The Terminator (1984)

"I'll be back." The Terminator

"I'll be back." The Terminator

☆ Iconic 

The Terminator (1984) is an iconic film whose reach goes far beyond its Sci-Fi pedigree.

Directed by James Cameron.

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn among many others.

Cameron not only created a monster franchise that conquered popular culture, but eerily prophesied and inspired a world of killer military robots and the Internet. James like George Lucas' Star Wars (1977) took the Sci-Fi genre to new heights by following H.G. Wells dictum of telling mythical stories with plausibility. As an audience member I was completely immersed in James fantasy world.

The runaway star of the film is Arnold. James wisely let Schwarzenegger ad lib lines with his sense of humor, irony and playfulness. Arnold made a merciless, killing machine entertaining. What makes Schwarzenegger as big a star in films as he was in bodybuilding is his ability to heighten his strengths while diminishing his weaknesses.

In the scene below watch Arnold ad lib the lines in the scene. The years he spent on the stage as a bodybuilder helped him refine his presence and energy.

Trivia - Arnold's line "I'll be back" originally was written as "I'll come back".


Oldeuboi - Oldboy (2003)

"Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone." Oh Dae-sue

"Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone." Oh Dae-su

☆ Masterpiece 

Oldeuboi - Oldboy (2003) is an epic tragic tale of Shakespearean King Lear proportions.

Directed by Park Chan-wook.

Starring Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Kang Hye-jung among others.

Park takes a tragic, blood soaked revenge tale and adds beautifully complex plot twists that lead to Choi's characters trinity of redemption, atonement and salvation. I found it difficult at times to watch the horrific carnage that Chan-wook fills his scenes with. The interesting thing that I observed is that the violence that erupts is needed for the trinity that follows. If the blood did not flow their could be no redeeming. If Christ had not been beaten and crucified there could have been no salvation for mankind. Choi's character takes on a Christ-like mental and physical beating, so that his ultimate triumph is assured. Park's Judeo-Christian religious atonement, redemption and salvation themes are a stark contrast to Kim Ki-duk's Buddhist atonement, redemption and salvation themes in Bom Yeoreum Gaeul Gyeoul Geuringo Bom - Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring (2003). Both Park and Kim's films were released in the same year.

Chan-wook also has visually stunning scenes that make scenes come off the screen. Park also adds unbelievably complex, choreographed fight scenes that leave you breathless.

I have to admire Choi for taking on such a physically and mentally demanding role. It's not often actors are called to eat live Octopuses as in the scene below.

Trivia - Min-sik ate four live octopuses for the sushi bar scene.

The Commitments

"Is this the band then? Betcha U2 are shittin' themselves." Jimmy Rabbitte Sr.

"Is this the band then? Betcha U2 are shittin' themselves." Jimmy Rabbitte Sr.

☆ Classic 

The Commitments (1991) is to musicals what Soul is to Rock and Roll.

Directed by Alan Parker.

Starring Robert Arkins, Andrew Strong, Michael Aherne, and Angeline Ball among many others.

Alan Parker manages to create a fun and delightful film from Roddy Doyle's novel of the same name. Parker wisely let's the music and especially the prodigious musical and stage presence of Andrew Strong take center stage throughout the film. Andrew runs away with the film with his vocals and his fiery and mercurial presence. Alan has said he cast Andrew on the spot after auditioning him. Strong was only 16 at the time.

Rarely do I find myself wanting more music in a film. The music is a character and gives the film its through line. Adrien Lyne similarly used music to color the story in his film 9 1/2 Weeks (1986). Alan shows how gradually this group of young musicians develop into a cohesive and dynamic soul band. The story ultimately goes nowhere, but who cares if its entertaining and fun.

In the scene below watch how Andrew owns the music, the stage, the audience and the scene. It's a real treat to watch someone this young have so much energy, charisma and fearless stage presence. Watch how he stays in the front part of the stage.

Trivia - Peter Rowen, the kid on the skateboard in the scene outside the window as a child was on album covers of U2's "Boy" and "War".


