JT Film Review

Great Non-Bond Movies by Bond Actors

Great Non-Bond Movies by Bond Actors

———-

Being widely associated with a specific role can be detrimental for any actors career, especially to any man who has uttered the iconic line “Bond, James Bond.” Two actors never lived it down, Roger Moore and George Lazenby, and I couldn’t even find a movie for them on this list of good non-Bond movies by Bond actors. I also told myself that, of course, I would have to stick to movies I have actually seen. Here goes!

—————————————-

The Original Bond – Sean Connery

1. Murder on the Orient Express (Trailer)

Murder on the Orient Express is a wonderfully stylish and energetic adaptation of the famous Agatha Christie novel. A murder is committed while a train is stuck in a snow drift in Europe, and private detective Hercule Poirot must unravel the mystery. Connery, joining a stellar cast, plays a snooty and very English man, Colonel Arbuthnot. It is a small role, but then again most of the roles in this movie are, and Connery makes a great impact with his limited screen time.

2. A Bridge Too Far (Trailer)

A Bridge Too Far is another all-star cast for Connery (and check out the ‘stache again…), and another soldier role as well. Connery plays Major General Urquhart. This one centers around a disastrous operation during WW II called “Operation Market Garden”, during part of which Allied troops parachuted behind enemy lines. Connery does his steely eyed commander soldier bit here, and certainly holds his own amongst what may be one of the awesome-est casts ever (Michael Caine, Anthony Hopkins, Dirk Bogarde, Ryan O’Neal, Gene Hackman, James Caan, Edward Fox, Sean Connery, Laurence Olivier, Robert Redford, Elliot Gould, and Maximilian Schell.) Some have criticised the movie for being over-long, and while you certainly need a bit of patience, A Bridge Too Far is one of my favorite war movies, if not my top favorite.

3. Time Bandits (Trailer)

Time Bandits is a Terry Gilliam movie about six dwarfs who are accidentally accompanied by a young boy on their time travelling adventures. It is about the spirit of imagination, and despite having the usual Gilliam problems, it is a spirited and fun little adventure movie. The movie is pretty episodic, and Connery appears in one of the segments as King Agamemnon, and then in a final scene as a firefighter. The two are hinted to be the same person. He brings a nice weight to the role, and the movie in general.

4. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Trailer)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the last Indiana Jones movie (shut up! shut up!), and having Connery along as Indiana Jones’ father was a stroke of genius. He perfectly contrasted his son’s wild ways, lampooned his past Bond status, and all the while had perfect chemistry with Harrison Ford. This is my favorite Indiana Jones movie, and is one of the rare “three-quels” that was worthy of the franchise’s name.

5. The Hunt for Red October (Trailer)

The Hunt for Red October stars Alec Baldwin as spy (?) Jack Ryan (the first of the multi-star franchise) and Connery as a Russian sub commander who plans on defecting to the United States. This is probably my favorite movie of Connery’s (including his Bond movies), and is the last of action director John McTiernan’s trifecta of great movies (preceded by Predator and Die Hard). It is really a tense thriller rather than an action movie, but it has its action elements as well. Although I think I’m in the minority when I say I didn’t find Connery’s “Scot-Russian” accent distracting…

—————————————-

The Under-Rated Bond – Timothy Dalton

1. Hot Fuzz (Trailer)

Hot Fuzz is a hilarious cop-movie spoof starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, along similar lines as their Shaun of the Dead was a parody of zombie movies. Story-wise, Pegg stars as a London cop who is moved to a rural area for essentially being too good at his job. Dalton is a local supermarket owner who falls under suspicion of committing a string of local murders. Nobody plays sinister and charming like Dalton, and he plays this role to the hilt.

2. Toy Story 3 (Trailer)

The Toy Story franchise continues with this funny and touching movie. I’ve always thought of the Toy Story series as a bit over-rated, but there is no denying that they certainly are quality entertainment. Dalton plays a theatrical hedgehog with slight delusions of grandeur, and makes fair use of his allotted screen time.

—————————————-

The One Who Revived Bond – Pierce Brosnan

1. The Tailor of Panama (Trailer)

The Tailor of Panama is really Geoffrey Rush’s show, but Brosnan co-stars as a British spy who convinces Rush’s tailor character to work with him. The movie is great looking but perhaps doesn’t quite reach its full potential. It still has its own charm however, and certainly is enjoyable. Brosnan isn’t really removing himself from the Bond character here though, as he plays a British spy who seduces beautiful women. He is good at it though…

2. Married Life (Trailer)

Married Life is a light little movie about infidelity and the consequences, or lack, thereof. Chris Cooper is the lead, and Brosnan appears as his friend. Cooper and Brosnan compete for a certain ladies affections, and Cooper even decides to kill his wife to get her out of the way. Married Life takes place in the 1940’s, and Brosnan makes a great “classy gentleman” of that era.

