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With some criticising The Hobbit for spreading over three films, what other franchises have gone on for a long time?
The Hobbit trilogy has been criticised by some viewers for having too little content spread too thinly over the course of too many films. Originally, the idea was to split the 1937 J. R. R. Tolkien story over two films; however, in 2012, director Peter Jackson confirmed his plans for a third film; some six years after the two-film decision had been made.
Director of The Hobbit, Peter Jackson, originally thought the franchise would only spread across two films
Was this to enhance viewers’ experience of the story or was it because three films make more money than two? Audiences will never know. They will instead have to settle with a narrative with a lot less to say than The Lord of the Rings trilogy over the same number of motion pictures; with the final chapter in the piece, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, released in the UK on 12 December.
Continue reading: Film Franchises That Go On Forever
Scroll down for a look at the new picture
‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ won’t be out for another 6 months, which means it’s just the right time to start dripping teaser photos, trailer snippets and plot bytes to keep Tolkienites’ appetites whetted.
Ian McKellen‘s Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The latest tease comes in the form of a ‘first look’ style reveal on the film’s official Facebook page. In it, Ian McKellen‘s Gandalf and Luke Evans‘ Bard the Bowman are looking at something presumably ominous - let’s face it: they’re not laughing at Bilbo trying out Legolas’s bow, are they?
Continue reading: 'The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies' Gets A Facebook Photo Tease
X-Men: Days of Future Past is a serious critical hit.
The early reviews of X-Men: Days of Future Past were potentially damaging. There was talk of the narrative being far too complex for the average movie fan to enjoy and many were suggesting Bryan Singer had bitten off more than he could chew by having the beloved characters from the original X-Men trilogy joining forces with their younger selves.
Starring Sir Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, X-Men: Days of Future Past is certainly a hotbed of serious acting talent, but very often, big names simply aren't enough to carry a poor script. Luckily, for 20th Century Fox, writers John Byrne, Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman haven't written a poor script. They haven't even written an overly complex script.
Continue reading: With 95%, 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' Is The Best X-Men Movie. Period.
Ahead of its May 22 release, the critics have their say on the latest X-Men adventure
Professor X, Mystique, Magneto, Kitty Pryde and Wolverine are back, but this time the latter is trying to convince X-Men from the past to help stop a war that is going to occur in the future. It’s a complicated plot, by all accounts, but one that Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn have portrayed skilfully, with plenty of action in between.
Charles Xavier meets his past self
The critics have kicked off the ever fluctuating aggregate Rotten Tomato score with a very healthy 86%. “Not since 2003's "X2: X-Men United" has this filmmaker tapped so effortlessly into his talent for comicbook gravitas, his ability to mine emotional resonance, pop poetry and (crucially) sly humor…” wrote Variety’s Justin Chang.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is getting closer.
Fox has released the X-Men: Days of Future Past behind-the-scenes featurette as it prepares its promotional material ahead of the movie's release on May 23. Mainly featuring Bryan Singer explaining his reasons for getting back into the director's chair for the latest entry in the long-running superhero series, the new clip also features some pretty neat looking footage from the blockbuster.
Ian McKellen in X-Men: Days of Future Past
Singer's first two movies starring Hugh Jackman paved the way for the younger cast (McAvoy, Fassbender, Lawrence etc) to take a hold of the franchise, though the filmmaker is delighted to be forging both teams together for Days of Future Past.
Once again, the reception has been mixed for 'The Hobbit,' but 'Desolation of Smaug' does show signs of improvement
Having narrowly escaped several deadly confrontations with the likes of trolls, stone giants and an innumeral amount of orcs, Bilbo Baggins, still in the company of Gandalf and the Dwarves of Erebor, continues his adventure to return the dwarves to their rightful home, coming across their most difficult deeds yet this time around. They reach the Lonely Mountain, guarded by the colossal dragon Smaug, and must pit their wits against their greatest challenge yet, as well as yet more goblins, orcs, giant spiders and some very untrustworthy elves.
Bilbo gets serious this time around
The first time around, Biblo (Martin Freeman), the returning Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and our dwarf friends were met with a mix reception by a largely indifferent collection of critics. This time around, the overall view is still a relatively unconvinced one, but it does seem as though Peter Jackson's latest Tolkein epic has regained some of the vigor from the beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy and a number of notable critics were left impressed after watching the film.
Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart stun in a double bill of 'Waiting for Godot' and 'No Man's Land' on Broadway.
Ian McKellen has suggested that his current Broadway show - a double bill of Samuel Beckett'sWaiting for Godotand Harold Pinter'sNo Man's Landwith Patrick Stewart - could well be his last appearance on the famous stages of New York.
Sir Ian McKellen, On Broadway
McKellen, 74, said Gotham's famous theatre scene had "some of the brightest in the world, and certainly some of the most enthusiastic" audiences in the world.
