Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Film makers Steven Spielberg and George Lucas teamed up for the very first time to create movie magic. A wonderful throwback to the Saturday afternoon cliff-hanger serials of the 30's and 40's. Harrison Ford is perfect as archaeologist/adventurer Indiana Jones, who also is a teacher. He travels the world seeking out grand artifacts. The film opens with a sensational sequence in the jungles of South America as Indiana is searching for this gold statue. He has to avoid countless booby traps and nearly gets crushed by a gigantic boulder, which is an iconic scene. Look for Alfred Molina in an early role as Indy's helper. Molina couldn't have been more than 20 years old. After that thrilling opening which features an escape by Indy from angry natives via an airplane, things settle down for a bit. He is back in the classroom, teaching about archaeology when he is recruited by the U.S government to track down the Lost Ark of the Covenant, before the Nazis find it. He takes the assignment and first has to deal with an old flame who may have information he needs about possible locations for the ark. Her name is Marion Ravenwood (played with gusto by Karen Allen), whose father and Indy had several adventures back in the day. Marion fell in love with Indy but he left and she holds resentment toward him to this day. There is a rousing fight scene in the bar she owns between Indy and the bad guys before the whole building comes down. So Marion decides to tag along with Indy to find the ark. They end up traveling to Egypt and hook up with Indy's old friend Sallah (Davies) who learns where the ark is located. Indy not only has to deal with the Nazis but also a rival French archaeologist named Belloq. The action in Egypt features the best scenes in the movie: Indy and Marion trapped in the Well of Souls with tons of snakes (which our hero is deathly afraid of); an intense slug fest between Indy and a hulk of a Nazi; and the thrilling chase by Indy on horseback after the Nazis who have procured the Ark. All this leads to a rousing finale that breathed new life into the action genre and brought a new hero into the 20th century. Ford is awesome as Indiana Jones, as he brings his considerable acting talent along with a lot of heroic derring. Karen Allen is positively engaging as Marion, a truly memorable female character that hold her own with the men amid all the action and what not. Spielberg once again shows why he is one of the best directors of all time. Also the thrilling music score by John Williams is awesome. I was twelve when I first saw Raiders and it blew me and everyone else away. A truly iconic and fun summer movie. Just a good old fashioned thrill ride. I ended up seeing it 2 more times at the theater and looked forward every few years for the next grand adventure of Indiana Jones. Followed by three sequels: The Temple Of Doom (1984), The Last Crusade (1989) and The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skulls (2008).
1981's biggest grossing film with $230 million in North America alone.
The original name of the lead character in the script was Indiana Smith. His name was changed to Jones on the first day of production.
Tom Selleck was Steven Spielberg's second choice for the role of Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford was his first, but George Lucas objected, since Ford had been in both American Graffiti (1973) and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). Selleck was not able to take the role because he was committed to "Magnum, P.I." (1980). However, that series did not go into production until Raiders' filming had already wrapped. Selleck was in fact in Hawaii waiting for the series to start as the final scenes to be filmed (the opening sequence) were being shot in Hawaii. "Magnum" did an episode called "Legend of the Lost Art" that parodied "Raiders", complete with hat, whip, booby traps, etc.
The out-of-control airplane actually ran over Harrison Ford's knee, tearing his ligaments. Rather than submit to Tunisian health care, Ford had his knee wrapped in ice and carried on.
During filming in Tunisia, nearly everyone in the cast and crew got sick, except director Steven Spielberg. It is thought that he avoided illness by eating only the food he'd brought with him: cans and cans of Spaghetti-O's.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Since I recently did my favorite list of modern actors, I had to do one for actresses. But whereas I could narrow the men down to ten, I had problems with the ladies. So here is my official Top 30 favorite modern actresses and I know I could have kept going. What can I say, I love movies and I love good actors/actresses. Enjoy and I would love feedback from everyone. And compare this list to my favorite classic actresses.
