Happy Birthday: Orson Welles

orsonwelles.jpgHappy Birthday Director/Actor legend Orson Welles

Born: George Orson Welles
May 6, 1915 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA

Died: October 10, 1985 (age 70) in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA

Married to: Paola Mori (8 May 1955 – 10 October 1985) (his death) (1 child)

Rita Hayworth (7 September 1943 – 1 December 1948) (divorced) (1 child)

Virginia Nicolson (14 November 1934 – 1 February 1940) (divorced) (1 child)

Read reviews and watch videos of the best of the actor:

CitizenKaneCitizen Kane
1941
dir. by Orson Welles
starring
Orson Welles

THE STRANGERThe Stranger
1946
dir. by Orson Welles
starring
Edward G Robinson
Loretta Young

TOUCH OF EVILTouch of Evil
1958
dir. Orson Welles
starring
Charleton Heston
Janet Leigh

The Long Hot Summer, dir. Martin Ritt, starring Paul Newman, Orson Welles, Joanne WoodwardThe Long, Hot Summer
1958
dir. Martin Ritt
starring
Paul Newman
Orson Welles
Joanne Woodward

The Transformers The MovieThe Transformers The Movie
1986
dir. Nelson Shin
Voices by:
Corey Burton
Orson Welles

MOVIE POSTERTHE THIRD MAN
1949
dir.
Stars:
Joseph Cotten
Alida Valli

WATCH TOP 10 ORSON WELLES FILMS MOVIE SCENES

10. MR ARKADIN, 1965 – A clip from Oscon Welles’ film “Mr. Arkadin”, 1955 (aka “Confidential Report”). Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles) on the short life-span of friendships.

9. CITIZEN KAN ROSEBUD, 1941 – Watch opening scene of the film. ROSEBUD scene

8. TOUCH OF EVIL TRACKING SHOT, 1958 – Watch opening crane tracking shot from Orson Welles’ 1958 Touch of Evil film

7. TOUCH OF EVIL OPENING SCENE, 1958 – Apartment scenes – one take

6. OTHELLO, 1952 – Othello’s final speech, as directed by Orson Welles. Actors include Orson Welles, Micheál MacLiammóir, Suzanne Cloutier, Robert Coote. 1952

5. THE LADY FROM SHANGAI, 1947 – The beach picnic scene from the classic film Lady From Shanghai where “Black” Michael O’Hara (Orson Welles) describes shark fishing off the hump of Brazil.

4. THE STRANGER, 1946 – Orson Welles, as an undercovered war criminal, talking about german mesiah, cartaginian peace.

3. THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, 1942 – The scene from Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons where Georgie gets his comeuppence. Arguably the most powerful scene in the film.

2. F FOR FAKE, 1973 – Welles last film – Opening scene

1. CITIZEN KANE ENDING, 1941 – Watch Orson Welles directed film. The ROSEBUD moment. Greatest movie endings

ALSO –

ORSON WELLES INTERVIEW – Watch Orson Welles directed film. The ROSEBUD moment. Greatest movie endings

ORSON WELLES COMMERCIAL – These are some original takes for the legendary Orson Welles “We Will Sell No Wine Before Its Time” commercial, and show that working with the legendary Mr. Welles could be…memorable.

#2 Greatest Film Directors
ORSON WELLES

by Joshua Starnes

He was so good he almost lived up to his own publicity. And that’s saying something.

Welles biography is almost as familiar as his movies; his rise to prominence and just as sudden fall, the inescapable comparisons to his most famous creation. But that has nothing to do with him being a great director, let alone the second best ever.

The other director’s on this list are all here for their body of work and what that offered up to filmmaking, even Griffith. And Welles’ is certainly great; like Griffith he never stopped experimenting or innovating. But really, he’s on it for “Citizen Kane.”

Considered by many to be the greatest film of all time, it’s innate greatness is not as relevant to Welles directorial skill as it’s innovations. Film wasn’t stagnant until “Kane” came along, but not since “Birth of a Nation” have so many new ideas been crammed into such a small space.

