Tag Archive: writer


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.

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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.

UK Release Date: 12th October 2012.

Stars: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris (directors), Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Annette Bening, Elliott Gould, Antonio Banderas, Steve Coogan, Chris Messina.

Plot: A novelist struggling with writer’s block finds romance in a most unusual way: by creating a female character he thinks will love him, then willing her into existence.

This trailer had me excited from the very beginning as it features someone who I am very keen to see more of and that is Paul Dano, a very under rated part of the tripod from The Girl Next Door. Ruby Sparks sees him remain in the romantic comedy world and it looks as though this will have just as much fun as The Girl Next Door and could even, dare I say it, be better.

I just think that even in the trailer Ruby Sparks looks funny, it has some real comedy moments and parts that made me laugh out loud: a good sign for a trailer. Hopefully the full length feature will include even more of these moments!

The story is very creative and inventive with a lot of potential for character growth and comedy moments. With a cast that includes several big names and a soundtrack that combines Vampire Weekend and Kaiser Chiefs you have to believe that this is going to be a hit with teenagers and young adults on both sides of the Atlantic. I certainly hope so, I can’t put into words how much I like the trailer, it seems almost perfect! Hopefully you’ll see what I mean when you watch it for yourself.

 

The Bourne Legacy Review

Aaron Cross is the new hero of the Bourne franchise.

Ten years ago, in 2002, Jason Bourne discovered went looking for his Identity, in 2004 Bourne appeared once again to unleash his Supremacy and in 2007 he never actually delivered an Ultimatum but this was the title of the film nonetheless. Now, the year is 2012 and a new leading agent, Aaron Cross, is dealing with the aftermath of Bourne’s actions, the Legacy that has been left behind.

The Bourne Legacy was always going to be a difficult task. The original trilogy of Bourne films are critically acclaimed and even more loved by fans, it is one of the most successful and greatest trilogies of all time without a bad film in the franchise. Now, minus Matt Damon in the lead role and Paul Greengrass in the director’s chair the task becomes even harder. A good move by the studio was to hire Tony Gilroy to write the fourth film, which would turn into a sequel/reboot/paraquel, since he wrote the original trilogy as well. And what started out as simply writing the first draft turned into a full writing and directing job for Gilroy meaning that they had someone in control who could capture the essence of the original films and was already involved in the Bourne universe rather than bringing in a stranger.

It doesn’t get much cooler than this.

Legacy does a fantastic job of both establishing a new character, story and opening up the story as well as coupling these events with the actions that take place within The Bourne Ultimatum. The opening scene pretty much does this immediately with Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) beginning the film in the same way Jason Bourne left it: lying motionless in the water before suddenly moving into action. The occasional mention of Jason Bourne help to keep the film in the same universe without relying on it too much to continue the story.

Action scenes have always been vital in the Bourne franchise and these have been lauded by fans over and over again because they are perfectly choreographed and have a proper gritty sense of realism. There are worries at the beginning that this may not be the case with The Bourne Legacy as it takes a while for some big fight scenes to take place. Instead we have to settle for Aaron Cross finding his way through some mountains, shooting a few things with a rifle and bonding with some other random agent in a log cabin in the snow. There is a little taster of what’s to come when Cross takes on a wolf but then the action gets so much better when Cross tracks down and saves Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), killing four people in the process using everything from the ordinary (a gun) to the unexpected that Bourne is known for (a table, fire extinguisher). The stunts and fight scenes are just as good, if not better in my opinion, as the original trilogy’s.

Renner and Weisz prove a winning combination on screen.

The performances from everyone in the cast are very solid. Jeremy Renner, continuing his great year following Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Avengers, is brilliant in the lead role and has fantastic chemistry with Rachel Weisz which really helps in the believability of their relationship towards one another as it builds through the film. Weisz herself is actually very good as well. Ed Norton doesn’t have much to do unfortunately but I anticipate a bigger role for him in the sequel which The Bourne Legacy certainly leaves itself open to and I wouldn’t be surprised if a script was already being written as I write this.

The Bourne Legacy does exactly what it needs to. It does a great job of exploring the world that we know Bourne lives in and gives insight to how his actions have affected people’s lives that were never given a second thought to before. With Matt Damon leaving this was a great direction to go. It doesn’t quite live up to the original trilogy but what it does is leave itself open for it’s own franchise to be headed by Jeremy Renner and hopefully Tony Gilroy will stay on writing duties even if he steps down from directing. Fans of the first three films should enjoy The Bourne Legacy but it is a hard place to jump in to what is already a pretty complicated series of films.

My Rating: 7/10.

Benjamin Geza Affleck-Boldt is a name that you may not be familiar with, although when shortened to Ben Affleck it is very difficult to avoid. Ben Affleck is arguably one of the biggest celebrities in the world and has been for some years, both for his work in the film industry and his relationships with a string of big name Hollywood ladies including Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez and his current wife Jennifer Garner. But what I know him for is his acting, writing, producing and directing of some brilliant and some not-so-brilliant, slightly below average films.

One of the most famous friendships in Hollywood: Affleck and Damon.

After appearing in small extra roles in a number of films including Field of Dreams and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Affleck really became known for his turns in Kevin Smith films Mallrats and Chasing Amy, however it was Good Will Hunting in 1997 that made him a household name. Good Will Hunting was nominated for nine Oscars including a Best Original Screenplay win for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon who shared the writing credit and both starred in the film too. This success then allowed Affleck to move into bigger roles and he pretty much became a huge success with all of his films becoming massive hits at the box office; Armageddon, Pearl Harbor and The Sum of All Fears. Affleck was acting among some big names and becoming one of them too whilst still doing smaller films including Shakespeare In Love, Dogma and Boiler Room.

A year after The Sum of All Fearswas released something bad happened to Ben Affleck’s acting career that he has never really recovered from. Ben Affleck states that his favourite comic book when he was growing up was Daredevil so when the chance arose to play the Marvel hero naturally Affleck jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, despite being praised for his casting and his role in the film it is not a very good film at all to be honest (although the director’s cut is actually meant to be a huge increase in quality) and since appearing in Daredevil Affleck has not really tastes any of the huge success he once had as an actor. Instead, he has appeared in a number of critical and commercial flops including Gigli, Surviving Christmas and Smokin’ Aces. He has however had smaller success with Hollywoodland in which Affleck received huge praise for his role as George Reeves in the biographical docudrama.

In order to get his career back on track Affleck decided to get behind the camera and begin directing films. His first feature was an adaptation of the Dennis LeHane novel Gone Baby Gone in which he cast his brother Casey Affleck  (a better actor than himself) in the lead role. The end product worked out brilliantly, the film was praised and Affleck directed it very very well; it is one of my favourite films. Whilst he does still act it is in the directors chair where Affleck is getting a lot of praise, more praise than he ever got as an actor. In 2010, Affleck directed The Town and starred in the lead role as well (ego?) but nonetheless the direction received huge praise again and Jeremy Renner got a surprise nod for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance under Affleck’s direction.

Affleck’s latest feature film as director is Argo and is due out later this year and there is a lot of expectation of the film as it is based on real life events and incorporates a lot of different themes so it will be interesting to see how Affleck brings them all together and whether he is successful or not. Also, and this is just a rumour for now, everyone knows that DC comics and Warner Bros. are trying to put out a Justice League movie after the success of Marvel’s team up in The Avengers but it is being reported that Ben Affleck is being lined up to direct. This would be a master stroke.

There is no doubt that Ben Affleck is a film star, but he should definitely star behind the camera from now on and continue his success in the director’s chair.

Rise of the Guardians is the latest animated offering from DreamWorks Animation that will be released later on this year and is already the subject of much hype. I think that this film will be a huge success and, take away The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, this is probably the film that I have been most looking forward to this year. But why?

The Avengers smashed records left, right and centre upon its release earlier this year and brought together characters like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hulk to the big screen to all work together. Well, Rise of the Guardians is The Avengers of childhood; everyone has different lives obviously but there are some things that are the same in everyone’s childhood as they grow up and this is their belief in Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Jack Frost. Rise of the Guardians brings together these heroes of childhood in the same way that The Avengers were brought together, and who is the Loki to Rise of the Guardians team? Someone that every child has nightmares about; the Boogeyman. It’s a brilliant concept for a film to have these famous characters working together and being aware of each and every one of their existences.

Rise of the Guardians is based on William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood book series and the books, whilst only released last year were instant hits and are surely going to become classic stories that children will be reading for years. Joyce is also already a big name in the world of animated films; he worked on the art design for Pixar’s Toy Story and A Bug’s Life, produced Robots and wrote Meet the Robinsons. Joyce, as well as writing Rise of the Guardians, is producing and co-directing. The fact that he is writing and co-directing the film is great news because it will mean that he will be able to tell the story exactly as he wants meaning the audience will see the film how it is meant to be seen which always makes a film better!

DreamWorks Animation obviously is in a very difficult position because it has to play second place in the animation world to Pixar, although this is nothing to be ashamed of. I think DreamWorks are pretty up and down: the Shrek series was pretty inconsistent despite a great start, I’m not too keen on the Madagascar series and Shark Tale was worse than average. But when DreamWorks get it right they really do get it right! Flushed Away is brilliant, Kung Fu Panda is great and How to Train Your Dragon is up there with anything Pixar have ever done and even better than some of their films. Rise of the Guardians does look as though it will be one of DreamWorks’ best films to date and that means it will be fantastic! The animation from the trailer itself looks amazing and it will be a treat for all the senses.

Who could have ever imagined that Hugh Jackman, the man who plays the berserker rage suffering Wolverine, would play the Easter Bunny, or Bunnymund as he will be called in Rise of the Guardians. It seems strange casting but just from the trailer it looks spot on! Plus, any film that has Hugh Jackman saying the line “I’m a bunny” just has to be good! Rise of the Guardians’ cast also boasts Chris Pine as Jack Frost, Isla Fisher as Tooth (the Tooth Fairy), Alec Baldwin as North/Santa Claus (brilliant casting!) and Jude Law as Pitch, the Boogeyman. It’s a cast of big names and great voices which will no doubt add to the enjoyment of the film.

When I first saw the trailer I said that it was the best trailer I had seen for a very long time and I still stand by that statement; it tells the story, introduces the characters and packs in lots of laughs in a short space of time. Every little bit of advertising I see for Rise of the Guardians just makes me want to see it even more and the release date cannot come quick enough!

30th November 2012… Legends Unite.

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.