6.) Lucy Lawless
30.) Sanaa Lathan
Favorite Acting Performance: Love and Basketball
29.) Winona Ryder
Favorite Acting Perfomance: Heathers
Favorite Films: Heathers, Beetlejuice, Lucas, Reality Bites
28.) Radha Mitchell
Favorite Acting Performance: Pitch Black
Favorite Films: Pitch Black, Love and Other Catastrophes, Visitors, Silent Hill
27.) Ashley Judd
Favorite Acting Performance: Ruby In Paradise
Favorite Films: Kiss the Girls, Heat, A Time To Kill
26.) Nicole Kidman
Favorite Acting Performance: Cold Mountain
Favorite Films: To Die For, The Others, Days Of Thunder, Dead Calm
25.) Halle Berry
Favorite Acting Performance: Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
Favorite Films: X2, Why Do Fools Fall In Love, Jungle Fever, Dorothy Dandridge
24.) Charlize Theron
Favorite Acting Performance: The Cider House Rules
Favorite Films: The Cider House Rules, The Devil's Advocate, Men Of Honor, In The Valley Of Elah
23.) Karen Allen
Favorite Acting Performance: Until September
22.) Kate Hudson
Favorite Acting Perfomance: Almost Famous
Favorite Films: How To Lose A Guy In 10 days, Raising Helen, Me You and Dupree
21.) Queen Latifah
Favorite Acting Performance: Chicago
Favorite Films: The Professional, V For Vendetta, Garden State, Cold Mountain
Favorite Acting Performance: Mulholland Drive
15.) Reese Witherspoon
Favorite Acting Performance: Walk The Line
Favorite Acting Performance: Prime Suspect
Favorite Films: Prime Suspect, The Long Good Friday, Excalibur
Favorite Films: Prime Suspect, The Long Good Friday, Excalibur
6.) Lucy Lawless
Favorite Acting Performance: Xena
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Well, the FBI tracks her down led by the wily agent Fitzgerald (played with all smarminess by Peter Sarsgaard) who question June about Roy. They are transporting her to a safe location to debrief her when Roy literally comes flying in to land on the vehicle. That begins another wild chase and shoot-out that is cool as hell. As Roy has to shoot the bad guys from the hood of the car June is driving on the interstate. It's awesome. And it appears to be all good old fashioned stunt work and not CGI. Soon Roy and June are being chased by his own people and the bad guys who want this new technology. Oh and Roy has to keep the inventor of said device safe as well. The trio end up being whisked from a tropical island hide out to a train bound for Austria, which features a brutal fight between Roy and a would be assassin. Things get all wrapped up in Spain during the running of the bulls. Knight and Day is like a throwback to those 60's spy films with a light tone, gorgeous locations, fun filled action and a jazzy sound score. This film is not too serious like the Daniel Craig Bond films which I also love. But here Knight and Day moves wonderfully thanks to the charisma of Cruise and the charm of Diaz. It also shows that Mr. Cruise still has what it takes to handle this type of film. He can still kick ass with the best of them. I had never seen him in so may fight scenes in one film before and he's awesome. I actually like his character of Roy more than I do of his other super spy character Ethan Hunt. While Hunt is logical and straight faced, Miller is more humorous and more dangerous. And he is very good at what he does. Diaz is an engaging presence as June as she at first doesn't believe Roy but then can't leave his side. They form a solid relationship and keep the movie going at a fluid pace. We enjoyed this film from the opening scene and I can't understand all the bad reviews by critics and fans. This is what a summer film should be: exciting, fun, and showcasing the talents of a true movie star. And I love the catch phrase that Roy always says doing tense moments... "I got this". Amid all the explosions and chases, Cruise also manages to sneak in some subtle acting in the quiet scenes he spends with June. Good stuff. And to all the people that dislike Cruise for their own personal reasons because of his recent off-screen antics, I say forget that stuff and just look at the actor and enjoy his films while he is still making good quality work. After all this is the man who has on his resume Top Gun, Risky Business, The Firm, A Few Good Men, The Last Samurai, Collateral, Jerry Maguire just to name a few.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Here are what I feel are the must see films and TV work of Donna that have to be seen. Her essentials.
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) Of course the holiday classic film that paired her with James Stewart. Her character Mary Bailey is one of cinema's best character as she is able to lend solid support to her fractured husband George. Not your typical fun and uplifting Christmas movie, but still a must see. Though I imagine everyone in the world has seen it at least once.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (1945) Some might say Donna is not that effective in her role as Gladys Hallward and she is just there to provide decoration. But as one of her mainstream films she is actually quite good. More attention might have been paid to Angela Lansbury, who got an Oscar nomination and George Sanders, but the film itself is a solid piece of work and adds nicely to Reed's resume.
THE DONNA REED SHOW (1958-1966) Donna firmly established herself as one of the queens of TV with her classic self titled long running series. One of the best sitcoms in TV history.
Monday, June 21, 2010
I was 15 when this film came out and I thought this was one of the coolest movies ever. And it still is to this day. Everyone knows the story by now: typical small town teen-ager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox in his best role) who loves rocking the guitar and spending time with his girlfriend Jennifer. Marty doesn't care too much for his home life as he thinks his parents (Crispin Glover, Lea Thompson) are total squares. And he has an abrasive sister to deal with also. Marty's best friend is the eccentric scientist Doc Brown (a hilarious performance by Christopher Lloyd) who is constantly working on some type of science experiment. Well his latest project is time travel. And the good doc has created a time machine out of a DeLorean sports car. He asks Marty to help him out with some test runs at the town mall's parking lot late one night. And much to their surprise it actually works. Of course the Libyans show up looking to kill Doc, since he stole their plutonimum to power his time machine with. After a brief skirmish Marty is forced to jump into the DeLorean and head back to 1955.
That's when the fun really begins as Marty finds Doc during that time period and convinces him that he is from the future. So Doc works on a way to send Marty back home and Marty has to deal with his parents, since he kind of inadvertenly caused them not to meet. And if they don't hook up, then Marty will never be born. And Marty's dad life long nemesis Biff becomes a problem for him. Back to the Future is a great movie and it's the perfect summer film. It has a clever storyline, a terrific cast, lots of humor and cool visual effects that still hold up today. A great musical scene which features Marty rocking out with Johnny Be Good. It's good family fun that everyone can enjoy. And let's not forget the awesome song The Power Of Love by Huey Lewis and the News. Huey actually has a small cameo in the film as well. Produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by ace Robert Zemeckis, who also helmed Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Romancing the Stone.
Back to the Future was a huge hit during the summer of 1985 as it would gross $200 million in North America alone. Not bad for a film that only cost about $20 million to make. It would be followed by two more sequels that while entertaining, were not as good as the original. In fact Part 2 might cause you some head aches trying to figure out all the time travel gibberish. Regardless, the original is the true classic and it set Michael J. Fox on the path to movie stardom. As he became a mainstay during the late 80's and early 90's with other hit films such as Teen Wolf (1985), The Secret Of My Success (1987), and Doc Hollywood (1991).
Michael J Fox is the only modern actor in Hollywood to have the top 2 movies on the same weekend at the same time: Back to the Future and Teen Wolf. 1985 was a very good year for Mike.
Apparently Ronald Reagan was amused by Doc Brown's disbelief that an actor like him could become president, so much so that he had the projectionist stop and replay the scene. He also seemed to enjoy it so much that he even made a direct reference of the film in his 1986 State of the Union address: "As they said in the film Back to the Future (1985), 'Where we're going, we don't need roads.'"
Michael J. Fox had always been the first choice for Marty, but he was unavailable due to scheduling conflicts with his work on "Family Ties" (1982). Eric Stoltz was cast as Marty but he disagreed with the rest of the cast and crew about the tone of the film. After a few weeks of filming, Fox was asked to replace Stoltz. Fox worked out a schedule to fulfill his commitment to both projects. Every day during production, he drove straight to the movie set after taping of the show was finished every day and averaged about one or two hours of sleep. The bulk of the production was filmed from 6pm to 6am, with the daylight scenes filmed on weekends.
A persistent myth is that Michael J. Fox had to learn to skateboard for the film. In fact, he was a reasonably skilled skateboarder, having ridden throughout high school. However, Per Welinder acted as a skateboarding double for the complex scenes, and Tony Hawk (who had originally been cast as a double when Eric Stoltz was playing Marty, but was too tall to double for Fox) helped choreograph and coordinate the skateboarding action.
Marty McFly: Wait a minute, Doc. Ah... Are you telling me that you built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?
Dr. Emmett Brown: The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?
Dr. Emmett Brown: If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious shit.
Lou: You gonna order something, kid?
Marty McFly: Ah, yeah... Give me - Give me a Tab.
Lou: Tab? I can't give you a tab unless you order something.
Marty McFly: All right, give me a Pepsi Free.
Lou: You want a Pepsi, PAL, you're gonna pay for it.
Dr. Emmett Brown: Then tell me, "Future Boy", who's President in the United States in 1985?
Marty McFly: Ronald Reagan.
Dr. Emmett Brown: Ronald Reagan? The actor?
Dr. Emmett Brown: Then who's VICE-President? Jerry Lewis?
Dr. Emmett Brown: I suppose Jane Wyman is the First Lady!
Marty McFly: [following Doc] Whoa! Wait! Doc!
Dr. Emmett Brown: And Jack Benny is Secretary of the Treasury.
Marty McFly: [outside the lab door] Doc, you gotta listen to me.
Dr. Emmett Brown: [opens the door to the lab] I've had enough practical jokes for one evening. Good night, Future Boy!
Marty McFly: No, wait! Doc. Doc. The-the-the bruise - the bruise on your head. I know how that happened! You told me the whole story. You were standing on your toilet, and you were hanging a clock, and you fell, and you hit your head on the sink. And that's when you came up with the idea for the Flux Capacitor...
Marty McFly: Which... is what makes time travel possible.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Birth name: Donna Belle Mullenger
27 January 1921 - 14 January 1986 (pancreatic cancer)
Despite her association with the squeaky-clean and conservative 1950s, Reed became an anti-nuclear activist and anti-Vietnam protester. She also founded the group Another Mother for Peace.
Her last husband Grover Asmus started a program called the Donna Reed Foundation that led to the Donna Reed festival held yearly in Denison, IA. It's a celebration of Donna, and includes classes, performances. Many stars attend such as Shelley Fabares, Debbie Reynolds, and Loren Janes.
In the scene from It's a Wonderful Life (1946) where she and James Stewart throw rocks at the old Granville house, director Frank Capra had originally planned to use a double in Donna's place to throw the rock. Miss Reed, however, was an accomplished baseball player in high school and threw very well, as evidenced by her toss in the movie.
Four children by husband/producer Tony Owen : Penny, Tony, Timothy and Mary. Two were adopted. Mary, their last child, was born to them in 1957, a year before the start of Donna's classic TV show, which Tony executive produced.
Learned of her firing from "Dallas" (1978) from a reporter while on a vacation to Paris. She was in the process of suing the show's producers before her death in January, 1986.
The woman on the cover of Rush's Permanent Waves album is modeled after her.
In Italy, a great deal of her films were dubbed by Renata Marini and Dhia Cristiani (most notably From Here to Eternity (1953)). Occasionally she was also dubbed by Miranda Bonansea (in Green Dolphin Street (1947)), Rosetta Calavetta and Micaela Giustiniani. The great Lidia Simoneschi also lent her voice to Reed in Frank Capra's much celebrated It's a Wonderful Life (1946).
Although she her image was generally associated that of the the squeaky-clean, conservative 1950s housewife and mother, she won her Oscar for From Here to Eternity (1953) for playing a prostitute.
Had a close relationship with her TV daughter, Shelley Fabares. Was considered by Fabares as her second mother until Reed's death in 1986.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
3. Meryl Streep
5. Marilyn of course!
I love your top 5 Kori. I was surprised to see Marilyn at number 5 instead of number 1 though. Nice to see Cary in there amid the ladies.
2. My number 1 is Bette Davis because I always thought she was such a tough broad. I love her in everything she did. Although she didn't particularly age well, she was a beauty in her youth. Her edgyness and grit are something I admire.
I agree with everything you said about Bette.
3. Hmmm, I watched " " in my film class in college and fell in love! The film noir genre is so fascinating to me. I love the dark mood and mystery. I can remember sitting in the theater at school and being in awe, wondering why I had never liked classic films before.
That's a cool way to start watching classic films Kori. Glad you're a fan.
4. Favorite movie? That's hard..I love so many for so many different reasons, but I'd have to say Shawshank Redemption. It's not vintage, but truly a classic. I could never get tired of it.
5. Perfect way for me to watch a classic movie is cuddled up in my bed with the rain pouring outside...lots of coffee!
Sounds great to me.
6. Probably the 40's or 50's because of the fashion and old fashioned attitudes
As I told my friend Dawn when asked the same question, I am split between the end of the 30's and the beginning of the 40's.
7. I love George Clooney (the next Cary Grant), , , and
Leo and Sandra...yes.
8. "Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night." Betty Davis in
Nice. I just listed a bunch of quotes from that movie on facebook.
9. Any movie character, probably in " ." I just love that part.
Interesting choice Kori.
Thanks Kori for chiming in with such great answers and being my guest here on my blog.