Like Chaplin, Welles was an actor and a director, though unlike him it’s likely he was always a director first, even before he became one. It probably had something to do with the gargantuan ego. But it was that ego that made him think he could pull of something like “Kane.”

Unlike “Nation” it’s more than just the innovation that makes “Kane” so great, which is also why Welles is so much further up the list. Possibly more than any other director on this list, he was keenly aware of the various parts and how they fit together. Many director’s have their own unique strengths, but Welles seems to be the only one–for this one film anyway–who had no weaknesses.

Most likely the best actor to ever turn to directing, and certainly the most successful at it, Welles came up in the theater where he learned how important all of the different pieces were at moving an audience. There will likely always be a great deal of controversy over whether he actually deserved his shared writing credit with Herman Mankeiwicz, but there’s no doubt who the author of the “Kane” was.

The testament to its power, the proof that calling it isn’t the cliche it sounds, is just how influential it has been, and through it Welles himself. Almost every single director who’s come after “Kane” has imitated it in some way. And, like Ford, the ones who haven’t have done so deliberately.

For all of these reasons Orson Welles is probably the most influential, most imitated director on this list. And very nearly the best.

Happy Birthday: Chris Brown

chrisbrown.jpgHappy Birthday artist Christ Brown

Born: Christopher Maurice Brown
May 5, 1989 in Tappahannock, Virginia, USA

Read best of movie reviews of the actor:

MOVIE POSTERTHINK LIKE A MAN
dir. Tim Story
Stars:
Chris Brown
Gabrielle Union

Takers Movie PosterTakers
dir. John Luessenhop
Stars
Matt Dillon
Paul Walker

THIS CHRISTMAS Movie PosterTHIS CHRISTMAS
2007
dir. Preston A. Whitmore II
Starring
Delroy Lindo
Regina King
MOVIE POSTERBATTLE OF THE YEAR: THE DREAM TEAM
2013
dir. Benson Lee
Stars:
Josh Peck
Josh Holloway

Happy Birthday: Dennis Quaid

dennisquaid.jpgHappy Birthday actor Dennis Quaid

Born: Dennis William Quaid
April 9, 1954 in Houston, Texas, USA

Read reviews of the best of the actor:

ANY GIVEN SUNDAYAny Given Sunday
1999
dir. Oliver Stone
starring
Jamie Foxx
Al Pacino

FREQUENCYFrequency
2000
dir. Gregory Hoblit
Cast
Quaid
James Caviezel,

The Day After Tomorrow
2004
dir. Emmerich
starring
Quaid
Jake Gyllenhaal

The ExpressThe Express
2008
dir. Gary Fleder
Starring
Rob Brown
Quaid
Smart People
2008
Directed by Noam Murro
Starring
Quaid
Ellen Page

Vantage Point
2008
Directed by Pete Travis
Starring
Quaid
Matthew Fox

GI JOE Movie PosterG.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra
2009
dir. Stephen Sommers
Starring
Quaid
Sienna Miller

PANDORUM Movie PosterPandorum
2009
dir. Christian Alvart
Starring
Quaid
Ben Foster
Cam Gigandet

MOVIE POSTERPLAYING THE FIELD
dir. Gabriele Muccino
Stars:
Gerard Butler
Jessica Biel

MOVIE POSTERWHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING
dir. Kirk Jones
Stars:
Cameron Diaz
Matthew Morrison

LEGION Movie PosterLegion
dir. Scott Stewart
Stars
Paul Bettany
Dennis Quaid

IN GOOD COMPANYIn Good Company
2004
dir. Paul Weitz
Cast
Dennis Quaid
Topher Grace

MOVIEThe Right Stuff
1983
dir. Philip Kaufman
starring
Ed Harris
Sam Shepard

MOVIEDreamscape
1984
dir. Joseph Ruben
Starring:
Dennis Quaid
Max von Sydow

soulsurferSOUL SURFER
dir. Sean McNamara
Stars:
AnnaSophia Robb
Dennis Quaid

MOVIE POSTERFOOTLOOSE
dir. Craig Brewer
Stars:
Kenny Wormald
Julianne Hough

movie posterHORSEMEN
2009
dir. Jonas Akerlund
Starring:
Dennis Quaid
Ziyi Zhang

MOVIE POSTERTHE ROOKIE
2002
dir. John Lee Hancock
Stars:
Dennis Quaid
J.D. Evermore

