Archive for the TOP FIVES Category

The best and worst Bond villains from 23 movies

Posted in TOP FIVES with tags on December 5, 2014 by Ross McG

blofeld

We got some new Bond villains this week. Details of the next Bond movie – Bond 24 – were officially announced.

The film, which will hit cinemas next year, is called Spectre and will feature Daniel Craig as James Bond for the fourth time.

He will be joined by new cast members Christoph Waltz as Oberhauser; Monica Bellucci as Lucia Sciarra; Léa Seydoux as Madeleine Swann; Dave Bautista as Mr Hinx and Andrew Scott as Denbigh.

Waltz’s character is rumoured to be something of a ruse: he is expected to be the next Blofeld in Spectre.

Getting Bond villains right is a tricky science. If one element is just slightly out of place, you end up with a turkey – but get it right and you have Bond gold.

Here is the list of the worst and best Bond villains across the 23 movies in the series so far. Let’s start with the worst…

41. Dominic Greene (Matthieu Amalric; Quantum of Solace)

Oh no! Call 007! Quick! The bad guy wants to steal… nuclear weapons? A doomsday device? No… just water. He wants to steal water.

Oh, but has no problem with hiding out in a hotel that is completely flammable. Or inflammable. Or both. Or whatever. He’s lame, that’s my point. As drippy as the substance he wants to pilfer.

40. Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce; Tomorrow Never Dies)

Carver tries to control the world by controlling the world’s news. Ha! Twitter would have eaten him alive.

39. Solitaire (Jane Seymour; Live and Let Die)

She’s a psychic, but only retains her power if she stays a virgin. Hmmm… she does realise she’s in a Bond movie? Wonder how long her powers will last…

38. Dario (Benicio Del Toro; Licence to Kill)

Licence to get chopped up in a big grinder, more like.

37. Mr Bullion (Goldie; The World Is Not Enough)

Seriously, he did well to make it as low as number 37.

36. Baron Samedi (Geoffrey Holder; Live and Let Die)

Yeah, Baron Samedi is a bit annoying, but at least he has the last laugh over the intro to the best Bond song ever. Take it away, Sir Paul…

35. Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike; Die Another Day)

Poor Pike. Like her namesake in Dad’s Army, she’s reduced to meaningless tasks here, like sword-fighting Halle Berry in a tube top.

34. Dr Kananga / Mr Big (Yaphet Kotto; Live and Let Die)

If ever a Bond villain was full of hot air, it’s this one.

33. Mr Wint and Mr Kidd (Bruce Glover and Putter Smith; Diamonds are Forever)

What a creepy duo… when you’re ten years old. Now they’re just annoying, exactly like the film in which they feature.

32. Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens; Die Another Day)

Graves is actually North Korean Colonel Moon in disguise. If this is how what North Korean military types want to look like through western eyes, heaven help all of us.

31. Aristotle Kristatos (Julian Glover; For Your Eyes Only)

Perhaps not an awful villain, just a criminally nondescript one. Mind you, it’s hard to deflect any of the attention away from Roger Moore’s gilet.

30. Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee; The Man With The Golden Gun)

Another one who seems cool when you’re a kid, but Scaramanga wants to be just like Bond and tries to steal some solar powered gizmo. Not exactly the Brain from Pinky and the Brain then, is he?

29. Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen; Casino Royale)

Mikkelsen is more famous now as playing a really great villain in the hungry shape of Hannibal Lecter, but his Le Chiffre is a bit of a weed, although to be fair the aim of Casino Royale was to reboot Bond, not the guy who loses money at cards and gets taken out like a wuss.

28. Renard (Robert Carlyle; The World Is Not Enough)

Yeah, he’s got a bullet in his brain that means he can’t feel pain or something, but apart from that, Renard’s chief weapon is his dullness. They should have thrown another Carlyle character into the action… Bond v Begbie, now that have upped the box office takings.

27. General Orlov (Steven Berkoff; Octopussy)

This is the movie in which Roger Moore dresses up as a clown to defuse a bomb, so any villain would have their work cut out to grab the headlines. Berkoff, as was his wont, decides to fight clown with ham, and almost pulls it off. Almost.

