Sunday, December 31, 2006

Top 5 Dream Sequences

"I feel like I've been in a coma for the past twenty years. And I'm just now waking up."
Here are the finest five of them all.

5) The Big Lebowski (1998)
We're entering the Dude's world, as the dream starts. Saddam's handing the bowling shoes, Julianne Moore's in a naughty warrior suit and the Dude is shaking his ass to the rhythm. Dozens of feathered Busby Berkeley dancers are lining up along the bowling aisle, and the Dude's hovering below their skirts, with a stupid smile on his face. And then it turns to a nightmare, when the evil little red people want to cut off his fingers. Funny and amazingly executed, it fits perfectly to the wacky attitude of the film. The Dude abides.

4) An American Werewolf In London (1981)
Our young sight-seeing leading man has just been molested by a wild animal and watched his best friend die. This kind of stuff is meant to haunt you in your dreams. But one would naturally expect a werewolf in our hero's nightmares. And this is the actual trick. When Nazis with terrifying masks and 12inch knives and Uzis come barging through the door, you believe it's the real thing, and you mouth a repeated "what-the-fuck" monologue, just as our twisted hero wakes up. And then "holy crap" becomes your current obsession, since the curtains rapidly open to reveal a Nazi attempting to slit the beautiful nurse's neck. No, wait, it's just another dream...

3) American Beauty (1999)
Watch Lester Burnham, a simple, middle-aged, depressed man whose highlight-of-the-day is masturbating in the shower. He has been asleep for most of his life, but now he's awake. So, where's the harm in daydreaming about your 16-year-old daughter's cheerleader friend, unzipping her top and exposing her rosepetal-shooting breasts. Or even better, giving your dangerously under-aged object of your fantasies a flowery bath, her being so dirty and all... I bet Lester's highlight-of-the-day ain't masturbating anymore...

2) Trainspotting (1996)
Going cold-turkey from the junkie's eyes. We actually don't know if it's a nightmare or a hallucination, but it doesn't even matter. We watch in awe as Renton gets a visit from his not-so-close friends, from his under-aged one night stand, to a ceiling-walking dead baby. It's not about getting out of drugs, it's about standing up to your sins and facing your guilty past. It's a way of cleaning up your soul, and Danny Boyle makes it quite clear that it takes pain and suffering for his front man to find redemption.

1) Brazil (1985)
Jonathan Pryce experiences the same dream again and again, only each time it turns out in a different way. So, we watch as our witless protagonist Sam Lowry becomes a hero in his dreams, where he flies with his wings above fields and kisses the pretty girl. Just like the threatening and nightmarish portrayal of the future bureaucratic world of Terry Gilliam, the dreams become nightmares as the mood of the film swings. When the winged, sword yielding hero faces a giant Samurai, in order to free the slaves and his loved one, it's one of the best inner-battles ever captured on screen. Truly unique dream sequences in a style only one man can direct, Terry Gilliam is the definition of personal cinema.

Only daydreaming and hallucinations count, not visions and dark thoughts, cause the list would be endless. Carrie, Friday the 13th, The Cell, The Descent, they didn't make it. Nightmare on Elm Street franchise has too many to remember, and there are too many to mention from the horror genre. In Donnie Darko, Lost Highway and Mulholland Dr. you can't quite tell what's a dream and what's not. Waking Life, Vanilla Sky's lucid dream and Alien 3's chestbursting scene came close. Flatliners' amazing capture of near-death experiences came 6th, Rosemary's Baby devilish rape came in 7th, Spellbound came in 8th. Movies like the Matrix, Fight Club and Ghostbusters would fill in the top 20.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Top 5 Christmas Proposals

"Merry Christmas, Bitches!"
Here are the finest five of them all.

5) Braincell-killing Christmas Comedies
Either you'll rent them for your children, or they'll be on TV. It's inevitable, so just deal with it. How much Tim Allen can you handle? Cause if your offsprings watch a couple of Santa Clauses, they'll be draggin' you to the nearest multiplex for the latest sequel. Even so, it's much better than watching Arnie Jingle All Da Way, or wasting 90 minutes of your life experiencing Christmas with the Kranks. It's either this, or spending more time with your in-laws. So why not in fact taking your little rascals to the nearest multiplex? It's a lose-lose situation, so just look at the bright side : Easter is four months away, you'll have just enough time to recover from your holiday traumas.

