Tag Archive: tom cruise


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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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April sees the biggest film release of the year so far, as well as the latest Ryan Gosling feature.
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Dark Skies – 3rd April

From the director of the not too successful Priest and Legion comes Dark Skies. It adds nothing new to the horror genre but should be a good ride for any fans of recent horrors like Insidious.
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Spring Breakers – 5th April

This has been getting a lot of attention because all of its publicity relies on seeing four girls in their bikinis, two of them being former Disney stars Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez. The actual film itself doesn’t look that interesting at all, but I’m sure some people will like it.
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Oblivion – 12th April

I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr Cruise had a little flop on his hands here. I’m just not sure there’s much room for these films at the minute, and with Will Smith’s After Earth out later this year people may rather just wait for that. They seem to be pretty much the same film anyway.
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The Place Beyond the Pines – 12th April

It should come as no surprise that both Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper have both been earning great reviews already for their performances here. Just see for yourself, this will be brilliant. Guaranteed.
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Iron Man 3 – 26th April

The film, the story, the actor, the character. This is a movie that needs no introduction. The big blockbusters begin here. Iron Man 3.

UK Release Date: 7th June 2013

Stars: M. Night Shyamalan (director), Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Isabelle Fuhrman, Zoe Kravitz

Plot: After a crash landing, a father and son explore a planet that was evacuated by humans 1,000 years earlier.

After Earth is the latest film looking to cash in on the ‘end of the world’ feeling as we head towards the mythical end of the world predicted by the Mayan calendar. This follows Tom Cruise’s Oblivion which featured last week; I wasn’t really intrigued by Oblivion‘s trailer and I have to say I am even less intrigued by After Earth.

When was the last time Will Smith actually starred in a really good film? I think you have to go all the way back to 2006 for The Pursuit of Happyness. That means that it will be seven years since a good film by the time After Earth is released; a gap made all the more worse by the fact Smith is trying his damnedest to force his son upon us. As for M. Night Shyamalan, yes his career started promisingly but after The Happening and The Last Airbender his career has become the butt of many jokes.

The trailer for After Earth offers us nothing new, except for the idea that human’s evacuated 1000 years ago and now every animal on the planet (which has somehow survived whatever humankind felt the need to flee from) has evolved to try and kill any humans that come back. There are some great shots of lovely visual treats but as far as story goes, I’m not sure After Earth will pull up any trees. Expect a huge box office though being as though it’s Will Smith.

UK Release Date: 12th April 2013

Stars: Joseph Kosinski (director), Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Melissa Leo, Zoe Bell

Plot: On a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, one man’s confrontation with the past will lead him on a journey of redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind.

After playing Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise will next star as Jack Harper in Oblivion. As much as I like Tom Cruise, and I am a big fan of his, I can’t help but think after watching this trailer that he might be a little bit miscast.

Oblivion is a big budget science fiction film and although Cruise seems to be getting his career back on track it is a risk having him in the lead role I think. And on top of that, the film doesn’t even really look like anything special. A few forums have already seen people theorising about the big plot twist and you can see some very obvious things being debated and you just know that they’re going to stick a cliche end on Oblivion.

The trailer does ask enough questions to get a few people interested. What happened to Earth? Who was the war between? Who and what is Morgan Freeman’s character doing on a supposed desolate Earth with what seems like a whole colony of people? And who is that women that Tom Cruise is shouting “who are you?” at. Good question, Tom.

With the shock announcement that Disney have bought Star Wars and plan to release a completely new trilogy beginning in 2015 it is no wonder that speculation has already begun about who would be the best choice for director. Let’s look at some of the contenders:

Christopher Nolan

Fresh from directing one of the most lauded trilogies of all time in The Dark Knight Christopher Nolan could pretty much get any gig that he wanted which, let’s be honest, makes complete sense. Every one of Nolan’s films so far has gone down a treat and with Inception he certainly showed that he is more than capable of making a truly magnificent science fiction piece and this is something that the next instalment of Star Wars needs to be!

 

Bryan Singer

In a world as big as the one that Star Wars has built for itself the ability to handle and direct an ensemble cast is a must. With X-men and X2 Singer took on a similar challenge and managed to make a couple of the best superhero films to date. Therefore, this shows that Singer has what it takes to work with a large cast and bring out specific characters. Although, with the recent announcement he is set to helm Days of Future Past then he may be out of the question.

 

Brad Bird

Bird made his name at Pixar where he was given the go ahead to direct The Incredibles and obviously because it is Pixar, as well as the fact that it is brilliant, he received a lot of praise for his work. Earlier this year Brad Bird was responsible for reviving the Mission: Impossible franchise with Ghost Protocol and made the Tom Cruise franchise a relevant and important one once more; could he do the same for Star Wars?