3. The Ghost Writer (Trailer)

Polanski’s The Ghost Writer has been unfairly overlooked over the last year or so. It is an unusually tight and competent political thriller, that, while it may lag towards the latter half, has an excellent ending. Ewan McGregor stars as a ghost writer who is assigned to work with a disgraced former Prime Minister, played by Pierce Brosnan. This is the best work I’ve ever seen by Brosnan. He is cold-hearted, has a chip on his shoulder, and yet is strangely understandable. It is a wonderful performance.

The Reboot Bond – Daniel Craig

1. Road to Perdition (Trailer)

Daniel Craig has a supporting role in Road to Perdition as the spoiled and violently jealous son of Paul Newman’s gangster. His role is small but important, as he sets off the story by gunning down a rival accidentally in front of Tom Hanks young son. The role is brutal and cruel, and Craig shows a bit of the dark side he would later do with Bond.

2. Layer Cake (Trailer)

Layer Cake was originally intended to be a Guy Ritchie movie, but was instead directed by Ritchie’s oft-times producer, Matthew Vaughn, who has since gone on to make a name for himself as a director. You can certainly see why Ritchie would have been attached, as the story of Layer Cake has much in common with Snatch, etc. Vaughn however shot it in a style polar opposite to Ritchie, and the result is quite good. Craig stars as a cocaine distributor who is trying to maneuver his way out of the crime world. There is a rich supporting cast, but Craig stands out in the role that first brought him notice.

3. Munich (Trailer)

Daniel Craig has a supporting role in Steven Spielberg’s Munich as Steve, a driver for Eric Bana’s team of assassins who attempt to avenge the terrorist killings of Jewish athletes during the 1972 Olympic games. The movie is much darker than most Spielberg movies, and despite the fact that it drags a little, the movie is largely effective. Craig and the rest of the talented supporting cast add great weight and welcome colour to the movie.

Upcoming…

Daniel Craig also has his name involved with a couple upcoming projects, namely Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens (Trailer) and Fincher’s remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Trailer). I look forward to seeing what I hope will be a long and varied career in the same vein as Sean Connery. Here’s hoping!

—————————————-

Thought? Comments? Any films you’d add? Feel free to comment!

—————————————-

Advertisements

February 8, 2011 Posted by | List | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I’m a DC

I’m a DC

——————–

The idea for this post came from Katie over at Stories That Really Mattered, specifically a challenge she issued to bloggers to ” find out who really is the better franchise once and for all”, Marvel or DC. 

Now I must admit to not following the comic book universes of either company, but I have a decent knowledge of their movies, and I will approach this from that angle.

After much thought I realized that while I like films from both sides, DC eventually came to the top. Here is why…

(Please note this comes from the perspective of the MOVIES alone, not the comic books.)

1. Batman (duh)

Even those who prefer Marvel admit that Batman throws a wrench in their gears. 4 of the 6 Batman movies (we’ll ignore Adam West, eh?) are considered classics. That’s a really good record for most franchises, and doubly so for superhero franchises. The Batman movies have been excellent platforms for 2 emerging directors (Burton and Nolan) to show off their talent and launch them higher in the movie-making stratosphere. Neither of these directors would have had such a high-profile career without this as a launching pad.

2. The villains

Quick, name super-villians. The first ones coming to most people mind are the Joker, Lex Luthor, Two-Face, Catwoman, the Penquin. To comic book fans of course the answers will differ, but it is undeniable that DC’s villains have inundated our pop culture more than Marvel’s.

3. Quality over Quantity

DC hasn’t put out near as many movies as Marvel. Take a look at the Wikipedia page for each (Marvel’s list here, and DC’s list here). They focus on quality over quantity. A much higher ratio of DC’s pictures are better than Marvel. DC’s other imprints such as Vertigo and Paradox Press help with that, and prove DC’s willingness to take a risk with non-cape-wearing characters.

 4. “Grit”

DC has produced it’s fair of stinkers, let’s not dance around the facts. But DC’s bad movies are consistently more interesting than Marvel’s. This is usually due to the “grit” factor. DC tends to go for a dark tone in its movies, and no matter who you are, that is usually much more interesting than the shiny, plastic, generic stinkers that Marvel puts out (Fantastic Four, Spiderman (yeah, so sue me), Elektra, Hulk etc. This is of course not a hard and fast rule, so there are exceptions (The Incredible Hulk for example). But it is these exceptions that prove the rule. Marvel also did Howard the Duck…. Case closed? Almost.