4) Old-fashioned Family Flicks
I guess watching It's a Wonderful Life for the fifteenth time is much like hearing Wham yelling about their Last Christmas : while they should push you one step closer to commiting suicide, they don't! It's a Christmas miracle! So, if watching the Seventh Seal on Christmas time ain't exactly your cupcake, watch Will Ferrell in tights and wonder why Elf was so adorable, or see how Macaulay Culkin was once successful. Oh, nevermind, there's always Die Hard...

3) Touchy-Feely Musicals
If you're not a fan of the all-singing, all-dancing stuff of the movie world, this is not your thing. But this one beats the crap out of the neighbour's karaoke sing-along get-together. Avoid any musical containing open heart-surgery, it's a bit out of the christmas spirit. And leave any sweet transvestites from outer space for the Halloween season. Let's start with Fame and A Chorus Line, and work our way up the cheerful chain. Watch Moulin Rouge until your retinas detach, mainly for all the red. Continue with "I feel pretty, oh so pretty" West Side Story, and "Over the Rainbow" Wizard Of Oz. Listen to Sally Bowles' yapping about a girl named Elsie, and then witness Billy Flynn do the Razzle Dazzle. Finally, if you're more of a Frank Sinatra type-of-guy (or gal) rather than a David Bowie one, then watch Gene Kelly as he jumps in and out of little water ponds, or lip sing supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and the hills will come alive with the sound of Julie Andrews.

2) Politically-incorrect Christmas laugh-fests
Christmas wouldn't be the same without some gift-wrapped, stop-motion skulls or some malicious little green monsters that reproduce with a touch of water. Introduce your children to a world without Smurfs, and make them watch the Grinch, as he steals all the presents from Whoville. Sing along with Jack Skellington, as he discovers Christmastown in the Nightmare Before Christmas. Admire how British Johnny Depp looks as pale Edward Scissorhands, and be careful not to feed your adorable Mogwai after midnight. Watch Bill Murray as he gets a visit by the Christmas Spirit, and wonder how this holy season would be like if Billy Bob Thornton was Saint Nick. Finally, cherish the little pleasures in life, like watching Chevy Chase being savagely molested by a raccoon in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

1) A Richard Curtis Marathon
Welcome to the world of Richard Curtis. A world where three centrefold girls hit on you when you step into a bar, a world where the bookstore owner always gets the rich and famous girl. It doesn't matter if the movie isn't Christmas related. In the time of year where depression kicks in, and usually kicks in hard, we need a strong dose of corny. On Christmas Eve, start off with Mr Bean and Blackadder's Christmas Carol, just to get in the mood. Continue with Notting Hill and Four Weddings And A Funeral, and you have successfully prepared the ground for the big day. As an appetiser, serve Bridget's Jones Diary to the estrogen barring guests, and for the main course let the man mesmerize you with Love Actually. If at the end of the day you feel all mushy and warm inside, you have survived yet another Christmas period, all thanks to the rom com king.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Top 5 Career-Building Movies

"Nature's first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold.Her early leaf's a flower, but only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf, so Eden sank to grief. So dawn goes down to day, nothing gold can stay. "

Here are the finest five of them all.

This movie's cast and director were meant to make it big for some time, and then lose their fame or credibility. Joel Schumacher will show his abilities with Lost Boys, Flatliners and Falling Down, and then he will go on and break Batman. Since then, his movies won't be treated with respect, even if they're interesting efforts like 8mm, Tigerland or Phantom Of The Opera. Judd Nelson and Emilio Estevez (in a bigger role than in The Outsiders), hit it big with Breakfast Club and St Elmo's Fire in '85, but the 90s will ignore them almost completely. Rob Lowe's career won't be the one to be jealous of, and Andie MacDowell hasn't had a hit since Four Weddings and a Funeral. In fact, only Demi Moore survives to this day, and it doesn't look good for her either.
Sadly, it's true. American Pie had a tremendous impact on teenage audience, and as a result the entire cast was on high-demand. Jason Biggs and Sean William Scott will face stardom with not-so-wise decisions, and will be typecasted in comedic roles. It seems that 1999 was a good year for Mena Suvari and Chris Klein, with American Beauty and Election respectively being their most important roles to date. Shannon Elizabeth is kinda lost and Tara Reid is mostly known for her celebrity life, rather than her movie roles. Alysson Hannigan, Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge will become recognizable, and eventually will exploit this fact to reprise similar roles. Time will tell if the entire cast will last, but let's face it, American Pie was a huge career builder.

