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The Guest List: Mr. Rumsey’s Film Related Musings

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Well, it might be only the third edition of The Guest List, but I think it’s already a huge success. It’s accomplished exactly what I had hope, introduced fellow film lovers to one another, spurred on some debate, and definitely stirred the pot. And I can already tell that this week’s edition featuring James from Mr. Rumsey’s Film Related Musings is only going to improve upon the segment. If you don’t know who James is or haven’t already followed/subscribed to his website, I highly recommend you do so right now. You’ll find some solid reviews, terrific articles, and a lovely segment entitled “Who’s That?” when you head on over. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Now, I have to get some administrative stuff out of the way. For those of you who have signed up for The Guest List segment, could you please post a comment below on when I can be expecting your article. I am very organized about my posting and would love to get a schedule going with this segment.

If you’d like to submit your very own top 10 to The Guest List, here’s how to do it! First, shoot me an e mail (thecinemamonster@gmail.com) with your name, website info (if you have one), and the topic you have chosen for your top 10. If I like what I see, I’ll give you the all clear and you can begin composing your entry. Make sure to include a descriptive, yet brief introduction and a picture or clip for every entry in your top 10. Use my own top 10s as references. Then, send it back to me and we will discuss a date of publish.

Also guys, please if you haven’t already, check out my TIFF 2013 reviews. I wouldn’t usually beg like this, but I worked extremely hard on them. It is totally worth your while, there are a bunch of films reviewed that haven’t even be released yet with plenty more write-ups to come. So head on over to a review or two by clicking on the picture under the sidebar entitled TIFF 2013.

Okay, now that the boring stuff is all taken care of, I am going to turn things over to James, enjoy!

Top 10 Films of the 2000s: by James

Thanks Joseph for allowing me to spread my opinions out across your blog here! This is my pick of the top ten films of the last decade. There are endless films which could have made it into here but didn’t, such as Oldboy, so feel free to criticise, praise, rant or rave at me and my choices in the comment section below! For now though, take a look at what I did pick out:

10: Spirited Away

This charming tale of a young girl who ends up in a mysterious place inhabited by gods and monsters is the only animated film to make it onto this list, and it truly deserves its place here. It’s some of the finest animated storytelling of all time, and a personal favourite to re-watch.

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9: Battle Royale

Shockingly different to the previous entry; Battle Royale has kids killing each other off in all sorts of ways after being forced into a nightmarish situation. For its satirical commentary and also sheer entertaining spectacle Battle Royale makes it onto this list.

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8: Volver

One of the first films that introduced me to Almodóvar, Volver quickly became one of my favourite films for it’s well handled and performed story of loss and redemption. If I said any more I would spoil it, but please do seek it out if you haven’t already seen it.

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7: Kill Bill: Volume 1

I often describe the final third of this film as being perfect cinema; and anyone who listens long enough will hear me rant and rave about the use of colour and music, the well-handled action, and the enormous sense of fun that Tarantino seems to be having which then crosses on over to the audience. The rest of the film isn’t too far off this level of entertainment either, making Kill Bill an obvious entrant into my list here.

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6: The Pianist

Adrien Brody is incredible here as he takes us through the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto. This isn’t an easy or an uplifting watch, but it’s certainly one that lingers in your mind for a long time after the credits roll.

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5: Hero

This is one stunning film. The focus on the splendour of the visuals may not be for everyone, but Hero really deserves more praise than it often gets. It is not a fast paced action film; rather it’s an exploration of movement.

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4: City of God

Now this is where the list becomes really tricky, I can play around with the ordering of these last four movies endlessly and quite happily put any four of them in first place. City of God is a tale of violence set in Rio de Janeiro and is essential viewing if you haven’t already seen it. The directing style and rawness to the film makes it a pretty special watch.

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3: No Country for Old Men

Javier Bardem is an unforgettable presence in what is arguably the Cohen brothers’ best film, and yet its success is not all down to those three. Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones and Kelly Macdonald all contribute fantastic work and collectively make this one of the best and most important films of the decade.

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2: Lost in Translation

My personal favourite out of all the films on this list, or in this decade, Lost in Translation is the deceptively simple story of two people who meet in Tokyo and form a relationship that’s more meaningful than they could have previously imagined. It features excellent performances by both Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, who have brought characters to life here that I have grown far too attached to and fond of. This is easily one of my absolute favourite films.

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1: Adaptation

I know of no other film which so confidently, nor so successfully breaks itself apart and exposes itself. This is unquestionably a fantastically handled film that is about film; it’s about itself, the creation of itself and then the evolution of itself. Not only is it incredibly clever though, it doesn’t come across as pretentious but is instead warm hearted, funny and occasionally touching with great performances given by Nicholas Cage, Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper. I cannot recommend Adaptation enough.

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What an outstanding list. A BIG thank you to James for contributing his list this week. Remember, check out the criteria for submitting your own list above. Have a great weekend!

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Top 10 Male Actors Who’ve Never Won An Oscar

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As far as being acknowledged for a piece of work goes, an Oscar nomination is easily one of the most difficult to earn. That being said, year after year, there are front runners. The same, familiar faces we, as cinephiles, have come to expect great things from. And every year, as sure as the seasons change, one of these remarkable actors is fortunate enough to capture the gold statue. The talented men below, are not one of these lucky individuals. For whatever reason, the 10 men listed below can’t seem to close the deal. Granted, it isn’t for a lack of effort or quality, neither is it due to some misguided bias. It just so happens that every performance they’ve given that has eventually earned them this elusive recognition, has been trumped by another individual. Now, we may not unanimously agree on the winner yearly, but one thing we can all agree on, is the men listed below, should have some Oscar gold on their shelves.

The way I concluded on how to compile this top 10 is simple. Each actor mentioned in the top 10 has a performance I feel should have earned them an Oscar win. A lot of the men listed have been nominated, some more than once. Nonetheless, have yet to take home the hardware. As for the “still time” and “honourable mentions,” they might not have been nominated previously, but I still feel will win an Oscar in my lifetime.

Still Time:

Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Cillian Murphy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, Michael Shannon.

Honourable Mentions:

Johnny Depp, John Travolta, Viggo Mortensen, Vincent Cassel, Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey, Ian McKellan, Joaquin Phoenix, Patrick Stewart.

Now, without further ado, let’s get into it!

10: Ed Harris – The Truman Show

A four-time Oscar nominee, Ed Harris just can’t seem to get the respect he deserves or be able to catch a break.

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9: Edward Norton – American History X

“Fight Club,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” and “American History X,” Edward Norton has no shortage of great performances under his belt. Now, if he could just get that elusive win, we could all cross him off of our lists.

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8: Bill Murray – Lost in Translation

His best chance to win the golden statue may have already passed with the release of “Lost in Translation.” But who knows, maybe he can surprise us once more and finally grab a victory.

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7: Tom Cruise – Jerry McGuire

All Cruise craziness aside, he has stared in numerous films that should have garnered him at least one Oscar win, if not more.

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6: Sam Rockwell – Moon

Many of you may not agree with this choice. Nonetheless, I feel Sam Rockwell has given the performance of our lifetime in “Moon” and should have been at least recognized for it, in my opinion, he should have been given the Oscar hands down.

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5: Samuel L. Jackson – Pulp Fiction

Really? How did Jackson not win an Oscar for his performance in “Pulp Fiction?”

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4: Liam Neeson – Schindler’s List

Another no-brainer. Liam Neeson is an outstanding actor, yet has not earned an Oscar.

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3: Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

One of the most illustrious actors on this list, Mr. Oldman has only been nominated once. While it should have been more, his performance in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” should have gotten him the win.

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2: Brad Pitt – 12 Monkeys

Now we are getting into ridiculousness. Take your pick, Pitt should have multiple Oscar wins, but has yet to receive his first, utterly insane.

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1: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Aviator

Arguably one of the best actors to ever grace the big screen. Leonardo DiCaprio has yet to win an Oscar. WIth a plethora of performances that should have gotten him at least one win. We, as cinephiles can only hope he will be recognized for his work sometime in the near future.

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Alright, that’ll do it for this week’s top 10, I sincerely hope you all enjoyed it. As always, if you feel I overlooked an actor or listed one that should have excluded from this list, please leave all comments and questions below. Everyone have an outstanding weekend!

Top 10 Best Cameos

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As promised, this week’s top 10 will consist of what I believe to be the best cameos in cinematic history. After last week’s list of dreadful and down-right idiotic guest appearances, I think this segment could use a pick-me up, don’t you? Now, we can sit here until we’re blue in the face arguing what makes a cameo truly great. We can list the traits off one by one, subtlety, hilarity, relevance, and on, and on. Regardless, in this top 10 I believe you’ll find, like I did, that a cameo doesn’t have any criteria, they simply succeed or falter based on their own individual merit. Granted, a few of the cameos listed are quite odd, funny, incredible, memorable, and indescribable, but there are no errors. I’ve compiled this list with purpose, to be diverse, I want there to be something for everyone, and if there isn’t, please let me know.

Again, just so there are no discrepancies later on. Tom Cruise in “Tropic Thunder” will not be featured in this top 10. The image is simply a header for the top 10 and this will continue until I am able to create a suitable segment header.

As always, if you feel that I’ve overlooked a cameo or believe one was listed that shouldn’t have been, please comment below. I am always looking to improve on this segment and all feedback is welcome.

Let’s get started!

 

10: Tim Robbins “Anchorman”

Why?: Upon appearing in numerous films that have historical and cinematic importance, it was extremely odd to see “Andy Dufresne” chop off Luke Wilson’s arm with a machete.

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9: Hugh Jackman “X-Men: First Class”

Why?: I know for some it wasn’t a surprise at all, but I had no idea it was coming and laughed my ass off like an idiot.

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8: Martin Freeman “Shaun of the Dead”

Why?: Honestly, I had no idea he appeared in the film until very recently. Now that I know, I think it is possibly the coolest thing ever. Bilbo Baggins killing zombies, c’mon.

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7: Will Ferrel “Wedding Crashers”

Why?: You know why, if you don’t, you’re not my friend.

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6: Bruce Campbell “Spider Man” trilogy.

Why?: I know most of you didn’t like the fact I disliked Stan Lee’s numerous cameos in multiple Marvel films. And the fact that I am adding Campbell from three films in which Lee also appeared must really burn. But, c’mon, it’s Bruce Campbell…”Evil Dead”…”Army of Darkness”…you know…he’s awesome.

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5: Cate Blanchett and Peter Jackson “Hot Fuzz”

Why?: Two of the most respected names in film appearing in a movie centred around a corrupt, murderous, deranged town…Yes Please!!

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4: Christopher Walken “Pulp Fiction”

Why?: I don’t really know if this counts as a cameo or a supporting role…can any of you clarify this? Nonetheless, it is hilarious and inventive.

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3: Bill Murray “Zombieland”

Why?: IT’S BILL FUCKING MURRAY!!

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2: Martin Scorsese “Taxi Driver”

Why?: It is one of my all time favourite Scorsese scenes, just incredible.

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1: Ralph Fiennes “The Hurt Locker”

Why?: Can anyone clarify this as a cameo or supporting role? Anyway, I am a huge Ralph Fiennes fan and this cameo is pure brilliance.

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I hope you all enjoyed this week’s top 10. If you feel I’ve overlooked a cameo or placed one in the top 10 that shouldn’t be there, feel free to comment below. Everyone have a great weekend!

Lost in Translation (2003)

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Unearthing the sentimental in the synthetic and the concealed sorrow that comes with significance and milestones. Lost in Translation is a dreary look at the cyclic inevitability of human life. Using pathos to connect how we desperately try to define the chaos and strive for zeal, the scenarios laid out may not be relative to everyone but the directive is universal. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson take the leads in this Sofia Coppola directed drama and unveil prime examples of their talents. Lost in Translation doesn’t insult the audience with cliches or resort to idiotic predicaments. Instead, it is indifferent to the viewer and gives exactly what is is, life. There is no extravagance, just chance encounters with plausible results.

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An aging actor who’s career is nearing its end, Bob Harris (Murray) travels to Tokyo on business. An enchanting young woman named Charlotte (Johansson) who is newly married to a photographer visits Tokyo with her husband for work. Their first encounter is in an elevator and the two barely notice one another. By chance, the two meet again in the middle of the night at their hotel’s lounge. As both cannot sleep and are bored to death during the day, they become travel partners and begin to sightsee around Tokyo. As their friendship evolves, they come to the realization that their time in Tokyo is drawing to a close.

Lost in Translation doesn’t teach decadence or cater to the grand design of what things should be. After all, the time we spend dreaming of what could be and what could be feels like is pointless. In the end, everything we imagine is what we already know, which is not a negative conclusion. Lost in Translation takes pride in what we know and shows that despite our mistakes such as optimism or forcing what we want to happen into happening, eventually we get it right. It may not be in the correct manner or the right approach, but we do know what we want and we are intelligent enough to know when it materializes. Bill Murray is comically melancholic and radiates his character’s self indulged compassion and positive narcissism. Scarlett Johansson lays out the best form of indifference and does right by her morals and choices, yet still becomes deceived. Sofia Coppola uses her surroundings in definitive ambience and amplifies the details in Johansson’s and Murray’s gloom.

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Lost in Translation: 8.5 out of 10.