pointless Alice Eve. Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Kahn is really spectacular; this is the greatest villain that will hit the screens this summer and is the most memorable in modern blockbusters, as far as my memory serves me anyhow. He poses a serious threat to Kirk and his crew on a mental and physical scale. Right from the off he gives you the creeps and it is clear his plan is very well thought out.

“You should have let me sleep”

The action takes place at a quick pace, occasionally slowing down to give the audience some breathing space and for the characters, mainly Kirk and Spock, to talk their problems through which does sometimes border on the line of good or bad writing; but that can be forgiven as you can guarantee whenever something feels stale Into Darkness shakes things up (quite literally), the amount of times they get attacked off guard id pretty suspicious for a craft of such high technology. But the action scenes are spectacular, right off the bat from Nibiru, to the home of the Klingons on Kronos, right up to the final fight scene between Spock and Kahn.

With such a lot hanging in the balance for Kirk, Spock etc. it seems imperative that there is humour injected into the story and that comes in the, predictable, forms of Bones (Karl Urban) and Scotty. This story centres on Kirk and Kahn but the majority of my attention was on Bones, coming out with quality one liners and throwing around metaphors like they were going out of fashion: he’s a treat every time he comes on screen.

“Damn it man! I’m a doctor not a torpedo technician!”

Into Darkness closes with the USS Enterprise about to embark on a five year mission. Is this five years a hint at how long it will be until we see the third chapter of this Star Trek revival? If so, maybe Abrams will be back on board. Part of me doesn’t want to wait so long but part of me longs for the return of Abrams to finish what he started!

In my Iron Man 3 review I claimed that Iron Man 3 could be the best blockbuster of the summer. Well all that’s changed now: Star Trek Into Darkness will not be topped.

My Rating: 9/10.

A couple of days ago I posted The Best Actors Over the Age of 65. It was a list that put together eight of the most talented older actors still working in movies together. However, there were a few people that I didn’t have room for. A lot of wonderful readers reacted positively and wanted a sequel so I thought… if it’s good enough for Hollywood, then it’s good enough for me! Here comes the second part…

Michael Douglas – Born: 25th September, 1944 – 68 years old.

Douglas appeared to slow down in terms of his acting at the turn of the 21st century but in the past twelve months and in the coming year he looks to be speeding up once more. Most famously known for his role as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, a role he recently took on again for the sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. In the past few years he has continued to star in relatively good films such as The Sentinel and Haywire.

Al Pacino – Born: 25th April, 1940 – 72 years old.

Along with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino is synonymous with the crime genre. Appearances in The Godfather trilogy, a legendary role in Scarface and alongside the former in Heat have cemented his place as an acting legend. However, his two Oscar nominations have come for two of his most dramatic roles in Glengarry Glen Ross and Scent of a Woman (for which he won the Oscar). Recently he did his reputation a lot of harm and became a target for many jokes after a cameo in the disaster that was Jack & Jill but he looks set to get his reputation back playing the lead in King Lear.

Sir Patrick Stewart – Born: 13th July, 1940 – 72 years old.

One of the finest thespians ever seen. Patrick Stewart seems like an icon of maturity and has a voice as smooth as Morgan Freeman – a voice he has lent to American Dad which shows off his light hearted side too. He’s the man who was made in the mould exactly to fit the role of Professor X and it has become his most iconic role of recent times. Although he does more voice work these days he is returning to the wheelchair for Days of Future Past next year.

Martin Sheen – Born: 3rd August, 1940 – 72 years old.

Martin Sheen proved he still had the acting chops to cut it with the young’uns in The Amazing Spider-Man, in which he put in the best performance of the film as loveable Uncle Ben, contributing to one of the saddest/mood effecting scenes of summer 2012. He’s no stranger to brilliant films either, appearing in Catch Me If You Can and The Departed as well as, earlier in his career, Wall Street and Gandhi.

Dustin Hoffman – Born: 8th August, 1937 – 75 years old.

