Tag Archive: steven spielberg


I’m pleased to see Affleck getting the recognition he deserves as a director.

The Golden Globes took place last night and Argo was the hit of the night winning Best Drama and won Ben Affleck Best Director. This would suggest that Argo is now the favourite to pick up the Best Picture Oscar (it was already many people’s favourites and this will just strengthen arguments) but will that be the case?

Argo will face tough competition at the 85th Academy Awards from Les Miserables in particular which picked up the Best Musical or Comedy Golden Globe last night. I’m not sure why the Golden Globes feels the need to separate films into drama and musical/comedy but that’s what they do and they infer that Argo will be going head to head with Les Miserables. The cynic in me still thinks that something like Lincoln or Zero Dark Thirty will get the win thanks to their very strong pro-American vibes. Last year, The Descendants and The Artist were the winners of Best Motion Picture Golden Globes and The Artist went on to stuff its face with more and more awards in the following weeks, I can’t see the same happening for Argo to the same extent but I wouldn’t say an Oscar is beyond doubt.

However, Ben Affleck is not even nominated for Best Director at the Oscars! I think the Best Director Oscar is well up for grabs and any of the five nominees (Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Michael Haneke, David O. Russell, Benh Zeitlin) could easily win it. But surely it says something that the winner of the Golden Globe for direction is not even nominated for the Academy Award? Personally, I though Affleck’s direction was one of the best features of Argo!

Lawrence is one of the youngest actresses to be nominated for an Academy Award and the Golden Globes suggest this could be her year.

The Best Actor Oscar looks set to be between Hugh Jackman and Daniel Day-Lewis and these are the two people I would have been backing before last night. I do hope that Daniel Day-Lewis wins the Oscar as he is clearly one of the best actors that his generation has seen, and I would go so far as to say he will go down as one of the greatest of all time. Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain will compete for the Best Actress award and Lawrence is nailed on favourite so it’s hard to look past her for this one.

The rest of the Golden Globes correctly predict the winners for me: Christopher Waltz for Best Supporting Actor, Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress, Adele to win for Best Original Song for Skyfall and Quentin Tarantino to win Best Screenplay.

In terms of the acting awards last year the Golden Globes were a certain prediction of the Oscar Awards but only time will tell if this year will follow suit.

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January sees the big Oscar contenders come to the UK. Many of these films have already been released over in the states to critical acclaim as you might expect.

 

The Impossible – 1st January

Based solely on the trailer, The Impossible is THE film to see this January. It is the first film to be released that uses the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami at the heart of it’s story, telling the tale of one family caught up with thousands of strangers in a horrible natural disaster. Featuring the brilliant Ewan McGregor and the incredible Naomi Watts.

 

Gangster Squad – 10th January

Finally, the all-star long awaited gangster flick will be arriving on UK screens. Delayed after the tragic shootings in Aurora, Gangster Squad is a film that many people have been looking forward to seeing and now you get your chance. Featuring a cast of Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone among others.

 

Les Miserables – 11th January

A new interpretation of the hit musical comes to the screen this year and if you’ve managed to avoid the adverts featuring Anne Hathaway singing then well done. I think Les Mis is bound to do well thanks to all it’s Oscar buzz and having already been nominated for 4 Golden Globes but it’s not that high on my list thanks to all of it’s competition.

 

Django Unchained – 18th January

And if Les Miserables thinks having 4 Golden Globe nominations is something to shout about then step aside for Django Unchained‘s 5. This is Quentin Tarantino’s first attempt at a full on Western and it certainly will not disappoint! It has been nominated for Best Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz both have nominations for Best Supporting Actor; Oscars are sure to follow.

 

Lincoln – 25th January

Now cynics may think that Lincoln has been made with the intention of winning awards rather than pleasing audiences… that is what I believe as well. This looks like Oscar-baiting in all it’s glory: a film about one of America’s most celebrated Presidents telling the story of a pivotal time in America history. If this isn’t Steven Spielberg shouting “GIVE ME OSCARS” I don’t know what is. It seems to be working though.

 

Zero Dark Thirty – 25th January

Back in 2010, The Hurt Locker surprised everyone to become one of the lowest grossing winners of the Best Picture Oscar ever. Zero Dark Thirty is director Kathryn Bigelow’s follow up film and tackles the events of the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden and his following death. I don’t think this one will do as well as The Hurt Locker but it should make for some interesting viewing at least.

He’s just a guy that I really want to hang out with.

Since it’s his birthday today (14/10/2012) this is the perfect opportunity for me to write about one of my favourite British actors, or actors in general, at the minute – Ben Whishaw. Now, I’ll openly admit I haven’t seen everything he has been in but once you see him for the first time in a main role, you will not forget him. Even if on screen for just a few minutes he brings great charisma, energy and unforgettable character to his roles and, being in quite a few big films this year, it becomes clear almost instantly that Whishaw is a master of the craft of acting.

At 32 years old, Whishaw has been acting now for 13 years. His career began all the way back in the twentieth century in 1999 and although he appeared in a few films and television series’ it would not be until 2011 that Ben Whishaw would finally get the recognition and attention that he so richly deserves. Whishaw has been quoted previously saying about his personal life “as an actor you have total rights to privacy and mystery, whatever your sexuality, whatever you do. I don’t see why that has to be something you discuss openly because you do something in the public eye. I have no understanding of why we turn actors into celebrities” perhaps showing a desire to stay out of the public eye and just to enjoy his work and let others enjoy his performances too without focussing too much on him as a person.

Ben Whishaw and Daniel Craig together for the first (but not the last) time on film.

As well as appearing on stage Whishaw first got recognition from the film world in 2001 when he was names Most Promising Newcomer at the British Independent Film Awards for his part in My Brother Tom. This led to appearances in Enduring Love, Layer Cake (where he would appear with Daniel Craig for the first time) and Stoned, a biopic about Brian Jones in which Ben Whishaw played Keith Richards. He then moved to television to appear in short lived Channel 4 comedy Nathan Barley. At the time I can remember watching this and thinking that it was indeed very funny, although upon a recent return to the series I think I over rated it quite a lot back then.

After this Whishaw appeared in Perfume playing a perfume make whose craft turns deadly and I’m Not There in which he is one of several people to portray Bob Dylan. After a BBC television series (Criminal Justice) and a couple more feature films: Brideshead Revisited, The International and The Tempest Ben Whishaw appeared in the role that would help get him into Hollywood. The role in question is that of Freddie Lyon in The Hour, a sort of British answer to Mad Men which I enjoyed greatly! Whishaw was absolutely brilliant in his role and this is where I first became the big fan of his that I am right now. After this Ben Whishaw played King Richard in the BBC adaptation of Richard II which thanks to his back catalogue of performing Shakespeare in the theatre Whishaw was perfect for.

My favourite Ben Whishaw role so far – The Hour.

And that brings us right up to speed with Ben Whishaw’s projects this year. The Americans get to see him this month in Cloud Atlas but we Brits have to wait until next February for our chance, but Cloud Atlas is a huge undertaking and has already done well critically in early screenings. Then we finally get to see Whishaw as a young Q in Bond flick Skyfall, which will see him reunite with Daniel Craig eight years after both appearing in Layer Cake. From what I have seen of Whishaw already he seems like he will make the ideal Q. And on top of that (as if that’s not enough) Whishaw is rumoured to be in the running for a role in Robopocalypse which, if you read my blog regularly, you will know is Steven Spielberg’s upcoming blockbuster.

One thing is certain: Ben Whishaw is a very talented young man. Whether he continues to ply his trade in theatre, television or film he will surely be enduring great success. I predict that if he continues to work in films he will one day be on the receiving end of an Oscar nomination, if not being a winner.

Hopefully we’ll see Whishaw in plenty more Bond films after Skyfall!

Back in 2009 unless you were a die hard Home And Away fan it’s very unlikely that you would have had any idea who this Chris Hemsworth guy was. But now, it seems like every big film that gets announced Hemsworth is linked with the role and more than likely getting it as well.

Chris Hemsworth has undoubtedly been the break out star from all of Marvel’s success. Obviously, Hemsworth is best known as Thor to mainstream cinema goers; first of all picking up the hammer in his individual solo outing alongside the likes of seasoned pros Natalie Portman and Sir Anthony Hopkins, he then appeared in the third highest grossing film of all time, Marvel’s The Avengers, or Avengers Assemble if you like. And of course, it goes without saying that once again Hemsworth will be donning the cape and armour for 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, and who’s to say we won’t be seeing him in Captain America: Winter Soldier as well? It’s a role that Hemsworth has played almost perfectly so far and as he is only 29 at the minute he could have a lot more outings as Thor left in him.

As well as the continued affiliation with Marvel Chris Hemsworth also had a small stint in Star Trek where it is unlikely he will return considering he died in the first fifteen minutes, he featured in the critically acclaimed genre defying project Cabin in the Woods and then took on the mentor/protector role of Huntsman in the re-imagined telling of Snow White, Snow White and the Huntsman. With Kristen Stewart (Snow White) seemingly dropped from the sequel to the fantasy fairy tale the sequel is rumoured to focus on Hemsworth’s character, putting him at the helm of another franchise.

