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The Guest List: The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger: Volume 2

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The Guest List is thrilled to have its first ever returnee, the magnificent, the lovely, Zoe from The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger! If you don’t already follow/subscribe to her brilliant blog, I must insist you do so immediately. There’s no shortage of interesting, funny, informative posts that differ vastly in topics. Additionally, there’s always a few ingenious blog-a-thons that find their way into Zoe’s posts. Which brings me to my last compliment, Zoe is as punctual as they come. So whether you’re looking for something challenging, laid-back, or hilarious, you’ll never be disappointed!

The Guest List is always looking for future contributors, so if you want to know how you can submit your very own list, here’s how!

All you need to do is 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 and other Guest List entries as references. Then, send it back to me and we will discuss a date of publish!

I’m going to shift things over to Zoe now, enjoy!

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So I am sure by now most of you know that I have something of a cape fetish…yes, I truly do. I won’t even defend it, I will just state it as the fact that it is. I thought that I would take the time and compose a list of ten capes that thrill me and that I love, they’re just splendid and deserve some recognition. This may not be the definitive list, but I truly do love seeing these on screen!

Superman:

I need to get fussy on this and point out that I mean this as Man of Steel. While the movie had its issues and what not, one of those issues was definitely not the cape that Superman dons. From the trailer I knew that I was just in love and that there were certainly no two ways about it. Red, graceful, rich, gorgeous… yes. Winner.

superman cape

Darth Vader:

No way was Vader not going to make my list… I mean have you seen that cape? All black and swishy and dark side. I love it, really I do. He has one of the most awesome costumes ever, and that cape that just billows out, dark and threatening, sort of just makes it that much more awesome each and every time.

darth vader cape

Erik “Magneto” Lehnsherr:

I find Magneto’s cape to be very unique, something different, and I love the colours used in it. I thought his cape was really distinctive when he was younger (running at an angle). Later, when he is older, there are some really cool ones, including long black ones with red inners as well as full black ones… either way, Magneto has a seriously remarkable collection of capes.

magneto capes

The Witch King of Angmar:

A formidable character, no doubt, and one that had an amazing costume. But moving on from that, the shredded black cape hanging from his shoulders was just wicked, completing him in more ways than one could imagine. Very imposing.

witch king of angmar cape

Spawn:

I don’t even know what to say when discussing this, except wow, it is really cool and absolutely stunning. It is enthralling, vast and red, ripped and torn, and is just really, really exceptional when all is said and done. It also does some cool things.

spawn cape

Batman:

When Christopher Nolan stepped up and redid Batman, we were all thrilled with the end result. Then there was the cape that came in with the revamping, and oh my soul, was I ever delighted?! It’s damn near perfect, and has plenty of trippy things that it can do. And it’s huge. It just spreads out everywhere with such style, and it is a knockout. Wow… really.

batman cape

Jamie Lannister:

This was just one of those breath-taking moments. The purity, the beauty, the length, the detail, all hanging from the Kingslayer’s shoulders, a shattered oath swathed in purity, but undeniably something spectacular. I think it’s such a good look for him.

Loki:

See now, I am a huge fan of green. So when there was this green cape, I fell in love with it immediately. The cape is flattered immensely by Loki’s outfit, further (though not the dastardly helmet so much), and it all came together. But that cape… just going back to it… flowing, green, demanding, and mesmerising. I am a fan!

loki cape

Dracula:

The infamous blood drinker has to be on the list. One of the original capes, it needs to be acknowledged for all that is awesome, dark, gothic, and truly vampiric.

dracula cape

Faora:

Again, we are going Man of Steel here. My heart almost gave out watching this, so many stunning capes making their appearances! Now, Faora definitely had a stunner with her. Black, solid, forbidding, it was thrilling. Zod’s was like hers; also exciting, but I cannot find a nice picture of it. But between them, they had lovely capes.

faora cape

The Guest List: Digital Shortbread

Today, I am thrilled to have Tom from Digital Shortbread contributing to The Guest List! If you haven’t been following what Tom’s been doing over at DSB, you’ve seriously been missing out! Aside from his incomparable insight, you’ll be greeted with plenty of interesting tidbits and a chuckle or two over at DSB. So make sure you head on over and subscribe/follow!

Meanwhile, here at The Cinema Monster, we’re always looking for Guest List contributions. So, if you feel the need to partake, the instructions and criteria are posted below!

All you need to do is 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 and other Guest List entries as references. Then, send it back to me and we will discuss a date of publish!

I’m going to hand things off to Tom now, enjoy!

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As of late, and much to even my own surprise, I have had my nose stuck in a book. That’s right. A book. I . . . am . . . I am reading, I do read. . .yes, although the activity is far too much of a rarity for me these days. At least, when it comes to good old fashioned paperback-reading. The lovely blogs out here on the internet are mostly where I spend my reading time now, and everything out here is constantly so addicting it’s kind of easy to forget there are other forms of reading to engage in.

Finally, I am getting around to contributing something to one of these great pages I keep in my routine perusings. Joseph’s Guest List is something I’ve been trying to contribute to for some time now, but I’ve just never found the most inspiring topic to talk about, until now. Seeing that I’m deep into the book at this point, I’d figure this would be a good opportunity to take a look at some of the moments from Martin Campbell’s 2006 incredible adaptation of Casino Royale, stand-out moments in the film that I find truly represent James Bond, both the character and the story. Not only does this film qualify as one of my favorites in the Bond franchise, it’s one of them due to it’s successful and total reboot of the character itself, going back to before Bond earned his status as a Double-O agent. In fact it was done so well as to place the film on a short list of my favorite action films of all time. It really is that excellent. Without further ado, here are those scenes:

(These are in no particular order. . . because they are all just equally awesome moments.)

1) Catch me if you can: Sebastien Foucan (“Mollaka”)’s incredible athleticism in the film’s first blood-pumping action sequence marks a new level of ridiculous in movie stunt reels. His pivotal role as an unidentified bomb-maker attracts the attention of Bond, who must stop at nothing to track the man down and attempt to bring him into custody. That unfortunately will not be quite so simple. This scene is not only one of the first action sequences in the movie, it’s one of the best and a simply magnificent combination of using the skill of this unique athlete and a great temperature tester for the film that is to come.

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2) “That last hand nearly killed me. . .” While Casino Royale is littered with moments that demonstrate very clearly that we have a tougher, grittier Bond on our hands, there is arguably no moment that accents his hardened characteristics better than when he gets slipped a drink by one of Le Chiffre’s men during a round late in the poker game. This moment is desperate but it is also 100% 007 material. Daniel Craig in this moment is everything I’ve envisioned the guy being.

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3) After hours questioning: Mark Casino Royale down as being the movie that features arguably the best and most stunning Bond girls ever. Yes, I’m willing to start that argument right now, and yes I’m prepared to defend my position. Need I mention anything more than the dazzling Eva Green as Vesper Lynd? Or how about earlier in the film, when we are introduced to Caterina Murino’s Solange? Is it fair to say that these two top them all? Probably not. But I’m saying it anyway. Between the two of them, Casino Royale possesses some of the most gorgeous scenery I’ve had the pleasure of ogling for a long long time.

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4) “Utter another syllable and I’ll have you killed.” No Bond film is ever complete without a moment of tension between 007 and his superior, M, played with gleeful acerbity by Dame Judi Dench. Shared writing duties amongst Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade seemed to pay off as they really nailed the relationship between these two, and no moment is better than when M discovers Bond in her apartment, casually browsing on her personal computer. What a cheeky bugger.

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5) Two orphans, a train and a half-decent plan: There are many things I love about this scene in the high-speed train en route to the high-stakes poker game set to take place in Casino Royale. But it’s the fact that the dialogue that flies between James and his most worthy female adversary in the gorgeous Vesper Lynd, a representative of the British Treasury on this risky mission, is some of the best dialogue found in the entirety of the Bond franchise. As the prickly accountant — who, by the way, isn’t entirely sold on the idea of MI6 pitting 007 in the game to begin with — and an always over-confident Bond get to know one another, words are weapons — they stab like knives and tear into one another’s psyches like bullets out of a chamber of a Walther PPK. It’s brilliant stuff.

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6) “Now the whole world’s gonna know you died scratching my balls!” Again, this is one of those scenes I have many, many reasons for declaring it as a top 7 scene in Casino Royale, but. . .ultimately this comes down to the sheer intensity of Mads Mikkelsen’s increasingly desperate and vicious Le Chiffre. The obligatory torture scene is handled with aplomb, rendering it one of the more gut-wrenching yet refreshingly simple scenes in the entire ordeal. And there’s nothing quite like James’ ability to throw out some quips while Le Chiffre sets about busting his balls.

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7) Cold-hearted bastard, or bound by duty? This is what we always wonder about the often-ruthless, occasionally affectionate James Bond. A man with a sensitive trigger finger with a strong patriotic compass binding him to his missions. Where does he draw the line though? After he strangles one of his assailants in a hotel hallway, he leaves Vesper in a very fragile mental state and later discovers her breaking down in front of his eyes. It gives him pause, and it opens our eyes to the first moment of Bond finally being aware of his brutal actions. This scene is both beautiful and heartbreaking, and is among the top reasons I think so highly of Casino Royale.

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The Guest List: Cindy Bruchman

The Guest List is back! Yes, you read that correctly. After a long hiatus, the first ever segment created here at The Cinema Monster has returned and it’s better than ever! Today we have Cindy Bruchman offering up her entry to The Guest List gods in hopes of bringing the segment back from the dead! If you don’t already follow/subscribe to Cindy’s outstanding site, you are seriously missing out. Honestly, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more in depth, excellently written blog, and I’m sure this article will further cement that notion. The link to her site is above, so be sure to click on that and head on over!

Additionally, if you’re looking to submit your very own list to the segment, here’s how!

All you need to do is 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 and other Guest List entries as references. Then, send it back to me and we will discuss a date of publish!

Next week, we have Tom from Digital Shortbread featured on The Guest List, so look forward to that! Now, without further delay, I will now hand things over to Cindy!

Best Production Design in Film:

Production Design in film is the place to where the audience escapes. Creating the visual backdrop and supplying the context that moves the narrative forward, it’s the art behind the film.

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Thanks to Joseph at http://www.cinemamonster.com for accepting my “Top 10″ list about the history of Production Design in film. Shouldn’t a cardinal rule in films be to offer great artistic design? After all, film is a visual experience that clings to your consciousness; the chance to create an alternate reality is a powerful medium. When I think of beautiful films, the ones that pop into my head are settings which showcase the grandeur of nature. Flawed films are elevated when breathtaking natural settings such as Legends of the Fall or The Last Samurai surround mediocre scripts. Take a strong script and watch the film catapult to near-perfection like Last of the Mohicans. Some criticize directors for providing style over substance like Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino, but they get away with it because they create artistic wonderlands.

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Originally called “Best Art Design” the category was renamed in 2012. Since 1947, it has shared the award with “Set Decorator”. Looking at the Academy Award winners, I’ve tried to narrow down the ‘Best of the Decade’ from 1920s to the present. Since it’s my list, feel free to disagree. I’m just sticking with Oscar winners. Your favorite film might never have been nominated and unjustly so. Here’s my Top 10 by decade:

One: 1920s

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There were only two years to choose from, 1927/28 and 1928/29. I picked The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1929) released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It’s a remake of the Thorton Wilder Pulitzer winning book. A great read. Have you seen the 2004 version starring Robert DeNiro?

Two: 1930s

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In 1938, Warner Brothers released this swashbuckling classic starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Claude Rains, and Basil Rothbone (What a name!) Filmed in Technicolor, the original men in green tights never looked so good.

Three: 1940s

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Now it gets harder. Citizen Kane and Rebecca were nominated but did not win. Those that did win, Gaslight, Anna and the King of Siam, and The Yearling had memorable art design. But, I’m going to pick my favorite ballet film, The Red Shoes (1948).

Four: 1950s

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Oh, boy. Look at these mighty contenders: Ben-Hur. On the Waterfront. Gigi. A Streetcar Named Desire. Sunset Boulevard. An American in Paris. How can I pick only one?

I’m going to go for my personal favorite. Dr. Nemo’s underwater world mesmerized me. That organ! Remember Bach’s Taccata in D? How perfect for the mysterious journey. My bet goes to the Jules Verne classic, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, and Peter Lorre.

Five: 1960s

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Anthony Masters is the man. 2001: A Space Odyssey was nominated but did not win in 1968. Other winners throughout the decade included Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, and Camelot, but I have to go with my heart and proclaim West Side Story the winner of the decade.

Six: 1970s

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With grand choices like Cabaret, The Sting, and Patton to choose from, I opted for my film favorite, Star Wars.

Seven: 1980s

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This decade was easy to pick. Dangerous Liaisons was a perfect period piece.

Eight: 1990s

Schindler's List, Oliwia Dabrowska imagestiu

A fabulous decade for film, I suggest a tie for 1993, Schindler’s List and 1997, Titanic.

Nine: 2000s

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Okay, I know I’m supposed to pick Avatar, but I don’t want to. I’m not really a fan of the film. With CGI in full swing, worlds are magical places. It makes it harder to pick from Memoirs of a Geisha, Moulin Rouge! Chicago, Lord of the Rings I – 3, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I vote for the stunning world of the 1920s and classic Hollywood, The Aviator.

Ten: 2010s

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This should be easy, right? There’s only four choices: Alice in Wonderland, Hugo, Lincoln, and The Great Gatsby. Since I just picked Leo and the 1920s, I’ll skip it. Though I can do without Johnny Depp in make up, wonderland was a magical place and worthy of the award.

Would you dare to pick an overall winner from the 1920s to the present? CGI seems like cheating to me. It was harder to create colorful, magical places that were believable back in Hollywood’s classic era. That’s why The Red Shoes wins for me.

The Guest List: Underrated and Overlooked Movies

I hope you’re all ready for another stellar edition of The Guest List! This week, I’m very excited to have Eric from Underrated and Overlooked Movies contributing his top 10 to the segment! If you don’t already follow or subscribe to his site, you better do so, right now! Honestly, this man knows what he’s talking about. I’ve found so many hidden gems through his efforts to bring the best of hidden cinema to the forefront. So, yeah, go and show him some love!

If you’d like to contribute your own top 10 to The Guest List, here’s how…

All you need to do is 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.

Don’t forget to check out the results for The Cinema Monster’s first ever “Vote!” Also, make sure you cast your vote for the newest poll, “Most Anticipated Films of 2014.”

I’m going to turn things over to Eric now, enjoy!

Top 10 Underrated and Overlooked Movies: by Eric

I love finding underrated movies, overlooked films, and hidden gems. Now I know that there are many different interpretations of the words “underrated” and “overlooked,” and even though I understand that distinctions can be made, for the most part I use the two words interchangeably. I usually think of an underrated or overlooked movie as being one that was generally ignored by large, mainstream audiences.

There are so many movies out there, and I’m sure there are many under-the-radar ones that I still do not know about, but I think it is way too easy to just pick “art house,” “experimental” and/or “avant-garde” movies for a list like this… So part of my philosophy is to pick (for the most part) movies that would appeal to a lot of people, but yet were simply passed over by the masses for one reason or another.

There are many, many underrated/overlooked movies on my personal list (I’m up to #275 on my blog), so it was very tough to narrow it down. And there are different kinds of Top 10 lists that could be made, such as My Top 10 Favorite Underrated Movies, or Top 10 Most-Unknown Underrated Movies, or Top 10 Underrated Thrillers, or Top 10 Overlooked Movies Starring Bill Paxton etc. This time, we’ll just keep it simple and count down a general list of the Top 10 Underrated/Overlooked Movies. Here we go! Punch it, Bishop!

10: Matewan

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This is a story about coal miners in West Virginia and their battle with the “company” to form a union. It is directed by John Sayles, who is known for his independent films. His movies are sometimes “hit-and-miss”, but Matewan is a bullseye. It is amazingly detailed, and it features what might be the two best “bad guys” in movie history. Some movies are overlooked when they are released, but then gain popularity or “cult status” over time, but Matewan has pretty much remained unknown to most people, and it should be known.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCIoiHf_Lt4

9: The Last of Sheila

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If you like intricate puzzles and mysteries, then this is your movie. It is about a rich movie mogul who sets up a complex game for a group of “friends” in order to exact revenge for various events in his past. As the movie moves along, the game gets more and more elaborate… So beware: you have to pay attention! There’s a good list stars in this one, including James Coburn, James Mason, Raquel Welch, and Ian McShane. It was actually written by Anthony Perkins (yes, the star of Psycho) and Stephen Sondheim (the Academy Award winning composer and lyricist).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KB9GodejAE

8: Tucker: The Man and His Dream

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This is one of those movies in which I wonder, “How in the world could this one have gone unnoticed?” It was overlooked when it was released, and it is still mostly unknown to this day. It’s the story of Preston Tucker, who designed and built a brand new car — the Tucker Sedan — in the mid-to-late 1940’s that was set to rival Detroit’s “Big Three.” Everything about this movie is great: it was produced by George Lucas, so it had a big budget… it is directed by Francis Ford Coppola… and it was even nominated for three Oscars, including Martin Landau for best supporting actor, which he should have won.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty93RYkzYQQ

7: What’s Up Doc?

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I feel like I need to throw-in a comedy, so here is the funniest comedy of all time. Sometimes I judge whether or not a movie is “overlooked” by the number of user votes the movie has on imdb.com, and What’s Up Doc? has about 11,300, which is not very many. This screwball comedy has big-time laughs and is consistently funny throughout. The plot involves the exchange of three bags that… well, the plot doesn’t really matter… Just watch it! Madeline Kahn and Kenneth Mars are especially hilarious.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsJZ0LWSAHs

6: Proof

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Who doesn’t like movies about math? Proof is an extremely well done movie based on a play about a brilliant mathematician, played by Anthony Hopkins, who discovers an important new mathematical theorem. Or does he? You wouldn’t think that a movie about math could be almost thrilling, but this is, and it’s got some great dialog as well, and great acting by Hopkins, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Hope Davis. It’s also got one of the greatest musical scores to come down the pike in a long time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DI1vRch4omw

5: House of Games

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This movie is written and directed by David Mamet, who is known for his odd and quirky dialog. So I’m telling you to be ready to hear some dialog that might not really sound quite right, but yet in the end, that is what makes it all the more interesting and memorable. Not to mention that this is probably the best con-game movie ever made. It’s about a psychiatrist who decides, arrogantly, that she is going to study and write a book about con men and the games they play. House of Games was hailed by critic Roger Ebert as the best film of the year for 1987.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0eFfE8oa98

4: The Lookout

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Some movies that I choose as picks for my Underrated Movies List become more popular as time goes on, and this is one of them, probably because of Joseph Gordon Levitt. This kind of sudden “cult status” also happened with another Gordon Levitt movie: 500 Days of Summer, which is now pretty much no longer “overlooked.” My favorite movie genre is the psychological and action thriller, and The Lookout is one of the best. It is about a bank robbery, which has been done many times before, but this is completely different and original. Written and directed by Scott Frank, writer of the Minority Report screenplay.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTmA_9I3hF8

3: Billy Budd

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How Billy Budd isn’t considered one of the all-time classics in movie history is beyond me. It is based on the short novella by Herman Melville. Peter Ustinov is one of my favorite actors, and he was unbelievable in this high seas adventure set on a British man-o-war in the late 1700’s. Ustinov also directed. This was pretty much Terence Stamp’s (General Zod in Superman: The Movie and Superman II) debut film, and he was nominated for an Oscar. Also starring Melvyn Douglas and Robert Ryan as the evil Master of Arms. This is a virtually unknown classic!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdHapDSWrFM

2: A Simple Plan

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This is another one that is probably more well-known than some of the others on this list, but I consider it maybe the greatest thriller of all time. It’s about a group of “friends” who discover in the woods a crashed plane that contains a bag of money, and their “simple plan” to keep/steal it. This one ratchets up the tension to a high degree, and along the lines of Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment,” makes the point that “crime doesn’t pay.” Plus, I had to include a Bill Paxton movie… he seems to appear in more underrated movies than anyone else. Directed by Sam Raimi.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfJtnfG6EMI

1: Breaker Morant

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If there’s such a thing as a “perfect movie,” Breaker Morant might be one of them. The film is about the court martial of three British soldiers who are set up to take the blame for the disastrous Second Boar War in the early 1900’s, which involved the British Empire’s attempt to conquer the world by force. Everything about the movie is top-notch, but especially noteworthy is Jack Thompson’s performance as the not-so-prepared lawyer who is commanded by the British army to defend the prisoners.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-AKnXMEqhg

There you go. I hope you enjoy these if you ever get to watch them! And feel free to comment on your underrated/overlooked picks. I’m always on the lookout for more hidden gems…

The Guest List: MovieRob

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To keep The Guest List chugging along, I am very excited to have my friend Rob from MovieRob contributing his top 10! If you don’t already follow or subscribe to his site, I highly recommend you do so! He’s got some phenomenal content over there and is a blast to converse with. So, yeah, head on over and drop him a like, comment, and follow!

If you’d like to contribute your very own top 10 to The Guest List, here’s how!

All you need to do is 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.

I’m going to turn things over to Rob now, enjoy!

Top 10 Movies That Stole Oscar Gold From More Deserving Best Pictures: by Rob

Every year, I get up at 3:30am (my time) to watch the Oscars live. I have been doing this for over 20 years and have only missed it once (when my cable went out that night in 2003) and also once watched it live dubbed in a foreign language that I didn’t understand (1995 which made David Letterman less annoying J )

Oscar night has always had its surprises, but usually the biggest ones are in smaller categories. A number of times though, we have been surprised when that final envelope is opened by a big star (Jack Nicholson, Harrison Ford, Michael Douglas or even the First lady of the United States).

In some years, the winner of Best Picture is usually the choice between one of 2 (or sometimes even 3) of the nominees while in other years, it’s a no-brainer who the winner will be.

I have compiled a list here of the biggest Best Picture surprises over the years where the BP Oscar was stolen from a more deserving winner due to politics or any other known or unknown reasoning.

I have tried to rank them in order of least surprising to most surprising, but any order will truly do here.

10: 1952

The Winner

The Greatest Show On Earth

Who should have been the winner

High Noon

Gary Cooper’s movie should have easily clinched BP that year, but the supposed communist undertones of the movie and the fact that everyone loves DeMille gave the golden boy to his movie about the circus instead.  During the McCarthy era, this is not so surprising, but still a travesty since the story of High Noon is clearly better than the one in Greatest Show on Earth.

9: 2005

The Winner

Crash

Who should have been the winner

Munich

Crash only won because the academy members had trouble voting for a movie about Israelis commandos killing Palestinian terrorists (even though it was made by Spielberg).  The other choice was Brokeback Mountain which had it’s own controversy due to it being about gay cowboys.

8: 2002

The Winner

Chicago

Who should have been the winner

The Pianist

Roman Polanski’s outstanding warrant for statutory rape definitely hurt his amazing movie about the survival of a Polish Jew during WWII and caused The Weinstein’s to take home gold with their movie adaptation of the musical about morally deficient men and women in the swing 1920’s.  Surprisingly, Polanski got a best director statue, but his movie’s own gold was not to be even though it was clearly the best movie of the year.

7: 2012

The Winner

Argo

Who should have been the winner

Les Miserables

The academy love to bestow Gold on their favorites and when the director’s branch voters didn’t give a nomination to loved actor Ben Affleck, the whole academy fought back and showered his movie with Gold. Affleck is the 6th actor to direct a movie that won the top prize (Robert Redford for Ordinary People in 1980, Richard Attenborough for Gandhi in 1982, Kevin Costner for Dances With Wolves in 1990, Mel Gibson for Braveheart in 1995 and Clint Eastwood twice – for Unforgiven in 1992 and Million Dollar Baby in 2004 are the others).  IMHO, Les Miserables is one of the best musical adaptations ever done and it was clearly the bets movie all-around of 2012.

6: 1948

The Winner

Hamlet

Who should have been the winner

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Sir Lawrence Olivier’s depiction of the Danish Prince is quite a boring rendition, but for 1948 it was a breakthrough movie and performance that would open many doors for future Bard movie adaptations.  Story-wise, the movie doesn’t break any new ground, but apparently the thespians in the academy chose to honor it with gold even though the John Huston directed Western-mystery was clearly a better story and movie was left in the cold. Huston won best director and screenplay that year proving that it was probably just a way to appease the Brits into making more movies for American audiences.

5: 1963

The Winner

Tom Jones

Who should have been the winner

Anything else would do…

Tom Jones is such a terrible movie (I think it’s the worst Best Picture ever) that I cannot understand for the life of me why it would be even closely perceived as the best movie of the year.  Any other movie that came out in 1963 was probably better (and if not, we should be happy they still make movies).  Admittedly, I haven’t seen any of the other 4 nominated movie (yet), but if they are all worse than this one, I have 4 really terrible movies to look forward to watching.

4: 1995

The Winner

Braveheart

Who should have been the winner

Apollo 13

This was quite a tricky year for Academy voters since (as I mentioned earlier) they love to bestow awards to former actors turned directors and in this year they had 2 to choose from. Mel Gibson and Ron Howard.  Both movie won there fair amount of awards during the year and the duel went to the wire, but Howard’s snub by the Directing branch helped propel Gibson to Gold.  The problem here is that both movies are excellent movies, but I think the fact that Apollo 13 was based on a more recent true story and the ensemble acting out-acted Braveheart adding to the fact that Apollo 13 was a very red-white-and blue movie, it should’ve been bestowed with Best Picture honors.

3: 1968

The Winner

In the Heat of the Night

Who should have been the winner

Guess who’s Coming to Dinner

Interestingly, both of these movies featured Sidney Poitier in roles defying racism in American society.  The Academy chose to go with the movie that was a murder-mystery where the cop trying to solve the crime was faced with local racism every where he turned and instead of the dramatic one dealing with inter-racial marriage.  The latter was a more poignant movie with a better message which was also capped with an amazing lead cast of Spencer Tracy (in his final role), Kathryn Hepburn, and Poitier himself.  The Academy really screw this one up!

2: 1976

The Winner

Rocky

Who should have been the winner

Network

Anyone who has seen Network can clearly see it was robbed by the epitome of an underdog. Rocky itself tells the story of an underdog and that little movie that could, somehow beat this excellent movie that was able to foresee the correct direction of television.  Rating were always important in TV, but this movie hit upon the idea that in order to get a bigger audience all you have to do is find new ways to shock them with live events.  This was the precursor of reality TV.  Rocky itself is a tale of an everyman getting the chance of a lifetime and it is a good movie, it just isn’t in any way better than Network.  Perhaps Academy members saw themselves in this analogy for the life of struggling actor/writer Sylvester Stallone, who knows what they were thinking?  The only thing that rings true is that they definitely didn’t choose the right movie for Best Picture that year.

1: 1997

The Winner

Shakespeare in Love

Who should have been the winner

Saving Private Ryan

This is definitely the biggest miss IMHO by the Academy.  SPR is by far one of the best war movies ever made and it is a complete shame that the Academy chose SIL instead. I think that Harrison Ford was just as surprised as everyone when he opened that envelope.  Steven Spielberg has always been a great filmmaker and he always raises the bar with each new movie.  After he made Schindler’s List (1993) most people thought he couldn’t top that one, but instead chose to make another powerful WWII picture that is the perfect companion piece for Schindler.  The story and the performances are great.  Shakespeare, on the other hand is also a great movie, cleverly scripted and acted well, but it’s a lighter story and not as powerful as SPR.

There is no question that the Academy dropped the ball here big time and giving Spielberg Best Director wasn’t a big enough consolation prize.

Truly a tragedy!!

Honourable Mention:

The Winner

Slumdog Millionaire

Who should have been the winner

Dark Knight

This one had to be an Honorable Mention since TDK wasn’t even able to lose the gold since The Academy chose The Reader over it as the fifth and final nomination.  This controversy actually led to the re-expansion of the category to “up to 10 nominees” instead of the 5 used since the nid-1940’s.  I think this expansion has diluted the playing field in order to give more movies the honor of being nominated.  They should return to the previous 5 picture maximum of nominees.  Regardless, TDK was clearly the best movie of the year in all aspects and truly topped any other movie made in the genre.  The fact that 2008 itself was a weak BP year (besides Slumdog and The Reader, the other nominees were Nixon/Frost, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Milk) proves that the Academy members need to think more out of the box and allow non- standard drama genres into the fray. They couldn’t ignore The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and there will be a day when a superhero movie done better than TDK will take home that Gold Statuette.

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I think it’s fair to say that this top 10 is one of the best the segment has ever seen! I’m sure it’ll stir up tons of debate, so feel free to leave all questions and comments below. Another big thank you to Rob for contributing! Everyone has a stellar weekend…

The Guest List: The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

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It’s time for another stellar edition of The Guest List! This week features my dear friend Zoe from The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger! If you don’t already subscribe to or follow her amazing site, I highly suggest you head over there immediately following this incredible top 10 and do so! Her website spans the wonderful world of film, literature, and so much more. She recently completed the “Potter Perceptions” with Eric over at theipc and we’ve started an awesome book club that’s very exclusive ;).

If you want to submit your very own top 10 to The Guest List, here’s how!

All you need to do is 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, please don’t forget to vote for the best films of 2013 by clicking on “Vote” in the main menu above. I believe today is the last day to partake, but I need to double check. If it’s closed, I’ll still be accepting votes via the email above, so you have no excuse.

I’m going to turn things over to Zoe now, enjoy!

Top 10 Leonardo DiCaprio Roles: by Zoe

So Joseph has been on me for a while now for a Top Ten list and I have been floundering. What could I do? What was I going to put on a Top Ten list? Before I knew it, I gave myself way too many options, and then had to spend time narrowing down the list. It took a while, but I think that this one could be rather suiting seeing as The Wolf Of Wall Street is to hit cinemas soon (and by cinemas, I hope that we here in South Africa are lumped in with everyone else for a change). Today I want to talk about my Top Ten Leonardo DiCaprio Roles.

First off I want it known that I am a ridiculously huge fan of Leonardo DiCaprio (if you haven’t picked up this already, well, let’s just put it out there). He is the kind of actor that when I see his name attached to a project I am there to check it out, for better or worse. I think it is scandalous that he does not have an Oscar yet, and think the Academy is blind, rigged, or stupid to have overlooked him for so long. Never mind that, what does the Academy really know anyway? Leonardo DiCaprio is a truly phenomenal actor with immense amounts of talents and a thrilling persona the moment he appears on screen. Yes, I am gushing, but whatever. He deserves the praise, and is honestly one of the best actors out there today, and one of my favourites (if you happened to miss that so far :P).

So let us begin looking at the candidates and why.

Dominic Cobb – Inception (2010)

I want to start with Inception. I think this is the best movie of the decade so far and that was determined through a lot of serious deliberation, a huge list and a showdown of note. I had a lot of people involved and the battle rages, but Inception won. It is a great flick with a great cast and a great story – so it really could only be great, right? Exactly. But not only that, Leonardo DiCaprio was our lead, and he was amazing to say the very least. Leonardo was the tortured soul, the pained man who misses his family, carries deep regrets and suffers from a terrible past. He is mysterious and slightly unapproachable on a certain level, and gives off the air of a man who wants to ache alone, and for the most part he does. He portrays a man that is in control and knows what he is doing, yet on the edges he is so frayed that he is barely keeping it together. Mal is stalking him in his heart and in his mind and in his dreams, and his paranoia later manifests itself. Dom needs to live his life, but he has chosen to walk on the fringe of it – both in his waking world and his dream world. His performance gives me goosebumps every time, and how he reveals parts about himself and his past seem to bring him great pain. DiCaprio simply becomes Dom Cobb, and it is difficult to separate from the idea that this was just a role for him.

dom cobb inception leonardo dicaprio-1

Calvin Candie – Django Unchained (2012)

I was so excited for Django Unchained. I probably damn near drove half my fellow bloggers, my friends, and the internet up the wall with my anticipation for this film. Then I got to it. Not only was it a Tarantino film that had me all excited, there was also Christoph Waltz to look forward to. But for me, most of all, I was looking forward to seeing Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin Candie, whoever and whatever that character was supposed to be. I was loving the movie, but on the edge of my seat for something like an hour before DiCaprio finally made his appearance, and a damn fine one it was at that. Candie is a crackpot loony I tell you. Smart, wealthy, a despicable racist and a flourishing businessman, DiCaprio brings the goods to the table here. He shone in here, and was bloody mindblowing. He was despicable, his teeth needed some serious work, he was sly and underhanded and intelligent as hell, he was unforgiving and cruel and he just plain down worked every aspect of Calvin Candie. The moment DiCaprio appeared on the screen he demanded every inch of your attention; he commanded it. It was well-deserving, too. He had the audience fluctuate between fascination and repulsion. Simply spectacular.

calvin candie django unchained leonardo dicaprio

Billy Costigan – The Departed (2006)

This is a role that I go back to time and time again to check out. Alright, for one I am a massively huge fan (I want to get that in there and understood haha) of this film, and think it is damn near perfect. For me it is a lovely long movie with a great story and fantastic cast, but this isn’t about the movie. This is about DiCaprio, and how much I appreciated what did for this character – for me, he really nailed the role of the rat in the Costello’s Irish Mafia. To watch him, hopeful and excited to graduate a police officer was pretty cool, but then to see him shot down and taken for a fool by Queenan and Dignam was pretty rough. His whole life story was ripped apart, and then he was made the offer to go into the system and come out to infiltrate Costello’s gang. Naturally, to prove he can, Billy goes undercover. DiCaprio manages to capture how Costigan’s hope fades, how his fear sets in, how he manages to keep his discomfort and terror to himself, and how he was a damn fine infiltrator, but also how his secret life was bleeding out into his real life, and how much of a problem it was becoming for him. DiCaprio never loses sight of the fact that Costigan is living an incredibly dangerous job and an intricate lie, and that it poses threats to his life and wellbeing all the time but that he manages to hang in there by the skin of his teeth. His hope, determination, anger, fear and resentment are all real emotions for DiCaprio, hence making the experience of watching Costigan such a joy.

billy costigan the departed leonardo dicaprio

Frank Abagnale Jr – Catch Me If You Can (2002)

This is one of DiCaprio’s most enjoyable roles for me. There was enough drama in here for it to be serious, because it was, at the end of the day, but enough humour in it to not let it become overly serious and lose sight of what made this film work. DiCaprio was brilliant – he gave Frank Abagnale Jr life that otherwise could have been forgotten or overlooked. He gave him zeal. I don’t think that anyone could have done it quite the same as DiCaprio. He was the right age, he was the right amount of cocky, he waltzed around there like a sly conman and had everyone convinced of all the things that he was doing – even he was convinced half the time he was who he said he was. You could identify with a scared young man who reinvented himself, and the reasons that he did so. DiCaprio played the role like it was his childhood he was re-enacting, and the feeling was authentic. He delivered his lines with fervour, and was just so well suited to tackle the role of a hunted young man. I loved the way DiCaprio strutted his stuff in a pilot’s uniform, but all the laughter and games runs out when soon his fear and desperation, his loneliness sets in and takes over. Frank’s life is falling apart, his real one that he has buried underneath his lies, as well as his fake little one he has put together. His uncertainty reins, and DiCaprio is simply brilliant in conveying Frank.

frank abagnale jr leaonardo dicaprio

Teddy Daniels – Shutter Island (2010)

DiCaprio had this role worked out down to a tee. There were some gripes about this flick that people had but whatever, but I thought it was a great piece of film. Teddy Daniels was brooding, moody, sharp as a tack, intent on figuring things out and serious about his job. He was so immersed in what he had to do, what he had to work out, how he had to prove himself, and DiCaprio managed to realise each and every one of those things about his character. Following Teddy, the story is new to you, and I have to give DiCaprio respect for never letting on about where the story would progress to and how it would end. A lot of actors that know where the twist in a movie comes manage to spoil it earlier on, whether by accident or whatever the case, the cat hops the bag. DiCaprio really is one of those actors that is able to separate where the character is now and where the character will be later on, and you can take the journey with him. It is a natural progression, as though he, too, has no idea where anything is going. I thoroughly enjoyed him in here, and felt his fire, confusion, anger, fear and resignation in this flick.

teddy daniels shutter island leonardo dicaprio

Howard Hughes – The Aviator (2004)

I feel that this was truly one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s defining roles. It was a good one, and the one role that a lot of people are familiar with and feel very strongly about. I thought it was a stand up part that he played, and DiCaprio shows you how Hughes was a regular guy, albeit a little whimsical and with a different type of zeal to life, and then takes you down the path of mental instability and the total breakdown that came. He portrayed Howard Hughes like he had lived the life of the aviator, the producer, the director, the rich man. He played it as though it was simple, even the mental decline and disturbing state we found DiCaprio to be on later. It was a good performance that cannot really be faulted in my opinion. DiCaprio was strong, constant and steady. It had a definite sense of both magic and realism, which can only be expected to be felt in a life like that led by Howard Hughes, and DiCaprio shows us that. He delivered a strong character and a believable man. I enjoy this movie, and every second that DiCaprio is on the screen is truly well worth it to me.

howard hughes the aviator leonardo dicaprio

Jay Gatsby – The Great Gatsby (2013)

You know, there were so many mixed views on The Great Gastby, and some issues were well-founded (and here I am specifically talking about that silly soundtrack), but overall I thought the movie was actually pretty good. But Leonardo DiCaprio truly carried a lot of the movie for me with his portrayal of Jay Gatsby, the mysterious millionaire with a heart that yearns for nobody other than Daisy. DiCaprio showed us the mystery, the wonder, the excitement, the hope and the depression. He was Jay Gatsby, caught up in his dream, building his life on one woman, someone he simply had to have. He showed how Gatsby was supposed to be regal but fell short of the mark a little bit, making his character and the origins he speaks of seem slightly questionable. He was enigmatic and powerful, but also lost and confused, and you can see this when DiCaprio plays him. I thought he was very well cast for the role.

jay gatsby the great gatsby leonardo dicaprio2

Jim Carroll – The Basketball Diaries (1995)

So I got to this after I was waxing lyrical about DiCaprio over on Mark’s site, and he asked if I had seen The Basketball Diaries. I had not and put it on my list quickly to watch, and I finally got around to it. I am shocked that it took me so long to see it! DiCaprio was actually just brilliant in this (not that I really expected anything else), and took us on the journey of a cheeky young boy who loses his life, soul and opportunities in the world to the evil that is heroin. He started out fairly enough, a naughty boy but still with a life of promise, somewhat shy but all over the show, and his character changes and grows as he admits how he dabbled with heroin, felt like a hero and a rockstar because he had control of it then the gradual slip and decline into drug dependency. He was really young when he did this, twenty one if I am correct, but he plays the part as though he has far more years’ experience to speak of. His desperation and addiction are disgusting to watch, and you cannot even really pity someone that would do that to themselves, though DiCaprio still manages to have you root for him the entire way through, demonstrating that he is not all bad.

Jim Carroll the basketball diaries leonardo dicaprio

Frank Wheeler – Revolutionary Road (2008)

Then there is Frank Wheeler. This is also a movie that I only watched recently but that I must say I thoroughly enjoyed. I went in knowing nothing about it but got worried when it started that it would be some soppy romance. Yes, I am going to come right out and hate on it, I am not a fan of romance films. However, this proved to be a pretty decent drama, though I suspect one of the biggest reasons it worked out so well was the life and fire that DiCaprio gave Frank. He was the loving husband and father, and then soon he was the dejected man who hated his job and despised his life, who was crushed out and blown off by his wife. That, too, soon spun around and he was the excitable man with his little dreams, but doubt was disseminated early on when offered a promotion. He is in an uncomfortable and unsure position, and DiCaprio lets you know that. He revels in his dream a while longer, but when reality comes crashing in around his ears, he makes the decision on his own, and must live with it. The heartache he goes through, the uncertainty, is laid bare for all viewers. His anger that gushes out at the best of times, as well as how loving and caring a person Frank is is demonstrated by DiCaprio effortlessly.

frank wheeler revolutionary road leonardo dicaprio2

Amsterdam Vallon – Gangs of New York (2002)

I know there are a lot of complaints about DiCaprio in Gangs of New York and I must say that I find it rather unfounded. I thought he was just fine in here. Granted, it may not be my favourite film of all time, but it was a long way from a bad one. He played the gangster, the wronged orphan rather well. He was the man on a revenge mission, who wished to avenge his father, the man who would not be the overlooked boy that he once was. I thought that he and Daniel Day-Lewis played off of each other very well, and worked nicely. DiCaprio was good at playing the leader of the gangs that rose up and competed against The Butcher, and Vallon was a decent character. Though he was not the biggest draw of the film, DiCaprio and Day-Lewis were just amazing together, lending a lot to one another’s characters. DiCaprio is worth checking out in here, I really thought that it was a good one to check out and an enjoyable to watch, to see the angsty boy put in his place, but rise up and fight back, to find himself, learning lessons about respect and honour throughout his personal course.

amsterdam vallon gangs of new york leonardo dicaprio

Honourable Mentions:

Richard – The Beach (2000)

Arnie Grape – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

Danny Archer – Blood Diamond (2006)

Romeo Montague – Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Roger Ferris – Body of Lies (2008).

That’ll do it for this week’s edition of The Guest List. Another BIG thank you to Zoe for contributing! Don’t forget to vote and submit your very own top 10 to The Guest List. Everyone have a great weekend!

The Guest List: Parlor of Horror

After a brief absence, The Guest List is back…with vengeance on my mind…I’m just kidding. This week I’m excited to have Mike from Parlor of Horror contributing his top 10 to The Guest List! If you don’t already follow/subscribe to his site, you’re really missing out. He’s one of the best writers I know and always has outstanding content over on his website. So, yeah, go and check him out!

If you want to contribute your very own top 10 to The Guest List, here’s how!

All you need to do is 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, please don’t forget to get your votes in for the Top 10 Films of 2013. A list for the common cinephile by the common cinephile!

I’m going to turn things over to Mike now, enjoy!

Top 10 Modern Sci-Fi Films (1965 – present): by Mike

The 1950s were considered the golden age of sci-fi films. Sci-fi from the pulp fiction magazines in the 1920’s and 30’s were finally able to be filmed with some good special effects for the time. Stories by HG Wells, Ray Bradbury, and Isaac Asimov, were brought to film and to television through shows like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. Mutant giant insects, giant monsters, dinosaurs, radioactive men, flying saucers, alien invasions and robots rose to test man’s authority. Future filmmakers had quite a challenge if they were going to produce films that would hold up when compared to these. In many circumstances they have exceeded the challenge. They have stretched the possibilities to the edge of space and depths of the human mind. So, without further fanfare, I offer this list of the Top 10 Modern Sci-fi films – post 1950s.

10: War of the Worlds (2005)

Although I love the 1950’s George Pal version, this one had 3-legged pods – closer to the original H.G. Wells story. The scenes with the war-crafts are incredible. The rise from the ground, the decimation of Staten Island, and the Hudson River crossing, are all amazing scenes.

war of the worlds pic 1

9: I-Robot (2004)

This film based on the Isaac Asimov’s story of the same name is a fantastic look at a possible future. The film brings up the three laws of robotics and the struggle of the main robot, Sonny, to adhere to these laws. The film starts out with a murder mystery and keeps escalating into the realms of fantastic.

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8: Minority Report (2002)

The whole idea of ‘thought police’ is an unnerving concept. Imagine getting arrested just because of the thought, before you even acted upon it. That is the basis for this story and its loaded with scientific advancements taken into the future. The parts when the main character is walking through the mall and is being bombarded with adverts based upon his purchasing history is already happening today on the internet and is only a step away from happening in real life. Real science fiction is something that can actually happen around the next bend of time. Just as Star Trek’s ‘Com’ devices have appeared as cell phones, I see a half dozen things in this film that are already lined up to become reality.

minorityreport_

7: The Matrix (1999)

This mind-bending blockbuster movie melded the real world with the cyber world. It really changed the game for sci-fi action films and was praised for its modern concepts. It felt like a totally new and unanticipated field in science fiction and takes the ‘virtual world’ idea to its extreme limits.

the-matrix-1999

6: Jurassic Park (1993)

 Aside from visually bringing dinosaurs to life, the amazing part of this film is what happened during the research and preproduction. In order to get the most realistic dinosaurs onto the screen, Spielberg brought together scientists from numerous fields; Paleontology, Mathematics, Engineering, Genetics, and Biology. They came to many conclusions that had only been loose ideas scattered throughout the scientific community. The biggest one is Dinosaurs do not drag their tails on the ground. In order for the giant dinos to raise their heads, their tails had to be aloft as a counterbalance. Other conclusions: they are warm blooded, they are fast, they lived in family groups and herds, they were more closely related to birds… It took Spielberg’s ingenuity (and money) to bring these scientists together and solidify a more perfect picture of what dinosaurs were actually like. Many museums began changing their dinosaur’s skeleton positions after these realizations.

jurassicpark_tyrannosaurus_rex

5: Terminator 2 (1991)

This is the first major sci-fi film that uses CGI to its full potential. It really looks great and holds up well to this day. The CG is not overused and mostly applied to the T-1000 (liquid metal). Time travel, robotics and ethical questions of science all wrapped up in one film.

Terminator 2

4: Alien (1979)

Long stretches of silence and the isolation of vast space create a palpable atmosphere in this film. It is the quiet that makes the alien attacks so jarring. The H.R. Geiger designed alien is amazing. It seemed so real and alive. Goodbye to any notion of alien grays, this was a life form beyond most people’s imagination.

alien 1979

3: Westworld (1973)

Westworld is a luxury resort, where you could live the life of the old west. The reason you are able to shoot the bad guys is they are all actually advanced robot androids. Everything was going well until one android (played by Yul Brenner) was no longer satisfied with constantly losing his gun battles to the inferior humans. He loads his gun with real bullets and becomes… an unstoppable killing machine. (The original Terminator) Written and directed by Michael Crichton.

Westworld 1

2: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

This spacey Kubrick trip is about a computer system, HAL, becoming self aware – years before most people knew of a computer. It was the 1st film to put ship models and the film’s cameras on robotic tracks in order to shoot realistic looking spacecraft in thru-space movement. Without this advancement, there’s no Star Wars and there’s no Alien franchise.

2001 a space odyssey pic 2

1: Planet of the Apes (1968)

Charlton Heston’s pinnacle performance as ‘Taylor’ in the original 1968, mind-bomb was fantastic. The film was laced with a myriad of allegory and thought-provoking social issues. The final scene with the half-submerged, Statue of Liberty is one of the great moments in all film history. It really solidifies the idea that humans place as the apex life form in the world is just temporary.

planet of the apes 1968

 

What an awesome list, I’m sure it’ll stir up some heated debates! Before I let you go, don’t forget to vote and send me your very own entry for The Guest List. Have a great weekend!

The Guest List: Silver Screen Serenade

Another Friday is upon us…you know what that means don’t you? It’s time for another kick-ass edition of The Guest List! This week I am fortunate enough to have Cara from Silver Screen Serenade contribute her very own top 10 to the segment! If you don’t already subscribe/follow to her site, I highly suggest you do so…right after you read her incredible top 10!

If you’re interested in submitting your very own top 10 to the segment, here’s how! By the way, I’m still waiting on a lot of you to send a post over, so if you can, throw an e mail my way letting me know when I can expect it by.

All you need to do is 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.

I’m going to turn things over to Cara now, enjoy!

Top 10 Marvel/DC Villains: by Cara

Having just seen “Thor: The Dark World” (which is great, by the way), I am on a major superhero high right now. But you know what? It’s not just a superhero high. As they say, it takes two to tango. What fun would a righteous superhero be without a nasty ol’ supervillain? With that in mind, here are some of my personal favorite supervillains from the ever-expanding world of Marvel and DC films.

10: The Mandarin/Trevor Slattery (Iron Man 3)

Maybe in the end he’s not quite what we thought he’d be, but you have to admit that Ben Kingsey’s portrayal of The Mandarin is pretty freaking intense in Iron Man 3—even if (SPOILER ALERT) the whole persona is a farce. A terrorist with a vendetta against Tony Stark, he rocks his shades, wicked beard, fancy robe, and camo pants like nobody’s business, and the creepy way he talks will give you chills. And if that doesn’t work for you, maybe hilarious, ridiculous Trevor will win you over.

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9: Scarecrow/Dr. Jonathan Crane (The Dark Knight Trilogy)

In Batman Begins, Cillian Murphy’s Scarecrow is the corrupt head psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, where he experiments on inmates with a hallucinogenic toxin that induces fear. He may not be physically imposing, but that mask is scary as all get out—especially after a dose of the toxin. The Scarecrow spreads his toxin across Gotham, and the resulting chaos nearly destroys the city. After his plan is foiled, the Scarecrow makes two delightful cameos in the Dark Knight sequels. He’s the only villain to appear in all three Nolan films, and that’s awesome.

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8: Red Skull/Johann Schmidt (Captain America: The First Avenger)

A supervillain and a Nazi? Can they get much more evil than that?! When we’re introduced to Captain America on the big screen, he’s fighting against Nazi Germany, and Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull becomes his biggest adversary. The ruthless head of the Nazis’ HYDRA research division, the Red Skull is obsessed with power, magic, and the occult, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get what he wants. His eerie appearance is the result of bad batch of super soldier serum. Funny how a similar serum makes Captain America so darn attractive…

Captain America: The First Avenger

7: Mystique/ Raven Darkholme (X-Men series)

A staple of the original three X-Men movies, Rebecca Romijn’s shape shifting Mystique is easily one of the toughest mutants on the block. She may be a woman of few words, but it’s hard to find time to talk when you have so many asses to kick. This blue beauty is super athletic, super clever, and super loyal to evil best bud Magneto. Also, one time she snapped a guy’s neck with her feet. If that’s not the definition of a badass, I don’t know what is.

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6: The Green Goblin/Norman Osborn (Spider Man)

The first foe we get to see Spider-Man tackle on the big screen, Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin sets the standard pretty high for tech-savvy supervillains. He’s got a fancy jet glider loaded with ammunition, lots of dangerous little bombs, and even some paralytic gasses—all of which put Spider-Man in some tight spots. Oh, and the Green Goblin is also hopped up on an experimental super soldier formula that makes him both very strong and very crazy—a great combination for a supervillain.

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5: Doctor Octopus/Dr. Otto Octavius (Spider Man 2)

Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus takes extreme body modification to a whole new level. You think piercings and tattoos are a big deal? How about adding four super strong robotic limbs? After an experiment goes awry, Doc Ock is at first horrified to find himself fused to the metal arms, but it doesn’t take long for him to give in to grief and obsession and use the limbs for a wicked, dangerous purpose. Even Spider-Man struggles with this handsy (tentacly?) foe.

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4: Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)

He may be hard to understand sometimes through his intense headgear, but the bulging muscles and sinister plans send a pretty clear message: don’t mess with Tom Hardy’s Bane. The lethal final foe in the Dark Knight Trilogy, Bane almost puts Batman out of commission for good with one backbreaking blow. As clever as he is strong, the villain successfully captures and shuts down the entire city of Gotham for months, nearly destroying it before Batman swoops in to save the day. He’s definitely one of the most intense villains on this list.

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3: Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr (X-Men series)

Graceful, charismatic, and totally ruthless, Sir Ian McKellan’s Magneto looks just as suave playing chess as he does manipulating metal for destructive, murderous purposes. And he does it all with a cheeky, grandfatherly twinkle in his eye. Formerly a close friend of benevolent telepath Professor Xavier, Magneto chooses a darker path in life—a path that is constantly at odds with the existence of pesky humans. A clever mutant who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, Magneto causes serious trouble for Professor X’s mutants in all three original X-Men films.

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2: Loki (Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World)

Without shame, I will admit that I love Tom Hiddleston’s Asgardian magician Loki slightly more than the villain’s brother and superhero counterpart, Thor. Often straddling the line between supervillain and anti-hero, Loki is a prominent figure in both Thor films as well as The Avengers. He’s embittered by jealousy and rage, and he craves power above all else, yet he’s also wickedly charming and funny. Plus, he’s constantly battling a secret soft spot for his bro, which just makes you wanna go “aww.” Fans have so much Loki love that they’re even petitioning for a solo movie. We can only dream…

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1: The Joker (The Dark Knight)

Like anyone else was going to snag the number one slot. Very predictable of me, I know, but Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance as the intense, terrifying Joker in The Dark Knight will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the best portrayals of a supervillain ever. The Joker gleefully wreaks havoc in Gotham City, slaughtering citizens with a jagged smile and a chilling cackle. He’s a brilliant, twisted terrorist, but he’s also darkly humorous and completely fascinating. Without this supervillain, The Dark Knight simply would not be the masterpiece that it is. R.I.P. Heath.

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Okay then, what a list! Remember to head on over to Silver Screen Serenade and follow! A big thank you to Cara for contributing! Everyone have a great weekend!

The Guest List: Committed to Celluloid

Wow, It’s been a while since I’ve posted an entry into The Guest List. Nonetheless, I can think of no one better to bring it back with than Fernando of Committed to Celluloid! If you haven’t already subscribed/followed his site, I highly suggest you do so. He’s got terrific content over there and an insightful, intelligent mind that tackles the films he watches with a unique perspective. A BIG thanks to him for always supporting my site and contributing his top 10 to the segment.

If you want to submit your own list to the segment, here’s how!

All you need to do is 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 and other Guest List entries as references. Then, send it back to me and we will discuss a date of publish.

I’m going to turn things over to Fernando now. Enjoy!

Top 10 Underrated Actors Working Today: by Fernando

This is not, in any way, a definitive top 10. Heck, I might have another 10 actors deserving of the spot, but these are the first that sprung to mind when I think about thespians that should be better appreciated and racking up all the awards. So, without further ado, here’s my Top 10 underrated actors working today.

10: Frances McDormand

She’s a one time Oscar winner and multiple nominee, but most of the mainstream movie-going public has no idea who she is. Why the hell is that? Frances McDormand is a terrific actress, equally adept at drama and comedy, who should be at the level of fame of Meryl Streep. And she’s married to one half of the Coen brothers. Why is she not a star?

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9: Andrew Garfield

The fact that he was snubbed by the Oscars, where he should have won ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for his riveting turn as Eduardo Saverin in “The Social Network” (and wasn’t even nominated), still hurts. He also revitalized the character of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, which had become a joke, in the unnecessary but still pretty solid “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

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8: Sam Rockwell

He gives great performance after great performance and, amazingly, has 0.00% Oscar nominations and is not a household name. Nobody saw his best performance (in Conviction). There’s hope that he can become more famous and appreciated if he manages to get nods for his work in The Way, Way Back (fingers crossed).

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7: Tom Hiddleston

He was pretty much the only good thing in “Thor” and “The Avengers” and “War Horse,” and I’m pretty sure he’ll kick ass again in “Thor: The Dark World.” Oh, and he was great in “Midnight in Paris.” He’s garnered a cult following but hasn’t achieved the level of stardom he deserves. Give us a solo Loki movie now! (https://www.change.org/petitions/petition-to-marvel-studios-to-produce-a-film-based-on-the-character-loki-portrayed-by-tom-hiddleston)

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6: Anna Kendrick

She’s got excellent comedic timing, she’s very cute and can sing well; Kendrick is a highlight of “Up in the Air” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.” And I bet her widest seen role is the one she has in the “Twilight” franchise. That needs to change.

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5: Carey Mulligan

Classic beauty, glowing smile and a very understated style of acting that’s been displayed in movies like “Drive” and “Shame,” Carey is probably the most underrated actress working in the most talked-about movies.

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4: Sharlto Copley

An incredible breakthrough in 2009’s “District 9,” a fun performance in “The A-Team” and a scene-stealing turn in “Elysium” haven’t made him a household name. Let’s hope “Oldboy” or “Chappie” will.

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3: Logan Lerman

He first impressed me at the tender age of 15 years in “3:10 to Yuma.” He’s a decent action/fantasy leading man in “Percy Jackson” but his performance in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is not only one of the best of 2012, but one of the best I’ve ever seen. Pure, raw talent.

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2: Casey Affleck

While everybody is busy with his brother Ben, Casey is off giving great performances in movies like “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” Stop crying over the Batman casting and see his baby brother in action. Maybe “Out of The Furnace” or “Interstellar” will give him the exposure he deserves.

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1: Ben Foster

Maybe it’s his weird voice, but I don’t know why Foster is not more of a household name. He absolutely shone in “The Messenger” but his best performance is the one he gave in “3:10 to Yuma” (there’s that movie again). Not only is he unknown to the masses, he hasn’t ever been nominated for an Oscar. Just sad.

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Okay, that’ll do it for this week’s edition of The Guest list. Another big thank you to Fernando (go and follow his site) for contributing! Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

The Guest List: Gone With The Movies

This week we have Charlie from Gone With The Movies contributing his top 10 to The Guest List! Now, this is a very special edition, seeing as I contribute to the website quite frequently. So not just for Charlie, but for me as well, please, for the love of god, go over to the site right now and follow/subscribe, read our posts, and comment! The site is fantastic! It has reviews, news, articles, interviews, etc…

If you’d like to contribute your very own top 10 to The Guest List, here’s how!

All you need to do is 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

I will pass things over to Charlie now, enjoy!

Top 10 James Bond Films: By Charlie

Firstly a big thank you to Joseph for the opportunity to share my love for James Bond with your viewers. This top 10 as I had briefly mentioned is about James Bond, I have detailed the top 10 films released so far, based to a comparison to each other, thus judging the best in this list, and the worst – which would definitely include the recent Quantum of Solace and everyone’s ‘most popular worst’ Die Another Day. Please feel free to tear my list apart in the comment section below, or you can even agree with it and post your favourites below too! … Onto the list:

10: Dr. No. (1962)

Although Goldfinger may have been the movie that started the Bond phenomenon, Dr No. first made the exciting debut of Bond in the early 1962. Introducing not only Bond, or the babes, and definitely not the gadgets, we are shown the recurring evil organisation SPECTRE.

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9: Live and Let Die (1973)

Many Die-hard Bond fans, dislike Roger Moore as James Bond, mainly because ‘he does not play Bond, he plays Roger Moore’. But I like Roger Moore, this adaptation of one of the best novels shows Bond as both a detective and a comedian and with real world problems! – *Raises left eyebrow*.

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8: Skyfall (2012)

Scooping over one billion dollars at the Box-Office last year means that I am not the only one who enjoyed this film… Skyfall goes back to the classic, Goldfinger-eqsue Bond (I just made that word up), it shows that even after 50 years Bond is one of the best franchises, which statistically it is.

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7: From Russia With Love (1963)

Classic Bond brought straight from novel to screen. With almost no humour and lacking everything that future Bond films would hold and re-use, From Russia With Love ups the standard and make creates a new class for Spy Thrillers. Oh, and the final fight sequence is probably one of the best in cinema.

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6: Goldeneye (1995)

When I started my top ten list I did not plan it to have a different Bond actor in each of the first entries, it is complete coincidence I tell you! Goldeneye sends Bond back to Cold-War espionage, proper spy-stuff. With Sean Bean as the villain Bond finally meets his match.

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5: Casino Royale (2006)

After the disastrous Die Another Day, the future of Bond almost lost completely, but after a long six year delay we are have one of the most classic Bond features yet. Bringing back all of the elements that created Bond, new face Daniel Craig establishes himself as the epitome of Bond. James Bond.

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4: The Living Daylights (1987)

After seeing Granddad’ Bond in A View to a Kill, Bond was left on a low, what better thing to do than introduce a new Bond face! Introducing Timothy Dalton into the role he brings Bond back to reality, with a darker, more sophisticated killer personality. Just as creator Ian Fleming first imagined.

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3: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

By his third outing as James Bond, Roger Moore had comfortably settled into the role of Bond – bringing us one of the biggest and best Bond adventures yet. With all of the key Bond cast and crew still living long and prosperous this is the most entertaining – (and bitey).

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2: On Her Majesty’s Service (1969)

Taking over on anything that Sean Connery has already moulded, and then having to make it better or equally as good is almost impossible! Almost … On Her Majesty’s Secret Service proves that Bond cannot be controlled by one man as George Lazenby successfully takes on the role.

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1: Goldfinger (1964)

The quintessential Bond movie! With its ingenious blend of humour, action, gadgets, sex, sophistication and exotic locations – Goldfinger defined what audiences would come to expect from a Bond film – creating its own special formula.

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A big thank you to Charlie for contributing this stellar list! Again, go over to the site and subscribe/follow. Hope you all enjoyed this edition of The Guest List. Have a great weekend!