It is always difficult to cast exactly the right actors for any character in a movie. This gets even more complicated when a movie centers around the lives of real people in history- as the actors physical resemblance to the actual person matters. Along with a natural physical likeness an actor must have to their subject, the movie magic of hair and makeup play a big role in creating the identical image. I have compiled a list of several of my favorite actor/subject twins: Continue reading 12 Actors Who Look Exactly like Who they Played
In today’s society people are obsessed with pictures. Now there is even an invention called a “selfie stick” yes, this is a real thing. It is exactly what it sounds like. It is a damn stick with clamps on the end. I have heard of these things but never thought that anyone in their right mind would ever buy an expensive stick with clamps. But arriving at Disneyland negated my logical thoughts as there were a huge number of groups walking around using their “Selfie sticks.” And let me tell you, that is a hilarious thing to watch. Continue reading Hilariously Epic Celebrity Photobombs
This is a rave review for a movie that a lot of people did not like. It’s based on a musical I loved that a number of people did not like. The music was composed by a genius who leaves a lot of people cold. Such is the magic and mixed reviews of INTO THE WOODS.
Here are the three biggest complaints I hear from people about the movie: 1) It’s too long. 2) It’s too short. (They cut stuff out.) 3) There is too much singing (it is a musical… shocking)
SIDE NOTE: In the musical, act one ends with everyone seemingly living happily ever after. Act two spins all that on its head. When the musical was first tried out in San Diego, people thought the end of the first act was the end of the show. Sondheim himself had to go out to the parking lot every night and tell people to go back to the theater, there was more.
Sondheim’s music is intricate and I have to say that for me, personally, there are times when I’m awestruck by his work and other times when there are songs I do not like very much. And then a song like “No One Is Alone” comes along and he tears my heart out like no other song has.
In the case of the movie version of INTO THE WOODS, none of the basic complaints bothered me. I knew the story going in; I knew it was more song heavy than most musicals, so those weren’t concerns.
But I had my own trepidations before seeing the film. I always hate that studios insist movie stars be cast in musicals, even if they’re not as good or as right as the Broadway cast. Russell Crowe in LES MIS…. seriously? And I saw that Meryl Streep was playing the witch. Of course she was. Hollywood thinks Meryl Streep can just do anything. Who cares if she can sing? Her singing in Mama Mia, though not bad by any means, was also not overly impressive. But you know what? She can sing. Beautifully. And she found just the right tone of humor and heartbreak. She made every moment work. Damn her. She CAN do anything. Her voice knocked me over.
The rest of the cast was equally sparkling. Emily Blunt – wow. Anna Kendrick – give me her over Anne Hathaway. James Corden – what the hell is he doing giving up a movie career that’s about to take off to do a late night talk show on CBS? Chris Pine – a pleasantly decent musical comedy surprise. Tracey Ullman – another one who has so much talent and skill that she can do whatever she feels like.
But since INTO THE WOODS is set in a fantasy world, the singing felt organic. I bought it. And the fact that I love the songs themselves also helped I’m sure.
Rob Marshall, who did an amazing job of adapting CHICAGO for the screen, was the perfect director for this project. And James Lapine, who wrote the libretto did the screenplay. What a concept – letting the writer who best understands the material write the movie.
In the movie industry, the popular theory is that your career starts to go downhill when you hit 35. Your looks are starting to go, if they haven’t already, and the newer hotter crop of A-list celebrities are on there way up, and taking the parts. Though this applies to both men and women, women tend to take the unfortunate brunt of this stereotypical decline, (unless you are a freaky exception to the rule like Meryl Streep who only gets more famous the older she gets). There might be a token crazy, but lovable, grandparent or older relative role out there for these older actors. But as far as the juicy roles are concerned, Hollywood has moved younger.
Of course, all of those ideas are total crap! By the time the age of 40 rolls around, some of these fantastic actors are just barely starting to hit there stride. Looking better and better every day that goes by. In honor of the slightly older acting generation I wanted to pay homage to them by compiling just a few actors who look better now, (and still killing it with awesome acting) then they did when they first started.
1. Helen Mirren — Age 69
The famous British actress has been honing her craft for several decades now. As someone who has seen her work, both older and current, I must say that I much prefer modern day Helen Mirren. No offense to young Mirren, but older Helen Mirren kicks her ass.
2.Robert Downey Jr. — Age 50
Downey Jr. is on top of the acting world once more. He is the highest paid actor in Hollywood, and was the whole reason that making the Avengers was possible. Downey Jr. is turning 50 in just a few months and is one of the sexiest men alive regardless of age.
3. Kate Winslet — Age 39
Though I think most people would agree that Winslet is beautiful and has been for a long time. I have to argue that modern day Winselt far outshines her “Titanic” younger self.
4. Leonardo DiCaprio — Age 40
Thinking along the Titanic vein, Leonardo DiCaprio has filled out into a far more attractive man than I would have thought possible when he was 23 years old and starring in “Titanic.” I would never have thought such a gawky looking young man would hit is stride in his later 30’s.
5. Diane Keaton — Age 68
The always quirky Keaton has put on a master class of aging. Not only has she aged like a champ, but modern day Keaton far outshines her younger self.
6. George Clooney — Age 53
The newly married Clooney has been a heartthrob for many years. However, as a younger man he doesn’t quite stack-up to his modern day counterpart.
7. Nicole Kidman — Age 47
The Australian beauty has earned her title. Several decades and a couple kids later, current day Kidman puts her modeling days to shame.
8. John Stamos — Age 51
There is not much to say about John Stamos other than the fact that several months ago I accidentally drooled when his yogurt commercial came on. 20 years younger Stamos in “Full House” has never elicited such a reaction from me.
In this day and age we are all so obsessed with aging, reversing the clock and doing everything we can to stay young. Why? Aging is not something to be afraid of. And some well earned laugh lines look a whole hell of a lot better than skin stretched so tight that you have to cross your legs in order to blink.
The other day I was talking to a young man that I have recently met, though he is a nice kid, he said the most asinine thing I have heard in a while. He claims that no movie made before he was born is any good, or worth watching….. uuuhhhh WHAT?!! The world did not start spinning in 1997….bitch!
So, some of my younger readers may never have heard of some of these films that I am going to list, which is ridiculous, look them up! The following are only a few of the most iconic, across genre, Meryl Streep roles.
Sophies Choice (1982)– Streep played the lead character of Sophie, a holocaust survivor struggling with her past. The role landed her a best actress Academy Award and a position on every list for greatest performance of all time. She learned Polish and German for this role so she could accurately portray a Polish refugee.
The Bridges of Madison County– In this 1995 romantic drama, Streep played Francesca, a woman who has an affair with Clint Eastwood’s character in the film. She beat out other big names like Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lang for the lead, though Eastwood (the director and lead) claims that he only ever wanted Meryl for this role.
Marvins Room– This 1996 film has Streep playing Lee, a rude, brash, woman estranged from her family who must reconcile after her sister needs her bone marrow transplant. This film also features such star power as Diane Keaton and a young Leonardo DiCaprio.
The Hours– This film follows Virginia Woolf as she writes her novel “Mrs. Dalloway” and how this novel subsequently affects the two other leading characters (Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore). Often in movies the makeup artists get paid the big bucks to make these starts look beautiful, but in this film these characters are grunged down, Nicole Kidman is hardly recognizable.
Kramer vs. Kramer– The 1979 drama about a divorce and subsequent custody battle won Streep her first Academy Award and was a huge critical success. Streep plays the troubled and conflicted mother who walks out on her family leaving the father (Dustin Hoffman) to try and figure out how to take care of his child solo. At this time Hoffman was going through an actual divorce himself and at times the subject matter hit too close and he crossed the acting line by legitimately slapping Meryl in scenes without warning, when they were only supposed to be staged slaps.
The Devil Wears Prada- Streep plays Miranda Priestly, rumored to be based on the Vogue editor,
Anna Wintour. She portrays the epitome of the boss from Hell, but keeps the character very reigned in. In fact, Streep never raised her voice beyond a calm tone in the entire film. But somehow this makes her character absolutely terrifying. Her soft tone, withering looks and slight inflection in her voice, somehow makes this immaculate woman an unstoppable force.