26. Nick Nack (Hervé Villechaize; The Man With The Golden Gun)

There is no way Bond will be able to take that on as carry-on luggage…

25. May Day (Grace Jones; A View To A Kill)

There is a fine tradition of Bond baddies turning into goodies towards the end of the film, and it’s usually extremely well signposted, but in the case of May Day it’s actually quite a poignant moment, as she lays down her life for Bond. Not the first or last woman to do that, but one of the most memorable.

24. Dr Kaufman (Vincent Schiavelli; Tomorrow Never Dies)

Probably the best scene in Tomorrow Never Dies features the meticulous Dr Kaufman, whose only weakness is his arrogance.

23. Boris Grishenko (Alan Cumming; GoldenEye)

Not the first Boris to think he is invincible, but unlike the mayor of London, this one is actually quite funny. Great death scene too.

22. Tee Hee (Julius W Harris; Live and Let Die)

It’s hard to stand out as a bad guy in a film as terrible as Live and Let Die, so props to Tee Hee for making a statement. Unlike his moniker, Tee Hee is no laughing matter, especially when his mechanical arm is digging into you, as it does to Bond in a nice nod to the train fight from From Russia With Love

21. Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi; Licence to Kill)

Most Bond villains have a slightly comedic element to them, but the refreshing thing about Sanchez is that he’s simply a vindictive, vicious git, meaning only an off-the-reservation Bond can be ruthless enough to take him down.

20. Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman; Goldfinger)

Another Bond villain turned Bond ally, Pussy is strictly the outdoors type, although she loses marks for plotting against her boss Goldfinger so easily, particularly as Bond simply orders her to swap sides. So much for women doing what they wanted in the 1960s. So much for women doing what they wanted in any Bond movie…

19. Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem; Skyfall)

‘Mommy was very bad.’ It never struck me that M might stand for Mom until Silva came along in Skyfall.

His introduction, teasing out 007’s gay side, is fantastic, so it’s a bit of a shame that his subsequent masterplan is a rehash of the one in The World Is Not Enough and the Joker’s in The Dark Knight. And he falls for the Home Alone ending.

18. Bambi and Thumper (Lola Larson and Trina Parks; Diamonds are Forever)

These two Disney fans give Bond, albeit the oldest looking Bond ever, a good kicking, until they make the mistake of jumping into a pool after him. Deer and rabbit obviously can’t swim.

17. Elektra King (Sophie Marceau; The World Is Not Enough)

I’m not saying The World Is Not Enough is a masterpiece – it has Denise Richards in it, for goodness sake – but it’s definitely not as bad as some suggest, and is easily the second best of Pierce Brosnan’s four Bonds.

A lot of this is down to the main villain – no, not that dullard with the bullet in his head – but Elektra King, who ruthlessly kills her father in a bid to control the world’s oil.

16. Oddjob (Harold Sakata; Goldfinger)

Never play frisbee with this guy, never.

15. Donald ‘Red’ Grant (Robert Shaw; From Russia With Love)

Shaw might have made a good Bond himself, but he makes a great Bond villain, until 007 disposes of him on a train. First class entertainment.

14. Mr White (Jesper Christensen; Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace)

Bit of a sneaky one this, but then he’s a bit of sneaky villain. Mr White is the Quantum bad boy who takes out Le Chiffre (saving a ball-aching Bond in the process) and escapes the clutches of MI6. Technically, he’s still out there, scheming away.

13. Jaws (Richard Kiel; The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker)

Okay, so he went and fell in love in Moonraker and turned into a goodie – and that was totally rubbish – but let’s not forget the good bad work Jaws did in The Spy Who Loved Me.

What is it with henchmen attacking Bond on trains?

12. Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi; Thunderball)

Good on old Emilio. He had a decent plan (seizing nuclear weapons; the usual drill, but proven industry), an eye-patch and wasn’t afraid to get into a scrap with 007.

He would have had the drop on Bond too, if his mistress hadn’t harpooned him in the back.

11. Max Zorin (Christopher Walken; A View To A Kill)

Worth his place in the top ten for plotting to blow up Silicon Valley, Zorin is the Bond villain as a rock star, and his hair was the inspiration for Javier Bardem’s performance in Skyfall.