 

Guillermo Del Toro

The fan knows fantasy, he knows special effects and can create huge blockbusters. Del Toro is well known for his ability to draw up strange creations and to let him loose on the world of Star Wars would be, for want of a better word, pretty orgasmic. Most notable for Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth Del Toro is set to announce his return to the world of huge blockbusters with Pacific Rim next year.

 

Jon Favreau

It was Favreau’s work with Iron Man that convinced Marvel (and importantly Disney) that superhero films were worth backing and proceeding with, culminating in The Avengers. With Iron Man 2 perhaps Favreau did have too much to do and it may be a case of that happening again with Star Wars: it would be a risk but one that could be worth taking, especially as the name of Star Wars is going to bring in the audience anyway.

 

Joss Whedon

A God among geeks. Does much more need to be said about the man’s talents? It is practically impossible for Whedon to direct Star Wars unfortunately as he has a pretty tight schedule with Marvel’s Phase 2 in place at the minute but a future Episode of the huge science fiction franchise, why not?

 

Duncan Jones

The least well known of all of my choices but not at all less talented. With Moon and Source Code in his back catalogue Jones has shown that he is more than capable of telling some brilliant science fiction stories. I would love to see Jones achieve some success and get a chance to show mainstream audiences his talent although maybe this would be a step too far a little too early.

 

Obviously, most of these directors are very commercial and well known to audiences already with a proven record of directing hit films and creating believable and memorable characters whilst exploring the world that their films inhabit. This is an important trait when deciding who is going to continue the Star Wars franchise but there may be some hidden gems hiding in cracks and crevices somewhere… or even in plain sight. So let me know, who would you like to see direct the seventh instalment of Star Wars?

Director Scott sadly passes away aged 68.

Sad reports among the news today for the world of movies as the famous director Tony Scott has been reported dead after jumping from a bridge in Los Angeles. His death is being investigated as a suicide. It is a horrible loss as he has directed a number of box office successes and big action films while forming strong partnerships with some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

Originally from North Shields in England, Tony Scott is the less famous and less critically successful brother of director Ridley Scott. But despite his films being less favourable with critics he is a celebrated and talented director nonetheless. A common criticism of his work was that he sacrificed story for things that looked great on screen and big action sequences but this obviously went down well with fans of movies and some of his films became huge successes and some of the most famous films of all time.

Tony Scott’s most famous film is of course Top Gun and whether you like it or not you cannot deny it’s place in movie history and popular culture (although more for its homoerotic tendencies than for its quality of film). Top Gun put Tony Scott on the map and he went on to direct a number of even more successful movies including Beverley Hills Cop 2 which became a massive success at the box office making nearly $300million off just a $20million budget. Scott worked again with Tom Cruise (after Top Gun) on Days of Thunder which many critics called ‘Top Gun in cars’ but despite the negative reviews Days of Thunder was another box office smash for Tony Scott.

The list of huge name actors that Tony Scott has worked with is seemingly endless: Tom Cruise, Eddie Murphy, Kevin Costner, James Gandolfini, Gene Hackman, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt, Mickey Rourke, Christopher Walken and the Oscar winning composer Hans Zimmer. But with all these big names it seemed that Tony Scott enjoyed working with Denzel Washington the most as the pair made a total of five films together (with ranging success): Crimson Tide, Man on Fire, Deja Vu, The Taking of Pelham 123, Unstoppable.

A winning partnership: Scott and regular collaborator Denzel Washington.

Whether you like his films or not he is a huge loss to the directing world and he had a big effect on mainstream action films that is still felt today. Critics didn’t praise his films too often but I bet they all enjoyed them as did most people who watched his work. He was a great director (I really like Top Gun, Enemy of the State and The Taking of Pelham 123 in particular) and my thoughts go out to his family.

UK Release Date: 28th December 2012.

Stars: Christopher McQuarrie (director), Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Jai Courtney, Richard Jenkins.

Plot: A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims.

This is Tom Cruise’s latest film and to be honest, it doesn’t look like the best one he will be making on his return to the top of the acting world. Tom Cruise plays the titular character Jack Reacher who, in the Lee Childs novels the film is based on, is a 6’5 man with a 50 inch chest and weighs between 210 and 250lbs… any ideas why fans of the book are against Cruise’s casting? No, me neither. The role is probably more suited to that of someone like Dwayne Johnson but anyway…

So Jack Reacher is a crime drama apparently, yet from the trailer it looks more like a knock off Fast and Furious film; it just looks like a typically corny B list action movie. First we are introduced to the character of Jack and then he hits us with the quote “you think I’m a hero, I am not a hero”; the next few shots proceed to show us Tom Cruise doing some incredibly hero-like ass kicking and even managing to fit in a clip of a woman in her underwear, just to assure the male audience it is worth going to see.

