REVIEW: THE SIN EATER (aka THE ORDER)

CAST

Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Shannyn Sossamon (Sleepy Hollow)
Benno Furmann (In Darkness)
Mark Addy (Game of Thrones)
Peter Weller (Star Trek Into Darkness)

The film’s premise is that there is another way to heaven than adherence to the practices of the Roman Catholic Church. A secular Sin Eater can remove all taint of sin, no matter how foul, from the soul just before death. The purified soul can then ascend into heaven. The Roman Catholic Church, according to the film, considers this heresy.Heath Ledger plays an unhappy and disillusioned priest, Alex Bernier, a member of a fictitious religious order The Carolingians which specializes in fighting demons and other hell spawn. Father Dominic, the head of the Carolingians, has died in Rome under suspicious circumstances and Alex leaves the United States to investigate. In Rome, Alex visits the morgue and sees strange markings on Dominic’s corpse. After some investigation, he comes across a book that explains the markings as being the sign of a Sin Eater’s work. He heads to the Vatican, where an official tells him that Sin Eaters don’t exist and that Dominic may not be buried on sacred ground because he had been excommunicated for his beliefs. Alex, moving ever farther from his vocation, defies his superiors and secretly reads a holy service over the body and buries Dominic in the Carolingian cemetery (the service takes place off screen but is referred to later).Thomas Garrett, another Carolingian (there seem to have only been a total of three including Dominic), arrives in Rome to help investigate Dominic’s death. Early in the film we meet Mara Williams, an artist Alex once exorcised, who has escaped from a mental hospital and come to Alex at his church in the USA because she has a feeling that something terrible is going to happen to him. The police come looking for her, but Alex lies and denies that he’s seen her and through this exchange we learn that Mara was in the hospital because she had tried to kill Alex during the exorcism. Mara goes to Rome with Alex after promising that she won’t try to kill him again.Cardinal Driscoll (Peter Weller), who is introduced at the beginning of the film and who is tipped to be the next Pope, arrives in Rome from the USA and gives Alex a special dagger. According to a fragment of parchment Alex and Thomas find among Dominic’s books, the dagger is to be plunged into the Sin Eater while reciting a text in Aramaic. Alex and Thomas take these instructions to mean that the dagger and incantation will kill the Sin Eater and they begin hunting for the Sin Eater and the remainder of the parchment instructions. Thomas leads Alex to a nightclub where they are taken to the underground base of operations of a masked man called Chirac, the ‘Black Pope.’ The Black Pope owes a favor to Thomas and Alex asks where to find the Sin Eater. The Black Pope then hangs three people and tells Alex to ask his question of the dying men who can see what the living cannot. One of the dying tells Alex a riddle that leads to a rendezvous with the Sin Eater.On the way out of the Black Pope’s headquarters, demons attack and injure Thomas, but Alex saves him and gets him to a hospital. Alex leaves Thomas in the hospital and meets the Sin Eater, William Eden, at St. Peter’s Cathedral who explains that he has been a Sin Eater for centuries, taking over for an earlier Sin Eater (a Carolingian priest) who ate the sins of Eden’s brother. Eden is very charismatic and talks with Alex about the priest’s desires, and Alex admits he wants Mara. He then goes and presumably tells Mara this, and they make love. Afterward, Alex leaves Mara asleep and goes to Eden, who tells Alex that he is tired and ready to die and asks Alex to take his place. Alex has the dagger with him, but is curious and so doesn’t use it to kill Eden. Instead, he assists Eden with a sin eating ritual. But in the end, Alex refuses Eden’s offer because he has decided to leave the priesthood to be with Mara.Later Alex returns to their lodgings and finds Mara near death, an apparent suicide. In actuality, Eden slit her wrists and left her for Alex to find. Mara is beyond medical help and Alex quickly performs the sin eating ritual so that she can go to heaven. After absorbing Mara’s sins, though, Alex sees that there is no sin of suicide on Mara’s conscience and realizes Eden’s deception. Alex goes after Eden to kill him. The rationale that leads Alex to perform the sin eating ritual instead of giving Mara Roman Catholic Last Rites is that Alex has already made the decision to leave the priesthood to be with Mara and he has broken his vows of obedience and of sexual abstinence. He therefore considers himself ineligible to offer Mara Last Rites.Meanwhile, the injured Thomas is out of the hospital and goes to see the Black Pope who reveals himself to be Cardinal Driscoll. Driscoll shows Thomas the second half of the parchment which instead of being instructions on how to kill a Sin Eater is actually instructions on how to become a Sin Eater. The entirety of Alex’s and Mara’s lives have been a plot among Dominic, Eden and Driscoll to entrap Alex. Eden wants to die, Driscoll wants to be Pope and Dominic wanted the financial resources to pursue arcane knowledge. Driscoll prevents Thomas from leaving to warn Alex.  Alex cannot find Eden and returns to the Black Pope to learn where Eden is. The Black Pope (face hidden) tells Alex again to ask the dying. Alex recognizes that Thomas is the man being hanged, and frees him using a pistol. However, Thomas’s throat is too injured by the noose to tell Alex the truth of the parchment. Alex finds Eden and stabs him with the dagger while reciting the incantation. He quickly realizes what is actually happening but it is too late, Eden’s powers are transferred to Alex, and Eden, happy to be free of his burden of the sins of others, dies. In the mean time, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome crumbles around them.Thomas, who arrives at the scene too late to prevent the transfer, vows he will find a way to save Alex, even if it means killing him. Alex informs the church about Driscoll’s activities and Driscoll is ruined. Driscoll then decides to kill himself and calls on the Sin Eater, now Alex, to remove his sins. Driscoll slits his wrists and when he is near death, Alex tells him that he knows that Eden and Driscoll caused Mara’s death. Alex does not eat Driscoll’s sins but forces them down Driscoll’s throat. Driscoll dies a painful death and presumably goes straight to hell. The Sin Eater William Eden used his power to accumulate wealth. The Sin Eater Alex Bernier decides to act as a power for good, saving only those who deserve it and allowing evildoers to die in sin.This film creates a sense of doom and inevitability that constantly grows with its progression. That is what drew me to keep watching. I am not generally a fan of Religious horror. I shall gladly make an exception for The Sin Eater.