10. Irma Bunt (Ilse Steppat; On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)

She kills Bond’s wife!

9. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Various; Various)

While Donald Pleasance is probably the quintessential Blofeld, I do have a soft spot for Telly Savalas in OHMSS, a Blofeld who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.

The reason he isn’t lower in this list is that, most of the time, he just sits around stroking a cat. If I want my main villain to do that, I can watch Inspector Gadget.

If Christoph Waltz is to be Blofeld, he has some big bald heads to fill.

8. Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe; Goldfinger)

When people say the love the movie Goldfinger, what they really mean is they love the admittedly great last ten minutes in Fort Knox.

The plot before that? Bond gets kidnapped and hangs around with the eponymous villain, even plays golf with him… and bar a bit of laser surgery, that’s about it.

Goldfinger, named after architect Erno Goldfinger (you can still go visit his house in Hampstead), has a plan to… take over the world – oh no, sorry, he just wants to be rich. Meh. Come on Auric, think bigger!

7. Karl Stromberg (Curt Jürgens; The Spy Who Loved Me)

Now here’s a guy with a master plan: convince the US and the USSR to open nuclear warfare on one another, then restart civilisation under the sea. In your face, Auric.

6. Dr Julius No (Joseph Wiseman; Dr No)

The original and one of the best, the benchmark on which all other Bond villains are judged.

In Ian Fleming’s book, Dr No has his heart on his right side and his hands cut off by Chinese ganglords. In the movie, he lost them to radiation, but it doesn’t lessen his badassery, although the metal replacements ultimately lead to his doom.

5. Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen; GoldenEye)

Great name, great henchwoman. Great way of killing blokes too, trapping them between her thunder thighs.

4. Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya; From Russia With Love)

Surprised Christian Louboutin has never tried a Rosa Klebb knife-shoe tie-in: would be very popular among secret agents.

3. Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale; Moonraker)

Even a terrible, terrible Bond film (and there have been a lot) like Moonraker can shine if it has the right villain.

To start with, he has a super name. And he has a super plan: kill everyone on Earth and then repopulate the planet with a special space race of super-humans. Genius. Crap film, mind.

2. Vesper Lynd (Eva Green; Casino Royale)

Her first words to Bond are ‘I’m the money’, and like cash, he comes to treasure her, until she breaks his heart.

That’s why she’s such a great Bond villain: she doesn’t hurt 007 with a bullet or a laser but with a different kind of torture, and her betrayal turns him into the cold-hearted git he becomes.

1. Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean; GoldenEye)

The greatest Bond film ever has the greatest Bond bad guy of them all, because he’s actually… 006!

It’s a neat twist, and not only does Trevelyan have a decent plan (nuclear detonation over London), he also has some substantial personal reasons behind it: his father killed his mother and then himself over their guilt at surviving the repatriation by the British of Lienz Cossacks to the Soviet Union. As Bond admits: ‘Not exactly our finest hour.’

But 006 is the finest Bond villain. For England, James…

David Fincher’s movies ranked from 1 to 9

Posted in TOP FIVES with tags on October 1, 2014 by Ross McG

Fight Club (1999) Edward Norton and Brad Pitt (Screengrab)

David Fincher’s new film, Gone Girl, an adaptation of the bestseller by Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the script for the movie, is out this week.

In a few years, it will be interesting to see where Gone Girl sits in Fincher’s body of work. Because in his case, it takes a few years and plenty of sittings to digest his films.

Some of them – most notably Fight Club – have been famously written off on release, only for critics to change their minds further down the watching road.

Film critics, eh? They haven’t a bloody clue.

Bloody clues are what Fincher’s movies are all about, and Gone Girl is no different. But what is the director’s best work to date? Begin the countdown.

9. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

David Fincher has not made a terrible film, so it seems a bit ridiculous to call one of them his worst, but what the hey: this is his worst film. Not a bad film to call your worst though, as Benjamin Button is a sweeping epic concerned with the intricacies of time and chance.

