Thursday, April 25, 2013

Is There A Superman Curse?

With Man Of Steel due to be released in June this year, it has prompted me into once again contemplating if there is a Superman curse.

Superman perhaps holds dear to me more than any other superhero. When I was 11 years old, "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman" became my favourite television show and my first celebrity crush became Dean Cain. Therefore I had a big S symbol imprinted on me.

Like the majority of the population, I was disappointed with Superman Returns in 2006. I'm praying that Man Of Steel is a vast improvement, especially since Christopher Nolan is producing and Henry Cavill is playing the man himself. As a big fan of "The Tudors" in which Cavill played Charles Brandon, I think this is a great choice.

So the idea of a Superman curse both scares and fascinates me. My Superman curse knowledge consisted of only a handful of information before I started my research into the conspiracy.

Let's start with what I first knew and then we will look at the evidence as to whether there actually is a curse or if it is nothing more than a conspiracy.

"Superman" first appeared on the small screen in 1951.The television series ran for eight years through the 1950's and was played by George Reeves. Although Reeves has been in show business for years, Superman was the role that made him a household name. When fame found him, so did being typecast for further roles which made Reeves very depressed. "Superman" was cancelled in 1958 and it is said that Reeves was contemplating exhibition wrestling.

 Reeves died from a shotgun wound to the head in June 1959. His death was ruled suicide, but many believe that he was murdered. The expected murder motive was that Reeves was involved with MGM executive Eddie Mannix's wife, Toni and MGM publicist, Howard Strickling was called in to fix what had gone wrong.

My second point of reference was Christopher Reeve, who played Superman in the four Superman films released in the late 1970's and 80's. Reeve had a successful acting career both during and after the Superman films. Tragedy struck Reeve in 1995 when he was paralysed as a result of a horseback-riding accident. He lived for another nine years wheelchair bound and still continued to act, before passing away in 2004. His beloved wife, Dana passed away two years after his death.

So these were the main two figures that spring to my mind thinking about the curse. I also had the notion that if you play Superman, it is almost like a curse on your career. I'm thinking particularly of Dean Cain and Brandon Routh here, and I suppose George Reeves would also fall into this category. Both Cain and Routh are still acting and have had numerous roles since there Superman days, but neither can seem to secure a main role in a big film. However, I wouldn't really see this as a curse, I would see this as more of a problem with being typecast. So I am kind of on the fence about whether this is an actual aspect of the curse or just the acting game.

So out of fear for Henry Cavill, I did a bit more research to find out if there is any more evidence to support this idea of a curse.

According to Blastr writer Don Kaye, it was Superman's creator, Jerry Siegal who put a curse on Superman when Warner Bros announced that they were making a multi-million dollar version of the DC Comics creation. Siegal and co-creator, Joe Shuster were livid that they were not going to receive a dollar from the deal and Siegal vented his anger in a press release stating that he is putting a curse on the film and hopes that it will bomb. The film didn't and another three films were made, but scandal and death riddled the cast for years.

As well as Reeve, Margot Kidder who played Lois Lane suffered a break-down in 1996. She was found hiding in a neighbours garden convinced that she had been stalked and assaulted. She also was convinced that her husband was going to kill her and lived in extreme paranoia. Kidder was diagnosed with manic-depression when she was admitted to a psychiatric ward. Lee Quigley, who played the baby Kal-El in 1978, died at the age of 14 after inhaling solvents.

In 1948, "Superman" was a serial which was shown for matinee crowds and the man of steel was played by Kirk Alyn. When the serial finished, he also played Superman in the 1950, Atom Man vs. Superman. This is another actor who fell victim to typecasting. He found it hard to secure an acting career after Superman and died of natural cause at the age of 88.

Bud Collyer, who gave voice to Superman in the 1940's radio program "The Adventures Of Superman" , has also been linked to the curse. Collyer died of a circulatory ailment at the age of 61.

Kate Bosworth, who played Lois Lane in Superman Returns, linked herself with the curse by stating that it was the curse that was the reason she and Orlando Bloom broke up.

The Hollywood Reporter reported Man Of Steel producer, Lloyd Phillips passed away on the 28th of January 2013 after a fatal heart attack.