MOVIE POSTERAT ANY PRICE
2013
dir. Ramin Bahrani
Stars:
Dennis Quaid
Zac Efron

movie posterEVERYBODY’S ALL AMERICAN
1988
dir. Taylor Hackford
Stars:
Jessica Lange
Dennis Quaid

TV POSTERVEGAS
Review of the 2012 action drama

MOVIE POSTERTHE WORDS
2012
dir. Brian Klugman
Lee Sternthal
Stars:
Bradley Cooper
Dennis Quaid

MOVIE POSTERAMERICAN DREAMZ
2006
dir. Paul Weirz
Stars:
Hugh Grant
Dennis Quaid

Happy Birthday: Leighton Meester

leightonmeester.jpgHappy Birthday actor Leighton Meester

Born: Leighton Marissa Meester
April 9, 1986 in Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Read reviews of the best of the actor:

THE ROOMMATETHE ROOMMATE
dir. Christian E. Christiansen
Stars:
Minka Kelly
Leighton Meester

Country StrongCountry Strong
dir. Shana Feste
Stars:
Garrett Hedlund
Gwyneth Paltrow

>Going the Distance  Movie PosterGoing the Distance
dir. Nanette Burstein
Stars
Barrymore
Justin Long,

Date Night Movie PosterDate Night
dir. Shawn Levy
Stars
Steve Carell
Fey

MOVIE POSTERMONTE CARLO
dir. Thomas Bezucha
Stars:
Selena Gomez
Leighton Meester

MOVIE POSTERTHAT’S MY BOY
dir. Sean Anders
John Morris
Stars:
Adam Sandler
Andy Samberg

MOVIE POSTERTHE ORANGES
2012
dir. Julian Farino
Stars:
Leighton Meester
Hugh Laurie

TV POSTER24 SEASON 4
Reviews of every episode

 Best of GOSSIP GIRL
Sexy Teen TV SHOW

Short Film Movie Review: THE MEGA PLUSH (4min, USA, Animation/Action)

THE MEGA PLUSH was the winner of Best Film at the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival in January 2016. 

  MOVIE POSTERTHE MEGA PLUSH, 4min, USA, Animation/Action
Directed by Matt Burniston

Set in the shadows of a gritty underworld, a war is brewing. The Mega Plush, a group of four plush toy vigilantes, are struggling against the uprising of the SOC (Society of Chimps) army. Good vs evil. Bear vs sock monkey. The question is “who has the stuffing to survive?”

http://www.themegaplush.com/

Movie Review by Amanda Lomonaco:

Badass gangsters, a suspenseful chase scene, cute plush stuffed animals, what’s not to like? Matt Burnison has definitely hit gold mine territory in my book. After so many predictable Marvel films coming out its beyond refreshing to see an original action hero story coming from independent cinema, once again reminding me what Hollywood could achieve if it listened to new voices.

Perhaps the best part of Burnison’s short is that he kind of leaves you guessing who the bad guys and the good guys are. Though there seemed to be some sort of concensus in the audience that the monkeys were the ‘goodies’, the look of his compatriots in the final scene make me beg to differ. Nevertheless, this ambiguity was a comforting change to the traditional “good vs bad” dichotomy that we’re all too accustomed to these days. We all know that in real life things aren’t quite so simple, and I appreciate that Burnison didn’t force his own bias on his audience.

In any case no philosophical discussion of the originilaity of The Mega Plush could do the film itself justice. The sountrack, lighting, compositing, story-telling and directing of the film were all top quality. In fact I was incredibly surprised when, during mediation, I noticed two people who shook their heads at every positive comment, and seemed to really dislike the film. Of course every film will have supporters and so called “haters”, but I couldn’t help but feel surprised that any one would dislike this film.

I suppose I have made my bias for this film a litl emore than obvious. I’m sure there will be those of you out there who won’t enjoy this short, as there are many people out there who don’t enjoy many popular films. When you’re investing 2 hours of your time for a Hollywood blockbuster that everyone is raving about, but you just don’t happen to like, I completely understand that you might be annoyed. But if you have a free four minutes to spare, check out Burnison’s website for The Mega Plush project, best case scenario; you just watched a great short film. Worst case… well I doubt that will even happen.

Watch the AUDIENCE FEEDBACK Festival of the Short Film:

 

 

Movie Review: TRIPLE 9 (2016) ****

triple_9.jpgTRIPLE 9 (USA/UK 2015) ****
Directed by John Hillocoat

Starring: Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Gal Godot, Kate Winset, Aaron Paul, Teresa Palmer, Michael Kenneth Williams

Review by Gilbert Seah

No stranger to violent films, director John Hillcoat’s (LAWLESS, THE ROAD and his best film THE PROPOSITION) latest entry into gangster genre proves himself apt at serious comic book sensibility. TRIPLE 9, the code for ‘officer down’, plays like a ‘real’ serious adult comic book version of DEADPOOL.

It takes a while for the film to settle on its bearings. The script by first time writer, Matt Cook is clever enough not to reveal all the plot points, but keeps the audience always one step behind what is happening. An example is the bank heist. Who are the robbers working for? What is their aim? One point is a bank officer removing a safety deposit box from the vault. As far as I now, it requires two keys, one from the officer and the other from the customer to open a box. It is a good tactic. For example, the audience is aware that one officer is going down, but never sure which one or for what reason. The characters are also individually distinct and eccentric all aided by superlative performances from a eclectic cast.

The key performance comes from Casey Effleck (brother of Ben) who has proven his acting mettle in previous films like THE TOWN. His character is the only uncorrupt one, and the key one that puts the whole story into prospective. The good must always prevail. The script contains a few too many close calls for his character. As for the ambiguous baddies, there are too many too count. Interesting enough, many do good for the wrong reasons. The true baddie appears to be the Russian moll, Irina played by Kate Winslet , complete with Russian accent and is barely recognizable in her makeup.. She is also doing bad for a good reason, to aid her crooked husband escape.

Hillcoat keeps the action and fury fast and furious and nonstop. Be prepared to be glued to your seats! The film alternates between highly charged action and drama sequences. For the action segments, the bank heist at the film’s start is hard to beat. The robbers show no mercy and show they mean business. They do not shout warnings. They fire and beat up the victims, and talk later. All this makes the heist even more gripping. Hillcoat also realizes that the devil is in the details. On the highway, a robber points his rifle at a car, only to have it rammed from behind and the robber moving backwards to avoid being hit. The camerawork is excellent, the best example being the one where the camera pulls back during a car chase showing where each in on the maze of highways in the city.

Hillcoat does not skimp on the violence as evident by showing a bag of bloodied teeth at another point in the film. The characters are always angry, screaming at each other but not without reason. Every character is desperate. Every character is ready to kill.

Stay for the end credits. The 1980’s song ‘Pigs” (called so for obvious reasons) by Cypress Hill is inventive, catchy, hilarious and totally appropriate. The song can also be played on YouTube.

Movie Review: ZOOLANDER 2 (USA 2016) ***

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

zoolander_2ZOOLANDER 2 (USA 2016) ***
Directed by Ben Stiller

Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penélope Cruz, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Christine Taylor

Review by Gilbert Seah

ZOOLANDER and ZOOLANDER 2 are milder versions of Sasha Baron Cohen’s BRUNO which are still pretty wild for most audiences unfamiliar with films like these that satirize the fashion/modelling industry.

It took a while, 15 years, since the first ZOOLANDER (2001) also directed by Ben Stiller hit the screens. It has been a long wait – the stars have grown older, and the plot makes use of the fact. Whatever goes on in the movie does not make much sense, but famous pop stars are being killed as they are protecting the Chosen One. “You can’t kill us all.” utters Justin Bieber, the 6th pop star killed in a year, before he kicks the bucket after posing on Instagram. Even Madonna has struck her last pose! Who is the Chosen One and who is the villain? As outrageous as the plot is, the twist is even more outrageous than anything found in any film in a while. Hilarious? It is in a way if one sits back and ponder over what has occurred. The script, by no less than 4 writers including Stiller, Justin Theroux (the writer of AMERICAN PSYCHO who also appears in the film as an evil DJ) is actually hilarious, though it might not seem so on first appearance. Perhaps ZOOLANDER 2 should be seen a second time to digest the mayhem on screen.