 5. The Critics

As detailed in my previous post, DC vs. Marvel, DC is the choice of American film critics. It is a slim margin, to be sure, but it’s there nonetheless. Take that!

——————————

One Point In Favor of Marvel (to be fair)

1. The “Universizing”

Congrats to Marvel on merging some of their best films into a single movie universe. This will bring a great sense of continuity for them, and all leading up to The Avengers. Comic book fans, it’s a good time to be alive.

—————————————-

Thoughts? Comments? Leave them below!

—————————————-

January 26, 2011 Posted by | List | , | 4 Comments

Re: Forbes List of Money Generating Stars

Re: Forbes List Money Generating Stars

Forbes recently released their list of actors who brought in the most money for the studios compared to how much they earned for themselves. This got me thinking “Which actor on this list makes the best films in general?” I don’t mean in the year in which the list applies, but in their whole career.

With that in mind (and Rotten Tomatoes open in another tab) here are, according to rottentomatoes.com, the actors in the Forbes list with the highest critical acclaim (acting credits only).

——————–

1. Daniel Radcliffe – Avg. Score = 77.25%

Daniel gets it a bit easy, as most of his films are the highly popular Harry Potter series, but he tops it with a high score of 90% for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, with a low of 42% for December Boys.

2. Meryl Streep – Avg. Score = 69.4%

Meryl Streep is widely recognized as one of the best actresses ever, but oddly her career features very few iconic films. Her highest score is 98% for Woody Allen’s Manhattan, and her lowest is  27%, for both Lions for Lambs and Evening.

3. Cate Blanchett – Avg. Score = 67.6%

Cate Blanchett, mainly known for her indie work, has a highest score for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers with 96%, and a low point of 31% for Charlotte Gray.

4. Johnny Depp – Avg. Score = 67.5%

Coming close behind Blanchett is living legend Johnny Depp, whose highest rated movie was his debut, A Nightmare on Elm Street, with 95%. His lowest is for The Astronaut’s Wife, with 16%.

5. Shia Labeouf – Avg. Score = 56.4

Shia Labeouf has had quite a rise to fame with the Transformer movies, but we shouldn’t let that cloud our judgement of his quality acting. His highest rated film is Warriors of the Wind, with 100%, and his lowest is Dumber and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, which has a rating of 10%.

6. Robert Downey Jr. – Avg. Score = 55.18%

Mr. Downey has the distinction of having the widest possible difference between highest score and lowest. His high point is Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (100%), and his lowest is Johnny be Good, with 0%.

7. Nicolas Cage – Avg. Score = 54.1%

The king of quirk has quite a range of scores as well. His highest is Red Rock West with 95%, and his lowest is Deadfall, with 0%.

8. Anne Hathaway – Avg. Score = 48.2

This young fan favorite hit her highest point with Brokeback Mountain (87%) and had a low of 12% with Bride Wars.

9. Jennifer Aniston – Avg. Score = 46.6

This “Friend” of TV has a decent-sized movie resume, spanning The Iron Giant with 97% to The Bounty Hunter and ‘Til There Was You with 7%.

10. Sarah Jessica Parker – Avg. Score = 45.9

The unofficial queen of New York doesn’t have a huge film resume, but it runs the gamut from L.A. Story with 94% to ‘Til There Was You (also with list-maker Jennifer Aniston) with 7%.

—————————————-

September 1, 2010 Posted by | List | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

DC vs. Marvel

DC Movies vs. Marvel Movies

There are many great rivalries. Pepsi and Coke. Liberal and conservative. Star Wars and Star Trek. DC and Marvel…

I watched The Dark Knight and Iron Man recently, one a DC property, the other from Marvel. I was having difficulty deciding which one I prefer, and wondered how this would tie in to the relationship between the two companies films (or at least the films based on their properties). So off I went to Rotten Tomatoes, and here are all the results.

I ignored any films not released in theaters, but other than that I have all the movies here. I also included movies like Road to Perdition and History of Violence as they are DC properties, even though they aren’t superhero movies.

Enjoy!

