Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Top 10 Milestones In Movie History

A tribute to the films, people, and technology that have shaped our modern cinema.

10. Titanic - 1997. The first Billion Dollar film. With a worldwide box office of over a billion dollars, James Cameron ushered in a new era of blockbuster films, and has retained the title of biggest movie ever till a few years ago when his Avatar film surpassed Titanic. It also was the most expensive film for its time, costing over $200 million. Again, Titanic greased the wheels of movie studios, where nowadays many films are made annually with budgets over $100 million.

9. CGI - 1971. With the invention of CGI, filmmakers are given a broad new paintbrush which enables them to pull off visual effects previously never imagined. The first noticeable use of CGI was in 1971's The Andromeda Strain, with the CGI map of the underground lab. As the technology involved, movies like Jurassic Park, The Phantom Menace, Lord of the Rings, Iron Man, and a plethora of others came to life. 

8. Birth Of A Nation - 1915. D.W. Griffith's landmark film, originally called the Clansman, named after the novel that inspired this film. Despite the obvious racial themes of this film, D.W. Griffith pioneered this 3 hour feature length film with techniques still used today. He broke ground with the expressive close-up, naturalistic acting, use of flashbacks, cross-cutting and more that endure today as the structural principles of narrative filmmaking. With an extravagant ticket price of $2, it was the first true Hollywood blockbuster, and the first film to be shown in the White House.

7. Star Wars - 1977. George Lucas created this film which literally created an Empire. From this film spawned top Hollywood companies such as LucasFilm, THX, Skywalker Sound, and Industrial Light and Magic. It changed the way films were marketed with a multi-million dollar merchandise tie-in. It also cemented science-fiction into a legitimate film genre. With 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Star Wars left its mark on pop-culture and the film industry forever.

6. Citizen Kane - 1941. 24 year old Orson Welles is the first in cinematic history to be nominated in four categories; producer, actor, director, and writer. The title character is modeled after real life William Randolf Hearst, which isn't a surprise to learn the film was banned from advertising in all of Hearst's publications. Citizen Kane is known for many filmmaking innovations including overlapping dialogue, layered sound, non-linear storytelling, montage, low-angle shots, deep-focus composition, and low key noirish lighting.  

5. Georges Melies - 1899. French magician turned film-maker, he became the industries first to use artificially-arranged scenes to construct a narrative story. Known as the father of special effects, he used unheard of techniques like stop-motion photography, double and triple exposure, disappearing objects and dissolves/fades. He has written, directed and starred in over 400 films, most notably A Trip To The Moon

4. Kinetoscope - 1891. The first recognizable motion picture machine, invented in 1891 by Thomas Edison and partner W.K.L Dickson. The first public U.S. display of the Kinetoscope occurred at the Edison Laboratories to the Federation of Women's Clubs. The very short film was the test film titled Dickson's Greeting, which Dickson smiled, waived, and bowed. Edison submitted  patent which was finally approved in1893, where it began receiving commercial use.

3. Becky Sharp - 1935. This was the first feature length film to be shot in technicolor. It is based on the William Makepeace Thackeray novel Vanity Fair. By 1937, the Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind benefited from the polishing up of this technique, but Becky Sharp was the first.

2. The Jazz Singer - 1927. The first feature length "talkie". This is the film that truly ushered in cinema to the modern age. It ended the silent film era, as movies literally came to life in both sight and sound. Now, dialogue and audio effects can be placed into film making cinemas more of a theatrical experience and less of a novelty.

1. The Cinematographe - 1900. At the start of the 20th Century, the Lumiere Bros invented the Cinematographe, the grandfather of the modern day movie projector. Taking the concept of the kinetoscope, but projecting it outwards, whole audiences could watch a film simultaneously as it was shown on walls, screens and curtains. This of course led to the concept of movie houses and theaters. Indeed, this was so influential, watching projected films in theaters is still practiced over 110 years later.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Top 10 Hottest Actresses Who Wont Go Nude, But Should

A tribute to the always teasing, never pleasing, Hollywood Hotties. These women obviously sell sexy, they just don't stand behind their own product. We get it ladies, your hot. You may look attractive in those sexy outfits, but isn't it what's underneath that counts?

10. Isla Fisher - This sexy star of Wedding Crashers lied to us with a body double. Although her fiance shows his assets constantly in films like Borat and Bruno, the likelihood of us ever seeing her naked is slim. She's in the process of converting to conservative Judaism at the behest of her significant other, Cohen. All we have to say is "oy vey."

9. Christina Applegate - This sexy star has been blue-balling us since 1987 as teen bimbo Kelly Bundy. After the 11 year success of the show, she went into film, but alas, no go. She has frustrated us for so long, she made Bud Bundys of us all. Doing movies like The Sweetest Thing doesn't help us respect her for her mind either.