Shuler Hensley, Ian McKellen, Adian Gemme, Sean Mathias, Colin Critchley, Patrick Stewart and Billy Crudup - Opening Night After Party for Broadway's Waiting For Godot, held at the Bryant Park Grill - Inside. - New York City, New York, United States - Sunday 24th November 2013
Billy Crudup, Ian McKellen, Aidan Gemme, Patrick Stewart and Shuler Hensley - Opening Night Curtain Call for Broadway's Waiting For Godot at the Cort Theatre. - New York, New York, United States - Monday 25th November 2013
Hugh Jackman should hand the Wolverine torch over to someone new
Many actors have roles that define their careers. So far, Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry Potter is still his most recognisable work; Roger Moore will always be known as James Bond and Christopher Reeve just is Superman. Will Hugh Jackman always ben known as Wolverine?
Hugh Jackman's Wolverine in Days of Future Past
He certainly will be if talk of another film turns out to be true. Often maligned, Jackman’s career has been of the illustrious sort. He’s appeared in taut thrillers, elaborate musicals and epic battles. But his seminal career role is that of Wolverine, and subsequent turns in the X-Men movies that included the angry superhero.
Continue reading: Should Hugh Jackman Adopt His Wolverine Guise Yet Again?
Check out the extended, all-action Desolation of Smaug trailer.
Ahead of the second film in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy’s release, an extended, for-the-fans trailer has been released, giving us a better look at the Desolation of Smaug, which will hit cinemas this December.
Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'
The long trailer was shown at a fan event, which featured a Q&A with the film’s stars, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis, and, of course, the director Peter Jackson.
Continue reading: Hobbit Fans Get Treat As Extra Long 'Desolation Of Smaug' Trailer Hits
Check out the emotional trailer for 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' below.
Following a nastily short, nevertheless exciting, six-second teaser trailer released last week, we finally have a longer trailer to whet our comic book appetites. The emotive, epic trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past sets out the story, which sees two generations of X-Men required to stop a war before it begins.
Hugh Jackman's Wolverine faces a difficult task
Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen and Hugh Jackman reprise their roles; the latter being the conduit on which the film’s plot is based. He must wake up in his younger body, and find a young Professor Charles Xavier and “guide him, have patience with him.”
'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' trailer hits the web and features heroes and villains from the past and future as the 'X-Men' return to save the mutant race.
The official trailer for the sequel to the 2011 'X-Men First Class' has been released online. 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' sees the return of the film franchise's biggest characters and includes a few new faces as the ensemble cast combine to depict a time travelling story to save the mutants from their imminent destruction.
Logan (Jackman) travels back in time to meet a young Prof X (James McAvoy)
The sequel trailer already rises important questions that need to be addressed in the upcoming sequel. The 2 minute long clip heavily features the return of 'Professor Charles Xavier' (Patrick Stewart), a character presumed to be dead after being killed by Jean Grey in 2006's 'X-Men: The Last Stand'. A resurrection perhaps?
Uploaded earlier today, the trailer for the next X Men movie will blow you away
X-Men: Days of Future Past won't be out until May next year, but after you see the first trailer for it you'll wish that you could jump forward and dive right into it now. In it, we get our first real glimpse at our mutant heroes and villains, from past and future, who must bend the space time continuum to make the future a better day for mutants throughout the Marvel Universe.
The past (McAvoy) and present (Stewart) Xaviers meet face to face in the trailer
Based on the much lauded and incredibly popular (if you happen to be into comic books at least) 'Days of Future Past' storyline from the Uncanny X-Men, the move will unite the characters from the first X-Men movies with those from 2011's X-Men: First Class, with the present day X-Men having to go back in time to prevent the ongoing war against mutants, who are being hunted down by the robotic Sentinels. Are you still with us? Good, because it gets even more complicated.
The new trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is here.
The second film in The Hobbit franchise The Desolation of Smaug has a brand new trailer, which sees the Elves and the Dwarves reluctantly unite, Bilbo Baggins captured by The Ring's power and the terrifying Smaug breath fire. The action packed movie is set for for a Christmas time release but you can catch a glimpse of the fantasy epic right now.
Ian McKellen As Gandalf In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
In The Desolation of Smaug we re-join Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his trials & tribulations alongside the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on the marathon quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.
Can Ian McKellen pull it off as the next Sherlock Holmes?
Sir Ian McKellen is due to star as an elderly Sherlock Holmes in the movie adaptation of 'A Slight Trick of the Mind', a 2005 novel by Mitch Cullin.
'The Hobbit' star has been signed on to portray the world famous sleuth which is set to be directed by Bill Condon, who he previously worked on in Oscar winning 1998 biography drama 'Gods and Monsters', with a screenplay by Jeffrey Hatcher.
The Holmes film is about the detective as an old man, partially crippled and only able to walk with a cane, and with an increasingly poor memory. He must crack a case that has stumped him for 50 years before his almighty mind finally fails him.
Continue reading: Ian McKellen Goes From Sorcerer To Sleuth In Upcoming Sherlock Movie
The veteran actor will portray one of literature's most revered characters .
