Category Archives: List

9 Best Marlon Brando Films

Marlon Brando is considered by some to be the best American actor, though I do not agree.  He is in the Top Ten, possibly Top Five.  Acting style in film can be classified as either before Brando or after.  He brought Method to the big screen and forever changed how we, the audience, expected roles to be performed. His main negative is his relatively small body of work when compared to other actors. That being said, his performances are typically memorable and unique.

Normally when creating a list like this I try and limit myself to five choices. In Brando’s case I saved the Top Five for roles in which he was the lead actor, and the bottom four (I could not come up with a fifth) for supporting characters.

 

#9 The Freshman

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Click on image to view trailer

Carmine Sabatini is basically Don Corleone as a nice guy with a comedic spin. He has good chemistry with Matthew Broderick, and he parodies himself well.

#8 Superman The Movie

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Click on image for “Goodbye, my son” scene.

Though not on screen long, his Jor-El haunts the remainder of the film. With the distinctive Kryptonian look created by the art and costume designers and his calm demeanor as Krypton crumble, Brando’s Jor-El conveys wisdom, strength, and foresight. And later in the movie when he appears as a holographic tutor for Clark Kent in the Fortress of Solitude, and Superman chooses to go against his command to not interfere with human history you understand the importance of that decision. This is where Clark the boy unyokes himself from the ghost of his father to become a man. The chose is made more poignant because the role of Jor-El was imbued with much power because of Brando’s performance.

#7 Missouri Breaks

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Click on image to view trailer

A truly bizarre yet captivating performance from Brando in an admittedly off-beat Western. He and Jack Nicholson work well together, with Nicholson saying Brando acted everyone off screen. This film marks Brando’s transition from leading man to character actor.

 

#6 Apocalypse Now

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Click on image to view “Meeting Kurtz” scene

Unlike Jor-El where Brando creates a performance that informs the remainder of the movie, his Col. Kurtz has to live up to the expectation of the character.  He does.  Though notoriously difficult to work with during the shoot, Brando creates a character for the ages.  After watching Apocalypse Now the first time, you now have the personification of Kurtz in your mind in all other viewings.  That image only enhances the experience of the film.

 

#5 The Godfather

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Click on image to view Bonassara scene

Though Brando won the Academy Award for Leading Man as Vito Corleone, The Godfather is really the story of his son, Michael.  Paramount Studios pushed Brando to the Academy because he was the known actor.  That being said, the Oscar is richly deserved.  His portrayal of a mafia don would be the standard bearing for all others to follow.  When someone imagines the glamorous side of the mob, it is to Don Vito Corleone they dream of being.  Brando also gave the character a humanity typically not seen for such a role.  You felt his loss when he verbalized how he wished Michael did not follow him into the family business; how he imagined a Senator Corleone.

 

#4 Morituri

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An overlooked performance in an overlooked film. Brando plays a apolitical sympathetic German blackmailed by British Secret Service to assume the identity of an SS Officer, and travel with a German freighter with necessary cargo. The performance like the film is understated and intelligent. (As a side note, the film is incredibly shot in high contrast black & white film.)

 

#3 Last Tango In Paris

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Click on image to view ballroom drunk scene

Brando at his most vulnerable as an American Expat in Paris.  A broken man looking to feel alive again, and finding that feeling in a young woman.  The little private world they create for themselves cannot last, but he does fight for it in the end.  He himself claimed he never felt more raw, exposed, vulnerable, then when he was filming this movie.

#2 On The Waterfront

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Click on image to view Terry & Edie scene

It was a tough call between the #1 and #2 slot.  Brando’s Terry Malloy is the vulnerable brute the bad guys take advantage of in order to get their way.  From his classic “I could have been a contender” speech, to his fiddling with Edie’s dropped glove in the park on the swings, Brando creates an empathic character you care about.

 

#1 A Streetcar Named Desire

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Click on image to view “Napoleonic Code” scene.

Because this is the role that changed what we expect from actors and their performances.  Mumbled lines, animal passion, brute strength, no one had seen anything like Brando’s performance as Stanley Kowalski.  Clear diction?  Not for this type of man.  Sexual innuendo?  No, only raw passion and animal lust.  Brando’s Stanley was no fictionalized version of the working man but the real deal.

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Ennio Morricone – The 5 Obstructions Blogathon

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Click on image to be taken to Obstructions Overview.

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Click on image to be taken to Obstruction 5

ENNIO MORRICONE
Composer

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Ennio Morricone is a film composer most associated with Sergio Leone. He was born November 10th, 1928, in Rome, Italy; studied at the Conservatory of the National Academy of Santa Cecelia; was a classmate of Sergio Leone; has 516 composer credits–the most recent of which is from 2013’s Vengeance Rides a Horse; and winner of a 2007 Honorary Academy Award.

His first composer credit is The Fascist (1961). His first Leone film is A Fistful of Dollars (1964). Notable other films are The Battle of Algiers; The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; Once Upon A Time In the West; Burn; Two Mules for Sister Sarah; Days of Heaven; The Thing (1982); The Untouchables; and Frantic among others. His work is so distinctive it is often sampled in other films; most notably in the work of Quentin Tarantino, such as in Django Unchained and Inglorious Basterds.

Trivia: Heavy-metal band Metallica starts their shows with Morricone’s instrumental The Ecstasy Of Gold (from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)] before appearing on stage.

Quote: “You can’t save a bad movie with a good score.”

Morricone is definitely in my Top Five film composers of all time, and most likely in the top three. He creates music that is distinctive, creates place and motion, and stays with you long after the film is done.

A few years back at the Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), they had a screening of a restored copy of Once Upon A Time In The West. Having the chance to watch the film on the big screen in an old movie palace, I could not resist and convinced my husband to come with me. He not being a fan of Westerns, it was a tough sell. After the film–which he loved–his main take away was the power of the musical score and how he never heard anything like that before–least of all in a Western.

Below are some samples of Morricone’s work:

Battle of Algiers

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Click on image to listen to “Battle of Algiers” theme

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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Click on image to view and listen to “Il Trio”

Once Upon A Time In the West

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Click on image to listen to “Armonica”

Days Of Heaven

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Click on image to listen to “Harvest”

The Untouchables

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Click on image to listen to “Al Capone” theme

Frantic

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Click on image to listen to “Frantic” theme

The Thing

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Click on image to listen to “The Thing” theme.

Ennio Morricone, one of the great music composers in film history.

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Click on image to be taken to IMDb.


“The Out List” (2013) – Review

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Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

With: Dustin Lance Black, Lady Bunny, R. Clark Cooper, Wade Davis, Ellen DeGeneres, Twiggy Pucci Garcon, Neil Patrick Harris, Larry Kramer, Janet Mock, Cynthia Nixon, Suze Orman, Christine Quinn, Jake Shears, Wanda Sykes, Lupe Valdez, and Wazine Zondon

Director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders has done a number of List documentaries for HBO, such as The Latino List and The Black List. The style of the film is to show each interviewee individually and let them present their story. The common thread between each person is that they are out. The Out List contains at least one person from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered community.

Since each story is different, who and how well you identify with the person varies. The most affecting stories belonged to Larry Kramer, a writer and activist, who lost most of his contemporaries to AIDS, and Janet Mock, a writer, for the importance of being a visible and known transgender person. The most inspiring story belonged to Lupe Valdez, a lesbian hispanic democrat who won the elected office of Sheriff in the Republican stronghold of Dallas County. Interestingly enough, the two stories that had definite points to make and made them also came across as the most rehearsed: Suze Orman and Cynthia Nixon. Orman comes across as the TV personality she is, and Nixon seems to be on autopilot using one of her stump-speeches from a LGBT event appearance.

Ultimately The Out List is an average documentary. At sixty minutes it feels a little long. Without a common theme other than the fact they are all out, there is nothing to hold your attention to a story if you are not interested in what the person is saying. The concept of the shooting style and editing lends itself more to a mini-series of thirty minute shows, then one longer documentary.

Grade = C+

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Click on image to view trailer


15th Annual Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

2013 MGLFF

Normally for film festivals I list the films I plan to watch, and then write reviews a few days later.  This year I plan to use this space to list my top choice of film for the day, as well as right short reviews in advance of the films.  I gave myself one simple rule:  solely one film per day.

Friday, April 26th

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Click on image to view trailer

Easy pick for the first night of the festival–there was only one choice.  That being said, it is a good choice.

Saturday, April 27th

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Click on image to view trailer

My vote for the best film of the festival.

Sunday, April 28th

Interior.  Leather Bar

Click on image to view trailer.

Click on image to view trailer.

Yes, that is James Franco filming two guys getting it on.  No, Interior.  Leather Bar is not what you think.  Teamed with Travis Matthews’ In Their Room (London), both documentaries ask thought provoking questions of what is and what is not OK to show the movie going audience and why.

Monday, April 29th

Mr. Angel

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Click on image to view trailer

A documentary about a transgender porn star; definitely something you have not seen before.

Tuesday, April 30th

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Click on image to view trailer.

That’s Anarchy in Zirmunai for the Lithuanian illiterate–like me.

