The Next 007


SPECTRE is only a few months away. The anticipation is growing with intriguing trailers and the rumours over the coveted job of the singer of the iconic title music in full flow. Another question that has been heavily discussed is that of who will continue to play 007 after Daniel Craig has left the franchise. Originally, Craig was going to exit after Skyfall, but is reuniting with director Sam Mendes for SPECTRE which is frequently being touted as his last outing in the role. He will leave the franchise with not only his dignity intact after a barrage of criticism before Casino Royale but with the honour of reigniting the series and making it something new and exciting.

Speculation about the new Bond is already well underway with pretty much every actor working in the film industry being suggested as a possible replacement. Look at the betting odds and you’ll find such names as Peter Dinklage, Vinnie Jones and even John Travolta further down the odds list but here are some of the people more likely to fill Bond’s shoes…

The Bookies Favourite – Damien Lewis

Damian Lewis as Nicholas "Nick" Brody in Homeland (Season 2, Episode 12). - Photo:  Kent Smith/SHOWTIME - Photo ID:  Homeland_212_1559
Damian Lewis as Nicholas “Nick” Brody in Homeland (Season 2, Episode 12). – Photo: Kent Smith/SHOWTIME – Photo ID: Homeland_212_1559

Originally touted as a dark horse, in recent months Damien Lewis emerged as the bookie’s favourite for the next reincarnation of James Bond. You can see what appeals about him; in Homeland and Wolf Hall he has exhibited his wide acting range. He has a strong voice and domineering presence whilst being charming and likeable. But with the swathes of criticism aimed at Daniel Craig of him being blond how will everyone react if a redhead takes over the role?

The Fan’s Favourite – Idris Elba


Idris Elba was once almost nailed on to get the role of James Bond before Craig departed. The current 007 has stated how great he would be in the role. Elba is hugely popular with film critics and audiences alike and everyone thought the time had come to finally get out of the dark ages and present Bond as black.

Sir Roger Moore, however, thought otherwise and infamously vocalised the small minority that still doesn’t want a black actor stating that Bond should be “English-English”. With this slip of bigotry not only did Moore damage his own reputation somewhat but he seems to forget that his predecessor in the role was Scottish and his replacement was a Welshman.

If we can suspend belief and allow the fact that Bond has been played by a variety of people of varying nationalities why can’t Idris Elba play him. Elba admitted recently that “If there was any chance of me getting Bond it’s gone” but with his cool personality and touch of class I’m hoping this isn’t the case.

The Traditional Choice – Henry Cavill

henry cavill 660 reuters

If you were a casting director it is clear that Henry Cavill is the no brainer choice for the part. He’s suave, sophisticated, British (from the proud island nation of Jersey) and according to my wife “No man should ever be that good looking.” He’s got everything and almost got the job back in 2005 for Casino Royale. There was a time that he could have easily given up after not only being second choice for Bond, but also for Batman and The Man of Steel for Superman Returns in 2006. His persistence paid off and he eventually became Superman a few years later whilst cementing himself as a real Hollywood A-Lister. His upcoming role as Napoleon Solo in The Man From U.N.C.L.E will no doubt showcase his abilities acting in a spy role and you’d think he’d be the best choice.

The No Brainer – Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy attends "The Drop" premiere on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Tom Hardy’s name keeps cropping up as one of the favourites for the role and it’s clear why. He has been excellent in every role he’s played and would be remarkably cool as Bond. It would also maintain a nice consistency that Craig’s replacement would also come from the excellent Layer Cake. He’d bring a real energy and intensity to the role and has stated he’d love to play the role, especially if Christopher Nolan, who is eager to direct a Bond film is on board which would be a dream match. Audiences would be massively on board with Hardy and he’d look right at home in that tuxedo.

The Juggernaut – Michael Fassbender

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Why wouldn’t people consider one of the best actors of the last ten years? Michael Fassbinder’s eclectic body of work has demonstrated his huge acting abilities. His role as Lt. Archie Hicox in Inglorious Basterds is a great of example of the Irishman looking suave and doling out the charm. He would be a natural choice and would lend a real authority to the character.The question is would he want to dedicate himself to another franchise after playing Magneto in X-Men?

The Oscar Winner – Eddie Redmayne


It is a truth universally acknowledged that a British actor who wins a Best Actor Oscar will be considered for James Bond. The casting directors could do worse than Eddie Redmayne as well. Although many would deem him perhaps too ‘soft’ for the role the charm and style is certainly there. He’s probably got a lot on his plate with upcoming roles in The Danish Girl and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but who knows?

The Outsider – Kit Harington

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With the uncertainty of how long again before we see Jon Snow, if ever again, on Game of Thrones we can assume that Kit Harington is going to want to embrace a variety of roles in the near future. So, why not go for the most coveted role in the film industry and audition for James Bond? He has already dipped his toe in the espionage genre with Spooks: The Greater Good and shown his flair for action in Pompeii. He’s well liked and has the right hair colour for all the die-hard Bond fans so why not? He’s certainly one to consider.