So, the not-so bright Zoolander (Stiller) is drawn out of recluse together with fellow model, Hansel (Owen Wilson). The villain is Mugatu (Will Farrell hamming it up, the most he can ever muster), engineering his escape from fashion prison. (Don’t ask!)

Not everything is original in the film. A lot of the jokes are similar to ZOOLANDER 1 and the ending sexy cat fight between two beauties, Penelope Cruz and Milla Jovovich, to the delight of all the males watching is way too similar to the scene from the French film (that did not get released here), OSS 117 NEST OF SPIES, directed by THE ARTIST’s Michel Hazanavicius.

The star cameo list is staggering. They include Bieber and real life fashion icons, Valentino, Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger and Anna Wintour. The trouble is that these icons are not immediately recognizable, but their names are emphasized at least so audiences know who they are. Of the recognizable star cameos, Susan Sarandon (doing a ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW routine), Milla Jovovich, Macaulay Culkin, Billy Zane, Katy Perry, Sting and Neil deGrasse Tyson strut their stuff, all playing themselves. But the best of these belong to Benedict Cumberbatch who surprises as he plays All, a transgender looking super model so full of himself that he marries himself.

ZOOLANDER 2 plays like a spy spoof as well as a satire of the fashion/model industry. Hate it or love it, my partner best described the film as “not that funny but sill entertaining.” Yes, and the film has lots of energy! But audiences not in the know might be totally bewildered at the goings-on!

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

Movie Review of the Short Film “A Peaceful Man”

“A Peaceful Man” played at the best of Thriller/Horror short film festival in October 2015, as part of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Monthly Film Festival. It was the winner of Best Cinematography in a short film.  

Australia, 4min, Action/Thriller
Directed by Harrison Norris

Beaten within an inch of his life, a peaceful man has a gruesome epiphany through violence.

Learn more about this short film HERE

A Peaceful Man Review by Amanda Lomonaco

All of us are capable of violence and cruelty under extreme circumstances. At least that’s what Harrison Norris, director of A Peaceful Man, wants to convince us of in his gory short film. His bloody, cringe-worthy, gory close-ups might distract you from that message a little though, or at least it will distract you from the voice-over narrative.

I’m not saying this movie is bad, in fact this was one of my favourite films of the night. What I really mean, is that the cinematography in this film was so brilliant that it almost overshadowed everything else about it. I would venture a guess that the cringes and gasps coming from the rest of the audience indicated they may have agreed with me. Even the special effects didn’t even have to be that great to appreciate this flick, although they were certainly impressive. The very thought of the level of violence being implied in the film was enough to make people curl up in their chairs and look away.

That, to me, is effective filmmaking. Making your audience feel something and react to the very idea of what is being depicted on screen. Even though I’ll admit to only paying attention to half of the spoken narrative in the film, I feel that Norris reserved the most important bits of monologue to the least impactful visual moments. I was able to still understand the gist of everything the narrator was saying while still being able to enjoy the bloody wonder that was being paraded in front of me.

I think Norris makes some really good points in his film. The level of gore and violence simply emphasized how far all of us can be pushed, or in fact need to be pushed, in order to reciprocate with the same level of anger. When it comes to survival, we are all animals, we all have to follow our instincts, and we will all defend ourselves, even if that self-defense involves something we would never imagine ourselves doing. That’s where Norris’ images almost don’t need a narrative. If you simply consider the film’s title, and then focus on the images and how they make you feel, you’ll probably catch on pretty quickly.

By now you’ll have realized that you should not watch this movie if you have a sensitive stomach. On the other hand, if you’re a crazy lover of guts and gore like me, this film should be mandatory viewing. Norris’ cinematographer deserves an award, and  would happily volunteer to make one for him.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of A PEACEFUL MAN: