Tag Archive: the amazing spider-man


There have been rumblings through the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that there may be a female superhero leading their on film in the near future. Just a couple of weeks ago Katee Sackhoff of Battlestar Galactica fame claimed that her representatives had been meeting with Marvel sparking rumours of a Ms/Captain Marvel casting; now Natalie Portman has come out and claimed that she has heard there is a superheroine film ‘on the way’ (although how much we can trust Natalie Portman with Marvel information seems questionable being as though she made it known she wasn’t too keen on returning for Thor: The Dark World). Also, there seems to be a Peggy Carter television series in the pipeline after the success of short film Agent Carter, while Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy) will be getting a large role in the cinematic universe if they follow her comic book story. Marvel are clearly doing work to balance out the numbers between the male and females on The Avengers team so it seems likely that one of the untitled Marvel films (scheduled for a 2016 and 2017 release) could be lead a female. So who is most likely to fill that spot?

Katee Sackhoff seems like a good choice for the Ms Marvel role.

 

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow

Marvel are taking a huge risk if they go for a female led superhero film after the likes of Elektra and Catwoman went down like a lead balloon with critics and fans alike. And a Wonder Woman pilot as recent as last years got turned down by the studios. What seems like less of a risk is spinning off from the only female member of The Avengers, Black Widow. Scarlett Johansson is a star and has the ability to pull in a male and female audience. Joss Whedon has said that he loves the character of Black Widow and he is known for writing strong female characters. If Black Widow was to receive a solo film then it seems plausible that Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye could also be involved which he would seem to be up for after complaining about the tiny part he played in the first team-up film. A Black Widow film seems like it could work as a sort of female James Bond film which I don’t think anyone would complain about.

 

Carol Danvers/Ms Marvel

This is the big one. Ms Marvel seems to be the only real competition Marvel has to rival DC with Wonder Woman (although it is probably a fair comment that in terms of revolution and iconic standing nobody can rival Wonder Woman) but she is without a doubt one of my favourite characters from the Marvel comics. She would probably need to have her skill set trimmed down a little so she doesn’t seem like she’s all over the place but with super strength, durability and the ability to fly she could more than hold her own among the likes of Captain America and Iron Man. Ms Marvel’s original creation saw her on a quest to find out her identity and a sort of sole-searching hero is always popular with film audiences so it could work a treat if handled correctly.

 

Tandy Bowen and Ty Johnson/Cloak and Dagger

Now this is a bit of a long shot, but if Marvel are worried about a box office bomb with a female led film then why not make her part of a duo. Bringing Cloak and Dagger to the big screen would give Marvel a new female character and a new black character, although if this was the only reason to make this film then they should leave it alone; there is a lot more to these characters that makes their story a compelling one. Tandy and Ty are runaways from two completely different worlds (metaphorical, not literal) but gradually built up one of the best friendships in Marvel’s comic books. They gained their powers from drug trials (later retconned so they were born as mutants but Fox’s X-men rights prevents the word ‘mutant’ being used in the MCU). Cloak and Dagger are, believe it or not, more grounded and ‘realistic’ heroes and it seems like Marvel are going in a different angle with their cosmic phase three.

 

The other competitors…

Marvel have a large affinity of characters, male and female. Spider-Woman has long been a favourite of mine and although there is no connection between her and Peter Parker it seems unlikely that she would get a film while Sony were still making The Amazing Spider-Man. She-Hulk seems a logical choice because of the popularity of Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and an introduction to her in a solo Hulk film would make more sense than giving her a solo film. Making Pepper Potts into Rescue (as seen briefly in Iron Man 3) would be an interesting gamble on keeping the Iron Man franchise continuing, although Don Cheadle’s War Machine would probably get to take on the mantle if that was the case.

All the signs point to Ms Marvel being the best and most obvious choice but since when have Marvel been obvious? The Guardians of the Galaxy announcement certainly came as a shock to everyone.

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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.

The Appeal of Emma Stone

Born Emily Jean Stone the young actress took on the name Emma when registering with the Screen Actors Guild due to there already being an Emily Stone registered. That’s a nice little fact not many people will be too aware of. Anyway, Emma Stone is just one of a new wave of actresses who are currently winning critics over and gaining fans with every performance they put in. In this category I place Stone with the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Williams and Carey Mulligan among others. But there is something different that sets Emma Stone apart from the rest; she has a very distinct and intriguing appeal.