Hoffman is a really incredible actor. I don’t think that has ever been in doubt since he made his name in 1967 in The Graduate. He has had a career of terrific films right from the get go: Straw Dogs, All The President’s Men, Kramer vs. Kramer, Rain Man are just a few. In recent years he took a little move to comedy for Meet the Fockers but continues to do voice work for DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda series.

Burt Reynolds – Born: 11th February, 1936 – 77 years old.

Burt Reynolds’ film career has taken a bit of a back seat over the past few years with him focussing more on television roles, but his acting talent is still obvious. He was nominated for an Oscar back in 1998 for his supporting role in Boogie Nights and appeared in Adam Sandler’s last (probably ever) good film The Longest Yard. He’s been acting since the 1950s and has given no indication that he is ready to stop just yet.

Clint Eastwood – Born: 31st May, 1930 – 82 years old.

A list like this wouldn’t be complete without Clint Eastwood. He is one of the most popular movie legends of all tine thanks to his roles in Westerns such as A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and his role as Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry and its sequels. Although he has now given up acting to focus more on directing he did return for Trouble With the Curve last year to remind everyone what they were missing.

Sir Christopher Lee – Born: 27th May, 1922 – 90 years old.

At 90 years old Christopher Lee is an actor who is just as great to watch now as he was at the beginning of his career. Incredibly, Lee has been acting since the 1940s, meaning this is the seventh decade that we will have seen him on screen for. If any young actors are looking for inspiration then this man has to be at the top of the list. He helped to make British horror films popular with his role as Dracula in a string of Hammer Horror films and he went on to star in two of the most popular franchises of all time: The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) and Star Wars.

Earlier in the week I wrote articles about my fantasy casting choices for the likes of Jaina Solo and Jacen Solo in the new Star Wars trilogy if they are to feature. Of course, the Star Wars saga is primarily about the Skywalker family and this new trilogy, if based on the children of our original heroes, will not be without a Skywalker. This is the turn of Ben.

To anybody with just a passing interest in the Star Wars films it will be pretty obvious who his father is and who he is named after but I am going to tell you anyway: Ben Kenobi and Luke Skywalker. Ben’s mother is another Jedi master named Mara Jade and most of his pivotal moments in the expanded universe come before his sixteenth birthday. This will most likely be changed for the new trilogy however, because, after the catastrophe of the prequel trilogy, they’re not going to want to hedge their bets on a young teenager, surely? But I could be wrong. Anyway, who could play Ben Skywalker?

 

Dave Franco

This would be a bit of a strange choice as he is making a name for himself in Hollywood now as more of a comedic type actor. However, complete with trademark Franco smile, I think Dave Franco could fit into the Star Wars universe pretty well. I think they will be opting for an up and coming actor rather than one who has already made his name for the role of Ben Skywalker and Dave Franco could be a good fit.

 

Garrett Hedlund

I have seen Hedlund mentioned by quite a few fans as a possibly Ben Skywalker. He seems to have a name that you would be likely to remember and has appeared in some big (if a little disappointing) films: Troy, Eragon, TRON: Legacy. With the latter looking as though it could be turning into a quite profitable franchie then it is possible Hedlund will be staying on to lead TRON in the future years so he seems unlikely.

 

Liam Hemsworth

If it was down to me Liam Hemsworth would be my pick. He is appearing in The Hunger Games trilogy at the minute but by the time Star Wars Episode VII begins to get made the second film will be done with and he doesn’t exactly have the biggest part in the world so he may consider turning his back on the role to lead Star Wars into a new era. Ben Skywalker seems a pretty difficult role to cast at the minute and if Abrams decides against casting an unknown actor (as George Lucas did with the original Skywalker) then Hemsworth could well be in with a shout.

Yesterday, I took a look at the character of Jaina Solo and put forward a few suggestions of who should play her if she was to be included as the main character of the upcoming new Star Wars trilogy. Today, I will be looking at her twin brother, Jacen Solo.

