Sunday, 29 December 2013
Mammoth Movie Meme Part Two
16. Favourite [insert actor/actress/director] movies?
I've done a few actor / actress lists already, so I'll go with director now and choose my favourite films by the great Taiwanese film-maker Ang Lee:
Life Of Pi
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Sense And Sensibility
The Ice Storm
( That's a pretty impressive, and diverse, list of movies... and I still haven't seen all of his films. I need to see Lust, Caution next... )
A strange question, this. How about James Dean?
Rebel Without A Cause
East Of Eden
They're the only three films of his I've seen and, of course, they're the only three films of his that anyone's seen...
Someone who you can always count on for an intense, unusual performance is ace character actor Scott Wilson. His breakthrough role was in the 1967 adaptation of Capote's In Cold Blood ( which I haven't seen ) and he's also fantastic in The Ninth Configuration, Exorcist III, The Right Stuff and, more recently, he's been heartbreaking as bearded old patriarch Herschel in The Walking Dead.
Maggie Gyllenhaal - always giving committed, layered performances but not likely to ever be a *big*star* because she's not the typically airbrushed-looking Hollywood type. See her in Donnie Darko, Secretary and Sherrybaby for three very contrasting roles.
I'll have to choose Australian director Peter Weir. His best films combine deep psychological insight with a vivid sense of place, often pitting his characters against the elements. I've never understood why his movies aren't talked of in the same terms as those of Scorsese or Coppolla. It may be that he's too much of a populist for the critics. If you haven't already, I urge you ( dear reader ) to check out Picnic At Hanging Rock, The Last Wave,Witness, Dead Poets Society, The Truman Show ( you must have seen this one! ) or Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World. And then report back to me :-)
This is a tad mean-spirited isn't it? One actor I could mention is Johnny Depp. This is a bit of a cheat because I think he's a fine actor in the right role - Edward Scissorhands is a favourite in this house and he's also great in more realistic roles, I'm thinking Donnie Brasco or his parts in The Ninth Gate or Secret Window. However, he spends most of his time nowadays playing cartoon-like characters
( see below... ), often for Tim Burton, and I wish he'd stretch himself a bit. Maybe his best work was done in the '90s?
Again, a bit nasty this. I'll just say Elizabeth Taylor. I could never see her appeal although I'll have to admit she was certainly beautiful and charismatic in her youth.
Guillermo Del Toro without a doubt. Controversial choice? Maybe.
24. A film you wish you had seen on the big screen.
Quite a few actually: Fight Club, Planet Of The Apes, Spartacus, Apocalypse Now, Lawrence Of Arabia, Alien, Rollerball and, er, Logan's Run ( the last three were movies that I was dying to see when they came out but I was too young - damn that BBFC! )
25. A movie you’ve seen that you think no one else here will have heard of?
The Ninth Configuration ( 1980 ) - William Peter Blatty's sort-of follow-up to the themes of The Exorcist, an arty, pretentious but hugely intelligent and often hilariously funny movie touching on such subjects as the purpose of evil, God's indifference to Man, and how to adapt the works of Shakespeare for dogs. Featuring unforgettable performances from Stacey Keach, the late Jason Miller and Scott Wilson ( him again ), it's a truly unique movie with an atmosphere all its own and some cracking dialogue. But, be warned, it does get very grim before the last minute touch of redemption...
Luke and Leia, Han and Chewy
Squadron Leader Peter D Carter, June, Doctor Frank Reeves
Dorothy, The Cowardly Lion, The Tin Man and The Scarecrow
George Bailey, Mary, Uncle Billy and Clarence
Martin and Ellen Brody, Matt Hooper, Quint... and Bruce...
Ellen Ripley and Jones the cat
Marty McFly and Doc Brown
27. A film that was better than the book.
Jaws, definitely. Peter Benchley's novel is the epitome of what used to be called the "airport novel", a trashy, glossy thriller which, while exciting, has none of the mythic power of Spielberg's movie.
28. Best remake.
Tim Burton's Planet Of The Apes. Oh, I'm sorry... I thought that was "worst remake..."
Most remakes tend to be dollar-chasing imagination black holes but there have been some exceptions like Cronenberg's The Fly and Carpenter's The Thing, while some movies like Philip Kaufman's Invasion Of The Body Snatchers may be just as good as the original in a different way. I've got no real answer to this one other than to say one of my fave remade films is Michael Mann's crime epic Heat, based on a previous TV movie by the same director, which I've never seen.
29. Your first favourite actor.
Probably Charlton Heston, strangely enough. I was a major fan of the Planet Of The Apes movies when I was a kid ( even joining the official UK fanclub ) and Heston's square-jawed but cynical hero really appealed. In fact, he cornered the market in tough science fiction heroes for a while, also appearing in The Omega Man and Soylent Green. And then, of course, I saw his epic performances in Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments, The Agony And The Ecstasy... all fantastic, larger than life stuff. Just don't mention his politics...
I'm a straight male who grew up in England in the 1970s, so it has to be Jenny Agutter of course...