Top 10… Movie Cab Drivers

This week’s Lambcast is another Movie of the Month, and this month the topic of conversation was Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. As such, here’s a rundown of my Top 10 Movie Taxi Drivers:      VVa3lael6qrninjqCHYu8rP9o1_1280

Honourable mention: John McClane & Zeus Carver (Bruce Willis & Samuel L. Jackson), Die Hard With A Vengeance?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

OK, technically neither John nor Zeus (who does not look Puerto Rican to me) are taxi drivers, but at various points throughout this New York-set sequel they do drive a taxi, so technically they are taxi drivers, and therefore eligible for this list. I’ve loved Die Hard with a Vengeance since many years before I even saw Die Hard, and I think it’s the bickering relationship between the two that drew me to it. Specifically, I love the scene in which the two must make it across town in a very short amount of time, during rush hour traffic. The solution? drive straight through Central Park, ploughing through cyclists and pedestrians alike. This scene gives way to my favourite line in the film, when Zeus asks if McClane is aiming for the people, he replies “No, well, maybe that mime.” Other great taxi drivers I could have used are the pain in the ass sports fan who Cuba Gooding Jr. is lumbered with in Rat Race, Darwin (Edi Gathegi) the underused evolving mutant in X-Men: First Class, who we first meet driving a cab, Beauregarde from The Great Muppet Caper, Alan Ford in An American Werewolf in London, J B Smoove in Date Night and the terrifying, snarling, grotesgue “Ain’t much better in here, kid” guy from Home Alone 2. Continue reading

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Top 10 Movie Apes

Today is a momentous day, that shall be noted and celebrated in the history books for years to come. For today, you see, marks the return of my oh-so-popular Top 10 lists, which I intend to churn out on a weekly basis, and tie in to the most recent Lambcast’s topic, for as long as I am able to.

This week, to coincide with the podcast devoted to the original Planet of the Apes franchise (which can be listened to here), I’m counting down my Top 10 Movie Apes:

Honourable mention: Limbo, Planet of the Apes (2001)Chilled

Apes and monkeys are a familiar feature in movies. This is most likely due to their close resemblance in both size and appearance to humans – apparently we’re somewhat closely related – meaning that in the days before CGI they were relatively easy to depict, by simply sticking a guy in a gorilla costume. Also, real life ones are more really trained than most other animals so when a man-in-a-monkey-suit didn’t do it for you, in many instances a primate could be taught or trained to do the tasks available. For my honourable mention there are a lot of possibilities, from 28 Days Later‘s Rage-infected disease spreaders to the Jackie Chan voiced martial artist in Kung Fu Panda, but instead I’ve opted for Limbo, potentially the only good element of Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes remake.Limbo I re-watched the film for the podcast, which is something I never intend to do again, because frankly it’s not a very good film. The plot jumps around all over the place, interesting characters are sidelined or killed off, there’s a bizarre and frankly implausible love triangle and an ending that defies logic and reason, but two things it has going for it are tremendous prosthetics and phenomenal acting performances beneath them. In my memory, Tim Roth’s General Thade was the stand-out, but now my memory has been stirred I can see he over-acts every second he is on screen, permanently glowering and furious at everything, including one scene in which he’s supposed to be seductive! The always dependable Giamatti however offers some much needed comic relief as the cowardly orang-utan slave owner Limbo. Continue reading

Top 10… Michael Shannon Films

I recently appeared on the As You Watch podcast with Nick of the Cinematic Katzenjammer and Vern of Vern’s Video Vangaurd [sic] and Vern’s Video Vortex (unfortunately their co-host, Joe of Two Dude Review, was unable to make it). The show, which was a ton of fun, was dedicated to one of my favourite actors working today, Michael Shannon. We each gave our top 3 Michael Shannon performances, but I felt that didn’t scratch my Shannon itch, so I’ve compiled my list of his films instead. This is a completely different list to that of the podcast (though there’s some crossover) so be sure to check the podcast out on the link above.
00 Man of Steel
Why is Shannon one of my favourite actors? Well, he’s really great at playing complex characters – usually ones that are either potentially insane or devoted and driven by some moral compass that leads to powerful, passionate performances from even his smallest roles. He improves anything he’s involved with – even disappointing efforts like Man of Steel, and is always an interesting presence on screen. Now remember, this is a list of his best films, not necessarily his best roles, he just happens to be in them somewhere… Continue reading

Top 10… 2013 Movies I Still Haven’t Seen

2013 may have been a bumper year for me in terms of seeing new films, but I still only went to the cinema 16 times (bloody hell, I thought it was much more than that), and saw only 55 films in total from last year. Well, it’s 57 now, as I’ve watched The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Cloud Atlas since posting my review of the year. The great bastion of truth that is Wikipedia says that around 285 movies came out last year, so there’s 230 films that prove I’m doing a pretty crappy job as a movie reviewer, which makes Robert Redford look like this:????????????????????????
So, in recompense, here’s the films I feel most guilty for missing last year: Continue reading

Top 10… New-To-Me Movies in 2013

I may not have seen many films in 2013, but I did see some new ones that weren’t released last year. This post is dedicated to those films, and here’s the top 10 new-to-me non-2013-released movies:

Honourable mention: Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect gets the honourable mention slot mainly because I didn’t expect much from it, but it really surprised me. The premise comes off as Glee: The Movie; Beca (Anna Kendrick) starts at university and joins The Bellas, an all-girl acapella group, who enter a singing competition against their all-male rivals, The Treblemakers, but she finds The Bellas’ more traditional stylings need some serious updating if they have any chance of winning, but all thoughts of the TV show (which I admit I don’t hate, mainly because of their affinity for Journey) are soon disspelled after the first bout of projectile vomitting, and once we meet Rebel Wilson’s Fat Amy. Some of the characters are basic stereotypes – the bitchy one, the slutty one, the crazy one – but the musical performances are all great – particularly Beca’s cup song, and the riff-off – and damn if this film wasn’t funny, especially the world-ending gravitas given to the line “I’ve got nodes.”. Continue reading

Top 10… Movie Houses

Homes. We all have them. Well, homeless people don’t, but I’ve found my readership is made up with less and less of these people every day, so I can safely assume that if you’re reading this then you probably have a home. As I mentioned on a recent Lambcast (with Justin and Dylan, both from Man, I Love Films), I’ve just moved house (or “moved,” as they refer to it). Regular readers will know this has been a long and drawn out process, so I thought it deserving of a Top 10 list devoted to it. Plus, it’s my first actual house (I used to live in a flat, or apartment), so it’s something of a milestone in my life.Pit
Movie houses come in all shapes and sizes. Many films deal with a certain amount of wish fulfillment, and therefore tend to feature exceedingly wealthy characters that can afford lavish palaces in picturesque locations, and these are definitely represented on this list. However, this isn’t a list of the biggest movie houses, these are the ones that I’d most like to live in, kind of, or one’s that represent a certain kind of life. You’ll see what I mean.YodaAs always, I’ve set myself some requirements. Firstly, whilst it doesn’t necessarily have to be a house, it cannot be an apartment, as that could be a whole other list, presumably when I eventually can’t make my mortgage repayments and have to downsize. And that’s about it. No other rules. Nice and simple. Continue reading

Top 10… Movie Monsters

OK, so this week the scope is a little, um, monstrous? Sorry. I mean it’s quite wide. The term ‘monster’ could be applied to a lot of things (like some recent Top 10s, for instance), but I’m thinking more along the lines of actual creatures, so no real-world animals (be they normal or giant versions, so no King Kong), no humans, and also no other generic monsters that have been used enough to become worthy of their own list. This means no zombies, witches, vampires, werewolves, aliens, dinosaurs, dragons, ghosts or robots. Also nothing that was a person, but has become something else, like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly. This puts Frankenstein’s monster in a difficult category, as technically it used to be several different people, so I left that one off. Sorry guys, but your times will all come. Next October, maybe. monsters_vs_aliens29Also, I’m limiting this to just one ‘monster’ per film (or franchise), just to prevent this being a Top 10 Monsters Inc. characters list. Oh, and cards-on-the-table time – despite having a deep appreciation for both creature features and stop-motion animation, I’ve never seen a Ray Harryhausen film. I’m fully aware that this is horrific (I’ve even got a book written by the guy about the history of animation) but as far as I know they aren’t shown quite as often in the UK as they are in the rest of the world. Yes, I’m ashamed. No, I don’t plan to do anything about it soon, but yes I’d like to. Some day.7th-voyage-of-sinbad-harryhausen2Another big omission may be Godzilla, but as I’ve only seen the Roland Emmerich version (which I admit is a guilty pleasure) then it really didn’t deserve a place here. The same can therefore be said of all the monsters Godzilla fights amongst his extensive catalogue, as I’ve not seen any of them either. Sorry, Mothra. So, creatures, critters, freaky beings from other dimensions. Let’s see what we’ve got.
godzilla-1998

Continue reading