Comedy Actors In Superhero Movies

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Most of the time, in comic book movies, we like our superheroes mighty and daring, but, also likeable and often witty. In our villains we want an evil calculated side whilst desiring a sense of humour that is smart and fiendish. Both of these traits suggest that there should be more comedy actors in superhero and villain roles. Comedy is often mentioned by great actors as being the hardest thing to do right. However, the past has proven that it can be an absolute disaster to hire a comedic actor to play your superhero or villain unless they are mocking and parodying.

The most notorious case of a villain being cast in a comedic role was Jim Carrey as The Riddler in Batman Forever. In 1995, Carrey could of been in whatever movie he so wished. He was unequivocal box office gold and producers knew anything he was in would make massive amounts of money. However, Batman Forever was a critical disaster and almost ruined the franchise before Batman and Robin plodded along to finish the job several years later.

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That’s not to say that Carrey was the worst thing in Batman Forever, the massive influence from the campiness of the 1960’s show that strayed away from the world created in Batman and Batman Returns by Tim Burton and the horrible chemistry between the leading actors Val Kilmer, Nicole Kidman and Chris O’Donnell, also has to take the blame somewhat. Carrey has a body of work that any actor would envy, both in comedy with The Mask, Dumb and Dumber and the wickedly dark and massively underrated The Cable Guy, and drama, for Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind and The Truman Show in which he should have won best actor ahead of Roberto Benigini in 1999.

However, looking back at Batman Forever, you see how miscast he was. It was like director Joel Schumacher let him do whatever he wanted on set and just rolled the cameras whilst he improvised continuously. His moments and jokes in the film go on too long and make The Riddler little more than a farce rather than a threat. The Riddler should be Batman’s psychological equal and challenge Bruce Wayne’s intellect with his genius and cunning. Instead, he just dances around the room with Tommy Lee Jones’ Two Face and doing weird accents whilst prancing and laughing.

There is a big parallel for me with Richard Pryor’s casting in Superman III in which director Richard Lester let him improvise for huge amounts of time which turned the film’s tone into something strange and centred the movie on the story of Pryor’s character as opposed to that of Superman. Superman very much became the second string character in his own movie because Richard Pryor was beloved by the American public and directors thought he could be shoehorned in to lend humour to the franchise. It would be like Kevin Hart or Rob Schneider being the sidekick to Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel in the upcoming Batman v Superman. Just writing this now, I remember, with regret that Rob Schneider already played a sidekick to Sly Stallone’s Judge Dredd…

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Other cases include that of Seth Rogen in The Green Hornet. Like Jim Carrey and Richard Pryor you could say that Rogen is also the comedian of his generation, he is always guaranteed to make a huge amount of money at the box office with his comedies and he is massively well liked, some would go as far to say he has been the era defining comedian of the past decade. Unfortunately, the move to a superhero film didn’t suit him. It’s a lot more likely that the disastrous outcome of the film was not because of Seth Rogen and his inability to be serious or understand the tone of the movie. It’s a lot more to do with the many production and personnel issues on the movie.

Rogen has stated in interviews that when he wrote the movie with co-writer Evan Goldberg they had an idea that started well and began to change as the budget escalated. The screenplay was often heavily scrutinized by studio executives, nipping needlessly at pieces of dialogue. This explains the confusing tone of The Green Hornet which is constantly changing. Director Michel Gondry, better known for his excellent independent films, had also never worked on a big budget movie before. Even though the same can be said of Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow, at least he had the support from Steven Spielberg and studio executives who knew what they could expect and just wanted to make the best film they could.

The Green Hornet was not Rogen’s fault, like Batman Forever wasn’t Jim Carrey’s, but they’re the ones who get left with the mess while the director’s, the writers and the rest of the cast go about their careers without any criticism by the mainstream audiences. Because they are actors more known for another genre, they are pinpointed and given the most criticism as clueless hacks tell them to go back to “what they do best”. Although not strictly a comic actor you could argue Ryan Reynolds got a similar treatment as both Deadpool in the abysmal X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which he is atoning for with his forthcoming standalone movie, and the perennially derided The Green Lantern.