Possibly the greatest directorial debut ever, but certainly not from the originality aspect. How a new-comer like Tarantino convinced Harvey Keitel to be a part in this movie, I'll never know. I'll also never know why Reservoir Dogs became such a huge, huge hit, but that's another story. Tim Roth owes a lot to this movie, since it gave him his first and his last success. Steve Buscemi already was in Barton Fink, Miller's Crossing and King Of New York, but this one establishes him as the cool support actor. The late Chris Penn didn't do much afterwards and Michael Madsen's career is pretty much all downhill from then on. But the true star of this movie is Tarantino himself. The motor-mouth who blends genres easier than anybody else in Hollywood, and that's the only thing I acknowledge in him. Third place is his and his only.

2) Reality Bites (1994)
Winona Ryder has already worked with Burton, Coppola and Scorcese, Ethan Hawke's CV contains Alive and Dead Poet's Society. Reality Bites isn't responsible for the huge success of these two, but this movie was like a goldmine for everyone that was involved with it. Ben Stiller proves he can handle with ease, not only the director's duties, but also playing roles with no slapstick humour, and achieves his transition to the Big Screen. Steve Zahn will go on to become the go-to guy for comedic support roles, Janeane Garofalo won't get what she deserves in the future, although she showed so much potential in this one. Renee Zellweger, Andy Dick and David Spade appear for just a few seconds, without showing their talent but proving that this movie was meant to be a lucky charm for the entire cast.
Low-profile and post-seventies, Coppola's name is mainly responsible for the movie's status, but there's so much more than just an acclaimed director behind The Outsiders. The teen cast includes Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise and Diane Lane who needless to say will become A-listers for the next twenty years. Emilio Estevez is the 80's teen king, with St Elmo's Fire and The Breakfast Club proving talent runs in the family. Ralph Maccio's biggest role will be Karate Kid, and Thomas C. Howell, who's the main character and shows the most talent of all, will unfortunately go on to lead a TV career. Patrick Swayze and Rob Lowe 'll have hits and flops, and for the record, even daddy's-little-girl Sofia and Tom Waits have screen time. So, quality plus quantity earned The Outsiders first place.

Saving Private Ryan (Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Matt Damon, Paul Giamatti,Nathan Fillion), Godfather I & II (Coppola, Pacino, De Niro, Diane Keaton, John Cazale), Star Wars (George Lucas, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher), Lord Of The Rings ( Jackson, Bloom, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Marton Csokas) are all high-profile movies. As high as it gets actually, so doors are bound to open when somebody has this kind of movies in his biography. Dazed And Confused (Adam Goldberg again, Matthew McConaughey, Cole Hauser, Milla Jovovich, Ben Affleck) and Flatliners (Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, Hope Davis) can't keep up with the rest. Boogie Nights pretty much built only Mark Wahlberg's career and established everybody else. Cruel Intentions, The Talented Mr Ripley and Scream have a young but already experienced cast, so none of them qualifies.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Top 5 James Bond Could-Be's

"Shaken, not stirred"

Here are the finest five of them all.

5) Jason Isaacs
He's got a thing for bad guys, so some may say he would be more fitting as a villain. Nevertheless, he's got all the right qualities: a yet low profile, a respectful CV, Timothy Dalton's looks, amazing adaptability. The only obvious problem is that Jason doesn't have cash written all-over his forehead, so he wouldn't make a bankable James Bond, but still, he fits the profile.

4) Alec Baldwin
Alec is from New York, but let's just imagine that the actor's origin doesn't play a part. The nay-sayers claim he's too old, but at the age of 48 he's just two years older than Roger Moore, when he first took the part in Live and Let Die. He's the closest to Pierce Brosnan, from the clean-cut face and oddly perfect haircut to the chubby figure. At least he hasn't yet started balding like Sean Connery did.

3) Clive Owen
Macho attitude, deep voice and as British as they come, we shall soon discover if it's a shame he didn't get the part. Of course he already was famous when the casting occured, and the 007 franchise is known for bringing less-known actors to stardom. Clive is critically acclaimed, stunt-capable, plus The Croupier showed us he's made to wear a tux, so let's just hope he won't be old enough to fill in Craig's shoes.

2) Gerard Butler
If the producers wanted to cast an actor who could portray a dark James Bond, he would be the one. Although already in the franchise with a minor role (in Tomorrow Never Dies), I don't see why that's really a problem. Obviously this Scottish actor has no trouble with action sequences, and recently showed us a surprising side of his in Phantom Of The Opera. Once rumoured to land the part, he could be the next best thing after Brosnan.

1) Ralph Fiennes
Indeed, a sophisticated choice for the role of James Bond, this guy can actually act. He would add a certain status in the performance part of the franchise, and there's no doubt he could pull it off, since he's one of the most versatile actors there are. Once considered the 33th sexiest star in movie history by Empire Magazine, he wouldn't just be a fitting choice, he would be perfect for the role.

Sean Bean has already had a major role in the franchise, George Clooney's too American, let alone a superstar, Colin Firth looks like a mamma's boy, Heath Ledger is too young, Alan Rickman's too old, Colin Farrell's too punk, Ewan McGregor lacks in charm and Jude Law's too much of a wuss. Thomas Jane is too much of an action hero, Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are too much of a superhero. Ioan Gruffudd's too lame and Dougray Scott is, well... too ugly. Eric Bana, Julian McMahon, Guy Pearce and Russel Crowe were strong contenders. And don't get me started on Hugh Grant...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Top 5 Alien Movies

"Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!"
Here are the finest five of them all.

5) War Of The Worlds (1953)
Let's start with the negatives. This movie hasn't aged well, the characters are forgetful, the aliens are ludicrous and the ending is disappointing. But when this movie came out half a century ago, it had balls. Pioneering effects, scenes of mass chaos, apocalyptic elements, plus the aliens are presented as monsters, not with human form like The Day The Earth Stood Still. We become the helpless animals and the Martians become the savages, up until nature finds its way to survive. Fresh after the second World War, it doesn't hesitate to use a nuclear bomb as an irony to its own government. Needless to say it set the ground for every alien-related movie to come, WOTW deserves 5th place.

4) Aliens (1986)
The first Alien created the myth, the foundation. The second one is more of an action thriller rather than a horror sci-fi, but Aliens is better in so many levels. As I have mentioned in the past, James Cameron made this one of the best action movies there are. Our heroes now have to face an army of aliens, not to mention the Bitch. Mixing monsters, starships, androids, gun fights along with emotion and a cunning script, Aliens is everything Starship Troopers would like to be, and everything Star Wars could be, if it pulled the right strings. Created seven years after the first one, it had a lot to live up to, but it succeeded all the way.

3) The Abyss (1989)
James Cameron is on his field: water and aliens. Set mostly underwater, this movie has the beauty of The Big Blue, the tension and suspense of Das Boot and the intelligence of, well... Close Encounters. Claustrophobic and mysterious, it gives a little too much emphasis on the extraterrestrial life and less on human emotion. It raises questions and has an anti-war message and of course how destruction-is-in-man's-nature, elements that could be a little less obvious. Nonetheless, the Abyss is a complete movie which has a little bit for everyone, from action junkies to star trek geeks.

2) E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
The movie that initiated a whole generation of children to the magic of the Big Screen. A moving, coming-of-age story, an adorable alien and a message that talks right to your heart. An allegory so pure and true, ET brings out real emotion. Friendship can conquer all, love knows no borders and all the rest, I can't think of any reason you wouldn't adore this movie. Spielberg's passion is responsible for ET's huge success, and it's safe to say that in any other director's hands it would have been ruined. From Edward Scissorhands to Donnie Darko, this movie affected every new director to come and changed the definition of mainstream blockbuster.

1) Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)
Even the title implies that it's a movie about communication. Somehow Spielberg manages to give every personal project of his a symbolical meaning. I can't quite explain it, but this movie connects with you in a deeper way than ET. It's about every man's quest for answers, a more adult work of Spielberg but at the same time as easily watchable from children. Unlike Contact, Close Encounters is everything but far-fetched, it really could happen to an everyday man, and that's maybe what makes it the most humane movie about extraterrestrial life.

Contact, Forbidden Planet, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978) and The Day The Earth Stood Still, they all came close. AI, Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssee, Dark City and Rocky Horror Picture Show don't actually focus on alien life. Slither, The Sphere, The Arrival, The McPherson Tape, Signs, Plan 9 from Outer Space, My Stepmother Is An Alien, What Planet Are You From and Earth Girls Are Easy are more like failed attempts, jokes or both. Predator, Men In Black, Mars Attacks, Independence Day, Starship Troopers, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956), War Of The Worlds (2005), Stargate, The 5th Element and The Thing would fill in the top 20.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Top 5 Conspiracy Movies

"Good morning, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night! "
Here are the finest five of them all.

5) Enemy of the State (1998)
In the footsteps of The Conversation, this movie is as close to reality as it gets. High-tech surveillance with run-but-you-can't-hide elements, when it ends, it leaves you with a feeling of suspicion and paranoia. It shows you the value of information and how everything is documented in contemporary life. Will Smith gives this movie its coolness, but it's Hackman's role that elevates Enemy of The State to the quality realm. Tony Scott provides style, but in the end the action steals the thunder off the conspiracy concept. Even so, it's quite a genre-blender, mixing political thriller with a high-tension actioner, which means pop-corn and intellingence".

4) The Conversation (1974)
If you come to think of it, it's not about some kind of conspiracy, but about fighting your inner demons, something we find in most of Coppola's work. Slow in pace and light in dialogue, this one focuses not on the art of surveillance, but on Hackman's Caul and how he tries to deal with the immorality of his job as a surveillance expert. Insanity and paranoia soon kick in, let alone regret and guilt. Yet another masterpiece for Coppola, directing as if the viewer is the spy and Caul is our victim.

3) The Truman Show (1998)
A conspiracy movie doesn't necessarily have to be about homicides and cults. The Truman Show is as nightmarish and frightening as the other contenders, despite its comedic elements. Peter Weir's direction is poetic, the performances are surprisingly fitting and down-to-earth, the OST has started melting in my CD-player, and the script is nearly perfect, let alone prophetic. It's maybe the only conspiracy concept that suggests it could actually happen to you. It's not even been a decade since its release, and this movie has already become a classic. The Truman Show hasn't aged a bit, it becomes more and more up-to-date as the years go by. It mustn't be remembered as Carrey's first serious role, or how the Academy ignored it completely, not even for Natascha McElhone's eyes, but for its glorious meaning.

2) Rosemary's Baby (1968)
What if you're chosen by God to bring His Son into this world? Now imagine if you're chosen by Satan. Simple, nothing-is-what-it-seems concept, but executed so well that it haunts your dreams. Polanski gave us a psychological thriller that became the archetype for every movie-about-the-supernatural to come. He created such a threatening and paranoid mood that became his trademark. Maybe the most influential movie of the horror genre, it changed the rulebook about happy endings.

1) JFK (1991)
It's one of those scripts where you can't help but wonder, how could anyone have written this. It needs your complete attention and isn't quite easy to follow, but once you sit down to watch this, it sucks you in for its whole 3 hours. Makes you think too, how the perception of things may be altered and twisted, how a government hides its dark secrets. Along with Syriana, they're the absolute representatives of the political thriller genre. Oliver Stone on his finest hour, doing what he knows best, plus half of Hollywood's best. The Kennedy assasination always intrigued the masses, and JFK has its own point of view, it's not fiction based on real events. It had such an impact, this movie actually reopened the case.

The Tenant, The Ninth Gate and Nixon are movies that couldn't possibly surpass their creators' previous masterpieces, The Game's ending is such a let-down, and it had so much potential, The Arrival and Conspiracy Theory just can't compete, and Fahrenheit 911 is a documentary and therefore, it doesn't qualify. Also The Matrix, The Insider and Dr Strangelove ain't conspiracy driven. Wag The Dog finished 6th.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Top 5 Movie Breasts

"Bob had bitch tits"
Here are the finest five of them all.

5) Shannon Elizabeth in American Pie (1999)
Sweet Jesus, they are enormous. I mean these jugs are colossal. Think about it, a foreign student with hooters this gargantuan, naked in your room reading magazines about other girls with huge Bon-bons. Big and round, and at the same time charming and fascinating. Splendid udders too, surrounded by massive milkmeat, these not-so-grassy knolls make you understand Jason Biggs misfortune.

4) Denise Richards in Wild Things (1998)
Dirty, dirty girl. Her hooters are so grand and incredible, they give you the goosebumps. And when you add another female and the water element on them, these objects-of-my-desire become ravishing. Some may call them just nice. NO, you're wrong, Denise's East and West Cleavage is more than extraordinary, it's perfection. They should sell these melons in the market.

3) Halle Berry in Swordfish (2001)
What better than reading a book topless, boobies changing the pages and everything? Her breasts are astonishing and flawless. Bloomings like that shouldn't be allowed on screen, cause their exceptional shape are distacting you from the plot. Petite yet grandiose, these knockers are just beautiful. Her bazookas are probably the most alluring and enchanting chesticles of the big screen.

2) Demi Moore in Striptease (1996)
You can't but admire her tig ol' bitties. These two lactators are awe-inspiring and seductive. Her tities are so magnificent, stunning and exceptional that bring tears in your eyes. Whack-material for the whole generation of the late 90s, Demi's beguiling weasels-of-the-chest should be exhibited in museums as part of Movie Culture. So, respect not only her fabulous cleavage cans, but also Ashton Kutcher who gets to enjoy these torpedoes.

1) Salma Hayek in Frida (2002)
Monumental, stupendous, walloping, astounding, phenomenal mammaries. So marvellous, these dirty pillows should be named the 8th wonder of the world. If you ever wonder of what material dreams are made of, this is it. Orbicular and firm, noble and respectful, these eye magnets make you believe in God. Honestly, we should start a cult and worship Salma's endowment, they 're that divine.