Mamma Mia– Though Mamma Mia is a silly movie all around, it is just light and fun, so don’t take it seriously. In this film, Streep shows off her lighter side as well as her dancing and singing capabilities (she performed all her own singing in the movie).
Doubt– Playing a nun who believes in strict discipline, Streep takes on a role that deals with the difficult subject of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. Fans love the extreme intensity Streep displays while portraying such a rigid character.
Julie And Julia- Playing renowned French cook Julia Child, Streep takes on one of the best known women in America. Known for her big voice, stature and personality everyone over the years invited Julia Child into their homes through her television cooking show. Streep exceeded all exceptions in successfully capturing the large personality, voice and zeal that Julia Child had in her life.
—– Though this list is kind of long, it took me a while to cut it down this short. And in case anyone noticed, half the films I chose were done before 1997… so you young folks out there I am begging you to branch out a bit. Try watching a movie made before you were born.
News update! – Last week I posted on this blog about David Letterman leaving late night. Though his departure date is not set, they already have his replacement, Stephen Colbert will be taking over Late Night whenever that change takes place. Though I will miss The Colbert Report, I am very excited about this!
Recently I was talking to some friends about our favorite movie villains, yes, this is the kind of geeky things I talk about with my friends, and some were listing things like Darth Vader and The Joker– the typical male villains that are widely known and appreciated. Though these villains are fantastic and made it onto my “Villains we can’t forget” list (if you haven’t read it and want to click here), there is just something about a really well done female baddie that I absolutely love. I think on some level, we kind of expect the evil person in most movies to be a man and when we get a really well acted crazy ass evil women it is somewhat unexpected and even more jarring. So without further ado- some of my favorite women baddies.
– Helena Bonham Carter has played an array of colorful villainesses on screen, but her Bellatrix Lestrange character even rivals Mrs. Lovett of “Sweeney Todd” as Lestrange she delightfully tortures Harry Potter and his friends in the “Harry Potter” series. By joyfully taunting, torturing and killing any witch or wizard who stands in her way, all in the name of the dark lord, Bellatrix Lestrange becomes a frightfully deranged villain to reckon with.
– Kathy Bates channeled the ultimate crazed fan-girl to a terrifying degree when she played Annie Wilkes in “Misery.” At first she seems to be a Godsend to the handsome but injured writer whom she rescued from the snowstorm. No one anticipated that the soft-spoken and unassuming woman would maim him when he tried to leave her. The quiet menace and frenzy hidden under Annie Wilkes was such a feat that it earned Kathy Bates an award and much praise for her performance, no doubt causing all celebrities to think twice before taking assistance from strangers.
Wicked Witch of the West
– This villain is literally the witch and baddie of our nightmares, she was the original scary monster that was going to get us in the dark while we slept if we didn’t have a nightlight to protect us as children. The Wicked Witch of the West was as terrifying as they come with her hunched back and evil glare as she sent her animal minions to taunt Dorothy and Toto. Her fearful cackle remains unrivaled. Thankfully, water was a handy and convenient weapon to defeat her and end her reign in Oz. But don’t pretend like you didn’t keep a little by your bed… just in case.
– If you have ever seen “The Devil Wears Prada” then you surely know why Miranda Priestly makes the list of best female villains. Meryl Streep plays this fashonista in a way that I do not think anyone else could have done. She is called the “dragon lady” boss, so naturally I thought she would be loud and bitchy. But instead, Streep takes this powerful woman and never speaks above a soft tone, but somehow, this makes her character absolutely terrifying. Her soft tone, withering looks and the slight inflection in her voice, makes this immaculate woman terrifying, a force that cannot be challenged and even made me feel uncomfortable watching it.
– Alex Forrest seemed like the perfect woman: sexy, brilliant, carefree, and open-minded. She didn’t even mind having an affair with a married man, Dan Gallagher, in the 1987 film “Fatal Attraction.” Because of this, Dan had no qualms about cheating on his wife, for he was sure the affair with Alex would not last. And that was his big mistake because Alex refused to let him go. She began to stalk him and threatened to kill both him and his family. Alex Forrest is a stark reality to men who might consider doing something stupid like this.
Nurse Mildred Ratched
– Watching nurse Mildred Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” will make you think twice about believing the old adage about nurses “the angels of mercy.” She not only humiliates and controls her patients, but she also drugs them into submission. Even when Randle McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) defied and physically attacked her, she still comes out victorious and exacted her revenge by subjecting him to a lobotomy.
– Mystique constantly reinvents herself… literally. This mutant can take on any appearance without anyone noticing the transformation. She is cunning, manipulative and vengeful. Her character hardly speaks, but is fueled by hate and is determined to use all of her stealth and considerable strength to bring about the end of the human race.
When it comes to me and Lego’s there are two things I could do with them when I was a kid. 1. Build a bunch of tiny little houses (because that is all I had the creativity and ability to build). 2. I would set all the little homes I made spaced around the living room… then trample through them, throwing Lego’s and screeching in my best Godzilla/ giant monster- impression.
With that said, when I heard about the Lego movie I scoffed and thought the premise sounded absolutely ridiculous and put it out of my mind as a stupid child movie on par with “Barbie’s Great Adventure.” Eventually I saw a preview for this movie and thought that possibly it might not be a bust after all, there seemed to be a few funny moments and a lot of famous names, but again, I quickly forgot about it. As soon as the movie came out however, I couldn’t get people to shut up about it so I went last week with family to see why everyone is loosing their shit about it.
The Lego Movie–
In regards to this movie, I have a little bit of mixed feelings about it. Everyone was just raving about the film so I went into the theater with very high expectations. The Lego Movie is about a very structured society, who go about their business as they are told to do, but there are a small group of Lego resistors who are trying to stop the president from freezing the world as they know it.
This movie is fairly clever and funny with lots of humor at every turn. The humor in this movie is for the adults, they are jokes that, for the most part, kids will not understand- so the humor is for the adults, the animation and silliness is for the kids. My only commentary on the humor is that, at times, it almost felt a little forced- like they were trying a little too hard to make it super funny. The animation in this movie is very impressive, everything is animated Lego’s, so when a character jumps in the ocean, little blue Lego’s come flying up, like the back-splash. As impressed as I was with this, because it is fairly amazing, it made me a little bit headache-y from time to time. Because it is animated, and the Lego’s move so fast, the fast dashing colors gave me an acid-trip headache. Overall, however, this movie is cute, funny and had a decently unexpected surprise ending that gave the film more depth than I expected.
The Academy Awards-
“The Big Show” also known as the Oscars took place last night in Hollywood California. If you missed them than you missed out on one of the best Oscar shows that has taken place in years. I might be biased because I do love the silliness of Ellen, but that lady can host one hell of a funny show! She had a great mix of scripted, improvisation and down right ridiculous.
During the show she tweeted out a selfie of herself and some of the biggest celebrities in the world resulting in the temporary breakdown of Twitter, she had pizza ordered and delivered to the theater having Brad Pitt pass out plates while she handed out pizza and she dressed up as Galinda the good witch from Wizard of Oz. — A quick recap of the winners. The Great Gatsby won the costume and set design awards. Gravity won all of the other technical, visual and cinematography awards. 12 Years A Slave won for best supporting actress- Lupita Nyong’o and Best Picture. Dallas Buyers Club won for best supporting actor- Jared Leto and best actor- Matthew McConaughey. Cate Blanchett won best actress for Blue Jasmine.
Drugs, adultery, alcohol, incest, divorce, violence and death. No this isn’t the content of a rap song, it is all in the movie August: Osage County. This film is heavy from start to finish. If you have issues with hearing lots of swearing and racial slurs then you will not be able to handle this movie. August: Osage County is supposed to be ugly, gritty, rough and uncomfortable and it accomplishes all of these goals.
August: Osage County is about a family with more problems than any one person could possibly imagine happening at the same time in one family. The movie starts out by showing the audience that the matriarch of the family is addicted to prescription drugs and the patriarch is a (non-violent) alcoholic. From this starting point things go down hill from here.
