Category: Movie News&comments


Philip Seymour Hoffman Almost Famous

It was very sad news yesterday, when I saw a story pop on facebook, saying that the great actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman had been found dead in his apartment. I like many film fans hoped that it was a hoax, but alas it seems he died of an overdose.

I’m not gonna pretend that he was my favourite actor, but he was an amazing presence in nearly every film he was in.  You only have to look at his IMDB page to see the huge amount and very varied films he acted in during his career. For me personally I think the first film I noticed him in was Twister, where he played Dusty, a live wire storm chaser, it’s funny but I forgot he was in, until I watched it again recently and had one of those, “oh it’s him” moments.  From there he went into Boogie Nights which brought him to a lot of people’s attention, and his career really took off, with classic films like The Big Lebowski, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love, and in 2005 he won the best actor Oscar for his role as Truman Capote in Capote. He was nominated a further 3 times but never won another, something you can believe he probably would have done if he hadn’t been taken away. As well as award magnet films he has also did some more mainstream movies and was brilliant as the bad guy Owen Davian in JJ Abrams, Mission Impossible III, he showed real menace, something bad guys have been lacking of late. For me though my favourite performance was in Cameron Crowe’s amazing, Almost Famous, This is one of my favourite films and he was one of the best things in it, playing Lester Bangs, a real music journalist from the 60’s-70’s. In the film he takes the young William Miller under his wing and warns him about being friends with the bands he is writing about, and is very funny. If you haven’t seen this film, I can’t recommend it enough, it’s sort of based on director Cameron Crowe’s own teenage years where he became a journalist for Rolling Stone magazine and followed bands around the United States.

It is very sad that we have lost a great actor, who has brought us many memorable performances, in a very varied array of films, and at least we have those to look back on, if we don’t have those potential amazing films he would have gone on to make. He will be missed.

Lex revealed

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Despite the film being put back a year to 2016, it seems the casting for the Man Of Steel sequel continues apace. It was rumoured that Superman’s nemesis Lex Luthor would be in any sequel, especially with Luthorcorp signs popping up all over the place in the first film. Obviously the rumour mill started throwing names around including Joaquim Phoenix, Denzil Washington and because he plays a great baldie, Bryan Cranston. Well today it has been officially announced that Jessie Eisenberg will play the genius billionaire, following a previous billionaire role as Mark Zuckerberg in David Fincher’s The Social Network. Have to say I didn’t see this coming, we all expected Lex to be an older actor, but as he’s previously shown not all rich powerful men are old and it puts an interesting spin on the character and his inevitable confrontations with Superman and Batman. He is a very good actor and will handle the sinister and arrogant businessman well I think.
There was also another bit of casting announced for the film, that of Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler Alfred Pennyworth, following in the big shoes of Michael Caine, is another classical British thesp, Jeremy Irons. Seems a perfect fit for me.

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2015 was looking to be the mother of all summers at the cinema, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Pirates Of The Caribbean 5, Ant Man , Jurassic World,  and of course the Man Of Steel sequel which was going to feature the on screen face-off of Henry Cavill’s Superman and Ben Affleck’s Batman, along side Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. Well we are unfortunately now going to have to wait another year, as Warner Brothers have announced that the film has been delayed. It will now be released on May 6th 2016.

The studio said in a statement it was giving them “time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story”, and “We are happy to take advantage of these coveted summer dates, which are perfect for two of our biggest tent pole releases. We share the fans’ excitement to see DC Comics’ most popular figures, Superman and Batman, together on the big screen for the first time, which will now be arriving in theatres in May 2016.”

It’s sad we now have to wait another year to see the film but if it means they can spend more time getting it right, then it will hopefully be worth the wait.

As a film fan, living in the UK can be a real pain in the arse, especially when the films you are dying to see are released months later than our friends in the US. At the moment I am getting very frustated that the J.J. Abrams/ Steven Spielberg collaburation Super 8 has just been released Stateside and every site I look at is talking about it, but we don’t get it until August!  From what I’ve read this film has a very 80’s Spielberg tone to it, which I just want to see as some of my favourite films are from that decade. Also I’m looking forward to seeing Kyle Chandler getting a lead role, as  huge fan of Friday Night Lights.  Oh well I shall have to wait.