So there we have it. There have definitely been some tragedies and scandals linked to the Superman films and serials. One could be forgiven for believing that there is a curse.

I hear you all screaming "But what do you think????"

Well, here I go.

I think there is evidence both for and against. My bottom line is that if you hear there is a curse about something, you will go digging for anything to prove that there is. So if you hear about anything going wrong or anybody passing away who has been linked to the phenomenon, you will think "That's the curse!"

As far as George Reeves is concerned, if he committed suicide, I don't believe this is part of a curse. If he was murdered, then maybe. Reeves was a victim of typecasting and reports say this led to his depression. I don't think typecasting is part of a curse. As I said before, it is part of the acting game. Reeves, Cain and Routh aren't the first people to be typecast to particular roles and they sure as anything won't be the last.

The reason I say that if it was suicide it doesn't point to a curse and if it was murder maybe is because suicide would have been his choice while murder wasn't. I believe that if it is a curse, things happen beyond your control. So if any part of the Superman phenomenon is cursed, I would have to say it is the 1970's-80's movies as the things that happened to these cast members aren't by choice. So maybe Siegal somehow did place a curse on the films, just not in the way which he thought he was.

I don't believe that the curse had anything to do with Alyn or Collyer as, as morbid as it sounds, everyone dies eventually.

So my theory is that because a curse is spoken of and we hear anything to do with Superman that sounds a tad scandalous or morbid, we automatically link it to a curse. There could be one, but I just think it is more evident in one Superman period than others.

We have forgotten one person who has played Superman who's career has just gone from strength to strength after his performance. It isn't the same Superman you are thinking of, but Ben Affleck portrayed George Reeves in Hollywoodland. Since he has, he has made three successful films including Best Picture, Argo. Perfect evidence against a curse. There are various other examples like this. Teri Hatcher didn't seem to have too bad a time after Lois & Clark, being a Bond girl and a Desperate Housewife.

So let's see how Man Of Steel goes. Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and Russell Crowe may be fine yet.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Warm Bodies (2013)

Year: 2013
Director: Jonathan Levine
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Analeigh Tipton, Dave Franco, John Malkovich, Rob Corddry
Now showing in cinemas everywhere

Well, another zombie apocalypse film. That seems to be in fashion at the moment. is another case of young love between the dead and undead.

However, don't be put off. Warm Bodies is not like any other typical teen romance with two unlikely lovers. A fantastic script makes this film funny, clever and witty and some perfectly cast young actors give some great performances. As a result, the appeal of this film reaches far beyond young adults and makes this a film that everyone will enjoy. Just as long as you don't mind seeing a few gory details because you couldn't really have any type of a zombie film without them.

R (Nicholas Hoult) is a corpse (another word for zombie) like no other. He is sure that he is the only one walking the Earth in this zombie apocalypse who wishes for more and desires to feel something once again. Out on a hunt for food he comes across a beautiful human, Julie (Teresa Palmer) and he decides to go against making her his next meal and takes her to safety. During their time together, R starts to feel again when he falls for Julie and he starts to change on the inside and out. The two have many obstacles in their way. Not only is R not of the same species as Julie, but he is also the one who made his last human meal out of her boyfriend, Perry (Dave Franco)!

If you look closely, you will see how Warm Bodies is based on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. R and Julie are the zombie and human version of Romeo and Juliet, who are from "families" who are at war with each other. The first letter of several of the character's are the same as those in Romeo and Juliet who share a similar type of role. There is even a balcony scene.

The main thing that sets Warm Bodies apart from other films that it could be likened to is that this film knows what it is and embraces it. It knows that it is not a dramatic film and doesn't try to be. There is no young love angst involved. Warm Bodies is just entertaining and a great deal of fun. It doesn't want to be taken too seriously and as a result, is a much better film than all the others that it could be likened to.

The script, written by director Jonathan Levine and based on the novel of the same name by Isaac Marion, is very well written. The opening segment where R tells everyone who he is and what has happened to the world is absolutely hilarious. The use of a voice over in order to give R a voice works so well and provides some of the funniest moments of the film. The soundtrack of the film is also put to great use. It enhances the character's emotional moments and provides a bit more comic relief where needed.