It’s official, screen legend Ian McKellen has signed on to play a retired Sherlock Holmes in Bill Condon's A Slight Trick of the Mind. The movie is based on a novel of the same name by Mitch Cullin while the screenplay is being adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher. Anne Carey will produce.
The plot: a retired Holmes racks his brain for the answers to an unsolved case 50 years prior. His brilliant yet fading mind can’t handle the lack of closure, so, stripped of his once-impenetrable logic, he sets out on his hardest case yet.
It’s not often you can say this about a role – just ask the fans of 50 Shades of Grey – but McKellen is literally perfect to fill this role. Credits for that sentence go to the Oxford online dictionary for changing the meaning of “literally.” But, jokes aside, we can’t think of a better man to take on the part.
Superheroes turn out at San Diego Comic-Con, while Hugh Jackman makes a final push for The Wolverine. Jennifer Lawrence plugs her Hunger Games sequel, Steve Coogan premieres Alpha Papa in Norwich and Gravity continues to provide goosebumps...
Comic-Con in San Diego last weekend featured a staggering array of star power presenting their upcoming superhero movies. Chris Evans and Scarlett wound up the fans while talking about Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Benicio Del Toro and Djimon Hounsou were on hand to chat about Marvel's interstellar epic Guardians of the Galaxy. Tom Hiddleston talked up Thor: The Dark World. And the enormous cast of X-men: Days of Future Past turned up, including acting veterans Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. Watch Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson talk 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' at Comic-Con, or see Djimon Hounsou and Benicio Del Toro discuss 'Guardians of the Galaxy' at Comic-Con. Check out the video of Tom Hiddleston talking about 'Thor: The Dark World' at Comic-Con and see Ian Mckellen and Patrick Stewart getting a little sentimental during 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' Comic-Con Q&A.
In addition, Hugh Jackman and James Mangold continued their globe-hopping press tour, arriving in San Diego to discuss their new X-men movie The Wolverine, the Japan-set adventure that arrives in US and UK cinemas this weekend. Watch 'The Wolverine Press conference here, click to view the 'The Wolverine' trailer or read our The Wolverine Review.
X-Men put on a huge panel at Comic-Con 2013 with each cast member and writer present to answer the burning questions of the franchise's fans.
The X-Men stars who were present at this year's monumental Comic-Con included writers Simon Kinberg and Omar Sy, as well as Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, director Bryan Singer, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicolas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Evan Peters, with producers Lauren Shula Donner and Hutch Parker.
Hugh Jackman: Always Ready To Break Into Song.
Hugh Jackman, AKA Wolverine, took centre stage as arguably the most memorable and distinctive character in the long-running franchise. Describing his role as Wolverine as "the job that has defined [his]career...every day [he's] grateful," he added "I thank my lucky stars" before he and X-Men director Bryan Singer engaged in a spot of snuggling.
If you're going to San Diego's Comic-Con 2013 don't expect to see any trace of Peter Jackson's upcoming The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug after the director explains the film won't be making an appearance but debuts new teaser material in a vlog.
It wasn't really a diva-ruling that the sequel to 2012's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey won't be holding a panel at this year's Comic-Con: in his vlog, Jackson acknowledges that fans attending Comic-Con will be let down but time constraints and a busy schedule mean it just won't be possible. However, the Kiwi director apologises with a special behind-the-scenes production video that gives Hobbit fans an exclusive look into the world of The One Ring.
Director Peter Jackson Has Good News & Bad News For Fans.
On his YouTube channel, Jackson introduces the production diary with some "disappointing" news: he announced that he "wasn't ready to present anything from the Desolation of Smaug at comic con this year" due to no available cast to attend and he himself working busy six day weeks in order to make the second and third Hobbit movies "as cool as they can possibly be." Jackson's "good news" is the new video blog: the 10 minute video shows behind-the-scenes production shots including the team goofing around and green screen scenes, that demonstrate the hard work and preparation that goes into producing such an intricately detailed fantasy blockbuster. The most exciting aspect of the video is seeing the gigantic sets that are built for the movie, such as Mirkwood forest and Lake-town, as well as the reunited cast back in costume and ready to film.
Are British audiences ready to hark back to traditional sitcoms like 'I Love Lucy?'
Sir Ian McKellen says his new ITV sitcom with theatre legend Sir Derek Jacobi will not be an "expose on gay life," and more of a traditional show such as The Golden Girls. Sir Ian plays one half of a gay couple in the sitcom which starts on ITV next Monday (April 29, 2013).
McKellen, one of the world's respected actors, raised eyebrows when signing up for the ITV sitcom, though the actor says he wanted to change the way in which gay characters are often portrayed in sitcoms (think, Little Britain.) "It's a fairly traditional sitcom which reminds me of The Golden Girls or I Love Lucy. It's not aiming to shock people. It won't alarm anyone. It isn't a satire or an exposé of gay life. These characters just happen to be gay. For me, it is as if TV has grown up," he told The Sun.