Also have to say well done to the Alamo Drafthouse cinema in Texas , Ain’t It Cool News recently put up a new advert that the aforementioned cinema is putting up in front of their performances.  They have the right idea about film presentation in that people who talk or use Mobile phones are removed from the cinema, and one customers took offence to this policy and complained and they turned it into their advert. Wish the UK cinemas would take notice of this! Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L3eeC2lJZs&feature=player_embedded

Bane Rises

Today has seen the first Official Image from The Dark Knight Rises. It appeared after the Dark Knight Rises Website went online and some clever bods worked out that the chanting that could be heard was a twitter address, which then revealed this image of Tom Hardy as Bane. Not a lot to see apart from he has been working out! Sure this is the first of many sneak peeks Christopher Nolan will be throwing  our way over the next year.

 

Director Gore Verbinski (Pirates Of The Carribean: Curse Of  The Black Pearl) has today found his Lone Ranger, for the big screen version of the Radio/Tv Series made famous in the 1950’s. Joining Johnny Depp’s Tonto, the man in the mask is Armie Hammer. Not a big name, but one you might recognise, he played the Winklevoss Twins in, David Finchers’ The Social Network, which was a great performance. You might not know that he was also set to put on another mask as The Caped Crusader, Batman in a 2006 Justice League movie, directed by George Millar. Unfortunately for Hammer the movie got cancelled so now he gets another chance at stardom. The Lone Ranger doesn’t mean a lot to me, as I’m too young to remember it, but could make a good movie, just hope Johnny Depp doesn’t play Tonto as a drunk Indian!

Poster Post

No new reviews to put up, though shall hopefully catch Attack The Block this week. Instead here are two posters for two films that I am really looking forward to this year. First up the Steven Speilberg/Peter Jackson digital animation interpretation of Tintin. Love Spielberg, and love Tintin, so very excited about this one! Second the poster for the return to the big screen of The Muppets. Used to watch the Muppets as a kid and really enjoyed the recent films, so looking forward to this new one. With a screenplay by Jason Siegel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and an all star human cast including Ricky Gervais, Jack Black and Amy Adams, this could be great.

Pan’s Hobbit

 

In one of the worse kept secrets in movies this year, Guillermo Del Toro has been announced as the director of the Hobbit movies. I say movies as they are splitting the book into two movies. To stop this being a bit thin on story they are also adding elements into the story to linl it up to the Lord OF The Rings trilogy. Peter Jackson isn’t directing but is staying on as producer, so it will probably retain the style of the LOTR trilogy but with Del Toro’s distinctive visuals.  For the big fans of the Jackson trilogy there is the big news that Sir Ian McKellan is returning in the role of Gandalf. Wouldn’t be surprised if a few other cast members return.

 If you are wondering who Guillermo Del Toro is, well he is the director of Spanish horror films Cronos and Devils Backbone, as well as Hollywood movies, Mimic, Blade 2 and Hellboy. The film that really garned him praise was Pan’s Labyrinth which was like a really dark fairytale with amazing visuals and imaginative characters. His next film gets a release this summer and it a sequel to Hellboy, titled Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and it looks amazing and could easily out do it’s predecessor. 

This week, the kings of animation, Pixar held a press conference announcing their schedule of films up to 2012 with a few surprises. The first big surprise was that after Wall-E’s release all their films will be in 3D! Two of the biggies of these 3D films will be the re-releases of Toy Story and Toy Story 2, it will be great to see these on the big screen again, but especailly in 3D!

The big Pixar film for 2009 is called ‘Up’ and follows a 78 year old man who abandons his mudane life and sets off on an adventure with an 8 year old wilderness explorer. Sounds a bit different to their usual stuff, but it is Pixar so no need to worry. 2009 also sees the 3D re-release of Toy Story.

2010 will bring the film that everyone hoped for but always looked unlikely, Toy Story 3! This time the horrible day that they hoped would never happen has arrived and Andy has gone off to college and the Toys are out in the cold. I’m so glad that Pixar are doing this, as when Pixars deal with Disney was over the mouse house threatened to make their own third film as a direct to DVD sequel without the the same voices, which would have been terrible. 2010 will also see the 3D release of Toy Story 2.