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REVIEW: AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS

CAST

Jackie Chan (Rush Hour)
Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers)
Steve Coogan (The Other Guys)
Jim Broadbent (The Legend of Tarzan)
Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator)
Luke Wilson (Charlies Angels)
John CLeese (Rat Race)
Cécile de France (The Jungle Book)
David Ryall (Outnumbered)
Roger Hammond (Rome)
Ian McNeice (Dune)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Rob Scneider (Big Daddy)
Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting)
Adam Godley (Powers)
Will Forte (MacGruber)
Maggie Q (Divergent)
Mark Addy (Game of Thrones)

In the late 19th century, a Chinese man, Lau Xing, robs the Bank of England. To evade the police, Xing becomes the valet for Phileas Fogg, an inventor, taking the pseudonym Passepartout. Phileas, just before Xing arrived, had been trying to break the 50-mph speed barrier, and after succeeding with the help of Passepartout, they head to the Royal Academy of Science. There, Fogg is insulted by the other “brilliant minds”, in particular Lord Kelvin, who believes that everything worth discovering has already been discovered. After a debate between the scientists about the bank thief, Phileas is pressured into a bet to see whether he can travel around the world in 80 days. If he wins, he will become Minister of Science in Lord Kelvin’s place, if not, he will destroy his lab and never invent anything again. Phileas and Xing start their journey around the world, taking a carriage and leaving London after a confrontation with Inspector Fix, a corrupt officer hired by Lord Kelvin to stop them.