The TV spots in recent weeks suggest Vicious probably isn't going to be belly-laughing territory, though perhaps British audiences need to recapture their love for a traditional, inoffensive sitcom. "It's a family show that will get the broadest possible demographic. Everyone will be able to relate to the characters," sir Sir Ian.
Continue reading: Sir Ian McKellen's Sitcom 'Vicious' May Be Refreshing, But Is It Funny?
Lord of the Rings star reveals he'll be officiating Patrick Stewart's forthcoming wedding, in America
Sir Ian McKellen is going to be marrying Patrick Stewart! No! Wait! Hold up! Not THAT kind of marrying. Patrick Stewart is going to be getting married – to the singer Sunny Ozell – and Sir Ian McKellen will be officiating the wedding. It’s not the first time that the Lord of the Rings star has overseen a friend’s wedding; he married two men in the UK as well, so he’s well-practised for the Star Trek actor’s nuptials, which are taking place “in the middle of America, somewhere.”
Speaking on the Jonathon Ross show, the presenter asked McKellen “how come you’re legally allowed to do that?” and the reply came, “well, I don’t know.” He went on to explain that the last time he officiated a wedding, for two men having a civil partnership, he was “crying his eyes out.”McKellen then moved on to the all-important sartorial decision of what to wear when officiating a wedding. “Last time I went with a gown, a sort of white gown, that I’d bought in India, it was rather fetching. But you mustn’t upstage the bride.”
McKellen was on the show to promote the new TV sitcom that he’ll be starring in, alongside Derek Jacobi. Entitled 'Vicious,' it follows the story of an ageing gay couple, who have lived very private lives and get through life by being rather vicious to each other. The ITV comedy has already been commissioned for a Christmas special, he revealed during the entertaining interview.
The Station Agent actor Peter Dinklage has joined the cast of the latest X-Men movie Days of Future Past. Director Bryan Singer announced the news on Wednesday (February 13, 2013), tweeting, "Officially like to welcome Peter Dinklage from Game Of Thrones to XMEN Days of Future Past. Very very excited!"
The casting of Dinklage is a strong move from Singer and the team - he won Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes in 2012 for his role as Tyrion Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones. It's yet to be determined which role he will play in the forthcoming X-Men movie, which is co-written by Matthew Vaughan, the director of the previous movie. The franchise has spawned five movies so far, including the 2009 Wolverine spin-off. A follow-up to that film, The Wolverine, is due out this summer with Hugh Jackman's character travelling to Japan to train with a Samurai warrior.
Continue reading: Peter Dinklage Signs On For X-Men Movie 'Days Of Future Past'
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hit theatres this week with sold out seats and favorable reviews.
And with good reason – the Peter Jackson flick does a great job of retelling and expanding the story of young, happy-go-lucky hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is just enjoying life, until Gandalf (Ian McKellen) comes along to mess it all up. Bilbo crosses paths with three boisterous dwarves on a mission to reclaim their land and suddenly, the young hobbit is faced with the choice of sticking to his peaceful existence or going on an adventure. You can already guess where this is heading, can’t you?
The film, set before the events of Lord of the Rings, features some familiar characters, while also weaving in a lot of new (or rather, old) faces and plotlines. The visuals of the flick are also something to marvel at, shot at 48 frames per second and displayed in beautiful 3D. Because of the unusual frame rate, to the untrained eye, the detailed sets and complex CGI can sometimes look cheap and a bit garish, but whether you love it or hate it, there can be no question that Middle Earth has never looked more impressive. The beautiful setting provides a great backdrop for the cast to cut loose and have fun with acting out this much lighter and more frivolous chapter of the Middle Earth story.
Continue reading: A Look At The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Prince William attended the London premiere of The Hobbit alone last night.
His wife, Kate Middleton, was due to attend but was prevented from joining her husband by the pregnancy sickness that kept her in hospital for much of last week. The Duke of Cambridge was the guest of honour at last night’s glittering event at London’s Leicester Square and told the press “She would have loved to have been here if she could.” Typical, isn’t it? You’re stuck at home, pregnant and sick and hubby deserts you for the night to go to Middle Earth for the evening.
Not only did Kate miss out on watching the new film, but she also missed out on hanging out with all the A-list celebrities in attendance, such as Cate Blanchett, Sir Ian McKellan, Peter Jackson. James Nesbitt and – of course – the star of the film, Martin Freeman. Oh and Nick Cave was there! Who wouldn’t want to hang out with Nick Cave in Middle Earth?
By the gusto of his performances and larger than life energy in interviews, you'd never guess that star of the stage and screen, Sir Ian McKellan, had been battling prostate cancer for over 6 years.