The film gets rolling when Beverly (the father figure) goes missing and his three daughters return to their home in Oklahoma. What they discover when they all return are secrets, dysfunction, addiction and death. It is later discovered that Beverly (father) has killed himself. Normally when a funeral takes place, family usually bonds together in an attempt to get through the great loss. In this movie however, after the funeral is when the real fun begins. Meryl Streep (mother) starts what she calls “truth telling” that night after the funeral at the dinner table. It is at this time where she starts airing everyone’s dirty laundry at the table in the most venomous, malicious way possible. She is high at the time, as she is through most of the movie, as she goes down the line verbally attacking each person there, blood relation or not. In particular she has it out for her oldest daughter Barbara (played by Julia Roberts) as Violet (mother) has never gotten over the abandonment of Barbara moving away from home. The dinner is ended when Julia Roberts launches herself across the table, tackling her mother in an attempt to wrestle a bottle of prescription drugs out of her hands….. yep, this is the kind of movie this is.
This film is dark, it’s heavy but it is also oddly funny as well. I know it sounds strange that a movie dealing with such big, tough topics would be funny, but it is. The humor is very dry and usually dark, but it is still fairly humorous a lot of the time. The acting in this movie is off the charts, hell, it broke the damn chart. I do not think any better cast could have been chosen to fill these roles. I saw a side of Julia Roberts that I have not seen in a movie in a long time and it was awesome. This movie delivered the raw look and feel that so many movies avoid today. These actors didn’t look or behave put together or fancy, it felt real, gritty and tough; and I believed it. The biggest issue I had with this production was the end. The movie gets to a critical point for every single character individually, there is this huge build up, then the movie ends. I absolutely HATE that! There is zero resolution for any of the characters. I got so involved and intrigued that I want to know what happened to them!!
This film is good, but only for an older audience. Do not take your kids. It is definitely worth seeing, but you might as well wait for the dollar theater.
Welcome back my beautiful angel faces. For this weeks blog I want to catch you up on a few things that have been happening in the world of actors/ movies. I am super stoked because tomorrow the film “August Osage County” comes out. Now, you may watch, or have seen, this trailer and think “This movie doesn’t seem like my kind of thing.” Now, that may be totally true, this film deals with some heavy stuff, but it accomplishes this in an oddly comical way. Family can be ugly and messy but funny at the same time, so I would qualify this as a “dark” comedy and something that I am sure we can all relate to. At this moment you may be wondering how I know what happens in this film before it has been released in theaters. The answer to this is that, I read. This movie is originally a play which I read a little while ago. Another reason that I am super stoked for this new film is the cast for it. Holy Crap is it an awesome cast! Only to name a few big names in this film, there is Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Durmot Mulroney and Abigail Breslin. So, within the next week if all goes according to plan I will have a write up of how the movie turned out.
On a heavy note, there was a very sad event that took place just over a week ago on New Years Eve. James Avery, best known for his role as “Uncle Phil” on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air passed away due to complications that arose from his open heart surgery. Avery can also be remembered (to those of us who are a little older) as the voice of “Shredder” on the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.
Tis the season to completely ignore stereotype. So, since it is the holidays, I figured I would do a nice holiday themed post. Then thought, to hell with that. So, during this time of gift giving and merriment, I am doing a post on some of the all time great movie villains. These are not going to be listed in any specific order because they are all different types of “baddies” but I picked a few that I thought stole the show and far surpassed the protagonist.
Darth Vader – James Earl Jones: (Star Wars Trilogy)
One of the most recognizable voices in American cinematic history lent his deep baritone to bring to life one of the most notorious villains on-screen – and he didn’t even have to physically play him to accomplish this feat. Jones was not the man in the suit, but he gave an eerily calm, yet menacing and dangerous, vocal quality to bring to life the man dressed in black. It is impressive that only ones voice can accomplish all these nefarious implications which is why Darth Vader makes the list.