Brad Pitt gets progressively younger (hang on, that’s a film plot, not reality?) and keeps catching up with Cate Blanchett. It’s all very overwhelming in a good way and pleased the Academy no end – it’s just not very Fincher, and as a result, not Fincher at his finest.

The Best Bit: The car accident

8. Alien 3 (1992)

Fincher’s feelings on his first feature and the studio interference that came with it are well known, so it’s a minor miracle then that the final film turns out to be pretty decent. Not Alien or Aliens decent, but then it’s hard to top the best space horror and best space action ever made.

Fincher tried to do something a bit different with Alien 3, and while it’s muddled in parts, it does have the guy from the Tetley Tea adverts getting munched by an Xenomorph.

The Best Bit: ‘Let’s fight it!’

7. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

It was always going to be a bit difficult for Fincher to put his own stamp on such a well-known and well-read tale, but he takes a pretty good stab with his girl and her tattoo. His girl is Rooney Mara, who is fantastic, to the point where Daniel Craig’s sturdy straight man doesn’t make the same kind of impact as Michael Nyqvist in the original Swedish version of Stieg Larsson’s thriller novel.

The remake didn’t span any sequels despite making more than $200 million at the worldwide box office. Not sure how they could top that Enya scene anyway.

The Best Bit: The remarkable opening credits

6. Panic Room (2002)

Jodie Foster does tough matriarch in her sleep, but there is a lot more going on in Panic Room than meets the eye. Fincher points his camera through household appliances and covers every inch of the New York home that is his setting. It’s his Rear Window, and it’s pretty good, featuring an excellent performance from a pre-Twilighting Kristen Stewart.

The Best Bit: The North by Northwest riffing title sequence

5. The Game (1997)

If this was any other director’s movie, it would be Number One in their list – it’s a mark of Fincher’s quality that it features in the midway point of his canon. Michael Douglas specialises in playing dislikeable characters, so it’s a real treat to see his rich businessman put through the mill by his little brother Sean Penn. They make perfect feuding siblings and this is a perfect little mind-bending movie.

The Best Bit: The dinner with Conrad

4. Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club is one of those films that made you feel different about the world you lived in after you walked out of the cinema. Derided on release then later hailed as a masterpiece, the truth is somewhere near the second station.

Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter are perfectly cast as a love triangle with a difference in this bracing adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel. Fincher continually manages to take great literature and make it even better on the big screen.

The Best Bit: Meeting Tyler Durden

3. The Social Network (2010)

When this film was generating serious Oscar buzz after its release, all the talk was about Aaron Sorkin’s punchy script. Sorkin went on to win his Oscar, but Fincher lost out. He was in good company – Darren Aronofsky also failed to bag Best Director for Black Swan as The King’s Speech took the major gongs.

Sorkin deserved his win, but perhaps not all of the credit – writing the words on the page is one thing, cajoling your actors into saying them properly is another. And Fincher, a man fond of multiple takes, is one of the great cajolers.

The Social Network is almost an action film, so slick are its various sequences – the opening break-up in the bar… the night-time walk across campus… hacking the college computer system… it’s a breathless opening half hour or so in the fictional life of Facebook maker Mark Zuckerberg.

The words are Sorkin’s, but it’s Fincher’s film. And it’s a great one. A modern classic.

The Best Bit: Adding up the numbers

2. Se7en (1995)

The best of the Fincher/Pitt collaborations, a film that demonstrated Fincher was a serious moviemaking talent after cutting his teeth making videos for the likes of Madonna and The Rolling Stones.

Se7en doesn’t so much chew up the serial killer thriller blueprint and spit it out as staple it to a wall and torture it for 18 hours a day across the span of one year. It is relentless filmmaking that has yet to be equalled in its genre.

The Best Bit: One word. Not ‘box’. But ‘sloth’.

1. Zodiac (2007)

And so we get to the best David Fincher movie there’s been so far. And, of course, it’s the one that nobody wanted to see. It’s the only Fincher movie that didn’t make it to $100 million at the worldwide box office. But why is that?

The fact that it’s more than two-and-a-half hours long doesn’t help. The fact that there is no clear resolution at the end of that length was another bone of contention. The fact that it meanders and goes into alleyways with deads ends is another factor.

