30 May 2012

Top 5 Perfomances: Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp has always been one of my favorite actors and always does an amazing job. The last few years though, I feel that he hasn't chosen his roles too well and I would like to see him in more drama/comedy movies and less fantasy.

This is a list of the best performances, not the best movies, although the quality of the movie often has an impact on the performance vice versa.

Edward Scissorhands

The movie is great but not flawless. Johnny Depp is though.

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

Willy Wonka

What would otherwise have been an okay movie became a personal favorite for me because of Johnny Depp's acting. I must admit, I haven't seen the original so I can't say if he's better than Gene Wilder or not.

3. Dead Man (1995)

William Blake

One of the most unique movies Johnny Depp has acted in. William Blake goes from being a nervous accountant to being a cool western outlaw in this Jarmusch film.

Jack Sparrow

The most well-known movie and the one that made him bigger than ever. He should have stopped being Jack Sparrow after the third one because there's not much left to get from that character.

1. Ed Wood (1994)

Edward D Wood Jr.

My absolute favorite Johnny Depp performance is his portrayal of the legendary director Edward D Wood Jr.

Bonus: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Felt bad to leave this out of the list. Great performance.

24 May 2012

Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch

Top 5 Films Directed by Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch is one of the more well-known and appreciated indie directors working today. He has made 10 full-length movies since his debut Permanent Vacation 1980 and I've seen all of them.
His latest film The Limits of Control came out 2009 and his next film, Only Lovers Left Alive, may be released 2013. The upcoming film has been described as an unusual love story between two vampires who have been in love for centuries.
For me there are two kinds of Jarmusch movies - Most of them are great movies with very real, dry humor and strong dialogue, but a few of his movies are quite boring and don't manage to keep my full attention.

1. Down by Law (1986)

Great film, a more realistic comedy is hard to find. Feels like the three main characters could be my buddies in real life, if you see what I mean.

2. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)

Great soundtrack, great acting, great story and great direction. It was fun to watch and a really unique film I will always remember and surely rewatch.

3. Dead Man (1995)

William Blake goes from being a boring accountant to one of the coolest western characters ever written in this unique black and white western. One of Johnny Depp's best roles, I wish he'd go back to playing these kinds of roles soon.

4. Night On Earth (1991)

A film consisting of five short films about five taxi drivers in five different cities. I liked three of them a lot (New York, Helsinki, L.A) but two of them could have been better (Paris, Rome). Sadly, the two I didn't like came right after each other which made me loose a bit of interest, but the last and best segment, Helsinki, finished the movie brilliantly.

5. Broken Flowers (2005)

It's a few years since I saw this film, before I became as interested in movies as I am today. I liked it then and I guess that's a proof of this one being Jarmusch's most mainstream movie and one I would maybe recommend people to start with. Good performance by Bill Murray and overall a good film.

19 May 2012

Top 5 Crazy Scenes

Sometimes movies take me completely by surprise with a totally random crazy scene and sometimes even though the movie is already crazy. Sadly, it doesn't happen too often. If you know of one, name the movie, but don't tell me about the scene.


Also, I think it'd be hard to understand some of these scenes out of context. :)

Nr 5: It Happened One Night (1934)

The Hitchhiking scene

Can't find a youtube video of this scene.

The most popular scene from this movie seems to be the one where the two main characters are standing on the side of the road trying to get a lift. It's a great scene, but in my opinion it gets even better when they get in the car. The driver is completely insane.

Nr 4: Freaks (1932)

The Gooble gobble song

This is a crazy movie but still this scene surprised me. Don't know what else to say. Watch the movie before watching this if you're smart. This I think is one of those scenes you wouldn't understand without watching the whole movie. :)

Nr 3: Being John Malkovich (1999)

The Malkovich Malkovich scene

Great idea for a movie and this scene is insane. Charlie Kaufman is a crazy scriptwriter!

Nr 2: Braindead (1992)

This video can only be shown directly on youtube, possibly because of the age-limit. (click the link above)

Known as the goriest scene in cinema history. It can't get much crazier than this. "Party's over"

Nr 1: Evil Dead II (1987)

The Laughing scene

By far the craziest scene I've seen is this sick scene from Evil Dead II. Compared to this scene, the rest of the movie is normal, which it isn't. The lamp is my favorite.

14 May 2012

Top 5 Opening Scenes

What's so great with a good opening scene is that it might quickly draw you into the movie, make you interested and tell you how the movie is going to be. I like an opening scene extra much if it gives me a certain feeling that makes me wanna rewatch it later. Also, great use of music is something I like very much.

Nr. 5 O Brother, Where Art Thou?

The cinematography, the song sang by the chain-gang prisoners followed by the escape of the three prisoners got me hooked to this movie right from the start. I know there are many objectively better opening scenes, but this is too much of a personal favorite to leave out of this list.

The story behind the song sang by the chain-gang is very interesting. You can read about it HERE

Nr. 4 2001: A Space Odyssey

One of the most unique opening sequences to a movie is the one seen in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The use of music in this opening scene as well as in the rest of the movie is too good to be true, which seems to be the case in many of Kubrick's movies.

Nr. 3 Melancholia 

Upon watching this the first time, the opening sequence might put you off, thinking that the whole movie could be like this, but after watching the whole movie, it might be that you want to return to watch the beginning again. Visually beautiful, confusingly strange and made even better with beautiful classical music. It also gives you a feeling that continues throughout the whole movie.

Nr. 2 A Clockwork Orange

A love the music, the red and blue background color followed by Alex looking into the camera drinking milk, the set construction, costumes and Alex's presentation of himself and his droogs. Perfect opening scene that couldn't be better.

Nr. 1 Once Upon a Time In the West

My favorite opening scene from my favorite film. This YouTube clip doesn't view the complete opening sequence, it starts at about 5 minutes into the movie. I count the first 14 minutes as the opening scene. If you don't at all like this scene, you probably won't like the rest of the movie too much. It's slow, but only on the surface. This movie builds up atmosphere like no other movie and releases the energy built up by it better than any movie. 

I would appreciate if you would comment and tell me about your favorite opening scenes!

10 May 2012

Top 5 Child Acting Performances

There's a problem when a film needs a child character: It's hard to find good child actors. I don't blame the children, I guess almost always the director or someone else in the production is responsible for how a childs performance turns out. Of course the child has to have some talent too, but I suppose a child needs more direction than an adult actor that has maybe studied acting and are more confident to try new things.
Often the child actors are good, but it seldom happens that they are a big part of what makes the movie great. The following top 5 list proves that child actors can deliver fantastic performances.

5. Everlyn Sampi - Rabbit-Proof Fence
Character name: Molly Craig
Age: 12-13
Age today: 23

4. Danny Lloyd - The Shining
Character name: Danny Torrance
Age: 6
Age today: 39

3. Lina Leandersson  - Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One in)
Character name: Eli
Age: 12-13
Age today: 16

2. Kåre Hedebrant - Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In)
Character name: Oskar
Age: 12-13
Age today: 16

1. Vanya DobronravovVozvrashchenie (The Return)
Character name: Ivan
Age: 13-14
Age Today: 22

06 May 2012

Top 5 Promising Directors

A list of relatively new promising directors who have made only up to three internationally known films.

2011: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
2013: Larklight (Not confirmed, but possible)

Tomas Alfredson may not be new to directing movies, but after the success with Låt den rätte komma in 2008 he seems to have become a internationally respected director and got the oppurtunity to direct Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy released last year. I have noticed that his movies tend to have great cinematography, which is something I value.

Nr. 4: Steve McQueen

Films directed:
2008: Hunger
2011: Shame
2013: Twelve Years a Slave

Something I respect very much is directors who manages to make drama movies intriguing and unique at the same time. There's not a lot of them nowadays but Steve McQueen seems to be one. I think he could be one of the 21st century's most respected directors in the future. His next film Twelve Years a Slave sounds very promising and stars both Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt.

Nr. 3: Duncan Jones

Films directed:
2009: Moon
xxxx: Mute (A Sci-fi film with no release year yet)

Moon is one of my favorite movies, a really unique Sci-fi that promises a lot for the future. I didn't like Source Code as much even if it was an OK movie, but it wasn't written by Jones and he has said that Source Code was a way for him to try to work on a bigger budget while he still prefers to work on his own movies: 
"Source Code was a toe in the water of working with a slightly bigger budget and working with bigger name actors, because I do want to try and do that. Hopefully I'll be able to get that balance right and keep making movies based on my own work."  
You can read the rest of the interview HERE.

Nr. 2: Martin McDonagh

Films directed:
2008: In Bruges
2012: Seven Psychopaths

I don't think it's possible for McDonagh to top In Bruges, but I hope he makes more great movies. What makes me a bit worried is that I didn't like the short Six Shooter, although that was mostly because of the young actor. The cast in his next movie Seven Psychopaths is great though, so I'm not having any doubts on that part. I won't make the mistake of watching it with too high hopes though, cause that almost never ends well.

Nr. 1: Jeff Nichols

Films directed:
2008: Shotgun Stories
2011: Take Shelter
2012: Mud

A really promising young director that seems to make unique drama movies. Take Shelter became one of my favorite movies of 2011 and I hope Mud will be one of my favorites of 2012. A bonus is that he has collaborated with the incredibly good actor Michael Shannon in all his movies so far, and will also do in Mud. I hope this guy will make many good movies in the future.

01 May 2012

Top 5 Movies Seen in April

April was a great month for me, much better than March. I got a few new personal favorites and saw many movies I enjoyed. The posts I made this month had a significant impact on what kind of movies I watched, for example, many time travel movies and movies released 1920.

This is how my ratings were distributed in April:

Nr. 1: Melancholia (2011)

Directed by: Lars Von Trier
Genre: Drama, Sci-fi

Nr. 2: Vozvrashchenie (2003)

Aka: The Return
Directed by: Andrei Zvyagintsev
Genre: Drama

Nr. 3: Down By Law (1986)

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch
Genre: Comedy, Drama

Nr. 4: Way Down East (1920)

Directed by: D.W. Griffith
Genre: Drama, Romance

Nr. 5: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

Directed by: Woody Allen
Genre: Drama, Crime

Melancholia is one of the best drama films I've ever seen. It's about the life of two sisters and the people surrounding them during a time when another planet is about to pass close to the earth. The movie is divided into two parts, which I liked. Visually it was perfect and the story and acting is superb. I like catastrophe movies but there aren't too many serious drama movies like this one in that sub-genre.
If possible, watch it in Blu-Ray.

Vozvrashchenie is a film about the return of a father that abandoned his family years ago. When he returns, he takes his two sons on a trip. The older brother respects him, unlike the younger one, who shows his disappointment. I had been thinking of watching this for a long time and I'm glad I finally did. It isn't a happy movie, it's dark, tragic and depressing. Great acting here too, The actor who plays the younger brother does some of the best acting by a child I have ever seen.

Down by Law is a great comedy by indie director Jim Jarmusch. It's about three men, the DJ Jack, the pimp Zack and the Italian tourist Roberto, that by mistake ends up in prison and share cell. I don't know if a have seen a more real comedy than this one before. The humor that developed between the characters, especially between Jack and Zack and the way they "handled" Roberto's slightly irritating style, felt very real. I would recommend this one to anybody that likes unique comedies.

Way Down East was also represented in my list of top 5 movies released 1920, where you can read my comment about it.

I normally don't like Woody Allen movies that much, but sometimes he makes really great movies and Crimes and Misdemeanors is the best one I've seen from him so far. There's two stories in this film, one about a respected man whose reputation is at risk when his mistress threatens to expose herself to his wife and one story about a married documentary filmmaker who falls in love with another woman.

Worst movie of the month: The Children
A horror movie me and my girlfriend watched a few days ago. Terrible acting, bad story and not scary in any way. Halfway through we made it faster with 3x speed, which made it more entertaining.

Check out my list of the best movies I saw in March:
Top 5 Movies Seen in March