Tag Archives: Ian McKellen

Beauty and the Beast

BE OUR GUEST.  When her father (Kevin Kline) is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) inside a huge, wintry castle, Belle (Emma Watson) offers herself in exchange for his freedom. Another live-action remake of an animated Disney classic. This one can’t escape a certain sense of pointlessness considering how close it stays to the … Continue reading Beauty and the Beast

McKellen and Stewart in a New Mo… Play

In the clip above, from the PBS show Theater Talk, stage director Sean Mathias and actors Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart discuss their work on Harold Pinter’s classic play “No Man’s Land”. The interview is from November 2013 and they had been doing the play on Broadway since August. Earlier this year, the play was restaged in … Continue reading McKellen and Stewart in a New Mo… Play

Andrew Lesnie 1956-2015: There and Back Again

As I sat down in a theater today to watch Russell Crowe’s directing debut, The Water Diviner, after hearing that cinematographer Andrew Lesnie had died, I didn’t know that he had worked on it and that it was his final film. Perhaps it is fitting that after a career of fanciful blockbusters, this Australian came back home for a … Continue reading Andrew Lesnie 1956-2015: There and Back Again

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

THE DEFINING CHAPTER.  The dragon Smaug flies to Esgaroth to destroy the town, but greater challenges await in the shape of a coming battle for Lonely Mountain. The final part of this trilogy is the shortest film Peter Jackson ever made about the Middle-Earth, but maybe that’s because it is so completely dominated by that … Continue reading The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

X-Men: Days of Future Past

EVERY HERO, EVERY POWER WILL UNITE. In 2023, most mutants have been wiped out by man-made robots called Sentinels; with the help of Shadowcat (Ellen Page), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is sent back in time to 1973 to kill the Sentinel program before it’s born. A sequel to three X-Men movies (The Last Stand, Wolverine and … Continue reading X-Men: Days of Future Past

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

BEYOND DARKNESS… BEYOND DESOLATION… LIES THE GREATEST DANGER OF ALL.  On their journey to the Lonely Mountain, Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and the dwarves enter a mysterious forest… and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) confronts a dark power. The second chapter in the Hobbit franchise is an improvement on the first, darker in tone, with several engaging adventures … Continue reading The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Wolverine

THE HERO. THE FUGITIVE. THE WARRIOR. THE SURVIVOR. THE LEGEND.  Logan (Hugh Jackman), who’s trying to put Wolverine in the past, is talked into going to Japan where a billionaire wants to repay a lifelong debt… Another chapter in the X-Men franchise, one that follows some time after X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and takes … Continue reading The Wolverine

Highlights of Comic-Con 2013

This year’s Comic-Con in San Diego is over, and as always it’s been a treat. I’m not going to pretend that I was there. I wish I were, but the thing is in this day and age you can enjoy the feast even if you’re thousands of miles away. The past few days have offered … Continue reading Highlights of Comic-Con 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

FROM THE SMALLEST BEGINNINGS COME THE GREATEST LEGENDS. Gandalf the wizard (Ian McKellen) convinces a hobbit, Bilbo (Martin Freeman), to join his party of 13 dwarves on a quest to reclaim a treasure that was stolen by a mighty dragon. Set sixty years before the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson’s grand return to … Continue reading The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Golden Gate: A Movie Icon Turns 75

  The PBS clip above shows why the Golden Gate Bridge, now 75 years old, is still a marvel to behold. Originally a Depression-era behemoth, the bridge remains in the words of one of the interviewees not only a triumph of engineering but a work of art. Yesterday, an impressive display of fireworks on the … Continue reading Golden Gate: A Movie Icon Turns 75

The Da Vinci Code

SEEK THE TRUTH. When American symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) arrives in Paris for a lecture, the police need his help to interpret mysterious symbols surrounding a dead body found in the Louvre. The novel and its “revelations” kicked up a storm among Christians, but this adaptation won’t. Talky and overlong, it is hardly a labor … Continue reading The Da Vinci Code

X-Men

JOIN THE EVOLUTION. Considering the amount of unsuccessfully adapted comic book adventures, how fortunate that versatile director Bryan Singer felt he was the right guy to take on this Marvel extravaganza. The story takes place a few years into the future. Professor X (Patrick Stewart) runs a school for gifted young mutants who possess special … Continue reading X-Men