These are just a few of the candidates, just like Damien Lewis, someone else could just one day became the favourite and steal the role from under everyone’s nose. Other actors suggested for the role include Dan Stevens, Richard Armitage, Jamie Dornan, Dominic Cooper and Tom Hiddlestone. Until the decision is reached though, at least we’ve got SPECTRE to look forward to in October!

This blog post is dedicated to my wife Hannah. Without whom I would have never watched all the Bond films 🙂


Movies Banned Across The World


I have always been interested in film censorship. I wrote my university dissertation on the Video Nasties of the 1980’s and am fascinated by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) website which I peruse frequently. I think it is a case of being interested in what is deemed suitable or not and why this is the case. Whether its sex, violence or bad language, how do we know what people can tolerate and put an age restriction on it or even ban it completely. Obviously this is different according to the censors, context and even the circumstances in a particular country.

Therefore, I decided to look at what films are deemed to be unsuitable all over the world, especially the movies that we would think to be mostly innocuous. No amount of cuts by the censor could prevent it from being banned in a certain country. I’m bypassing the movies that would be banned for obvious reasons, mostly those of sexual violence (Cannibal Holocaust, A Serbian Movie, I Spit on Your Grave, etc) so I decided to share with you all some that you probably wouldn’t expect to see in the restricted zone.


Schindler’s List – Spielberg’s Oscar winning masterpiece of modern cinema is a very hard watch due to its subject matter and intense visuals. However, it is probably one of the most important films of all time. This isn’t seen to be the case in Indonesia where censors banned it in 1994, some cite that it is due to the film being sympathetic to the Jewish cause and there is no place for it in a heavily Muslim populated region. The National Censorship Board insist however it is due to too much nudity and violence.

brief encounter

Brief EncounterBrief Encounter is, by today’s standards, massively innocuous in its treatment of an emotional love affair between two married people who meet at a train station. There’s no sex scene or heavy petting, it’s all implied within the dialogue. However, this is still too much in Ireland where the film is still banned because the movie is too “permissive of adultery”. This is a big surprise, especially if you’ve seen the movie, which is rated PG in England, but they seem to be sticking to their guns as the ban doesn’t seem to be lifting any time soon despite all the highly sexed films we see today.


Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan: Probably not too surprising, the ban has still not been lifted in Kazakhstan (as well as Russia) where it was deemed offensive. This would be in part to the opening and closing scenes that portrayed the locals as poor and stupid or rapists. Countries all over the world have been portrayed with negative and unflattering stereotypes but this was just deemed too far from Sasha Baron Cohen. Kazakhstan, however have since thanked Borat for the boost to their economy from tourism as a result of the movie’s success.


Zoolander: Another set of locals to get offended by western comedy was that of the Malaysian government who didn’t see the funny side of the movie’s plot to assassinate the Malaysian Prime Minister. I don’t think they were too impressed with the depiction of the sweat shops visited by Derek Zoolander either. The country has form in this area who have also banned Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.


The Wolf of Wall Street: Martin Scorsese’s Oscar winning portrayal of the life of Jordan Belfort pushes all the boundaries, but looked like it pushed a few too many in Kenya where the Classification Board banned the movie citing “extreme scenes of nudity, sex, debauchery, hedonism and cursing” as the main reasons. It is against the law to watch the film within the boundaries of the country and arrests were made last year when pirate copies started to circulate which could have resulted in a couple of years in prison.


2012: Roland Emmerich’s film was not banned for being an average disaster movie but for showing the apocalypse happening in the year 2012. Although the Mayans had this in their calendar as the end of humanity for a very long time the North Koreans had a different way of thinking. Because it was the hundredth year anniversary of the birth of ‘The Great Leader’ Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il declared it was the year that North Korea was to “open the grand gates to becoming a rising superpower”. Therefore watching a film about the world’s destruction would be highly inappropriate and anyone caught watching the film was to be prosecuted. Not really worth it in my opinion, they should watch The Road instead.


The Simpsons Movie: Whether this one is genuine or not is a mystery as there isn’t enough written on the matter but apparently The Simpsons Movie and its TV show counterpart are both banned in Burma because the censors in the country don’t allow the colours yellow and red combined on screen. Baffling.

In Britain in America there are not that many films that don’t get past the censor these days, the only ones lately to have come up against some trouble here lately are The Human Centipede 2 and A Serbian Film, both of which required cuts. Every Classification Board knows the context of the society in which they live so they should be the best positioned to make these decisions but sometimes those decisions may be deemed questionable.