Along with the franchises Chris Hemsworth has managed to not get stuck in one role as he varies his projects with various stand alone movies. He stars as the main character in the remake of 1980s film Red Dawn alongside Josh Hutcherson (another rising star) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Then there is also Rush, the biographical drama of Formula 1 driver James Hunt where again Hemsworth is leading man. Then there’s one of the most anticipated and sought after movies in Hollywood today: Steven Spielberg’s Robopocalypse, a sci-fi story set in the aftermath of a robot uprising. This is already being anticipated as a huge hit and with Chris Hemsworth in the staring role it is hard to estimate just how high the success will be that Robopocalypse reaches.

So that’s Robopocalypse, The Huntsman franchise, Marvel’s continually expanding universe with Thor making Hemsworth’s schedule more than just a little busy so you could forgive him for slowing down a little bit, yet that does not seem to be his plan. Word has it that Hemsworth has an offer to play Mitch Rapp in American Assassin, an adaptation of Vince Flynn’s novel. Rapp is a recurring character in Flynn’s work so it seems as though another franchise beckons for this already huge star.

Soon enough, Chris Hemsworth will be one of the biggest stars on the planet, it’s just a matter of time.

There hasn’t really been much news this week that has really grabbed my attention other than these three stories so this shouldn’t take long.
Steven Spielberg’s Robopocalypse is one of the most highly anticipated movies in production right now and the film takes place sometime in the future after the robot uprising.

Earlier this year Chris Hemsworth was reported to have landed the lead role (although some people say that is still being negotiated) but now there have been more rumours about the casting. Anne Hathaway is reportedly in talks to land the female lead which, I think, would be a bad call for this because she doesn’t have a reputation in big blockbusters (The Dark Knight Rises being her only one) and she isn’t actually that good an actress in my opinion; I just don’t see the hype. However, the other casting rumour involves British actor Ben Whishaw who I have no doubt will be a huge star in the next ten years. He has wonderful acting ability and a great sense of likeability surrounding him: he will be in Cloud Atlas and Skyfall later this year. Robopocalypse is due for a 2014 release.

Whishaw is ‘Q’ in the latest Bond outing.

Last month I wrote a blog about my dream cast for a female version of The Expendables. In that cast list I placed Gina Carano, who had her first acting role at the very beginning of this year in Haywire, and now it seems that she is the first name to sign on the dotted line and join the movie. A great choice. Carano will next be seen in the next Fast & Furious instalment alongside action heavyweights Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson.

And finally another casting choice that I can smile about. Casey Affleck has taken a part in Race to the South Pole. The film will chronicle the real life journey of two men in the early 1900s, the British Robert Falcon Scott (Affleck’s character) and Norwegian Roald Amundsen (yet to be cast), and their race to be the first man to reach the South Pole which is the last uncharted territory on the planet at the time. What’s more is that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (that old friendship) will be partnering up to produce the film based on Peter Glanz’s script. It will be Glanz’s second feature film after The Longest Week but Casey Affleck does choose his films carefully so all signs are pointing in the right direction on this journey.

UK Release Date: 25th January 2013.

Stars: Steven Spielberg (director), Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jackie Earle Haley, Jared Harris, Sally Field, Michael Stuhlbarg.

Plot: As the Civil War nears its end, President Abraham Lincoln clashes with members of his cabinet over the issue of abolishing slavery.

I have found a few trailers recently that have revived my hope in the comedy genre, which is one that I have considered very much a graveyard for the last couple of years, but here is something on the very opposite end of the scale; a hard hitting political drama based on former American president Abraham Lincoln.

I don’t think that there is a more exciting movie for the Oscar judges and Lincoln was clearly made for them. It is a biographical film about an American legend, a story about a pivotal moment in American history, directed by Steven Spielberg featuring an all star cast, of which a few have been nominated and won Oscars before and the make-up and costumes look great; Daniel Day-Lewis looks a dead ringer for Lincoln. Personally, depending on his screen time I’m hoping Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets an Oscar nod for his performance.

Like I said, Lincoln is very much a film for the Oscars and I’m not sure how it will do with the general audience but I have no doubts it will receive critical praise all over the world, especially in America and the United Kingdom. I’m looking forward to it; it has the potential to be the best ensemble acting performance ever.

After the tragic loss of action director Tony Scott a few weeks ago this is another sad week for Hollywood. The incredible Michael Clarke Duncan has sadly passed away just two months after suffering a heart attack that he never really fully recovered from. It’s horrible news especially considering the fact that news reports have emerged that Duncan and his reality television personality girlfriend planned on getting married next year and had talked about having children together. Michael Clarke Duncan is best known for his role in The Green Mile which he was Oscar nominated for but he also starred in Sin City, The Green Lantern and Armageddon.

