Tag Archive: television


How many films can you really have about criminals racing cars? Obviously Dreamworks felt like seven (and the inevitable eighth, ninth and probably tenth) Fast & Furious films just weren’t enough to satisfy the public – the majority of whom complain about the great success that recent installments of Fast & Furious have had. Therefore, they have decided to take on the established franchise with their own, born from video game (always a recipe for success *rolls eyes*) effort. There is one major difference though: the tone.

 

 

From that short trailer you can already see a difference between Need for Speed and the films of Fast & Furious. While Fast & Furious has always tried to beat home serious themes of family it has always been hid behind a slightly tongue in cheek atmosphere, never more so than in Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6. However, with Aaron Paul giving a voice over and laying out the films premise it seems that there isn’t going to be much room for jokes in Need for Speed and seems to be more about a rivalry while giving the police and the crime section more serious undertones.

Aaron Paul’s casting also suggests a difference. Fast Five is probably the best film of the series so far but look at the cast; how many of those actors would look out of place in anything that wasn’t Fast & Furious? Can you really imagine Ludacris, Sung Kang or Gal Gadot in anything serious or better than the Fast & Furious franchise? No, of course not. But here Aaron Paul is one of the hottest names in television thanks to Breaking Bad and is one of the best up and coming actors around Hollywood at the minute. He has more drama in his little finger than the entire cast of the first Fast & Furious film. He’s paired up with Dominic Cooper (and anyone who has read my blog before knows how much I like him) and Imogen Poots, as well as Hollywood heavyweight and former Dark Knight, Michael Keaton.

 

But then there’s the almighty downfall of Need for Speed and why it probably won’t do well. Here’s the premise from IMDB for Need for Speed: Fresh from prison, a street racer who was framed by a wealthy business associate joins a cross country race with revenge in mind. His ex-partner, learning of the plan, places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins. This sounds a lot like an early Fast & Furious film, in particular it reminds me of 2 Fast 2 Furious. Since Fast & Furious gave itself a kick start with number four it became a lot more successful with audiences and critics alike and what was different in Fast & Furious (unfortunately the name of the fourth film as well as the franchise) to its predecessors? It was no longer really about the racing. Street racing or racing on the whole just wasn’t drawing in the audience so it was time to freshen things up in what is probably one of the best decisions in blockbuster history (maybe an overstatement, maybe not. You decide). Bringing standard racing back as the main story just doesn’t sit well with me.

I do hope that Need for Speed is a good film and I hope it brings in an audience (purely for Aaron Paul and Dominic Cooper, not for the prospect of sequels) but I just can’t see it happening.

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Pacific Rim is the upcoming film being directed by Guillermo del Toro and pays homage to the Japanese giant monster films, known around the world as Kaiju. Pacific Rim tells the story of giant creatures rising from somewhere in the depths of the ocean and waging war on mankind; in order to combat the legions of monsters humankind builds robots (Jaegers) just as big to be piloted by humans in an attempt to “stop the apocalypse”. On the verge of defeat mankind must turn to two unlikely heroes – a washed up former pilot and an untrained rookie – to pilot a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past.

The trailer debuted today, here it is:

Now you can’t deny the grand scale of epic-ness contained within those two minutes?!

I first heard about Pacific Rim a couple of months ago and at first I did think that it sounds just like your typical disaster-turned-action-movie but then my mind was soon put to ease. Guillermo del Toro is a director that doesn’t do things by half; he is one hell of a credible name in the world of movies and has previously brought us the critically acclaimed Hellboy and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army as well as the incredible Pan’s Labyrinth. All of these three films really show that del Toro can do special effects like no other director out there and that when he uses them he makes sure that everything looks perfect and that they do not distract from the film. The brief glimpses in the trailer of the giant see monsters (which look magnificent) and the Jaegers (equally so) have a real sense of brilliance about them: everything just looks so epic, so huge that watching the trailer on my laptop screen just does not do it justice, it really looks like something made specifically for the big screen!

Now you can tell Pacific Rim is going to be requiring a huge budget so who are the two leads on whom the pressure lies? Well, that would be Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi… you don’t recognise them names? Both of these have been successful in their careers so far yet stayed away from big blockbusters like this. Hunnam has appeared in Green Street, Children of Men and more recently the critically acclaimed television series Sons of Anarchy whilst Kikuchi is wonderful in Babel. They are supported by Ron Perlman (Hellboy obviously), Burn Gorman (my favourite character from Torchwood so nice to see him here), Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses) and arguably the biggest name among the cast these days, but still not a huge name, Idris Elba. These actors may not all be well known but from what I’ve seen of them I do really like them and Idris Elba is fast becoming one of my favourite actors to watch, I have a lot of faith in this cast. The script comes from Travis Beacham who’s last film was Clash of the Titans and yeah, it wasn’t that good but I don’t think the writing was much to blame for that.

Pacific Rim, quite clearly, is going to eclipse any other blockbuster you have seen recently and that is very clear just from the trailer. The vast scale that it is operating on is so huge it completely puts to shame other blockbusters like The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises who have their fight scenes battling to save New York or Gotham City whereas here you’ve got real threat, real awe, real horror and just sheer amazement at what Pacific Rim has achieved. I can’t wait to see an all out battle between the Jaegers and the sea monsters and I do believe this could be one of the greatest blockbusters ever made!

Pacific Rim is set to be released in the UK on the 12th July 2013.

The trend of popular video games being adapted into films for the cinema screen continues with the announcement of casting news in the Need for Speed movie. As you can probably guess from the title Need for Speed are racing games and so you would expect that the films would just be the same as the Fast & Furious franchise and, even though they are great fun films, you don’t want to flood the market with the same material from two different franchises. However, the casting of the lead character has been announced and it is one of the best actors on television: Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad). Aaron Paul is clearly a better actor than the likes of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and, as much as it pains me to say it, Dwayne Johnson so perhaps Need for Speed will be taking a more dramatic route? I doubt it.

Marvel have been busy this week with announcing a release date for Ant-Man and another one of their projects has been surrounded by casting rumours this week. Captain America: The Winter Soldier has been described as a ‘political thriller’ and will see (judging by the Winter Soldier character in the comics) the return of Cap’s World War 2 comrade Bucky. But casting in two other roles is under way with Mary Elizabeth Winstead being touted for a role likely to be Sharon Carter. And a strong, franchise hopping male character is also under consideration with LOST star (and one of the best characters) Josh Holloway one of the front runners for the role.

There are a lot of pointless sequels being made at the minute and one of those is Woman in Black: Angel of Death. The sequel to the post-Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe film will not star The Boy Who Lived but will take place several years after the original story. Anyway, Angel of Death now has a director attached and that man in question is Tom Harper. Harper’s television work will be more known that his film work so far having directed episodes of This Is England ’86 as well as the first series of Misfits.

And finally… Janis Joplin is often remembered as one of the greatest musicians of all time. And with biopics of stars from years gone by, especially musicians (Nowhere Boy, Walk The Line) having gone down very well previously it should come as no surprise that a Janis Joplin movie is in the works. Amy Adams is attached to star and Oscar nominated Lee Daniels is in talks to direct; Daniels is best known for critical winner Precious as well as his latest film The Paperboy starring Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron.

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!

A VERY happy Mr. James Marsden

James Marsden is a recognisable face in the world of movies. Marsden has been in some very popular films of a couple of genres so it strikes me that he is not more famous than he is, but there is a very good reason (or very bad, depending on how you look at it) as to why his career hasn’t quite reached the heights that I thought it would earlier in his career. This reason is the cause of the title for this post and all will become clear in a few minutes.

James Paul Marsden began acting in the 1990s and his career began like so many others, with bit part appearances here and there in a number of, what can only be deemed unsuccessful, television shows. Luckily, in 1996 Marsden landing a lead role in family drama TV series Second Noah and this ran for two seasons, with a further three final episodes being commissioned after fan campaigns. After the shows cancellation Marsden moved into films; after a couple of made for television movies he appeared in Disturbing Behaviour alongside Katie Holmes (the film didn’t do very well) and then Gossip which only made half of its budget back and again failed. After this start it’s a wonder Marsden made it as big as he has done, but he could have been bigger. Here’s what happened…

In the year 2000, after the success of Blade, a movie was being made out of another popular Marvel property. It was of course, the best superhero team of all time, the X-Men. And James Marsden was cast in the role of Scott Summers, or as he is more popularly known Cyclops. This SHOULD have propelled James Marsden into a huge Hollywood star, should being the most important word here. Anyone who knows anything about the X-Men knows that Cyclops is the rightful leader of the X-Men. However, this was a characteristic drastically overlooked during the X-Men films (although this was the only real complaint I have about the first two films, the third is a different kettle of fish altogether). So really, Cyclops and James Marsden should have taken centre stage in one of the most successful trilogies of all time and would have rightfully become a household name; the unfortunate truth is that unless you take a real interest in the X-Men films or make a habit of watching romantic comedies, you probably won’t know who he is. Why? Simple.

Wolverine. The popularity of Wolverine among comic book fans is very rarely matched by another character and it is for this reason that in all three of the X-Men films featuring James Marsden Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine took centre stage. This forced the character of Cyclops into the background and he became a bit of an unimportant character, seemingly his only function was to marginally get in the way of Wolverine and Jean Grey’s romance and he didn’t even do that well. You can’t blame James Marsden for taking the part as leader of the X-Men but surely he would have hoped for a more heroic role in the films before tragically being sort of (I still don’t believe he actually died) killed off in X-Men: The Last Stand.

The reason for Cyclops disappearing in X-Men: The Last Stand was because James Marsden had taken a part in Superman Returns, another film in which he had a relatively small and unimportant part, there again to have his on screen ruined by the main hero of the piece (he does get a bit of bad luck this James Marsden chap) and of course Superman Returns disappeared into comic book movie obscurity rather unsurprisingly as it was very dull. But aside from comic book movies James Marsden has mainly stuck to romantic movies. He had a role in arguably one of the most popular films of all time – The Notebook. He has also starred in romantic comedies such as 27 Dresses and Sex Drive; the musical Hairspray; the fantasy half animated-half live action Enchanted and a film some critics called the worst of all time The Box.

This year, Marsden made a successful move back to television with a role in comedy 30 Rock although his time on television this time looks set to be short lived with 2013 having quite a few films slated for release with James Marsden attached. There’s dramedy As Cool As I Am, thriller The Loft, Enchanted 2 is in the pipeline to be made in the next couple of years. Perhaps the most exciting movie James Marsden is attached to at the minute though is something I am very much looking forward to and is a shoe-in for a few Oscar nominations when it is released. This is The Butler about the life of Cecil Gaines who served as White House butler to eight American presidents over three decades. The cast is full of real Hollywood stars and emerging talent: James Marsden, Forest Whitaker, Alan Rickman, Robyn Williams, Alex Pettyfer, Melissa Leo, Minka Kelly, John Cusack,  Jane Fonda, Terrence Howard, Liev Schreiber and Lenny Kravitz. James Marsden will be playing the great John F. Kennedy himself.

With The Butler, James Marsden has the chance to get the recognition he deserves and reach the heights of fame that he should have done a decade or so ago. If the films had been more true to the comic books with the X-Men then James Marsden would already have achieved so much more than he has. Of course, this isn’t to say that his career has been a washout because he has still had it pretty good; but if X-Men didn’t focus so much on Wolverine it could have all been so different for James Marsden. He never looks disappointed though, I’ve never seen a picture of him without a smile on his face!

James Marsden on set as John F. Kennedy – he’s either blinking or sneakily checking out Minka Kelly… you decide.

There are no awards for guessing that Warner Bros. and comic book company DC Comics are desperate to get their superhero team The Justice League to the big screen. After the phenomenal success of Marvel’s The Avengers, DC seem to be desperate to compete with them on the big screen which recently, they haven’t been able to do: Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy is really the only good effort from DC recently with Superman Returns and The Green Lantern paling in comparison to Iron Man and Thor. Now Warner Bros. are pushing on with the Justice League project with directors being lined up (Ben Affleck has been reported to have been approached & turned it down) but this could lead to a huge failure rather than success.

The most obvious problem to me is the Batman problem. Before The Dark Knight Rises was even released there was talk of Warner Bros. planning to reboot the caped crusader as soon as just two or three years down the line. After the huge acclaim that Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises received it seems a ridiculous idea to want to reboot the character of Batman immediately, with fans not even having time to let the old Batman go first (although this didn’t seem to be too much of a problem for The Amazing Spider-Man, another Marvel success). With Batman being a founding member of the Justice League a movie version would seem to be lacking something without him.

Next up, there is Wonder Woman. The Avengers sole representative of the female genre came in the form of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and she was a very popular character in the third highest grossing movie of all time. This was no doubt down to the fact that she is largely a supporting character and at the helm of The Avengers was Joss Whedon, a man famed for his strong female characters. Wonder Woman is very different to Black Widow; Wonder Woman was the first female superhero and is a real staple in comic book history. She is the epitome of female superheroes and needs to be treated as such. Wonder Woman fans won’t want to see their favourite woman as a background character in someone else’s movie, they want to see her on par with the likes of Batman and Superman. Why is this a problem? Well, how well did Elektra and Catwoman do in their individual movies? And what happened to the new Wonder Woman television show? That’s right, cancelled after just a pilot. Not promising at all.

The new Superman film Man of Steel comes out later this year and, so far, it is unclear whether this will hint at a future Justice League movie. If it doesn’t then surely we will have to endure yet ANOTHER Superman reboot which would be horrible for film fans (and me especially as I already think Superman is a pretty boring character). It would also be pretty disappointing if it did because DC’s most recent non-Batman film was of course the largely disappointing Green Lantern. Green Lantern didn’t hint at a Justice League film either and you’ve got to really hope they’re not going to rehash it again just to get a Justice League movie out. Also, there is a very vast difference between The Green Lantern and (what we expect from) Man of Steel in terms of how real and grounded in reality each film is.

The wonderful thing about Marvel is that they had The Avengers planned for years, it was a long time in planning. The Avengers was a five year project that began back in 2008 and even before that when the film was in production. Whilst each film was coming out, though, we could tell that each film was happening in the same universe and little hints were laid (Cap’s shield in Iron Man 2, Tony Stark turning up in The Incredible Hulk, Agent Coulson’s constant appearances) to remind us what each film was leading up to. With each main character introduced in their own solo film we were given the chance to get to know each character by themselves then watch them change, grow and adapt as part of a team in The Avengers. It was a wonderful journey and an incredible moment in cinema history that showed just what could be accomplished with the right planning.

The Justice League so far has not laid any trails for fans to latch on to. I highly doubt there will be a moment in Man of Steel where Superman suddenly refers to The Green Lantern or anything like that. Warner Bros. really needs to take their time and make sure that they get individual films for Wonder Woman, Flash and, a little more difficult, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter. Warner Bros. are going to need someone special at the helm just as Marvel had Joss Whedon and a bad sign already is that Christopher Nolan has said he will not be involved.

As fans of movies, comic books and superheroes we can only hope that Warner Bros. and DC just take their time, rather than trying to rush a cut and paste job onto the big screen in reply to Marvel.

Obviously the big news of the week is the tragic death of film director Tony Scott who directed such hits as Top Gun, Man on Fire and The Taking of Pelham 123. I wrote about this the other day and said what a loss I thought he was to the world of cinema and in particular action films. There have been conflicting reports about the health of Scott since his death but all we know for certain is that it is a very sad time for his friends and family and wish them all the best.

Last week I wrote how Donald Faison was approached for a part in Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall as Dr. Gravity and now it seems as though the sequel to 2010’s hit film is moving on full steam ahead with their casting as there have been two very prominent rumours this week. Lindy Booth (Dawn of the Dead, Cry Wolf) is in talks to play another member of Kick-Ass’ superhero team Justice Forever – Night Bitch. The biggest rumour though is who is line to play The Colonel (or Colonel Stars in the comic book) and that is Jim Carrey! Carrey may seem like too much of a big name for a supporting role next to Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz but in recent years Carrey’s career has been stalling and faltering all over the place and this could be the big reboot that his career needs.

The Dark Tower is a series of books written by the world’s most famous author Stephen King. For a while now Ron Howard has been trying to push through a very ambitious and epic television and film collaboration to produce the books. This would mean that in between the films being released there would be a television series to sort of bridge the gap and provide fans with more of a knowledge of the story so you can see the difficulty of getting this done. And it seems as though big studios are shying away from pushing the project through. Universal Pictures has already turned it down and now so have Warner Bros. who were seen as the best studio to do this. With Russell Crowe attached to star it should have studios begging to produce it but the risk seems to outweigh the ambition at the minute. Media Rights Captial (who produced Ted) are now in serious discussions to produce The Dark Tower so maybe it could finally get to the big screen one day. I have only read the first book, The Gunslinger, but I did find it very very interesting and very different. I would love to see this project being greenlit and moving forward.

DreamWorks animation’s contract with Paramount is coming to an end at the turn of the year and is not being renewed. This would mean that DreamWorks have nobody to distribute their films, however they have now agreed a five year run with 20th Century Fox which will see them through until the end of 2017. The reason behind the contract at Paramount not being renewed is thus: Paramount are putting some serious effort into building up their own studio, possibly to rival that of DreamWorks (I imagine it will still be some way behind Pixar). You can see why Paramount would do this, last year they won the Best Animated Film Oscar for their Rango and that clearly has sparked an idea within Paramount to produce more animated features. As owners of Nickelodeon they already have plenty of animated characters to work with. I see the animation scope of films largely dominated by Pixar and DreamWorks (even though other studios do animated films) and I think Paramount will have a long road ahead of them to catch up with those two.

For years and years Danny Boyle has been my favourite director. With so many great and bigger names in the directing world at the minute (Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder, Martin Scorsese etc. etc…) Boyle does seem to fly under the radar because of his low profile and because of the fact that, despite being critically acclaimed and having won numerous awards, he continues to work and remain in his homeland of British film. For the past few months Boyle has been kept busy with his latest project; this time it is not a film though. In just under two weeks the whole world will be watching as the Olympic games kick off in London and the opening ceremony has been put together and directed by Danny Boyle himself, no pressure. It’s been a long but very worthwhile journey for the lad from Lancashire.

Before getting into the film world Boyle began directing theatre projects; he directed plays for both the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company so right from the very beginning he was clearly ready to take on big projects. After that Boyle got into television and directed a few episodes of various television series such as Inspector Morse and Mr. Wroe’s Virgins. Then he finally got his big break in the world of movies with Shallow Grave, a crime thriller starring Christopher Eccleston and Ewan McGregor.

In 1996 Danny Boyle was responsible for directing one of the greatest films ever without a shadow of a doubt; Trainspotting. Again he teamed up with Ewan McGregor who this time took on the lead role and helped to make Trainspotting what it is, often voted the best British film of all time. Trainspotting received one Oscar nomination for it’s scriptwriting and Boyle was unjustly left out of the Best Director nominations. It was always going to be difficult to carry on the wave of success that Trainspotting brought him and his next couple of films were pretty far from that standard; first was A Life Less Ordinary (again starring Ewan McGregor) and The Beach. Originally Ewan McGregor was cast in the lead role for The Beach but rumour has it that Hollywood executives wanted to push through Leonardo DiCaprio as he was the current Hollywood pretty boy and hot property so DiCaprio got the role and, to this day, Ewan McGregor still hasn’t worked with Boyle since that dispute.

Anyway, Boyle returned to his best with horror film 28 Days Later… and followed that up with Millions. Since these two projects Boyle has continued to direct to the very highest standard. It took three years after Millions for another Danny Boyle film to be released but it was well worth the wait. Sunshine is a sci-fi film about a team of astronauts who are trying to reignite a dying sun to save the planet and it is absolutely brilliant! It was also named as one of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite films of recent years, pretty high praise indeed!

In 2009 Danny Boyle finally won an Oscar for his direction on Slumdog Millionaire which pretty much cleaned up at the 2009 Oscars; as well as Boyle’s directing Oscar it also won for it’s cinematography, film editing, original score, original song, sound mixing, adapted screenplay and it won the big one, Best Motion Picture of the Year. This time round as well, Boyle was able to follow the success of Slumdog Millionaire with another one of my favourite films, 127 Hours which got nominated for six Oscars (including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film).

After the Olympics Boyle will return to the big screen with Trance, a crime thriller starring James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson. He is also working on a follow up to 28 Weeks Later… which he has stated that it should be called 28 Months Later… in theory. Boyle has also expressed in interviews his desire to work with Ewan McGregor again on his next feature film. I hope that he does but I really hope that he continues to make prominent British films and remains to make them of the highest quality!

Disney is undoubtedly one of the biggest companies in the world, period. It is a huge mass media corporation and runs its own movie business, television channel,  huge advertising and publicity department, theme parks and as if that isn’t enough Disney also own Pixar and now Marvel. They are a huge powerhouse of a company and with the majority of their products aimed at children it is no surprise that children of today are influenced by Disney; in particular the Disney princesses that little girls know and love are what girls aspire to be these days and because of this, a lot of criticism has been levelled at Disney and their representation of women in their children’s films, so what is all the fuss about?

Let’s start with Snow White and the first ever full length animated feature film and one of Disney’s most successful films still today. The problem with Snow White is simple, she is a stereotypical woman waiting for a man to come and save her (this will become a familiar theme as I talk about more of Disney’s princesses); when she finds a little house in the woods that is empty what is her first instinct? To clean it. Snow White is a pretty woman relegated to the role of home maker who must carry out all housework for the seven dwarves in return for them letting her live there. And when she is rescued by the prince at the end of the film she instantly falls in love and rides off with him into the sunset, no doubt to clean and cook for him in future.

Ariel in The Little Mermaid is a bit rebellious of her father to begin with and her red hair symbolises that, maybe she is a good role model for young girls, sticking up for herself, showing how strong willed she is. But why does she want to rebel? To go on land and marry a handsome prince because that is the focus of all her life ambitions, oh Disney you surprised me there. Ariel, despite being a teenager, goes through pretty much the whole of the film half naked and must give up something she treasures (her voice) in order to find true love and of course, without her voice she must use her body and her womanly figure to win the man over. Disney promoting a strong campaign of ‘women should be seen and not heard’ right there. And when she finally gets her prince and he voice back, Ariel stays on land and leaves her family and friends of the sea behind because she has found romance. That’s pretty bad, isn’t it?

Disney tried to buck the trend of negative female role models, after so much criticism of The Little Mermaid, with Belle in Beauty and the Beast and said that Belle would be a more active woman and even a feminist. What actually changed? She enjoyed reading, that was all. The moral of the story is that you shouldn’t judge someone’s personality because of their appearance; Beast is a beast of a man but inside he is soft natured. Yet Belle just happens to be the most beautiful girl in town so it is her that must get the chance with the prince and must change him. It has been claimed (almost out of hope than anything else) that Beauty and the Beast promotes a message of ‘if you get beaten by your man, it is your fault for not changing him’, although I feel that this may be stretching it a little bit.

These are only a few examples of why the Disney princesses are seen as bad role models and I am not, for one second, saying that I agree with all of the points raised above but it does consider thinking about. Pretty much all of Disney’s heroines are in search of true romance and only that will make them happy and this idea that you NEED to have a man and a happy marriage to feel fulfilled is absolute rubbish of the highest calibre. I am not saying that these are bad films because I think that some of Disney’s Princess based films are very good, Beauty and the Beast in my opinion is almost as close to perfect as a film can get, but these princesses are not exactly the sort of role models that we need.

He's so happy!

There are some actors who work incredibly hard but never reap the rewards that Brad Pitt or George Clooney do; there are some actors who appear in a lot of films but not many people would know who they were. If you enjoy films, especially those directed by Guy Ritchie or Matthew Vaughn, then you will know the face of Jason Flemyng.

Flemyng boasts a wide variety of films in his back catalogue: gangster flicks, comic book movies, big budget blockbusters, small budget indies but interestingly, Flemyng continues to return to his television roots despite, by many people’s opinion, making it as a film star.

Lock, Stock: Flemyng's big break.

In 1994, Flemyng made his first film appearance after dropping in on a number of television series. This film was a version of The Jungle Book, but it was four years later that he got his big break in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, directed by Guy Ritchie and produced by Matthew Vaughn. Ritchie then went on to direct Flemyng again in Snatch.

In the early 2000s Flemyng made a transition to big budget Hollywood films. The two notable films of this time are From Hell, alongside Johnny Depp, and unfortunately the heavily criticised League of Extraordinary Gentlemen where he starred with Sean Connery.

The fun that Jason Flemyng had with Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels‘ co-star Jason Statham led to Flemyng being cast in action sequel Transporter 2. The relationships that Flemyng has forged in the movie industry are clearly important to him as he continued to work with Ritchie, Statham and Vaughn on more than one occasion.

Helping to reboot the X-men franchise

Matthew Vaughn has described Flemyng as his ‘lucky charm’ and this is why Flemyng features in most of Vaughn’s films, whether Vaughn is producing or directing. The partnership formed on Lock Stock has seen Flemyng given roles, however big or small, in Snatch, Mean Machine, Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass and a brilliant role in X-men: First Class as teleporting mutant Azazel. This is a role Flemyng will more than likely return for, especially as Vaughn is once again signed on to direct.

Jason Flemyng’s work has not gone ignored by others in the industry and he has appeared in several other films such as Soloman Kane, Clash of the Titans, Ironclad, the critically acclaimed The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and even an uncredited appearance in The Social Network.

With such a wide range of films to his name it is almost impossible to avoid Flemyng’s work. He is a really really good British star who doesn’t get half the recognition that he deserves. No matter what role he plays, big or small, Jason Flemyng gives it his all.