The Luke’s Film Blog Awards 2015


The time has come again for my favourite blog of the year in which I can look back upon all those great movies from the past 12 months and decide who will receive a Luke’s Film Blog award. Some have argued that 2014 hasn’t exactly been a vintage year for film; however, there was still a huge amount to enjoy and to choose from. With the awards season already in full swing, and with no real consistency in some of the key categories, including Best Actor and Best Director, it is a very exciting and unpredictable time. Hopefully, my personal choices will celebrate some of those in contention for Academy Awards and mention those whom have been overlooked in the last few months. So, please read on and discover who has excelled and enticed this humble film blogger this year:

Best Film 


A few months ago, when I was in the early stages of thinking of the films I’d enjoyed over the year I thought of The Grand Budapest Hotel and thought it would never get near an awards ceremony because it was released so early in the year. I was both shocked and delighted in equal measure when I discovered how many various nominations it had attained. For a film to have come out this time last year and still be in contention for some of the top prizes is usually unheard of. However, it is a film with a certain magic about it. A spectacular ensemble of a cast, headed by a delightful Ralph Fiennes, and Wes Anderson’s wonderful script and direction are just a few of the reasons that it would stay in the mind long after its theatrical release. There isn’t a more innovative auteur working today than Wes Anderson. The Grand Budapest is vibrant, colourful with effortlessly beautiful cinematography throughout that gives the film a unique originality lacking in many Hollywood productions today. The dialogue is sharp, witty and ultimately it’s a great story. It’s a film I can go back to again and again and enjoy new things, whether it’s a small line I’ve missed or a miniscule aspect of the mise-en-scene. Although it was tough to decide against the likes of Birdman, Interstellar and Calvary it is a truly deserving winner of this and any other award it accumulates.

Best Director 


Birdman was a real treat of a film; original, intelligent and very funny. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu did an outstanding job of building up a huge amount of intensity in the confined area of its theatre setting. The idea of having the movie shot in very long takes worked so well and both Inarritu and his cinematopgher Emmanuel Lubezki should be applauded for that. It gives Birdman a very natural and realistic feel. Inarritu must have asked a lot of his performers to cater to the technical nature of the movie but they all certainly delivered to his high standards.  It’s different to his other movies that have been in contention for awards in the past, the gripping 21 Grams and overrated Babel but Birdman must certainly be his masterpiece.

Best Actor


Brendan Gleeson is an actor who gives consistently fantastic performances but is rarely given much of a mention when awards season comes around. In recent years he has been outstanding in In Bruges and The Guard and he re-teamed with the latter’s director John Michael McDonagh in Calvary. Gleeson plays an Irish priest, who is told in confession he will be killed in a week, he must deal with the issues surrounding religion in the modern day and his own personal problems, not to mention the problems of his congregation as the date of his doom marches towards him. Gleeson is believable in the role and very likeable with the most subtle of glances giving the character real depth, but there is also a great pain at times that he pulls off wonderfully.  It is both a terrific film and my favourite performance of the year.

Best Actress


Although this role didn’t receive a huge amount of praise because she has been so good in other things recently I feel that Anne Hathaway deserves some recognition for her role in Interstellar. Hathaway Plays it a lot straighter than she usually does as Biotechnologist Amelia Brand and loses the glamour we usually associate herself with in other roles. She is really developing as an actress and this role adds another element of versatility, building upon roles such as Fantine in Les Misarables. The character is believable and has great chemistry with Matthew McConaughey. She’s a very strong female character with a drive and purpose and played excellently by Hathaway.

Best Supporting Actor


The supporting actor category of any awards has always been a tricky one as one must always decipher if an actor is a lead or a supporting role. It is sometimes the case that a definite lead will sometimes find themselves in this category, such as Steve Carrell for Foxcatcher. However, although Edward Norton can very well hold up a film by himself, he is my best supporting actor for his role in Birdman. Lately, Norton has been in a great deal of comedy roles including Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel and has demonstrated a real talent for it. Although his performance in Birdman seems merely idiosyncratic there is a lot more depth, hiding underneath and Norton has a real talent for delivering dialogue with his own unique style. His performance in Birdman is still, at times, as intense as Fight Club or American History X and Norton has a wonderful unpredictability and likeability to him.

Best Supporting Actress


Scarlett Johansson has had one hell of a year; with leading performances in both Under The Skin and Lucy she has been extremely busy. She has also had time to appear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as Black Widow (Aka Natasha Romanoff) where she was fantastic. She has developed her character over the last few Marvel films to give Black Widow her own unique character so she doesn’t just fade into the background. Her partnership with Captain America played by Chris Evans really delivers and I look forward to seeing her in Avengers: Age of Ultron in a few months’ time.

Best Original Screenplay


Last year, Gravity came very close to winning the Best Picture Oscar but was beaten by 12 Years a Slave. However, it did still win a huge amount of awards. Whether this is the reason Interstellar has failed to take the Oscar nominations by storm I don’t know. The thought of two science fiction films doing well in two years may be overkill for the Academy. However, Interstellar was a film I thoroughly enjoyed and respected. It had a very intelligent script that was so full of original ideas that it could have lost many of its audience in the telling but didn’t. Written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan with much of the physics coming from scientific consultant Kip Thorne Interstellar was not only the story of finding a new planet and travelling through wormholes but that of a family and these two themes combined to make a great script. It’s clever, inspiring and funnier than a lot of Nolan films before with TARs providing a great deal of the comic relief. There is always a risk that the script can get lost with so many special effects but there is no danger of that and there are real moments of intensity and poignancy throughout.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Frank film with Michael Fassbender

Frank was based on a book called ‘Oh Blimey’ by author Jon Ronson. Ronson had once been in a band alongside the eponymous Frank (Sidebottom, who was the alter ego persona of Chris Sievey). This is an adaptation of what he encountered during his time with the band and although the majority of it was fictionalised for the book there is a certain reality that remains. Written by Ronson and Peter Straughan the script has some great set pieces, very well written characters and a real journey for the lead played by Domhall Gleeson. The way in which Frank (played by Michael Fassbender) is presented is intriguing and his story slowly comes out in a very moving way. Frank also conveys the quirky narrative in a way that the audience can still become involved and is a great deal of fun.

