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Ice Age: Collision Course Review


With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As before, it's the zippy writing, lively vocal work and colourful animation that hold the interest. The story is merely a framework on which the cast and crew can hang a series of rapid-fire jokes, pop culture references and nonsensical action sequences. And it's still mindless fun.

After their previous escapades, the expanding herd of prehistoric critters is living a happy life together, thinking about love. Mammoths Manny and Ellis (voiced by Ray Romano and Queen Latifah) are struggling with the idea that their daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) has fallen for the too-cheerful Julius (Adam Devine). Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) has just been dumped and feels like he'll never find a partner. And tigers Diego and Shira (Denis Leary and Jennifer Lopez) worry that their violent nature will make them terrible parents. Then suddenly there's a bigger issue to worry about: a giant asteroid is heading for Earth, threatening them with extinction. With the help of nutty weasel Buck (Simon Pegg), they come up with an idea to save the planet. They also discover a magical place called Geotopia, ruled by the groovy Shangri Llama (Jesse Tyler Ferguson).

Yes, the plot is utterly insane, especially as it is driven by the antics of franchise star Scrat, who discovers a flying saucer in the ice, activates it and heads into space, where his acorn-hunting antics trigger all sorts of mayhem back on Earth. But then this series has never had anything to do with science or biology, throwing random animals together (the dinosaurs make another appearance) for comical value while cranking up whatever suspense the writers can think of to add some momentum. They also of course pack scenes with sweet "family values" moments, plus a sideswipe at climate change deniers who refuse to acknowledge the possibility of impending doom.

Continue reading: Ice Age: Collision Course Review

Guest , Michael Wilson - The Acting Company 2015 Fall Gala held at Capitale - Arrivals. at Capitale, - New York City, New York, United States - Monday 9th November 2015

Guest and Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson - Celebrities attend 67th Annual DGA Awards - Arrivals at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, DGA Awards - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 7th February 2015

Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson

Guest and Michael Wilson - Opening Night of "Of Mice and Men" at the Longacre Theatre - Arrivals - New York, New York, United States - Thursday 17th April 2014

Guest and Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson, Vanessa Williams and David Alpert - Living For Today: A Benefit for Gilana's Fund, held at Joe's Pub - Arrivals. - New York, New York, United States - Monday 20th January 2014

Michael Wilson, Vanessa Williams and David Alpert
Michael Wilson and David Alpert

Sam Mendes Returning To Direct New 'James Bond' Movie In 2014

Sam Mendes Daniel Craig Idris Elba Barbara Broccoli Michael Wilson Adele James Bond

Sam Mendes has made a U-turn on his decision to bow out of the James Bond franchise after helming the $1.1 billion Skyfall movie, considered one of the best 007 films in the series. Mendes had initially distanced himself from the idea of directing the follow-up to Skyfall, owing to his work on the West End launch of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and his directing of King Lear. Producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli appeared resigned to Mendes' departure and began the hunt for his successor, with Sherlock director Guy Ritchie installed as the early favorite to re-team with Daniel Craig.

Some speculation has suggested Craig would follow Mendes out of the door, with Idris Elba coming in as a replacement, though it now appears the high profile duo are back for a new movie. According to Deadline.com, Mendes and the producers got back in touch recently and agreed that the director could work through his theatre commitments before starting production on the new Bond film next year. 

It will be great news for fans of Daniel Craig as Bond. Since his first outing in Casino Royale, the British star has played a more vulnerable version of the ruthless agent, even appearing physically incapable of the job in some segments of Skyfall. The change of direction for the character has led to the often tongue-in-cheek overly sexualised franchise developing into an intelligent spy story with action, humor and crisp cinematography.

Continue reading: Sam Mendes Returning To Direct New 'James Bond' Movie In 2014

Post Skyfall, Attention Turns To Daniel Craig's Fourth Outing (or Idris Elba's First)

Daniel Craig Idris Elba Michael Wilson

Skyfall is officially the most successful James Bond movie ever. A behemoth of a movie, directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes and perhaps establishing Daniel Craig as the best 007 of all time. It's smashed box office expectations, which usually means one thing: a fast turnaround on a follow-up film. 

There was a four-year gap between the two most recent Bond movies though that was mainly down to legal challenges. At the time, producer Barbra Broccoli told the Los Angeles Times, "Sometimes there are external pressures from a studio who want you to make it in a certain time frame or for their own benefit, and sometimes we've given into that. But following what we hope will be a tremendous success with 'Skyfall,' we have to try to keep the deadlines within our own time limits and not cave in to external pressures." They may be forced to cave into those pressures once the buzz surrounding Skyfall settles. If it wins a Golden Globe or an Oscar, you can basically guarantee production on the next movie will begin pretty sharpish.  There may be a problem - namely that Broccoli and her fellow producers are yet to settle on a future direction. "We like Daniel [Craig], obviously, and we like the way he portrays the Bond character. Our challenge is to find situations that will feel different and fresh and new and put Daniel and that character into those situations. It's daunting", said producer Michael Wilson. Craig has made no secret of his desire to leave the franchise in the near future and he strikes us as the kind of actor who would rather ensure his legacy and go out on a high. If Sam Mendes returns for another film, it's likely Craig will follow, though it's not beyond the realms of possibility that the British star will pursue other projects.

We know for a fact that The Wire's own Idris Elba has met with Broccoli concerning the vacant Bond role once Craig moves on, and he's currently 9/2 in the betting for the job. It would be intriguing casting, though it's likely the powers that be will opt for someone like Sam Worthington or Michael Fassbender instead.  

Continue reading: Post Skyfall, Attention Turns To Daniel Craig's Fourth Outing (or Idris Elba's First)

Is Daniel Craig The Best Bond Ever?

Daniel Craig Sean Connery Barbara Broccoli Michael Wilson Sam Mendes

Next week sees the release of Bond film number 23, Skyfall; It's the third outing for Daniel Craig as the British spy, and the first to see him drop the shaken-not-stirred classic drink of the iconic character, in favour of Heineken.

The Mirror not only gave Skyfall 5/5 stars, it also said that “Daniel Craig gives Sean Connery a damn good run for his money as the best Bond actor”. If this really is true then what is it that makes Craig, and the film, so good? In an interview with MTV.com Craig said "I like to think [I have input]. Certainly, [the producers] let me talk; whether they listen to me, I don't know. The truth of it is that Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, the producers, they allow me to get involved, and it means so much to me. I always said to them when I did 'Casino Royale,' 'I don't care about many things, but if you allowed me to be involved, I can pretend to be James Bond.'"

Sam Mendes as director can't go wrong really either. Although this is his first action movie, Mendes' portfolio is more than impressive, without a scar upon it. American Beauty, his first film, was rife with tensionm which is an attribute well suited to the action/thriller genre as well. Craig is also contracted for another two films, and the next film has been reported to already in the first stages of production, with a release date for sometime in 2014. With a four year gap between Skyfall and the last film, Quantum of Solace, Craig said "I think they'd like to [speed up the timetable], and I think that would be the plan. That was too long last time, although I quite enjoyed the gap, but it's too long. As long as we've got the script and we're ready to go, there's no reason why we can't start shooting."

Everything Or Nothing Review

Very Good

Assembled in the style of a Bond film, this lively doc is an entertaining race through 50 years of the 007 franchise. The fast-paced narrative skips over a few things here and there, but focusses nicely on the relationships that have sustained the films over the decades even when it looked like it was about to fall apart.

James Bond was created as a bit of wish-fulfilment for author Ian Fleming, a reaction to his desk-bound job in intelligence during WWII. After the Cold War sparked interest in the novels, the film rights were sold to producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. To make the first movie, 1962's Dr No, they broke every rule in the book, casting an unknown Scottish actor as Bond and redesigning the look and feel of spy movies from the ground up. Of course, it was a sensation, sparking the longest-running movie franchise of all time. Although it certainly hasn't been a smooth ride.

The central focus here is on the bromance between Cubby and Harry, which has lingered into the next generation. Today, Barbara Broccoli and her stepbrother Michael Wilson keep the films current, relevant and faithful to Fleming's original creation, which is a tricky balancing act. In this documentary, we get lucid first-hand accounts of the crises that nearly sank the franchise, including the panic of Connery's decision to leave the role, the legal wranglings around Thunderball (and its unofficial remake Never Say Never Again) and Brosnan's first false start as Bond. And then there were the world-changing events of 9/11, which spurred the producers to completely reinvent Bond as a grittier, more emotionally resonant figure.

Continue reading: Everything Or Nothing Review

guest, Michael Wilson Sunday 4th December 2011

Michael Wilson

The Bridge On The River Kwai Review

Oddly enough, it's hardly about a bridge at all. And though the building of a magnificent wooden bridge -- by British and other Allied soldiers being held by the Japanese as prisoners of war -- has a supporting role, Alec Guinness won his only non-honorary Oscar for this film (did you know he'd be nominated for writing the following year?), and boy is it deserved. As the British colonel who protects his troops against overwhelming oppression by the Japanese -- then happily agrees to build them a monumental bridge, oblivious to the fact that it will greatly aid the Japanese war machine. His look of horror and sudden understanding, when the bridge comes crashing down, courtesy of Allied commandos, is worth the little statuette alone.

A Place In The Sun Review

The classic tragedy, in classic form. Disturbing and powerful considering its time (1951), this film, based on the novel An American Tragedy, features Clift's greatest performance as a working-class guy wooed by an assembly line worker (Winters) and a ritzy chick (Taylor). The Pandora's box he opens when one is accidentally killed makes for a timeless tragedy.

Lawrence Of Arabia Review

Being the self-proclaimed professional film critic that I am, I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I had not seen Lawrence of Arabia (just out in a special DVD edition) until only recently. After all, it's considered by just about everyone to be the masterpiece epic of director David Lean, who also directed films such as Bridge on the River Kwai, and Doctor Zhivago. So one day, a friend of mine loaned me a copy of the video and I sat down and watched it. I was initially skeptical that something made almost 40 years ago would be able to keep my attention for the butt-numbing 3 1/2 hours of its duration. But now I fully understand why this has become the film that other epic films are judged against -- the winner of seven Academy Awards in 1963 for Best Picture, Director, Editing, Cinematography, Art Direction, Music, and Sound. After watching the film again, I am convinced that it is simply one of the finest works of cinematic genius to ever illuminate the big screen.

Based on the autobiographical writing of British officer T.E. Lawrence during World War I, Lawrence of Arabia depicts Lawrence (played by then-unknown actor Peter O'Toole) as a lieutenant lacking any sort of military discipline whatsoever. Bored with his assignment of coloring maps for the British Army in a dimly lit headquarters building, Lawrence jumps at the opportunity to be re-assigned as an observer for an Arabian prince fighting against the Turkish army. Lawrence quickly sees just how caring and great these desert dwelling people can be and ends up rallying the various tribes together to fight the Turks and help the British turn the tide of World War I.

Continue reading: Lawrence Of Arabia Review

Planet Of The Apes (1968) Review

The monkey movie that started it all and the only memorable picture to come out of the laughable and sometimes unbearable saga of talking ape movies, Planet of the Apes still beats with a steady heart 30 years after its conception.

This memorable adaptation of the novel Monkey Planet, authored by Pierre Boulle (the same guy who wrote The Bridge on the River Kwai), was brought to life by the infamous producer Arthur Jacobs, who eventually oversaw the production duties for the entire Apes saga. No studio except Fox would touch the project with a ten-foot pole, despite the participation of Rod Serling, who co-authored the screenplay adaptation of Boulle's novel (and which led to 30 drafts), Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, and Kim Hunter (Stella from A Streetcar Named Desire), and the amazing ape makeup by first-timer John Chambers.

Continue reading: Planet Of The Apes (1968) Review

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Michael Wilson Movies

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Everything Or Nothing Movie Review

Everything Or Nothing Movie Review

Assembled in the style of a Bond film, this lively doc is an entertaining race...

Lawrence of Arabia Movie Review

Lawrence of Arabia Movie Review

Being the self-proclaimed professional film critic that I am, I am somewhat embarrassed to admit...

Planet of the Apes (1968) Movie Review

Planet of the Apes (1968) Movie Review

The monkey movie that started it all and the only memorable picture to come out...

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