——————–

Films based on DC Properties

Film Tomatometer % Rating


 
 
 
 

Batman ——————————————— 70
Batman Returns ——————————— 77

Batman Forever ——————————— 45

Batman and Robin
—————————— 12

Batman Begins
———————————– 85

The Dark Knight
——————————— 94

Catwoman —————————————– 10

Constantine ————————————— 46

A History of Violence ————————– 87

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ——– 16

Road to Perdition —————————————– 82

The Spirit —————————————————- 14

Steel ———————————————————– 13

Supergirl —————————————————– 8

Superman: The Movie ———————————– 93

Superman II ———————————————— 87

Superman III ———————————————- 23

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
—————– 11

Superman Returns ————————————— 76

Swamp Thing ———————————————– 69

V For Vendetta ——————————————— 74

Watchmen
————————————————— 64

DC Report

Average: 52.5%

Lowest Rated Movie: Supergirl (8%)

Highest Rated Movie: The Dark Knight (94%)

Films Based on Marvel Properties

Film Tomatometer % Rating


Blade ————————————– 55
Blade 2 ———————————— 58
Blade Trinity ————————— 26
Daredevil ——————————– 44
Elektra ———————————– 10
Fantastic Four ————————- 26
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer ——- 37
Ghost Rider —————————– 26
Howard the Duck ——————— 16
Hulk ————————————— 61
The Incredible Hulk —————– 66
Iron Man ——————————— 93
The Punisher (1990) —————– 24
The Punisher (2004) —————– 29
The Punisher: War Zone ———— 25
Spider-Man —————————— 90
Spider-Man 2 —————————- 94
Spider-Man 3 —————————- 63
X-Men ————————————– 81
X2: United ——————————- 88
X3: The Last Stand ——————– 56
X-Men Origins: Wolverine ———- 37

Marvel Report

Average: 50.2%

Lowest Rated Movie: Elektra (10%)

Highest Rated Movie: Spider-Man 2 (94%)

DAMAGE REPORT

So, according to Rotten Tomatoes (and thus, most of the major American film critics), DC on average produces the best movies, but only just. Interestingly, it also has the worst movie on the list, the woeful 1984 Supergirl (clocking in at a nice little 8%.) They are tied for the top movie, as both The Dark Knight and Superman 2 have an incredible 94% rating.

So for now at least, DC is king.

—————————————-

Comments? Any films you think should be higher? Lower? Under-rated, over-rated? Feel free to comment below.

—————————————-

February 12, 2010 Posted by | List | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

UPCOMING MOVIES – January 2010 Part II

Upcoming Movies – January 2010 Part II

I haven’t done an upcoming movies list in a while so there are quite a few here, and it is a two-parter (continuing from Upcoming Movies – January 2010 Part I). Just to clarify, this is not a list of My Eagerly Anticipated movies, just an observation of what we see coming to us in the future. (Though some of them of course I will look forward to seeing.) In no particular order, here is the Upcoming Movies – January 2010 Part II post.

——————–

—– Edge of Darkness —–

Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Goldeneye) re-directs a story he has previously done for BBC TV as a mini series. This marks Mel Gibson’s first acting gig after the under-rated Signs. The trailer looks a bit generic though…

Release Date: January 29, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

—– I Love You Phillip Morris —–

Jim Carrey, talented as he is, hasn’t has a great movie in a while. Team him up with Ewan McGregor and I am definitely interested. While it doesn’t look like the movie will get a huge distribution, I’m sure I’ll see it on DVD somewhere. I hope…

Release Date: March 26, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

—– The Ghost Writer —–

Roman Polanski’s latest. He can be a hit and miss director, (what the heck was Ninth Gate?) but this looks kinda good.

Release Date: Sometime in mid 2010 —– TRAILER —–


—– The Company Men —–

The trailer for this is very vague, but from what I understand it is about men losing their jobs and dealing with the aftermath. I personally am not an Affleck hater, and would like him to get a good movie, so I’m optimistic.

Release Date: 2010 —- TRAILER —–

—– Chloe —–

I for one think this looks intense. Liam Neesom is usually good, Juliane Moore is well-respected (I’ve never been a huge fan, but I haven’t seen many of her movies), and Amanda Seyfred is good as well. Here’s hoping…

Release Date: March 19, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

—– From Paris With Love —–

The director of Taken, Pierre Morel, returns with From Paris With Love. This movie adds to John Travolta’s resume of bad ass action roles. Jonathan Rhys Meyers (from The Tudors) gets a lead role here, which is interesting.

Release Date: February 5, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

—– Repo Men —–

I must admit I’m a big fan of Jude Law, so this movie caught my attention. I’m also rather big on sci-fi, so there’s a double whammy. The trailer, however, looks like a Minority Report rip-off. A man in a system gets in trouble with the system and must fight his way to innocence. We’ve seen it before. And yet I’m still optimistic, I don’t know why.

Release Date: April 2, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

– Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief –

This movie looks like the lamest, by the numbers, rip-off movie I have ever seen. It is directed by Chris Columbus after all. Sean Bean? Pierce Brosnan? Uma Thurman? What the heck are you doing in this? Yes I guess I’m not that optimistic about this one.

Release Date: February 12, 2010 —– TRAILER —–



——————–

What do you think? Interested in any of these? Any other upcoming movies you really want to see? Leave a comment!