And yet… and yet… all those perceived negatives are what makes Zodiac Fincher’s best film. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr (and Brian Cox in one of the seven movies he happened to be making that week), it’s about a decades-long search for a killer that ultimately proves fruitless – the film should be long and meandering.

It is also Fincher’s love letter to San Francisco and the Bay Area he grew up in. As well as this, it’s a tribute to All The President’s Men, perhaps the greatest movie about journalism. Well, it and Fletch.

The Best Bit: The Transamerica Pyramid building gets built

Jaws, The Monkees and Happy Gilmore: Richard Kiel’s best movie moments

Posted in TOP FIVES with tags on September 11, 2014 by Ross McG

jawsrichardkiel

Richard Kiel, best known as the Bond villain Jaws, had died at the age of 74.

He will be remembered chiefly for sinking those steel teeth into anything that got in his way in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, giving Roger Moore’s 007 plenty to chew on.

Kiel made the most of his fame after his two James Bond adventures, riffing on his role as Jaws in a series of movies that followed.

Before Bond, he appeared in a number of US TV shows, including The Twilight Zone, Starsky & Hutch, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Lassie.

Whatever he cropped up in, Kiel made audiences bear their teeth as much as his most famous creation – he may not have been the greatest actor ever, but you just can’t help but smile when he appears on screen, whether he’s eating James Bond’s van or monkeying around with The Monkees. Here are some of those moments:

1. The Monkees (1967)

Who better to give The Band That Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles a good scare than Kiel?

Here he is in the 1967 episode, I Was A Teenage Monster. A more convincing Frankenstein’s monster than De Niro, we reckon.

2. The Longest Yard (1974)

Kiel may be the biggest bruiser in the prison playground for this American football movie with a twist, where inmates take on guards, but he isn’t the meanest. Here, he literally gets his nose bent out of shape.

3. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Can-opener? More like van-opener. Geddit? Kiel in the role that made him famous: Jaws.

4. Moonraker (1979)

Somewhere in the late 1970s, some execs gathered in a boardroom and one shouted: ‘You know what Jaws needs in the next Bond picture… a cable car fight! And a girlfriend!’

5. Cannonball Run II (1984)

Back in a movie with Burt Reynolds, Kiel and Jackie Chan feel the need for speed in the utterly crap yet utterly brilliant Cannonball Run sequel, finding time for a neat nod to James Bond’s submersible Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me.

6. Pale Rider (1985)

James Bond? Pah. Easy peasy. Clint Eastwood, on the other hand, now he’s tough. Even when he’s a preacher. Here, just like in The Longest Yard, Kiel takes a hefty hit to the nose, and then another blow to a region a little more painful.

7. Happy Gilmore (1996)

Richard Kiel… tormentor of James Bond… and Shooter McGavin.

8. Tangled (2010)

And finally, a role that sums up Kiel’s enduring movie persona – tough on the outside, a big softie on the inside. Here he plays Vladimir, a fairy-tale thug who likes collecting ceramic unicorns. Of course.

Spared no expense… Richard Attenborough’s best bits from Jurassic Park

Posted in TOP FIVES with tags , on August 26, 2014 by Ross McG

attenborough

Sadly, Sir Richard Attenborough is no longer with us.

Moviegoers of various ages will have different memories of ‘Dickie’, both of his work behind the camera on films like Oh! What a Lovely War, Gandhi, Cry Freedom, Chaplin and Shadowlands, and his performances in front of it in Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, 10 Rillington Place and Miracle on 34th Street.

But for many film fans, Attenborough will always be John Hammond, the man who brought dinosaurs back to life in Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster Jurassic Park.

In Michael Crichton’s novel, Hammond is a bit of a nasty piece of work, whose main incentive from recreating dinos is to make a bit of cash. He also meets a bit of a sticky end. But in the movie, because he is played by loveable Attenborough, Hammond is more of a misguided figure, albeit one still obsessed with money (‘Spared no expense!’).

In the film, Hammond is one of the survivors, and even pops up in the sequel to get the plot rolling. But it’s Attenborough’s performance in the first Jurassic Park movie that will long be remembered. Here are his best bits:

 

1. ‘We have a T-rex!’