Which brings me to Marvel’s newest offering Ant-Man. It’s been over a ten year wait as the baton of director has been passed from Edgar Wright to Peyton Reed but throughout the entirety of Ant-Man’s production history the lead actor has always stayed the same. Paul Rudd is an actor of immense quality and is known mostly as a comedy actor; it is the genre that he has appeared in most and if you were to think of three Paul Rudd films off the top of your head the chances are they would be comedies.

Both the filmmakers and Rudd are taking a huge risk with Ant-Man because if this film flops, it will flop hard, considering Marvel are currently on such a winning streak. Sadly is would be harder for Rudd to recover than Marvel, it won’t ruin his career but it will be a blot on an otherwise wonderful oeuvre. He will forever be known as Ant-Man which would always have those negative connotations and would be the face of the Marvel movie that didn’t quite meet the standards of the others. Some people survive the bad reviews, comedic actor or not (George Clooney in Batman and Robin) and some don’t (Brandon Routh in Superman Returns and arguably Halle Berry in Catwoman) we will see what the audiences think in a few weeks’ time.

What Marvel are great at doing in terms of casting is hiring actors who are deemed serious actors, and then add the comedy as opposed to hiring comedians and then writing the script to suit them. The Marvel writers make the characters witty and funny, and that is due to great writing and the charisma of the actors, especially the likes of Robert Downey Jr. But it’s fair to say Paul Rudd could boast the same amount of charisma as any of The Avengers.

These days you don’t see too many comedians in these films. When people like Kevin Hart, Adam Sandler, Ricky Gervais, Jonah Hill and Jason Segel are making millions and millions of pounds with their movies why would they want to risk sullying their career with a massive flop of a superhero film. They don’t need that grief, especially as the superhero movies now move into the deep echelons of darkness; there may not even be room for these talented actors within the genre.

I think Paul Rudd is going to excellent as Ant-Man, whether the film will be equally great is another matter. He can take a ray of light from the fact that before The Guardians of The Galaxy last year, Chris Pratt was primarily a comic actor with Parks and Rec, The Five Year Engagement and What’s Your Number, with only really cameo appearance in films like Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty to flex his acting chops, but has now established himself into the go to action hero for casting directors in Hollywood.

You Saw It Coming

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When you walk into a blockbuster movie in the present day, I think it is fair to say, we are not going in waiting to be as shocked and surprised like we used to. Most of the time a film’s trailers will give away large amounts of information, sometimes to the extent where the entire plot is revealed. From there each frame from trailers and sneak peaks are speculated about on message boards, blogs and social media until, if we wanted, we could all have a good idea of where the movie is going in a narrative and character sense. I’m not saying this is a bad thing at all, in fact, sometimes the anticipation and speculation outweighs the excitement derived from the actual film. What I am saying, that in this day and age the movie has to understand that a large chunk of its audience will have been exposed to its money shots and best lines of dialogue already, so instead of insulting their intelligence it’s all about embracing the predictability.

Predictability is not a bad thing, some would say it is connected with a film being boring. However, the ubiquity of a massive summer blockbuster and the marketing associated with it will not change. Jurassic World has handled this fantastically and is a great example of producing a film with the knowledge that everyone is going to have a good guess at the storyline and will have watched the trailers quite a few times.

In the last month, the marketing team behind Jurassic World has been hitting us hard. Trailers, TV Spots, merchandise, magazine covers and not to mention the app where you can build your own Jurassic World (if you have the money to buy the £40 packs of cards to play the game via in store purchasing) my point is, you know there’s a new Jurassic Park film coming out and you know the basis for the plot and have already seen the dinosaurs. Add this to the fact that a lot of people going to see this film have seen Jurassic Park I-III or at least the first one which Jurassic World mainly derives it ideas from. It all looked set up for a potential disappointment where we’ve seen it all before. But director Colin Trevorrow was probably aware that this would happen which is why he just went all out.

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The best case and point would be that of the new park attraction, the hybrid dinosaur Indominus Rex. The early trailers tried to mask the appearance of this creature but with the merchandise coming out many months before in Lego form and as its design was starting to be shown online and on magazines, the cat was out the bag and from that stage you might as well show it as much as you can in the film. The Indominus is shown very early in the movie, unlike Jaws which this movie borrows from in some respects. Trevorrow mentioned in an interview these days you don’t get the luxury of just one trailer like Jaws had 40 years ago so you can keep your best secrets hidden, so, to his credit, he just went all guns blazing and it worked wonderfully. Also, the main reason the suspense was so great in Jaws was down to the mechanical shark not working and so Spielberg had no choice but to keep the shark hidden for the majority of the film.