—————————————-

January 22, 2010 Posted by | List, Upcoming Movies | Leave a comment

UPCOMING MOVIES – January 2010 Part I

Upcoming Movies – January 2010 Part I

I haven’t done an upcoming movies list in a while so there are quite a few here, and it’ll be a two-parter. Just to clarify, this is not a list of My Eagerly Anticipated movies, just an observation of what we see coming to us in the future. (Though some of them of course I will look forward to seeing.) In no particular order, here is the Upcoming Movies – January 2010 Part I post.

——————–

—– Sex and the City 2 —–

I think that poster says it all doesn’t it? Whoever wants to see 4 wealthy, beautiful women prance around New York (and apparently Morocco as well) and deal with life altering questions like which purse with which sandals, please raise your hands. Ah, half the women in North America. I guess I’m not the target demographic…

Release Date: May 28, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

—– Robin Hood —–

Russel Crowe and Ridley Scott team up (for the fifth time) for a decidedly revisionist take on the Robin Hood legend. No green tights here. The trailer is awful in my opinion, but I think because it was badly edited. Lets hope the movie is better than what we see here…

Release Date: May 14, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

—– The Karate Kid —–

Another remake heads our way, this time of an ’80’s “classic”. Will Smith’s boy, Jaden Smith, stars, alongside Jackie Chan. Apparently the plot will be a bit different, as the filmmakers are making their own story for this one.

Release Date: June 11, 2010 —–TRAILER —–

—– Iron Man 2 —–

One of the best received movies of the last few years has its sequel, due in May. Don Cheadle replaces Terrence Howard, which should be interesting, and we are introduced to more villains. Movies with many villains tend to be harder to get right, and this one apparently has 2 major ones. We’ll see…

Release Date: May 7, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

—– Knight and Day —–

Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz star in this new action comedy. Now I’ve always more or less liked Tom Cruise (couches and religion nonetheless), but this doesn’t really look all that extraordinary. Cameron Diaz seems to me to be a death knell to any movie. Maybe we’ll be surprised, but I doubt it.

Release Date: July 2, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

—– Furry Vengence —–

Oh good Lord, spare us.

Release Date: April 2, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

—– Crazy on the Outside —–

Tim Allen’s latest has many stars that we all like and would love to see do well in a good movie. This doesn’t really look like it unfortunately. I for one would love for Kelsey Grammar to get a nice juicy part in a really good movie. He’s proven he can be awesome in a bad movie already (15 Minutes).

Release Date: January 8, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

—– Grown Ups —–

Continuing in the vein of lame looking comedies with big casts…

Release Date: June 25, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

—– Greenberg —–

Ben Stiller may not be the first name that pops into your head when you think of indie dramedy, but here it looks like he’s trying to do the “Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love” thing. Personally I’m intrigued. From Night at the Museum to a movie that delves into question of self-identity, purpose in life, and aging? Yes please!

Release Date: March 26, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

—– Terribly Happy —–

There’s not too much to say about this one, except that it looks interesting. If only this would get distribution like some of the crap that does get circulated.

Release Date: October 2, 2008 (in Czech Republic, not sure when we’ll ever see it) —– TRAILER —–

—– She’s Out Of My League —–

Do we need more of these? Seriously? Do we need any of these?

Release Date: March 12, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

—– The Bounty Hunter —–

Come on! We’ve seen Butler try the rom-com thing with The Ugly Truth. Yeah, that turned out well…

Release Date: March 19, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

—– Green Zone —–

It may seem like Bourne 4 (what with the same actor, director etc.), but this one is peaking my interest mildly. When a director sticks with a particular star it can be interesting (Scorcese and DeNiro/De Caprio; Christopher Nolan and Bale/Caine etc.)

Release Date: March 12, 2010 —– TRAILER —–

—– Kick-Ass —–

Kick-Ass is a spoof/loving tribute of superhero movies. It has a lot of geek cred apparently, and is based on a comic book series. It could be half decent I think. You?

Release Date: April 16, 2010 —–TRAILER —–


—————————————-

What do you think? Interested in any of these? Any other upcoming movies you really want to see? Leave a comment!

—————————————-

January 20, 2010 Posted by | List, Upcoming Movies | , | 1 Comment

MOVIE RELATED WEBSITES

MOVIE RELATED WEBSITES

The internet is for more than porn, as is proven by this fine selection of movie related sites. I toyed with the idea of just presenting one in each segment, but so many sites offer such a variety of… stuff. Hopefully you haven’t heard of some of these (though most of them are fairly popular) and will enjoy them as I do.

——————–

Database Websites

imdb-logo-1

Putting IMDB on this list is a bit of a no brainer. Whenever a fact is in dispute (no, Keanu Reeves wasn’t in Speed 2), whether you want to find out when Ian McKellan and Robert Downey Jr. have worked together (Restoration and Richard III), or just seeing what movies Christopher Walken has acted in (every movie he is offered), IMDB is the best place to go. With detailed information on (as far as I know) every movie, TV show, and video game ever made, you can’t go wrong. Just avoid the forums; they’re full of trolls, obnoxious know-it-all nerds, and just plain pricks.

 

Movie News 

cinematical

One of the best things about Cinematical is the frequency of its updates (it is updated with a new post at least 4 or 5 times a day) and the variety of topics it addresses. The topics are presented in an entertaining yet logical way, and the number of posters ensures that many differing opinions are presented. They are also very quick on the ball when it comes to news. An entertaining yet very informative website.

 

comingsoon logoComing Soon offers a mainly news based approach. They are often the first site with news of upcoming movies or new developments (that I’m aware of). It also feature many interviews, behind the sets visits, and the occasional poll. They also are updated a couple times a day.

 

total_film_square_miniTotal Film takes a more fun filled approach to movies and the movie news. They have many features, but one of my favorites of theirs is a “Showdown List” (where the greatest sword, villian, fight, etc.) is decided. They also have many “Best of…” lists with topics and answers not usually seen on these types of sites. 

 

Movie Review Sites

atthemovies

Most of the reviews from the long running TV series At the Movies are available in video format on their website. Rober Ebert and Gene Siskel originated the show, and their reviews are without a doubt the cream of the crop. However, Ebert and Roeper are certainly not bad. As for the “Ben’s” (Lyons and Mankiewicz)… well, Ben Mankiewicz isn’t too bad, and they’re being replaced soon anyway, with Michael Phillips and A. O. Scott. Thumbs Up for that! (Get it? Get it?)

 

dailyfilmdoselogoDaily Film Dose is run by Toronto based Allan Bacchus. It features a new film review every single day, from rare foriegn films, to B&W classics, to modern blockbusters. His reviews are written with clarity and are very persuading, even when the reader may have an opposite view point. Very often he disagrees with the majority of critics, which is refreshing.

 

rogerebertbloglogo

 The big man himself! RogerEbert’s Blog is a great place for educated opinions and thoughful reviews. There is no doubt Roger Ebert knows what he is talking about. He also publishes opinion on other topics, and has been doing so more and more often (now that his health is not what it used to be). His writing is informative and entertaining in a unique way. Catch this site for some excellent movie related writing.

 

rotten_tomatoesThe grand-daddy of ’em all. Rotten Tomatoes compiles reviews from major reviewers to show us what reviewers tend to think about movies. We can actually read all the reviews there as well. Rotten Tomatoes now has its own show, and it popularity is so great that it is now being quoted on DVD covers, etc.

—————————————-

Different opinions? What sites do you tend to visit the most? Which ones do you hate? Feel free to comment below!

——————–

August 27, 2009 Posted by | List | | 1 Comment

TOP 20 FRANCHISES

Top 20 FRANCHISES

After watching the first three Lethal Weapon movies I found myself wondering what the best reviewed franchises of all time have been. I took a look around Rotten Tomatoes, and here is the list. Now granted, a couple of these aren’t quite franchises to be technical, Sergio Leone’s “Man With No Name” trilogy for example. I also left out a film or two in a couple franchises, for example in the Batman franchise I did not include the movies made in the 1940’s, or the craptastic ’60’s version (for obvious reason); and the Clone Wars movie in the Star Wars franchise (because face it, we all want to pretend that never happened.)

So, according to Rotten Tomatoes, here is the list of some of…

TOP 20 FRANCHISES

(according to http://www.rottentomatoes.com)

