Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Machete

2010 American Action Film

Director: Robert Rodriguez & Ethan Maniquis

Writer: Robert Rodriguez & Álvaro Rodriguez

Cinematography: Jimmy Lindsey

Running time: 105 minutes

Country: United States

Tagline: If you're going to hire Machete to kill the bad guy, you better make damn sure the bad guy isn't you!

Cast:
Danny Trejo as Machete Cortez
Robert De Niro as Senator John McLaughlin
Jessica Alba as Sartana Rivera
Michelle Rodriguez as Luz/Shé
Lindsay Lohan as April Booth/The Sister
Jeff Fahey as Michael Booth
Cheech Marin as Padre Benicio Del Toro
Steven Seagal as Rogelio Torrez
Don Johnson as Von Jackson
Shea Whigham as Sniper
Tom Savini as Osiris Amanpour
Felix Sabates as Doc Felix
Electra and Elise Avellan (The "Crazy Babysitter Twins") as Nurses Mona and Lisa
Cheryl "Chin" Cunningham as Torrez' henchwoman
Daryl Sabara as Julio
Alicia Marek as June Booth, the socialite wife of Michael Booth and April's mother
Ara Celi as Reporter
Tito Larriva as Culebra Cruzado
Nimrod Antal as Booth's bodyguard #1
Mayra J. Leal as Naked Cell Phone Chick

Plot
After being set-up and betrayed by the man who hired him to assassinate a Texas Senator, an ex-Federale launches a brutal rampage of revenge against his former boss.

Awards:
  1. ALMA Award- Favorite Movie Actress - Drama/Adventure Jessica Alba- ALMA Awards
  2. Razzie Award- Worst Supporting Actress Jessica Alba- Razzie Awards

Trivia
As Robert Rodriguez tells it, after conceiving of the character of Machete and telling Danny Trejo about it, Rodriquez started receiving phone calls at random hours of the day from Danny, trying to convince him to make the film. One day, Robert said to Danny that he was busy and asked why Danny can't just send a text message instead of constantly calling, to which Danny Trejo replied: "Machete don't text." Machete says this exact phrase in the film.

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5 stars out of 5 stars

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Story

1983 American Christmas comedy film

Director: Bob Clark

Writer: Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown & Bob Clark

Cinematography: Reginald H. Morris

Running time: 93 minutes

Country: United States

Tagline: Peace. Harmony. Comfort and Joy... Maybe Next Year.

Cast:
Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker
Jean Shepherd as adult Ralphie (voice)
Ian Petrella as Randy Parker
Darren McGavin as Mr. Parker (The Old Man)
Melinda Dillon as Mrs. Parker
Scott Schwartz as Flick
R.D. Robb as Schwartz
Zack Ward as Scut Farkus
Yano Anaya as Grover Dill
Tedde Moore as Miss Shields

Plot
Ralphie has to convince his parents, teachers, and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect gift for the 1940's.

Awards:
  1. Genie- Best Achievement in Direction Bob Clark- Genie Awards
  2. Genie- Best Screenplay Leigh Brown, Bob Clark & Jean Shepherd- Genie Awards
Trivia
According to Director Bob Clark, Jack Nicholson was given the script and was very much interested in the role of Mr. Parker, "The Old Man". However, Clark didn't learn of this until later and the studio didn't want to pay Nicholson's fee anyway, which would have doubled the budget. Regardless, Clark says that Darren McGavin was still the better choice and was born to play the role.

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5 stars out of 5 stars

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Ladykillers 1955

1955 British black comedy film

Director: Alexander Mackendrick

Writer: William Rose

Cinematography: Otto Heller

Running time: 97 minutes

Country: United Kingdom

Tagline: Meet "The Unholy Five"...The Most Befuddled Set of Assorted Thugs That Ever Fouled Up a Million Dollar Bank Robbery!!

Cast:
Alec Guinness as Professor Marcus
Cecil Parker as Major Claude Courtney
Herbert Lom as Louis Harvey
Peter Sellers as Harry Robinson
Danny Green as 'One-Round' Lawson
Katie Johnson as Mrs. Louisa Alexandra Wilberforce
Jack Warner as the police superintendent
Philip Stainton as the police sergeant
Leonard Sharp as the pavement artist

Plot
Five diverse oddball criminal types planning a bank robbery rent rooms on a cul-de-sac from an octogenarian widow under the pretext that they are classical musicians.