Emma Stone got her first leading role in 2010’s Easy A, a film which focusses on the novel A Scarlet Letter and parallels that with the main character’s life: Olive, played by Emma Stone. I believe that Stone’s performance here is a clear example of just what a wonderful actress she is to watch. Olive is caught up in a web of lies after just trying to shut her friend up by telling her that she has lost her virginity, when in fact she has not. All of this gets out of hand and pretty much ruins Olive’s life. But the way the story is told is from Olive’s first person perspective, already giving us Stone’s narration. As well as this the film uses the narrative device of Stone talking into her webcam (which becomes the screen). This makes Stone’s performance just seem incredibly relaxed and natural and allowing the audience to see her in this way brings us a lot closer to the character and, in effect, Emma Stone herself. Her performance is full of vibrancy and sarcastic humour, outshone only by the frankly quite incredible Stanley Tucci.

Before Stone’s Golden Globe nominated performance in Easy A she was already making a name for herself in the comedy genre. Stone’s first film role was in Superbad, a film that began a new era of comedy films. After Superbad she appeared in a few, shall we say interesting films: The Rocker, The House Bunny and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (but let’s not judge her) before getting back on the right track with Zombieland. Also worth noting, Stone actually auditioned for the role of Claire Bennett in Heroes but obviously lost out to Hayden Panettiere who really impressed casting directors: I would have much preferred to have seen Stone in the role though. But anyway…

Emma Stone’s career has continued to go from strength to strength and she has proven that she is not just a one trick pony, despite being more than comfortable and one of the funniest women in comedy film at the minute. She had supporting roles in Friends With Benefits and Crazy, Stupid, Love (where she would work with Ryan Gosling for the first of quite a few times over the next couple of years) before joining The Help. The Help features an ensemble cast of actresses, not one of whom puts a foot wrong in terms of their performance here. Stone joins the likes of Jessica Chastain (another relatively new actress who is just exceptional at her craft), Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard and Viola Davis. Stone’s performance helped The Help win many nomination and awards for it’s cast’s performances.

With The Amazing Spider-Man, Emma Stone became the latest actress to join the superhero film genre. However, unlike the latest incarnations of Pepper Potts, Lois Lane and Rachel Dawes we have seen, Stone’s Gwen Stacy was not the typical damsel in distress as she could more than hold her own; standing up to Flash, being incredible stubborn in an attempt to save New York that could have seen her killed as well as smacking The Lizard over the head during a fight with Spider-Man. Then Stone joined a much more testosterone fuelled ensemble in Gangster Squad, joining Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Anthony Mackie. She recently lent her voice to the prehistoric animation film from DreamWorks: The Croods.

I think you would have to go a long way to find any young actress working today with the combination of talent and on screen charisma that Emma Stone has. She has a wonderful presence on screen with a beautiful charm about her and her career shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. Next year will see her reprise her role of Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, while Birdman (from the director of 21 Grams and Babel) is in pre-production. She is also signed on to star in Guillermo Del Toro’s exciting Crimson Peak which is snapping up a superb cast in the form of Benedict Cumberbatch and Jessica Chastain.

Hopefully we will get to see Emma Stone taking the lead in more and more films over the next few years but for now I am happy enough seeing her play supporting roles if she continues to be as good as she is right now!

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

Will any of these films feature on the list?

 

January – The Grey

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

 

February – Chronicle

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

March – 21 Jump Street

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

 

April – Avengers Assemble

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

 

May – The Raid: Redemption

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

 

June – Killer Joe

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

 

July – The Dark Knight Rises

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

 

August – Ted

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

 

September – Looper

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

 

October – Skyfall

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

 

November – Argo

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

 

December – Life of Pi

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

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 we discovered that Star Wars was going to return to the cinema screens in 2015 with the help of new owners, Disney. This week there has been speculation as to who will be the director and a couple of cast members stating that they would like to return to the series. Harrison Ford, who famously played the iconic hero Han Solo, has stated that he would love to reprise his roles in the sequel/reboot/continuation. Also said to be considering returning are Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. Jeremy Bulloch famously brought Boba Fett to life back in the original trilogy and has stated his optimism and willingness to return but doubts that he will get his chance. I don’t think the story will really involve Luke, Leia and Han that much but it would be nice to see them back to make a connection between the films. Reports this week have linked Matthew Vaughn with the directing gig. Vaughn recently dropped out of directing X-Men: Days of Future Past and is not directing Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall either so his schedule should be pretty clear for this job.

 

One of the most enjoyable films that has been released this year, in my opinion, is The Muppets. The best bit about The Muppets was the music sequences without a doubt and it is not very well known that Bret McKenzie, one half of comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, was responsible for this music. And it has been announced that McKenzie is writing some new music for the sequel, set to his screens Christmas 2013. Nicholas Stoller is once again writing the script even though Jason Segel will not be returning. Attached to star at the minute is Christoph Waltz of Inglourious Basterds and upcoming Django Unchained. Waltz and Kermit the Frog don’t seem to go hand in hand but it can only lead to success!