In an interview with the Mirror he spoke of his health problems with humour. "You are going to write 'Ian McKellen is decrepit. He can't see, he can't hear he can't pee, he's having his teeth done'," he said, before explaining: "I've had prostate cancer for six or seven years. When you have got it you monitor it and you have to be careful it doesn't spread. But if it is contained in the prostate it's no big deal."
Sir McKellan's honesty is bound to give hope to many other sufferers around the world. He admits to a mixture of emotions, beginning with fear, but that it has been 'totally treatable' and also gave a few tips about healthy living including lots of exercise. "I am lucky," he said. "I don't have aches and pains. I do pilates regularly... and I recommend it to anyone. I always walk up the escalator on the tube and I live in a house with a lot of stairs." Adding "The wonderful thing about modern medicine is that so many of these complaints that used to signify old age and decline can be coped with." His main piece of advice though is to get tested and to keep getting tested.
In the wake of The Hobbit premiere, Sir Ian McKellen opened up about his struggle with prostate cancer for the past six or seven years. The actor, who has reprised his role as Gandalf in the Peter Jackson film, talked about the initial scare that he experienced with the disease and how things gradually got back to normal for him.
"You do gulp when you hear the news. It's like when you go for an HIV test, you go 'Arghhh, is this the end of the road?” McKellen told The Daily Mirror. He went on to explain how he eventually came to terms with the diagnosis.
"When you have got it you monitor it and you have to be careful it doesn't spread. But if it is contained in the prostate it's no big deal.”
Continue reading: Sir Ian McKellen Talks About His Cancer, His Age And Dealing With It All
With Sir Ian McKellen becoming Gandalf again in the upcoming The Hobbit trilogy and watching him defeat the evils of Middle Earth, you wouldn't guess that the star had any health complications.
However, the Oscar-nominated actor has revealed to The Mirror that he has in fact been suffering from prostate cancer for several years but has never had any treatment because of its containment. 'I've had prostate cancer for six or seven years', he explained. 'When you have got it you monitor it and you have to be careful it doesn't spread. But if it is contained in the prostate it's no big deal.' But don't worry too much, McKellan fans. Despite refusing treatment, he insists that he is 'examined regularly' and that it is so far 'not spreading'.
On the other hand, he admits that finding out the news was scary. 'You do gulp when you hear the news', he confessed. 'It's like when you go for an HIV test. You go 'Aargh! Is this the end of the road?' And it is no wonder because, like Ian went on to say, "many, many men die from it." Other than that though he considers himself perfectly healthy and encourages all people his age to continue to exercise. 'I recommend it to anyone of my age because the temptation is not to exercise as you get older. Well you should', he said.
Hollywood star Liv Tyler returned to the limelight at The Hobbit premiere in New York on Thursday evening (December 6, 2012). The Armageddon actress - who played Arwen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy - turned up for a reunion of sorts with her former co-stars, wearing a short dress with matching blazer. Tyler also donned a pair of scarlet shoes, which matched her staple ruby-red lipstick.
The 35-year-old met with former co-stars Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis, who star in Peter Jackson's new movie, with Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins. It's been a quiet couple of years for Tyler, who starred in the indie-comedy Super with Rainn Wilson and Ellen Paige in 2010, before appearing in drama-thriller The Ledge in 2011. She does also appear in the comedy-drama Robot & Frank, in which Frank Langella was lauded for his performance as an ex-jewel thief who receives a robot butler from his son. Tyler has signed on for Ti West's forthcoming horror flick The Side Effect about pharmaceutical medicines tested in outer space, though as yet, there is no scheduled release date.
Continue reading: Pictures: Liv Tyler Returns To The Limelight At The Hobbit Premiere
A specially painted Air New Zealand plane jetted around the world this week, collecting cast and crew to attend the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Wednesday. Wellington was renamed "The Middle of Middle-Earth" for the day, and the red carpet event was attended by Cate Blanchett, Martin Freeman, franchise guru Peter Jackson and more than 100,000 fans.
Peter Jackson and his team repaid New Zealand for its hospitality this week, by hosting the world premiere of the new Lord of the Rings film The Hobbit in central Wellington. The country has played host to some of the biggest movie stars on the planet for the past year while Jackson shot the film on its rolling green hills.
More than 100,000 turned out for the premiere of the movie, which has sparked Middle Earth mania in New Zealand. According to The Telegraph, presenters on national radio greeted listeners in fictional elvish language, while newspapers came equipped with complimentary Hobbit posters. Thousands of fans turned out for the premiere at the Embassy Theatre in full Lord of the Rings garb, delighting stars including Cate Blanchett, Martin Freeman and Elijah Wood who walked the red-carpet. Wellington actually renamed itself 'The Middle of Middle Earth' for the event, which has been regarded as a godsend for the country's tourism industry. Delays and union disputes have disrupted the production of The Hobbit, though despite wrapping up the hugely anticipated movie, director Peter Jackson admits he is still nervous about the critical reception. "Nothing's ever perfect and it never will be, it's a real mistake if you say we're stopping now because we've made the perfect film," he told Radio New Zealand. "You never have and you never will.I've got severe fatigue right now, but only because I've just finished the film. There's been all sorts of obstacles"
Sir Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi, two of Britains best loved, and most talented actors are to be star in a brand new ITV sitcom about an old couple, living together in Covent Garden, called 'Vicious'.
According to the Guardian, McKellen and Jacobi will be playing Freddie and Stuart, respectively, who have lived together for 50 years, first meeting when Freddie was an actor and Stuart a barman. Frances de la Tour also features, as the couple's best friend, Violet. Gary Janetti, who was the executive producer of US sitcome Will & Grace, is a co-producer of 'Vicious', and Ed Bye will be directing, although he's not a household name, he has directed some of the best loved British comedies, including episodes of French and Saunders, My Family and the film Kevin and Perry Go Large.
"ITV is thrilled this exciting and bold sitcom," said Myfanwy Moore, commissioning editor at ITV said, "with stellar performers and writing talent [joining] the increasing slate of new look comedy shows on the channel." It is not only the obvious talent involved with the project that makes it exciting, but the traditionally marginalized sects of society- the aged and the gay- being at the forefront of the new show makes it a show that has been a long time coming, and one not to miss. Quoted by the Telegraph, McKellen said being gay had made him better at his job; "I think that's why so many great British actors are gay - we spent so long pretending to be straight, to be someone else, that eventually we became very good it," he said. With the brilliant combination of two of the country's longest standing gay actor-vists, alongside Gary Janetti, expectations are high this unusual sitcom concept.
The countdown to Christmas, for a while at least, seemed to begin earlier every year. It now seems to have plateaued at around October 1st, however, the early countdown crown goes to The Hobbit, for which we've been waiting for nigh on 5 years, although the official countdown clock in Wellington NZ was only unveiled earlier this year.
Peter Jackson's fourth Tolkien, Middle-Earth adaptation, The Hobbit, has faced numerous setbacks mostly due to Jackson's epic imagination, which forced what was originally going to be just one movie, into three, spread over three years. The first in the trilogy, 'An Unexpected Journey' will be released on December 13th (UK, 14th rest of the world) and stars Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage and Benedict Cumberbatch, with a running time of just 2 hours and 40 minutes- coming in ten minutes shorter than any other Middle-Earth based movie yet.
In response to the movie, which will no doubt be one of the biggest grossers of the year (if not all time), and many companies have jumped on the bandwagon. American restaurant chain Denny's have released an entire menu dedicated to the hobbits and the Shire, reports the Huffington Post, and includes Pumpkin Patch Pancakes and 'The Ring Burger' which features three onion rings. Original.
Continue reading: Peter Jackson's The Hobbit Begins Its Takeover
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien, is due for cinema release in December, but fans of the franchise have been given a sneak preview of the film by way of a trailer.
The trailer, which debuted on broadcast and online media, will be shown in cinemas around the world throughout Wednesday, to really up the hype for the much anticipated franchise, which comes from the same people that brought Lord of The Rings to the big screen. Fans of LOTR - The Oscar-winning trilogy that grossed almost $2.9 billion worldwide a decade ago – will be paying close attention to all Hobbit related news, as the upcoming fantasy drama looks set to build on the success of it’s ‘father films’. The Office star Martin Freeman plays Bilbo Baggins - the title character - and Sir Ian McKellen returns to his role as Gandalf.
Peter Jackson announced earlier this year that The Hobbit will be split into three films, all due to be released a year apart, saying "We know the strength of our cast and of the characters they have brought to life. We know creatively how compelling and engaging the story can be and - lastly, and most importantly - we know how much of the tale of Bilbo Baggins, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur would remain untold if we did not fully realise this complex and wonderful adventure."
With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opening in December 14th Peter Jackson and co. have unveiled a new trailer as well as several new images ahead of the first of what has become a trilogy of movies - this in spite of the fact that The Hobbit in book form is but a mere fraction of its behemoth genuine three-part sequel The Lord Of The Rings.
The trailer shows Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit whose quiet life in Middle Earth is disturbed by the arrival of the wizard Gandalf - played once again by Sir Ian McKellen. Meeting the dwarves in his home, he's soon shown setting off on the adventure where he meets characters recognisable from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, including Elrond of the elves and the elf lady Galadriel (once again played by Cate Blanchett.) Gollum also makes an appearance and the film looks like it's going to have all of the visual wonderment of the three films in the series previously directed by Jackson.
The trilogy is going to have go some way to topping the Lord Of The Rings three, with the Daily Telegraph pointing out that they grossed a combined $2.9 billion a decade ago. Nevertheless, anticipation has been huge for these new films, so you'd have to say it has every chance.
And it's expectations that director Peter Jackson has clearly found himself having to address in this movie. Given that all three films in the series were shot simultaneously, Jackson doesn't have much opportunity to introduce new stuff with each movie. We're well familiarized with the main characters and the primary settings, so much of the weight falls on the new people and creatures introduced in this episode to carry the story.