————————————————————

pirates

20. Pirates of the Carribbean Trilogy – 58.7%

—————————————-

iceage

19. Ice Age Trilogy – 60%

—————————————-

rocky_balboa_1

18. Rocky Series – 61.5%

—————————————-

batman_begins_big_051018100848275_wideweb__300x371,1

17. Batman Series – 63.5%

—————————————-

MSDMATR EC061

16. The Matrix Trilogy – 65.4%

—————————————

USSEnterpriseNCC1701A

15. Star Trek Series – 66.2%

—————————————-

diehard

14. Die Hard Quadrology – 70.5%

—————————————-

james_bond__pierce__208750g

13. James Bond Series – 71%

—————————————-

alien

12. Alien Quadrology – 71.3%

—————————————-

lweapon

11. Lethal Weapon Quadrology – 71.5%

—————————————-

dirty harry

10. Dirty Harry Series – 73.6%

—————————————-

back-to-the-future

9. Back to the Future – 76.7%

—————————————-

StarWarsPhoto

8. Star Wars Saga – 79.4%

—————————————-

harry-potter-half-blood

7. Harry Potter Series – 83.8%

—————————————-

indiana_jones_temple_of_doom

6. Indiana Jones – 85.8%

—————————————-

Bourne_070830084400038_wideweb__300x375

5. Bourne Trilogy – 86%

—————————————-

godfather

4. Godfather Trilogy – 88%

—————————————-

evil-dead-2

3. Evil Dead Trilogy – 91.7%

—————————————-

LOTR

2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – 94%

—————————————-

goodthebadandtheugly

1. “Man With No Name” Trilogy – 95.4%

—————————————-

Surprised at some of the numbers? Should some be higher? Lower? Feel free to comment.

——————–

July 11, 2009 Posted by | List | | Leave a comment

UNDER RATED MOVIES

UNDER RATED MOVIES

Sometimes a movie just doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. There can be many reasons for this. If a movie delves into politics it invariably distances itself from those who don’t agree with the political side being presented. Sometimes a movie is too slow. Sometimes it is released opposite a bigger movie which grabs the headlines, or a director who generally works in an established genre will try something different. Whatever the reason, there are many movies that are good, even great, but are not recognized by the general movie going crowd as such.

Here is a list of my favorite…

“Under Rated Movies”

——————–

world_is_not_enough_poster 8. The World Is Not Enough (1999)

I’ll start off with an oft-maligned Bond pic. This is my personal favorite of the pre-Craig Bond movies; now granted I haven’t seen many. However, this is still a great movie. The climax has Bond getting a bit meaner and rougher than we would expect, and it makes a nice turn for the character. The theme song is among the best in the series, and we get a nice dose of Bond double entendre along with the action. Whats not to like?

thin_red_line 7. The Thin Red Line (1998)

Due to being released the same year as Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, this other WWII movie didn’t get as much attention. This movie is a bit long, to be sure, but has some excellent sequences. During the best sequence the Americans are attempting to storm a Japanese position, and they must approach it under “cover” of two foot grass. The camera stays at the men’s eye level, making the open grass fields seem just as inclusive and dense as a jungle, and excellently conveys the men’s feelings. It’s a very meditative movie as well, which you don’t see too often.

phoneboothpubm 6. Phone Booth (2002)

This is an extremely tense film about a man forced to stay in a phone booth by a sniper. It has a couple slightly un-realistic points to it, but they are the type that you’ll only think about later, after you’ve watched the movie, and even then they won’t really affect your enjoyment of it. Despite the fact that the whole movie is stuck in and around a phone booth, this movie is a thrill-ride and a half, guaranteed to keep you glued to the screen the entire time. It’s thrilling, it’s exciting, and features (another) amazing acting job by Colin Farrell, who (as in Hart’s War and Tigerland), shows not a hint of his Irish accent.

battleofbritain02

5. Battle of Britain (1969)

This movie is rarely, if ever, mentioned when it comes to the great WWII movies. This is one of the best, involving great aerial sequences, an all star cast, and intriguing “behind-the-scenes” bits taking place in War Rooms and offices. It is almost a documentary on the “Battle of Britain” part of the war, featuring “whos whys and wheres” of many of the strategic decisions made during the war. It does have a little side plot involving Christopher Plummer and his girlfriend which I think we could have done without, (much like the romantic side plot in The Caine Mutiny). But, it is still an excellent movie.

matchstick_men 4. Matchstick Men (2003)

Nicholas Cage, Sam Rockwell, and newcomer Alison Lohman all put in admirable turns in this wonderful con-man film made by none other than Ridley Scott. It is a pensive, schizoid take on the genre, and Nicholas Cage performs wonderfully as the lead phobic con man. It’s a movie that has a quirky heart-beat to it, which is what Nicholas Cage tends to do best. (If only he’d stop making these crappy action movies he’s doing now! Do I hear an “Amen”?!)

lordofwar 3. Lord of War (2005)

Nicholas Cage again appears on this list with Lord of War. It follows his character as he slowly gets more involved in the illegal arms dealing business, at the same time destroying himself and those he loves. It’s a snappy, fast paced movie, heavy stylized in parts. It’s fast, it’s fun, and most of all it’s very smart and emotionally engaging. The slightly political message at the end may rub some the wrong way,but regardless, it is a wonderfully made movie. Definitely recommended.

2010 2. 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)

People tend to disregard this as a vastly inferior sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, putting aside the difference in style, this is a wonderfully engrossing science fiction movie. True science fiction, I may add. It has a solid dose of Cold War era politics mixed in, which actually adds to it I believe. One sequence involving a space walk is flat out one of the best sequences ever in science fiction film. This is a smart movie, grounded in reality; where 2001: A Space Odyssey was ethereal, focusing on the fantastic. Both are great movies on their own terms, and I highly recommend this one.

Mosquito_Coast 1. Mosquito Coast (1986)

Peter Weir directed this after Witness, another collaboration with Harrison Ford. It features Ford playing far from his usual roles, a slightly paranoid, obsessive inventor who decides it is for the best for his family to move into the jungles of South America and start their life fresh. He is a rigid anti-conformist, and flat out rejects most ideas other than his own. We see this man through the eyes of his son, played by River Phoenix, as his father descends deeper and deeper into an obsession with living off the land, free of civilization. This is one of my favorite movies, and should definitely have greater recognition.

——————–

Any more movies you think should be on this list? Do you disagree with any movies already on there? Please feel free to comment!

——————–

June 24, 2009 Posted by | List | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

SYMPATHETIC VILLAINS

SYMPATHETIC VILLAINS

While watching 12 Angry Men recently, I found myself paying close attention to Juror #3. He, if any, is the villain of the movie. Yet he is a very sympathetic character, and it got me wondering: What other sympathetic villains are there?

Let me clarify; these will not feature anti-heroes. There will be no Travis Bickle or Citizen Kane here. To qualify, the character must be the antagonist of the movie. To put it simply, he/she must directly oppose the hero/heroine, be the “bad guy” etc.

So here, in order of most sympathetic, is my list of…

“Sympathetic Villains”

——————–

penquin

7. The Penguin” – Batman Returns (1992)

The penguin may not be the obvious choice for this list. But just watch the opening of Batman Returns. His doctor recoils at the sight of him as a newborn, and his parents throw him into the nearest pond to get rid of him. He grows up amongst penguins. Who wouldn’t have a bit of a grudge after that? And just as a side note: Catwoman is Michelle Pfieffer, not Halle Berry! Ah, there we go…

hal-9000-eye 6. HAL 9000” – 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Poor HAL. Sent out into space with largely nothing to do but play chess with Bowman and practice his lip-reading skills. In 2001: A Space Odyssey he lies to the crew, and purposefully sends one crew member out to his death to fix a non-broken AE-35 unit (darn those AE-35’s, eh?). However, if you were to watch the sequel, 2010:The Year We Make Contact (which I highly recommend you do) you will see he had been told to lie to his crewmates about the true purpose of their mission, by none other than the US government. As lying is against his programming, he went mad. Poor guy.

NormanBates 5. Norman Bates” – Psycho

He just wanted to impress his mother for goodness sake. He wanted to be a good boy, and how could he be a good boy if he killed her in a jealous rage? So he regressed into the split personalities of him and his mother. Geez, that shower scene: he probably just tripped when bringing a knife to get some gunk out of the bathroom sink of something. Sad, sad story.

commodus 4. Commudus” – Gladiator (2000)

Here’s a great role, a creepy little unloved kid; and its played wonderfully by Joaquin Phoenix (pre-rap I guess.) His father, Marcus Arelius, never took to his son the way he took to Maximus (played by Russel Crowe), so naturally Marcus kills Daddy, tries to have a son with his sister, and tries to have Maximus killed. Makes sense to me.

darth-vader3.Darth Vader” – Star Wars OT (1979-’83)

Now for the big guy. He is admitted into Jedi training at too old an age, he’s lied to and manipulated by Palpatine, his mom is killed off, he’s in love but forbidden to have a relationship. You’d have to be blind not to see it coming, wouldn’t you…

juror 32. Juror #3” – 12 Angry Men (1957)

Throughout the film this character makes reference to his son. Apparently their relationship was not a great one. Then we begin to realize the reason Juror #3 resists the “not guilty” verdict is that he is taking his rage for his son out on the boy on trial. It’s a great role, masterfully played by Lee J. Cobb. His final monologue is truly powerful.

gollum2 1. Gollum” – Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-’03)

We all love this little bug eyed creep. If you say you don’t you’re lying. He’s the ultimate crack addict; the Ring drove him mad when “it left him” and he spends the whole trilogy trying to get it back. Poor little guy goes through hell trying to get rid of the Ring’s hold over him but it never quite works out. Well, at least he survives the trilogy right? Nice comfy retirement? Nope, he does a belly flop (or back flop actually) into Mount Doom’s lava. But at least when he does so he has the Ring with him, together at last, with a creepy satisfied smile on his face. Poor little bugger…

——————–

I can guarantee I’ve missed a few good ones. Feel free to comment and name more!

——————–

June 10, 2009 Posted by | List | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment