16 December 2012

Seen in November

Top 5 Movies Seen in November

#5. The Hurricane (1999)

#4. Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008)

#3. Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil (2010)

#2. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

#1. Match Point (2005)

10 November 2012

Top 5 Brothers


#5. Alvin and Lyle
from The Straight Story (1999)

#4. Andrey and Ivan
from Vozvrashchenie (2003)

#3. Gilbert and Arnie Grape

#2. Skorpan and Jonatan
from Bröderna Lejonhjärta aka The Brothers Lionheart (1977)

#1. Michael and Fredo Corleone
from The Godfather I / II (1972/1974)

A few others I came to think of:
Warriors
Brothers
American History X
Ran
Festen (The Celebration)
The Brotherhood of War
Adaptation
Rain Man
The Fighter

If you have questions about why I chose these, leave a comment.

04 November 2012

Top 5 Movies Seen in October

#5. Tsotsi (2005)
Directed by:Gavin Hood
Genre: Crime, Drama

#4. Körkarlen (1921)
Directed by: Victor Sjöström
Genre: Horror

#3. The Brotherhood of War (2004)
Original title: Taegukgi hwinalrimyeo
Directed by: Je-kyu Kang
Genre: War, Drama

#2. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Directed by: Terry George
Genre: History, Drama, Biography
Sub-genre: Genocide

#1. Dancer in the Dark (2000)
Directed by: Lars Von Trier
Genre: Drama

20 October 2012

Top 5 Piano Songs In Movies

Check out the "sequel" to this list: Another 5 Great Piano Songs in Movies

y favorite piano songs written for movies. It was quite hard to put them in order but I would say that nr. 1 and 2 are clear favorites.

#5. Jan A.P. Kaczmarek - Japan/Goodbye
from Hachi: A Dog's Tale (2009)


The melody from "Goodbye" starts at 1:38 in "Japan" but with a faster pace and some different notes, which to me sounds better.

#4. Yann Tiersen - Le Moulin
from Amélie (2001)



#3. Michael Nyman - The Sacrifice/The Heart Asks Pleasure First
from The Piano (1993)


A repeated melody throughout the movie and The Sacrifice is the version I like most.


#2. Clint Mansell - Together We Will Live Forever
from The Fountain (2006)



#1. Michael Nyman - Big My Secret
from The Piano (1993)




For those who're interested, I've uploaded some piano tutorials to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/trackmarked/
As soon as I learn how to play these five I will try to make tutorials for them too.

12 October 2012

Top 5 Trees In Movies

Usually, trees in movies are just trees, but sometimes they're more than just a tree, they're a character, a symbol or simply an extremely usable object. They might have an extraordinary ability, be incredibly beautiful or just be of great meaning to the characters or the viewers. This is my list of the  five greatest movie trees.

#5. Grandmother Willow 
from Pocahontas (1995)

The tree that gives pocahonthas and her fans necessary advice about life.  
It's a long time since I heard her voice, but I'll definitely be hearing her again soon!

#4. Treebeard

This ent has the best voice in the world of trees and he's also an important fighter on the good side.

#3. The Tree of Life
from The Fountain (2006)

The tree that gives life, though maybe a little too much of it. Extremely beautiful.

#2. Home Tree
from Avatar (2009)

An extremely powerful tree that I would be happy to keep in my backyard! Or simply live in.

#1. The Swimming Tree
from Pippi Longstocking (1969)

Maybe the least beautiful tree on the list, but this is a real tree that exists or existed somewhere in real life. It has always been a dream for me to play in a tree like this, just like Pippi and her friends does.

Please Comment: How would your top 5 trees list look like?



09 October 2012

Seen in September

Top 5 Movies Seen in September


#5. Escape from Alcatraz (1979)


A really good film about the famous escape from alcatraz. It's kind of a straight forward retelling of a true event, which for me is just the way it should be told. If not for anything else, watch it to learn the story about the escape. Or watch it because Clint Eastwood is great.

#4. Network (1976)


I had put off this movie for a long time, because I thought it would be a super-serious conspiracy film, which I'm not that fond of. I was surprised to find that it was such a fun and unique movie.