Best Ensemble


You just have to look at the poster for The Grand Budapest Hotel and you are wondering how all of these actors can fit into one movie. A collection of Wes Anderson favourites old and new collaborate to make a superbly acted film. The names just roll off the tongue: Fiennes, Brody, Goldblum, Murray, Dafoe, Wilson, Law, Schwartzman, Ronan, Norton, Swinton, Wilkinson etc. Combined with a magnificent breakthrough performance from Tony Revolori as Zero this is truly the cast of the year.

Best Superhero Movie


This was one of the trickiest categories this year because there have been so many stand out Superhero movies throughout the year. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was an amazing, darker look at the next phase of Marvel whereas Bryan Singer’s return to the X-Men franchise with Days of Future Past yielded successful results, both critically and at the box office. However, for its humour, innovation and great script this year the award goes to The Guardians of the Galaxy. A mix of wonderful casting and razor sharp dialogue has catapulted one of the more obscure Marvel entities into the public mainstream and shows you don’t need a the most well-known superheroes to hold a film.

So there are the Luke’s Film Blog awards for the last year. Who knows what will be here next year, maybe Jurassic World, The Avengers:Age of Ultron or Star Wars: The Force Awakens perhaps. It may even be some movies I haven’t heard of yet and will surprise us all. Nobody knows but I can’t wait to watch these films and ultimately find out.

Feel like reminiscing? Here are some links to older Luke’s Film Blog awards:

Luke’s Film Blog Awards 2014

Luke’s Film Blog Awards 2013

Luke’s Film Blog Awards 2012


BAFTA Reaction


I’ve always held the BAFTA’s in high esteem. Being British, it is the only award ceremony I can stay up for and still function at work again the next day, so it is always interesting which films are leading the pack. Also, a precursor to the Oscar’s it gives an interesting insight into the industry mind-set throughout the awards season. He is my very brief review of this morning’s nominations.

I’m in equal measure delighted and surprised that The Grand Budapest Hotel is leading the pack with eleven nominations in total. Especially, because this is a film released almost a year ago and it has still kept itself within the minds of its admirers long before awards season. It is up for Best Film, Best leading actor for Ralph Fiennes and Best Director for Wes Anderson among others. Whether it will win many or any of the awards is the question but it’s still encouraging to see this wonderfully acted and scripted film at the top of the pile.


The rest of the Best Film nominations are made up by Boyhood, Birdman, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything. People will be asking questions regarding the absence of Foxcatcher, Whiplash and Selma but it is a very strong line up still and really tough to determine the winner. Maybe, when the awards season buzz starts to get into full flow we shall start getting an inkling as to who the statues will be going to. Personally, I would really like it to go to Birdman, a film that takes risks and has a great deal of innovation. However, being a British ceremony there is a distinct possibility that they will favour one of their own productions so potentially Theory of Everything or Imitation Game could walk away with the prize. But, like I said, too close to call at the current moment.

Personally, I would have liked to see a few more nominations for Interstellar. Although the technical side of this amazing movie has been applauded, I feel there could be more in the way of script, acting and directing nominations for the cast and crew, especially because it is one of the smartest, emotionally strong and well written science fiction films in recent memory.  There also doesn’t seem to be a place for Mr Turner within Best Film or outstanding British Film which is somewhat of a shock.

On the acting side of things there is an absolute fine selection of talent in the Best Actor category. Again, it’s interesting to note the omission of David Oyelowo for his performance as Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma which was tipped to garner this prize at the Oscars. However, the performances on show here were remarkable. I’d be very happy for any of Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Keaton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Eddie Redmayne or Ralph Fiennes to win the BAFTA, however if I was pushed it would be Michael Keaton. In terms of best actress it is between Amy Adams, Felicity Jones, Julianne Moore, Reese Witherspoon and Rosamund Pike. Again, close to call but the way her performance in Wild has been talked about it very well could go to Witherspoon.

Jack O'Connell in '71

The EE Rising Star, which is always an interesting category that shines a spotlight on the upcoming acting talent in the industry, has nominated Jack O’Connell, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Margot Robbie, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley. There is the question with this category if these are rising stars or they have already risen. Especially a few years ago when Tom Hardy won the award after being in Inception and having already been cast as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. However, it’s great to celebrate new talent of after ’71, Unbroken and Starred Up, this award can only really go to Jack O’Connell, his development over the last few years has been exceptional and it really seems he’s made it to the big leagues now.

With the Oscar nominations still to come on 15th January it will be interesting to see if they sync up in any way with these BAFTAs. It would be a massive surprise if The Grand Budapest acquired that many nominations at the Academy Awards and there will probably be further recognition for Whiplash, Foxcatcher and Selma.

So, let us all brace ourselves for February 8th and the BAFTA awards to see what will come out on top. Presented again by the always wonderful Stephen Fry these awards are always a treat and with most of the nominations being too close to call this year it’s going to be interesting to see which way the awards go. This has just been a brief reaction and I will be back later in the month to comment more extensively on the Oscar Nominations.

BAFTA Nominations in Full:

Best Film

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory Of Everything

Outstanding British Film

The Imitation Game
The Theory Of Everything
Under The Skin


Best Director

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
James Marsh, The Theory Of Everything
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash

Best Leading Actor

Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton – Birdman
Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Leading Actress

Amy Adams – Big Eyes
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Reese Witherspoon – Wild
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl

Best Supporting Actor

Edward Norton – Birdman
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
J.K. Simmons – Whiplash
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
Steve Carell – Foxcatcher

Best Supporting Actress

Emma Stone – Birdman
Imelda Staunton – Pride
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Rene Russo – Nightcrawler

Best Original Screenplay

Birdman – Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr, Armando Bo
Boyhood – Richard Linklater
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson
Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy
Whiplash – Damien Chazelle

Best Adapted Screenplay

American Sniper – Jason Hall
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
The Imitation Game – Graham Moore
Paddington – Paul King
The Theory Of Everything – Anthony McCarten

Best Original Music

Birdman – Antonio Sanchez
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Alexandre Desplat
Interstellar – Hans Zimmer
The Theory Of Everything – Jóhann Jóhannsson
Under The Skin – Mica Levi

Best Cinematography

Birdman – Emmanuel Lubezki
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Robert Yeoman
Ida – Lukasz Zal, Ryszard Lenczewski
Interstellar – Hoyte van Hoytema
Mr. Turner – Dick Pope

Best Editing

Birdman – Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Barney Pilling
The Imitation Game – William Goldenberg
Nightcrawler – John Gilroy
The Theory Of Everything – Jinx Godfrey
Whiplash – Tom Cross

Best Production Design

Big Eyes – Rick Heinrichs, Shane Vieau
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock
The Imitation Game – Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana MacDonald
Interstellar – Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
Mr. Turner – Suzie Davies, Charlotte Watts

Best Costume Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero
The Imitation Game – Sammy Sheldon Differ
Into The Woods – Colleen Atwood
Mr. Turner – Jacqueline Durran
The Theory Of Everything – Steven Noble

Best Sound

American Sniper – Walt Martin, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman
Birdman – Thomas Varga, Martin Hernández, Aaron Glascock, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wayne Lemmer, Christopher Scarabosio, Pawel Wdowczak
The Imitation Game – John Midgley, Lee Walpole, Stuart Hilliker, Martin Jensen
Whiplash – Thomas Curley, Ben Wilkins, Craig Mann

Best Make-Up And Hair

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Frances Hannon
Guardians Of The Galaxy – Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou, David White
Into The Woods – Peter Swords King, J. Roy Helland
Mr. Turner – Christine Blundell, Lesa Warrener
The Theory Of Everything –  Jan Sewell

Best Special Visual Effects

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Erik Winquist, Daniel Barrett
Guardians Of The Galaxy – Stephane Ceretti, Paul Corbould, Jonathan Fawkner, Nicolas Aithadi
The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White
Interstellar – Paul Franklin, Scott Fisher, Andrew Lockley
X-Men: Days Of Future Past – Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Tim Crosbie, Cameron Waldbauer

Best British Short Animation

The Bigger Picture – Chris Hees, Daisy Jacobs, Jennifer Majka
Monkey Love Experiments – Ainslie Henderson, Cam Fraser, Will Anderson
My Dad – Marcus Armitage

Best British Short Film

Boogaloo And Graham – Brian J. Falconer, Michael Lennox, Ronan Blaney
Emotional Fusebox – Michael Berliner, Rachel Tunnard
The Karman Line – Campbell Beaton, Dawn King, Tiernan Hanby, Oscar Sharp
Slap – Islay Bell-Webb, Michelangelo Fano, Nick Rowland
Three Brothers – Aleem Khan, Matthieu de Braconier, Stephanie Paeplow


Outstanding Debut By A British Writer, Director Or Producer

Elaine Constantine (Writer/Director) Northern Soul
Gregory Burke (Writer), Yann Demange (Director) ’71
Hong Khaou (Writer/Director) Lilting
Paul Katis (Director/Producer), Andrew de Lotbiniere (Producer) Kajaki: The True Story
Stephen Beresford (Writer), David Livingstone (Producer) Pride
Best Film Not In The English Language

The Lunchbox
Two Days, One Night

Best Documentary

20 Feet From Stardom
20,000 Days On Earth
Finding Vivian Maier

Best Animated Film

Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
The Lego Movie

The EE Rising Star Award

Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Jack O’Connell
Margot Robbie
Miles Teller
Shailene Woodley

A Tale of Two Trailers


This is the kind of week we wait for in film. We were treated to not just one, but two of the most anticipated trailers in the history of the Blockbuster. Jurassic World and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens may have only given us a few teasing moments to whet the appetite but they were enough to fuel anticipation levels and get everyone intensely talking and speculating.


The Jurassic World trailer came earlier in the week and because it’s due for a release on 12th June more post production has been completed so we got to see quite a bit of footage. In terms of plot there is a base to work upon here. 22 years after John Hammond’s initial attempt to bring dinosaurs back to life in Jurassic Park and create a park that would showcase these marvels it would seem someone has made this idea into a fully operational and popular attraction. Meanwhile, scientists (including the returning BD Wong as Henry Wu) are treading new genetic ground by creating the first hybrid dinosaur. The exact nature of this super dinosaur are very much under wraps and all we know are that it’s highly intelligent and kills at will, which suggests a velociraptor merged with something bigger, but that still remains a secret.

Being an obsessive follower of the Jurassic Park series it’s so great to actually see this trailer, just because it’s finally come to fruition. After years in development hell with massing uncertainty over who will direct or star or what story will be used it’s finally only six months away. Not only that but it looks great, it’s impossible to judge an entire film from a trailer but Jurassic World really does look the part and director Colin Trevorrow looks to have kept the essence of the original while adding his own style. There are only snippets of the various dinosaurs but there are plenty of them. Introducing new dinosaurs, including the massive sea dwelling Mosasaurus, and adding new dimensions to the old ones including the raptors, who are said to be working with staff member Owen played by Chris Pratt, both the human and dinosaur performances look a lot more layered than the one dimensional Jurassic Park III.

An issue with a lot of the trailers these days is they give away entire plotlines or all the best jokes in an attempt to sell the movie but there is still so much of Jurassic World which is shrouded in mystery. Does the T-Rex, the poster dinosaur for the franchise, return with a bigger role than that of the previous film? Will the raptors work with the humans or will they merely betray them? And what are the intentions of the owners of Jurassic World? Both Vincent D’Onofrio and Irrfan Khan are executives of the Masrani Corporation which own the theme park. Two big actors who we did not see in the trailer suggests that something more is afoot and I really cannot wait to see it on the big screen in a mix of excitement and pure unmitigated nostalgia.

Talking about nostalgia, whilst still getting over the trailer for Jurassic World only a few days later we had out first glimpse at The Force Awakens. I say a glimpse being it was only a minute and a half long. J.J Abrams and co have only just completed principal photography a few weeks ago and there will be still a huge amount to add in post production. Being only 88 seconds long and with a year left to complete, it lacked the flow of a theatrical trailer, but as random assortments of images go it was truly the pinnacle. Never before has an ominous voice over (Is it Serkis, Driver or Cumberbatch?) and a few out of context shots amassed so much excitement from so many.

It doesn’t answer a whole host of questions as to what’s in The Force Awakens except that it has The Millennium Falcon in all its glory, a Sith with a red lightsaber that, when ignited, becomes a crucifix shape and the X-Wings are back with Oscar Isaac at the helm of one. John Boyega’s role is uncertain, is he a Stormtrooper, or like Luke in a New Hope is he just donning the uniform and all we know about Daisy Ridley is she’s on Tatooine at some point of the film. So, lots still to speculate about. It’s been a real enjoyment in itself reading all of the various interpretations of what the various images mean. We still have a long way to go until December but from these few images it look promising.

One thing both Jurassic World and The Force Awakens are that John Williams was the composer for the original films and it is that music that really gives the trailer the extra edge over those of other movies. Interestingly, the same composer was look set to take over him for both movies, however, although Michael Giacchino is doing the score for Jurassic World, Williams is returning to the Star Wars universe once again. One thing that will be certain in both movies is the music will be spectacular.

We have been truly spoiled this week, even though the extent of that spoiling was a cumulative four minutes. At least we know that the films are on there way next year and we can go on speculating about plots and characters until they do.

A Busy Week In The Film World

Hello readers, it’s good to be back writing after a long absence. A few factors, including becoming a newly married man, have left me with no free time whatsoever and its refreshing to finally be able to open up my laptop again and start tapping those keys and talking about movies. Anyway enough about me, so much has been happening this week in the world of film that it was impossible to write a blog pinpointing on one issue. Therefore, here is a rundown in what has got the world talking:

1) There will be a Toy Story 4 in 2017


Not content with a perfect, rounded off ending and the odd half hour episode, Pixar have decided to continue with their most successful set of films. There has been a huge amount of online excitement regarding the announcement that the franchise will continue on the big screen. However, there has been another section of people curious as to where all the original ideas have gone at Pixar. Toy Story 4, which will be directed by the legend of Pixar, John Lasseter, has been added to the list of sequels announced by the studio including Finding Dory, Cars 3 and The Incredibles 2. Although these are all probably going to be a wonderful combination of visually stunning graphics and heartwarming stories it was the consistant, fresh ideas in the early years of Pixar that earnt it so much love and respect from worldwide audiences.

It looks as though from next year we will start to see a combination of old favourites and new ideas as two original Pixar films come out in quick succession with Inside Out directed by Pete Doctor with an ambitious premise about the workings of the human mind and the less cerebral The Good Dinosaur. Fundementally, Pixar could release anything they wanted and earn huge box office receipts, that’s not what they’re about. Toy Story 4 will introduce a new generation to these characters in a film that will entertain and astonish them as the original did almost twenty years ago.

2) Star Wars Episode VII has a title


Yes, and let’s hope that the script is better than the title that precedes it. Maybe that’s unfair, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens is going to take some getting used to. Obviously you don’t want to spend too much time scrutinising a title, no, a subtitle even, but because it’s Star Wars and therefore the biggest franchise in the history of cinema people are going to analyse it with a passion.

The Force Awakens seems more like a title plucked from the extended universe, a Clone Wars episode or Xbox game perhaps rather than a movie that’s going to make a billion dollars. It also looks like it will do away with the Episode VII part, which has been a fixture of the films since A New Hope introduced it. But as Shakespeare said “what’s in a name?” Everything else that’s come from the Star Wars camp has sounded positive, besides Harrison Ford breaking his ankle. The casting is solid with a mix of old and new, science fiction juggernaut Rian Johnson is going to be heavily involved in directing and writing on episodes VIII and IX respectively and principal production is complete. So, we’ll wait and see, maybe when we see the film the title will have a special significance, or we’ll just forget the title and enjoy the movie.

3) The Battle of The Five Armies has a new trailer

Just over a month before The Hobbit’s long, long, long awaited final chapter comes one of the trailers of the year to show us that it could of been worth the wait all along. It’s just pure action and intensity and everything that Peter Jackson does best. He knows this will most likely be his last venture into Middle Earth and is throwing everything at his denouement. There’s been so much said about these Hobbit films, especially the long debated questions: Are they too long? Can three films be justifies for a book of just over 200 pages? If this film proves both of the answers to those questions as no then it has done its job. Whereas An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation Of Smaug were pretty bloated in places Battle of The Five Armies looks like is doesn’t intend on wasting a second and treating the audience for bearing with them and paying for three separate films.

4) Tarantino has his Hateful Eight


In January Quentin Tarantino decided to abandon his next project The Hateful Eight as a leaked, online script had left him feeling betrayed. Ten months down the line he’s calmed down, withdrawn his lawsuit and has announced his cast for the movie. A mix of fresh talent and old Tarantino alumni, the eponymous Eight have been revealed as: Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, Michael Madsen, Demian Bicher and Bruce Dern. Channing Tatum also stars, however, his role has yet to be revealed.

We are going to be truly spoilt in 2015, alongside massive budget, effects laden blockbusters like Star Wars and Avengers 2 it’s great to have a true event movie that is just good, old fashioned film making. Tarantino will most likely shoot on film, as is his preference and combined with another of his great scripts this is going to be a real treat.

5) Interstellar is out, and you need to see it at the cinema


This weekend, you’ve probably seen countless Interstellar reviews already and all of them consist of immense praise for the truly groundbreaking effects, the original and exciting script that will leave your emotions all over the place and fantastic performances from the brilliant Matthew McConaughey. All, of this and more is true, it is a fantastic film that respects its audience, as Christopher Nolan is known to do, which will leave you thinking long after you’ve left your seat.

If I were just going to give one word of advice though, it would be to see it at the cinema with the big screen, the speakers blaring and the chairs rocking. It’s tempting sometimes to wait for the Blu Ray or the on demand services what with the prices of going to the cinema spiralling out of control but this is a picture that requires the environment of a darkened cinema to truly appreciate it. Just let Interstellar take you for 2 hours and 40 minutes and you’ve got an unforgettable movie going experience. An absolute triumph of a movie that wants me to go right back to the cinema and experience it all again.

So, a very busy week for film and with a huge amount of big movies coming out in the next few months I can only foresee some even busier ones on the horizon. Good to be back writing!


The Luke’s Film Blog Awards 2014

I love awards season. I love it so much that for the past three years I have been trying to get in on the action by giving my own awards (purely digitally) to the casts, the crews and the films who have made the last year great for cinema. With the BAFTA’s on Sunday and Oscar’s on their way it is the perfect time to select my own favourite actors and movies of 2013 and January of this year. I’m adding a few more categories this year to broaden the amount of films that can be represented and I hope you enjoy reading my Luke’s Film Blog Awards 2014:


Best Film: It has been a very tough year to decide a clear winner because of the sheer quantity of quality films in 2013. I could have picked five for the best film with Rush, Captain Phillips and The Wolf of Wall Street all viable possibilities. But, this year, for its majestic special effects that juxtapose so well with a personal and psychological story of survival, Gravity wins the Best Film award. On the surface, Gravity is a relatively straightforward story of one person facing the vast isolation of space and trying to get home against overwhelming odds but with masterful direction from Alfonso Cuaron and a thrilling script (co-written from Cuaron and son Jonas) that never lets up the tension it become groundbreaking. It is certainly one of the masterpieces of recent science-fiction and truly deserves all the accolades and plaudits is received from critics and at the box office alike.


