5 items from 2015
In 2014 an actor previously best known for being seven down the cast list in a cult TV sitcom rose to become the star of two of the year’s biggest blockbusters. This time last year Chris Pratt was about as far from a household name as Guardians Of The Galaxy or The Lego Movie were from being sure things at the box office. One year later and the two films have made over a billion dollars between them and Pratt looks like a leading man with genuine star quality. His lead role in this year’s Jurassic World looks set to cement his newfound status as a bona fide Hollywood star.
It sounds like a simple process, but in reality a lot of actors have been poised on the brink of stardom with multiple big movies due for release only to find the movies flop and their careers worse off than before. »
- Jack Gann
If we’ve learned anything from the “Fast and Furious” movies, it’s that it’s perfectly Ok for sequels to get stupider so long as they also get more entertaining and more meticulously crafted.
There’s plenty of stupid on display in “Taken 3,” but otherwise this dispiriting action movie – somehow simultaneously fidgety and flaccid – exists only to give Liam Neeson one more chance to play the role that made him “Liam Neesons,” unlikely autumn-years action star. After seeing Neeson’s Bryan Mills lay waste to sex traffickers and the Albanian mafia in the two previous installments, the filmmakers »
- Alonso Duralde
Liam Neeson’s career has come full circle. After his acting debut in 1978, at a commanding 6’4” Neeson found a niche for himself in action flicks like Excalibur, Krull and even Darkman in 1990 before transitioning into the seriously dramatic roles he was synonymous with throughout most of the 90s and early 2000s: Husbands and Wives, Schindler’s List, Nelland even as Jean Valjean in the non-musical Les Miserables. Sure he dabbled in action and blockbusters along the way, but Neeson was reborn as the latest action hero in 2008 with his role in the sleeper hit Taken.
Spawning not one but two sequels, Taken launched the next chapter in the Irish actor’s career and leading to roles in The A-Team, Battleship, and his latest offering Non-Stop, which flies into Cineplex theatres on Friday. In Non-Stop, Neeson once again takes charge of the action as an air marshal who must spring into »
- Rachel West
Finally set to start work on his long-gestating adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence, Martin Scorsese has had to make a quick casting change as Ken Watanabe dropped out due to a scheduling clash. The director has now hired Thor’s Tadanobu Asano to replace him.Silence, which has been scripted by sometime Scorsese collaborator Jay Cocks, sees Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver and now Asano in the story of Father Rodrigues, a 17th century Portuguese Jesuit heading to Japan with a fellow priest to discover whether Rodrigues’s mentor has left the church. Their mission is complicated by the fact that religious persecution is rife in the country, necessitating that they travel undercover with Asano as their interpreter.Asano, who won kudos for his role in Mongol, has also appeared in the slightly less prestigious productions Battleship and 47 Ronin. With his casting falling into place, Scorsese can »
Exclusive: Martin Scorsese has set prolific Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano for a lead in Silence, the film that begins shooting early this year. He joins Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver in the Jay Cocks-scripted adaptation of the novel by Shusaku Endo.
Asano is perhaps best known for starring in the Sergey Bodrov-directed Mongol. He replaces Ken Watanabe in the role of an interpreter who accompanies two Jesuit priests (Garfield and Driver) as they search for their mentor (Neeson) who went to 17th Century Japan to spread the gospel of Christianity. Watanabe needed to drop out when production pushed the dates and they clashed with Watanabe’s commitment to the Broadway revival of The King and I, which begins rehearsals in New York this month.
Asano made his Hollywood debut in the Thor films and he also appeare in Battleship and 47 Ronin. Asano is managed in the »
- Mike Fleming Jr
5 items from 2015
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