Heather Grahams' happy sacs in Killing me Softly and Boogie Nights, Chloe Sevigny's sweater cows in Brown Bunny and Boys Don't Cry, Angelina Jolie's crease creatures in Gia and Taking Lives, Keira Knightley's infant eateries in The Hole, Belluci's scapula scones in Irreversible, Diane Lane's dodongoes in Unfaithful, Anne Hathaway's jigglies in Brokeback Mountain, Penelope Cruz's clavicle clumps in Vanilla Sky, Sharon Stones' fun bags in Basic Instinct, Asia Argento's flesh convexities in Scarlet Diva, Amy Smart's effeminite masses in Road Trip, Katie Holmes' deltoid drawers in The Gift, Rosario Dawson's conjoined humpbacks in Alexander, Jennifer Connelly's porcelain hills in too many to mention, Naomi Watts' gibbosities in 21 Grams and Mulholland Dr, Rebecca Romijn's suckling stops in Femme Fatale, Charlize Theron's lickable ladyparts in Two Days in the Valley and The Devil's Advocate, Nicole Kidman's tatas in Eyes Wide Shut, Kate Winslet's rack in most of her movies, Julianne Moore's globes in Boogie Nights, Meg Ryan's meat hills in In The Cut, Paz Vega's gazongas in Sex and Lucia, Elizabeth Berkley's headlight honkers in Showgirls, Linda Fiorentino's hillocks in The Last Seduction and Dina Meyer's monkey lumps in Starship Troopers. Also, honorable mention for Meat Loaf's gelatinous formations in Fight Club. That about covers it. Next, top 5 movie penis's. Just kiddin'...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Top 5 Jumpseat Scares

"Come with us, children"
Here are the finest five of them all.

5) Final Destination (2000)
Alex has his usual premonition before something terrible happens. Then we witness a near fatal car accident, but everyone's ok. Have they survived Deaths's pattern once more, or not at all? And right then, when the completely expendable girl mouths the words "drop fuckin' dead", a bus comes out of nowhere and runs over her. Holy Mother of God... Moral lesson: never curse and always look both ways before crossing a road...

4) Friday the 13th (1980)
Everything is fine, our heroine is alive and triumphant, the villain is exposed, everything looks like we'll have a happy and most of all, serene ending. Christine is on the boat, Crystal Lake is so peaceful, the birds are chippin' and all is wonderful in life. Oh, look, Sergeant Tierney is here, hurraaaay, crack open the champagne. Then it hits you, little Jason pops out of the water, grabs and drags poor Alice into the lake. No, wait, it was just a dream... Music and disfigurement make this moment even more horrifying, not to mention the fact that it totally catches you off-guard, thinking the movie has ended and all. This scene, as stupid and unneccessary it may be, saved the whole movie.

3) Alien (1979)
It's not the chest-bursting scene, which may be extremely scary but it's not sudden, jump-seat scary. The alien is in the airlocks, Dallas is after it with a flamethrower. We constantly hear a blipping sound at a steady rate. Dallas finds some goo, and the signal is lost. Lambert starts crying in her mic for Dallas to get out of there, violins set the mood. The blipping sound is back and it's fast, the alien is after him. Then, a squeeky irritating sound and out comes the alien, in all its glory for the very first time. Just a couple of frames are enough to make you shit your pans. Screen goes blank, bye bye Dallas.

2) The Thing (1982)
The infamous defibrillator scene. MacReady is left outside to freeze to death, cause everyone believes he's the Thing. But guess what, they're all wrong. Macready gets really pissed off and smashes his way in through a window, threatening to blow everyone up with TNT. Norris collapses due to heart attack and Copper tries to revive him. He hits him once with the defibrillator unit. He tries again, but who could expect it, his chest opens and transforms into a teethy mouth chopping Copper's arms. Copper dies, Norris' head develops legs, the Thing escapes and we're left with our mouths wide open, saliva staining the floor and all. Damn...

1) The Others (2001)
It's not the opening scream, neither Victor's finger, nor the room with the scary painting and the sheet covered statues. Not even the "you're not my daughter" scene. It's all that, plus the final scene. The end is near, everything leads to the big climax. Grace tries to protect the children from the seemingly evil servants and sends them upstairs to hide. So, the children enter an empty room and hide in the closet. Music stops, heavy breathing follows.You actually expect something edgy to happen, and Amenabar doesn't dissapoint the fans. Someone is in the room, a voice is heard. The door opens, the decibels rise rapidly and the whole screen is filled with an elderly blind wrinkled woman, who can best be described as Donnie Darko's Grandma Death. Mop on aisle four, please...

So many to mention. Basically any slasher movie scares, from Halloween to Scream. Also, Carrie's hand, Signs' alien at the party, Deep Blue Sea's Samuel Jackson's death, Psycho's shower scene, What Lies Beneath's stereo, Evil Dead II's Ash turns to demon.The Descent, Wolf Creek, Poltergeist, Romero and Argento's movies, they all came close. But An American Werewolf In London's second dream, and the Eye's elevator scene would win places six and seven. It's the top 5 Jump-seat Scares, so movies with horrifying scenes but with prolonged terror or no sudden outburst, do not qualify. That leaves out The Shining, Blair Witch Project etc. So, wait for the Top 5 Horrifying Scenes list.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Top 5 Movie Deaths

"The horror, the horror..."
Here are the finest five of them all.

5) Psycho (1960)
The shower scene with about 90 splices in it. The shower scene that took 7 days to shoot. The shower scene that made people scream. The shower scene spoofed and immitated a thousand times since. The shower scene that's been spoiled from the huge buzz, which at the end makes you ask yourself "what's the big deal?". So, unless you're pushing fifty, I can't really think of a reason this scene impressed you the very first time. Would it stay in cinematic history, were it shot today? I don't think so. Hitchcock's myth played a big part back then, that's for sure. So, the fifth place is really more of a tribute, but I acknowledge the fact that Hitchcock played it brilliantly. Killing the lead character in the middle of the film, and creating the background for a shocking ending, makes you realize that Alfred didn't get the King Of Suspense title in vain.

4) Apocalypse Now (1979)
There isn't much to be said about maybe the best movie ever made, but once you watch this masterpiece you realize that it lives up to its name. For 150 minutes Francis Ford Coppola succesfully manages to create this myth around Marlon Brando's character. And then we are introduced to Colonel Kurtz, and we gaze in awe. In awe for Brando's performance and the movie's grand finale. We watch, while listening to The Doors' The End, as Captain Willard butchers Kurtz. More like a sacrifice than an assasination, this death earns 4th place for meaning alone, which shouldn't be explained but left solely to the viewer's judgement. Enough said.

3) Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
The Ark is opened, and all hell breaks loose. Well, actually it's more like God's wrath, but when you watch Nazis' faces melt or explode and spirits soare, you ain't exactly thinking. This being an Indiana Jones movie, which translates into a family-friendly actioner, gets a little edgy towards the end, offering some naive 8-year-olds life-time traumas. So, if you come to think of it, you would have saved yourself of all those Nazi-melting filled nightmares if you had actually heard your brother advicing you to close your eyes. Smart bloke, that Indy fella.

3) American History X (1998)
Director Tony Kaye uses violence in order to tell an actual story, not just for the sake of it. So, via flashbacks we witness how the racist Neo-Nazi Derek Vinyard becomes a reformed citizen. When the scene with the "put your mouth to the curb" comes along, you are just in the right mood to get the anti-racism message. But the director doesn't overdo it, he doesn't use graphic violence, he just gives us a close-up on the boy's face biting onto the curb, and then cuts just before Edward Norton stomps on his head. It's the sound that makes it so terrifying, so disturbing. Stays in your mind for ages.

1) Irreversible (2002)
Most brutal on-screen death ever. This movie became famous, or maybe infamous, due to its 8 minute rape scene of Monica Bellucci. But I assure you, whoever watched this one will remember it for that fire extinguisher scene. As this movie is told backwards, we first witness Marcus and Pierre looking for Alex's rapist. Long story short, they end up in this perverted club -Rectum- where they engage in a fight which can best be described as "just wrong". After Marcus gets his arm twisted and broken, Pierre, the up-until-then calm guy grabs a fire extinguisher and hits the guy's face, over and over and over again, and the single shot shows every last thing, from the broken teeth to the final mushed face. Your jaw drops and you get the tingling feeling up your spine. Whether or not this is an extreme depiction of violence made entirely to cause fuss, it's another story. This death is more efficient to a viewer's cinematic experience than any other movie death, so it wins first place.