8. Mila Kunis - Didn't expect to see much during That 70's Show, as it was a family program. But we had hoped for more when she transitioned into film. The best we got from this Forgetting Sarah Marshall star was an obvious photoshopped picture. She's young, and there's plenty of time for her to change her mind and make us all happy.

7. Jessica Biel - This super-hottie is standing firm on her no nudity clause. She enjoys being thought of as a sex symbol, but won't deliver the goods. Sad to think that all her best assets are only enjoyed by Justin Timberlake. Nothing against Justin, but he did date Britney Spears, and she turned bat-sh*t crazy. Don't want to see that happen to Jessica.

6. Jennifer Love Hewitt - This cutie of the big screen has been in everything from comedy, action, and horror. She just hasn't been in a nude scene. She's very insecure about her body, even when she worked so hard to take her weight off several years ago. Of her body she said, "I'm happy with my body, but there are days when I'm like 'Ugh! Really? Why is it so hard to fit in my jeans?" Guess what Jennifer, we don't want you in pants anyway.

5. Rachael Lee Cook - Only someone as hot as her can star in a film called She's All That, and not show any of that. Rachael says she is very shy about her body and will not only never do a nude scene, she won't even do one involving a body double. Perhaps she hasn't been on the internet, because thousands of fans that she's frustrated beyond the breaking point have photoshopped her doing many compromising things. Come on Rachael, a few seconds on film will be much more tame than what's appeared on the net.

4. Elisha Cuthbert - Imagine of Beethoven gave up music as a child. Imagine if Michael Jordan grew up playing tennis. Imagine if Moses got a broken ankle and didn't climb the mountain. What incredible benefits to humanity would be forever lost.  Such is the feeling we get knowing none of us will ever see this heavenly body in its full glory. Elisha, you are a selfish bitch..

3. Scarlett Johansson - When Tony Stark first laid eyes on her in Iron Man 2, he asked Pepper if he can have her. So, if a man like Tony can't see her naked, why should we be any different? As red hot as her name, Scarlett has an impressive resume of not showing her impressive rack. I hope she knows that if she doesn't eventually throw us a bone, her sexiness will get Lost In Translation.  

2. Megan Fox - This sizzling, sexy star of Transformers has more than meets the eye. A shame our eyes won't ever meet them. Megan Fox takes roles that scream "look at me" but then doesn't show us anything. Rule: You can't be a sexy woman, with the last name of "Fox", and not even show us a little tail.

1. Jessica Alba - The only time she took her clothes off for the camera was when she was invisible in the Fantastic Four. Fantastic four, we'd be happy just seeing her fantastic twos. In Sin City, she played a stripper, as long as she was a fully clothed stripper. What's her hang up? Jesus. Nudity compromises her principles. And we're left thumping something other than bibles.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Top 10 Movies Featuring The Devil

A tribute to the many faces, and personalities of Satan, the Devil, Father of Lies, Beelzebub. Call him what you will, just don't call him for a deal.

 10. Little Nicky - Satan is literally falling apart, and it's up to his dimwitted son, Nicky, to return his older brothers to hell before it's too late. Harvey Keitel portrays a slightly sympathetic Devil, concerned more about the balance of good and evil, rather than overthrowing Heaven. Plus, he takes delight in routinely torturing Hitler with pineapples.

9. Oh God! You Devil - Less demonic and more mischievous, George Burns' Devil takes on the likeness of God to dupe a struggling musician into fame, fortune and glory. This Devil sure knows how to liven up a party. It's the little things he enjoys.

8. End Of Days - Time's up. It's the End Of Days and Lucifer once again walks the Earth. All he needs is a bride, but standing in his way is none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Gabriel Byrne gives this devil a range of emotions, from sinister tempter to furious rage. He is no friend to man.

7. Bedazzled - Elizabeth Hurley turns the temptation up to 11 in this remake of the Dudley Moore comedy of the same name. She needs Elliot's soul, butt to get it, she needs to grant him 7 wishes. She manipulates each wish against him so Elliot is discouraged and wishes again. Her smile, innocent eyes, and charming personality keep Elliot from getting mad at her. Her hot smoking body, and sexy outfits sure help too.

6. Needful Things - The Devil comes to the quiet, sleepy town of Castle Rock and opens a store selling various odds & ends. What people find there are objects of their dreams that he is willing to give for small favors. Over time, the town is overrun with fear, bigotry, prejudice, paranoia and hatred. Max von Sydow plays the Devil very low key. He's a patient devil, biding his time as he slowly weaves a tangled web over Castle Rock.

5. The Witches Of Eastwick - Jack is charming, handsome, and seductive, all the things the Devil should be. He grants three aging women a wish, for one small price.