Wednesday, May 1st

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Click on image to view trailer

My #9 Best Film of 2012

Thursday, May 2nd

Raid of the Rainbow Lounge

Click on image to view trailer

Click on image to view trailer

The amazing thing about this documentary is that it depicts events that only happened in 2009.

Friday, May 3rd

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Click on image to view trailer

Saturday, May 4th

Men’s Shorts Program

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An eclectic mix of drama, comedy, fiction, and short-doc.

Sunday, May 5th

La Partida

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Click on image to view trailer

The second best film of the festival.


2012 – Year in Review

Another year has come & gone, and another end of year list has been written. But before I continue I want to state my goals for 2013:

1. Write at least one review per week – last year this was easier said then done.

2. Use Monday to spotlight another blog, though it does not have to be film related.

3. Come up with a weekly feature–probably for Wednesdays and starting next week.

4. Improve on my stats from this year – link to 2012 stats at the bottom of this post.

That being said, let’s get back to 2012. All movie titles or images will link to the corresponding review.

Worst “Film” of the Year: Dreams of My Real Father

Worst Film of the Year Released in Theatres: Trouble With the Curve – I did not review this movie

Best Guilty Pleasure: John Carter

Best LGBT Films of 2012

5. Elliot Loves
4. Naked As We Came
3. North Sea, Texas
2. Tomboy
1. I Do

Best Documentaries

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Best Films of 2012

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(Honorable Mentions)

 

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Annual Report

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My Movie Alphabet – Blogathon

Click on title to be taken to “My Movie Alphabet” Blogathon central.

“A”

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A defining film of both the science fiction and horror film.  Ridley Scott’s first sci-fi film established him as a visual force in filmmaking.  The film’s art direction and set design hold-up to this day.  When the Alien is finally revealed it is worth the wait.  The edge-of-your seat chaos of the siren & strobe self destruct sequence is matched with the equally tense quiet terror of the escape pod shuttle scene.

“B”

Click on image to view original trailer

Is there any more dreaded question from a child to a parent regarding a film than, “Mommy, what happened to Bambi’s Mother?”

“C”

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The brightest film-noir you will ever watch.  “My daughter, my sister, my daughter, my sister”.

“D”

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Quite possibly one of the best foreign films ever made.  There is no glory in this war or this crew.  You feel the claustrophobia of serving on a submarine and knowing that if your hull is breached you are dead.

“E”

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Because of how old I was when I first watched “E.T.”, no other film has given me such an emotional connection.

“F”

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When A Fish Called Wanda first came out I was fully discovering British humor.  Through my local PBS channel I fell in love with Benny HillFaulty Towers, and Are You Being Served?  At the local video store I discovered the Monty Python films.  And then Wanda came to a theatre near you.

“G”

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“Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”

Though Goodfellas and later The Sopranos present a more realistic and less glamorous life of the mafia, The Godfather is the reason why we all at some point wondered what it would be like if we were a gangster.

“H”

Click on image to watch video clip tribute

Humphrey Bogart – Arguably one of the most underrated actors of all time and the first anti-hero.  If you look at four of his most famous roles–Rick (Casablanca), Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), Charlie Allnut (The African Queen), and Queeg (The Caine Mutiny)–you will see each is unique and powerful and not stereotypical and one-note.  His enduring appeal is because he played the flawed and/or reluctant hero.  His characters grew as people and you felt for their story.

“I”

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“They call me Mr. Tibbs!”  Sidney Poiter and Rod Steiger at their best.  A film like this if it were made today would have come out five years after it was relevant.  In the Heat of the Night came out in the middle of the Civil Rights movement as the country was still tearing itself apart before Martin Luther King’s assassination.

“J”

Click on image to view 1973 AFI Lifetime Achievement Award Acceptance Speech

John Ford – When asked what directors he favored, Orson Wells replied, “the old masters, by which I mean John Ford, John Ford, and John Ford.”  To know why Wells said this watch The Grapes of WrathCheyenne AutumnHow Green Was My ValleyThe Quiet ManThe Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and most especially The Searchers.

“K”

Click on image to view “Khannnnn!” scene.

Khan – You ever wonder why Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan is still arguably the best Star Trek movie?  A very real enemy with very real motivation with an incredible performance by Ricardo Montalban.  Add a good story with great direction and the best performances given by all the regular players, and you have a film that has stood the test of time.

“L”

Click on image to view film clips

Leach, Archibald – Archibald Leach mastered one role to perfection:  Cary Grant.  Probably no other classic Hollywood Star has worked with more famed directors and in more quality films than Cary Grant.  And no star ever walked away from the film business like he did, thereby leaving us a never-changing image of who he was.  Later in life when he forgot his ticket to a charity fundraiser, he explained his situation and said he was Cary Grant.  To wit, she replied “That’s impossible.  You don’t look like Cary Grant.”  Smiling he responded, “who does?” (Source of story is The Encyclopedia of Hollywood by Scott & Barbara Siegel)

“M”

Click on image to view trailer

The best Harrison Ford film you have never watched with his best performance ever.

“N”

Click on image to view original 1922 trailer

Watch Nosferatu today and you will still be impressed with its story, effects, and principal performance.  If you had watched in 1922, then you would not have slept for days.

“O”

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The single greatest icon shattering moment in cinema history, in one of the best Westerns ever made, with one of the most evocative scores used in film.

“P”

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“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” – Inigo Montoya;”As you wish.” – Wesley; “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” – Inigo Montoya; “You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is ‘never get involved in a land war in Asia”‘- but only slightly less well-known is this: ‘Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line’!” – Vizzini; “Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I’m swamped.” – Prince Humperdinck

“Q”

Click on image to view “Q” tribute.

“Now listen 007”

“R”

Click on image to view trailer

My favorite Hitchcock film.  (with possibly the worst trailer I have ever watched)

“S”

Click on image to view compilation video

Love them or hate them, superhero movies are here to stay.

“T”

I spent many a Saturday afternoon watching old Tarzan films, but I’m sure those Saturday TV versions never aired the scene I linked to the image above.

“U”

Click on image to view trailer

“You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. *That’s the Chicago way! And that’s how you get Capone. Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that? I’m offering you a deal. Do you want this deal?” – That’s why Sean Connery resurrected his career and won an Academy Award.

“V”

Click on image to view trailer

I don’t think anyone does court dramas better than Sidney Lumet.  The Verdict is Exhibit-B for my case.

“W”

Click on image to view teaser trailer

After the teaser trailer, my expectation for this film went through the roof, and Pixar delivered.  It is still my favorite Pixar film.

“X”

Click on image to view a trailer

The Gold Rush was Charlie Chaplin’s tenth feature as The Tramp and includes the famous dancing shoes with forks scene where he later eats the shoes.  It’s amazing that after playing The Tramp for so long, that Chaplin was still able to create a classic film and not allow the character to go stale.

“Y”

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One name:  Frau Blucher…(horses whining)

“Z”

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Zardoz gave us James Bond in a loin clothe, and Sean Connery wondering where he went wrong in his career.

Thank you to Myfilmviews for introducing me to this Blogathon


Versatile Blogger Award

Back on June 8th, 2012 storiesbywilliams nominated me for a The Versatile Blogger Award.  After which I thanked him and committed to having this post up by Friday.  Being that was in June and we are now in August, I failed miserably in that goal; for which I humbly apologize.

That being said, I now have to say seven things about myself:

  1. I proposed in Central Park with the amazingly romantic line of, “Let’s do it.”  To which the reply was, “What here?  In the Park?”  Which lead to my clarification, “No, let’s get married.”
  2. My favorite building is The Empire State Building.
  3. I am an Alpha Sigma Phi.
  4. I was at the first National Championship Game for the University of Miami in the Orange Bowl.
  5. The first comic book I ever purchased was X-Men:  Giant Size Annual that introduced the “new” X-Men including Storm, Wolverine, etc. to rescue the original X-Men including Iceman, Angel, etc..  It was a purely by luck purchase.  I still own it, but not in any form of mint condition.
  6. My first memories of movies at a theatre are always from a severe angle.  My father was a smoker, so when we went to the movies we always sat in the smoking sections at the extreme right or left seats.  This was in the day of Wometco 3 and Miracle 4, and the theatres were large.
  7. My High School graduation was at the Gusman Center, an old movie palace.  You can see the photos here:  Gusman

Since Monday’s post was geared towards movie reviews, I focused these nominations on different types of blogs:

  1. advandstudio A great place to discover designers, architects, photographers, and other creative types.
  2. Raising My Rainbow An inspiring blog about a Mother and her family, and the challenges of raising a gender nonconforming child.
  3. polentical “progressive politics and regressive entertainment. like peanut and butter.”  Also, Matt is a Howard Stern fan.
  4. Fed and Fit  I have never discovered so many great recipes–now I can make Kale Chips, and for that I am thankful
  5. barbraelka Photographer transformed to art.
  6. Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations A collection of great Sci-Fi book reviews and classic Sci-Fi book covers.
  7. Trevor Saylor Photographer with a great eye for shooting candids, spaces, and other things, as well as creating photos with great composition.
  8. BONUS:  ReWriteDr He hasn’t been posting lately, but if you need a professional critique of your script he is your man.

Thanks again to storiesbywilliamsand I still haven’t gotten you that picture of the Moebius Galactus’ Ship.