9 1/2 Weeks

"How did you know I would respond to you the way I have." Elizabeth

"How did you know I would respond to you the way I have." Elizabeth

☆ Classic 

9 1/2 Weeks (1986) is an erotic tale that explores human sexual desires and its effect on its participants.

Directed by Adrien Lyne from Elizabeth McNeill's novel 9 1/2 Weeks.

Starring Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke, Margaret Whitton.

The three major components to why this film works is Adrien's subtle and stylish direction, Mickey and Kim chemistry and its use of visual and musical cues. Lyne does not use sex as the story as Nagisa Oshima did in Ai No Korida - In The Realm of The Sense (1976). Instead, Adrien uses sex to explore the ramifications of unbridled addiction and voyeurism. Lyne, let's Kim slowly fall apart emotionally, while allowing Mickey to gain more control over Basinger. As an audience member I felt I was taking a journey with the cast. Basinger and Rourke are magnetic in this film. Each draws you into their side of the story. It helped me to have empathy for both character's side of their behavior. Adrien's use of color and sound cues the audience and propels the narrative forward. The colors in the film get darker and the music grows more ominous as the film progresses. The director and cast successfully walked a fine line with the story and performances and pulled off what few films in the erotic genre have ever achieved.

Mickey's strength as an actor is his ability to open up and allow the audience to see deep into his soul. Rourke gets his audience to have empathy with his dark characters and their bad intentions and behavior's. Kim is really a joy to watch in this film. I'm glad Lyne saw Kim's intelligence and let her color her character with wit and charm.

In the scene below watch how Mickey seduces Kim with his sense of humor. Rourke manages to turn a self indulgent, narcissistic prick into a seductive, funny and fallible human being. Watch how Kim becomes the straight man to Mickey's comedic sidekick. Each let's the other take over the side at key moments. Rarely do I see actor's work with such precision and timing. Kim outdoes Mickey by opening her soul to Rourke and the audience when she looks first surprise then happy that Mickey finds her "So fucking beautiful". It looks like it's the first time in Basinger's life where she actually believes that someone finds her beautiful.

Trivia - Lyne shot the movie sequentially to highlight Kim's gradual emotional breakdown and keep her unbalanced throughout production.

Film Transcript

Sinead O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U

"It's been seven hours and fifteen days." Sinead

"It's been seven hours and fifteen days." Sinead


Nothing Compares 2 U music video (1990) is a soulful, introspective vocal masterpiece.

Directed by John Maybury.

John directed Sinead in mostly close-ups during most of the video and gave  O'Connor the time to connect and become emotionally raw with the lyrics written and composed by Prince. Prince had written the song for his group, The Family.

Nothing is more beautiful and difficult in art than simplicity. Sinead pulls off an epic moment with just two simple tears. The moment is in the final scene of the video clip. Musicians who perform live make great actors, because they know not only how to connect their vocal instruments to the words, but more importantly how to illicit empathy from their audience.

In the scene below from the music video watch how Sinead builds up to the emotional moment in the song. O'Conner chokes at one moment from the emotions memories that are flooding her mind and body.

Trivia - Sinead has said that the two tears she sheds in the music video; "I didn't intend for that moment to happen. When it did, I thought; I should let this happen." O'Connor later revealed that the lyrics that caused it; "All the flowers that you planted, Mother/ in the back yard/ all died when you went away, " because her late mother abused Sinead as a child.

Lord of War

"I supplied every army, but the Salvation Army." - Yuri

"I supplied every army, but the Salvation Army." Yuri

☆ Classic 

Lord of War (2005) is a disturbing and insightful film about arms dealers and global merchants of death.

Directed and written by Andrew Niccol.

Starring Nicolas Cage, Ian Holm, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan and Ethan Hawke among many others.

Lord of War (2005) is an important film that uses irony laced with sarcasm to create a deadly cocktail of death and destruction. Andrew's direction and script are amplified by Nicolas' brilliant performance. I been a big fan of Andrews work. This is my favorite film of his among many favorites. The script is to die for. I'm sure Nicolas was ecstatic after reading the first few pages. Niccol employs in the opening montage a brilliant view of a bullet as it is being made, tested and fired. Werner Herzog visually set me up for his film Aguirre, Der Zorn Gottes - Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972) in a similar way visually. I knew from the start that both Andrew and Werner's films were going to be brutal from start to finish.

Cage plays his character Yuri as an aloof and amoral prick to brilliant perfect. I found Nicolas best moments when he let the irony of his sarcastic lines color the subtext within the lines. I found myself laughing at the most disturbing moments in his performance. In the opening scene watch how he flippantly delivers his lines which come out disturbing but humorous. Cage does this throughout the film.

Trivia - Nicolas Cage's real life son Weston plays the helicopter mechanic in the film.

Le Fabuleux Destin D'Amelie Poulain - Amelie

"How many people are having an orgasm right now? ... 15" - Amelie

"How many people are having an orgasm right now? ... 15" Amelie

☆ Classic

Le Fabuleux Destin D'Amelie Poulain - Amelie (2001) is a spellbinding romantic fairytale.

Directed and written by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

Starring Audrey Tautou, Matthieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Serge Merlin among many others.

Jean-Pierre's directing and co-written with Guillaume Laurant help to create a beautiful fantasy world that was as easy to disappear into as Woody Allen's, Midnight in Paris (2011). Both Woody and Jean-Pierre have a magic carpet that magically transports their audience into a fantasy world they created. Jeaunet magnificent use of color, especially greens, yellows and reds add to the romantic mythology of the film. The digital color correction to 2K resolution make the colors in the movie jump off the screen.

Audrey single handily runs away with the film. Tautou takes Jeunet script and makes Amelie come to life. Tautuo handles the comedy with a light touch that helps Jeunet's daft directing. I found myself laughing without the aid of English subtitles or dubbing. I was able to follow the story by just focusing on Audrey facial, eyes and physical expressiveness.

In the scene below I love how open Audrey is. She starts the scene scared of what might happen then she allows herself to be carried away in the sensual moment. It's always a joy to work with actors who are open and vulnerable with their scene partners.

Trivia - Amelie was originally written for Emily Watson.

Amores Perros

"If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." - Susana

"If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." Susana

☆ Masterpiece

Amores Perros (2000) is heart pounding, symphony of violence that is majestic in its grandeur.

Directed by Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu.

Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Emilio Echevarria, Humberto Busto among many others.

Alejandro's debut film is a runaway freight train that wrecks all five senses on impact. Rarely, do I get a cinematic induced adrenaline rush while also having my brain's deductive reasoning activated throughout an entire film. I was as tired after watching Inarritu's masterpiece as I was when I watched Gareth Evans film Serbaud Maut - Raid: The Redemption (2011). I loved how he tells three different stories each from their characters perspective from one event they all participated in (Hyperlink Cinema).

The actor that struck me most was Emilio. His eyes conveyed his characters subtext. A beautiful and understated performance from a master actor. Gael was superb in his explosive role. Bernal has so much raw energy that emanates from every pore in his body and face.

In the scene below Emilio reminded me of Robert Deniro. They both are constantly thinking about what their scene partners are saying to them in a scene.

Trivia - Fishing lines were used to keep the dogs mouth shut, so they would not bite each other when they were playing with each during the dog fighting scenes.


"I have become a virgin" - Elizabeth

"I have become a virgin." Elizabeth

☆ Classic

Elizabeth (1998) is a showcase for Cate Blanchett's riveting performance.

Directed by Shekhar Kapur.

Starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccelston, Joseph Fiennes among many others.

Shekhar creates a gorgeous and a visually stunning film. Kapur uses the strong, bright colors of his native India to dress Cate as a wealthy and powerful monarch. Michael Hirst's script although historically inaccurate is none the less tight and filled with court intrigue and machinations. Hirst's script reminded me of Aaron Sorkin's masterful screen play, The Social Network (2010). Both Hirst and Sorkin have an amazing ability to imbue their characters lines with subtext that allow accomplished actors to take them to majestic heights.

The star of this film is Blanchett's. Cate's portrayal is astounding. My favorite moment is when she first sits on her throne to discuss religious matters with the Bishops. Blanchett captures the power and majesty of the Queen of England. Geoffrey is equally brilliant as Cate's royal advisor and political tutor. Both Blanchett and Rush bring out the subtext that is within Hirst's script.

In the scene below Cate is magnetic while being so open and free with her characters inner struggles and fears. I really felt that Blanchett was frustrated with her characters untenable situation.

Trivia - John Gielgud's final film role.

Friends (TV Series 1994 - 2004)

"How *You* doin?" - Joey

"How *You* doin?" Joey

☆ Classic

Friends (TV Series 1994 - 2004) is the first true ensemble comedy show on US television.

Created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman and Directed by James Burrows first three seasons.

Starring Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Mathew Perry and Matt LeBlanc among many others.

Friends (TV Series 1994 - 2004) is an institution. Rarely do comedy shows last successfully for ten years and go into syndication immortality. It's staying power is due to a combination of great comedic scripts, brilliant comic timing and character's young people all over the world can relate to. Crane and Kauffman set out to make an ensemble show that featured young adults just starting out after college. They remembered how in NYC they built their own family's with the friends they roomed with before they got married and had their own families.

I remember watching the first season and thinking if the cast can get their timing in order and they bring in writers on the level of the TV show Seinfeld they will have a long run. David and Marta brought in legendary TV director and creator James to help get the casts comic timing in order. Young talented writers were brought in to help flesh out the scripts and tailor the lines of each character to the actors portraying those roles. By season four Friends was a well oiled machine.

In the scene below watch David flawlessly execute pain through his face and body language. It makes you grimace and laugh at the same time. Schwimmer is a very physical comedian. David reminds me of Steve Martin in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), Both Schwimmer and Martin are very intelligent and have great control of their physical instruments.

Trivia - Friends has earned over $1 Billion in syndication rights.

Metropolis (1927)

"We shall build a tower that will reach to the stars." Maria

☆ Masterpiece

Metropolis (1927) set the standard for the visuals and Special Effects in Sci-Fi films.

Directed by Fritz Lang.

Starring Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge and Brigitte Helm  among many others.

Metropolis is a German Expressionist silent film by Fritz Lang. Audiences flocked to theaters when it premiered to see a city one hundred years into the future. As I viewed it I was struck by how good the sets and FX are in this film. Fritz and his creative team created a film that transported me to a distant future like George Lucas did in Star Wars (1977). The special effects that Eugene Schuefftan created with cinematographic mirrors and Karl Freund's camera work, along with Otto Hunte's Art Deco sets, created an indelible mark on future film makers. Eugene, Otto and Karl's influence can be seen in movies like Blade Runner, Batman and Star Wars.
The Art Deco sets popularized its design movement throughout the 1930's and 1940's in Europe and America.

Metropolis is a fun movie to watch visually. The story is very straight forward,but its the visuals that make this a masterpiece. In the scene below I feel as though I'm in a futuristic factory where the workers move all in synchronization like a well oiled machine.

Trivia - The Yoshiara club is the name of the famous red light district in Tokyo.

Leon: The Professional

"Hi, Piggy." - Mathilda

"Hi, piggy." Mathilda

☆ Classic

Leon: The Professional (1994) is a ballet of violence.

Directed by Luc Besson.

Starring Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello among others.

The International version of Leon has an additional 25 minutes that are disturbing, but help explain the relationship between Jean and Natalie's characters. According to Luc, when the film was tested in Los Angeles, audiences reacted negatively to the scenes between Reno and Portman. The additional footage unbalanced the main story. I could see where that would happen if you keep everything. I would have done a tighter edit and kept some of the scenes that helped to explain their intense relationship.

The acting puts this film above the usual action films. Natalie brings out the subtext with her eyes and facial expression. Portman was 12 years old when she auditioned for the role Mathilda. Luc hired Natalie on the spot after seeing her audition tape.