2011, sees Pixar really spoiling us with two films. First up is ‘Newt’, which sees the last male and female newts of the species put together in a laboratory to hopefully mate and save the species. The problem is they can’t stand each other! It’s directed by the guy who made the ‘Lifted’ short you might have seen before Ratatouille.  The second offering is ‘The Bear And The Bow’, which sees a royal in a mythical Scotland decide to try being an Archer but ends up putting her father and mother in peril. Featuring the voices of Resse Witherspoon, Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson.

Finally 2012 see’s a real surprise sequel, ‘Cars 2’! Of all the Pixar films you would have expected a sequel I would have thought the Incredibles would have been obvious, not the film that was slated, though personally I really liked Cars, it looks fantastic on Blu Ray!  No news on the story or which characters are returning but it has apparently got a international feel.

 

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  On February 19th came the sad news that Toshiba the company that was the producer of HD DVD and it’s players had decided to give up the ghost and hand the format war to Sony’s Blu Ray. For me this was pretty gutting as at the end of December I had picked up my HD DVD player! I already had Blu Ray through my Playstation 3 but was annoyed by the fact I couldn’t get some films on the format, then I saw a Toshiba  HD player for only £180 with seven free discs and thought it was time to join the HD DVD  camp as well. One of the first discs I got was Transformers which looked amazing, and was everything I hoped from High Definition. The one thing I really love about HD DVD is the lack of Region Coding which was a real pain on DVD till the region free players came out, and is a system that has been adopted by Blu Ray. With the pound being so strong against the dollar importing discs from America is very cheap and worry free due to no coding, I have alreay got a nice selection. Another great Idea with HD DVD was the combo discs, a lot of the US releases had the HD format on one side and the standard dvd on the other, which meant I could lend the discs to my parents, something I can’t do with the Blu Ray unless they get a PS3 and they aren’t really big gamers, though my mum does have a DS!

  Almost a week after geting my player I heard the news that Warner Brothers, who were one of the few companies to release their films on both Hi Def formats, were going to go Blu Ray exclusive and that was the first nail in the coffin. It was only a matter of time before the other studios followed suit and when Toshiba made their announcement Paramount and Universal all jumped ship. The players all dropped in price as well, my player is now about £70! and the Xbox 360 HD drive is only £39.99, strangely though the discs haven’t dropped in price yet, well not in rip off Britain. Most annoying was that the studios said all discs that have already been announced would be released, which included Sweeny Todd and There Will Be Blood, then the other day they decided they couldn’t be bothered. So two discs I was really looking forward to have been ditched.

 So where did it all go wrong for HD DVD? It’s hard to say as they seemed to have done everything right, unlike Blu Ray which as a format is still evolving, HD was set out from the start and didn’t change it. The interactive feature on the discs are brilliant, the video commentary on MI:III was impressive and so far I have been impressed more with picture quality on HD over Blu Ray. As already mentioned they have the region free status and the players are actually cheaper. What I think was the death knell was the Playstation 3. The console wasn’t doing that well, compared to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii, but by putting a Blu Ray player in the machine as standard they brought out the cheapest Blu Ray player on the market providing people with an easy entry into the world of High Def movies. If Microsoft had put the HD drive into the 360 as standard I think the format war would have gone the opposite way. Sony have usually been the losers in format wars, from Betamax video, to Minidisc and the UMD format for the PSP, so it is a real shock they have won this time. The thing is they really need to sort it out properly though to win over the average consumer, the format needs a proper set format. They also could do with dropping the Region coding which is just a money making tactic. The one company that uses it the most is 20th Century Fox, all their US blu ray releases are region Coded, so what, you say I’ll wait till it comes out over here. Well when they are released in the UK they are priced at £24.99 in the US they are £17.99, but because of the region coding we can’t import the cheaper disc. Imagine having to pay nearly £7 more for the Star Wars films, it’s just wrong.

  So it’s all over for a great movie watching format, hopefully I can get some cheaper discs now and with over 300 available discs there are plenty to pick from. Last night I watched the directors cut of Beowulf on HD DVD and it was simply stunning it’s a shame that for people to watch it in high def from now on it will probably be on an overpriced disc.