In Jurassic World we knew the raptors we’re going to be smart and Chris Pratt was going to be their trainer, also the Mosasaur was going to play some part, as we also knew that Bryce Dallas Howard holding a flare in in front of an opening of a door can only mean one thing is coming up. The plot was massively derivative of the first film where two children, who are related to somebody very important in the running of the park are left to alone with carnivorous dinosaurs. However, it does it in a way that is still entertaining and because there isn’t the element of surprise that Jaws or the original Jurassic Park had in 1993, Jurrasic World presents us with huge amounts of action and a well written script from Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa.

This isn’t the only franchise in which the movies must up their game to survive at the box office. Although studios know that lots of people like the same thing presented, there has to be some difference, something new to keep us coming back to the cinema. Studios that have become complacent and have churned out the same rubbish all the time have suffered bad financial returns. People are not that easily fooled and many franchises have needed a reboot to survive or been destroyed completely (Terminator Salvation, Speed 2, Batman and Robin, Spiderman 3, etc.)

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A studio like Marvel has to keep upping its game to create a sense of something you haven’t seen before with the huge amount of films they have produced in such a short space of time. When we had Phase One with Iron Man, 1 & 2, Thor and Captain America, that all culminated in The Avengers which was ground breaking because of the build-up and the sheer scale of the movie. Now, with Avengers: Age of Ultron, new characters are being established to give the audience something new but through marketing and the previous films we have already seen so much in the last few years. That’s why Guardians of the Galaxy was so great, because it was such an original choice of comic to adapt compared to the normal Marvel universe. Age of Ultron was a well made film but it lacked surprises and didn’t do anything special, besides establishing the vision, to remedy the overused formula.

Jurassic World is a great movie though, whether my opinions are deep seated in nostalgia is one for everyone else to determine but it was so great to go into a movie in which I had seen the trailer to death and not be disappointed with the end product. I can only hope that it is the same with The Force Awakens. Although J.J Abrams does like to keep a lid on his films and not give too much away it’ll be a big ask in the world we live in now. At this moment, we’ll just have to speculate.

A Tale of Two Trailers

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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.

What’s On The Way In 2015?

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Around this time of year, I often feel it is an ideal opportunity to start looking ahead to next year and see what movies will be released and which will be fighting it out during the awards season. It’s a great deal of fun trawling through many trailers and guessing what the future must watch films are, so here are a few of those films that I am immensely looking forward to in 2015.

Foxcatcher

Ever since seeing this first teaser trailer all those months ago, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher has been the film I’ve been most eager to see. Already achieving a huge amount of critical praise through the festival circuit, including Cannes in which Miller won the Best Director accolade, it will finally be released to the general public in early 2015. Based on a true story in which schizophrenic, millionaire John Du Pont (played by an almost unrecognizable Steve Carell) forms an obsession with wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) winning an Olympic Gold and becomes his coach which leads down some dark roads which I won’t give away to anyone unfamiliar with the real life case. The atmosphere of the trailer is chilling, dark and intense and with Miller’s impressive oeuvre including Capote and Moneyball we can expect a dramatic thriller that will ask some real questions about the story in which it is based.

Mordecai

David Koepp and Johnny Depp reunite for a second time (Secret Window being the first) to bring us a the idiosyncratic Mordecai. It’s based on the 1970’s series of  mystery, cult novels by Kyril Bonfiglioli in which the title character becomes entangled in such plots as an assassination attempt upon the Queen of England and hunting a rapist in Jersey. In this version, Depp’s eponymous art dealer must recover a stolen painting that will lead him to Nazi Gold. Judging from the trailer Depp is perfectly cast as the eccentric Charlie Mordecai and with a stellar cast around him including Paul Bettany, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor  this looks like it’ll deliver on the laughs and the quirkiness.

American Sniper

The trailer to American Sniper is about as intense and dramatic as they come and would you expect anything less from the legendary Clint Eastwood? Bradley Cooper stars in his second film in two years with the prefix American as Chris Kyle from whom the source material comes from. Based on his autobiography of the same name, American Sniper charts Kyle’s tour of Iraq, his pinpoint shooting and the harrowing, quick decisions he must make with his weapon. The film looks smart and will ask questions of the audience they will probably be thinking about for a long time. What would you do in his situation? It will garner Oscar nominations (most likely for Cooper and Eastwood) and I’m very confident the movie will be a precise and interesting commentary on modern warfare.

Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

The trailer itself looks like a masterpiece and Michael Keaton is an early tip for the best actor Academy Award. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, a director with a terrific awards pedigree with 21 Grams and Babel, tells the story of Riggan, an actor who’s best days, playing the superhero character Birdman, are well and truly behind him. Instead of continuing with the Birdman franchise he decides to expand his horizons onto Broadway whilst juggling his homelife and numerous other issues. Keaton is obviously perfect for this type of role considering the downward trajectory his career took after playing Batman in both of Tim Burton’s contributions to the franchise. He is a fine actor and hopefully this will motivate a career resurgence and at least an Oscar nomination. The script sounds sharp and the cast is excellent with a truly original story. If the numerous and positive festival reviews are anything to go by then the film itself could be in with a chance of winning Best Picture.

Jupiter Ascending

Whatever you think of The Matrix sequels, and their directorial efforts since, you cannot deny that the return of The Wachowski Siblings to the genre in which they changed forever is an event. Although expected in July of this year, Jupiter Ascending was delayed until February 2015 so thousands of special effects shots could be completed. The plot revolves around Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) who is revealed to be the heir to the House of Abrasax which is the most powerful alien dynasty in the universe. However, there are three more potential heirs to contend with, including Eddie Redmayne’s Balem, who looks like he is loving every second of playing his character in the trailer. The whole thing looks epic and in every way a blockbuster. It’s asking a lot for The Wachowski’s to repeat what they did with The Matrix, maybe they will, but this looks like a very enjoyable and action packed movie nonetheless.

So there’s the main five films I will be looking forward to seeing next year. 2015 is going to be one of the biggest film years for blockbusters in recent memory with the return of Star Wars, Jurassic World, Terminator and The Avengers and with a huge amount of movies like these at the start of the year, we the audience, are going to be well and truly spoiled, which is not a bad thing at all.

Marketing A Monster

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Gareth Edward’s reworking of Godzilla has been unleashed into cinemas and the early consensus is very positive. The reviews are looking good and it’s  already promising to be one of the blockbusters of the year. With an exciting cast headed up by Bryan Cranston and a young director, whose previous, much lower budget movie Monsters was something of a modern masterpiece, it is not surprising that anticipation for the film is huge and will do excellent business at the box office. The marketing was done very well with only sneak-peaks of the eponymous reptile being presented through a variety of teaser trailers and one sheet posters which heavily echoed the original Japanese films. Everything is in place for Godzilla to be a success.

However, some may of thought this was the case in 1998. Roland Emmerich had come off the back of Independence Day and was about to secure his place among the A-List of directors. All he had to do was direct an exciting, American remake of Godzilla which would potentially spawn a new franchise. What could possibly go wrong with a respectable cast headed by the always likable Matthew Broderick and such strong source material to work with? The result was a huge computer generated mess that was short of plot and almost killed one of the most famous movie franchises the Japanese had had for decades.

Whole dissertations could be written about problems in the 1998 Godzilla. The cringe inducing, reality defying scenes that included Hank Azaria being stamped on while filming the creature, the constant military scenes in which none of the officers realise shooting the monster won’t do anything, oh yes, and who can forget the epic denouement in which the main characters all end up in a New York cab inside Godzilla’s mouth. This is a movie that had six Hollywood screenwriters but couldn’t think of a better plotline than Godzilla having a whole spawn of velociraptor like children to chase and eat Jean Reno and his band of Frenchmen. This was one of the biggest turkeys in the last two decades of American cinema. But…

There was one perfect thing about the film. Even though it wasn’t in the movie the marketing campaign was one of the best I have ever witnessed. I was an eight year old child at the time so it was directed at my demographic, but the combination of trailers, TV Spots, poster campaigns and music videos had me and many others in such a state of anticipation that I needed to see Godzilla.

First there’s the theatrical trailer.

It’s cut so fast and frantically that you can barely pause for breathe. The constant dark skies and drizzles makes for a sense of mystery and only teases of the monster hide the average CGI that would come back with a vengeance in the movie. It was an expertly edited trailer, taking all of the best scenes and splicing them into under two minutes. It also doesn’t give too much away in terms of plot, although when we all actually saw the film witnessed how little plot there was to give away. That doesn’t take anything away from how great the trailer is at whetting the anticipation of an audience.

Next was the poster:

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With the combination of the iconic tagline ‘Size Does Matter’ and an image of Godzilla’s foot that is still ingrained into many a brain. When looking back at the poster brings back a nostalgia and familiarity. All of these teases produced a huge amount of intrigue and if the film was done well, then who knows, maybe we’d be seeing the eighth film of this franchise this year instead of the first of a new set of movies.

The factor that probably made me the most excited about the Godzilla films was the official music videos that coincided with its release. There was not one but two huge hits that accompanied the movie. There was the amazing Jamiroquai video ‘Deeper Underground’ in which a cinema is flooded by the ubiquitous New York rain as Godzilla protrudes from the screen:

Then came the  (At the time named) Puff Daddy with ‘Come With Me’:

this is such a hardcore action film theme that you wonder how the film could be anything other than a five star masterpiece after these videos.

Maybe it was a case of the studio, the now extinct Tristar, of focusing so much on the marketing and forgot that you need a story with plot and not just a series of scenes edited together in which a big CGI monster brings down buildings as people run away. There was an obvious intention of making enough money to fund future films that they forgot audiences have to like the first one. Still, the level of anticipation created by the entire campaign is a lesson to anyone wanting to sell their movie, even if that movie is a bit of a dud.

Obviously the 2014 Godzilla will be awesome. It’s going back to its roots and has clearly got more of a story than a huge lizard just destroying skyscrapers over and over before coming back to do it again. With Edwards at the helm it will live up to its interesting and exciting marketing campaign unlike its 1998 predecessor.

 

 

Still To Come In 2013!

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It’s the middle of July and the Summer Blockbuster period is truly in full swing. Audiences everywhere are currently being spoiled for choice at their local multiplex. With Pacific Rim, Despicable Me 2, This Is The End and Man of Steel fighting for box-office glory, what better time to look to the future, and what we can expect from the rest of the year once the Blockbuster season has ended. Here are Luke’s Film Blog’s five most anticipated films throughout the rest of 2013.

Anchorman 2 (Released: 20th December)

We’ve been teased left and right with little bits of speculation and the odd teaser trailer for the long awaited sequel to Adam McKay’s 2004 comedy phenomena. But 2013 will finally see Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgandy return with his legendary news team (Rudd, Carrell, Koechner) to deliver another batch of epically quotable one liners. They’re now in a new decade (the 1980’s) and a new city (New York) and as the old values of the anchorman have diminished they must join a 24 hour rolling news service to survive. With the majority of the original’s cast with added Kristen Wiig as Brick’s girlfriend and a host of cameos that I’ve probably ruined for myself by going on IMDB, I’m certain this will encapsulate the unpredictability and hilarity of the first film.

Captain Phillips (Released: 11th October)

To tell the harrowing tale of Captain Richard Phillips and his abduction by Somalian pirates there could have been no better choice of director than Paul Greengrass. His ability to make an emotionally charged film complete with very real characters was the reason United 93 was as wonderful as it was. He’s in similar territory, here, as he must make the terrifying idea of abduction on the horn of Africa real to audiences. He must capture the fear and raw emotion of the protagonist whilst showing the story from all sides. Tom Hanks plays the eponymous Captain in what looks like it could be serious business when awards season arrives.

Alpha Papa (Released: 7th August)

It’s been about a decade since a potential Alan Partridge movie was considered. There was much thinking about whether they should send him to America or maybe somewhere on holiday, however, he’s staying in Britain and more precisely Norwich as Alan must become hostage negotiator as sacked DJ Pat Farrell (Colm Meany) goes on a rampage through Radio Norwich.

The danger with films derived from a successful British sitcom is they sometimes have trouble adapting to the new format. Rarely, do they attain the success of last year’s Inbetweeners movie and for every one of those is a Kevin and Perry Go Large or Keith Lemon: The Movie. Alpha Papa looks like in biding its time it has come up with a great story concept, created and written by the same geniuses, Iannuci, Coogan, Baynham, who made the TV show so special. The trailer is full of great lines that are delivered perfectly and with a mix of old and new characters this looks like the most epic of films that Norwich has to offer.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Released: 22nd November)

A latecomer to the worldwide success of The Hunger Games, I became an instant fan when I saw the first film. Never, did I think a mainstream blockbuster with loads of kids would be able to shock and entail such adult films as enslavement, infanticide and poverty. I’m sure the constant Battle Royale comparisons will continue, however, both are great films in their own right. With Philip Seymour Hoffman, more scenes of the uprising and an ultimate Hunger Games tournament on offer, I expect Catching Fire to include even more tension, breathtaking violence and scenes of Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen cockteasing Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Released: 13th December)

I wasn’t the only one to say to comment on the flaws in An Unexpected Journey. It was too long, it had too many characters and the narrative was very simplistic. However, it looked glorious and some of the performances, from Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen in particular, were magnificent.

There was a lot to admire which is why I’m still optimistic about The Desolation of Smaug. First of all, we finally get to see Smaug the Dragon in all his glory, voiced with the delectable tones of Benedict Cumberbatch. Also, a lot of the characterisation and set up has been done, so we can just sit back and enjoy the adventures of all the dwarves we are now familiar with. Taking on another six chapters of The Hobbit, we still won’t see The Battle of the Five Armies for another year but we will be treated to loads of elves, Gandalf’s run in with the Necromancer and much more Dwarvish camaraderie.

With the likes of Thor 2, The Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, The Wolf of Wall Street, Elysium, Jobs and Kick Ass 2 whetting our appetite throughout the coming months it should mean a spectacular 2013 as a whole.

The End of The World As We Know It!

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You wait years for an end of the world comedy starring a country’s selection of finest funny actors and then two come at once. Two potential, very good ones in This is the End and The World’s End. In all honesty the last couple of years have been absolutely inundated with apocalyptic, end of the world fare, although most of them have attempted to show our earth’s final days in a more dramatic manner. Whether they were inspired by the Mayan’s 2012 predication or the fact that our society’s social, economic and environmental problems are represented within cinema through this bleak genre, they have truly saturated the market.  

Whether it’s 2012, The Book of Eli, Melancholia, Oblivion, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, The Road, 4:44 Last Day on Earth, Vanishing on 7th Street, Knowing, After Earth, The Day The Earth Stood Still and even Wall-E, we have probably been subjected to too many of these movies in such a short space of time. Our poor earth has been nothing but terrorised in the past decade.

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With all these bleak, terrifying and sometimes dubious apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic movies it’s refreshing to see something new with the genre. Parody and pastiche are the best way to liven up a tiresome genre that’s past its peak and we’re seeing this with both the aforementioned comedies. This is the End, written by the scribes of Superbad, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan, sees a selection of the best and brightest in American comedy join forces to play fictional, exaggerated versions of themselves.

The trailer (See above), which hopefully hasn’t blown all the best jokes and surprise cameos already, sees Rogan, Baruchel, Hill, McBride, Robinson etc shelter in James Franco’s house as they struggle to survive the apocalypse. Although much of the plot wasn’t revealed after the opening party and subsequent invasion, except the fact that Emma Watson comes in to steal their limited supplies, I’m sure that much more happens and hilarity ensues in their quest for survival.

On this side of the pond Edgar Wright has completed his long awaited third film of his Cornetto trilogy. Teaming up again with Simon Pegg on writing duties after the widely successful Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, the story sees Pegg and friends played by Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Martin Freeman and Paddy Considine embark on an epic pub crawl they once attempted, but failed, in their youth, only to find they are in the middle of the apocalypse.

It really is a battle of the juggernauts between Britain and American comedy and I’m sure that both will be enjoyable and breathe life into a genre that, like that of the zombies, has been tarnished with saturation and simply too many films. Innovation and re-invention is how these genres develop and comedy is a great way to establish what we originally loved about these films.