In other news there is yet another film in pre-production about former American president Abraham Lincoln. This follows the unique take on the 16th president Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and the upcoming Steven Spielberg biopic starring the hyphenated cast of Daniel Day-Lewis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt entitled Lincoln. The title of the new film is The Green Blade Rises and will be directed by Terrence Malick. In the past Malick has taken long gaps between his films but his schedule seems to be pretty busy for the next two or three years. It’ll be interesting to see whether the success of Spielberg’s Lincoln affects this new take positively or negatively, if even at all.

Daniel Day-Lewis as President Lincoln

As many people will know by now The Hobbit has been announced as a trilogy and there has been a release date and title change for the films. The first part, out later this year, will still be named An Unexpected Journey. The second instalment will be titled The Desolation of Smaug to be released around Christmas 2013 whilst the third and final (for now) chapter adopts the name There and Back Again (originally the title for the second film) and will hit summer 2014.

Michael Bay continued to ruin childhoods this past week. He managed to anger Transformers fans when he continued to make each film worse than the previous one and then angered Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans by deciding their new origin would be that they are aliens from another planet. Now the terrible explosion happy director has had to come out and deny that the leaked script for the new TMNT film is actually the final one because everyone who is anyone has been slating it and saying how awful it is. Michael Bay has a lot of work on his hands and is quickly becoming very very unpopular among movie fans and anyone with taste.

I actually enjoyed the most recent CGI outing of TMNT.

Finally, it has been in the pipeline for some time but it has now been announced that Metal Gear Solid, the hugely successful video game, is to be adapted into a film. Avi Arad, who has produced almost every single movie about a Marvel character, will be producing the film. Metal Gear Solid has already been integrated into a hilarious comedy routine by Dara O’Briain but will it be turned into a film just as good? The main problem is who should play main character Snake? Some of the names being touted around fan forums so far include Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Bradley Cooper and Sam Worthington. The favourite and specifically mentioned by the games creator Hideo Kojima seems to be Hugh Jackman. I think Jackman would be a great choice as he can clearly pull off being a bad ass like he has done in the X-Men films playing Wolverine. But if they are to get Jackman they need to start moving forward with the project soon before he gets too old.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Michael Fassbender really that good? Yes.

Amy Adams has just entered into negotiations to star in Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s critically acclaimed novel Dark Places. Adams provides an example of a modern day actress with a fantastic ability for acting as well as looking incredibly beautiful at the same time and has been nominated for three Oscars throughout her career.

Amy Adams got her first film role in comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous and this was the start of what would become a fantastic career. After this Adams spent a couple of years working on television, appearing in episodes of Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville and The West Wing before, in 2002, appearing in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can alongside the brilliant Leonardo DiCaprio. Spielberg even said that Adams’ performance in Catch Me If You Can should have launched her career, yet still it stalled.

It was in 2004 that Amy Adams got her next film role in The Last Run as well as bagging regular roles in television series’ King of the Hill and Dr. Vegas, then her career really gained speed. After The Wedding Date was released Amy Adams starred in indie flick Junebug, a film for which Adams herself received critical acclaim and she was getting the recognition she deserved everywhere, including being nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

Not many comedy actors or actresses get recognised as talented actors as well as people who make us laugh, but this didn’t sway Amy Adams from appearing in more comedies as she attempted to crack mainstream cinema. Adams appeared in Talladega Nights, The Pick of Destiny and The Ex and then, in 2007, she made herself known to a wider audience than ever before. Enchanted, the part animated/part live action modern Disney fairytale, cast Adams in the role of the princess and the film was a huge commercial success and prepared Adams for the success that was to come.

Amy Adams then starred alongside Tom Hanks in Charlie Wilson’s War, Emily Blunt in Sunshine Cleaning as well as making Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, all three of which were well received by audiences. Doubt was released in 2008 and it was this performance that saw Amy Adams nominated for her second Oscar.

Leap Year, Julie & Julia and Night At The Museum 2 followed before Amy Adams put in one of the best performances of her career in The Fighter and was rightly nominated for her third Oscar so far and arguably should have won it but it went to her co-star Melissa Leo. More critical and commercial success followed with Jason Segel’s reboot of The Muppets where she showcased her vocal talents.

With several projects in the pipeline there is no doubt that Amy Adams, one of the most versatile and well respected actresses working today, is set to achieve even more success. This year she will be appearing in the hotly anticipated and long-in-making film On The Road. Trouble With The Curve and The Master follow before what could become the defining and most important role for Adams to date: she is to take on the role of Lois Lane in Zack Snyder’s Superman tale Man of Steel, produced by Christopher Nolan.

Hopefully, Adams will continue to work in films for a long time to come and maybe one day she can win the Oscar that she quite rightly deserves.