4. The Devil's Advocate - Al Pacino puts in a fine performance playing the Devil who roams the Earth running, of all things, a prestigious law firm. Funny, sinister, and pure evil, the devil nurtures Kevin's vanity causing him to place himself above his wife's needs as she is tormented by demons. In the end, Kevin has no one to blame but himself, and finds acceptance in Al Pacino's Devil, Milton, who reveals bigger plans for Kevin.

3. The Omen - Little Damien is adopted by Robert and Katherine Thorn, a wealthy and influential couple. Robert Thorn is a U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain. In the hospital, his wife Katherine gives birth to a stillborn. However, a nun talks Robert into taking a newborn baby who's Mother just died while delivering him. Without telling his wife, he agrees. Soon, strange events begin to happen as unearthly forces seem to protect the young child, and those who try and warn Robert Thorn that Damien may be the Antichrist are met with unfortunate accidents. The Devil's demonic influence is felt in this film.

2. South Park: The Movie - The Lord of Darkness is a sympathetic fellow who is only looking for love. Yet he is caught in an abusive relationship with Saddam Hussein, who emotionally manipulates Satan into unleashing the forces of hell upon the Earth. 

1. The Devil and Daniel Webster - The Devil, calling himself "Scratch" is at his full Faustian persona. A poor farmer enters a pact where Scratch offers him seven years of wealth and prosperity in exchange for his soul. When the time is about to expire, he hires Daniel Webster, an attorney to defend him.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Top 10 Best In Series

A tribute to those films which stood head and shoulders above the others in their series. To qualify as a film series, there has to be a minimum of four films, all sharing an established continuity. So reboots and trilogies are not considered.

10. Friday the 13th, part VI: Jason Lives. - It took six films, but the iconic image of Jason Vorhees, the machete wielding, hockey mask wearing, zombified killing machine makes his debut here. Remember, up till now, he was only some crazy retard living in the woods. Now, he's an undead force of evil. Jason also faces off against his enemy, Tommy, one last time.

9. Halloween. - Proving that sometimes, the original is still the best. Halloween spawned a slew of sequels, most with box office success. But make no mistake, this is the father of all modern slasher films. With great performances and innovative effects, Halloween is still thrilling over 30 years later.

8. National Lampoon's Vacation. - Classic family road trip comedy. Written by John Hughes and directed by Harold Ramis, this film addresses just about every bump in the road to happiness a family can experience on a family vacation. Great cast, humorous characterizations, and relatable events, we see how a nerdish father who works in food additives can be pushed into becoming a gun wielding nut at an amusement park. This film spawned 3 additional films, all moderately successful.

7. Goldfinger. -  Goldfinger is the (excuse the pun) gold standard of James Bond films. While certainly not the first, it laid out the blueprint for which other Bond films would follow. Here we see Bond using gadgets and a tricked out Astin Marton. It also stars Sean Connery, the favorite actor among Bond fans.Let's not forget Bond's most famous Bond Girl is here, Pussy Galore.

6. The Howling. - Probably one of the best werewolf movies going. Howling is innovative for a few reasons. First it displays multiple werewolves, instead of a single cursed individual. This introduces the idea of a pack, and how seemingly diverse people tolerate each other, much like a disfunctional family. It also presents the werewolf as anthropomorphic, retaining many wolf-like features, but standing on two legs, and over 7 feet tall. This film spawned no less than 6 abysmal failures. Which only lends credit that this film, its name and concept, was strong enough for studios to keep banking on.

5. Lethal Weapon 4. - Over 6 years from the last installment, Lethal Weapon 4 saw the original cast return, refreshed and inspired. This film breathed new life into the franchise with the addition of Chris Rock and Jet Li. Besides being arguably the most action packed of the series, it is also the most heart warming. We see our heroes deal with parenthood, marriage, age, dealing with a daughter's pregnancy, and friendship. This film wonderfully closes the book on a great film series.

4. Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan. - Watch how many times the word "classic" is used in this write-up. The classic tv series returns to the big screen. This time, the threat is personal between Admiral Kirk and deposed 20th century prince, Khan. This film draws from an episode of the classic series where a genetically altered Prince is revived, and tries to take over the Enterprise. Now, Khan is back from being marooned on a dead planet, and wants to make Kirk suffer. Even non Star Trek fans loved this film because it draws inspiration from the classic novel Mobey Dick. Khan, like Cpt. Ahab, is hunting his white whale. In fact, even certain dialogue is ripped from the classic story. When a classic television show and a classic novel combine on the big screen, the result is a classic film.

3. Superman 2. - This film answers the question of how do you improve on greatness. Established characters and story arcs from the first film are further developed here. Not to mention the "feel" of the first film is carried over 100 percent. Here, we see a romance between Louis and Superman. Superman abdicating his Kryptonian mantle to become human, in order to marry Louis. Lex Luthor escapes prison and finds Superman's Fortress. And three Kryptonian criminals arrive on Earth, each with the same powers that Superman has. There were 3 more films in this series, ranging from so-so to awful, as well as a forgettable Supergirl spin-off.

2. Raiders of the Lost Ark. - This film literally exploded onto the scene when it came out. Inspired from old movie serials and pulp fiction (not to be confused with Pulp Fiction), George Lucas and Steven Spielberg collaborated on this block buster film, which is still a favorite today. Harrison Ford is at his best as the adventurous Indiana Jones. Tough and tender, Indy is all action, peppered by moments of comedic timing. It launched 3 sequels, each box office juggernauts. 

 1. Star Wars, episode V: The Empire Strikes Back - In any theater involving the standard 3 acts, the middle act is where conflict arises, and the heroes are truly challenged. George Lucas does not flinch with this sequel to his landmark film Star Wars, having the bad guys "win." There is conflict in this film, but much of it is internalized within the heroes. With Darth Vader telling Luke that he is his Father, no other Star Wars film created more buzz and anticipation for the next film than Empire. Before the internet, speculation was carried out via word of mouth and popular movie magazines of their day.  Spoiler Alert: Darth Vader wasn't lying, he is the Father.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Top 10 Memorable Movie Nerds

A Tribute to those socially awkward, but lovable characters who are all brain, and no brawn, nor grace, coordination, flair, fashion sense, or sex appeal

10. Lewis - Revenge Of The Nerds. Retro haircut, thick glasses, dorky smile, pocket protector,  and a laugh that sounds like a goose choking, Lewis is the poster boy for nerdom. Yet, he is in a college fraternity, throws a killer party, gets high, gets laid twice, including with the hottest girl on campus. Very un-nerd-like indeed.

9. Data - The Goonies. nerds don't get more lovable than Data. Perhaps it's because he doesn't see himself as a nerd. Rather, he see's himself as James Bond. He invents all his gimmicks himself, although they aren't very reliable. He makes Inspector Gadget look suave. 

8. Duckie - Pretty In Pink. This fashionably unique nerd is all heart. Best friends with Andie, he remains in the friend zone, afraid to tell her of his true feelings, that is until she develops a crush on the popular school douche bag (don't they always). A love triangle of 80's proportion, Duckie proves to have the biggest heart when he decides to have Andie pursue her love interest despite being in a situation that he could win her heart.

7. Louis - Ghostbusters. Sadly, nerdom isn't something everyone grows out of. It can follow you into adulthood. Take Louis, a skinny, short fellow who repeatedly locks himself out of an apartment, buys generic aspirin, and climbs high rise ledges to disconnect cable. He actually does score with his longtime crush and neighbor, Dana. All it took was charm, warmth, and for both to be possessed by demonic forces.

6. George McFly - Back To The Future. Lanky, awkward, and a peeping tom, George McFly has a crush on Loraine, but Bullies like Biff get in the way. Plus, she's infatuated with her own son, "Calvin Klein", who has traveled back in time to make sure his parents hook up. Once he's visited by Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan, does he ask her out to the dance, less Darth melt his brain.

5. Augie - Role Models. Augie takes nerdness to new lows as he's not only shy and awkward, but also a devout player of Live Action Role-Playing. Disrespected by peers, parents, and even betrayed by fellow gamers, Augie is a sympathetic fellow. Spending more time in Middle-Earth than in the real world, Augie is finally vindicated as he almost becomes King. A girl still beats him, but he wins her affection.

4. Long Duk Dong - Sixteen Candles. This foreign exchange nerd steals the show in Sixteen Candles. Although his character is Chinese, the actor is Japanese, the music that accompanies him is Japanese, his accent is Japanese. Perhaps the song "turning Japanese" playing in the background is a hint. A Chinese nerd comes to America and embraces Japanese culture?

3. Egon - Ghostbusters. This man of science is such a nerd he's oblivious to the fact that the secretary has the hots for him. When not inventing gadgets for ghost detection, he spends his spare time collecting spores, molds, and fungus. Even his childhood was dull. He had no toys, other than half a slinky, but he ended up straightening it.

2. Milton - Office Space. Milton is a soft-spoken, mumbling office worker stepped on more times than a welcome mat. His only joy in life stems from his red Swingline stapler and listening to the radio at a reasonable volume. Don't make this mild mannered nerd angry. He entertains thoughts of burning down the whole building, and if they move his desk one more time, he'll do it.

1. Peter Parker - Spider-Man. Superpowers or not, Peter Parker is life's punching bag. Stepped on, pushed around, ignored, and made fun of, it's a wonder why he feels a need to save the world. A scholastic genius, Parker seems to only find work as a photographer and pizza delivery driver.