Nicholas Hoult's star is certainly on the rise. This is a completely different role for him and he once again proves his abilities as the leading man. He is wonderful as R. He completely embodies the character and makes a very convincing besotted zombie. Hoult also proves that he has a great comedic ability too. He quickly gains the audience's sympathy and has everyone cheering for him by the end.

Teresa Palmer does well as Julie and is a very likable character. It doesn't seem like too far a cry from her previous roles, but she does well all the same. Analeigh Tipton also does well as Julie's best friend, Nora and is a character worth having in the film. Dave Franco does well with the limited amount of screen time he gets, but isn't there long enough for the audience to make an informed decision about whether they like him or not. Rob Corddry is hilarious as R's best friend, M.

Warm Bodies is an absolute treat. It is something unique and a brand of comedy which isn't forced.  If only there were more movies these days with the same kind of spirit.


On a side note....
What is the best thing to come out of "America's Next Top Model"?

Analeigh Tipton, of course!
Back in 2008 in the 11th season of "America's Next Top Model", a cute as pie ex- figure skater from Sacremento graced our screens in the first episode and ending up finishing third in the competition. Analeigh Tipton gained a large following during the show for her down to Earth personality, her beautiful looks and for how much girls could relate to her. Living in the USA at the time, she was certainly the favourite of all the girls I spoke to. Tipton was complimented in one particular episode as being quite a good actress and the judges saw her as having a Hollywood look.

They had this right.

While many talk of how the modelling and entertainment industry does not take the television show seriously, Tipton has proved that the show can definitely give birth to stars.

While she was signed by Ford Models after the show, she decided that she wanted to study film and the rest is history. Since then, Tipton has starred in The Green Hornet, Crazy Stupid Love, Damsels In Distress and now Warm Bodies.

I must say, though reality TV is frowned upon by many, I believe ANTM has given Tipton a leg up as many were able to see the true person she is and she is such a likable girl that so many people want to see her do well in any profession whether it be modelling or acting.

Her star is on the rise and I couldn't be happier for her!

And by the way, according to IMDb, she is also writing a zombie movie script!

You may have also seen Nicholas Hoult in......
X-Men: First Class as Hank/Beast
Jack The Giant Slayer as Jack

You may have also seen Teresa Palmer in....
I Am Number Four as Number Six

You may have also seen Rob Corddry in......
Hot Tub Time Machine as Lou

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Song For Marion (2012)

Year: 2012
Director: Paul Andrew Williams
Cast: Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave, Gemma Arterton and Christopher Eccleston
Now showing in cinemas in the UK
Opening in Australia on the 25th of April
Opening in the USA on the 21st of June

Song For Marion is a film which causes an explosion of emotions.

Paul Andrew Williams' latest film makes you feel as though you have been on an emotional rollercoaster, but not a jerky one that really knocks you about. A rather gentle one which makes you value life and laughter a little more. However if a movie is like an emotional rollercoaster, you cannot expect there to be no tears and there definitely are some of those in Song For Marion.

Arthur (Terence Stamp) and Marion (Vanessa Redgrave) are an elderly married couple who seem like opposites with Arthur being rather grumpy and Marion being full of life. Despite Marion's love of life, she is gravely ill. Besides Arthur, her great love in life is singing in a choir for pensioners, led by young Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton). When Arthur's beautiful wife leaves the world, he finds comfort in singing himself and it brings a change to himself and he realises what he has been missing out on.

Song For Marion is a beautiful film, but also quite confronting as one of it's themes is mortality. It reminds us that we will all lose people in our lives that we love and that we ourselves will one day go and leave behind all the wonderful people we know and love. It really is a particularly morbid truth to be faced with when watching this film. The one big warning about this film is that if you have recently lost someone you love, this film may be a bit too painful for you to watch. Maybe not even recently, it is a very teary film for everyone from parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren and husbands and wives.
Senior singing group The OAPZ in Song for Marion
However, there are also some very funny scenes throughout the film. The OAPZ are a beautiful bunch of people who embrace life and give their all in every song which is handed to them to sing. It is particularly funny watching these old men try to dance and their rendition of "Ace Of Spades" by Motorhead is absolutely hilarious.

The flaw of this movie is that it is quite predictable and a little cliché. However, the cliché's are played out in a way that you don't really mind that they are present. The movie just seems to flow naturally and it doesn't try too hard to make you feel something. This all just comes naturally and even subtly with some amazing performances.

Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave are absolute magic together. They have so much chemistry that you are completely convinced that you are watching a couple who are each other's world. Even though you see them at their toughest moments, you still see how happy their marriage has been.

Stamp is completely heartbreaking in this role. Although he seems very much the grump, you can tell he is just battling with how to deal with the situation he is in and he always has the audience on his side. His final choir scene is so beautiful and powerful that there isn't a dry eye in the house. Vanessa Redgrave is also wonderful and plays her role with so much love and passion.

Song for Marion

Gemma Arterton is the perfect choice for the selfless leader of the choir and Christopher Eccleston does well as Arthur and Marion's son. Orla Hill, who plays the couples granddaughter is just beautiful in her role. She minds us that the love of the child is the most pure.

You have to be prepared in Song For Marion have as many tears as you will laughs. It is heartbreaking, but also reminds you to treasure the beauty you have in your life.



You may have also seen Terence Stamp in....
The Adjustment Bureau as Thompson

You may have also seen Vanessa Redgrave in.....
Letters To Juliet as Claire
Anonymous as Queen Elizabeth

You may have also seen Gemma Arterton in......
Clash Of The Titans as Io
Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time as Princess Tamina

Monday, April 15, 2013

Oblivion (2013)

Year:  2013
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Melissa Leo

There isn't much wrong with Oblivion. 

In saying that, it isn't the best movie of the year but it is entertaining, well done and a great, unpredictable story. It is great when Hollywood turns out a sci-fi blockbuster which isn't completely corny and has some real substance to it.

The film opens in 2077 with Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) informing us how Earth went to war with the alien race, the Scavs and although we won, we lost the planet. He and his partner and lover, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) live on a station in the skies while on a mission to extract Earth of vital resources before they retreat and leave Earth for good. However, Jack has many questions about who he is and where he has come from that he has been told not to ask. When he rescues Julia (Olga Kurylenko), some of his questions are answered but all of a sudden, he has a whole new set of questions.
You are drawn into Oblivion right from the word go. The opening sequence is fantastic. It is informative as it lets us all know exactly what happened to the world, who everyone is and what is going to happen. The visuals and score to accompany it just works brilliantly to draw everyone in.

Oblivion is one sci-fi action film that is wonderfully directed by Joseph Kosinski. Everything in the film just works so well together. The screenplay, written by Kosinski, Michael Arndt and Karl Gajdusek is played out very well on screen. What is great is that it is completely unpredictable in parts. Some parts are a bit predictable, but it is a case of when you think you have it all figured out, something you didn't see happening happens because you weren't looking in that direction. Admittedly, around the middle of the film it loses momentum a tad, but picks it back up with a bang.

The special effects are breath taking. The Empire State Building is just eerie as well as being so interesting to behold, as are other landmarks affected by Earth's war. The sound of the whole film is incredible. The sound effects for the drones are particularly good. The musical score is also great for the love scenes.

If you after something particularly action packed, just be prepared because it doesn't click into action mode until halfway through. The action scenes are well worth waiting for though.

Tom Cruise can do action. There is no doubt about that. It's what he seems to love to do these days, which there is nothing wrong with because he is obviously very good at it and people love seeing him do them. He also seems to love playing Jack's, as this is his third film doing so (the other two films being Jack Reacher and Legend). Action man or not, Cruise does still have his dramatic work shining through in various parts through the film. He does pensive and romantic very well.

Olga Kurylenko is fine, but does spend the majority of the film with the same terrified expression on her face and doesn't stray very far from that. Andrea Riseborough is the best of the girls covering all bases. She is particularly good when Jack returns to the station.

Oblivion is fantastic entertainment. A wonderful sci-fi screenplay paired with amazing cinematography and directorial choices makes this film a winner.


On a side note....
Love him or hate him, think he's crazy or completely sane, you can't deny Tom Cruise's star power.

He is a major box office draw and has been so for well over 20 years now. He was perhaps the first film star's name I actually knew when I was a little one back in the 1980's. My mum was always swooning over him as was my drama teacher. I must say, he is aging very well as to me he has barely changed in appearance since I first remember him.

My first "grown-up" favourite film was Rain Man so at 13 years old, you can imagine my amazement when my father rang me when I was away with my mum to inform me that he had just met Cruise (he was married to Nicole Kidman at the time and in Australia at Christmas time to see her family) through mutual friends at a party! I will never forget (as won't my Dad) how I was told how much of a gentleman he is and how he was so happy just to relax and talk about his kids and also about how he wanted to understand Australian sport now.

It is great to know that today he is still that person and no matter what you hear in the tabloids, one thing is for sure. This man loves his fans and loves to have a chat no matter who you are. Just last week at the Oblivion premiere in Hollywood, Cruise arrived hours early to sign autographs and chat to his fans. I love that, there's not many stars who would do something like that.

(image Kevin Winter/ Getty Images on New York Daily News)

You may have also seen Tom Cruise in....
Knight and Day as Roy Miller
Rock Of Ages as Stacee Jaxx

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Rising Star Natalie Dormer

This gorgeous actress who I have chosen to be Movie Critical's next rising star has made her biggest impact on the small screen. She is very quickly becoming a household name to those who weren't already bewitched by her role as the ill-fated Anne Boleyn in "The Tudors", as she has now become a regular cast member of HBO's hit show "Game Of Thrones".

Our rising star is beautiful British actress, Natalie Dormer.

Dormer, who was born on the 11th of February 1982 in Reading, UK, joined the "Game Of Thrones" ensemble during the second season as Margaery Tyrell and has become a regular for season three. As is the case with most of the female "Game Of Thrones" cast, her most recent role has shot her into the spotlight. However, for lovers of everything Tudor (including myself), this lovely lady has been a star since we first saw her appear in the Showtime series, "The Tudors" back in 2008.

Dormer has been acknowledged by many as the best portrayal of Anne Boleyn ever on the screen, big or small. She has been tagged the most historically accurate ill-fated queen, both in appearance and performance.

In approaching her role as Anne Boleyn, Dormer took her role extremely seriously as she is a great lover of British history. Susan Bordo's recent book, The Creation Of Anne Boleyn features Dormer speaking about her research into her role and also her experiences playing the ill-fated queen. She talks about how she wanted to keep her portrayal as close to history as possible and not do her any wrong.

It is a wonder to many (myself included) how Dormer didn't recieve more recognition in the form of an Emmy or Golden Globe nomination at least. Anne Boleyn is one historical figure who has been portrayed so many times in popular culture. Dormer's Anne is one who has so much sexual intensity, but still demands the audience's sympathy and remains a character the viewers barrack for. Everyone knows what happened to Anne Boleyn, but her Anne is one you pray doesn't fall victim to same fate.

An interesting piece of information about Dormer according to the website, Captivating Natalie Dormer is that she is a decendent of Jane Dormer, who was Queen Mary Tudor's lady-in-waiting. So Dormer is related to the character she portrayed's step-daughter!

Prior to "The Tudors", Dormer's first role of note was as Victoria in the 2005 film, Casanova. The role was initially a very small one, but director Lasse Hallstrom was so impressed with her that he made the role bigger just for her.

Since "The Tudors", Dormer has had such big screen roles as Olga in City Of Life, Pvt. Lorraine in Captain America: The First Avenger and she returned to playing royalty in W.E. as Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.

It has recently be announced that Dormer will be gracing the small screen as another popular female character, Irene Adler in Elementary. She will also appear in the film to be released this November, The Counselor, which also stars Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz.

Natalie Dormer is a favourite of many, but her star is only on the rise and it isn't long before everyone will know exactly who she is.

Captivating Natalie Dormer
The Internet Data Base
The Creation Of Anne Boleyn If you are interested in reading this book, it is available from Amazon here
Entertainment Weekly

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fifty Shades of My Opinion

Alright, so I am jumping on the bandwagon here.

Well, just a bit. I am not a fan of the bandwagon in any way shape or form. Movie Critical isn't usually the place for me to voice my opinion, but I feel like I really want to put my two cents worth about this one.