 

The Amazing Spider-Man successfully rebooted the Marvel hero this year with Andrew Garfield in the lead role. With Garfield, Emma Stone and Marc Webb all returning for the sequel all they need is a villain, and it looks as though they may have found one. Jamie Foxx, who will coincidently be starring alongside Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained at the end of this year, is in very early talks to play the super villain Electro. Electro is another villain that we are yet to see on the big screen and Marc Webb has described Foxx as one of the best actors around today and he is pretty good, it has to be said.

 

Finally, a couple of weeks ago it was announced that Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul would be taking the lead role in the upcoming Need for Speed movie adaptation. Now it has been announced that young British actor Dominic Cooper will be joining him in the driving seat. I am a big fan of Dominic Cooper and this would be something very different to what he normally does, I look forward to seeing it.

Again, nothing seems to have really peaked my interest THAT much in the world of movies this week, other than the release of the brilliant Looper, of course.

First up, the best news of the week I think is the announcement that writer and actor Seth MacFarlane will be hosting the 85th Academy Awards, or the Oscars as the rest of us know them. In recent years the awards have opted for actors/actresses to host the ceremony so it is a nice change that a writer will be hosting it, meaning a lot of his material will be his own. Now this obviously becomes somewhat of a risk because MacFarlane is known for being pretty intense with his jokes and right on the border between what is acceptable and what is not (that line being crossed on more than one occasion). However, I am looking forward to his performance as I do think he is a very talented writer and he should be able to keep everyone entertained with ease. When James Franco co-hosted the Oscars in 2010 (alongside Anne Hathaway) he was nominated for Best Actor, I doubt that MacFarlane’s Ted will be winning anything though.

Also this week Fox announced that Mark Millar has been hired to oversee all of their current Marvel products, much in the same way that Joss Whedon is doing actually AT Marvel but probably to less effect in Millar’s case and to a lot less excitement. That being said, this is probably a good move because Millar has a history writing comic books for Marvel having contributed to X-Men comic books and the Civil War storyline. He clearly has an understanding of how comic books work and how the comic book should influence the movies (much like Whedon) and God knows Fox do need some help with their Marvel properties. Fox currently has X-Men: Days of Future Past and a Fantastic Four reboot in the pipeline.

In other Marvel related news (I don’t know if you can tell from my blog but I do love Marvel) there is more good news! The Amazing Spider-Man came out this year and was without a doubt the best film based on a Marvel property not made by Marvel Studios in a good few years! Part of this was down to the fact that Marc Webb was directing and Andrew Garfield was playing a role he suits down to the ground: Peter Parker. I had always assumed that Garfield would be returning for the sequel but directors are usually more touch and go with many directors leaving after one instalment. But this week the return of both Webb and Garfield was announced to a chorus of cheers.

Not many directors ever get THAT famous among mainstream cinema fans. It really, I believe, takes someone special and a great storyteller, someone who is good enough to make sure that every single one of their films stands up on the big screen to both critics and fans alike; the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese and Danny Boyle have been able to do this and are a few of the most famous directors around but are there any new directors around who could one day join the ranks of the best directors EVER? For my choices I have limited the candidates to have directed, at most, 3 feature length films or have shown enough in two or just the one feature film that they have great potential as a director. In no particular order, let’s have a look.

 

Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson has to be the first person I mention because it was him that influenced me to write this blog. I recently saw Johnson’s latest film Looper and along with his previous two feature films (Brick and The Brothers Bloom) Looper was both written and directed Johnson and also starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt (although JGL’s appearance in The Brothers Bloom was a cameo). Looper has really announced Johnson on the scene as one of the best story tellers around. I won’t go into too much detail but if you read my review of the film here, you will get an idea of just how good Johnson is. He has managed to revolutionise the science fiction genre and the whole theories surrounding time travel. I think Looper will inspire a new generation of film makers and if Johnson continues to direct at this high standard he will be regarded as one of the best ever.

 

Joss Whedon

If you don’t know who Joss Whedon is by now where have you been all year? Whedon has a vast amount of experience in television and film working as a screenwriter for many years and having created hit shows such as Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse. Yet this year Whedon was welcomed with open arms to the masses as he directed this year’s highest grossing film Marvel’s The Avengers. Whedon’s only previous feature film was Serenity (a continuation of the Firefly universe) and, of course, flopped at the box office. However, I thought Serenity was great and there is no doubting Whedon’s talent for writing believable characters and dialogue. With him signed on to oversee Marvel’s phase 2 and direct The Avengers 2, the world is his oyster.

 

Marc Webb

Marc Webb is the only director on this list who I would not class as a science fiction director (despite the fact that The Amazing Spider-Man could be described as science fiction but I think that the superhero genre is now a genre in itself rather than a subsidiary of sci-fi but that’s a whole other argument). Webb arrived on the scene with the incredible, hilarious and touching story in (500) Days of Summer and then, like I mentioned, went on to have another summer hit this year with the reboot The Amazing Spider-Man which was more than capable of holding its own against The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Webb seems to specialise in relationships and he has this amazing ability to capture moments in relationships and develop them over time that I haven’t seen in a long time. I hope he continues to work in other genres but keeps his focus on character.

 

Neill Blomkamp

These last two are a little more unknown than the previous candidates but that doesn’t mean they are not as good. Blomkamp has, at the time of writing, only directed one feature length film with Disctrict 9. However, the praise that District 9 gathered and all the rave reviews about it really reshaping the genre of science-fiction and the sequel to his debut smash is highly anticipated, despite his next film being something completely unrelated to that. His next film is another trip into sci-fi and stars Matt Damon and is entitled Elysium. If this does as well as District 9 then stardom really does beckon for this man.

 

Duncan Jones

And finally we have Duncan Jones. Jones’ first film Moon is one of the greatest directorial debuts I have ever seen. Moon is a true masterpiece and Sam Rockwell’s performance along with the directorial skill of Jones is enough to grab the audience without having a mass of characters. His follow up Source Code was purely his directing and this time he had no part in the writing of the film yet still managed to pull off a great action film and again, a magnificent piece of directing because seeing the same 15-20 minutes over and over again can become tiresome for the audience but Jones manages to sustain interest. His next project is a biopic of Ian Fleming and Duncan Jones could well have another hit on his hands.

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.

The Best Actresses Under 30

There seems to be a real buzz around a lot of young actresses in Hollywood at the minute and I think that this is a good thing because I think really talented actresses have been hard to come by over the last decade or so. Here are, in my opinion, the most talented actresses working today under the age of 30.

 

8. Dakota Fanning

At only 18 years old Dakota Fanning has been acting for as long as she has been alive pretty much and for years has been talked about as a great young prospect in Hollywood. Having appeared in films such as Man On Fire, War of the Worlds, Push, Coraline and the Twilight series it is easy to see why.

 

7. Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson is probably the biggest name on this list. Having really burst onto the scene in 2003 with Lost In Translation she has gone on to appear in a number of high profile films such as The Prestige, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Iron Man 2 and the third highest grossing film of all time The Avengers.

 

6. Anna Kendrick

Kendrick’s schedule is pretty packed right now with a huge number of projects in the pipeline for this year and the next despite a slow start to her acting career. She has appeared alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt in comedy drama 50/50 and alongside George Clooney in the 2009 Oscar nominated Up in the Air.

 

5. Emma Watson

Everyone on the planet can recognise Emma Watson although she is probably best known as Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter franchise. She is moving away from that image with something completely different later this year in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and next year’s The Bling Ring.

 

4. Chloe Moretz

At only 15 years old Chloe Moretz is sure to be a star of Hollywood for many years to come. She achieved unanimous praise for her role as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass and went on to appear in (500) Days of Summer, Let Me In and Hugo.

 

3. Emma Stone

Stone is currently appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man as Peter Parker’s love interest, Gwen Stacy. Since making her film debut in Superbad she has had starring roles in Crazy Stupid Love and Easy A as well as a supporting role in The Help and will soon be appearing in The Gangster Squad in which she looks fantastic.

 

2. Jennifer Lawrence

Soon to be one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood Lawrence is currently a star of the new X-men franchise as well as heading up The Hunger Games trilogy. She is one of the youngest women to ever be nominated for the Best Leading Actress Oscar for her performance in Winter’s Bone. She has proven in the short time since bursting on to the scene that she has a large range of skills and is a very versatile actress.

 

1. Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan is a 27 year old English actress who has been the subject of critical acclaim in every field of acting; film, television and broadway. Mulligan first appeared in Pride & Prejudice before going on to appear in a number of television programmes. She has appeared in films such as Never Let Me Go, Brothers, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Public Enemies. I recently saw Mulligan in Drive where she put in a really great performance but it was in An Education where I first saw her and where many other film watchers really took notice of her. An Education is a wonderful British film and Mulligan puts in a golden performance and was rightly nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her performance as well as winning a BAFTA. Carey Mulligan definitely has a huge career ahead of her.