Miss Agatha Trunchbull- Pam Ferris: (Matilda)
Where the previous entry on this list was fantastic because of its understated quality, this female baddie is exactly the opposite. Loud, brash, violent, obnoxious, dangerous and disgusting, Pam Ferris’ portrayal of “The Trunchbull” is hideously perfect. As a brawny, muscular middle-aged woman serving as the remorseless headmistress of an elementary school, infamous for her amazingly foul acts of abuse against pupils as punishment for the most insignificant of misdeeds- “The Trunchbull” takes all the exaggerated infractions ever told by a child to their parent in the history of the world and combines them into one hell of a frightening woman whom Ferris seems to embrace with panache. This is why she makes the the list as well.
The Joker- Heath Ledger: (The Dark Knight)
While Batman is supposed to be the obvious focus of this movie, it was Heath Ledger as “The Joker” that made this film worth watching. The brilliant portrayal of this psychotic character whose only objective is to create mayhem was perfectly achieved by Ledger whose scarily jovial Joker’s next action was anyone’s guess. Tragically this was Ledgers last completed film, but his terrifyingly fascinating character ensures his immortality.
Annie Wilkes- Kathy Bates: (Misery)
I am not going to lie to you boys and girls, I am admitting my extreme wimpy nature at this moment, but it took me three tries to completely finish this movie. I just could not handle the unbelievable amount of tension that this film creates. Kathy Bates plays a seemingly normal character who turns out to be- straight jacket crazy. Bates portrayed this to perfection, creating a woman who, on the outset, seems totally sane, goes on to do terrible things. Although, as she says in the film, she truly regrets having to cause bodily harm it is what she truly believes has to be done.
Hans Landa- Christoph Waltz: (Inglorious Basterds)
In this role, Christoph Waltz taught the world that a good villain is never in a hurry. In this film Waltz plays the ruthless and cunning German Nazi Col. Hans Landa in the Quinton Tarantino film “Inglorious Basterds.” Tarantino is known for his strong villains and Landa is no exception. Known as “The Jew Hunter,” Landa is responsible for the capture and execution of countless Jews and captivated audiences with his ability to match pure evil with charm and poise. A combination not often seen in such a movie role.
Miranda Priestly- Meryl Streep: (The Devil Wears Prada)
You might be thinking to yourself at this moment that this entry is a strange one amongst all of these other outright murderous villains. But this is my list, so I can do what I want. I admit, that it is a bit strange, but in the opinion of this humble blogger, this is one of the better female villains to be seen in a long while! Meryl Streep plays this fashonista in a way that I do not think anyone else could have done. She is meant to be the “dragon lady” boss, so naturally I thought she would be loud and bitchy. Streep takes this powerful woman and never speaks above a soft tone, but somehow, this makes her character absolutely terrifying. Her soft tone, withering looks and the slight inflection in her voice, somehow makes this immaculate woman a force that cannot be challenged and even made me feel uncomfortable watching it. However, the true mark of greatness of this performance is the fact that I could not remember for the life of me who the main character was in this movie. The one who has the story we are supposed to care about. I asked all my friends in the room and all of them remembered Meryl Streep as the scary boss, but drew a blank on “that annoying girl.” Therefore, I add Mrs. Streep to the list.
Loki-Tom Hiddleston: (Thor 1 & 2, Avengers)
The initial success of Thor was likely due, in part, to Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of “Loki.” Hiddleston did an excellent job of bringing “Loki” to life, so much so that his character quickly became the fan favorite, even above the film’s actual super hero -Thor. His portrayal was so good that the rest of the actors were criticized by audiences for being lackluster. Hiddleston’s sarcastic, slippery, slightly crazy and surprisingly (at times) vulnerable portrayal of this villain in 3 movies is what pulls him up onto this list.
Hannibal Lecter- Anthony Hopkins: (The Silence of the Lambs)
Based on a real serial killer, (that’s right people, I said REAL) Hannibal Lecter was an entirely mesmerizing character. Hopkins’ portrayal of the murderous cannibal doctor is beyond unsettling. His soft spoken elegance, manners and charm while discussing and committing heinous acts make him sickeningly fascinating to watch. This performance is widely considered to be one of the best performances, villain or otherwise, of all time. Because of his fantastic performance I decided to use Hopkins to round out the list.