Best Director: The master of his craft has added another classic to the canon and Martin Scorsese wins the Luke’s Film Blog best director award. The Wolf of Wall Street is kinetic, entertaining and thrilling. Not many director’s can fill three hours of cinema without wasting a frame but Scorsese succeeds and gets some great performances out of Di Caprio, Hill and McConaughey. You can’t take your eyes away from the screen and if you do you’re in danger of missing out on a beautiful looking scene. The whole film is aesthetically astonishing no matter how dark the subject matter can get and that is down to Scorsese.


Best Actor: Shunned at the Academy Awards in which he’s already won two, Tom Hanks surely deserves some credit for his outstanding and very real portrayal of Captain Richard Phillips based on the true story of a cargo ship captain who is taken captive by armed Somalian pirates. Hanks truly excels in the subtleties of his performance. One look from Hanks can tell the audience everything about his fear and isolation and the vulnerability in the final scene shows how iconic an actor he is.


Best Actress: Like the Best Actor, the Best Actress is another whose character faces obstacles of nature, isolation and psychological issues. Another one of the reasons why Gravity was such a masterpiece was its performances from the leads and Sandra Bullock carries the film. Its easy to get lost amidst huge special effects but Bullock’s vulnerably combined with the verisimilitude of her performance are the reasons she deserves to win.


Best Supporting Actor: Another, like Hanks, who was denied a nomination was another interpretation of a real person. Rush didn’t feature much at all in any of the awards but it was a terrific film and one of the reasons for this was the performance of Daniel Bruhl. Playing Niki Lauda, Bruhl was cold and calculated but still engaging. In his rivalry with fellow Formula One driver James Hunt, played by Chris Hemworth, Bruhl demonstrated a great range of acting skills from arrogance to sympathy while always keeping us interested in his character’s story.


Best Supporting Actress: David O. Russell is an actor’s director. He cares far more about the intricacy and complexity of his characters opposed to his plot and this shows in his films. Particularly in American Hustle where he assembles four actors from his past two films (The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook) that have all been Oscar Nominated. Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams are all fantastic in American Hustle but the stand out is Jennifer Lawrence yet again. Winning the Best Actress Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook last year, she now returns as the trophy wife to Bale’s largely absent husband and is fantastic. Lawrence is quickly becoming the best actress of her generation and really possesses some of the great qualities of actresses of the Golden Age of Hollywood. It’s getting scary how talented she is at such a young age, but what a performance yet again.


Best Ensemble: Last year’s winner of this category was the cast of Avenger’s Assemble, however the cast of This Is The End are definitely the antithesis of superheros. Playing exaggerated versions of themselves, stars like Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchul, Craig Ferguson and Danny McBride star in this wonderfully entertaining movie as they are confined to James Franco’s house while the Apocalypse is happening. They may be terrible people in some scenes but remain massively funny and likable throughout which helped This Is The End become the funniest film of the year.


Best Original Screenplay:  Stoker was a fantastic psyschological thriller that really came out of the blue. It was shocking, exciting and provided some fantastic performances from Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode. More shocking was that it was written by none other than Prison Break’s Wentworth Miller whose chilling script is superbly written. Influenced by Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, Miller’s script mixes genres but never relents in its tension. It has a very unique style and with the directorial skills of Park Chan-Wook this became one of the best films of 2013.


Best Adapted Screenplay: Terence Winter’s script for The Wolf of Wall Street is fast, very funny and relates Jordan Belfort’s memoir perfectly to present day economical matters. All of the characters are complex and really bring their real life compatriots to life. With some of the best and most memorable dialogue committed to film in the last decade, Winter thoroughly deserves a huge amount of credit for his wonderful script.


Best Superhero Movie: The Superhero genre doesn’t look likely to go away any time soon and therefore I’ve decided to begin my first genre based category for the best superhero movie. We have been lucky this year with some interesting and exciting offerings like Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World but the Luke’s Film Blog award goes to Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Rebooting the franchise after Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns failed to impress the masses, Man of Steel was hugely entertaining, and although we can joke about the huge amount of collateral damage, a truly enjoyable blockbuster that I thought deserves a great deal of credit.

So, there are my awards for the year. I’m sure 2014 is going to be a hugely successful year for film with a combination of blockbusters and independent movies to look forward to so keep going to the cinema and watching as many of them as possible and I’ll be back with my annual awards next February. Until then, watch some actual awards being given out with the BAFTA awards on Sunday evening.

Here are the links to my previous awards blogs:

Luke’s Film Blog Awards 2013

Luke’s Film Blog Awards 2012