I am sure once I put this question to you, you will know exactly what I am about the have my two cents worth about. What hugely popular book that every woman seemed to be reading in 2012 is set to have a movie made out of?
Yes, you guessed it. "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James, the book categorized as "mummy porn", was the most talked about novel of 2012, especially among females. Because of it's saucy content, husbands were thankful to James' writing for spicing things up in their marriage after their wives read "Fifty Shades". There was even the passing joke that there was going to be a baby boom as a result of this book in the next year, not unlike that after the last World War.

My experience with the novel wasn't all that. I had heard so much about "Fifty Shade of Grey" and all about it's reputation. I knew it wasn't my type of book, but I am a big reader and I felt I needed to read it to find out what all the fuss was about.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" was really exactly what I expected. Definitely not a wonderfully written piece of literature and really quite erotic. The similarities between the "Fifty Shades" trilogy and the "Twilight" series of books are evident. Instead of a young girl being torn between the mortal and immortal world, it is a young woman being torn between the world she knows and Christian Grey's world of sexual domination. Love the books or hate them, they are extremely addictive. I would categorize the books as Chick lit bordering on erotic fiction rather than one or the other.

For those who haven't read the book, I'll give you a quick recap. Literature student, Anastasia Steele does a favour for her best friend by going to interview the young and powerful businessman, Christian Grey. The two are immediately attracted to each other. However, the naive and inexperienced in the area of men Ana soon gets a shock when she realises that Christian Grey leads almost a double life behind closed doors. And he wants Ana to be involved in his world of dark sexual desire.

So like all extremely successful books, they want to make a movie out of it. The internet is a buzz with rumours about who will play Ana and Christian and who will direct and produce. And I have a few things to say on this issue.

Firstly, how is this film going to be anything but rated R 18+ or MA 15+ at the very least? The majority of the book is about the two main characters engaged in sexual intercourse of the domination kind and, as we have already pointed out, is categorized more often than not as erotic fiction and "mummy porn". There is that word. Porn. This film will be bordering on porn. It won't be categorized as it though because there is a story line there as well and the film will not just consist of sex scenes. Yet we all know there will be a lot of it.

Don't get me wrong, the film will be very successful because fans of the book will rush out to see it and men will want to see it with their girlfriends or wives because they know what is in it. It will be interesting how they will make the film though. It could well seem pornographic if made with the same in depth analysis of the couple's sexual activities that the book gives. Or will they make it more art house, or maybe dark, or maybe just like a chick flick except with a lot of sex scenes? Will there be a voice over for Anastasia's "inner goddess" she keeps referring to? It will be an interesting film review either way.

But...what has everyone talking is who is going to play Anastasia and Christian?

Every young actress in Hollywood has had her name thrown around for the famous role. Emma Watson has been the biggest rumour so far and many thought it was because she wanted to break away from her squeaky clean Harry Potter image. However, Watson publicly denied ever being involved in talks and made clear her distaste for the role.

My opinion is that I can't see any already established actress taking this role. It's a role that could really shape their image and it wouldn't be a "Fifty Shades" movie without the lead providing nudity and being subject to some pretty kinky things. If there is an actress out there who wants to go in that direction, then by all means they would be perfect for the role. I can't see that being the case though if they want to remain a serious actress.

So I got to thinking. Firstly I believe that the two leads won't be played by actors who have already established careers. They will take little known actors and make them into household names.

Secondly, I came up with an idea I believe the casting directors of "Fifty Shades of Grey" should take into consideration. Considering there is going to be a lot of sex and nudity, why not cast someone who is in the adult entertainment industry at the present time who is looking for their break into mainstream and maybe out of that industry and into the actual film industry? These actors aren't worried about showing a bit of skin and "Fifty Shades of Grey" would by no means be a bad career step for them.

Now I know I should probably provide the name of somebody who I believe would fit the bill. I am not an adult film watcher and I don't know the names of anyone in the industry...besides one and I think this girl could be Anastasia Steele. However, I don't know what her actual acting ability is like and whether she even wants to get into the movie business.

When I was in Hollywood back in February for Oscars week, you may remember that I went to a taping of Brand X with Russell Brand. In one segment, Brand had to guess who the porn stars in the audience were. When the stars were revealed, one was revealed as this young, sweet and very pretty girl who had walked past me at the beginning of the taping.