2. ‘Dr Grant, my dear Dr Sattler… welcome… to Jurassic Park!’

3. ‘It was a Flea Circus, Petticoat Lane. Really quite wonderful. We had a wee trapeze, and a merry-go… carousel and a seesaw.’

4. ‘I really hate that man.’

5. ‘Condors! Condors are on the verge of extinction.’

6. ‘It ought to be me really going. Well, I’m a… and you’re a…’

7. ‘Spared no expense!’

The best orgasm scenes in movies

Posted in TOP FIVES with tags , , on July 31, 2014 by Ross McG

whenharry

Today is National Orgasm Day. Of course it is. It’s right up there with St Patrick’s Day and No Pants Day as one of the worst holidays ever.

What’s that? It isn’t a holiday? We don’t get the day off? Screw that. Uh… precisely.

Some people think cinema was invented (by Steven Spielberg or James Cameron – I always forget which one it was) to show us the beauty and sadness of life, to take us to new worlds, to fire our imagination. Rubbish.

Movies came, ahem, along to do one thing: depict lots of actors and actresses showing us their O face.

In honour of National Orgasm Day then, here are the best and worst orgasm scenes in cinema.

THE WORST:

Okay, let’s start with the drivel before we get on to the good, uh, stuff. And with most lists of terrible things, it begins with The Ugly Truth. Take it away Katherine Heigl… and take away my ability to forget about this awful, awful movie.

Don’t worry, we’re only going to subject you to one more bad orgasm scene. Amy Adams is a terrific actress. But she has one major blot in her copybook: Cruel Intentions 2: Cruels Control. Okay, so I made the ‘Cruels Control’ bit up, but it’s still terrible. And it has a terrible orgasm scene, in which Adams teaches her protégé the correct way to ride (sorry!) a horse.

 

AND NOW THE BEST ORGASM SCENES:

10. American Pie (1999)

The original has been so undermined by its 200 terrible sequels and spin-offs that it’s easy to forget just how good – and sweetly innocent – the first American Pie movie is – like The Inbetweeners for US yoofs before The Inbetweeners existed. Its signature scene shows just how good an actor Jason Biggs is – he only ever needs two takes.

 

9. Barbarella (1968)

Jane Fonda proves that machine is no match for woman in this quite literally steamy scene from the 60s sci-fi classic.

 

8. Bruce Almighty (2003)

If you woke up one day and realised you were God, wouldn’t you give your girlfriend an orgasm through a wall just by moving your hands? Seems only polite. Jennifer Aniston obviously took some notes from her former flatmate Courtney Cox when it comes (sorry! Again!) to carnal pleasures. Ugh.. I used the word ‘carnal’ – gross.

 

7. There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Yes there is, and there’s something hanging from Ben Stiller’s ear that he’s not aware of. As if women actually use hair gel…

 

6. Private Parts (1997)

The movie of shock jock Howard Stern’s life isn’t really that shocking, but it does contain a pretty memorable on-air-radio/at-home-with-vibrating-speaker orgasm scene. Couldn’t do that these days with Spotify.

 

5. Pleasantville (1998)

You probably know Joan Allen best for chasing Jason Bourne, but here she makes a splash in more ways than one during a bath in Gary Ross’s underrated comedy drama. This orgasm is so good it turns black-and-white into colour, a feat previously achieved only by The Wizard of Oz. No magic wand jokes!

 

4. Amélie (2001)

Audrey Tautou pervs over Paris. ‘Quinze!’ Brilliant.

 

3. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

If only more Oscars were handed out for performances in comedies. Kevin Kline is brilliant as crazy Otto in A Fish Called Wanda, even when he’s having sex. Don’t call him Stupid.

 

2. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997)

Not a real orgasm, but a great one, as Romy (Mira Sorvino) does some amateur acting to procure a car. ‘Oh Rrrrrrramone… You are Columbus and I am America – discover me!’ Talking dirty has never sounded so funny.

 

1. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

YES! YES! YES! More orgasm fakery now, and who other than Meg Ryan could top this list? Sally Albright is the one person you don’t want to be sat near in a restaurant… or maybe you do? We’ll have what she’s having.

