Tag Archive: up


The entertainment industry is an incredibly fickle one; one bad movie can see you go from the top of your game to the discard pile as quick as a flash. So it takes incredible determination, talent and motivation to continue on acting for so many years. 65 is usually the age of retirement over here in Britain but here are a few actors who show no signs of slowing down as they get older, just continuing to get better with age.

Robert De Niro – Born: August 17, 1943 – 69 years old.

This man really does need very little introduction. He’s been acting since the 1960’s but really made his name in the 70s with performances in The Godfather trilogy and of course his iconic performance as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. He’s become associated largely with gangster films but in the last decade or two he’s been slightly less picky with his roles and has taken fun roles rather than the intense ones he used to, as witnessed in Stardust and Meet the Parents. Five releases are slated for this year with more coming in 2014.

Sir Ben Kingsley – Born: 31st December, 1943 – 69 years old.

It’s actually unbelievable that Sir Ben Kingsley was once in English soap opera Coronation Street. Kingsley is often forgotten by mainstream audiences but he is clearly one of the best actors that England have ever produced. He won an Oscar for his role in Ghandi and continues to show his versatility with recent roles in Hugo, Shutter Island and Sexy Beast. Kingsley can now be seen playing Mandarin in Iron Man 3.

Sir Ian McKellen – Born: 25th May, 1939 – 73 years old.

McKellen is a true thespian. It took until the late 80s/early 90s really until McKellen became a certified film star and his career continues to thrive; really, since the turn of the century McKellen has become an actor that all different types of audiences want to see. He has shown off his talents in two iconic roles in particular, Magneto in X-Men and Gandalf in Lord of the Rings (a role he has reprised for The Hobbit trilogy), while at the same time continuing to do short films and television work as well.

Jack Nicholson – Born: 22nd April, 1937 – 75 years old.

What is there left to say about Jack Nicholson that hasn’t been said before? He is undoubtedly one of the best actors that has ever worked. That’s just a simple fact of life. He’s been acting since the 1950s and although he is taking longer breaks between work at the minute that doesn’t mean he is getting any worse. Over the years Nicholson has won three (THREE!) Oscars for his work and turned out great performances in the likes of The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Batman and The Departed. That’s a career well spent.

Morgan Freeman – Born: 1st June, 1937 – 75 years old.

He’s probably the only man in the world that people could just listen to every single day and never get bored. Has Morgan Freeman really ever been young? A lot of Freeman’s work up until the 90s was largely television work but what a decade the 90s became for him: Unforgiven, The Shawshank Redemption and Se7en saw Freeman in quite an incredible rise to fame. One that continues thanks to his role in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy.

Robert Redford – Born: 18th August, 1936 – 76 years old.

Redford has slowed down in recent years but he is not only an acclaimed actor but also has been nominated for Oscars for his directing as well (and won). This is a man who starred in some of the most famous films of all time: The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He’s made something of a return to acting in the last couple of years with The Company You Keep (2012), All is Lost (2013) and he is set to appear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).

Sir Michael Caine – Born: 14th March, 1933 – 80 years old.

This year, the great actor turned eighty years old. Unbelievable considering the energy and the emotion that he still brings to all of his characters. Michael Caine has a filmography to rival anybody, he really has reached the top of his game and been there for decades as well now! The Italian Job, Zulu, Alfie, Get Carter, Hannah and Her Sisters and of course more recently he has become a regular collaborator with Christopher Nolan: The Dark Knight trilogy, The Prestige and Inception. A true legend of the acting world.

Christopher Plummer – Born: 13th December, 1929 – 83 years old.

Remember The Sound of Music? One of the most iconic films of all time? Released in 1965? Well Christopher Plummer was in that. And his career is one that seems to have really got better with age and has, in fact, flourished since the beginning of the 21st century. He has recently had roles in A Beautiful Mind, Nicholas Nickleby, National Treasure, Syriana, Up, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and finally won an Oscar in 2012 for his role in Beginners.

These actors are true legends of their profession.

Advertisements

Pixar are responsible for bringing to life some of the greatest film characters of all time!

For years and years now Pixar have been one of the best studios in the movie business. Pixar have been turning out perfect films over and over again since their first feature length film back in 1995; that film of course was Toy Story. Since then Pixar have continued to make perfect films, some of my favourites including Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc, Wall-E and that’s not even mentioning Cars, Up, A Bug’s Life, Ratatouille or The Incredibles. It is plain to see that Pixar have a knack for creating real works of art with some of the best characters to ever grace the cinema screen. They have often been thought of, especially by me, as one of the best studios making films today because of their originality, their creativity and their lust to tell a story that hasn’t been told before on the big screen in a time where plenty of the biggest studios in Hollywood are relying on sequels, reboots, fairy tale adaptations and even origin stories for famous films. In other words, studios are getting desperate but Pixar always seemed like the bright spark within the industry but are they now turning in to just another studio?

Edwin E. Catmull – Co-founder and current President of Pixar Animations.

This week Pixar have announced plans to make a sequel to 2003 hit (and one of the best and most touching stories Pixar have ever told) Finding Nemo, to be directed by Andrew Stanton, the man behind the original film and Wall-E. This follows the news that there is development for a Toy Story 4 in the pipeline and of course next year a prequel to Monsters Inc called Monsters University will be released. There are also rumours that a sequel is in development for Pixar’s very own superpowered family The Incredibles. This follows the hugely successful Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 and the film seen by many as the worst Pixar have ever made, Cars 2. Obviously, film fans everywhere will be rejoicing at the fact that plans to bring Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mike, Sulley, Nemo, Marlin and Dory all back to the big screen because they are characters that were a huge part of so many people’s childhood and there will always be a sentimental connection towards those characters in the hearts of anyone who has ever watched these films. But are these proposed sequels bad news for Pixar and film fans in general?

The Toy Story franchise is a rare example of a trilogy where every film is of the highest quality, you can debate for days and days about which one is the best and why it is better than the other two but never will everyone agree. However, with Cars 2 it is the opinion of many that Pixar got it wrong; it didn’t really need a sequel and it wasn’t as good as the first one, it’s sort of a blotch on an otherwise stainless list of films in Pixar’s history. This means that if Pixar get it wrong with another sequel/prequel it could dampen feelings towards their much beloved characters.

Pixar’s feature length films have won a combined total of 11 Oscars and earned another 30 nominations!

Since 2003 Pixar have released a single film each year and it has done well commercially no matter what because Pixar is a name that will put bums on seats in cinemas, there remains no doubt about that. But with the news of the sequels it could signal one of two things: either Pixar is trying to follow suit of several other major film companies and milk the popularity of their characters for every last penny they can get out of them (something Disney are already managing to do with most of their character history) or rather more sadly, Pixar may just be running out of ideas. However, Pixar have said, although this was many years ago, that they would not consider making a sequel to one of their films if they couldn’t tell a story that was as good as the original, this suggests that a lot of hard work and thought will go into making these films but it will be a shame if this signals a slowing down in the creativity of Pixar because their characters have staying power like no others and everyone will be missing out if Pixar does indeed become ‘just another studio’.

With Pixar’s new movie, Brave, debuting the companies first female protagonist I have decided to compile a list of Pixar’s top ten characters so far. Enjoy.

10. Mater

First Appearance: Cars (2006)

Voiced by: Larry the Cable Guy.

I’m not a big fan of Cars myself and haven’t seen the sequel yet and don’t really want to, but I found Mater to be a good character. He’s always there for Lightning McQueen and he becomes a very important and valuable friend.

 

9. Rex

First Appearance: Toy Story (1995)

Voiced by: Wallace Shawn.

Rex is the big green dinosaur; a rough exterior but he is a coward on the inside. He is a stalwart of the Toy Story trilogy and is a highlight in the films, providing some great comedic moments. He is very loyal to his group of friends and will be there when needed.

 

8. Luxo Jr.

First Appearance: Luxo Jr. (1986)

Luxo Jr. was Pixar’s first film after becoming an independent company and was made to show what the studio could do with animation. Luxo Jr. is the small lamp that appears before and after every Pixar feature length film. He has become the mascot of the studio and has to be considered one of their best characters because he started it all.

 

7. Mr Incredible

First Appearance: The Incredibles (2004)

Voiced by: Craig T. Nelson.

Mr Incredible yearns for the life of a superhero once their activity is outlawed and he makes a successful return to the business. He longs for glory over evil-doers but at the same time is a very caring father and husband to his equally powerful family.

6. Mike Wazowski

First Appearance: Monsters Inc. (2001)

Voiced by: Billy Crystal.

Mike is the one-eyed little green monster in Monsters Inc. and he is the manager of Sulley. Mike becomes something of a scene stealer rather than a sidekick in the film but it is his friendship with Sulley that really makes him a great character.

 

5. Marlin

First Appearance: Finding Nemo (2003)

Voiced by: Albert Brooks.

Marlin’s wife and all but one children are killed at the beginning of Finding Nemo, meaning that Marlin becomes very protective of his only son. After his son is taken by a scuba diver Marlin must face his fears and explore the big wide ocean in search for his son. He is a real hero and an inspirational character as he faces up to his fears.

 

4. Carl Fredricksen

First Appearance: Up (2009)

Voiced by: Ed Asner.

Up was recognised by the Academy with five Oscar nominations and at the heart of the film is Carl Fredricksen. He is a 78 year old widow who uses a lot of helium balloons to fly his house around. The audience really feels for Carl as he goes on his journey. It’s funny, incredibly sad, and exciting all at once.

 

3. Sulley

First Appearance: Monsters Inc. (2001)

Voiced by: John Goodman.

Sulley is the top scarer at work but it’s impossible to see why as we get to know him through Monsters Inc and we learn about his softer side. His relationship with Boo provides some of the cutest moments Pixar have ever created. He is a fantastic hero and is rightly placed in charge Monsters Inc. at the end of the film.

 

2. Wall-E

First Appearance: Wall-E (2008)

Voiced by: Ben Burtt.

Wall-E is the loveable robot of the past set in a future where he is outdated and no longer needed. He is lonely and unloved but goes on a fantastic journey where he falls for Eve and he teaches mankind to be human again. His story is one that audiences of all ages can enjoy and love.

 

1. Woody and Buzz Lightyear

First Appearance: Toy Story (1995)

Voiced by: Tom Hanks and Tim Allen.

You can’t have one without the other. Woody and Buzz Lightyear have been teaching children for almost twenty years what it means to be friends. The two had a rocky start to their relationship but quickly learnt that they needed each other. After going on several journeys together, they have both needed to be saved by the other and have built a bond stronger than anything else in the world. Woody and Buzz Lightyear are without a doubt Pixar’s most recognisable and loved characters and they will have to work incredibly hard if they are ever to create such brilliant characters again.

Are 3D Movies Already Dying?

Despite numerous past attempts, 3D films have never really taken off in the past but since 2003(ish) there has been a resurgence of 3D films in mainstream cinema. There have been films made specifically for the purpose of being 3D and then films that have been shot in 2D have been transformed into 3D films and this happens with both live action and animated features. But is 3D really needed?

Avatar was praised hugely for the use of 3D

Two of modern cinema’s most successful directors have a different approach to making films in 3D. I am talking of James Cameron and Christopher Nolan. Cameron embraces 3D; his film Avatar became the highest grossing film of all time and that was made in 3D, whilst Nolan decided against using the effect on Inception and The Dark Knight Rises as, although he has seen 3D work well, he claimed it restricted what they were able to do. So that’s what the professionals think, what about audiences?

In 2010, 28 films were released in 3D and that number rose to 47 in 2011. However, takings for 3D films dropped by seven million pound despite more films being made in the format, showing that audiences were not going to see 3D films as much as they had been; something the studios have taken into consideration and the number of films being released in 3D this year (2012) is down to 33. Perhaps audiences have now experimented with 3D films and decided that they do not like them.

The final Harry Potter was the highest grossing 3D film of 2011, yet more people saw it in 2D.

So why are people not going to watch films in 3D? The price is one reason. Cinema ticket prices are on the increase all the time it seems and the price for drinks and popcorn is absolutely ludicrous. If you want to go see a film in 3D that bumps the price up by another two or three pound, therefore if you want a 3D film, a drink and popcorn you’re looking at spending nearly £15 probably to see a film. And if that film ends up being more like Clash of the Titans than Up then you’re going to feel more than a little bit ripped off.

Reason two: the really stupid glasses that everyone is forced to wear. Sure, they look better than the cardboard glasses you used to get with one blue lens and one red lens which made pictures seem 3D in magazines etc. but they are going to hurt your nose. Nobody wants to sit for two hours and feel like their nose is being crushed by these bricks you are forced to wear to enjoy the film in all it’s ‘glory’.

You don't need 3D to enjoy Woody and Buzz!

And finally, does 3D really add anything to the film? The films I have seen in 3D (Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After, Thor, among others) have not really benefited from the technology. I’m not saying that the 3D didn’t look good, because it did, but I would have quite happily watched these films in 2D and still felt the same.

In my opinion, 3D was a scheme by studio bosses to try and make audiences fork out more money for the films as almost every decision made high up is about money. But audiences have now seen a 3D film or two and decided that they are quite happy with 2D without the intimacy this new effect offers. I could quite happily go the rest of my life without watching another 3D film. I know some people enjoy it and good for them, but I am yet to see a reason why it is needed.

Pixar’s Brave Trailer

UK Release Date: 13th August 2012

Brave (originally named The Bear and the Bow) is Pixar’s first original feature length film since Up in 2009. It is Pixar’s first fairytale, however it will be a lot different from Disney’s fairytales where the Princess is just a very poor or stereotypical representation of women. Brave also features Pixar’s first female lead character, Merida.

Brave is set in Scotland during a mythical time and focusses on Merida, an aspiring archer and impetuous daughter of royalty. Merida makes a reckless choice that unleashes unintended peril in the kingdom and forces her to spring into action to set things right.

There is hype around this film as there is for any Pixar production and whilst nearly all of Pixar’s films have garnered huge critical acclaim and they are seen as a studio that always achieves high standards, their most recent offering, Cars 2, failed to impress as much as previous films. Hopefully, Brave takes Pixar back to their best. It will feature the voice talents of Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, Robbie Coltrane and Billy Connolly: not a bad cast at all.

From the trailer I have my doubts whether Brave will really be that good. The animation, as always, is second to none and will be visually pleasing at least, if nothing else. But the trailer really does nothing to hint that any of the audience’s expectations might be met; it all just seems a little lacklustre and below par. Like it or not, every Pixar offering is always going to be compared to Toy Story, and this is far from Toy Story by the looks of things, in terms of character and story but of course, this is only judging from a trailer. By the time summer comes and I have seen this film, I may be inclined to disagree with these comments.