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Monday, October 31, 2011

DVD Challenge #26: HALLOWEEN

Run-time: 1 hour, 31 minutes

Directed by: John Carpenter
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasance, Nancy Kyes

I don't remember the first time I ever saw Halloween, but I do remember the fright that the image of Michael Myers has always brought me. Those of you who've been reading me recently will know that I consider Myers to be one of the scarier horror villains to grace the silver screen, and that the film itself is near the top of the list of films that have traumatized me during my lifetime. So, it was quite the decision to try to take the film in again, considering how much it has scared me in the past. And so, to celebrate Halloween, I re-watched the iconic movie whose namesake stemmed from the scariest holiday of the year.

The film is actually pretty simple when you think about it. It starts with a young Michael Myers viciously murdering his older sister then fast-forwards fifteen years to then-present day 1978. Myers finds a way to break out of his mental institution and make his way back to his hometown, where he starts to stalk babysitters on a fateful Halloween night. That's the exact premise that John Carpenter and fellow screenwriter Debra Hill started with, and they ran with it from there. I watched one of the interviews on my copy of the film, and Hill talked about how they listed out a number of potential scares for the movie then worked the screenplay around each of the scares. It's not as though the storyline is going to blow you away, but the thrills and chills should do the trick.

Most of the fear in the film comes from the suspense that the atmosphere creates, but a big chunk of that fear also comes from our villain himself. Referred to on-set as the Shape, most people know him as Michael Myers, a man who is purely evil and wears a modified William Shatner mask to keep his face hidden for most of the film. There's something inherently creepy about the mask itself, but the reason that Michael scares me so much is the fact that he's completely silent for the film's entirety. Never once does he speak (even in the prologue where we see him as a child), and the most we ever hear in terms of a sound from him is his breathing behind the mask. The white, expressionless mask, combined with his complete silence, makes Michael Myers one of the scarier villains I've seen grace the silver screen. I've had many a night where I thought I saw him standing outside my own window. He's that ingrained into my subconscious.

The rest of the cast does it's job relatively well, but it's not like we're getting A-grade acting here. The film was shot on a budget of $300,000, so there really wasn't much in terms of quality acting to be bought. However, we do get a decent (if drawn-out) performance from Pleasance, and it's a nice introduction to Curtis, who would go on to be known as the "scream queen" after this role.

While the scares aren't necessarily as terrifying as I remember them, you can't take away from the overall creepiness of the film, which is greatly accentuated by the musical score that Carpenter created. The score landed as the second best horror film score on the list I posted a few days ago, but it's simplicity is where it gets you. While not quite on the level of the Jaws score, which almost becomes a character itself, the score for Halloween is utterly fantastic.

Ultimately, Halloween isn't quite as scary as I remembered it, but it's still quite the fright-fest, and it's the golden standard when it comes to Hollywood slasher flicks. Many franchises have attempted to imitate this film, but nothing will ever quite reach the bar in the slasher genre that Halloween set. So, if you're in the mood for a scary movie tonight, give this one a shot. It's sure to give you a scare or two.

Friday, October 28, 2011


The effectiveness of a horror film lies in its ability to scare its audience. While the best horror flicks combine suspense and jump-out-of-your-seat scares to keep the audience engaged, it takes a legitimate villain to make any of the scares worthwhile. If your principal villain isn't frightening, you're going to risk losing your audience from the very start. Luckily, a slew of fantastic villains have graced the silver screen in horror films over the years. For this post, I've counted down my ten favorite horror villains. Mind you, I'm still not entirely well-versed in the horror genre, so if there's any particular villain missing that you think belongs, I simply may not have seen that particular film just yet. That being said, I hope you enjoy the list!

10. Jack Torrance
Played by: Jack Nicholson
The Shining (1980)
While I'm not the biggest fan of the film, there's no denying that Nicholson puts on a show in The Shining. His manic personality works exceptionally well for the role of Jack Torrance, and his gradual descent into madness is all the more realistic as a result.


9. Jigsaw / John Kramer
Played by: Tobin Bell
Saw (2004)
A horror villain for the 21st century, Jigsaw leaves his victims' fates in their own hands, giving them the option of whether they want to live or die. Sure, his methods are a little sadistic, but there might be some sound reasoning behind all the blood and gore.


8. Dracula
Played by: Bela Lugosi
Dracula (1931)
Easily Bela Lugosi's most recognizable - and best - role, Dracula is simply a horror icon. From the moment he uttered, "I am Dracula," I was hooked on his character. Smart, clever, and completely evil, it's hard not to like the king of the vampires.


7. Hannibal Lecter
Played by: Anthony Hopkins
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Sure, it's not quite a horror film, but there's something truly sadistic about Hannibal Lecter as a villain. Hopkins plays him exceptionally well, and the thought of him having a census taker's liver with some fava beans and a Chianti is enough to tingle the spine.


6. Freddy Krueger
Played by: Robert Englund
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The man is essentially a burn victim with a fedora and knives for fingers. Oh, and he comes and kills teenagers in their dreams. That's probably the worst part - he attacks you when you're most vulnerable, all with a biting sense of humor to boot.


5. Patrick Bateman
Played by: Christian Bale
American Psycho (2000)
Again, not entirely a horror film, but this is simply a brilliant performance from Christian Bale. Bateman is a man who seemingly has a lust for blood, but as things start to get out of hand, even he doesn't really know what's happening anymore. That just adds to the scariness of his character.


4. Mr. Hyde
Played by: John Barrymore
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1920)
You'd be hard-pressed to think this was a scary film nowadays, but the fantastic performance from John Barrymore as the dual-personality Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde is so stunningly perfect that there was no way I could leave it off this list.


3. Michael Myers
Played by: Nick Castle
Halloween (1978)
As I've mentioned before, Michael Myers is probably the horror character that scares me most. A silent, hulking Shape that simply stalks and kills, he's the epitome of a relentless murderer and could very possibly be evil incarnate.


2. Pennywise
Played by: Tim Curry
It (1990)
I have a bit of a fascination with anything Tim Curry does, and his portrayal of Pennywise the clown is so bitingly hilarious that you almost forget the fact that he's also terribly creepy. I'm sure this one put a lot of people off clowns for a while.


1. Norman Bates
Played by: Anthony Perkins
Psycho (1960)
The king of horror villains, Norman Bates showed that an everyday man could be hiding a terrible, terrible secret. Perkins played the part to a tee, to the point where he would be applauded after takes on set. That's how good he was, and that's how brilliantly he created the character. I've got mad love for Norman Bates.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ten Films That Traumatized Me

Anyone who's ever watched a scary movie has sat through a film that thoroughly scared them. That's the basis of the horror genre: to shock and to terrify. However, there's a fine line between being scared and being traumatized. A scare may only last for a moment or for the a film's duration, but trauma can last days, weeks, months or years. Some films have the ability to traumatize an individual, and depending on that individual's willpower, the trauma may even last a lifetime. So for this second day of my "6 Days of Halloween," I've created a list of ten films that have traumatized me in my lifetime. As you'll see, not all of them are necessarily horror films, but the fabric of each type of trauma was terrifying enough to make each movie stick with me for an extended period of time. So without any further delay, here's the ten films that have most traumatized me in my lifetime. I hope you enjoy!

10. Independence Day
Independence Day freaked me out in a couple of ways. It was the first movie I ever remember seeing that gave me the very real sensation that an alien invasion might actually be possible. As an eight-year-old child, I remember walking out of the theater as the sun was setting and thinking that the orange glow was a firestorm heading towards me. I went on to have a nightmare that night about one of the aliens hiding inside a closet in my house. I was never able to open that closet again without seeing that image.


9. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
To be honest, there was only one scene in Close Encounters that ever truly got to me. I first saw this film when I was a child, and the scene where Barry runs off with the aliens scared the hell outta me. Just before he leaves, everything inside the house starts to shake and rattle and roll, and electrical things come to life. For a youngster, this was quite the terrifying experience, and it's stuck with me ever since.


8. Old Yeller
Anyone who has seen this film will know exactly why it made this list. Growing up, my family always had golden retrievers, so seeing a film with a Labrador /Mastiff was definitely appealing not only to me but to my entire household. Little did I know what tragedy awaited me at film's end, and I have yet to recover from the emotional scarring. A lot of folks will cite the mother's death in Bambi as one of their most traumatic film moments, but Old Yeller has always gotten to me.


7. Jurassic Park
Like Independence Day, Jurassic Park was a film from my childhood that found a way to enter the realm of my dreams. The night after seeing the film, five-year-old me had one of the most vivid nightmares of my entire life: it was so realistic that I still remember it as though it occurred yesterday. What started as a seemingly beautiful dream quickly turned terrifying as as velociraptor proceeded to chase me through the jungle, and only my sudden awakening spared me an awful fate. Needless to say, dinosaurs scared me for quite a while after that one.


6. Child's Play
I actually didn't see this film in its entirety until last Halloween, but the character Chucky has haunted me for years. While channel surfing one childhood days, I stumbled across a movie I had never seen. I watched for a few minutes until I saw a red-headed doll awaken and proceed to stab a woman to death. From that moment on, any mention of the doll caused me to cringe in horror. Now that I've seen the film itself, the trauma has subsided slightly, but there's still something about Chucky that gets to me.


5. The Birds
Ah, the brilliance of Alfred Hitchcock. While not necessarily one of his best films, The Birds still managed to seep its way into my subconscious. Having seen bits and pieces of the film during my childhood, I slowly grew a bit of fear toward it. The schoolhouse scene was one of the scariest things I had ever seen, and to torture me, my father used to tap against the walls of my room to simulate the pecking noises the birds had made in the film. Once I was able to see the film in its entirety, however, I was able to shake the terror that had haunted me for the better part of my childhood and adolescent life.


4. Happiness
I know what you're thinking: how could a comedy possibly traumatize an individual? My answer would be, "Surely you've never seen a Todd Solondz film." Happiness is by far one of the most sexualized and disgusting films I've ever seen, and it's easily one of my favorites. The biting sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek attitude creates a terrific atmosphere. The reason it traumatized me, however, was the result of one particular scene. Baker (pictured above) portrays a child molester, and in one scene, we see his attempt to take his son's best friend. After a series of events, I found myself cheering for Baker's character, hoping he would succeed in his endeavor to rape the boy. Once you start cheering for a child molester, you're never really the same. I still feel horribly about it.


3. A Clockwork Orange
Stanley Kubrick sure knew how to make 'em, and A Clockwork Orange was no exception. Like Happiness, however, this film only needed one scene to push me over the edge. It's a semi-graphic rape scene that occurs near the start of the film, almost setting the tone for the unsettling nature of what the audience is about to witness. The scene's memorability is heightened by the fact that one of the rapists sings "Singin' in the Rain" whilst committing the atrocious act. Since seeing this film, I haven't been able to listen to the original Gene Kelly version without my mind being whisked to this rape scene. Thanks, Kubrick.


2. Halloween
The slasher film to start all slasher films, Halloween was groundbreaking in what it did and what it meant for the horror genre. It essentially created an invincible beast who terrorized over and over, and the image of Michael Myers has always stuck in my mind. I think it's the fact that he never utters a word that really gets to me. While killers like Freddy Krueger often talk themselves to death, Michael stays silent throughout his reign on-screen, and that white William Shatner mask only adds to the creepiness. This is the boogeyman incarnate, and he'll always get to me.


1. Psycho
Oh, the trauma to end all trauma. I first saw the shower scene from Psycho as a four-year-old at Universal Studios Hollywood. In one of their special effects stages, they chose to talk about cinematography, and who better to use than Hitchcock himself. And so, they showed the 45-second clip of a mysterious intruder brutally slicing Marion Crane as she attempts to take a shower. The high-pitched screeching of Bernard Herrmann's score, combined with the high-pitched screams from Janet Leigh, make this scene one of the most memorable and instantly recognizable to hit the silver screen. It scared me so much that it took me years to want to take a shower, and to this day, I have issues with shower curtains.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


While great films are generally multi-faceted in their effectiveness, taking a solid screenplay and talented actors to craft an enjoyable cinematic experience, the best films also incorporate strong musical scores in order to set the overall mood. While some of the most iconic orchestral scores spawn from dramatic (i.e., The Godfather) or action (i.e., Star Wars) films, the horror genre has presented a plethora of memorable themes that continue to haunt viewers years past their original release dates. So, to start my "6 Days of Halloween," I've compiled my thirteen favorite horror film scores in order to set the mood for the days leading up to All Hallow's Eve. These are the scores that have stuck with me personally, haunting my dreams and reminding me of the horror that their films conveyed. Mind you: for this particular list, I ordered them in terms of their ability to scare me. Essentially, on a list of my favorite scores of all time, some of these might be ordered in a different way. So without any further delay, here's the list of my favorite horror movie scores. Don't let them keep you up too late tonight...

13. Child's Play
Composed by: Joe Renzetti


12. An American Werewolf in London
Composed by: Elmer Bernstein


11. Rosemary's Baby
Composed by: Krzysztof Komeda


10. It
Composed by: Richard Bellis


9. King Kong
Composed by: Max Steiner


8. Poltergeist
Composed by: Jerry Goldsmith


7. A Nightmare on Elm Street
Composed by: Charles Bernstein


6. Saw
Composed by: Charlie Clouser


5. ThanksKilling
Composed by: Kajmir Royale


4. Jaws
Composed by: John Williams


3. The Exorcist
Composed by: Mike Oldfield


2. Halloween
Composed by: John Carpenter


1. Psycho
Composed by: Bernard Herrmann

Monday, October 24, 2011



"The three musketeers? I've heard of you."
-- D'Artagnan

The Three Musketeers is a 2011 action film directed by Paul W. S. Anderson that serves as the umpteenth retelling of Alexandre Dumas's classic novel of the same name. The film starts with our heroic trio - Athos (Matthew Macfayden), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Porthos (Ray Stevenson) - valiantly stealing the blueprints for a dirigible-style airship from the Da Vinci Vault in Venice with the help of a woman known as Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich). After obtaining the plans, Milady betrays the musketeers and gives the prize to the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). Fast-forward one year's time, and we find a young man named D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman) making his way to Paris to become a musketeer. When he meets our formerly valiant trio, however, he learns that they have essentially become obsolete under the rule of Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) and his guards. Still, D'Artagnan takes up with his idols, and the group soon learns of Richelieu's plot to drag France into a war with England that would allow him to usurp King Louis XIII (Freddie Fox) from his reign over the country.

I'd like to start by saying that I didn't really have any preemptive intention of seeing this film. From the moment I first saw the trailer, I simply thought it was a ploy to cash in on the 3D craze that's currently sweeping movie theaters across the country. In addition, it just didn't look like all that great of a film, so I didn't have any real desire to race to the theaters to give it a view. However, I found myself watching it earlier today, so I might as well give you my views while it's still fresh in my memory.

I guess my first issue with this film was that it's way too over-the-top. Sometimes when a film deliberately chooses not to pull any punches, the audience can enjoy it for its complete ridiculousness, but that's not really the case with The Three Musketeers. The far-fetched nature of the film was just too much to enjoy as I found myself scratching my head at how far they actually chose to go. I mean, let's just start with the dirigible-style airships that do battle during certain points of the film. At first, it seemed like an interesting idea, but once you've got a couple of them engaging in an all-out war in the sky, it just started to seem like an airborne version of Pirates of the Caribbean. So, that's one thing. Also, the screenplay had major issues. I mean, we have your standard story of government corruption and the heroic warriors re-establishing justice by the end of the film, but that's not where I had my issue. My problem with the screenplay was that the characters explained every little thing that happened or was going to happen, almost as though the filmmakers thought they were making the film too confusing for the audience to understand. But when they start explaining the most obvious things, then I started to feel a little bit insulted. It's like every conversation needed a neatly-wrapped bow before the characters could continue on their mission. When your audience starts to feel their intelligence being insulted, there's going to be some issues.

The acting wasn't really all that spectacular, either. While I can't say it's the worst ensemble cast I've ever seen, there definitely won't be anyone creating any type of awards buzz for this flick (but to be fair, did anyone really expect that to happen?). Our four musketeers are serviceable, and Stevenson is good for a steady stream of laughs. He's probably the best-cast character in the film, but part of that could be my personal preference towards the Porthos character. It was also nice to see Waltz in the film considering I had no idea he would be in it. Sadly, as was the case with his performance in The Green Hornet, he just didn't have a lot with which to work in this one. Other than that, most of the actors over-act as much as they possibly can, and I started to get annoyed with the cast pretty early into the film.

The special effects are relatively decent, but there's nothing truly eye-popping about them. I didn't see the film in 3D, so I can't comment on whether or not it was used effectively, but I didn't catch too many "3D pop-out" moments, so they might have gone with the more favorable "3D depth" stance instead. The climactic airship battle sequence is rather well-done even if it made me think of the Pirates films, but I must give credit where credit is due.

Overall, The Three Musketeers is by no means a film you should really give your time. It's not the worst film I've ever seen, but I can't honestly tell you that you should take the time to watch it because that would eat away at my conscience. Still, if you're in for some big dumb fun, then maybe this one's right up your alley. I'd just say wait until you can rent it. There's no reason to spend upwards of ten bucks at the theater for this travesty.

Movie Review Summary
Grade: F
1.5 Thumbs Down

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ryan Reynolds!

Today we're celebrating the 35th birthday of Hollywood heartthrob, Ryan Reynolds. Ryan got his start in television in the early-1990s, but he nabbed his role in a feature film in 1993's Ordinary Magic. After dabbling in more television appearances, he landed it big with a starring role in the show "Two Guys and a Girl." His first big film performance came in 2002 when he landed the titular role in Van Wilder, and the success from that film catapulted him into a level of comedic stardom. Although he has yet to land a massive, star-making flick to put him into the entire public's consciousness, Reynolds has enjoyed his time as something of a sex symbol, nabbing top honors in People magazine's 2010 Sexiest Man Alive list. He's been romantically attached to the likes of Alanis Morissette and Scarlett Johansson in the past few years, only adding to his public presence. Still, he's a rather talented comedic actor who has shown that he has the makings of a potentially great dramatic actor as well. You'll next be able to see him in 2012's Safe House. That being said, let's once again wish Ryan Reynolds a happy 35th birthday!

5. Richard Messner
Smokin' Aces (2006)


4. Andrew Paxton
The Proposal (2009)


3. Male Nurse
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)


2. Van Wilder
Van Wilder (2002)


1. Monty
Waiting... (2005)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Movie Review: 50/50


"That doesn't make sense though. I mean, I don't smoke, I don't drink... I recycle..."
-- Adam

50/50 is a 2011 dramatic comedy directed by Jonathan Levine that centers around one man's struggle with his cancer diagnosis. After having continual pain in his back, Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) decides to see a doctor. When the test results come back, however, he's told that he has a rare tumor growing directly on his spine. Shocked, he begins to inform those closest to him: his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen), his girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) and his mother Diane (Anjelica Huston). Each of them handles his illness in their own way, but Adam doesn't think that any of them really knows the best way to help him. Adam soon befriends a young psychologist named Katherine (Anna Kendrick) and uses her to explain the emotional roller coaster he's riding. As time goes by and his chemotherapy doesn't seem to do the job, Adam must make the decision as to whether he wants to use stronger, more life-threatening means to rid himself of his cancer.

The first thing you're going to notice is that 50/50 isn't quite the straight-out comedy that the trailers may make you believe. While there are a lot of laughs in this film, I'd still classify it more as a drama than a comedy. A good chunk of the big-time laughs are given in the film's trailers, but there's still a few more scattered here and there. However, I feel as though if you take Seth Rogen out of this film, no one's really going to consider it a comedy at all. There's just that much drama occurring throughout the film. Still, I think that should be a given considering the subject matter. Sure, it's a much lighter look at a person's battle with cancer than we've seen in the past, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty, you still have to fight through all the emotions. The scattered humor does its job in lightening the mood, but that doesn't make the movie any less emotional.

A huge part of the emotion comes from the performances, especially from Gordon-Levitt as our lead. I've been a proponent and fan of his work since I first saw him in 2001's Manic, and he continues to amaze me with every film he does. He has the penchant both for comedy and for drama, and he's able to showcase both sides in 50/50. While he's consistently fantastic throughout the film, he takes it to a level of amazing quite a few times as well. Gordon-Levitt is so good at crafting believable characters that you almost forget he's just an actor. I was simply blown away by his performance in this one, and while I'm not sure whether he'll be receiving any Oscar buzz for the role, I personally think he should be near the top of the list.

The rest of the cast fills out quite nicely as well. While I'm normally not a fan of Rogen's work, I thought his brand of comedy worked exceptionally well in its small doses in this film. In addition, I thought he toned it down just enough and showed a dramatic side that I personally hadn't seen from him in a film to date. Kendrick also does well in her role, proving once again why she's a force to be reckoned with in the Hollywood scene. Howard and Huston also play fantastic roles in their supporting roles, bringing quite a bit of emotion to the screen from two women who should be the most important in Adam's life. All-around, the cast is phenomenal and is truly what makes the film so powerful.

I won't lie and say I made it through 50/50 without shedding a tear or two. Having lost family members to cancer in the past, this one hit a little closer to home than it might for others who haven't had to deal with such a malevolent illness. The power that Joseph Gordon-Levitt brings to the role is simply astounding, and I don't think I could ever commend him enough. 50/50 is simply a beautiful film that may cut you to the core, but it's definitely worth your time to watch it.

Movie Review Summary
Grade: A
2 Thumbs Up

Sunday, October 9, 2011



"Lighten up, John. It's a party!"
-- Warwick Wilson

The Perfect Host is a 2011 comedic thriller directed by Nick Tomnay that centers around one man's captivity at the hands of an off-kilter host. After John Taylor (Clayne Crawford) steals $300,000 from a bank and the police catch onto his trail, he cons his way into a random home inhabited by a man named Warwick Wilson (David Hyde Pierce). While things start out cordial, a radio report forces John's hand as he admits to his criminal activity. He starts to take advantage of Warwick's hospitality, but as he continues to drink the wine his host has offered, John finds himself becoming groggy. Ultimately, Warwick turns the tables on his captor and becomes to torture him both physically and psychologically, all during his previously-planned dinner party. What's strange, however, is that John is unable to see the guests, and he soon realizes that Warwick has imagined his friends despite continuing to interact with them.

To be honest, the sole reason I had any desire to see this film was the inclusion of David Hyde Pierce. As a huge fan of the television series "Frasier" (on which Pierce starred), I was interested to see him in an actual feature film, especially when it seemed like he'd be breaking far from the character he portrayed on the show. It also looked to be a rather comical film that bordered on having some decent scenes of suspense. A comedic thriller, if you will. It's a rare genre, but when it's done correctly, the final result can be something truly fantastic.

That being said, I can't quite say I was entirely impressed. Well, I shouldn't quite say that, I guess. For the first hour or so of the film, it worked rather well. The screenplay was compelling, and it continually kept you guessing as to what Warwick's true intentions might be. However, as the film passes the hour mark, things start to get a little convoluted. Even at its best, there are moments that are going to force you to scratch your head in bewilderment, but the final twenty minutes or so just didn't seem like they really fit with the tone of the rest of the film. While it doesn't make the film any more terrible, I just thought it was an odd way to finish the film.

The acting definitely makes up for the holes in the screenplay, however. Pierce is a comedic revelation who delves into the creepy time and time again, proving to be very effective in the antagonist's role. I can't think of another actor who would have been able to pull off the role as effectively. His particular style breathes life into the character, and he's quite the character to watch. Crawford is decent as the film's other lead, and he complements Pierce's manic energy quite well. We also get a couple of decent supporting performances from the likes of Nathaniel Parker and Megahn Perry. But this film is truly Pierce's vehicle, and it should be treated as such.

Ultimately, The Perfect Host isn't quite the movie I expected it to be. The screenplay keeps it down just a little bit, but the overall enjoyability is salvaged by David Hyde Pierce's lead performance. If you take him out of the film, I'm not sure whether I'd be able to recommend this one at all, but with his presence, there's definitely enough merit to make watching the movie worthwhile.

Movie Review Summary
Grade: B-
1 Thumb Up

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, Matt Damon!

Today, we're celebrating the birthday of Matt Damon, who turns 41 today. Damon nabbed his feature film in 1988's Mystic Pizza, but his star-making turn didn't come until 1997 in Good Will Hunting, in which he starred and wrote. He even won an Academy Award (with Ben Affleck) for writing the film's screenplay. Since then, Damon has become one of the premiere actors on the Hollywood, scoring roles in a number of big-time films and film franchises, like the Ocean's and Bourne franchises. So for his birthday, I've counted down my five favorite Damon films. I hope you enjoy the list! Once again, I'd like to wish Matt Damon a happy 41st birthday!

5. Tom Ripley
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)


4. Colin
The Departed (2006)


3. LaBoeuf
True Grit (2010)


2. Loki
Dogma (1999)


1. Will Hunting
Good Will Hunting (1997)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Birthday, Guy Pearce!

Today, we're celebrating the 44th birthday of Guy Pearce. Pearce got his acting start in the mid- to late-1980s television series "Neighbours," using that as a springboard to nab parts in films like 1990's Heaven Tonight and 1994's The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. He started to gain fame in the United States after his semi-starring role in 1997's L.A. Confidential, and then again with Christopher Nolan's 2000 film, Memento. Since then, he's appeared in films relatively consistently but hasn't made quite the splash he made in the late-1990s and early 2000s. Still, I consider him to be one of the more-talented actors on the Hollywood scene right now, and for that, he should be commended. You might still be able to catch him in theaters in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, but you will be able to see Pearce in 2011's The Wettest County in the World. So as I normally do, I'm counting down my five favorite performances for Pearce. I hope you enjoy the list! Once again, happy birthday, Guy Pearce!

5. Veteran
The Road (2009)


4. Sgt. Nathan Leckie
Animal Kingdom (2010)


3. King Edward VIII
The King's Speech (2010)


2. Edmund J. Exley
L.A. Confidential (1997)


1. Leonard Shelby
Memento (2000)


Top Rated Film (According to Me): L.A. Confidential (1997)

2000: Nominee - Best Actor, Drama

Happy Birthday, Kate Winslet!

Today, we're celebrating the 36th birthday of Kate Winslet. She started acting in the early 1990s on a number of television series and finally got her first role in a feature film in 1994's Heavenly Creatures. From there, Winslet began to skyrocket toward superstardom, which she ultimately achieved after nabbing Academy Award nominations for her performances in 1995's Sense & Sensibility and 1997's Titanic. From there, she has seemingly only meddled in dramatic fare, choosing her roles carefully over the years. It took her until her sixth Academy Award nomination (for 2008's The Reader) finally to win the illustrious award. You can currently see Winslet in theaters in Contagion, and her next film will be a dramatic comedy called Carnage, which is slated for a December 16 U.S. release and will also star Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly. So, for her birthday, I've listed my five favorite of Winslet's roles. Here's hoping you enjoy the clips! Once again, happy birthday Kate Winslet!

5. Slyvia Llewelyn Davies
Finding Neverland (2004)


4. Rose DeWitt Bukater
Titanic (1997)


3. April Wheeler
Revolutionary Road (2008)


2. Sarah Pierce
Little Children (2006)


1. Hanna Schmitz
The Reader (2008)


Top-Rated Film (According to Me): Finding Neverland (2004)

2004: Winner - Best Actress, Drama | Nominee - Best Couple
2006: Winner - Best Couple | Nominee - Best Actress, Drama
2008: Winner - Best Actress, Drama | Nominee - Best Couple

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Clive Owen!

Today we're celebrating the birthday of Clive Owen, who turns 47. Owen started his acting career in the late-1980s, but he didn't nab his first role in a feature film until 1991's Close My Eyes alongside Alan Rickman and Saskia Reeves. From there, he starred in mostly made-for-TV flicks until he made his bigger splashes on the big screen in 2001's Gosford Park and 2002's The Bourne Identity. In the years since, Owen has crafted himself into a leading man in both dramatic and action-based roles, proving that he can hold his own with big-time actors like Bruce Willis, Natalie Portman and Denzel Washington. He also scored an Academy Award nomination for his performance in 2004's Closer. So today, I'm counting down my five favorite of Owen's performances. I hope you enjoy the videos accompanying them! You can currently see Owen in theaters in Killer Elite, also starring Jason Statham and Robert De Niro.

5. Theo Faron
Children of Men (2006)


4. Robert Parks
Gosford Park (2001)


3. Arthur
King Arthur (2004)


2. Dwight
Sin City (2005)


1. Dalton Russell
Inside Man (2006)


Top-Rated Film (According to Me): Inside Man (2006)

2004: Nominee - Best Hero(ine)