#3. Cinderella Man (2005)


Cinderella Man is a depression era set boxing movie, which are two elements I almost always enjoy. Watch this when you're feeling bored with your work, it may make you appreciate it more for a day or two (before you forget about it again as humans tend to do).


Encounters at the End of the World is a documentary about basically anything going on in Antarctica. It's about the animals, nature and work, but mostly about the people living there. Everybody has their own reasons for being there, but many of them seem to have in common that they wanted to "get away" or simply go for an adventure. A really enjoyable documentary which is made even better by  Werner Herzog's distinctive way of narrating it.

#1. The Last King of Scotland (2006)


Even though Idi Amin was a terrible person, I'm sure he was also very funny, like Forest Whitaker in this movie. I assume one has to be very charismatic to become a dictator, which in this movie is very well displayed.



My ratings in September:



26 September 2012

Horror Clichés - Character Behavior


A list of five horror clichés concerning character behavior. This is not a top list, just a list of five things I came to think of. These examples are mainly taken from modern horror movies.

1.  Damn, I fell!

The Situation: You’re in a really bad situation, a monster, ghost or whatever is chasing you (slowly of course).

Question 1: What will a horror character do?
She will stumble and fall, crawl a few meters and struggle to get up, just like in a dream when you’re really helpless. Also, she’ll stop within a radius of 100-200 meters from her previous location.

Question 2: What would I do?
I would run and not stop till I reach a safe place. IF I fell, I wouldn't crawl for the next few meters, I would get back up and run.

When you’re running or hurrying in a room, in the woods, on the streets or anywhere, how often will you fall?

2.  I think he’s dead.

The Situation: Just when you thought your life was over, you somehow manage to get a lucky strike with a plank and the killer passes out.

Question 1: What will a horror character do?
He will slowly slip passed the killer without removing or confiscating any potential weapons and then carefully proceed upstairs to see if his friend is still alive, whereupon the killer will wake to life and continue the hunt.

Question 2: What would I do?
I would brutally kill him with his own weapon, no hesitation. He would not kill me with his last strength.

3.  Could you check out the cellar please?

The Situation: Weird things are going on in your house and there are noises and strange activity everywhere. Suddenly, you hear a louder noise coming from the cellar or the attic.

Question 1: What will a horror character do?
She’ll ask her partner to go check it out, while for some reason, she’ll wait for him. In many cases, either one of them will get in trouble. It could have helped to stick together!

Question 2: What would I do?
I would simply not split up, where you go I go.

4.  Disbelievers

The Situation:  A Family consisting of the parents and 1-3 children, at least one teenager have just moved into a suburban house. “Why so cheap?” they ask themselves, just before strange things starts happening in the house, especially to the teenager for some reason. The father, of course, won’t believe him or her, even though it’s pretty obvious something not right.

Question 1: What will a horror character do?
He, the father, will get mad and grumpy and call the rest of the family ungrateful. In the end, he will be the one to die, or at least almost die. He got it coming.

Question 2: What would I do?
It’s hard to say exactly how I would react, because haunted houses as depicted in movies does not exist. I guess I would listen to the family, why would they blame ghosts for not liking the house, if they haven’t showed any similar tendencies earlier in life.

5.  Hello!

The Situation: Nobody’s home but yourself,  you have no pets, and the door has been locked since you got in. Suddenly you hear a sound coming from the second floor.

Question 1: What will a horror character do?
Walk towards the staircase and carefully call out “Hello!?”

Question 2: What would I do?
Probably get over there, assuming there’s a perfectly logical explanation. I’m not saying I would live longer than the horror character, I just wouldn’t say “hello!?” every sound I hear.

What would you do?

16 September 2012

Top 5 Most Important Elements in Movies

A list of the 5 most important elements in movies for me. If a movie successfully combines all these elements, it will probably be a personal favorite.

5. Soundtrack/Music


While music or sound is not completely necessary it certainly adds something to the movie watching experience. Music can add a certain mood, tension and suspense to scenes that could otherwise be quite insipid. There are no rules on how a soundtrack should sound and I really enjoy movies with a different kind of score. 

Examples:

Requiem For a Dream (2001)
There only a few soundtracks in the world of film that can compete with this one created by Clint Mansell. The movie itself is very unique (the camera work for example). It needed a unique score and got one.

Dead Man (1995)
One of the coolest soundtracks ever is this electric guitar soundtrack by Neil Young, which he created by improvising as he watched the film. This soundtrack really sets the mood for the entire movie.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The use of classical music has always been common in movies. It has always been used perfectly by Stanley Kubrick and in the intro segment in 2001: A Space Odyessey, "The Dawn of Man" we find one of the most well-known classical music scenes, when a man-ape suddenly realizes that he can use a bone as a weapon and tool.

4. Acting

Eddie Marsan in Happy-Go-Lucky


Great acting is refreshing, but not required for a movie to be good. Bad acting can be fun too and even used deliberately in movies like "braindead". 
Good acting is not only up to the actor. It is quite clear that some directors almost always bring forth great performances even from actors that are often considered bad actors. Of course the acting performances also depends on the story and the character they are given to work with.

Examples of great acting:

a) Nicholas Cage in Adaptation:

Nicholas Cage must be one of the worst actors at choosing movies. The movies most of us have seen him in are mainstream action movies with little place for character developement. Most of the time he's just Nicholas Cage put into different scenarios, rather than the character he's playing. Apparently, he wants to be seen as a kick-ass treasure-hunter known for his skills behind the wheel.  

But, to the point: There's a few exceptions, Adaptation being the best one. In this movie he shows us that he can be funny, wierd, and entertaining, without being cheesy.

b) Henry Fonda in The Grapes of Wrath

Henry Fonda cannot be accused of being a bad actor. In The Grapes of Wrath he gives one of the greatest performances ever seen in movies.


c) Eddie Marsan in Happy-Go-Lucky

A good example of a not so well-known actor in an amazing role. As the driving-intructor Scott he gives a performance full of emotion and eventually you forget that Scott's only a character.

3. Cinematography

Pan's Labyrinth


The nicer a movie looks, the better. If all the other elements are okay (not great), cinematography can decide if I like watching a movie or not. Sometimes it doesn't depend on the moviemakers, but how you watch the movie (In cinema, dvd or blu-ray and on a big screen or a small laptop)  

Example: 
Melancholia (2011)
Visually one of the greatest movies ever. Be sure to watch it on blu-ray.

The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003)
One of the biggest productions of all time, and it pays of. It's obvious how much they invested in the project. 

2. Dialogue

In Bruges


Good dialogue is essential for a movie to be perfect, but a good dialogue can also make a poor story entertaining. The dialogue is of course a part of the story, but I'm referring to how dialogue is used to tell a story.

Examples:
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Typical Tarantino Dialogue.

Persona (1966)
The dialogue is a huge part in this movie and it kept my attention.

12 Angry Men (1957)
In a movie where the entire movie takes place in one room, a good dialogue is necessary. In this case the dialogue is the story.

1. Story



The most important element in a movie is the story. It is the story the movie wants to tell us, the rest is just aids to make it reach the viewers and be entertaining and memorable. Most of the time, no matter how great the other elements are, I will not enjoy watching a movie with an uninteresting story. I don't need a large-scale story, just an interesting one. It's a huge plus if a story has no plot holes, but it's not necessary to be entertaining.

Example:

Frequency (2004)
A movie that may contain some plot holes and cheesy scenes, but with a story that interest me. This makes it easy to enjoy watching.

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
One of the most well-written stories ever and also my favorite movie of all time.


Comment: What's the most important elements according to you?

09 September 2012

Top 5 Movies Seen in August

#5. The Color Purple (1985)

Genre: Drama
Stars: Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey

Injustice is an easy way to capture the attention of the audience. The Color Purple is a good example of that and I think it works. The film follows a black woman for thirty years in the early 20th century America. Her father gets her pregnant, gives away her child and offers her to an older man for marriage.


#4. Intouchables (2011)

Genre: Drama, Comedy
Stars: François Cluzet, Omar Sy

One of the best feel-good movies I have seen, Intouchables is a movie about the friendship between a handicapped man, Philippe, and his new assistant, Driss, who has no experience of working with people. He does not take the handicap too serious, which is just what Philippe needs.


#3. The Graduate (1967)

Genre: Drama, Comedy
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Katherine Ross, Anne Bancroft

The 60's won last month with three movies in the top 3. The Graduate is a movie about a student who is seduced by an older woman, Mrs. Robinson. He falls in love with her daughter, which is of course a problem.


#2. Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Genre: Drama, Comedy
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight

A sad, funny and artistic film about the friendship between a Cowboy-dressed male prostitute (one hell of a stud), and a social outcast thief. Together they try to survive in New York without work living in a dilapidated apartment. 


#1. The Great Escape (1963)

Genre: Adventure
Sub-genre: Prison
Stars: Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronon (To name a few)

Prisoners of war plan a major escape in this movie from 1963. This is an entertaining movie that should fit almost anybody. There's Action, Adventure and Comedy. There's definitely no Romance though and the cast can't be more male-dominated.


This is how my ratings were distributed in August:

This month was more about Quality than Quantity.

30 August 2012

Top 5 Quotes: Johnny Depp

A list of my favorite quotes by characters played by Johnny Depp.

#5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)


"- Mr. Wonka, I'm Violet Beauregarde."
"- Oh. I don't care."

#4. Ed Wood (1994)


Bela Lugosi casts a love spell on Vampira who is on TV while moving his fingers like Dracula
"My Gosh, Bela, how do you do that?"

#3. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)


"She's safe, just like I promised. She's all set to marry Norrington, just like she promised. And you get to die for her, just like you promised. So we're all men of our word really... except for, of course, Elizabeth, who is in fact, a woman."

#2. Ed Wood (1994)


"Cut! That was perfect!"

#1. Dead Man (1995)


"Do you know my poetry?"


What are your favorites?

12 August 2012

David Fincher

Top 5 Movies Directed by David Fincher


David Fincher is one of the best mainstream directors of our time. He makes entertaining movies that anyone can enjoy.
So far in his career he has directed 9 feature films, starting with Alien 3 1992 and most recently, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in late 2011.
Possible future feature film projects are 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo and The two sequels in the Millennium trilogi, but first he's going to direct the tv-series House of Cards (2013).


#5. The Game (1997)


#4. Zodiac (2007)


#3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)


#2. Se7en (1995)


#1. Fight Club (1999)

04 August 2012

Top 5 Movies Seen in July




#5. Tillsammans [2000] aka Together


Directed by: Lukas Moodysson
Genre: Comedy

A bunch of friends live together in a house to live more simple and be more environmentally friendly. They don't accept televisions or any other modern, unnecessary things. A woman tires of her husband and takes her daughter with her and moves into the house.
A great swedish comedy with a different kind of concept, be sure to watch it!


#4. Rio Bravo [1959]


Directed by: Howard Hawks
Genre: Western

John Wayne stars in this movie as a sheriff in a town that has imprisoned a notorious bandit. The brother of the bandit is rich and pays thughs to free him. The sheriff doesn't want to hire any town people because they will only get themselves killed. In the end, there are one sheriff and three deputies to fight the thugs. In between all this there is both Comedy, Romance and of course a great shoot-out.
One of the most professional westerns I have seen.


#3. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada [2005]


Directed by: Tommy Lee Jones
Genre: Western, Adventure

A western set in contemporary times. A border patrolman accidentally shoots a mexican ranch worker, Melquiades Estrada. He flees the scene but is later caught by the collegue and friend of the victim, Pete Perkins. Pete had promised Melquiades to bury him in his hometown in Mexico if he happened to die. Pete takes the law into his own hands and kidnaps the border patrolman and takes him along on the journey as punishment.


#2. Dances With Wolves [1990]


Directed by: Kevin Costner
Genre: Adventure, Drama, War

A western set during the Civil War. Lt. John Dunbar requests a position on the western frontier, but finds it deserted when he arrives. He decides to stay there anyway, but soon finds himself threatened by Indians. He attempts to befriend the Indians and is quickly respected by the tribe.
I watched the director's cut which was almost 4 hours long, and it didn't feel too long. I haven't seen the theatrical version so I can't say which one you should watch.


#1. Blue Valentine [2010]


Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
Genre: Romance, Drama, Comedy

Blue Valentine shows us the rise and fall of a relationship and how it could end if you stop caring about each other. This is a depressing film that manages to be funny at the same time. The acting is great and the dialogue is very well written both in the funny and tragic parts.


Worst movie seen this month: Liar Liar (1997)













I knew Jim Carrey could overact and yet I wasn't prepared for this. I cannot understand how this could be funny.


This is how I rated movies in July


26 July 2012

Top 5 Movies With Less Than 25000 Votes on IMDb

As you may have noticed, IMDb changed the minimum number of votes required to be included in the Top 250 list last week from 3000 to 25000 votes. This resulted in big changes in the list, since there were some movies already in the list with less than 25000 votes, some movies that had been there for a long time. Also, in the last year I've noticed some foreign classics entering and climbing the list, as more people have watched them, like Seppuku, Tokyo Story and Le Samouraï. These titles will not reach the 25000 limit in a long time and when they eventually do, the limit will be or have already been set higher, since the IMDb staff are aiming for 2% of all titles with more than 5 votes to be eligible for the Top 250 list. These movies will NEVER belong to those 2% unless they gain a mysterious rise of mainstream popularity (won't happen).

These are the movies that dissappeared from the list following the change:
1920s: Sherlock Jr., Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, The Passion of Joan of Arc
1930s: Grand Illusion
1940s: Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Best Years of Our Lives
1950s: Nights of Cabiria, Throne of Blood, Ikiru, Les diaboliques, Anatomy of a Murder, Tokyo Story,  The Wages of Fear,
1960s: Le samouraï, High and Low, Seppuku, Judgment at Nuremberg, The Battle of Algiers
1970s:
1980s: Fanny and Alexander, Idi i smotri (Come and See)
1990s:
2000s: Memories of Murder
2010s: Moonrise Kingdom (Not yet released everywhere)

American movies: 6
Foreign movies: 16

Most of these won't reach the 25000 limit in a long time.

If you're interested in more opinions about this change, read here:
http://www.imdb.com/board/bd0000040/nest/201955392?p=1

So I decided to make a personal list of my favorite movies with less than 25000 votes, movies that has no possibility to enter the list for the moment. Of course I only take into account movies I have seen.


Top 5 movies with less than 25000 votes on IMDb


#5. Fanny och Alexander (1982)
Votes: 22022
Directed by: Ingmar Begman

Has been an active title on the list since 1999, and will probably be back there in a year or so, when the 25000 limit is reached. Watch it as soon as possible to speed things up!

#4. Le trou (The Hole) (1960)
Votes: 4797
Directed by: Jacques Becker

It's a long way to 25000 votes from here, but with a 8.4 rating it could have entered soon if the limit had been set at 5000 instead. If you enjoy prison movies, this is a must see. What makes it even more interesting is that one of the actors is one of the prisoners this film is portraying.

#3. The Ox-bow Incident (1943)
11054
Directed by: William A. Wellman

Has never been on the list, but with a 8.2 rating it wouldn't have been impossible for this great western drama to sneak in at the bottom of the list sometime soon.

#2. Le notti di cabiria (Nights of Cabiria) (1957)
Votes: 16809
Directed by: Federico Fellini

Has been on the list since 2005, but not anymore. Won't reach the 25000 limit for a long time.

#1. Vozvrashchenie (The Return) (2003)
Votes: 17058
Directed by: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Has never been on the list. Watch it, the propability that you'll like it is big. Be sure to vote.

There are other ways to find more unknown movie than looking at the IMDb Top 250 list though, for example the website icheckmovies.com, or by checking out the usermade lists on IMDb, and of course by reading this blog!

20 July 2012

Top 5 Jim Jarmusch Characters

A list of my five favorite characters in Jim Jarmusch movies.


#5. Roberto (Down by Law)



#4. Helmut Grokenberger (Night on Earth)







#2. Zack (Down By Law)
Actor: Tom Waits



#1. William Blake (Dead Man)
Actor: Johnny Depp



Bonus: Nobody (Dead Man)
Actor: Gary Farmer


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