Sunday, March 04, 2007

Top 5 Music n' Movie Stars

"Play it again, Sam..."
Here are the finest five.

5) Bing Crosby
The first person ever to receive a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Bing Crosby was the pioneer of genre blending. He was the vessel where jazz, pop and swing styles became one. His "smoothness" became a trademark for many to follow. An enterpreneur when it comes to multimedia stardom, he was on top of the game for 50 years. He received a Best Actor Academy Award for Going My Way, only one of his 88 film appearances. Tonny Bennett once stated "Bing created a culture. He contributed more to popular music than any other person - he moulded popular music".

4) Elvis Presley
The King is alive, at least to the heart of the fans. 500 fan clubs in the US, thousands of Elvis impersonators, hundreds of Elvis books, Graceland, 32 movies and millions of album sales. The Hilbilly Cat didn't change Pop Culture, he's the embodiment of Pop Culture. His movies were always meant to exploit his popularity, which led to a series of musicals and beach movies, a "pantheon of bad taste" according to film critics. Typecasted and over-exposed, Elvis was trapped in the lonely world of stardom, and retired before he was given a chance to seek more diverse roles. Still, his movies created a genre of their own, which puts him in 4th place.

3) Cher
The diva with over 100 million sold albums, Oscar and Grammy winner, three times Golden Globe winner, 26 released albums and numerous plastic surgeries, one can't but admire her career spanning over 40 years. Her acting skills became known to the world when she starred along with hubbie in "Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour". She has collaborated with Robert Altman, Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Jack Nicholson and Peter Bogdanovich, among others. Moonstruck gave her a golden baldie, "Believe" gave her worldwide fame. Her own Las Vegas show is soon to come, while In The Pink will unite her with Tim Allen, Bette Midler and Britney Spears.

2) Barbra Streisand
Two Oscars, four Emmys, eight Grammys, nine Golden Globes and a Tony award, there's nothing the ugly duckling hasn't accomplished. Her 1993 concert was named The Music Event Of The Century by Time Magazine. She has worked with Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier, while she had the guts to start her own production company and write, produce, direct and star twice in Yentl and The Prince Of Tides, both critically acclaimed. She's the living proof that talent overshadows looks, when it comes to art.

1) Frank Sinatra
Ol' Blue Eyes' career spans seven decades, 250 million album sales and 66 film appearances, but Frankie's influence in the business can't be measured in numbers. The Voice worked with RKO and MGM in his early years, winning critical and audience acclaim. A best suppoting actor academy award for From Here To Eternity established him in the industry, while The Manchurian Candidate is considered his finest performance. Las Vegas would soon open its arms, while the Rat Pack would boost his career to new levels. He had collaborated with an endless list of movie legends, from Shirley MacLaine to Faye Danaway. He represents the golden era of Hollywood, and the smooth years of pop and jazz music. His legacy will live forever.

Though many have suceeded, few can be considered. Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Judy Garland, Will Smith, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Jamie Foxx and Meat Loaf are the only ones who could compete for the fifth place. Bjork, Sting, David Bowie, Eminem, Mick Jagger, Mark Wahlberg, Jack Black, Mandy Moore and Ice Cube either don't have that much experience in one of two fields, or they're terrible at it. What's left, is an endless list of talented and talentless wannabes, that have much to prove in the future. Queen Latifah, Ice T, LL Cool J, Snoop Dogg, 50 cent, Britney Spears and many more are expected to fade out , while we're meant to be hearing a lot of Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and Mos Def in the future. Also, honorary mention for 2pac and Aaliyah.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Top 5 Holy Crap! Moments

"Your mother's in here, Karras. Would you like to leave a message? I'll see that she gets it."

Here are the finest five.

5) The Human Dog in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
It's raining phlegms, hallelujah. Look what happens when aliens take over the world by cloning our bodies. Bearded elderly people in the shape of a pitbull start lickin' themselves with no shame whatsoever. The horror, the horror...

4) Horse on Bed in The Godfather (1972)
Wakey, wakey. What a beautiful morning this seems to be. As the camera zooms out, we watch in terror the stubborn gentleman's favorite horse's head among the blood covered sheets. Endless screaming follows, which proves you don't fuck with the Corleone family.

3) Surprise, surprise in The Crying Game (1992)
(Spoiler Alert) Oh Dil, what big hands you have. It's to wrap my arms around you more easily my dear. Oh, Dil , what big mentrual pads you have. It's just that I have a heavy flow, my dear. Oh, Dil, what big an Adam's apple you have. It's just the testosterone, my dear. Oh Dil, didn't you star in Stargate? See the signs, people!

2) Spinning Head in the Exorcist (1973)
Seems like the devil is such a show-off. I mean green puke, hovering above bed, and most of all, spinning head? Personally, I find the suckin'-phalluses-in-Hades curses more disturbing, but when little Linda's noggin starts doing the twist, it definitely ranks second in the holycrap!-meter.

1) Chest-Bursting Creature in Alien (1979)
Jon Hurt's Kane is awake, the extra terrestrial life form which almost killed him is now dead. So, what better way to celebrate life than a royal cholesterol feast. Wait, something is wrong, Kane is grabbing his chest. And then blood splatters all over the crew members, a teethy phallus springs out of his chest and hurries out of the room. Sci-fi will never be the same again.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Top 5 Boring Movies

"Grandfather says that time is a child that plays dice on the shore"
Here are the finest five of them all.

5) In The Mood For Love (2000)
This Wong Kar Wai movie has so much slow-motion in it, it makes John Woo seem like Baz Luhrman. How manipulated can a catchy movie theme get? The techical details may be astonishing, but they sure don't keep your eyelids from closing. The slow pace could be saved in the editing room, but it finally lives up to its name. Thank God for Prozac.

4) 2001 : A Space Odyssey (1968)
The amount of boredom exceeds the respect I have for Kubrick. This movie is so dull and tedious, it's as if it was shot in slo-mo. It becomes a little too wearisome after a while, and you lose interest in paying attention for the deeper meaning. If it weren't for HAL, it would have reached No1. Michael Bay should watch it 24/7, mainly for rehabilitation purposes.

3) Dolls (2002)
The tag reads "three stories about never-ending love". It's about right, but the adjective was misplaced. This masterpiece by Takeshi Kitano is so tiresome, when this is over you'll have a mouth like Aerosmith's Steven Tyler from all the yawning. The marvelous cinematography and the few meaningful and deep lines of dialogue sadly can't keep you awake, so supply yourselves with many, many espresso shots.

2) The Age Of Innocence (1993)
It's so irksome and lame, it makes you beg to the Almighty for a power failure. It's most likely to bring tears in your eyes, not from the rags-or-riches tale, but from the satisfaction that you get when it finally ends. Watching the cast dine brings you one step closer to commiting suicide. Makes you wonder, were the Rennaissance years that boring?

1) The English Patient (1996)
Major yawn-fest. It's so monotonous, it should be prescribed as a treatment for insomnia. Overrated and bland, it leaves you comatose as soon as it ends. Repeated viewing is considered a sign of major masochism, and if so, one should seek medical help immediately. It should be the first movie to be re-released in a fully-cut edition, but who would pay to watch it?

Only criticaly acclaimed movies qualify, which means no Legends Of The Fall. Afterall, it is the finest five boring movies. The Thin Red Line, Elizabeth, Mulholland Drive, Gosford Park, Amadeus, The Last Emperor, Gus Van Sant and Lars Von Trier movies happily weren't boring enough. Classics like Laurence of Arabia and Gone With The Wind were too classic to lay a hand on them.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Top 5 All-star Movies

"Fuck you! That's my name. You know why, mister? 'Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove an eighty thousand dollar BMW. *That's* my name. "
Here are the finest five of them all.

5) Love Actually
It seems like a whole lot of people just can't say no to Richard Curtis. He manages to gather an all-star cast of secondary and minor roles, some of which superstars, others rising ones, but all of them with a faithful audience. Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman as the frontmen and women, and Martin Freeman, Keira Knightley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Bob Thornton and Rowan Atkinson providing a strong supporting cast. Enjoyable cameos by January Jones, Elisha Cuthbert, Claudia Schiffer, Shannon Elizabeth and Denise Richards give Love Actually a star quality for all tastes and ages.

4) Glengarry Glen Ross
It's the Big Screen's version of David Mamet's play. Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, Jonathan Pryce and Kevin Spacey give spectacular performances, showing us that selling real-estate can be a real bitch, but work-relationships are an even bigger one. It's a movie that's based entirely on its cast's abilities, not its star power. Carefully chosen, each and every one of them portray a variety of realistic characters, from the successful go-getter and the persistant family-man, to the weiny bastard and the retarded one. Even so, Baldwin's Blake is the true show-stealer of the movie.

3) Gosford Park
The late Robert Altman was always the man who could gather both an acclaimed and an all-star cast on the same set, and draw the best performance of each and every one. Gosford Park is a british fan's wet dream. Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith and Hellen Mirren are surrounded by Stephen Fry, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emily Watson, Alan Bates, Jeremy Northam and Kelly Macdonald. Clive Owen and Ryan Phillipe should consider themselves lucky to have such a movie on their CVs. Not easy to watch, I admit, but Gosford Park's direction of the upstairs Bourgeoise and downstairs lower class is unique. A must-see for british cinema lovers.

2) Ocean's Twelve
Mediocre and somehow disappointing movie, but you can't help but admire the star power of this one. Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Matt Damon at the top of their yet careers.Julia Roberts was pregnant during the shoot, and gave birth days before its release, which adds up even more star buzz. Katherine Zeta Jones has just won an oscar, Don Cheadle has yet to dissapoint his fans and everybody was expecting too much out of Steven Soderbergh's stylish eye. Andy Garcia mostly looks constipated and Elliot Gould mostly looks rich. Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, and Bernie Mac provide a few laughs, and the cameo of Bruce Willis is unneccessary. Funny how the entire Hollywood got out-acted by the french villain Vincent Cassel and the voice of Albert Finney, though.

1) Murder On The Orient Express
This movie represents the golden era of movie-making. Sidney Lumet gathers a female cast that includes Ingrid Bergman, Vanessa Redgrave, Jacqueline Bisset and Lauren Bacall, all of them legends of not only the Big Screen but of the stage as well. Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins and Michael York provide a significant counter-measure to the female power of the film. But the connecting link is the man who steals the show, Albert Finney. A cunning script with the unexpected twist in the end, it's classic Agatha Christie. The climax, when the entire cast is on the same wagon, is pure cinema anthology.

Sin City has too many newcomers, Pulp Fiction ressucitated careers, JFK and The Untouchables came really close. Following in a random order, The Godfather Part II, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Talented Mr Ripley, Dick Tracy, Batman Begins, they all were strong contenders. True Romance is loaded with stars in supportive, five-minute roles, while Lord Of The Rings' cast apparently won't last in time, while Jay and Silent Bob doens't qualify for cameo reasons.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Top 5 CGI Moments

"Hasta la vista, baby!"
Here are the finest five of them all.

5) The trucks crash in Matrix Reloaded
The frantic car chase sequence comes to its climax, and the Wachowskis remind us some of the trills of the first Matrix. The trucks are actually crashing, as we enter bullet-time mode and the camera revolves around the flaming chaos. Neo saves the day, but unfortunately this jaw-dropping FX scene couldn't save the much dissapointing sequel.

4) Paris Gets Flattened in Armaggedon
Earth may be saved afterall, but this movie indeed needed a mass destruction sequence. Unlike Deep Impact's impressive and realistic depiction of tsunamis and total annihilation, Armaggedon is more like "let's please the fans with minimum braincells and destroy a major city in Europe". When the meteor hits, the spectacle is enough to rank fourth in this list.

3) Exploding T-1000 in Terminator 2
As if we haven't yet witnessed a complete revolution in FX technology, James Cameron holds the best for last. Arnie rises behind some machinery and shoves a grenade in the Terminator's body with his grenade launcher. The thing that we then watch in awe can only be described as a liquid mass, exploded from the inside with a head, arms and legs attached to some point.

2) Twisted Gollum in Lord Of The Rings : The Two Towers
Not the first all-CGI character, but definitely the most impressive one for years and years to come. So creepy and realistic, you get the goosebumps when Gollum reveals his dual twisted personality. Be it the whip-marks on his back or the veins on his hands, this detailed creation actually makes you forget its artificial nature.

1) Pissed-off T-rex in Jurassic Park
First place for Jurassic Park, hands down. It would be either this one or the first glimpse of the dinosaurs. But the scene with the two stopped cars and the restroom is pure Spielberg. Awe, amazement, terror, comedy, they're all out there in this eye-candy. Never before has the Big Screen seen such life-like creatures. Jurassic Park set the bar so high, that in the past decade we have truly witnessed a revolution in CGI magic. This movie introduced Hollywood into a new era of movie-making, which ain't necessarily good, but is damn eye-satisfying.

The CGI moments mustn't just stimulate your retina, they must also make you salivate from excitement. In a word, jaw-dropping. Ok, that's two words, but these were the strongest contenders. In a random order, Leeloo created, M:I's helicopter in tunnel, exploding White House, Legolas mounting an Oliphant and The Thing's defibrillator scene would fill in the top 10. King Kong Vs Dinosaurs, The Abyss' watery alien, Titanic splitting in half, The Perfect Storm's huge wave, Starship Troopers' censored cow, Pearl Harbor's dropping Bomb, Spidey riding the train, Poltergeist's poltergeist, Tripod rising from the ground, The Cell's chopped horse, Kingdom Of Heaven's fireballs and Jack Sparrow storming in Kraken's mouth were close. Honorary mention for Tron, though. No models, miniatures, make-up or stop-motion effects. This leaves out any huuuuge spaceships, bursting chests, spinning heads and walking skeletons. These moments will compete in future lists, so patience...