Continue reading: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers Review
How do you satisfy a legion of fans, some of whom have been waiting almost 65 years to see their absolute favorite work of literature put to film? More often than not, you don't, and though Peter Jackson's production of The Lord of the Rings is painstakingly faithful and earnest, it is almost a foregone conclusion that the movie will never quite be good enough for the obsessed fans (see also the 1978 animated Lord), just is it will be far too obtuse for those who haven't read the books.
Continue reading: The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring Review
Picking up after a flashback to Sméagol/Gollum's discovery of the ring many years earlier, the film then takes us back to the twin stories from Fellowship andThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and company are basking in the glory of victory at Helm's Deep and Isengard, while Frodo (Elijah Wood), Sam (Sean Astin), and Gollum trek toward Mount Doom to destroy the ring.
Continue reading: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King Review
Saint of 9/11, narrated with solemnity by Ian McKellen, tells Judge's complex story with both reverence and reserve. As a recovered alcoholic and a fairly open gay man, Judge was an unlikely addition to the Fire Department ranks, but he served them with the same enthusiasm that he served all New Yorkers, as an astonishing range of talking heads -- everyone from Hillary Clinton to a nearly incoherent homeless man in Penn Station -- testifies.
Continue reading: Saint Of 9/11 Review
We've witnessed, this summer, how fresh blood can rejuvenate a franchise entering its third installment. Weeks ago, Paramount handed the Mission: Impossible keys to J.J. Abrams (Alias) and clicked their heels when the inventive television director breathed new life into a financially healthy but creatively stagnant series.
Fox attempts a similar trick with its valuable X-Men venture, though in honesty the studio had little choice. After conceiving two blockbuster films that delighted both critics and fans, director Bryan Singer walked away from the X universe for the chance to direct the next Man of Steel movie (his Superman Returns arrives in theaters next month). Fox wouldn't let Singer's exit kill its golden-egg-laying goose, so the studio plopped oft-maligned hired gun filmmaker Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) behind the camera and prayed that he wouldn't botch The Last Stand, reportedly the final installment.
Continue reading: X-Men: The Last Stand Review
When Hanks reached the oft-maligned Bonfire of the Vanities, he speculated on the reasons Brian De Palma's adaptation of Tom Wolfe's celebrated novel failed. The actor admitted, among other things, that he "wasn't the right guy" to play that particular part. "Plus," Hanks went on to say, "it's hard to make a movie out of something that entered into the national consciousness as strongly as (Wolfe's) book."
Continue reading: The Da Vinci Code Review
Ringers isn't just a fun-poking exercise like most of its brethern. Primarily it's an exhaustive history of Lord of the Rings, from J.R.R. Tolkein's life and times through such curiosities as Leonard Nimoy's ballad of Bilbo Baggins (google it) to the animated attempts at making the books into movies in the 1970s and '80s. Sure, the fans are covered, in part, and there are a few gems among them. My favorites are the ones who claim to be really into Tolkein, yet show up at the film's "confessional" booth dressed as Klingons or, inexplicably, as Johnny Depp's character from Pirates of the Caribbean. This largely passes without comment: In fact, that's the movie's major failing. It's far too respectful -- fawning, really -- of the obsessed fan base of Lord of the Rings to be truly entertaining. Hell, Dominic Monaghan, who played one of the hobbits, narrates the thing with an air of something that approaches austerity.
Continue reading: Ringers: Lord Of The Fans Review
At least there's a handsome mental patient who's allowed to work in the grounds near the Raphael's house, giving Stella reason to get up in the morning. For those not as terminally depressed as Stella, it would seem a negative that Edgar Stark (Marton Csokas) had been put in the asylum for butchering his wife; but hey, a girl's got to keep busy. Director David Mackenzie (Young Adam) and screenwriter Patrick Marber (Closer) don't waste much of the audience's time before bringing Edgar and Stella together in a brutal coupling in a half-ruined greenhouse that shows, in one simple and uninterrupted shot, more heated passion than a half-dozen other films' frantic editing and sensuous lighting could manage. The heated connection between the two is so believable that all the events which follow from their affair - including, but not limited to, Edgar's escape - and the depths of darkness into which nearly all the characters are plunged, seem nothing less than utterly inevitable.
Continue reading: Asylum Review
The venerable performance troupe Cirque du Soleil (with two concurrent Vegas shows to their credit) hits the big screen -- the big big screen -- with a big-budget, dazzling, 3-D IMAX production called Journey of Man. While ostensibly there's a story to hold this thing together (that being the life journey of a kid from infant to old man), the film is really just a vehicle to show off the acrobatics of the troupe to those unwilling to shell out the $80 or so for a glimpse of the real thing.
Continue reading: Cirque Du Soleil: Journey Of Man Review
Without too much regret, I can say that X-Men will be palatable to fans and newbies alike. It's not a great film, but it will probably follow the arc of the Superman and Batman movies -- tons of sequels of variable quality until an abrupt and dismal end a decade later.