Jean looks and acts a little on the retarded side. Reno has stated that he chose to make Leon slow witted to counter the closeness of his relationship to Natalie. Jean said, he let Portman emotionally control the intimate scenes. An actor always has to protect his scene partner during very emotional or physicals moments. The outcome of Jean's carry work adds a beautiful layer and humanizes his character.

Gary is hypnotically bizarre in a good way. Gary is playing a cop who happens to be a junkie. A drug addict behaves mentally and physically in unorthodox ways. Luc allowed Oldman the freedom to improvise and ad lib many of his dialogue and physical characteristics. Michael Badalucco says, that Gary unexpectedly began to smell his face. Badalucco says his terrified look is genuine. Oldman did his homework on junkies and let it inform his performance and take it in new directions. The scene below showcases Gary's character work during his scene with Michael. Watch how even the actor in the background is taken by Oldman's work.

Trivia - Keith A. Glascoe, who played Benny, later became a Fireman in NYC for Ladder Company 21. Keith bravely died in the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001. Glascoe and his wife where expecting their third child when he died.

Hugh Jackman Audition for Wolverine in X-Men

"So... couldn't wait to get my shirt off again." Wolverine

"So... couldn't wait to get my shirt off again." Wolverine

☆ Winning Audition

Hugh Jackman's winning audition for the part of Wolverine in X-Men.

Directed by Bryan Singer.

Starring, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellan among many others.

The audition is taking place in a production office from the set designs on the wall behind Hugh. Note the camera angle they are filming the audition. I guess Singer had a certain style for the Wolverine look and wanted to see how Hugh would look  from that angle. Brian is auditioning Hugh personally. Hugh's confidence reminds me of Blake Lively's audition for Gossip Girl. Both came in knowing their lines, having clearly defined characters and brimming with confidence

Jackman has memorized the lines.This is his first audition with Singer. I can see that Hugh is playing Wolverine arrogantly. Brian asks Hugh to play Wolverine less cynical. Note, how Hugh adjusts quickly to Brian's direction. Nothing gets you a part faster than taking directions easily and quickly. Enjoy!

Trivia - Hugh was cast one and half months after principle photography was started. Hugh was relatively unknown at the time of his audition. 

La Piel Que Habito - The Skin I Live In

"The things the love of of a mad man can do." Marilla

"The things the love of a mad man can do." Marilla

☆ Masterpiece

La Piel Que Habito - The Skin I Live In (2011) is  mad, bad and dangerous.

Directed by Pedro Almodovar.

Starring Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paderes among others.

I had not read or seen anything about Pedros' film, before viewing it. About half way through the film I had an OMG! moment of what Pedro was up to. I spent the rest of the film marveling at his creation.

Almodovar based his film on Thierry Jonquet's French Novel, Mygale. It took 10 years for Pedro to conceive the story. Almodovar was attracted to the magnitude of the vendetta of the main character. Pedro calls it a horror film without the screams or frights. Pedro keeps Antonio's monstrous secret hidden for much of the film. Ben Wheatley's, Kill List (2011), like Pedro, gradually reveals its story by manipulating its audience. Both film makers add layers of psychological drama so that when their secrets are revealed to the audience it has a greater impact.

The cast is superb all around. Marisa is funny, endearing and wierd. She has the energy to invigorate any and all scenes she is in. Elena under plays her character to keep Pedro's secret. Anayas eyes are so expressive through the mask she wears throughout most of the film. Antonio is reaching Cary Grant territory with his suave, but dark character, who keeps everyone emotionally at arms length. Banderas is clinically bone chilling in his performance. If ever an actor could fill the shoes of Cary Grant's in, An Affair To Remember (1957) it would be Banderas. In the scene below note the anger inside Antonio's calm exterior.

Trivia - Pedro originally sought Penelope Cruz for Elena's role.

Kill List

"I fucking hate dirty soap." Gal

"I fucking hate dirty soap." Gal


Kill List (2011) is a disturbing, perplexing and manipulative film that never fails to keep you on edge.

Directed by Ben Wheatley.

Starring Neil Maskell, Michael Smiley, Harry Simpson, MyAnna Buring among others.

I had no idea what Kill List was about as I started the film. This made the movie more unsettling to watch. Rarely, have I been, so manipulated by a director as I was by Ben in Kill List. Wheatley allows his story to unfold gradually, without any hint of whats to come. My mind was constantly trying to put the story together as it unfolded in a way you put pieces of a puzzle together to see how they fit. Ben always stayed a few steps ahead of my deductive powers.

The Neil and Michael performances were outstanding. The chemistry between them made the perplexing story enjoyable and at times funny. Neil looks normal but slowly comes across as a very disturbed man in need of a psychiatric restraint jacket. Michael looks disturbed, but eventually turns out to be normal. The character reversals reminded me of those done by William Friedkins in To Live And Die In L.A. (1985).

The ending is unexpected and leaves you perplexed and astonished. Ben is a director to follow as are Neil and Michael as actors. The scene below I enjoy the contrasting character types that Neil and Michael create. Neil appears calm and relaxed, then explodes, while Michael looks ready to scream and instead stays quiet.

Trivia - Wilhelm Scream is used when Gal fires his shotgun at his pursuers after the hanging. Below is a compilation of Wilhelm Screams since it was first used in the film Distant Drums (1951). The scream is named after Private Wilhelm in the film The Charge At Feather River (1953). It was named by George Lucas' sound engineer Ben Burtt when he found it in Warner bros. sound library in a reel titled, Man Being Eaten By An Alligator for Distant Drums. It was recorded by Sheb Wooley who played Private Jessup in the film. Wilhelm Scream Compilation : .

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

"You're not boring, I'll give you that." Catherine

"You're not boring, I'll give you that." Catherine


The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) is a sophisticated heist caper.

Directed by John McTiernan.

Starring Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary among many others.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) is a remake of the 1968 version starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. McTiernan's remakes is better than the original. Heist films require great detail and cleverness in the staging and execution of the theft. John's heist is as elaborate and detailed as Jules Dassin's,Rififi (1955).
There are no guns or violence, just a sophisticated cat and mouse mind game between the cops and robbers.

Pierce plays his character with a detachment that works. Gone are the usual Irish passion that he brings to every role he does. One of the most underrated actors of his generation. Like a fine wine Brosnan gets better with age.

Rene is always one of my favorite actresses, because she has the elegance and grace of a model with a dark sense of humor. One of the few actresses that can play with the boys at their level. In this film you can actually see her competitiveness throughout the film.

Denise Leary steals every scene he is in. Leary brings his detective character to life with his acerbic style of comedy to life. Denis lines are delivered with a subtext of irony and pathos that cause you to have empathy for him. In the scene below watch how Rene truly feels for him as much as we the audience feel for him. Great film to watch again and again.

Trivia - In filming Predator, McTiernan had his thermal cameras failing above 90 degrees and John incorporated that into the camera failures in the museum heist scene.

My Version - I would have had Denis get Rene and Pierce run away with the young model.

Meet Joe Black

"I don't know lightening could strike." Young man in coffee shop

"I don't know lightening could strike." Young man in coffee shop


Meet Joe Black (1998) is a beautiful and enchanting tale.

Directed by Martin Brest.

Starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Claire Forlani, Jeffrey Tambor and Marcia Gay Harden, Jake Weber.

Meet Joe Black (1998) is based on the 1934 film Death Takes a Holiday. The premise is enticing. In this version Death decides to have a look around our world and enlists Anthony as his guide. Brest takes a slow, languid pace to let the audience ponder the weight of our mortality and fragile existence. It's interesting how he does more close ups of Brad then Claire in their moments together. This is a film I hope to redo in the future.

This version is graced by wonderful performances all around. Jeffrey has a unique energy throughout the film that just makes you want to hug him. Claire's eyes and face convey the subtext alluded to her the lines. Marcia handles the melodrama with a such strong conviction that it seems genuine. Jake is so good at being detestible that I found myself disliking him from the start. Anthony Hopkins is riveting and so honest. Brad underplays his character and that makes him more powerful. The all around solid performances that elevate this film reminds me of Roman Polanski's, Carnage (2011).

Brad and Claire also had some great scenes together. In the scene below watch how Brad seduces Claire. The entire scene runs about 15 minutes and you can see the entire arch of how Brad seduces Claire.

Trivia - Gene Hackman was originally set to play Anthony's part.

Star Wars 1977

"Only a master of evil Darth." Obi One Kenobi

"Only a master of evil Darth." Obi One Kenobi


Stars Wars (1977) is an iconic film whose Force is eternal.

Directed by George Lucas.

Starring Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Alec Guinness among many others.

I recently watched Stars Wars (1977) in its entirety for the first time. I was struck by how timeless the story is and how well the special effects hold up. The Flash Gordon type of serialized adventure storytelling is fantastic. The musical score give it added weight. The aliens that populate it universe drew me into the fantasy. While the immortal saga of good versus evil triumphing against all odds gave it humanity. I could go on and on, but suffice to say that it is an iconic film.

As I marvelled at Lucas' creation I realized that he had pulled off what only H.G. Wells had done, so brilliantly in his stories. George, like H.G. had imbued his mythical stories with plausibility. Instead of King Arthur and his Knights of the round table fighting with swords against powerful sorcers with magic, or of Robin Hood and his merry men in the forrest of Sherwood fighting with bows and arrows against an evil monarchy you have Jedi knights using the Force to fight the dark side of the force. From the opening crawl through the happy ending I was completely immersed in George's world. I had a similar escape with Andy and Lana Wachowski's, The Matrix (1999).

The scene below showcases the superb special effects and masterful editing that revolutionized film making. It still looks great today.

Trivia - Harrison helped George audition actors by reading with them during their auditions. George soon realized that only Harrison could play Hans Solo.

Hugh Laurie Audition for House M.D.

"Relax, I have just the thing to cheer you up...we're being sued!" Dr. House

"Relax, I have just the thing to cheer you up... we're being sued!" Dr. House

Winning Audition

Hugh Laurie Audition for House, M.D. (2004 - 2012) is a winning audition.

Directed by Greg Yaitanes among many others. Created by David Shore.

Starring Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard, Lisa Edelstein among many others.

This is the first time I have seen a dramatic actor used strong facial expressions to effectively bring out the characters subtext and his behavior. I have seen only one or two episodes of House M.D.and from the start of Hugh's audition here I see the anti-social characteristics that have made Laurie so popular. I can tell that Hugh has a strong comedic background that was developed in rigorous drama programs in the UK.

Watch in the clip below how Hugh uses his facial expression to convey the characters angst against bureaucracy. Enjoy!

Trivia - This audition took place in Hugh's hotel bathroom in Namibia, where he was filming, Flight of the Phoenix.

Ordet - The Word

"If you have faith like this child, anything is possible." Johannes

"If you have faith like this child, anything is possible." Johannes


Ordet - The Word (1955) is hypnotic and transformative Danish masterpiece.

Directed by Carl Theodor Dryer.

Starring Henrik Malberg, Emil Hass Christensen, Cay Kristiansen, Preben Lerdorf Rye, Ejner Federspiel.

Dryer based Ordet on Kaj Munks 1925 play, Begyndelsen var Ordet (In The Beginning was the Word). Carl only used one third the dialogue in Kaj's play, but kept his entire message of faith.

Ordet is the most languid and hypnotic narrative pace in film history. I could not stop watching Dryer's Ordet. As visually stunning and as religiously potent as Kim Ki Duk's, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring (2003). Carl and Kim share a passion for telling visually hypnotic stories with a belief that transcends human understanding. In both movies I was in tears at the end; tears of joy. It's hard to put into words the effect this movie had on me.

The acting is superb in its minimalism. I read that Dryer wanted a very specific performance from each actor. To me Preben had the hardest role. How do you as an actor get dialogue to be believable from a character who thinks he is Jesus Christ and quotes him verbatim. In the scene below watch how Rye handles this impossible task. Enjoy!

Trivia - Dryer used only his eyes to set up his lighting for all of his scenes.

The Matrix

"Free your mind." Morpheus

"Free your mind" Morpheus


The Matrix (1999) put the final nail on 35mm prints coffin and ushered in the digital film making age.

Directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski.

Starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving among many others.

I remember going to the theater early in the morning to see The Matrix when it first opened.
I was so amazed at the visuals that as soon as it finished I went back to the box office and saw it again. I did this one more time. The film still has that visual impact when I saw it again recently.

The Wachowski brothers freed my mind to the limitless possibilities that exist within our imagination. The opening scenes with Carrie-Anne and the bullet dodging scenes throughout the film forever changed the way movies are made. Andy and Lana also helped me to visually understand the mental freeing process that The Actors Studio MFA program had been helping me to attain. Whether we are in a Matrix or not, is not as important to me as having the freedom to explore the world we are in and who we really are. Most of the philosophical dialogue went over my head, but the visuals explained everything to me. The Matrix visually reminds me of Michelangelo Antonioni's, L 'Avventura (1960). Andy and Lana like Michelangelo prefer to tell a story visually. The story and dialogue only further the visuals impact.

Hugo's acting is superb throughout the film. Weaving's slow, methodical, menacing and humorous line delivery was a joy to watch. I compare Hugo's vocal delivery to Merly Streep. Both actors use their voice's to bring out the subtext that the dialogue alludes to. The scene below illustrates Hugo's masterful vocal delivery to bring out a deeper understanding of the character that the story lacks. Enjoy!

Trivia - Metacortex, the name of the company Neo works for means, "transcending the boundaries of the brain." Meta, transcending; Cortex, the grey outer part of the brain.

Aguirre, Der Zorn Gottes - Aguirre, The Wrath Of God

"That man is a head taller than me. That may change." Aguirre

"That man is a head taller than me. That may change." Aguirre

☆☆☆☆☆ Masterpiece

Aguirre, Der Zorn Gottes - Aguirre, The Wrath Of God (1972) is a haunting tale of madness.

Directed by Werner Herzog.

Starring Klaus Kinski, Helene Rojo, Del Negro, Ruy Guerra and Peter Berling among many others.

Werner from the opening scene to its climatic ending mesmerizes with stunning visuals and sound. From the start you know how it will all end. Herzog draws you in and never lets you out. Your fate is sealed with that of his characters.

The film was inspired by a book of historical explorers a friend had given him. When Herzog read about the mad explorer, Lope De Aguirre, he knew Klaus Kinski was perfect for the role. Werner wrote the script in two and a half days while on a 200 miles bus ride with his soccer team. The entire production was shot in five weeks following nine months of pre-production on location in Peru's rain forest along the Amazon river.

Klaus is hypnotic to watch in every seen he is in. I wondered why he had such a heavy limp throughout the film. I discovered in researching Kinski that he had read that Aguirre himself had a severe limp from a war injury. Researching your character is so important in its development. What actor would have dreamed up on his own a limp for an explorer who had to scale mountains in his journeys.

Herzog keeps the dialogue simple and subdued. He somehow kept Klaus' vulcanic temper restrained which made Kinski's madness even more frightening. This is the first time while watching a film that I feared for the lives of the actors who were in scenes with Klaus.

Werner uses nature to slowly and methodically consume the characters. You feel a sense of impending doom that is fulfilled only in the last moments of the film.

The scene below shows the depth of Klaus' submersion into his character. Reminds me of Edgard Ramirez' work in Olivier Assayas' epic film, Carlos (2010). Klaus shares Edgard's fearlessness to lose himself completely in the role. Look into Kinski's eyes. Klaus is Aguirre and Aguirre is Klaus. Enjoy!

Trivia - When Klaus was young he rented a room from Herzog and for three months Kinski's terrorized Werner and his family with his mad rants. When Werner read about Aguirre he remembered Klaus' mad rants were perfect for the character.