Friday, March 29 2012
TOP 5 PERFORMANCES BY THE ONE AND ONLY JACK NICHOLSON!
Today’s Top 5 for Friday was inspired by two different things. I saw a friend’s Facebook status asking for people’s favorite quote from a “villain”. The first thing that came to mind was Jack Nicholson in The Shining. The other inspiration is from the new documentary Room 237. Room 237 comes out in a few weeks and is examines all of the hidden messages that Stanely Kubrick may have slipped into The Shining. It has played at a few film festivals to rave review and I am eagerly looking forward to it coming to the Minneapolis area. Jack Nicholson is one hell of a character actor. Many believe he has become a caricature of himself in some of his later roles. He has portrayed some of the most memorable characters seen on the silver screen. I am ashamed to say that I have have not seen many of his earlier films. I clearly need to remedy that situation ASAP. Here are my Top 5 Jack performances:
1. Jack Torrence, THE SHINING (1980)
Memorable quote-“Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I'm not gonna hurt ya. You didn't let me finish my sentence. I said, I'm not gonna hurt ya. I'm just going to bash your brains in."
2. The Joker, BATMAN (1989)
Memorable line-“Tell me something, my friend. You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?"
3. McMurphy, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (1975)
Memorable line-“Is that crazy enough for ya'? Want me to take a shit on the floor?"
4. Melvin Udall, AS GOOD AS IT GETS (1997)
Memorable line-“You make me want to be a better man."
5. Frank Costello, THE DEPARTED (2006)
Memorable line-“When you decide to be something, you can be it. That's what they don't tell you in the church. When I was your age they would say we can become cops, or criminals. Today, what I'm saying to you is this: when you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?"
Movie I am embarrassed to say I have not seen: TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (1983)
What are some of your favorite Jack characters? Feel free to comment below!
Friday March 8, 2012
TOP 5 WORST MOVIES I HAVE EVER SEEN
Why did I waste my time on such pieces of trash?
1. HAPPY GILMORE (1996)
I think this is the dumbest movie ever. I literally do not understand how anyone finds it funny.
2. WATERWORLD (1995)
Grams and I saw this and almost walked out. We joked about this garbage for years afterwords.
3. EVENT HORIZON (1997)
I saw it in the theater (which was years ago) and haven't seen it since. Maybe I would change my mind with a second viewing. Some people find it scary, but I don't remember it being that way.
4. SPAWN (1997)
My brother, Adam, dragged Grams and I to this one summer and we never let him pick out the movie again. He has since proven to have better taste in movies.
5. CATWOMAN (2004)
They took one of the best Batman villains ever and turned her into one joke of a movie. It's so bad it's laughable.
*Honorable Mention: Glitter
TOP 5 Movies You Should See In Theaters This Weekend
There are so many fantastic movies in theaters right now you really can't go wrong. It might even be too overwhelming as there are so many good choices. Naturally, it all depends on what kind of mood you are in and how much time you have to spare sitting in the theater. Here are my Top 5 Movies to See In Theaters This Weekend:
Spielberg’s latest epic is one of the most important movies you should be seeing in the theaters. The entire ensemble of actors led by Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, and Tommy Lee Jones give top notch performances all to tell this vital part of history. Lincoln’s fight to pass the 13th Amendment forever changed history, and the story and themes still ring true in today’s political scene.
2. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
I would like to think of this movie as the little movie that could. I really had no idea what to expect going in. It got great reviews, but the trailer left me a little questionable. Could Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence be THAT good? After seeing the movie, the answer unequivocally is YES YES YES. I was blown away with how much I enjoyed this movie. I still think about it on a daily basis, and it has been two weeks since I saw it. I even get a little giddy and happy whenever I hear a friend say that have seen it and loved it. This is the kind of movie that is a mixed bag of themes, so it is a little hard to market. It completely is up to word of mouth to get people to go see it.
This is the oldest movie on the list, but you can still find it in some theaters. Ben Affleck triumphantly returns to the director’s chair for the third time and knocks it out of the ballpark once again. The story belongs in the “too good to be true” category. Affleck has an all-star cast of great character actors like John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Bryan Cranston to bring this story to the big screen, and it definitely will leave you on the edge of your seat.
4. LIFE OF PI
Ang Lee is known to make exceptionally beautiful movies. Life of Pi is one of his best movies. He turns the “unfilmable” book by Yann Martel into a staggering cinematic event. 3D quickly became an overused cinematic ploy by the studios to make a movie more marketable and to make a couple more dollars. Lee uses 3D wisely to bring Pi’s adventure with Richard Parker to life without the technology feeling gimmicky or cheap.
If you are looking for a high-octane movie that you can go in and enjoy without having to think too hard, Skyfall is your best bet. Daniel Craig is back as James Bond and is better than ever. The movie brings back some of the classic Bond elements while having a contemporary realistic approach.
Friday November 9, 2012
Top 5 WORST Bond Girls
Throughout the 50 years of James Bond adventures, Agent 007 has had numerous liaisons and romantic boat rides with a variety of beautiful woman. He just can’t help how charming he is. While some of them had been dealing with the villain in disguise or some were secret agents themselves, Bond knew how to get the right information out of them. We’ve seen our share of the brainy Bond girls, the tough take-no-bullshit type women, and then you have the helpless whiny Bond girls. You know the ones I’m talking about. There were some Bond girls that merely ran around yelling “James! James!” Here are my takes on the Top 5 WORST Bond Girls.
1. Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones in The World Is Not Enough
Who cast Denise Richards? Did someone actually think she was believable as a nuclear physicist? Everyone line of dialogue she has is laughable. I do not once believe she even knows what she’s talking about. You can hear it in her voice as she tries to pronounce the scientific terminology. She can’t even deliver the sexual innuendos in some of her lines. She took the part because “the character was smart and athletic”. The rest of the movie would have been fairly decent Bond movie if I wasn’t laughing after every one of her line readings.
2. Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi Dahl in For Your Eyes Only
Bibi Dahl held out for a long time as my pick for worst Bond girl, until Dr. Christmas Jones came along. The character is so pointless to the movie. What is Bond doing running around taking care of a figure skater? That doesn’t make a lick of sense. The character is so young that Bond can’t even get in bed with her. I really do not understand the point of her character. A 53 year-old Bond should not be paired with a 22 year-old Bibi.
3. Tanya Roberts as Stacey Sutton in A View to a Kill
Stacey Sutton has the beautiful looks, but that is about it. She is completely helpless and cannot fend for herself in the slightest. She continually is standing around waiting for Bond to help her out while yelling, “James! James!” over and over and over again. Uggghh…
4. Maryam d’Abo as Kara Milovy in The Living Daylights
Timothy Dalton’s first Bond girl is Maryam d’Abo. When we first met Kara Milovy, she is a cellist turned assassin. She leaves that tough-girl status back at the orchestra for the rest of the movie. She is so concerned about her damn cello; she risks her life and Bond’s in an attempt to get it back. Too bad it ends up with a gunshot hole in it.
5. Daniela Bianchi as Tatiana Romanova in From Russia with Love
Ursula Andres was the first Bond girl in Dr. No as Honey Rider. She made an unforgettable entrance that will forever go down in Bond history. That is a lot to live up to for the next Bond girl. Unfortunately, Daniela Bianchi is pretty forgettable as Tatiana Romanova. There is nothing about her that really stands out. She fails in comparison to the devilish performance by Lotte Lenya as villain Rosa Klebb.
What are your picks for horrible Bond girls?
Friday September 28, 2012
Top 5 Movies from the Creative Mind of Tim Burton
In honor of Frankenweenie coming out on October 5th, I wanted to devote this week's Top 5 to director Tim Burton. In my review (found here), I mentioned this was a great return to form to the old Burton movies I grew up on. If you've never seen his short Vincent, you can find it here in a post a wrote last year.
1. EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990)
What can I say about this majestic movie. I have seen it countless times, yet every time I am overwhelmed by the beauty, wonder, and sadness of it. This is my favorite Burton movie and it even ranks in my Top 20 Movies of All Time List. I personally feel this is Johnny Depp's greatest performance. Depp brings so much to this character without having a lot of dialogue. He reminds me of the old classic silent film stars. Danny Elfman's sweeping score is so haunting, yet exquisite at the same time. Listen to "Ice Dance" and you will know what I'm talking about. This was also the last movie for legendary actor Vincent Price which make his scenes all the more priceless.
2. BATMAN (1989)
Anyone that knows me knows that Batman is my superhero of choice. Ever since I was a small child I wanted to be Batman. I even had the bed sheets to go along with my obsession. There's no question that of the first four Batman movies, the first two Burton entries are the best. His dark take on Batman and Gotham City fit perfectly for the world created by Bob Kane and DC Comics. Jack Nicholson fully embodies The Joker as if he was born to play that role. I remember checking out the Prince-filled soundtrack on vinyl from the library countless times as a kid.
3. BEETLEJUICE (1988)
Unless you want a whole heaping bit of trouble, don't say his name three times in a row. Keaton gives the best performance of his career as Beetlejuice. There are talks of a remake or sequel being made, but I just can't see anyone else playing the title role. The movie is funny, witty, quirky, odd, and everything in between. Catherine O'Hara is a hoot as always. Keep an eye out for Robert Goulet and Dick Cavett as dinner guests of the Deetz family. I will never think of "Day Oh" by Harry Belafonte without thinking of this movie.
4. BATMAN RETURNS (1992)
Michelle Pfeiffer wears that leather catsuit like no one else. She IS Catwoman. It's strange to think that the part was originally offered to Annette Bening who had to drop out due to her pregnancy. I have very fond memories of this movie as a child. I was obsessed with seeing this movie in the theaters and I was dying for my parents to take me. I was nine years old, but the movie was rated PG-13. They heard the movie was very dark and scary so they went to go see it first to see if I would be able to watch it. The verdict came back and I was FORBIDDEN to see it. I was so mad at the them. To make things worse, one of my friends had seen it and told me how awesome it was. I will never forget it for the rest of my life.
5. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993)
Many people think that Tim Burton directed this movie, but Henry Selick was actually the director. Burton was too busy with Batman Returns and pre-production on Ed Wood. I'm still including this movie on this list because he still came up with the story and characters and was involved in the creation of the movie. If you love the Danny Elfman scored soundtrack, you should take a listen to a recent recording made with Marilyn Manson, Fiona Apple, and Fall Out Boy singing some of the hit songs from the movie. Manson's take on "This is Halloween" is pretty genius.
Honorable Mention: MARS ATTACKS!, BIG FISH
Friday September 7, 2012
Top 5 Movies for Back to School Week
Not many people know that I write reviews for my work newsletter. Just this week, I submitted a Top 5 list for the September issue. I work for an online university, and the fall quarter is always the busiest time of the year. The theme was My Top 5 Movies for Back to School Week.
1. GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997)
We came to know and love Matt Damon and Ben Affleck after they hit it out of the ballpark with their brilliant script, Good Will Hunting. They were the token boys of Hollywood after taking home the Best Original Screenplay Oscar as well as supplying Robin Williams with his Oscar winning role. The movie provides us with an excellent soundtrack featuring the late great Elliott Smith.
2. SISTER ACT 2: BACK IN THE HABIT (1993)
This is one sequel that I love more than the original. I remember being a kid seeing it at the Apache 6 theater and being completely inspired to sing and pursue my love of the arts. To this day, this is one of my go-to movies whenever I am sick, grumpy, or need any sort of pick me up. I will always stop and watch it whenever it is on cable even though I own it on VHS, DVD, and Blu-Ray.
3. FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH (1982)
Sean Penn gives one of his best performances as laid back surfer dude Jeff Spicoli. His scenes with Ray Walston as Mr. Hand are priceless. Many people probably remember the movie for the infamous dream sequence involving Phoebe Cates exiting a swimming pool. Watch for early performances by Nicolas Cage, Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz, and Anthony Edwards.
4. NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE (1978)
This ultimate frat movie may just be one of the funniest movies of all time. There are so many classic one-liners that this is one of the few movies that I actually laugh out loud at with each viewing.
5. DEAD POETS SOCIETY (1989)
Robin Williams' second appearance on this list. He proved to be more than just a crazy comedian after receiving his second Oscar nomination for this movie.
"Listen, you hear it? Carpe - hear it? - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary."
Honorable mention: SCHOOL TIES, DANGEROUS MINDS
What are your picks for back to school movies? I'd love to about the movies that rang true to your school days.
Friday August 24, 2012
Top 5 Performances by Julianne Moore
I normally roll my eyes at remakes of horror movies. They rarely can top the original and typically come off as a bad carbon copy with bad acting and buckets of blood splattered around. There is one remake I think could have promise. Kimberly Pierce (Boy's Don't Cry) is directing the new version of Brian DePalma/Stephen King's Carrie. In this remake Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass) stars in the title role and Julianne Moore (The Kids Are All Right) fills the shoes of Piper Laurie playing Carrie's mother, Margaret White. The first images of both of those actresses in character were released this week by "Entertainment Weekly". Julianne Moore is one of those actresses that you would be surprised to find out does not have an Oscar even though she has been nominated four different times and continually gives honest, truthful, and heartbreaking performances. Here are my Top 5 favorite Julianne Moore performances:
1. Laura Brown—THE HOURS(2002)
The Hours is made up of three three interwoven stories centered around Virginia Woolf and her novel, "Mrs. Dalloway". Moore's performance as 1950s housewife Laura Brown earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
2. Cathy Whitaker-FAR FROM HEAVEN (2002)
In the same year she was nominated for The Hours, she was nominated for Best Actress for Far From Heaven. Similar to that movie, she portrays another would be perfect 1950s housewife only to find out her husband (Dennis Quaid) is not quite the man she assumed he was in her mind.
3. Sarah Palin-GAME CHANGE (2012)
I expect Moore will walk away with an Emmy, SAG, and Golden Globe Awards for her remarkable transformation as Sarah Palin in the HBO movie, Game Change. She nailed every mannerism that Palin is known for. The speech pattern, hand gestures, and facial tics are spot on. She fully becomes Sarah Palin without playing her as an impression or a caricature of the Alaskan governor.
4. Amber Waves—BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997)
Moore scored her first Oscar nomination for playing porn star Amber Waves in Paul Thomas Anderson's look into the world of the 1970s porn industry. The scene involving Amber in court trying to get custody of her son gets to me every time I watch it.
5. Linda Partridge—MAGNOLIA (1999)
Moore teamed up again with Paul Thomas Anderson for his next multi-layered ensemble drama, Magnolia. Many people find her performance over-the-top, but I disagree completely. Linda is one of the many extremely flawed characters Anderson has written. Paranoia and fear set in as she must deal with the fact that her much older husband (Jason Robards) is dying and his long lost son (Tom Cruise) has now come into the picture.
Honorable Mention: Jules-THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, Charley-A SINGLE MAN
Friday August 17, 2012
Top 5 Movies Based Off the Works of Stephen King
I started reading one of Stephen King's latest books, 11/22/63, which centers around the idea of time travel and what would happen if you could go back in time and stop the Kennedy assassination. Needless to say, I have said up far too late many nights this week and lost some sleep over it. I head rumblings when the book first came out that a studio had already bought the rights to it and a movie might be made. I started thinking about my favorite movies that have been based on his prolific span of novels and short stories. Don't be surprised when The Oscars gets mentioned with many of his movies.
1. STAND BY ME (1986)
This is a no-brainer for me as it is my favorite movie of all time. I have written about this coming-of-age Rob Reiner directed movie numerous times here on the blog. It is based on an early King novella called "The Body" which is part a series of short stories called Different Seasons. It received one Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. That collection and Rob Reiner will come up later in this list.
2. THE SHINING (1980)
While there may been numerous changes and liberties that Stanley Kubrick took with King's story, it still is one of the scariest movies I have ever scene. Jack Nicholson gives one of his best performances as Jack Torrence, a troubled writer that takes a job as a caretaker of a hotel while it is in the off season. If only it were that easy and the hotel didn't have a horrific past. I watch the movie every year and there are certain moments that still get to me.
3. THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994)
One of the other novellas in Different Seasons is "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. Frank Darabont garnered critical acclaim with writing and directing this adaptation. It received seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor for Morgan Freeman. I think it proved to a broader audience that King is more than a horror writer.
4. CARRIE (1976)
Brian DePalma directed this adaption based on King's first book. If you have ever seen the movie, you will never forget the infamous ending and the jaw dropping prom scene. Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie give fantastic performances they both got them Oscar nominations.
5. MISERY (1990)
Rob Reiner and screenwriter William Goldman adapted King's novel about a writer and his obsessed fan. Kathy Bates gave a stunning performance as Annie Wilkes that won her an Oscar for Best Actress. James Caan stars as Annie's favorite writer, Paul Sheldon. Did you know those two parts were original offered to the likes of William Hurt, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Kline, Michael Douglas, Anjelica Huston, and Bette Midler?
Honorable Mention: THE GREEN MILE
Friday August 10, 2012
Top 5 Steven Spielberg Movies-The Blockbusters
The first “official” promo shot of Daniel Day-Lewis was released this week from the upcoming movie, Lincoln. He leads a huge ensemble including: Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Jared Harris just to name a few. The movie is directed by Oscar winner Steven Spielberg with a screenplay by Tony winner Tony Kushner based off the book “Team of Rivals” by Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin. With all those heavy hitters, the bar is set high for a knock-out movie. I always get excited for a new Spielberg movie. Whether he is making a blockbuster or a drama, he is a great story teller. No one can dispute the impact that movies like Jaws or Schindler’s List has had on American cinema. Here are my Top 5 Spielberg Blockbusters:
1. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)
“I'll... be... right... here.”
The story follows the misunderstood Elliott (Henry Thomas) who befriends a “goblin” stuck on Earth. It’s a beautiful story of an unlikely friendship. It includes one of my favorite John Williams scores that perfectly encompasses the eeriness of the unknown as well as the hope and excitement that comes during the scene when the bikes lift off. You will laugh out loud, be scared, and be crying by the end. Available on Blu-Ray for the first time on October, 9th!
2. Jaws (1975)
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat!”
The infamous movie that made people afraid to go into the water. Spielberg was only 28 when he directed the movie. Jaws is one of those movies I always have to sit down and watch whenever I see it on cable. I have seen in countless times and always jump during the “floating head” scene. Available on Blu-Ray for the first time on August, 14
3. Jurassic Park (1993)
“Hold on to your butts!”
I remember I was 10 years old when Jurassic Park came out and my parents wouldn’t let me see it in theaters because they heard it was too scary. Yes, I still remember that. Don’t worry, I quickly remedied that situation once it came out on video.
4. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
“You can come and play now.”
Did you know Spielberg wrote Close Encounters of the Third Kind as well as directed it? I have to admit I came across it later in life. I grew up watching E.T., Jaws, and Jurassic Park, but I think I was in my teen years when I finally sat down and watched it. Richard Dreyfuss gives a fantastic performance mixing some humor into his paranoia. This marked the first Oscar nomination for Spielberg.
5. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
"Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?"
If you're looking for a gold old fashioned adventure movie, look no further than Harrison Ford's classic turn as Indiana Jones. This trilogy is perfect for any Saturday where you just want to hunker in for the day and sit on your couch. Complete trilogy available on Blu-Ray September, 18!
*Honorable Mention- Minority Report
Friday August 3, 2012
MY TOP 5 HITCHCOCK MOVIES
Every decade, Sight and Sound Magazine polls over 800 critics to come up with a list of the greatest movies of all time. Just this week the list was announced for this decade. In a surprise move, Hitchcock's Vertigo has surpassed reigning champ Citizen Kane on the Critics's Top 10 List. It has been about two years since my last Vertigo viewing, so I better get cracking on that one. Here is a list of my favorite Hitchcock classics.
1. REAR WINDOW (1954)
James Stewart is one of the greatest actors of all time. He collaborated with Hitch numerous times. One of the things I love about Rear Window is that the audience always saw things through the eye of Stewart's character. You are never further along in the story than he was. There is also something really chilling about knowing that something really bad has happened and you feel like you can't do anything about it. Plus, Grace Kelly is stunningly gorgeous.
2. PSYCHO (1960)
We all know and love Psycho. It's a classic for a reason. I recently read an interesting book called "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho". If you are a fan of Hitch or the movie, it's worth a read. It has recently been adapted into a movie called Hitchcock starring Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock) and Scarlett Johansson (Janet Leight). That movie should arrive in theaters in 2013.
3. THE BIRDS (1963)
The Birds is one of the first movies I blogged about here on this site. I saw it at the Riverview, and people were talking and laughing throughout the whole movie. There is nothing to talk or laugh about here. I wish some of the younger generation had a better appreciation for the classics. Some consider The Birds far scarier than Psycho. HBO is currently in production on a movie called "The Girl" about Hitchcock's (Toby Jones) relationship with leading lady Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller).
4. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)
Cary Grant was another frequent collaborator with Mr. Hitchcock. There are many iconic images from this movie, including the shot of Grant running in the field or the Mount Rushmore sequence at the end. Eva Marie Saint was the Hitchcock Blonde in the arms of Cary Grant. Keep an eye out for a young Martin Landau.
5. STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951)
This selection is from a lesser known Hitch. It doesn't have the popularity factor that Psycho has, but it really should be well known. Hitchcock can make some fantastic endings to this movies. Strangers on a Train is no expection. The carousel scene left me on the edge of my seat!
*HONORABLE MENTION- REBECCA (1940)
What are your favorite Hitchcock movies? Feel free to comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts!