Blogathon: The Ten Most Iconic Female Movie Characters

Last month, I took part in the Ten Most Iconic Movie Characters blogathon. Now a new spin-off of this relay race is making its way through the blogosphere, this time focusing on female movie characters only. Here are the details:

A list of 10 iconic female movie characters has been made. That list will be assigned to another blogger who can then change it by removing one character (describing why they think she should not be on the list) and replacing it with another one (also with motivation) and hand over the baton to another blogger. Once assigned, that blogger will have to put his/her post up within a week. If this is not the case the blogger who assigned it has to reassign it to another blogger. After you have posted your update leave the link in the comments below and I will make sure it gets added to the overview post.

I was given the baton by Ruth from FlixChatter. Here’s the list of those who have participated so far:

Dell On Movies
My Filmviews
Time Well Spent
FlixChatter
The Warning Sign

And here’s the current list of characters:

Ellen Ripley

Ellen Ripley

Princess Leia

Princess Leia

Dorothy

Dorothy

Marge Gunderson

Marge Gunderson

Foxy Brown

Foxy Brown

Sarah Connor

Sarah Connor

Holly Golighty

Holly Golighty

Scarlett O’Hara

Scarlett O’Hara

Lisbeth Salander

Lisbeth Salander

Mrs. Robinson

Mrs. Robinson

Who I’m removing:

Foxy Brown

Foxy Brown

I really hate to remove Foxy because I love both the character and the film in which she stars, but I’m not sure she is even Pam Grier’s most iconic character (Coffy gets the nod in my book). This is a tough one, but the rules call for a change to be made.

Who I’m adding:

The Bride

The Bride

All it takes is one look at The Bride’s picture to recognize who she is. With Kill Bill 1 & 2, Uma Thurman portrayed one of the most badass characters in modern cinema, playing an assassin who refuses to be stopped on her quest for revenge. Need further proof? Watch this clip. THIS is how you make an entrance:

Now I am passing the baton to Dan from Public Transportation Snob.

My Cinematic Alphabet (2014 Update)

My entry into the “My Favorite Movie Titles” blogathon a couple weeks ago got me thinking about a blog meme I participated in a few years back: My Cinematic Alphabet. I thought it would be fun to post an updated version of my list to see how much my tastes have changed since then. For every letter of the alphabet, I have chosen my favorite film beginning with that letter (I also included my favorite “#” movie as well). Some of these choices were incredibly difficult, but I’m pleased with my selections. At the end, I’ll share the differences between the two lists.

 

2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey

Continue reading

Blogathon: The Ten Most Iconic Movie Characters

The-Ten-Most-Iconic-Movie-Characters

Nostra from My Filmviews has put together another impressive blogathon. Here are the details:

A list of 10 iconic movie characters has been made. That list will be assigned to another blogger who can then change it by removing one character (describing why they think it should not be on the list) and replace it with another one (also with motivation) and hand over the baton to another blogger. Once assigned, that blogger will have to put his/her post up within a week. If this is not the case the blogger who assigned it has to reassign it to another blogger. After you have posted your update leave the link in the comments here and I will make sure it gets added to the overview post.
Continue reading

Blogathon: My Favorite Movie Titles

favorite-movie-titles-blogathon

Brittani from Rambling Film has put together a blogathon that is a twist on the popular A-Z movie list meme. Instead of just picking your favorite movie for each letter of the alphabet (which I did a few years ago), you are supposed to pick your favorite movie title. I couldn’t resist getting in on this even though I am a day late (sorry!).

I opted to only stick with movies I have seen before. Here’s what I came up with:
Continue reading

Blogathon: Movie Jail Relay Race

Nostra, the King of Blogathons, has teamed up with Terrence from The Focused Filmographer to deliver one of the most entertaining blogathons yet:

Movie Jail Relay Race

The Rules:
It’s time to put some movie people in jail. The object is to give a prosecutor’s argument as to why these movie people belong in “Movie Jail” whether it be for violating the integrity of the content source of one their films, or being a sell-out, just making bad movies overall, getting worse as time goes on or not being in a good movie for many years. The baton will be passed to another blogger who will have to do the following:

In order to free someone from Movie Jail they have to do 2 things:

1 – Give a defense attorney argument defending the plaintiff
2 – Pay bail: the cost of which is another case for the court and a prosecutor’s argument against the actor/director of their choice that will replace the one set free.

There must always be 10 people in Movie Jail.

The Participants:
1. My Filmviews/The Focused Filmographer
2. Cinematic Corner
3. And So It Begins…
4. Surrender to the Void
5. Cinematic Paradox
6. The Cinematic Spectacle
7. Being Norma Jean
8. Defiant Success
9. …let’s be splendid about this
10. Lime Reviews and Strawberry Confessions
11. Aziza’s Picks
12. Flixchatter
13. i luv cinema
14. Public Transportation Snob

The Inmates:
michaelbaymoviejail1
Michael Bay

freidbergmoviejail
Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer

rajagosnellmoviejail
Raja Gosnell

katherine-heiglmoviejail
Katherine Heigl

toddphillipsmoviejail
Todd Phillips

eddiemurphymoviejail
Eddie Murphy

adamsandlermoviejail
Adam Sandler

kstew_moviejail
Kristen Stewart

jlojail2
Jennifer Lopez

gerard-butler-JAILED
Gerard Butler

Who I’m Setting Free:
todd-phillips
Todd Phillips
Honestly, it’s hard to make a case for any of these inmates, but Todd Phillips has at least made a few solid comedies over the years. Although I haven’t seen either in many years, I did enjoy Road Trip and Old School, and I even liked *both* of The Hangover films. Blasphemy, I know. Yeah, he has had some missteps along the way, and he doesn’t have a particularly positive reputation, but I think he has served enough time in our jail.

Who I’m Putting in Jail:
val-kilmer-JAILED
Val Kilmer
How did the man best known for playing Jim Morrison, Doc Holliday and freakin’ Batman end up like this?? Kilmer has resorted to almost exclusively putting out direct-to-video fodder. Just take a look at his seven (!) films from 2012 alone: Deep in the Heart, Lotus Community Workshop, Breathless, Wyatt Earp’s Revenge, Seven Below, The Fourth Dimension, Standing Up. Do any of those ring a bell? For his poor recent output, Val Kilmer deserves a stint in movie jail.

Next up in the relay race: 3 Guys, 1 Movie

Blogathon: Small Roles, Big Performances

I’m always a sucker for a good blogathon, and Ruth from FlixChatter has come up with a new idea that has taken the movie blogging community by storm. The concept? Shine a light on the ‘unsung heroes’ of a film — that being a supporting role or cameo that is often overlooked. After much debating about who I would highlight, I decided to take a look at a recent film that not many have seen: Sleepwalk With Me. Namely, the fantastic performance from Lauren Ambrose.

Lauren Ambrose

One of this year’s biggest surprises, Sleepwalk With Me is a fun little film from the creative mind of comedian Mike Birbiglia. While Birbiglia, as Matt Pandamiglio, is (rightly) at the forefront of the film, the character of Abby, his long-time girlfriend (played by Ambrose), is crucial to his career development. Abby, and his relationship with her, both become frequent targets for Pandamiglio’s standup routines, and as he begins touring, the two of them drift apart.

Although we are supposed to be on Pandamiglio’s side (as he even directly mentions in the film), it’s hard not to feel for Abby thanks to Ambrose’s endearing performance. The two characters have been dating for eight years. Matt is afraid of commitment, but Abby has steadfastly remained with him regardless. She is caring and supportive, even though Matt has spent the last few years floundering as a bartender. It’s clear that she is out of his league, but Ambrose presents Abby in a way that makes us actually believe that this slacker could be with her. Their relationship feels authentic, and anyone who has been with someone for a long time should be able to relate in some fashion.

Sleepwalk With Me [2012]

I was first impressed by Lauren Ambrose in the criminally underrated HBO series, Six Feet Under, and I am surprised to see that her film career is rather limited. After Six Feet Under, she joined two more TV shows — The Return of Jezebel James and Torchwood — while taking on more roles in indie flicks. Sleepwalk With Me is a definite highlight on her resume, and hopefully it introduces more fans to her phenomenal work. Not only is Ambrose stunningly beautiful, but she is a supremely talented and, much like Six Feet Under, sorely underrated.

Head on over to FlixChatter for a look at the rest of the entries in the Small Roles, Big Performances blogathon.

Blogathon: Movie Confessions

Nostra from My Filmviews has come up with another great blogathon idea: a questionnaire about our film-related confessions. When he sent me the initial lineup, I was excited to take part. Here are my answers:

Which classic movie don’t you like/can’t enjoy and why?
There were three highly-regarded films from my 50 Movies Project last year that didn’t do much for me: 8 1/2, Akira and Last Tango in Paris. I can certainly understand the merits of all three, but none of them did much for me.

Which ten classic movies haven’t you seen yet?
Based on my unchecked movies that are in the most lists on icheckmovies.com:
Lawrence of Arabia
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
Singin’ in the Rain
Ben-Hur
King Kong (the original)
Gone with the Wind
On the Waterfront
The Wages of Fear
Metropolis

I will be seeing at least four of these this year, as some are included in my 50 Movies Project.

Lawrence of Arabia poster

Lawrence of Arabia: I will be seeing you soon!

Have you ever sneaked into another movie at the cinema?
Nope, not that I can remember.

Which actor/actress do you think is overrated?
Keira Knightley. I have yet to see a performance from her that I liked. Don’t get the love for her at all.

From which big director have you never seen any movie (and why)?
I know there are still a few, but the one I am most interested in checking out is Krzysztof Kieslowski. He seems to get mentioned a lot in the blogging community, and I hope to see the Three Colors trilogy sometime soon.

Which movie do you love, but is generally hated?
Well, if we’re looking at poorly rated movies, there are three so-bad-they’re-amazing titles I love: The Room, Troll 2 and Samurai Cop. IMDB ratings, respectively: 3.3, 2.5 and 4.3. Of course, each movie has a cult following, so it’s hard to say they are “hated”.

Otherwise, the serial killer flick, Hatchet, was poorly received (49% on Rotten Tomatoes) but I had a lot of fun with that one. Not a great movie by any means, but very entertaining.

Hatchet

Hatchet: not for those with weak stomachs

Have you ever been “one of those annoying people” at the cinema?
No, not even in my youth, thankfully. I refuse to even look at my phone to check the time.

Did you ever watch a movie, which you knew in advance would be bad, just because of a specific actor/actress was in it? Which one and why?
I didn’t know what to expect with Descent, but I was interested in seeing it because Rosario Dawson had the lead role. That movie was absolutely horrible. Another example is Havoc, which I saw because of Anne Hathaway. Not even gratuitous nudity could save that debacle.

Havoc

Anne Hathaway and Bijou Phillips: two rich kids who desperately want to be gangsters in Havoc

Did you ever not watch a specific movie because it had subtitles?
Never. I don’t mind subtitles at all.

Are there any movies in your collection that you have had for more than five years and never watched?
Not for five years, but there are still some box sets I haven’t finished off. Most notably, I bought the ESPN 30 for 30 set last summer, and I have only made it through maybe six or seven of the 30 documentaries. All highly enjoyable, but I just haven’t gotten around to the rest. I also still need to see the third and fourth Alien films from the Blu-ray set.

Which are the worst movies in your collection and why do you still own them?
I only tend to buy movies I know or think I will enjoy, but there are a couple duds in my Criterion BBS Story Blu-ray box set. Drive, He Said and A Safe Place are both only notable for being artifacts of the BBS era, and they were forgotten for a reason.

Drive, He Said

The only notable shot from Drive, He Said

Do you have any confessions about your movie watching setup at home?
Not really. Once in a great while I will watch movies on a computer, but it has a good-sized monitor so I don’t feel too bad about it.

Any other confessions you want to make?
I didn’t really fall in love with film until just a few years ago. I have been playing major catch-up since then, overly indulging in anything I missed out on over the years. It was embarrassing at first to tell friends that I hadn’t seen Back to the Future, The Terminator, Predator or so many other beloved movies, but it was a lot of fun to see them for the first time.

That’s all I’ve got! I had a blast filling out this questionnaire. Be sure to check out the other participants over at My Filmviews.

The Ten Best Directors of All Time [Relay Race]

A couple months ago I had the pleasure of taking part in a great blogathon known as the Ten Best Actors of All Time Relay Race. That meme is still alive and kicking, but Nostra at My Film Views has added a couple more features, with the most recent one being a version specifically for directors. Dan from Public Transportation Snob sent the baton my way, and now it is my turn to join in on the festivities. Here is Nostra’s description of the relay race for those who haven’t been keeping up with it:

So what’s the idea behind the relay? I’ve created a list of what I think are the ten best directors. At the end of the post I, just like in a real relay race, hand over the baton to another blogger who will write his own post. This blogger will have to remove one director (that is an obligation) and add his own choice and describe why he/she did this. At the end the blogger chooses another blogger to do the same. We will end up with a list (not ranked in order) which represents a common agreement of the best directors.
If you are following the relay race it is also a great way to be introduced to new blogs!

And here are the other entries so far:
My Film Views (The originator of the list, and the ten that he began with were: Alfred Hitchcock, Quentin Tarantino, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Hayao Miyazaki, Darren Aronofsky, Martin Scorsese, The Coen Brothers, Akira Kurosawa, and Christopher Nolan)
Southern Vision (Replaced Christopher Nolan with Krzysztof Kieslowski)
And So It Begins… (Replaced Darren Aronofsky with Ingmar Bergman)
Surrender To The Void (Replaced Steven Spielberg with Lars Von Trier)
Cinematic Paradox (Replaced Lars Von Trier with Paul Thomas Anderson)
Defiant Success (Replaced Krzysztof Kieslowski with Sidney Lumet)
“…Let’s Be Splendid About This…” (Replaced Quentin Tarantino with Abbas Kiarostami)
1001Plus (Replaced Paul Thomas Anderson with Billy Wilder)
Cinema Sights (Replaced Billy Wilder with F.W. Murnau)
Bill’s Movie Emporium (Replaced Martin Scorsese with Werner Herzog)
Public Transportation Snob (Replaced Sidney Lumet with John Ford)

Here is the current list:

Alfred Hitchcock

Stanley Kubrick

Hayao Miyazaki

Werner Herzog

The Coen Brothers

Akira Kurosawa

Ingmar Bergman

Abbas Kiarostami

F.W. Murnau

John Ford

My Removal:

This is always the hard part with these blogathons. With such a great and diverse list this time around, it was even more difficult to remove one of these legends. I dismissed the idea of removing those I am unfamiliar with — in this case, Kiarostami and Murnau — and immediately skipped over the “untouchables” — Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Kubrick. After much deliberation, I decided on removing Werner Herzog. Perhaps this isn’t entirely fair since I am only familiar with his more contemporary work, but I have yet to see something from him that absolutely blew me away. I know he has a lot of devout fans in the blogging world, but I have a feeling he will make a reappearance at some point. I will say this, though — I could listen to that man talk all day long.

My Addition:

Speaking of reappearances, I have decided to enter Billy Wilder back into the race with the hopes that he will get a longer run this time around. I have been on a huge Wilder kick lately (thanks in part to the local theater doing a summer marathon dedicated to his work), and I have fallen in love with a number of his films. I don’t give out 10/10s too often, but he has two films that I would easily go all the way for — Sunset Boulevard and The Apartment. Quite a few of his films are not far off, including Double Indemnity, Ace in the Hole and The Lost Weekend. He is one of the all-time great directors, and I believe he is a worthy addition to this list.

Now I am passing this on to Kristen over at Journeys in Classic Film. Good luck!

Future Classic Movie: Requiem for a Dream [2000]

Paula over at Paula’s Cinema Club has presented the blogging world with an interesting question: what movies from 2000 to present day will endure to become a future classic? The 2000s have already been fruitful for great films, and there are an extraordinary amount of excellent options to choose from. After narrowing down my list, I kept eyeing one particular film:

Requiem for a Dream [2000]

Requiem for a Dream is director Darren Aronofsky’s second full-length film, and it is one that is unforgettable for those who have seen it. The film revolves around four Coney Island residents, all who struggle with their own personal addictions.

Ellen Burstyn, in an Oscar nominated role, stars as Sara Goldfarb, a lonely widow who spends her days watching television and eating whatever is in her typically full refrigerator. After receiving a phone call saying she was selected to be a participant on her favorite game show, Sara begins obsessing over her weight, determined to fit into her old red dress. Her attempt to follow a diet plan fails miserably, so she goes to the doctor and gets a prescription of diet pills. She becomes addicted to them.

Her son, Harry (Jared Leto), is a heroin junkie who makes a habit of stealing her television and pawning it off for drug money. He regularly dreams of getting rich off a big score with his pal Tyrone C. Love (Marlon Wayans). Harry’s girlfriend, Marion Silver (Jennifer Connelly), hopes to open a fashion store and is relying on him to strike it rich. All three are users.

As the film progresses, all four main characters hit rock bottom, and we are there with them for every step of the way. This is a brutal movie experience, one that shows the extreme depths that addicts can ultimately reach.

So why will Requiem for a Dream be considered a classic in the future? Let’s take a look:

The Subject Matter
Drug abuse isn’t going away anytime soon. It has been over ten years since Requiem was released, and our country still has an out-of-control drug problem. I don’t see this changing at all, if ever, and Requiem’s message will ring true for countless years.

The Director
Darren Aronofsky is still young and should have a long career ahead of him, but there is no denying the man’s talent and repertoire already. Few people can capture the essence of self destruction like Aronofsky, and he uses some creative techniques to show the effects that drugs are having on these characters. Requiem has over 2,000 cuts (most movies of this length have 600-700), and it uses extremely quick shots to show the rapid effects of drugs entering the body. Take a look at this montage as an example:

On top of this, Aronofsky expertly uses a variety of long tracking shots, time-lapse photography, extreme closeups and faraway views. Looking at the film from a critical standpoint, this is some pretty innovative stuff. By the time all is said and done, I am confident Aronofsky’s name will be included in a list of the all-time greats.

The Credentials

  • IMDB: Overall rating of 8.4/10 based on over 280,000 votes (#66 on the Top 250)
  • 78% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes
  • Oscar, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for Ellen Burstyn’s lead performance
  • Chlotrudis Award for Best Movie (plus another six nominations, including Best Director and Best Screenplay)
  • In total, the film won 23 awards and received 38 nominations. IMDB has the full rundown.

The Soundtrack
Who could ever forget composer Clint Mansell’s opening theme? Every time I hear this song, a rush of emotions comes over me. It’s such a beautiful song, but one that is equally devastating given the context. Listen to the theme in all its glory:

The rest of the soundtrack is equally impressive, a perfect fit for the film. It is so well-loved that it even got its own remix album with mixes by Paul Oakenfold, Delerium and Josh Wink, among others.

The Cast
I don’t care what anyone says, Ellen Burstyn should have won an Oscar for her performance. Sara Goldfarb’s transformation is just heartbreaking and cruel to watch. I can only imagine how difficult it was for Burstyn. Leto, Connelly and Wayans all deliver what are arguably the best performances of their careers. Special mention must also be made of Christopher McDonald as the TV infomercial host, Tappy Tibbons, in an especially memorable performance.

The Conclusion
In order to prepare this post, I gave Requiem for a Dream another watch last night. It had been at least four years since my last viewing, and it is just as amazingly disheartening as I remember. Requiem is a brutal, depressing film, but it is an incredible piece of art that its viewers will never forget. It can be argued that this is already a modern classic, and I am confident that it will hold up in the future as well.






My Movie Year – 2009

Andy over at Fandango Groovers puts together some really great blogathons every once in a while, and his latest is titled “My Movie Year“. I am a week late to the party, but I had to join in after seeing the great posts scattered around the blogging community. The concept is simple: select your favorite movie year and back it up with five movies to support your claim.

Now, this is actually quite the difficult question, and it has raised some interesting debates across the internet. Examples from critics include 1939, 1959, 1962, 1994 and 1999. All worthy choices, but I opted to go for a more personal route: the year 2009.

This was the year that I absolutely fell in love with film. Now, I had always enjoyed watching movies but it wasn’t until 2009 that I opened up and began indulging in anything and everything film-related. This was also my first full year living in Chicago, and there was a very cheap video store right around the corner from my first apartment in the city. Between that and Netflix, I had access to all sorts of great DVDs.

While 2009 may not be the *greatest* movie year ever, it was still a good one, and I have fond memories of many of its releases. Here are my top five, followed by some honorable mentions:

Crazy Heart
Crazy Heart

District 9
District 9

Inglourious Basterds
Inglourious Basterds

Up in the Air
Up in the Air

Zombieland
Zombieland

Honorable mentions: (500) Days of Summer, An Education, A Serious Man, Away We Go, Best Worst Movie, Black Dynamite, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Sin Nombre, Watchmen

What is your favorite movie from 2009? Do you have any interesting movie-going memories from that year?

For a full list of participants in this blogathon, head over to Fandango Groovers.