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
This week I was ready to post your traditional holiday blog post. I had it almost entirely written and ready to go with lots of cheery feel-good moments to fit the season. This is until I saw a movie that made me scrap that entire post. I know that writing about a World War II period piece movie is not very fitting for the holiday season, but sometimes there are those things that are just so good, that they deserve to be written about and read, regardless of the time of the year.
The Imitation Game- For those of you who have not heard of this movie, that is not a surprise. Films such as this one do not have big advertising budgets, epic battle scenes, big explosions or superheros. Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with the big budget- Marvel-esque films, quite the contrary, I usually enjoy them immensely. But we seem to then overlook the really well done, well acted, important true stories that some films talk about. The Imitation Game had a limited release because of this reason. We love our true stories that end in heroism. But what about the other, equally important stories? Even with big stars like Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightly, the movie was not picked up by a large number of the major theater chains. This, to me, is very upsetting.
The other day I was speaking to a co-worker about the fact that I like old movies. She then proceeded to tell me that she loved old movies as well and, silly me, I got really excited that there would be someone I could talk to about the classics like Casablanca, Some Like it Hot and All About Eve. To my dismay however, when she said she loved “old” movies she meant movies from the 80’s. Since when did films from the 80’s become the classics?
One of the first non-animated movies I ever watched as a kid was the thriller/ mystery film Psycho. And to answer your next question, “Why did your parents ever let you watch such a scary movie as a kid,” the answer is (As you might have guessed) they were out of town for the weekend and I was being babysat by my older siblings and they saw no issue with letting a 5 year old watch Alfred Hitchcock’s- Psycho. I am pretty sure they regretted that decision later that night when I forced one of them to hold my hand and walk with me everywhere (literally to the fridge from the living room).
If you are one of those out there who hasn’t viewed a movie made before the 80’s, then get your
head out of your butt and take a look at some of these great films that are worth watching. Starting with one of the all time greats.
Though I will not deny that Psycho is obviously dated, the film was made in 1960, and is in black and white. With this in mind the setting is obviously a little old. However, there are no movie affects that really make the age disparity noticeable. Because of the strength of the story, its director and its actors, Hitchcock’s most famous film, Psycho, has aged the most gracefully of almost any film from that time. The thrilling, exciting twists and turns of the movie are just as relevant and exhilarating for audiences today,
Final Thoughts —
I know this film is old and that modern day viewers have biases against old movies, especially black and white ones. But there is a reason Psycho is still referenced, copied and emulated in modern day movies. It is exciting, enthralling and entertaining.
(There have been several remakes over the years. The remakes are gory, and poorly done. Don’t waste your time on any except the original)
I am pretty sure I am not alone in saying that even though I am an adult I am ridiculously excited for the upcoming new film Jurassic World. Last time I checked, 40 million people have watched the new trailer on YouTube. Although I am excited, I am also nervous because I so badly want it to be good and not disappointing after all this build up. Because lets be realistic, even the biggest Jurassic Park fans admit that the third film in the series was total crap.
So in preparation for the newest installment of the classic franchise lets take a look back at the film that started it all.
1. Nerdy Dreams Can Come True
When director Steven Spielberg and author Michael Crichton were working on a screenplay that would eventually become the television show ER, Spielberg asked his fellow writer about the plans for his next book. Crichton told him about Jurassic Park, and Spielberg apparently fangirled so hard over the idea that he immediately convinced Universal to buy the film rights in May 1990– before the book was even published. He was so excited that he began story-boarding scenes from the book, even though there was no screenplay written yet.
2. Without One, There Would Be No Two
Though Spielberg was excited at the idea of Jurassic Park, he wanted to direct a film he thought far more crucial–Schindler’s List–first. But MCA/Universal President Sid Scheinberg refused to greenlight Spielberg’s Holocaust film unless the director agreed to make his dinosaur picture first. Both films were released in 1993; Jurassic Park in June, and Schindler’s List at the end of the year.
3. A New Excuse To Go To Theme Parks
Spielberg’s original plans to bring the dinosaurs to life were inspired by the universal studios “King Kong Encounter” ride. On the ride, Kong is designed as a full sized animatronic. Because the dinosaurs couldn’t be life-sized recreations, Spielberg had to think a little differently. Some creations, including the T. Rex, were full dinosaurs, but most were just upper half–including the head and torso of the dinosaur– while others were just bottom half, including the legs and claws. –That would have been a really weird set to walk onto with just random dinosaur half’s all over the place.
4. Less isn’t More… it’s Less.
Richard Attenborough, who plays CEO John Hammond was on a 15 year hiatus from acting when Spielberg approached him about taking a role in Jurassic Park. Attenborough had been directing at the time but he said he agreed to end his semi-retirement because Spielberg had “the charm of the devil.” (Fun fact. When Spielberg approached him to do the film, Attenborough was directing Gandhi which beat Spielberg’s E.T. for Best Director and Best Picture at the 55th Academy Awards.)
7. Everything In Perspective
Jurassic Park shot on location in 1992 on Hawaii’s Kauai Island. Hurricane Iniki, the most powerful hurricane to hit Hawaii in recorded history, hit during filming. Attenborough apparently slept through most of it. When asked by cast members how that was possible, he replied that it was nothing — after all, he had survived the London Blitz during World War II.
8. Grant and Lex Would Have Been T. Rex Food
Even though the T. Rex could have hunted based on smell, at the time Jurassic Park was made, it wasn’t known for sure whether the giant dinosaur’s vision was based on movement. During filming in 1992 this fact was assumed as a possibility since some reptiles are known to exhibit that trait. However, more recent research suggests that the T. Rex probably had pretty excellent vision…. oops.
Today I was going through all our old VHS video tapes, why we still have them? I have no idea. Among the pile of Star Wars and Indiana Jones films, I found Grease. I completely forgot that we had ever owned Grease. For old time sake I decided to literally dust off the VHS player and watch this classic movie. I learned a couple things —
— Whoever did the casting has no idea what teenagers look like. Everyone in this movie looks way to old to be a high school student.
— When I first saw this movie my parents must not have known I was watching it because it is SO not appropriate for an 8 year old to watch. It is just a good thing I had no idea what they were talking about half the time.
In light of these observations I decided to do Google research and found some of the things I came across interesting.
As I alluded to earlier, Grease was set in high school, but what you may have guessed (just by looking at them) was that most of the cast was well beyond their high school years. John Travolta (Danny) was 23 and Olivia-Newton-John (Sandy) was 28 when filming began. Jeff Conaway (Kenickie) was 26, and Stockard Channing (Rizzo) was the oldest in the group at 33.
2. Plastic Wrap Innuendo—
The original stage play of “Grease” has more sexual references than the censors would allow in the film. One of these was the use of plastic wrap as a condom. The censors made the filmmakers take this out during the production of the movie, but John Travolta found a sneaky way to put it back in. During the song “Grease Lightning” you can see Danny Rubbing plastic wrap on his junk during the dance number… classy.
3. Dancing in the Heat—
The dance contest during the movie had to be filmed during the summer when the school was closed. They gym wasn’t air conditioned, and the doors had to be kept closed to control the lighting. The gym became so hot that several of the extras had to be removed and given medical treatment for heat exhaustion.
4. Real Life Addiction—
According to an interview conducted on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” Jeff Conaway (Kenichie) stated that he first became addicted to painkillers during the filming of “Grease.” He said that during the “Grease Lightning” song and dance number, a fellow cast member dropped him and he injured his back.
5. Kenickie’s Song—
6. Actor’s Porn Past Loses Him the Role—
To cast the role of the coach the director looked to Harry Reems, a previous porn star, to play the part. Reems was cast and ready to begin filming when protests over the Star’s porn past began surfacing, threatening the movies success. Paramount relented and gave the role to Sid Caesar.
7. Stagnant Water—
The filming of the scene where the cast is near the bridge after the car race made several cast members and extras very ill. The water on the ground was stagnant and filled with trash. Apparently no one knew this until it was too late.
8. Lucie and Rizzo—
Although fans of the movie couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the role of Rizzo other than Stockard Channing, she was not the studio’s first choice. Paramount wanted Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball, to play the part. Lucy allegedly called the studio and said “I used to own that studio; my daughter is not doing that screen test!” The part then went to Channing.
Don’t misunderstand me, I love this movie. It has a very random place in my heart and I have the choreographed, made up, dance moves from when I was 10 to prove it. I Just find it interesting to look back on these things as an adult.
Most things about movies are not subtle. They are supposed to be in your face, visible and acknowledged. But one of the most important elements of movies is its music. Movies without music would be total crap. Music is one of the most underrated elements in movies because its entire purpose is meant to be unconsciously registered by the viewers. Music is the emotional nudge that movies include to prompt the viewer into the correct emotion or reaction to what is happening on screen. There are two major styles of music found in movies-
1. Subtle emotional manipulation -This seems pretty self explanatory. Movies would not have any kind of emotional punch without music. A triumphant movie moment would have no euphoria without the slowly escalating jubilant swell of a symphonic orchestra to accompany it.
– This is just a fancy word for a short, constantly recurring musical “theme” that is associated with a person, place or idea (don’t worry, if this is kinda confusing I will explain).
– Emotional Manipulation
Music in movies helps you know how and what to feel at any given moment. Whether that feeling is making you want to stand up and go fight an army single handed or like you could run a mile (maybe some of you could legitimately run a mile, I cannot).
I am not trying to take any credit away from actors and their fine performances, but lets face it, without the music in sad moments (or heroic moments) you would not have that old lady crying next to you in the theater because it just doesn’t deliver the same punch.
(CLIP 1 COMMENTARY)
All the words spoken in this entire scene have been edited out (there were only a few to begin with in the first place). So why are you still bawling like a baby at the death of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings? It is that slow, mourning singing. That beautiful music rips your heart right out of your chest. Watch the same thing on mute, and you will be totally fine. –I am telling you, composers are ninjas of emotion.
This style of movie music is a tad different. This deals with music directly linked to specific characters or events. What I mean by this is when you, as the viewer, hear a specific melody, it makes you think of one particular person/place or thing. Clip #2 is a perfect example.
This is the Darth Vader leitmotif. It is his theme, a short melody that, whenever played, means this character is present, or is about to be present. This is the same with the Jaws theme, the Indiana Jones theme, the Jack Sparrow- Pirates of the Caribbean theme and many others. If you hear the music, you associate it with a specific character.
In films, music goes generally unnoticed. And rightfully so. The composers goal is to be the puppet master behind the scenes pushing and prodding you to feel a certain way without realizing that it is happening.
— As a viewer how can you know that Darth Vader is coming without having seen him yet? His theme is playing. Almost the entire movie of Jaws goes without the viewer ever seeing the shark. How do you know it is coming? Because the Jaws theme (leitmotif) is playing.
I have decided that music composers are magicians (or have sold their soul to the devil to gain unnatural power. I am not sure what I have settled on yet). How do they write music to make an entire viewership feel and react how they want them to? I have no idea, but I greatly enjoy the result.
—– What movie music do you like the best?
Millions of dollars goes into making movies, countless man hours, actors, writers, editors, digital artists all spending their time and energy to complete one project- and yet an entire movies destiny can be decided in 60 seconds.
If you love them, or hate them, your first impression of any movie comes from its preview. Whether you realize it or not, the vast majority of your judgments for reasons to go see a movie or to not go see it, are made during the 60 second trailer. The preview has the many jobs of explaining a movie, showing the basic plot outline, and enough dramatic or funny moments to peak your interest. The success or failure of the preview to accomplish these goals determine the probability for viewers to take a chance on any movie. And therefore the films whole destiny, whether that be triumph or defeat, in its initial release, relies on the efficacy of its preview.
Recently when I was sitting in a theater waiting for my movie to start, I observed my fellow audience members making their judgments about upcoming movies as the previews rolled before the feature film began. All around me, I heard whispers as the trailers ended of people speaking to their friends saying things like “oh, that looks good, lets go see that when it comes out” or “that was weird, what is that movie even going to be about” or “That might be a good one, I really like the cast that they have put together.”
Now, apart from me hardcore judging some of my audience members for wanting to go see some of the upcoming movies that I thought looked monumentally stupid, and worthless- the advertised film nonetheless had a useful enough tool in its preview to interest these viewers. A movie has one shot to make its impression, to appeal to as many people as possible at one time.
I am not going to pretend that I am above this. When I go out and see a movie in theaters I always make sure I am early enough to see the trailers because I love judging them and determining which movies coming out are worth while. One of my biggest assessing factors is the cast. Sometimes even if the trailer is a tad ambiguous but I like the leads, I will take the chance and see the movie on the basis that I like the actors.
It truly is amazing how much stock we as viewers put into a one minute film segment. But also, how savvy we have become at interpreting that one minute. We asses the trailer with questions like “Is this the type of movie where all the funny lines are in the preview?” “Did the trailer just give away its entire story in its preview?” “Is the trailer somewhat deceptive in what it is trying to sell to me?” “Do I know what I am in for?” Even if we do not consciously realize it, we make these judgments about every single film before we spend the money to go see them, in the hopes that the trailer passed all of our assessment questions and is therefore worth spending a shit ton of money at the theaters to go see.
Trailers are important but everyone has different criteria. What do you look for in movie previews? Is it actors that are important factors? Is the director the most important? Is the subject matter vital to your viewership?
I just had a major geek out moment for a couple reasons…
1. I have officially hit 1,000 followers on Bloglovin! How did that even happen? You guys are awesome, thank you so much!
2. Today I hit my 1 year anniversary of blogging. I never thought I would ever last this long, or have so many awesome people read/comment/ follow my blog. Blogging kicks so much ass and I am so grateful for everyone who has encouraged me in this endeavor.
So, I know you are thinking, how has the blogging experience been for you thus far? Well, I am glad you asked that random stranger, because I am going to tell you.
Before I had a place to write my movie reviews, and random tid-bits of movie knowledge/trivia that I am overflowing with, I opted to rant about my movie critiques and trivia facts to friends and family. Occasionally keeping them hostage until they listened to what I had to say, or made them watch a movie I thought was worth while. However, this was not a satisfying approach as I knew that, for the most part, they didn’t give a damn about what I was telling them. I forced myself to create a blog after a friend of mine suggest I create one so that I could channel my insane movie babbling into a confined space. I’m pretty sure my friend was just trying to save herself from hearing about it anymore.
My first time blogging was like an awkward first date since I had no idea what to expect from this blogging craziness. In going back and reading my first post, I found it to be messy and not thought out very well. Though to be honest, that is not solely exclusive to my first post. Hopefully though, the posts have gotten better the more I work at it. The thing that surprised me about blogging, were the difficulties that also came along with it.
Everything from the title of the blog, to the “About Me” section, to the layout, font and color schemes are things I have agonized over and debated over changing 100 times. However, all of these things are trivial in comparison to the actual writing itself. To begin with, we all know how time consuming writing can be. Moreover, it becomes even more difficult because you want your writing to appeal to as many of earths residents as possible. Are you setting the right tone? Is the language too much? Is the vocabulary understandable and relatable? It is the most awesome and annoying internal struggle before publishing a post, something I never thought could be so damn obnoxious.
This past year has been challenging. Life didn’t really turn out the way I had planned it to go. On one hand, that has been very difficult. But on the other, it has lead to some new things that I would have never considered otherwise. This blog being one of them. I don’t really know what the next year has in store. But I sure as hell know that blogging will fit in there somewhere.
When I first started this blog, my intention was to talk about all things entertainment, both old and new, things worth your time. So as a test run I am going to start a new segment where, once a month, I am going to talk about older movies that are fantastic. Instead of watching that re-run episode of How I Met Your Mother or Friends (we already know that Ross and Rachel get together and that the ending of How I Met Your Mother sucks) take the time and watch something different and awesome!
Recently I was discussing with friends the reason I do not go into the Ocean. Mainly because I watched “Jaws” when I was 7 years old and have been convinced a man eating shark is out for me ever since. During this discussion I was shocked to discover that none of my friends had ever seen the movie. They had heard of it, of course, but had never taken the time to sit down and watch it from start to finish. I then proceeded to make them watch the film, by which they were all impressed and slightly freaked out. So in this post I am going to extol the virtues for those of you out there who have never seen “Jaws.”
|Spielberg clowning around on set|
The premise of this film is that it is a quiet, small, New England beach vacation town, where a police chief is faced by the horrible possibility that a deadly shark attack occurred right before the 4th of July (the biggest and most important economic day for this sleepy coastal town.) They try and pass it off as a boating accident, until more people go missing.
|Yes, this is a young Spielberg|
One of the brilliant aspects of Jaws, like many films directed by Steven Spielberg, is that even though the movie was made 39 years ago, it still holds up to today’s strict movie standards. Not to say that some of the affects are not dated, because they are. But it still succeeds in its effort to freak you out. The movie is freaky, but it is not blood and guts gross. The anticipation of having to wait to see what happens causes the movie to be so frightening when in reality all that fear is just built up in your own head, waiting for the shark to appear. All that anticipation and suspense occurs throughout the entire movie, even though the audience never actually see’s the villain until the very end.
Even though Jaws is single-handedly the reason I stick to swimming pools, it is a fantastically suspenseful ride. It is thrilling, exciting, nerve wracking, heartfelt and even funny at times. If you have never seen this film, cuddle up with a friend and give it a chance!
This weekend I made it my goal to actually go out and do something. And since I was far too lazy to do anything substantial, or that involved movement, I decided to go see a movie. So I packed up a giant bag of War-Heads and headed off to the ghetto movie theater near my house in the hopes that there would be less people there. —I know this is completely not relevant to what I am writing about, but during the movie I ate way too many of the War-Heads and it tore the shit out of the top of my mouth. Adult problems are a real thing.
-First and foremost I would like to preface this movie review by stating that I have never read the book that this movie is based on so I do not know if it stays fully true to the original story. With that said, I almost preferred not knowing the story line with this film so that I could be fully surprised with the twists and turns along the way. This film is based on a young adult novel like the wildly popular book turned movie projects that have already come out, such as Divergent and the Hunger Games, but I found this one to be one of the more innovative, as far as the story has progressed through this first movie.
The Maze Runner – No Spoilers
The movie starts out fast, there is zero set up or explanation, this film just throws you right into the thick of the action. The movie follows the main character, Thomas, who is thrown into a completely alien environment with no knowledge or memory of who he is, other than his name.
It is explained to Thomas that every month a new boy is sent up through a box elevator (through which Thomas came) along with the essentials that they need to survive. Other than that they are all stuck in a giant forested area in the middle of a giant maze. Each boy has his assigned job in the community, including those who inspect the maze in the daytime in an attempt to find a way out. Each night the doors to the maze close while the maze reconfigures itself and deadly creatures roam the maze. Because of the danger involved, no one is allowed in the maze unless you are a chosen “Runner.” Getting stuck inside the maze when the doors close is a guaranteed death sentence. However, when Thomas arrives, everything begins to change.
— Though the film ends on a cliffhanger, I quite enjoyed it. I found this movie to be a refreshingly darker take on the dystopian society. The acting was strong from its young cast and there is barely a moment to catch your breath at the breakneck pace the movie takes, keeping you engaged throughout the entire film. Even just watching the actors in the movie do all that running, it made me tired to watch them. Though that could be because I hit record breaking levels of lazy. — A word to the wise. For those of you who may have a bit of a motion sickness issue with hand held cameras, there are a number of scenes where the camera-man is apparently suffering from the shakes. There aren’t so many to deter you from seeing it. Just be aware.
Even though there are a couple generic and cliched elements in the movie, it is an extremely fun and intense ride with several big twists and surprises that will have you hooked the entire time.