Who knows why the Star Wars families go like this (probably because it makes for a good theme of family and good showdowns which classic lines such as “I am your Father”) but for every good member of the family there’s an evil one: for every Luke, there’s an Anakin. And the Solo twins are no different with Jacen eventually growing up to become Darth Caedeus, a prime antagonist in the Star Wars expanded universe. So who could play Jacen Solo?

 

Dane DeHaan

The actor that immediately sprung to my mind was Dane DeHaan. Shooting to fame last year in surprise hit Chronicle, DeHaan became an instant success and has subsequently been cast as Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I think that DeHaan would be a perfect fit and could easily perform the kind of conflicted personality and the turn to evil that encompasses Jacen Solo.

 

Tom Felton

Obviously world renowned for his role as that pesky Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series. Since then Felton has failed to really do much with his career, releasing an awful music single and unleashing almost just as awful American accent for his villainous role in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. His seemingly below-par acting skills may see him quickly cut out of the running for this part and Felton himself may not want to play another bad guy. Although with Jacen beginning the trilogy as a hero that could convince him.

 

Anton Yelchin

I have made it quite clear in an earlier blog that I am disappointed about Abrams being the director of Star Wars as well as Star Trek so it may be more than a little bit hypocritical for me to suggest Anton Yelchin (Chekov) for a main part in the Star Wars franchise. However, Yelchin doesn’t really feature as a big part in the original Star Trek reboot and I doubt he will have a bigger part in Into Darkness. Really, he deserves greater attention and with a connection with Abrams already established he may just be in mind.

 

Stick around, maybe there’ll be some casting suggestions of Anakin Solo and Ben Skywalker heading your way soon.

This week has seen the reports that Harrison Ford is set to reprise one of the most iconic roles in cinema history as Han Solo for Star Wars Episode VII. When a new trilogy was announced fans were quick to question whether Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher would be returning and this news seems to be positive, especially because Ford’s role is being called ‘significant’. This would also support the theory that the new trilogy would focus on the children of Han Solo and Princess Leia (Jaina, Jacen and Anakin Solo) who were introduced as part of the expanded universe.

There were also reports (because, of course, this is all speculation at the minute) that the main character in the new trilogy would be a female, which seems to point to Jaina Solo. Jaina and her twin brother Jacen are primary protagonists in a lot of the expanded universe literature so it would make sense that they would be the focus of the new trilogy, especially as this would easily allow Han Solo, Princess Leia and Uncle’s Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca (maybe?) to return. So if this was to come to fruition, who would play Jaina Solo?

 

Jennifer Lawrence

We don’t know if Jaina Solo will be the main character but if she is she’s going to be pretty young, late teenage years at oldest, surely? And Lawrence is currently playing the most famous teenager in film, Katniss Everdeen. She is also playing a younger version of Mystique in the X-Men trilogy so she is clearly adjudged to look the part. Although her working in these two big franchises already mean that she may not have the time to appear in the new Star Wars trilogy as well. However, she is one of the hottest talents in Hollywood at the minute so surely will be considered?

 

Odette Annable

Annable is another relative unknown but is a more likely choice than Tonkin. She has film experience and one of those films she has been in was (another JJ Abrams project) Cloverfield. Since then, most of her high profile work has come on television appearing in Life On Mars, Brothers & Sisters and the final series of House. At twenty seven years of age producers may feel that it is a bit late for her to try and force her way into being a Hollywood starlet but could easily fit the role of Jaina Solo in my opinion. The only problem here is that she just looks too ‘nice’ and clean cut for the part possibly.

 

 

Phoebe Tonkin

Tonkin is a little known Australian actress best known for her work on television shows Home and Away, The Secret Circle and The Vampire Diaries. She is soon set to appear in The Originals, a Vampire Diaries spin-off but I highly doubt that her television work would stop her from being considered for a role in Star Wars. I think that Tonkin has a shine to her and would not look out of place as the daughter of Han and Leia. When the original Star Wars films were made they took a bold step by casting unknowns in the lead roles. If they’re willing to be as daring again then maybe Tonkin should be looked at. I think Tonkin would be my pick of these three candidates.

 

So they are my three picks for the role of Jaina Solo. Tomorrow I’ll be looking at who could play her twin (younger by five minutes) brother; Jacen Solo.

Whenever Marvel move along with their casting that always interests me and there are two important pieces of casting news this week. Firstly, it has been announced who will be playing Star-Lord, the lead role, in the ambitious Guardians of the Galaxy. That man will be Chris Pratt. Pratt is currently on cinema screens in Zero Dark Thirty where he is receiving a lot of praise for his performance and he has also recently starred in Moneyball and The Five-Year Engagement (where he was by far the best character) so this looks like a fine piece of casting!

And the brilliant Emily VanCamp (of fantastic hit show Revenge) has landed the lead female role in Captain America: Winter Soldier. I’m a huge fan of Revenge and VanCamp is incredible so hopefully we’ll get to see her show off her fighting skills in the Marvel sequel too. No official word on who she will be playing has been released yet but it is thought to be Sharon Carter, a relation of Cap’s love interest Peggy Carter in The First Avenger.

Pratt and VanCamp appeared alongside one another in Everwood.

 

Star Wars news: Disney looking to cash in as quick as possible! This week Disney have announced that they will be working on standalone spin-off films. Now, I don’t like this idea because I’m not a fan of Star Wars on the whole, but as I understand it Star Wars (all six episodes) is the story of the Skywalker family. And that is how it should stay! Sure, lots of people want to explore the Star Wars universe but do you have to really do this blatant money making scheme to achieve that? Anyway, it is rumoured that a Yoda spin-off is going to be the first to be developed.

Back in 2007 Timothy Olyphant was the star of the Hitman film, an adaptation of the successful video game series that fans could never really decide whether they liked it or not. Just a mere six years later and Fox have decided what they are going to do with the franchise: reboot it with Paul Walker in the title role of Agent 47. I like Walker as much as anyone in the Fast & Furious franchise but has anything else he has done been a hit? Don’t even mention Into the Blue, what the hell was that?! But anyway, I just don’t see Walker as a good fit for the role and would have preferred to have seen Olyphant return to shave his head once again.

And finally, Benedict Cumberbatch has landed the lead role in The Imitation Game. The film follows Alan Turing, an important man of British history said to be the father of computer science as he played a pivotal role in the creation of the modern computer and also helped crack the “Enigma Code” during World War 2. The script was bought for seven figures with Leonardo DiCaprio set to star in the film but with him deciding to take a break Cumberbatch has landed the role. There’s sure to be some Oscar love for this when it eventually gets released.

Cumberbatch’s career is really taking off!

Abrams is an expert in the science fiction genre.

I’m not writing this to say that JJ Abrams isn’t a good director or film maker, it would be absurd to say something along those lines after the incredible success he has had bringing Star Trek back to the big screen along with his television work. And I have no doubt that he will do another great job making Star Wars seems relevant again. But when I saw the announcement a little bit of me did die inside. But why?

 

Well, first things first, Abrams has now committed the ultimate betrayal in the world of pop culture. When people ask you whether you prefer Star Trek or Star Wars the only acceptable answers are either ‘Trek‘ or ‘Wars‘ (occasionally someone will let you say neither) but ‘both’ is not usually an option. For around five decades now these two franchises have gone head to head and, I know it’s only films, it doesn’t really matter, but to a lot of people it will matter that Abrams has gone behind Star Trek‘s back and chosen to direct Star Wars: Episode VII. But that’s not the main reason, in fact, I couldn’t care less about this reason because I am not a huge fan of either franchise (although I loved the 2009 reboot).

The main reason for my disappointment is that it is a very boring choice, it’s a safe choice. I expected Disney to really pull out the big guns, get someone in who would create something magical who wouldn’t necessarily be everyone’s first choice but would win everyone over when the film is released in 2015, but this seems to not be the case. Abrams is a self professed fan of Star Wars so I have no doubt that his passion for the project will see that only good things come of this.

Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot was met with wide critical acclaim.

However, the fact that Abrams is now directing the two biggest science fiction franchises in the galaxy, it makes the science fiction genre very boring; it almost seems like a very prestigious boy’s club and if you’re not involved you don’t get a chance. All directors have their own trademarks, their own styles and now there will no doubt be very high similarities between Star War and Star Trek which may blur the lines between the two franchises whereas they should both be kept apart.

 

Matthew Vaughn was considered to be front runner for the job.

I would have much preferred someone else who wasn’t already running a science fiction franchise to take control of Star Wars VII and install their own style and their own creativity into the project. I just don’t think this bodes well for the future of the science fiction genre having one man control the two biggest franchises. Film and cinema thrives on variety and with the vast number of science fiction releases increasing year on year, variety is becoming more and more necessary. I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with Disney’s choice and their refusal to employ someone who could bring something different to the science fiction genre, but in 2015 I’m sure everyone will enjoy the Star Wars that JJ Abrams brings us.

Blah blah.. Disney… blah blah… Star Wars. Exactly. With Michael Arndt currently writing Episode VII it has now been announced who will write Episodes VIII and IX, clearly Disney is expecting big things from their newest franchise. Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are the two people chosen to write the next sequels but it is unclear who will write which one as of yet. These are very good choices as Kasdan has previous with the Star Wars series (so why wasn’t he chosen to write Episode VII?) as he wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. simon Kinberg also has experience with blockbusters, he has written Sherlock Holmes and is currently writing Days of Future Past, the sequel to X-Men: First Class. However, Kinberg has previously had writing credits on Mr & Mrs Smith, Jumper and X-Men: The Last Stand, not such a good choice after all?

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is picking up the pace now. We know that Jamie Foxx is in the running to play the villain and probably will do so but now we know that Harry Osborn will feature in the film and several actors are being auditioned. Those in the running include Dane DeHaan (Chronicle), Sam Claflin (Snow White and the Huntsman), Eddie Redmayne (My Week With Marilyn) and Boyd Holbrook (Milk). If it was up to me I would be snapping up Sam Claflin to play the past as soon as I could. Claflin is a British actor that I have seen a lot of (Pillars of the Earth, United, Snow White and the Huntsman) and has also landed himself roles in other big blockbusters such as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It is clear he is going to have a great career and I really would love to see him emulate James Franco in this role.

Claflin gets the thumbs up from me to play Harry Osborn.

Scoot McNairy is getting around a lot in Hollywood at the minute. As soon as I first saw him in Monsters I was a fan, he is a very good actor and deserves all the success that comes his way. This year he has starred in Killing Them Softly with Brad Pitt and Argo with Ben Affleck. This week, McNairy has been cast in two more films. These are The Rover, an “existential western” set in the “near future” starring Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce; the other is Frank alongside Michael Fassbender. Scoot McNairy is fast becoming one of my favourite actors! (expect a blog all about him in the next week or so).

Finally, Pinocchio. The classic tale of a carpenter who makes a puppet that turns into a real boy. The story has been done several times, most famously by Disney and probably most recently on television show Once Upon A Time. For months and months this project has been in the works with two names attached to team up to make it happen and they are, arguably, ideal for the job. the two in question are director Tim Burton and (no, not Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter) the brilliant Robert Downey Jr, who would play Geppetto! The film has been on and off more than Ross and Rachel in Friends (can you believe its 10 years since that finished? I can’t!) but now a writer has been hired to produce a script. And that writer is Jane Goldman, the woman behind such hits as Stardust, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class and The Woman in Black. Good times!

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.