Alien's chest bursting scene would be No 5, but Psycho took its place. Other contenders include Se7en's off-screen murders, Wizard Of Oz "I'm melting" witch, exploding fat guy at Monty Python's Meaning of Life, Bambi's mother is shot, Meet Joe Black's car pinball, Jaws' opening scene, American Psycho's axe scene, Pulp Fiction's car scene, Braveheart's freeeedom scene, Carlito and Tony Montana's deaths, Scream's screaming Drew Barrymore, Blade Runner, Return Of The Jedi, the Final Destination deaths, Killed Bill, Deep Blue Sea's Samuel Jackson scene and House of Wax's Paris-Hilton-gets-it scene (pure joy this one).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Top 5 Movie Endings

"Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The world is a fine place
and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part."
Here are the finest five of them all.

5) Carlito's Way (1993)
A brilliant movie with a brilliant ending. I'm talking about the last monologue of Carlito Brigante, one of the most moving monologues of cinema history. Read just the lines, and it sounds a little stupid, but hearing it through Al Pacino's shaking voice as Carlito dies, and seeing the whole thing through De Palma's soaring camera, you can understand why this ending earns 5th place. Don't even compare it with Scarface, this is a story of regret, of trying to get away from a guilty past. And in the end, it's just the sunset and a woman dancing. Indeed, they don't make movies like that anymore.

Sorry boys, all the stitches in the world can't sew me together again. Lay down... lay down. Gonna stretch me out in Fernandez funeral home on Hun and Ninth street. Always knew I'd make a stop there, but a lot later than a whole gang of people thought... Last of the Moh-Ricans... well maybe not the last. Gail's gonna be a good mom... New improved Carlito Brigante... Hope she uses the money to get out. No room in this city for big hearts like hers... Sorry baby, I tried the best I could, honest... Can't come with me on this trip, Loaf. Getting the shakes now, last call for drinks, bars closing down... Sun's out, where are we going for breakfast? Don't wanna go far. Rough night, tired baby... Tired...

4) Se7en (1995)
This is a genre-blender, a film noir with gore elements, a cop thriller with a dash of psychological drama. It broke all the rules in the book. For the first time the explicit murders are shown to us. The killer is presented to us long before the end, and makes you wonder why. What could possibly be more shocking than what has happened already? It rained for the whole movie, setting the perfect atmosphere, then near the end the sky is clear. And you ask yourself, Who is envy, who is wrath? Then, you finally witness one of the best climaxes there are. John Doe has the most clever killing pattern in movie history, and no matter how many times Se7en's plot is immitated, it will never lose its greatness. Plus, like in every David Fincher movie, there's such a vivid comment on the decline of society, which gives even deeper meaning to its ending.

3) Magnolia (1999)
Why are there in the very beginning the little stories about accidents and coincidences? We will sure find out, but PT Anderson won't make it easy for us. Three hours in, it starts raining frogs, and just like the sing-along, it actually makes sense. Not quite a god intervention, but an amazing way for all the characters to reach redemption, as their destiny changes while driving down Magnolia Boulevard. Aaaaaahhhhaaaaaaa you might say, and god damn right. Now watch the movie again, see how we may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us, and watch how all the characters "wise up". Best script ever.

2) Citizen Kane (1941)
Forget the hype, the critics and the best-movie-ever buzz. Whether you loved or hated this one, you can't but admire what Orson Welles achieved at the age of 25. It's a movie that can easily compare with today's so-called masterpieces. The cinematography and direction are astonishing for a movie six decades old. But its greatness revolves around its storyline, where through flashbacks we watch Kane's rise to power from his early years. What do his last words mean? It troubles you throughout the film, and in the last frames we are presented with an image so powerful, a bobsled being destroyed, that makes you think about lost innocence, regrets, the pursuit of happiness and how these matters affect one's life. Ground-breaking.

1) Dogville (2003)
Lars Von Trier reaches new levels of misogunism. Nicole Kidman's Grace is on the run, she hides in Dogville, a little village with seemingly nice people. As the movie progresses, Grace's kindness is exploited in a way no words can describe accurately enough. Under the hypocritical veil of civilized society, she swallows everything, meanwhile pointing out their mistakes. When daddy-the mob boss arrives on the scene, the villager's give Grace away, and she takes a revenge we're never likely to see again. It's not like The Shawshank Redemption's feel-good tear-jerker ending, this is the actual definition of the word redemption, in its purest and most righteous form. A deserving massacre, a true gut punch. Slavery, hypocricy, exploitation, innocence, revenge, execution, arrogance, corruption, religion, pick a word, this movie has an opinion for it. Is it a comment on modern America? Most certainly is, even if some people deny it. If you haven't seen it, don't miss it.

Chinatown, Godfather Part II, Thelma & Louise, Casablanca, Memento, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, American Beauty, Donnie Darko, The Shawshank Redemption, Big Fish, The Truman Show, this was a tough one. For twists, read my Top 5 Plot Twists.