Xing and Phileas journey to Paris. Pretending to take Phileas to a convention with Thomas Edison, Xing leads him to an art school where Phileas meets Monique La Roche, a would-be impressionist. There, Xing is attacked by disguised warriors, the Black Scorpions, sent by General Fang, a female Chinese warlord who is after the Jade Buddha that he stole. Fang had previously given it to Kelvin in exchange for military assistance in China. When Monique learns of Phileas’s ambition, she convinces them to take her with them. They depart in a hot-air balloon, chased by Fang’s warriors.

Whilst on the Orient Express, Monique learns that Xing is trying to return the Jade Buddha back to his village, and is travelling with Phileas to get there quickly. Monique keeps his secret in exchange for him convincing Phileas to let her travel with him. They travel to Turkey, where the train stops. Guards climb onboard and inform the trio that they are greeted by Prince Hapi. During the Prince’s banquet, he orders Monique to stay as his seventh wife while the men are ordered to leave. The men blackmail Prince Hapi into releasing Monique using a prized but apparently flimsy “The Thinker” statue of the Prince. The statue is destroyed, much to Hapi’s anger, but the trio escape from the guards. Lord Kelvin, learning that Phileas has been abetting a thief’s escape, orders the British colonial authorities in India to arrest both. Xing notices this and warns his companions, disguising themselves as Indian women to evade capture and successfully flee to China.

Xing leads his friends to his village, Lanzhou, where they are happily greeted. His real identity is revealed and they are held captive by the Black Scorpions. Xing challenges the leader of the group to a fight, during which he is joined by the martial arts masters of the “Ten Tigers of Canton”, of which Xing is a member. The Tigers drive the Black Scorpions from the village and free the Westerners. The Buddha is returned to the village temple. Phileas, feeling used by Xing and Monique, leaves for San Francisco alone, only to be proven wrong when the latter decide to help him win his bet. In New York City, Fang’s disguised minions trick the trio to an ambush site. Fang reveals the nature of their arrangements with Lord Kelvin to take Lanzhou and tap the jade reserves underneath it. A battle against Fang and her minions commences in the workshop where the Statue of Liberty is being constructed, resulting in Phileas missing a boat to help Xing, Fang being knocked out by Monique with a punch (revealing Monique to be the fabled 11th Tiger) and Fang’s minions being either killed or knocked out. Phileas feels he has lost, but the other two say they may still make it if they catch the next ship.

They board an old ship and Phileas convinces the captain to let him build a plane out of the ship’s old wood in exchange for a new ship. Using an altered version of the Wright brothers’ plans, Phileas builds the plane while the ship’s crew builds a catapult to launch it into the sky. They reach London, where the machine falls apart and they crash in front of the Royal Academy. Lord Kelvin sends police to arrest them for robbing the bank, in order to stop them from making it to the top step of the Academy, and proclaims himself the victor when Big Ben strikes noon, seemingly ending the wager. Monique, Fix and other ministers attest to Kelvin’s unfair methods and his bullying nature, but Kelvin scoffs at them. In the process he insults Queen Victoria, who arrives on the scene. She learned that he had sold her arsenal to Fang in exchange for jade mines in China thanks to one of his aides. Kelvin is arrested and sent to prison, and Phileas realizes he is one day early thanks to crossing the international date line. He victoriously ascends the stairs of the Academy and kisses Monique.

The end result is a beautiful film that is suitable for all ages and provides that wonderful feel-good sensation that only the greatest adventures can provide.

REVIEW: A KNIGHT’S TALE

CAST

Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Mark Addy (Game of Thrones)
Rufus Sewell (Hercules)
Paul Bettany (Captain America: Civil War)
Shannyn Sossamon (Sleepy Hollow)
Laura Fraser (Breaking Bad)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
James Purefoy (Solomon Kane)

At a jousting tournament in 14th-century Europe, young squires William Thatcher, Roland, and Wat discover that their master, Sir Ector, has died. If he had completed one final pass he would have won the tournament. Destitute, William wears Ector’s armour to impersonate him, winning the tournament and taking the prize.

Although only nobles are allowed in tournaments, William is now inspired to compete and win more prizes. Roland and Wat would rather take their share of coins and leave, but William convinces them to stay and train him to joust. Along the way to his first tournament in Rouen, the trio encounters a young Geoffrey Chaucer, who is also destitute and agrees to forge the patent of nobility that will allow William to enter under the assumed name of “Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein” from Gelderland. At the tournament, William is brought before Simon the Summoner and Peter the Pardoner: Chaucer has a gambling problem and is in their debt. William demands Chaucer be released and promises payment.

In the course of competition, William’s armour is damaged. He goads Kate, a female blacksmith, to repair it without payment and goes on to win the sword event at the tournament. In the joust, he faces a Sir Thomas Colville, who withdraws from the tournament after being injured by William, though they exchange a ceremonial pass so that Colville can retain the honour of never having failed to complete a match. The proceedings are observed by Jocelyn, a noblewoman with whom William has become infatuated, and Count Adhemar, a rival both in the joust and for Jocelyn’s heart. In the final joust of the tournament, Adhemar defeats William.
Image result for A KNIGHTS TALEKate joins William’s party and forges new lightweight armour allowing him greater mobility. In the following tournament, Adhemar and William are both assigned to tilt against Sir Thomas Colville, but they learn that he is actually Edward, the Black Prince. Adhemar withdraws, but William continues the match and then addresses the prince by name, further earning Edward’s respect.
Image result for A KNIGHTS TALEAdhemar is called away to the battlefield, and William achieves several victories in his absence. William proves his love for Jocelyn by complying when she first asks him to deliberately lose (in contrast to the countless knights who promise to win in her name), and then, just before he would be eliminated, to win the tournament in her name after all.
Image result for A KNIGHTS TALE
The group travels to London for the World Championship. William recalls leaving his father to squire for Sir Ector and learn to become a knight hoping to “change his stars”. Adhemar has also arrived in London and announces that he is in negotiations with Jocelyn’s father for her hand in marriage. William dominates at the tournament and he returns to visit his father, now blind and living alone in Cheapside, but is discovered by Adhemar, who alerts the authorities to William’s false identity.
Image result for A KNIGHTS TALEWilliam is placed in the pillory, but is defended from the hostile crowd by his friends. Just as the mob reaches its frenzy, Prince Edward emerges from the crowd, noting that his friends’ dedication to him reflects an ability to inspire others that is in the best traditions of knighthood. In acknowledgement of William’s honour, Edward announces that, William is in fact, “beyond contestation”, descended from a noble lineage, and knights him “Sir William”.
Image result for A KNIGHTS TALEWilliam returns to the tournament to face Adhemar in the final match, but Adhemar cheats with an illegal sharpened lance, piercing William’s shoulder and seriously injuring him. Entering the final pass, William is losing by two lances and must unhorse Adhemar to win. He demands to be stripped of his armour while Chaucer buys time by performing the introduction of William that he omitted earlier. Finally he tilts against Adhemar, with his father and Jocelyn in attendance. Bellowing his true name as he tilts, he knocks Adhemar to the ground with a crushing blow. In the ensuing celebration, as Jocelyn and William embrace, Chaucer remarks that he should write this whole story down.Image result for A KNIGHTS TALEThe makers of “A Knight’s Tale” set out to entertain, and did so dutifully.

REVIEW: ROBIN HOOD (2010)

CAST

Russell Crowe (Gladiator)
Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit)
Max Von Sydow (Minority Report)
William Hurt (The Host)
Mark Strong (John Carter)
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars – Episode VII)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Eileen Atkins (Cold Mountain)
Mark Addy (Game of Thrones)
Matthew Macfadyen (Frost/Nixon)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Scott Grimes (American Dad)
Luke Evans (Dracula Untold)
Arthur Darvill (Legends of Tomorrow)

In 1199 A.D., Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) is a common archer in the army of King Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston). A veteran of Richard’s crusade, he now takes part in the siege of Chalus Castle. Disillusioned and war-weary, he gives a frank but unflattering appraisal of the King’s conduct after the King asks him to answer him honestly. Though the Kings commends him for his honesty Robin and his comrades – archers Allan A’Dayle (Alan Doyle) and Will Scarlett (Scott Grimes) and soldier Little John (Kevin Durand) – find themselves in the stocks.
When the King is slain during an attack on the castle, Robin and his men decide to free themselves and desert. They come across an ambush of the English royal guard by Godfrey (Mark Strong), an English knight who has conspired with King Philip of France to assassinate the King. As Godfrey flees Robin attempts to shoot him but only succeeds in wounding Godfrey’s face with an arrow. Robin decides to take advantage of the situation by having his men impersonate the dead English knights to return to England. As they depart, Robin promises one of the dying knights, Sir Robert Loxley (Douglas Hodge), to return a sword to his father in Nottingham.
As Robin and his men become drunk on the voyage, they awake too late to flee unnoticed and Robin is forced to assume the identity of the slain Loxley and publicly inform the royal family of the King’s death. He witnesses the coronation of King John (Oscar Isaac), who orders harsh new taxes to be collected, dispatching Sir Godfrey to the North to do so – unaware that Godfrey will instead use French troops to stir up unrest and create an opening for Philip to invade England.
Robin and his companions head to Nottingham, where Loxley’s elderly and blind father, Sir Walter (Max von Sydow), asks him to continue impersonating his son, to prevent the family lands being taken by the Crown. However, Loxley’s widow, Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett), is initially cold toward Robin, but warms to him, when he and his men merrily recover tithed grain for the townsfolk to plant. Godfrey’s actions incite the northern barons, who march to meet King John. Speaking now for Sir Walter, Robin proposes the King agree to a charter of rights to ensure the rights of every Englishman and unite his country. Having realized Godfrey’s deception, and knowing he must meet the French invasion with an army, the King agrees. Meanwhile, the French marauders plunder Nottingham and Godfrey murders Sir Walter. Robin and the northern barons arrive and stop Godfrey’s men.

As the French begin their invasion on the beach below the Cliffs of Dover, Robin leads the now united English army against them. In the midst of the battle, Robin duels with Godfrey, who attempted to kill Marion and flees until Robin finally succeeds in shooting him with an arrow from afar. Philip realizes that his plan to divide England has failed and calls off his invasion. When King John sees the French surrendering to Robin instead of himself, he senses a threat to his power. In London, John reneges on his promise to sign the charter, instead declaring Robin an outlaw to be hunted throughout the kingdom. The Sheriff of Nottingham (Matthew Macfadyen) announces the decree as Robin and his men flee to Sherwood Forest with the orphans of Nottingham. Marion narrates their new life in the greenwood, noting that they live in equality as they right the many wrongs in the Kingdom of King John.

Helgeland wrote a clever script, showing Medieval ideology and a complex political situation. His previous Medieval film was A Knight’s Tale, which he wrote and directed. But with Robin Hood he seems to have grown up as a writer and gives this film a little more of a complex plot and shows a bigger picture. He also cleverly mixes different aspects about how the legend has changed, like how Robin starting as a commoner and pretends to be a higher ranked man. The film also covers its bases by showing the two sites places that claim to be Robin’s home, Nottingham and Barnsdale. However this film felt like an origins story, a start to a new film series. This is Robin Hood that has not been seen on screen like this before.  Robin Hood is also historically suspect, with events and dates being changed and made up, some ideas and culture also seems to be the victim of artistic license. But Scott knows that storytelling requires character development and show a more balanced picture, particularly with historically set films. At least this film does accept that it is a piece of historical fiction.

REVIEW: THE TIME MACHINE (2002)

CAST

Guy Pearce (Prometheus)
Mark Addy (A Knights Tale)
Phyllida Law (The Winter Guest)
Sienna Guillory (Love Actually)
Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow TV)
Jeremy Irons (Batman V Superman)
Alan Young (Beverly Hills Cop III)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)
Michael Chaturantabut (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)

In the year 1899, Dr. Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce) is a moderately young inventor teaching at Columbia University in New York City. Unlike his conservative friend David Philby (Mark Addy), Alexander would rather do pure research than work in the world of business. After a mugger kills his fiancée, Emma, he devotes himself to building a time machine that will allow him to travel back in time and save her. When he completes the machine four years later, he travels back to 1899 and prevents her murder, only to see her killed by a horse and buggy.

Alexander goes to 2030 to find out whether Emma’s life can be saved. At the New York Public Library, a holographic librarian called Vox 114 insists that time travel is impossible, so Alexander continues into the future until 2037, when the accidental destruction of the moon by space colonists renders the Earth virtually uninhabitable. When he restarts the time machine to avoid falling debris, he is knocked unconscious and travels to the year 802,701, at which point he regains consciousness and stops the machine.

By now, the human race has reverted to a primitive lifestyle. Some survivors, called “Eloi”, live on the sides of cliffs of what was once Manhattan. Alexander is nursed back to health by a woman named Mara, one of the few Eloi who speak English. One night, Alexander and Mara’s young brother, Kalen, dream of a frightening, jagged-toothed face. The next day, the Eloi are attacked and Mara is dragged underground by ape-like monsters. The creatures are called “Morlocks” and they hunt the Eloi for food. In order to rescue her, Kalen leads Alexander to Vox 114, which is still functioning after 800,000 years. After learning from Vox how to find the Morlocks, Alexander enters their underground lair through an opening that resembles the face in his nightmare. He is almost immediately captured and thrown into an area where Mara sits in a cage. There he meets an intelligent, humanoid Morlock, who explains that Morlocks are the evolutionary descendants of the humans who went underground after the Moon broke apart, while the Eloi are evolved from those who remained on the surface. The humanoid Morlocks are a caste of telepaths who rule the other Morlocks.

The Morlock explains that Alexander cannot alter Emma’s fate because her death is what drove him to build the time machine in the first place: saving her would create a temporal paradox. He then reveals that the Morlocks have brought the time machine underground, and tells Alexander to get into it and return home. Alexander gets into the machine but also pulls the Morlock in with him, carrying them into the future as they fight. The Morlock dies by rapidly aging when Alexander pushes him outside of the machine’s temporal bubble. Alexander then stops millions of years in the future in the year 635,427,810, revealing a harsh, rust-colored sky over a wasteland of Morlock caves. Finally accepting that he cannot save Emma, Alexander travels back to rescue Mara. After freeing her, he starts the time machine and jams its gears, creating a violent distortion in time. Though pursued by the Morlocks, Alexander and Mara escape to the surface as the time distortion explodes, killing the Morlocks and destroying their caves along with the time machine. Alexander begins a new life with Mara and the Eloi in 802,701.

While Alexander shows Mara and Kalen a clearing that was once the location of his laboratory, back in 1899, in the same spot, Philby and Alexander’s housekeeper, Mrs. Watchit, are in the laboratory and sadly discuss his absence. Philby tells Mrs. Watchit he is glad that Alexander has gone to a place where he can find peace, then tells her that he would like to hire her as a housekeeper, which she accepts until Alexander returns. Mrs. Watchit bids Alexander farewell and Philby leaves, looking toward the laboratory affectionately, then throws his bowler hat away in tribute to Alexander’s distaste for conformity.

this is a good film in it’s own right. It goes at a fair pace, has its tensions and added violence that all films must have now. But so much of this film is not part of the original story that it should have had the last vestiges of the H.G. Wells story removed and been made as an original film.

 

REVIEW: GAME OF THRONES – SEASON 1

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MAIN CAST

Sean Bean (Lord of The Rings)
Mark Addy (The Full Monty)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Oblivion)
Michelle Fairley (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Lena Headey (Dredd)
Emilia Clarke (Terminator Genisys)
Iain Glen (Tomb Raider)
Aidan Gillen (The Dark Knight Rises)
Kit Harringron (Pompeii)
Sophie Turner (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Maisie Williams (Cyberbully)
Alfie Allen (John Wick)
Richard Madden (Cinderella)
Isaac Hempstead Wright (The Awakening)
Jack Gleeson (Batman Begins)
Rory McCann (Hot Fuzz)
Peter Dinklage (Elf)
Jason Momoa (Conan The Barbarian)
Harry Lloyd (The Theory of Everything)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
James Cosmo (Highlander)
Peter Vaughn (Brazil)
Brian Fortune (Savage)
Joseph Mawle (Ripper Street)
Francis Magee (Layer Cake)
Owen Teale (The Last Legion)
John Bradley (Borgia)
Josef Altin (Les Miserables)
Mark Stanley (Star Wars – Episode VII)
Bronson Webb (The Dark Knight)
Art Parkinson (Dracula Untold)
Clive Mantle (Alien 3)
Donald Sumpter (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Ronald Donachie (Titanic)
Jamie Sives (Rush)
Susdan Brown (The Iron Lady)
Kristian Nairn (The Four Warriors)
Natalie Tena (Harry Potter)
Charles Dance (Last Action Hero)
Lino Facioli (Get Him to The Greek)
David Bradley (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Katie Dickie (Prometheus)
Ian Gelder (Pope Joan)
Conan Stevens (The Hobbit)
Jerome Flynn (Loving Vincent)
Sibel Kekilli (When We Leave)
Julian Glover (Troy)
Gethin Anthony (Aquarius)
Conleth Hill (Whatever Works)
Joe Dempsie (Monsters: Dark Continent)
Esme Bianco (The Scorpion King 4)
Finn Jones (The Last Showing)
Ben Hawkey (Ra.One)
Roxanne McKee (Wrong Turn 5)
Elys Gabel (Warld War Z)

If you have read the books then you will have the added advantage of going into this series with some serious background knowledge, which, given the expanse of Martin’s literature, can only be a good thing. It is good to see the characters portrayed on screen by, what can only be described as, an excellent cast. My personal favourites are Sean Bean  who plays Lord Eddard Stark, the proud, strong and brave Lord of Winterfell, the icy kingdom of the north. And, Peter Dinklage, who gives, as ever, a wonderful performance as Tyrion of House Lannister, a noble-born dwarf cursed by the hatred of his proud father but blessed with an unmatchable wit and intelligence.

Martin’s fantasy literature is about believability and realism; it is completely unlike Tolkien in that way. Whereas Tolkien favoured Orcs, Goblins, castles and wizards, Martin prefers the medieval touch, dealing with knights, lords and priests. One good thing is that Martin had a very close hand in the production of this series which means very little tinkering has been done. If you compare it to The Pillars of the Earth for example, parts of the tv series didn’t even come close to representing what happened in the book leaving hardcore fans a little bewildered, and not a little irritated. Martin’s books though are so jam-packed with plot and character building that there really isn’t much room for artistic license for the directors. They have a lot of story to get through, and only 10 episodes to do it in!!

If you have never read Martin before then, what can you expect? Well, it is fantasy first and foremost . Without spoiling or giving anything away the main plot is basically this: the continent of Westeros, ruled by king Robert Baratheon, falls into turmoil amidst a hungry power struggle between the realms nobles and knights. Expect a lot of plot twists and cliffhangers at the end of each episode. I would highly recommend people to take the time to see this series and get into the number 1 fantasy series of the modern era.