Continue reading: X-Men Review
Picking up after a flashback to Sméagol/Gollum's discovery of the ring many years earlier, the film then takes us back to the twin stories from Fellowship and The Two Towers: Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and company are basking in the glory of victory at Helm's Deep and Isengard, while Frodo (Elijah Wood), Sam (Sean Astin), and Gollum trek toward Mount Doom to destroy the ring.
Continue reading: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King Review
X2 picks up an indeterminate amount of time after the original ended. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, looking strangely clean cut) is still trying to figure out his past. Magneto (Ian McKellan) is trapped in his plastic prison. And Jean Gray (Famke Janssen) is having bad dreams about something wicked coming on the horizon.
Continue reading: X2: X-Men United Review
It will probably be honored as a triumph of filmmaking (and indeed has already one the National Board of Review's Best Picture award), but while Gods and Monsters is a good film, it's really more of a curiosity than a legitimate masterpiece.
The adaptation of a fictionalized account of the final days of director Frank Whale (best known for directing the first two Frankenstein movies), director Condon's story is really a simple one, about Whale's infatuation with his gardner Clay (Fraser). That Whale is a not-so-in-the-closet homosexual is pretty clear up front, but for some reason, Clay can't figure that out.
What follows is a series of encounters between the two, the degeneration of Whale's mind thanks to a stroke, and, most curiously, one dream/fantasy sequence after another, wherein Whale relives his childhood, World War I, and his years in Hollywood.
The dream sequence, long known as the biggest crutch a screenwriter can use, works. At least part-way. Because Whale's mind is going south, we are asked to indulge his fantasies as near-reality for him. Like I say, this works, but only up to a point. After two hours, the device has grown stale and predictable.
Still, Gods is a truly good film with a great cast (McKellan and especially Redgrave, playing Whale's maid, both deserve serious praise), and what must have been a tricky adaptation of the novel on which it was based is also a feat unto itself.
A Whale of a tale.
A mid-20th-century bodice-ripper about sexual obsession and questionable sanity, "Asylum" doesn't live up to its admirable pedigree.
Adapted by Patrick Marber ("Closer") from a novel by Patrick McGrath ("Spider"), directed by David Mackenzie ("Young Adam") and featuring a stellar cast of gifted British actors, the film has yearning and buttoned-down 1950s atmosphere to spare, but fails to turn its foolish heroine into an empathetic or understandable character.
Natasha Richardson plays Stella, a restless woman whose polite, passionless marriage begets dangerous ennui when her husband (Hugh Bonneville) takes a post as deputy director of a psychiatric hospital in rural England. Feeling trapped on the hospital grounds and uncomfortable in the clique-ish sewing circle of doctors' wives, she begins a heated affair with an outwardly stable inmate and former sculptor named Edgar (Marton Csokas, "The Bourne Supremacy") who works as a groundskeeper and has befriended her young son.
Continue reading: Asylum Review
As overwrought, over-buzzed, F/X-driven, pure-popcorn summer escapist flicks go, "X-Men" delivers the goods better than most.
You want supernatural baddies bent on world domination? You got it. Explosions? Check. Super-charged, fly-wire kung-fu fights? They're in ample supply. Highfalutin credibility-lending Shakespearean actors hired to chew scenery? Two, even! Visual effect that wow the audience more with their obvious expense than the impression they leave on the retinas? And how!
Plot, you ask? Dialogue? As simplistic as possible, please, and only when absolutely necessary.
Continue reading: X-Men Review
(NOTE: I've received a couple complaints about this review containing spoilers. That wasn't my intention, but I thought you should be warned.) Opening with a chilling evil-mutant breach of White House security that feels especially ominous in today's terrorist-tinged political atmosphere, "X2: X-Men United" is gripping from frame one and doesn't let go for 135 minutes. Breaking off from a tour of the presidential residence, a creature known as Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming in sharpened teeth, dark blue skin and extensive ceremonial scars) evades Secret Service agents by bursting into a puff of paint-like mist that instantaneously gusts across rooms and reconstitutes itself into solid humanoid form long enough to, say, snap a guard's neck, before evaporating into blue vapor again and surging into the Oval Office. Continue reading: X2: X-Men United Review
Opening with a chilling evil-mutant breach of White House security that feels especially ominous in today's terrorist-tinged political atmosphere, "X2: X-Men United" is gripping from frame one and doesn't let go for 135 minutes.
Breaking off from a tour of the presidential residence, a creature known as Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming in sharpened teeth, dark blue skin and extensive ceremonial scars) evades Secret Service agents by bursting into a puff of paint-like mist that instantaneously gusts across rooms and reconstitutes itself into solid humanoid form long enough to, say, snap a guard's neck, before evaporating into blue vapor again and surging into the Oval Office.
Continue reading: X2: X-Men United Review
Date of birth
25th May, 1939
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