I am a big fan of Tom Cruise. I always enjoy his performances and he may not be the best actor in the world but he always puts in a shift and throws himself into the film. But in all honesty I don’t think this looks that good and it just seems to be a generic action movie.

Last week Kristen Stewart was named as the highest earning actress in Hollywood of the last year, this week it is the turn of the men. Although Stewart earned over $34million her Twilight co-stars Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner earned a lot less only just manage to make it onto the top ten of the highest paid men in Hollywood.

Happier times on screen rather than off screen for Cruise.

He may be going through some rocky times in his personal life right now but Tom Cruise has reason to smile as he has been crowned as the highest paid man in Hollywood of the past year having earned a massive $75million. Cruise’s career has seen something of a turn around recently as he has returned to centre stage in films Rock of Ages and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol with a number of films in the pipeline to keep his mind off his current divorce and custody battle for daughter Suri Cruise. Although Rock of Ages was deemed a box office failure Cruise proved he is cleverer than some people may think he is after deciding to take a pay cut on Ghost Protocol in return for a share of the profits; the film went on to earn over $700million.

In second place there is a tie with last years highest earner Leonardo DiCaprio and an outlandish and outrageous and totally undeserving actor: Adam Sandler. In acting standards there is a huge gap between these two, DiCaprio rarely has a bad film released (although J. Edgar did not do as well as expected) and is widely accepted as one of the best actors working today whilst Sandler’s good films went out with the dinosaurs; he releases awful film after awful film these days and people are actually paying him to do so? DiCaprio and Sandler both earned $37million but you can’t help but feel that money of Sandler’s should have been paid for him to stop acting.

Any excuse to include The Rock.

Another shock name makes the list at number four but this time it is one of a much happier nature. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is Hollywood’s fourth highest earning actor of the last year… can you believe that?! I am a big fan of his but this news surprises me to no end, although he was pretty much single handedly responsible for the success of Fast Five last year.

Other well known names on the list are Ben Stiller at number five and will hopefully see more money when his next film The Watch is released after all the problems so far with its promotional campaign.  Johnny Depp, another Hollywood mega star going through a divorce, is on the list and despite his Dark Shadows bomb this year Depp is the only actor to have three films cross the $1billion mark globally, now THAT is impressive! Will Smith is always a box office draw and is often thought of as one of the most reliable stars in Hollywood as his name and his face brings in audiences no matter the quality of the film.

Here is the complete Top 10 according to Forbes:

1. Tom Cruise – $75million

2. Leonardo DiCaprio – $37million

= Adam Sandler – $37million

4. Dwayne Johnson – $36million

5. Ben Stiller – $33million

6. Sacha Baron Cohen – $30million

= Johnny Depp – $30million

= Will Smith – $30million

9. Mark Wahlberg – $27million

10. Robert Pattinson – $26.5million

= Taylor Lautner – $26.5million

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

 

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

 

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

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

And finally…

 

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

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

The Magnificent Seven is one of the greatest Western films ever made. The 1960 film, a remake itself of Seven Samurai, featured many big names of its day such as Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn and Charles Bronson. And now MGM have announced plans to recreate it for today’s audience.

The Magnificent Seven centres on an oppressed Mexican agricultural village under attack by marauding Mexican bandits. The village bring together seven accomplished gunmen to protect them.

MGM have announced that Tom Cruise of all people is set to head this project, even though the studio haven’t even hired a director or a writer to work on the remake, so I don’t know what’s going on here. Cruise has a busy schedule ahead of him with several films in the pipeline such as Rock of Ages, One Shot, Oblivion, Van Helsing and sequels to both Top Gun and Mission Impossible.

Cruise did seem back to his best in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol but is he really the right man to head up this remake of The Magnificent Seven? The film has been greenlit but it will not actually have its wheels in motion for at least a year with no writer or director attached and by the time Cruise gets through all the films he is making at the minute he will be well into his 50s.

Cruise is a big name in Hollywood and has box office appeal but there’s something about him that makes me think he would just not sit right in the Western.

This news actually does my head in because it is yet another remake of a classic film. The remakes are getting boring now; audiences are being forced to see the same stories told over and over again. Why can’t anyone just come up with a new idea for a Western instead of recreating one from years gone by.