Tag Archive: will smith


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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Deciding what films to see this month is going to be one tough task. With big blockbusters being released as well as lower budget story heavy features. There’s something for everyone to go and see in June.
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The Stone Roses: Made of Stone – 5th June

Shane Meadows’ documentary about the Manchester rock band is a must see for any fan!
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After Earth – 7th June

I remain unconvinced by this but Will Smith guarantees box office success whether the film is good or not.
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The Iceman – 7th June

The first of two Michael Shannon films released this month; praise has already been high for his performance here as Richard Kuklinski.
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Man of Steel – 14th June

And Michael Shannon plays the villain in Warner Bros. latest attempt to reboot arguably the most boring superhero ever created. Guaranteed box office smash and looks to be the Superman film people have been crying out for.
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Much Ado About Nothing – 14th June

If like me, you are a fan of Marvel and Shakespeare (I appreciate that isn’t a cross section many people anticipate) then Joss Whedon’s take on the famous Shakespeare play is a must see. With Clark Gregg and Nathan Fillion this is the modern sci-fi fan’s biggest wet dream.
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World War Z – 21st June

All the hype so far has been about the poor CGI and uninteresting posters. It’ll be interesting to see if Brad Pitt still has box office appeal – I’m not so sure.
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Despicable Me 2 – 28th June

If you’ve been to the cinema a lot lately you’re probably sick of seeing the teasers for this film, but you have to admit, it does look pretty good. And everyone loves those little minions!
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This is the End – 28th June

James Franco. Seth Rogen. Emma Watson. Jonah Hill. That guy from Pineapple Express and Hot Tub Time Machine. The funny one from Parks and Recreation. Milky Way. I want to see this.

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.

Obviously the big news of the week was the Oscars but I’m not going to bore you with the names of the winners which I am sure you have seen plastered around numerous blogs in the past weeks. Let’s start with the worst news EVER just to get it out of the way: Michael Bay has announced that Megan Fox has been cast as April O’Neil in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot that Bay insists on ruining. Has there ever been such bad casting? NO.

 

So now that that’s out of the way. Anchorman: The Legend Continues is being released late this year and as if having a cast of Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Luke Wilson and Kristen Wiig isn’t enough. Now James Marsden has been added to that list. Marsden will be playing Ferrell’s main rival in the film, a news anchor over at San Diego TV. I have previously written a blog about the lack of a career that Marsden has had other than starring in the X-Men films but if all goes well here he may become sought after property in actual good comedy films.

 

It’s common consensus that Adam Sandler is not good anymore. If he ever even picked up any of his Razzie awards that he won then he wouldn’t have anywhere to put them all in his house, there is just too many. His recent career has been nothing short of apocalyptic. Sandler has now joined a new romantic comedy following a couple who have had a disastrous blind date and somehow find themselves stuck together in a resort for families, each with their kids from a previous marriage in tow. There are several actresses in the running but the favourite at the minute seems to be Sandler’s co-star in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates Drew Barrymore which could, hopefully, signal a return to form for Sandler.

 

Annie is one of the most famous musicals in the world. Despite being met with mixed responses from critics when the original film was released back in 1982 it has achieved international fame and a few of its songs have become world famous. Now there is a remake in the works with plans for the film to be released at Christmas 2014. Will Smith and Jay-Z are on board as producers and Will Smith made one of the best decisions of his career by deciding to replace his daughter Willow Smith who was originally cast in the lead role. The girl now in the lead role is Quvenzhané Wallis, the youngest ever actress to be nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars for her performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

 

In 2011 Fox released Rio, an animated film about two blue macaws voiced by Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg. The original film also featured the voicing talents of will.i.am, Jamie Foxx, Leslie Mann and Rodrigo Santoro who are all returning for the sequel, among others, but the cast has grown even more. Andy Garcia, Bruno Mars and the amazing Pierce Gagnon (the kid from Looper) are just a few of the names signed on for Rio 2.

Landing the role of Superman is one that is meant to change your career forever and make you an immortal on the cinema screen, stapled in to people’s minds forever; it is one of the most iconic roles in movie history, the embodiment of being an American (despite being an alien) and any Superman film should make huge stars out of everyone involved. Remember Kate Bosworth? Remember James Marsden? Sam Huntington? Parker Posey? No… because the Superman film all of the aforementioned were involved with was 2006’s Superman Returns.

However, nobody was more affected by the failure of Superman Returns than the man of steel himself, Brandon Routh. When Warner Bros. decided to revive the Superman franchise a whole host of actors were considered for the part; Paul Walker, Brendan Fraser and even Will Smith (who decided to give us his own take on the superhero genre anyway with Hancock, a hero with a similar back story to that of Superman) but when Bryan Singer came on board to direct he decided that an unknown actor should be cast and that was, of course, Brandon Routh.

Prior to being given the part of Superman Routh had largely been seen, but unnoticed, in television shows such as One Life to Live, Gilmore Girls and Will and Grace. Whilst studying at University Routh was always told he bore a resemblance to Christopher Reeve (if you don’t know who he is, stop reading now… seriously) and he was signed by an agent for this very reason who told him if there was another Superman film ever made, he would be the man in the starring role. And then it came along… Routh’s big chance to impress.

Superman Returns bored the hell out of me! For some reason, unbeknownst to man, Superman Returns gained some very good praise from critics and was even a huge hit at the box office taking $84.2million in just five days which was a Warner Bros. record at the time. Yet of all of those people who went to see the film, I don’t think many of them found it to be the return of Superman that they wanted. Superman Returns was a largely lacklustre blockbuster: I wouldn’t say it was the worse comic book movie to hit the cinema screen but it dragged more than Daredevil and the action scenes were worse than Ghost Rider. Instead of making Brandon Routh a huge household name, it made him the butt of many jokes and the subject of many conversations that go a little bit like this:

“I really like him, he was good in Superman Returns

“@!#* off!”

But the fact is, Brandon Routh is NOT a bad actor, he is actually quite good, I think, and his career could and should have looked so different than it does today. Routh, since Superman Returns, has seen limited cinema time and the films he has made that have had wide releases (Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) have seen him appear in nothing more than just a couple of scenes.

Brandon Routh should STILL be playing Superman in my opinion. He was the star of a film that grossed millions and millions of dollars at the box office and was praised by critics and has since fallen down the acting world so much. He should be the biggest action hero around right now or at least be a supporting actor in films like the Die Hard series or even G.I. Joe but instead he is starring in Partners, a sitcom that isn’t going down incredibly well right now and will just be another dent in his career.

Let’s hope the same doesn’t happen for Henry Cavill.

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.

“The name’s Bond, James Bond” is one of the most iconic lines in cinema history, almost as iconic as the man himself who says it so often. James Bond is a figure known all across the world, a British Secret Service agent that has saved the world and defeated villains countless times. The Ian Fleming creation has spawned twenty-three canon films and has been played by six different actors, all of whom have been white.

Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and today’s Daniel Craig have all donned the suit and the suave attitude to play the most famous spy that the world has ever seen. But once Daniel Craig steps aside is the path paved for a black actor to take on one of the most famous cinematic roles in history? It certainly looks as though this is now a real possibility where it has never really been given any thought before. Skyfall Bond girl Naomie Harris has let is slip that a black actor has been met by producers to talk about taking on the part, despite Daniel Craig having a contract for another two films. The actor in question is the phenomenal Idris Elba, who would certainly be an inspired choice as his stock continue to grow in Hollywood after roles in huge blockbuster films such as Thor and Prometheus.

Harris is quoted in The Huffington Post as saying “it does seem like there is a possibility in the future that there could very well be a black James Bond. And I would have to vote for Idris because I just finished working with him and he’s a great guy”. I thoroughly believe that the colour of his skin should not be an issue for the casting choice but let’s not forget all the uproar that was caused when Daniel Craig was cast just because he had BLONDE hair! But this is something that Idris Elba has mentioned and spoken about before, in October 2011 he stated “I don’t want to be the black James Bond. Sean Connery wasn’t the Scottish James Bond, and Daniel Craig wasn’t the blue-eyed James Bond, so if I played him, I don’t want to be called the black James Bond”. This makes complete sense; it should be his ability to act as the famous James Bond character that should see him either accepted or declined for the role.

Unfortunately I have been on a few fan forums and a lot of James Bond fans seem to be against this idea with some even saying that this would lead to a ‘gay, then female’ James Bond. Some fans say that making Bond black would go against the creation of Fleming but things are changing in the modern cultural climate and character’s do not stay the same forever. M was once a man in the films, now is a woman. Although I do believe that film fans can be fickle and in the end, if Elba played the part well enough there would be a lot of people backtracking on their previously held opinions.

Let’s not forget that it does appear to be a kind of underlying rule that a Hollywood hero must be either white or Will Smith. This would be a great opportunity for James Bond to not only take their own franchise and name forward but help pave way for better roles for black actors and a more equal chance for actors despite what their race may be.

It is unclear when in time the meetings took place between Elba and the Bond producers, it could even have been before they signed Daniel Craig on to two more films or it could have been after. It is also unclear whether Elba is the only person producers have met with or whether there have been others (black or white actors) who have been approached with a view to replacing Daniel Craig when he eventually steps down. Although, with critics already calling Skyfall the best Bond ever you have to think that fans will want to see plenty more of Craig before any considerations get under way as to who will be next in line.

Bond 23 ‘Skyfall‘ is in cinemas tomorrow (26/10/2012)

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

UK Release Date: 18th January 2013.

Plot: With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

Stars: Quentin Tarantino (director), Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington.

Some directors have a very distinct style, Tarantino’s being more distinct than others and watching this trailer it could not be more obvious that this was a Tarantino film. The soundtrack, the visuals, the dialogue, everything screams of trademarks of Tarantino and this could easily become another classic from the acclaimed film maker.

The trailer itself focusses on Django and King Schultz (Waltz) and the beginning of their partnership. King Schultz seems like a very similar character to the one Waltz played in Inglourious Basterds (also Tarantino) for which he won an Oscar so nothing short of perfection will be expected form him here. Will Smith was first choice for Django but had to drop out because he didn’t have time despite being very impressed with the script and so Foxx has the task of being brilliant in the leading role.

We don’t get to see too much of Leonardo DiCaprio as the villainous Calvin Candie which is a shame but I am sure as more trailers get to be released his character will be focussed on. Early footage that was screened at Cannes film festival received very positive reviews, especially regarding DiCaprio’s performance.

Django Unchained has to be another classic from Tarantino.

UK Release Date: 25th May 2012

Here we have one of the films that has split opinion through the film world: some see Men in Black 3 as one of the most anticipated films of the year, set to be one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters. Others see it as a huge risk because of the time elapsed between the second instalment and this one (ten years) and because the second film was such a flop.

Men in Black 3 reunites Agent J and K (Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones) in their mission to rid Earth of evil aliens. One day J wakes up to discover that K is dead… and has been for over 40 years. This forces J to quite literally jump back in time and team up with a younger Agent K (Josh Brolin) to stop him from being killed. After teaming up with young Agent K, J discovered that there are even more secrets to the universe than even he has seen during his time as part of the Men in Black.

I think this film looks a lot better than Men in Black 2. Will Smith seems to look back to his best, slicing together action and comedy. He’s been away from our screens for three and a half years so there must have been something good in the script to tempt him back to the big screen. They’ve also done some brilliant casting in the form of Josh Brolin who can do an uncanny impression of Tommy Lee Jones which will hopefully make the transition of older to younger K more believable.

The trailer treats us to a lot of new aliens and new gadgets; giving a sense of the modern headquarters of MIB and the 60s version too. The film will rely a lot on how they deal with the time travel aspect and the alternate reality angle but ultimately it is Will Smith that grabs the attention of the audience and he will do the same here. The special effects look great, I wouldn’t expect anything less from the MIB franchise, and the film should hopefully bring about a great ending to the trilogy.