From Mean Streets to 22 Jump Street… The top 10 streets in cinema

Posted in TOP FIVES with tags on June 6, 2014 by Ross McG

22jumpstreet

Fans of dumb action comedy get to pull into 22 Jump Street this week.

The sequel to the admittedly fun 21 Jump Street, a reboot of the old Richard Grieco TV cop show (yeah, some guy called Johnny Depp was in it too), sees lunkhead police officers Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, in the words of the immortal Ice Cube in the trailer…. ‘goin’ ta COLLEGE!’

But how does Jump Street compare to some of the better known avenues in cinema?

10. Street Fighter (1994)

Back in the early 90s, I remember reading an article in a video games magazine that said Tom Cruise would be playing Ryu and Dana Carvey (Garth from Wayne’s World) would be playing Ken in the upcoming Street Fighter movie. As Heath Ledger’s Joker might ask… what happened? I’ll tell you what happened: the worst video game movie adaptation ever. Yes, give me Super Mario Bros any day.

9. Green Street (2005)

Okay, so it’s got Elijah Wood beating people up in between West Ham United games, but Green Street isn’t quite as bad as it should have been. Conveniently titled Green Street Hooligans in the US (must be big business from would-be tough guys Googling ‘hooligans movies’), there are actually two sequels to this.

8. Street Kings (2008)

If you don’t buy Frodo acting tough, you may not be convinced by Keanu Reeves doing likewise in David Ayer’s underrated LA crime thriller

7. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

London’s most journalistic avenue – until all the newspapers moved out – was also famous for haircuts and pies. Nice to see Johnny Depp in a Tim Burton film though – would love to see those two collaborate again.

6. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

In the past two years, Jonah Hill has starred in three movies with ‘street’ in the title. And here he is in the most famous financial thoroughfare of them all. Wall Street guys are bad, Scorsese tells us. For four hours.

5. Mean Streets (1973)

Marty was on much firmer ground 40 years earlier, depicting the most Rolling Stoniest streets around.

4. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

Richard Attenborough and the little girl from Mrs Doubtfire bring some Christmas magic to this famous New York address.

3. Wall Street (1987)

The street that is paved with gold… and slimeballs with gigantic mobile phones. And smug Charlie Sheen. Anyone else rooting for Gekko?

2. Streets of Fire (1984)

A box office bomb but a cult classic, Walter Hill’s follow-up to 48 Hrs has Diane Lane singing in the brilliantly named Ellen Aim and the Attackers and Willem Dafoe playing the Green Goblin 18 years before he was actually asked to play the Green Goblin. Marvellous 80s fare.

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Johnny Depp is back on another street! But this is the street where it all began – and ended – for him… Elm. Matching Hill’s strike rate of three ‘street’ movies (Depp pops up in the 21 Jump Street reboot) here in genuinely gruesome style, he offers proof that falling asleep in your bedroom is bad for you.

‘It’s beautiful, man!’ The many on-screen deaths of Tom Cruise

Posted in TOP FIVES with tags on May 28, 2014 by Ross McG

cruiseedge

I’ll be honest with you. I love his movies. I do. I’m a Tom Cruise fan. I celebrate the guy’s entire catalogue.

Even the movies where his character dies.

There’s this assumption that A-list movie stars won’t allow themselves to die on screen, but it’s a load of bunkum. Death is a good career move – just look at Leonardo DiCaprio, he dies in everything, from (400-year-old spoiler alert) Romeo + Juliet to (100-year-old spoiler alert) The Great Gatsby.

While Tom Cruise may not be able to match Leo’s death rate, his characters still have a slight tendency to kick the bucket. His new movie, however, Edge of Tomorrow, takes this to extremes – it’s Groundhog Day meets Source Code as The Cruiser’s character dies and dies again in order to learn from his mistakes and save the world.

But what about his previous on-screen demises? Here they are… and some of them might surprise you.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. WELL… D’UH.

1. Taps (1981)

Type in ‘Taps’ to Google these days and you get a lot of suggestions for bathroom furnishing, but back in the early ’80s it was the movie that give Cruise his big break and his first on-screen clogs-popping. He wasn’t the lead in this tale of military cadets striking back against the establishment, but his character’s death – shot down in a blaze of glory by tank fire – is still the film’s most memorable and quotable scene. Beautiful, man.

2. Far and Away (1992)

You have to wait more than a decade for Cruise to konk out a second time, in Ron Howard’s dreadful paen to Oirish immigration to the US of A. Far and Away is dreadful, and Cruise has a dreadful death scene, made all the more bloody dreadful because he comes back to life seconds after Nicole Kidman tells him she loved him all along. ‘You can be sure I won’t be dying twice,’ says Tom, leaving out a few ‘to be sure, to be sure’s, I’m sure. You can be sure I won’t be watching this dirge twice.

3. Interview with the Vampire (1994)

Neil Jordan’s adaptation of the bestselling novel by Anne ‘Tom Cruise is too short to play my vampire – oh no, hang on, he’s perfect’ Rice shows its age in parts these days, but it’s still a cracking watch, with a toothsome performance from Cruise, sinking his spiky gnashers into just the right amount of ham. Okay, so his Lestat isn’t technically vanquished in the movie, but he is bled dry after having his throat cut by Kirsten Dunst’s little vampire. And then he is set on fire. Mind you, Lestat is of course dead for the whole proceedings, being a bloody vampire and all.

4. Mission: Impossible II (2000)

Hang on! When does Tom Cruise die in the second Mission: Impossible movie? How come there’s two more movies with him in it after this? Good question, inner voice. Although it’s easy to forget that Ethan Hunt gets bumped off amongst all the misdirected Woo. Yes, yes, he’s not actually killed, but the guy wearing his face as a mask is, much to the chagrin of Dougray Scott, who should have been paying attention given there are exactly 19 face-changing scenes in this awful, awful, awful but intermittently awfully fun movie.

5. Vanilla Sky (2001)

Cameron Crowe’s pretty good and pretty mindbending remake of the superior Spanish flick, Abre los ojos, cast Cruise as multi-millionaire man-child David Aames, who is so busy spending all his dosh that he doesn’t notice that he is actually dead, having given himself a drugs overdose after a car crash and a bad time in a nightclub. That’s what happens when life is but a dream. The line, ‘Somebody died… it was me’, remains a great one.

SIDE NOTE: According to MovieBodyCounts.com, there are no fewer than 558 deaths in The Last Samurai (2003). Cruise’s character is not one of them. Un. Be. Liev. Able.

6. Collateral (2004)

Cruise stepped into the bad guy’s role for Michael Mann’s taxi-based LA thriller, and what happens to bad guys? That’s right: they croak it. The death of the bad guy in question, Vincent, is given extra poignancy by the fact that he foreshadowed his demise early in the action, talking about someone else who died on public transport while no one noticed. Like all cool bad guys, Vincent doesn’t die until about two minutes after he gets shot.

7. Mission: Impossible III (2006)

JJ Abrams is obviously a Far and Away fan. Yep, Cruise gets brought back to life by his female love interest again, this time after Philip Seymour Hoffman sets off a charge in his head. Nothing a good thump to the chest won’t fix.

8. Valkyrie (2008)

If you knew your Second World War history, you knew the ending to this one already. Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise) is killed by a firing squad after his plot to kill Adolf Hitler doesn’t go according to plan.

9. Oblivion (2013)

Before he ‘dies like 200 times’ in Edge of Tomorrow, in the words of the film’s director, Doug Liman, Cruise got some sci-fi die-fi practice in during his last outing, Oblivion. It’s a visually stunning, beautifully scored piece of work, and while it pilfers from plenty of classics of the genre, it does so with a blatant abandon that is actually quite sweet. It’s definitely worth an extra watch or two, if only to figure out The Cruiser’s death pattern in it. For starters, it turns out he’s playing a clone, so his original is long dead. On top of that, the main Clone Cruise we follow during Oblivion blows himself up at the end of the film to save humanity. Or clone-anity. Or something. It sounds remarkably crap, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t. It’s dead good. And Cruise is a dead good actor at dying on screen. He always has been. Apart from in Far and Away.

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