This girl was one Teal Conrad. Why I believe this girl would be a great choice for the role (provided she would want the role and likes acting) is because she physically represents everything Anastasia is supposed to. She is supposed to be a brunette who is very naive and inexperienced, but who Grey takes under his wing and changes her. Conrad fits the bill. A 19 year old very pretty brunette who could pass as young and innocent, but does have this other side to her that is quite well known on the internet.

This is Conrad as taken from her Facebook page.
So, this is my two cents worth about who I believe should be cast as the much talked about Anastasia Steele.

I'm not overly a fan of this whole "Fifty Shades" phenomena that has taken the women of the world by storm, but like it or not, it makes for interesting conversation

Friday, April 5, 2013

Identity Thief (2013)

Year: 2013
Director: Seth Gordon
Cast: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, John Cho, Amanda Peet, Jon Favreau

Before I begin my review.....
Now, you can all accuse me of being a spoil sport or looking too much into it, but the big thing I found with this film is that I really don't want to laugh at human beings who do what Melissa McCarthy's character does. Luckily, Identity Thief really isn't that funny so I didn't have to.

Identity fraud and more commonly credit card fraud is a big problem in society at the moment. I can see that the film makers want us to see the funny side of the crime, but I don't believe the victims of such crime would find this funny.

That's all I am going to say on that matter.

Personally, I also couldn't find the snake scene particularly funny as I have a huge phobia of snakes. That is just me though. I don't feel strongly about whether or not they should have included that scene in the film. I just don't like snakes for the fear that they can bite you and inflict damage. For this reason I have never seen Snakes On A Plane, and don't plan to.

What is happening to the quality of comedies these days? Mediocrity is the order of the day, unless we are talking about Identity Thief. Bad is the word of the day when it comes to this film.

As well as being generally unfunny, the characters are not particularly likable and the script just a bit of a mess and extremely predictable. Two fine actors head the cast but are not given the script or characters to bring out the best in their acting.

The film opens with Denver finance worker, Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) receiving a call regarding the security of his credit card. Not suspecting anything, he hands over his details and on the other end of the line is an identity thief (Melissa McCarthy) who gathers information on her victims and then goes and has herself a good time. Sandy catches on to what is going on and when this puts his job at risk, he flies down to Miami to face his nemesis and bring her back to Denver to clear his name. However, a woman like this who cons people for a living isn't about to make things easy for Sandy.

It takes a specific type of humour to find this film funny. You have to either find people finding themselves continuously in embarrassing situations funny, people being irritating funny or the odd sexual joke funny. Many people do find these things funny and so the majority of people will find some laughs in Identity Thief. However, even these people will feel that the film is trying a little too hard to make people laugh. Some of the  humourous scenes are just annoying and have more of a "Was that meant to be funny?" air about them.

This is the type of humour which is seen quite regularly in the main stream comedies today. The film doesn't seem original at all as it seems almost like a remake of 2010's Due Date with a man and a woman instead of two men. Identity Thief is a road trip film combined with a stolen identity film, both of which have been seen more than once or twice on the big screen. Admittedly in films which are funnier than this.

The script does not hold any surprises and is extremely predictable. Not only can you predict the ending, but what is going to happen at every pit stop these two take. The cinematography is also quite dodgy in parts. The panning shots used are super quick and do not allow your eyes to focus on what you are looking at.

Although the actual character development is quite well done and backgrounds of the two main characters done well, the two main characters are generally unlikable. Jason Bateman's Sandy starts off like a good guy, but just turns annoyingly into someone who is clearly not doing himself any favours. Melissa McCarthy's thief (who has many names during the film) is more annoying than funny. There really is no chemistry between the two character's and it is unclear as to how and when they start bonding through the film (a bit of the Stockholm Syndrome at work).

However, the saving grace for the film and is the only reason to see it is one particular scene in the restaurant in St Louis in which Melissa McCarthy show's what a brilliant actress she really is. She's known for her comedies and that is her niche, but there is no doubt that this woman can act and in this particular scene she is wonderful.

By the way, why was Jon Favreau given third billing when he is barely even in 5 minutes of the film?

So besides one good scene which is a must for McCarthy fans, there really isn't any reason to see Identity Thief. Not even if you need a laugh, because you aren't even guaranteed that.


You may have seen Jason Bateman in....
Up In The Air

You may have seen Melissa McCarthy in.....