Awards:
  1. BAFTA Film Award- Best British Actress Katie Johnson- BAFTA Awards
  2. BAFTA Film Award- Best British Screenplay William Rose- BAFTA Awards

Trivia
According to both Alexander Mackendrick and Alec Guinness, Mrs. Wilberforce's birds in the film were voiced by Peter Sellers.

Buy

5 stars out of 5 stars

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kick-Ass

2010 superhero / black comedy film

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman

Cinematography: Ben Davis

Running time: 117 minutes

Country: United Kingdom & United States

Tagline: A new breed of superheroes will be revealed.

Cast:
Aaron Johnson as David "Dave" Lizewski / Kick-Ass
Nicolas Cage as Damon Macready / Big Daddy
Chloë Grace Moretz as Mindy Macready / Hit-Girl
Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D'Amico / Red Mist
Mark Strong as Frank D'Amico
Lyndsy Fonseca as Katie Deauxma
Michael Rispoli as Big Joe
Kofi Natei as Rasul
Yancy Butler as Angie D'Amico
Jason Flemyng as Lobby Goon
Elizabeth McGovern as Alice Lizewski
Garrett M. Brown as Mr. Lizewski
Sophie Wu as Erika Cho: Katie's best friend.
Dexter Fletcher as Cody
Clark Duke and Evan Peters as Marty and Todd
Xander Berkeley as Detective Victor "Vic" Gigante
Omari Hardwick as Sergeant Marcus Williams
Deborah Twiss as Mrs. Zane
Stu "Large" Riley as Huge Goon
Craig Ferguson as Himself
John Romita, Jr. as Atomic Comics barista
Hubert Boorder as Oscar Juarez
Christopher McGuire as Diner Fight Guy #1
Max White as Diner Fight Guy #2
Dean Copkov as Diner Fight Guy #3
Jacob Cartwright as Running Teenager
Walle Jobara as Nervous Goon
Kenneth Simmons as Scary Goon

Plot
Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a super-hero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so.

Awards:
  1. Breakthrough Artist Award- Chloë Grace Moretz- Austin Film Critics Association
  2. COFCA Award- Breakthrough Film Artist Chloë Grace Moretz- Central Ohio Film Critics Association
  3. Empire Award- Best British Film- Empire Awards, UK
  4. Empire Award- Best Newcomer Chloë Grace Moretz- Empire Awards, UK
  5. MTV Movie Award- Best Breakout Star Chloë Grace Moretz- MTV Movie Awards
  6. PFCS Award- Breakout Performance - On Screen Chloë Grace Moretz- Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards
  7. Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award- Best Original Film Screenplay Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman

Trivia
The name of "Red Mist" comes from a UK term for losing one's temper (usually used as so: "seeing the red mist" or "the red mist descends on you"; the US equivalent would be "seeing red").

Buy

5 stars out of 5 stars

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jabberwocky

1977 British fantasy black comedy film

Director: Terry Gilliam

Writer: Charles Alverson & Terry Gilliam

Cinematography: Terry Bedford

Running time: 105 minutes

Country: United Kingdom

Tagline: Jabberwocky the monster so horrible that people caught the plague to avoid it.

Cast:
Michael Palin as Dennis Cooper
Harry H. Corbett as The Squire (Ethel)
John Le Mesurier as Passelewe
Warren Mitchell as Mr. Fishfinger
Annette Badland as Griselda Fishfinger
Max Wall as King Bruno the Questionable / Voice of Red Herring
Deborah Fallender as The Princess
Rodney Bewes as The Other Squire
John Bird as First Herald
Neil Innes as Second Herald
Bernard Bresslaw as The Landlord (Bernie)
Alexandra Dane as The Landlord's Wife (Betsy)
Brian Glover as Armourer
Derrick O'Connor as Flying Hogfish Peasant
Peter Cellier as First Merchant
Derek Francis as Bishop
Gorden Kaye as Sister Jessica
Ted Milton as The Puppeteer
David Prowse as Red Herring and Black Knights
Terry Gilliam as Man with Rock
Terry Jones as Poacher

Plot
A young peasant, with no interest in adventure or fortune, is mistaken as the kingdom's only hope when a horrible monster threatens the countryside.

Awards: None

Trivia
To lend a more realistic bird-like look to the Jabberwock's leg movements, the monster costume was designed so that actor Peter Salmon had to wear it backwards. The fight between the Jabberwock and the Black Knight was choreographed differently than what we see, but Salmon slipped and fell, and director Terry Gilliam decided this looked so natural that he edited the fight sequence to include the fall.

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5 stars out of 5 stars

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ice Age

2002 computer-animated film

Director: Chris Wedge & Carlos Saldanha

Writer: Michael J. Wilson & Michael Berg

Running time: 81 minutes

Country: United States

Tagline: The Coolest Event in 16,000 Years.

Cast:
Manfred "Manny", a woolly mammoth, is voiced by Ray Romano
Sid, a giant ground sloth, is voiced by John Leguizamo
Diego, a Smilodon, is voiced by Denis Leary
Soto, a Smilodon, is voiced by Goran Visnjic
Zeke, a Smilodon, is voiced by Jack Black
Oscar, a Smilodon, is voiced by Diedrich Bader
Lenny, a Smilodon, voiced by Alan Tudyk
Scrat, a fictional "saber-toothed" squirrel, is voiced by Chris Wedge
Carl, a Brontops, is voiced by Cedric the Entertainer
Frank, a Brontops, is voiced by Stephen Root
Rachel, a female sloth, is voiced by Jane Krakowski
Jennifer, a female sloth, is voiced by Lorri Bagley

Plot
Set during the Ice Age, a sabertooth tiger, a sloth, and a wooly mammoth find a lost human infant, and they try to return him to his tribe.

Awards:
  1. BMI Film Music Award- David Newman- BMI Film & TV Awards
  2. Bogey Award in Platin- (20th Century Fox (distributor)).- Bogey Awards, Germany
  3. Silver Ribbon- Best Dubbing (Migliore Doppiaggio) Pino Insegno- Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists
  4. KCFCC Award- Best Animated Film- Kansas City Film
    Critics Circle
    Awards

Trivia
Sid is ground sloth, either Megatherium or Mylodon, but doesn't look it. The original drawings of Sid were a reasonably accurate representation of this animal. However, after several artistic revisions before production, he is barely recognizable as such, and looks like a purely imaginary creature.

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5 stars out of 5 stars

Friday, December 16, 2011

Half Baked

1998 stoner comedy film

Director: Tamra Davis

Writer: Dave Chappelle & Neal Brennan

Cinematographer: Steven Bernstein

Running time: 82 minutes

Country: United States

Tagline: They'll do anything to save their best bud.

Cast:
Dave Chappelle as Thurgood Jenkins / Sir Smoke-a-Lot
Guillermo Díaz as Scarface
Jim Breuer as Brian
Harland Williams as Kenny Davis
Rachel True as Mary Jane Potman
Clarence Williams III as Samson Simpson
Laura Silverman as Jan
Tommy Chong as Squirrel Master

Plot
The stories of three not so bright men come up with a series of crazy schemes to get a friend out of jail.

Awards: None

Trivia
According to Jim Breuer, the only time he was actually under the influence of marijuana during filming was scene in which Samson is arrested. According to Breuer, Dave Chappelle gave him a bag of marijuana at the end of a day's shooting. Right after smoking it, Breuer was called back to the set because Clarence Williams III wanted to quit the film and demanded that all of his scenes be filmed on that day. Breuer needed multiple takes to get his lines right.

Buy

5 stars out of 5 stars

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Galaxy Quest

1999 science-fiction comedy parody film

Director: Dean Parisot

Writer: David Howard & Robert Gordon

Cinematographer: Jerzy Zielinski

Running time: 102 minutes

Country: United States

Tagline: The show has been cancelled... But the adventure is just beginning.

Cast:
Tim Allen as Jason Nesmith
Sigourney Weaver as Gwen DeMarco
Alan Rickman as Alexander Dane
Tony Shalhoub as Fred Kwan
Sam Rockwell as Guy Fleegman
Daryl Mitchell as Tommy Webber / Lt. Laredo
Enrico Colantoni as Mathesar
Robin Sachs as Gen. Roth'h'ar Sarris
Justin Long as Brandon
Missi Pyle as Laliari
Patrick Breen as Quellek
Sam Lloyd as Neru
Rainn Wilson as Lahnk

Plot
The alumni cast of a cult space TV series have to play their roles as the real thing when an alien race needs their help.

Awards:
  1. Saturn Award- Best Actor Tim Allen- Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
  2. Silver Scream Award- Dean Parisot- Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival
  3. Pegasus Audience Award- Dean Parisot- Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film
  4. Silver Raven- Best Screenplay David Howard- Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film
  5. Hochi Film Award- Best Foreign Language Film Dean Parisot- Hochi Film Awards
  6. Hugo- Best Dramatic Presentation- Hugo Awards
  7. Nebula Award- Best Script Robert Gordon & David Howard- Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

Trivia
The scene when Tim Allen is in a men’s room overhearing how the cast of Galaxy Quest are nobodies and all the co-stars can't stand him mirrors an actual event in William Shatner's life. He discovered the exact same things about himself when he attended a Star Trek convention.

Buy

5 stars out of 5 stars

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Factotum

2005 film

Director: Bent Hamer

Writer: Bent Hamer & Jim Stark

Cinematographer: John Christian Rosenlund

Running time: 94 minutes

Country: United States

Tagline: What matters most is how you well you walk through the fire.

Cast:
Matt Dillon as Henry Chinaski
Lili Taylor as Jan
Marisa Tomei as Laura
Adrienne Shelly as Jerry
Fisher Stevens as Manny
Karen Young as Grace
Didier Flamand as Pierre

Plot
This drama centers on Hank Chinaski, the fictional alter-ego of "Factotum" author Charles Bukowski, who wanders around Los Angeles, CA trying to live off jobs which don't interfere with his primary interest, which is writing. Along the way, he fends off the distractions offered by women, drinking and gambling.

Awards: 
  1. Golden Swan- Best Actress Lili Taylor- Copenhagen International Film Festival
  2. Golden Swan- Best Director Bent Hamer- Copenhagen International Film Festival
  3. SDFCS Award- Best Supporting Actress Lili Taylor- San Diego Film Critics Society Awards

Trivia
Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke, who played brothers in Francis Ford Coppola's cult film Rumble Fish, both played the role of Henry Chinaski (Rourke played in Barfly).

Buy


5 stars out of 5 stars

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

1982 Science Fiction film

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Melissa Mathison

Cinematographer: Allen Daviau

Running time: 115 minutes

Country: United States

Tagline: He is afraid. He is totally alone. He is 3 million light years from home.

Cast:
Henry Thomas as Elliott
Robert MacNaughton as Michael
Drew Barrymore as Gertie
Dee Wallace as Mary
Peter Coyote as "Keys"
K. C. Martel as Greg
Sean Frye as Steve
C. Thomas Howell as Tyler

Plot
A meek and alienated little boy finds a stranded extraterrestrial. He has to find the courage to defy the authorities to help the alien return to its home planet.

Awards: 
  1. Oscar- Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing Charles & Ben Burtt- Academy Awards, USA
  2. Oscar- Best Effects, Visual Effects Carlo Rambaldi, Dennis Muren & Kenneth Smith- Academy Awards, USA
  3. Oscar- Best Music, Original Score John Williams- Academy Awards, USA
  4. Oscar- Best Sound Robert Knudson,Robert Glass ,Don Digirolamo & Gene S. Cantamessa- Academy Awards, USA
  5. Saturn Award- Best DVD Classic Film Release (For the Ultimate Gift Set.)- Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
  6. Saturn Award- Best Music John Williams- Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
  7. Saturn Award- Best Poster Art John Alvin- Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
  8. Saturn Award- Best Science Fiction Film- Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
  9. Saturn Award- Best Special Effects Carlo Rambaldi & Dennis Muren- Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
  10. Saturn Award- Best Writing Melissa Mathison- Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
  11. Award of the Japanese Academy- Best Foreign Language Film- Awards of the Japanese Academy
  12. Popularity Award- Most Popular Performer (For "E.T.") - Awards of the Japanese Academy
  13. BAFTA Film Award- Best Score John Williams- BAFTA Awards
  14. Blue Ribbon Award- Best Foreign Language Film Steven Spielberg- Blue Ribbon Awards
  15. BSFC Award- Best Cinematography Allen Daviau- Boston Society of Film Critics Awards
  16. BSFC Award- Best Director Steven Spielberg- Boston Society of Film Critics Awards
  17. BSFC Award- Best Film- Boston Society of Film Critics Awards
  18. CEC Award- Best Foreign Film (Mejor Película Extranjera) USA.- Cinema
    Writers Circle
    Awards, Spain
  19. David- Best Director - Foreign Film (Migliore Regista Straniero) Steven Spielberg- David di Donatello Awards
  20. Fotogramas de Plata- Best Foreign Film (Mejor Película Extranjera) Steven Spielberg-Fotogramas de Plata
  21. Golden Globe- Best Motion Picture – Drama Steven Spielberg- Golden Globes, USA
  22. Golden Globe- Best Original Score - Motion Picture John Williams- Golden Globes, USA
  23. Golden Screen with 1 Star- (UIP (distributor)).- Golden Screen, Germany
  24. Golden Screen- (UIP (distributor)).- Golden Screen, Germany
  25. Grammy- Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special John Williams- Grammy Awards
  26. Grammy- Best Arrangement on an Instrumental Recording John Williams (arranger)
    For "Flying Theme".- Grammy Awards
  27. Grammy- Best Instrumental Composition John Williams For "Flying Theme".- Grammy Awards
  28. KCFCC Award- Best Director Steven Spielberg- Kansas City Film
    Critics Circle
    Awards
  29. KCFCC Award- Best Film- Kansas City Film
    Critics Circle
    Awards
  30. Kinema Junpo Award- Best Foreign Language Film Steven Spielberg- Kinema Junpo Awards
  31. Readers' Choice Award- Best Foreign Language Film Steven Spielberg- Kinema Junpo Awards
  32. LAFCA Award- Best Director Steven Spielberg- Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards
  33. LAFCA Award- Best Picture- Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards
  34. Golden Reel Award- Best Sound Editing - Sound Effects- Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA
  35. National Film Registry- National Film Preservation Board, USA
  36. NSFC Award- Best Director Steven Spielberg- National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA
  37. PGA Hall of Fame - Motion Pictures- Kathleen Kennedy & Steven Spielberg- PGA Awards
  38. People's Choice Award- Favorite Motion Picture- People's Choice Awards, USA
  39. Sant Jordi- Mejor Película Infantil Steven Spielberg- Sant Jordi Awards
  40. WGA Award (Screen)- Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen Melissa Mathison- Writers Guild of America, USA
  41. Young Artist Award- Best Family Feature - Animated, Musical or Fantasy- Young Artist Awards
  42. Young Artist Award- Best Young Motion Picture Actor Henry Thomas- Young Artist Awards
  43. Young Artist Award- Best Young Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Robert MacNaughton- Young Artist Awards
  44. Young Artist Award- Best Young Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
    Drew Barrymore- Young Artist Awards

Trivia
World-renowned Indian director Satyajit Ray claimed that this film plagiarized a script he wrote in 1967 entitled "The Alien." After Ray wrote the script, he sought the help of science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke in having the script produce in the United States. Clarke introduced Ray to his friend Mike Wilson, who helped promote the film to Columbia Pictures. Columbia signed on to the project and sought to cast Marlon Brando and Peter Sellers in the lead roles. However, a series of events led to the project being canceled. First, when Ray went to copyright his script, he was surprised to find that the script had already been copyrighted by Wilson as a co-written work, the authors being officially credited as "Mike Wilson and Satyajit Ray," in that order. According to Ray, Wilson's only contribution to the script was his suggestion of the word "broad" instead of "chick" at one place in the script. Later, Brando dropped out of the project and, although an attempt was made to bring James Coburn in his place, Ray said he was disillusioned with Hollywood machinations and returned to Calcutta. The project was abandoned at that time and, although Columbia was interested in reviving the project in the 1970s and 1980s, nothing came of it. When "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" was released in 1982, many, including Arthur C. Clarke, saw striking similarities in the film to Ray's earlier script. Ray said that Steven Spielberg's movie "would not have been possible without my script of 'The Alien' being available throughout America in mimeographed copies." Spielberg denied this by saying, "I was a kid in high school when this script was circulating in Hollywood." (Spielberg graduated high school in 1965. His first film released in 1968.)

Buy

5 stars out of 5 stars

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