5 Favorite Leonardo DiCaprio Flims

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of my favorite actors.  I was first introduced to him on the TV show Growing Pains where he played Luke Brower, but I became a huge fan after watching his performances on film. Today marks the actor’s 44th birthday so in honor of his birthd, here are five of my favorite Leonardo DiCaprio films.

5. Inception

I’ve mentioned this sci-fi heist thriller before. In the film DiCaprio plays Dominick “Dom” Cobb, a professional thief who steals secrets by infiltrating the dreams of his victims. He’s facing a murder charge due to his wife’s demise and as a result, is separated from his children.

DiCaprio brilliantly captures the emotions of the character. I’m glad that director Christopher Nolan didn’t give up on asking the actor to appear in the film. For years Nolan had been trying to work with the actor and met him several times, but was unable to convince him to appear in any of his films until this one. I hope that there will be more collaboration between the two of them.

4. Django Unchained (2014)

I’ve always wondered if DiCaprio would ever be in a Quentin Tarantino film, and I finally got my answer when this movie arrived. In it, the actor plays the main villain, “Monsieur” Calvin J. Candie, a charming and brutal owner of the Candyland plantation. This was the first time I watched the actor play a villain and he did an excellent job of portraying this character who appeared to be somewhat angelic on the outside but was the devil on the inside.

One scene in which DiCaprio shines is when Candie confronts Django and Dr. Shultz after learning that the pair have pulled an elaborate scam on him in order to retrieve Django’s wife Broomhilda. During the scene, the actor cuts his hand as the cameras rolled. But that didn’t phase him, as he continued through the scene, never breaking character. As a result, his real-life, bloodied hand made it into the final cut of the film, as you can see above.

3. The Departed (2006)

I enjoy Martin Scorsese-directed films and I love it even more when DiCaprio partners up with the director, specifically in The Departed. The actor plays Billy Costigan, an agent for the Massachusetts State Police who is deep undercover in the Irish-American mob in South Boston. After discovering that there’s a mole (played by Matt Damon) in the police force employed by the criminal organization, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues and the tension mounts leading to an awesome, climatic, ending.

2. The Basketball Diaries (1995)

This film is an adaptation of poet Jim Carroll’s juvenile diaries that chronicle his fall from a promising basketball player into the world of drug addiction. DiCaprio portrays Carroll in the film and it is his riveting performance that captures the poet’s fall from grace down into the rabbit hole and back to a sane existence.

1. Romeo + Juliet (1996)

This was the first Leonardo DiCaprio movie that I saw. I was in ninth grade at the time and in my English Honors class we were discussing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet! I loved the modern, yet still classic, take of the film and the actors did a fantastic job. I still have the two film soundtracks and the film on VHS. This remains one of my all time favorite movies.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s acting is amazing, showing that he has an immense range giving the variety of roles he’s portrayed throughout the years. It’s a wonder he has yet to win an Oscar. Regardless of awards, DiCaprio has proven that he is a force to be reckoned with onscreen.  What are your favorite films? Leave a comment below or on my Facebook page.

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Gif Guess: Halloween Month Edition

We’re counting down  the days till Halloween. As the celebration continues here’s a new entry for my blog that I called Gif Guess.  Can you guess the following 31 horror/scif-fi/fantasy/gothic films by their gifs? Take a whack at it!

 

 

 

Welcome to L.A.: 7 Films Highlighting The City of Angels

Los Angeles’ heart and soul can be seen in the many films set in the city. Here are 7 favorite films that showcase the various, diverse aspects of the City of Angels.

1. Drive (2011)

One of my favorite Ryan Gosling films, this movie showcases the city at night with Gosling at the helm cruising through the streets of downtown L.A. With an epic soundtrack backing the nightly beautiful and gritty scenes that harken back to the films of the 80’s.

2. Rush Hour (1998)

This buddy cop action comedy gives viewers insight into Los Angeles from the perspectives of both an Angeleno and a tourist. Watching Jackie Chan become familiar with the city when he escapes from Carter’s (Chris Tucker) custody multiple times is great, and later when Carter gives him a personal tour after they team up, the touristy areas of L.A. get their time in the spotlight.

3. Collateral (2004)

In this film, Jamie Foxx plays cab driver Max who becomes the hostage of his fare Vincent, (played by Tom Cruise) a contract killer.  This crime thriller captures the scope and depth of the city in a way that other films haven’t. Collateral showcases L.A. at night and with director Michael Mann highlights the city’s evening visuals with his use of the Viper FilmStream High-Definition Camera a first for a major motion picture.

4. Training Day (2001)

The portrayal of the veteran corrupt cop (played by Denzel Washington who won an Oscar for his performance) whose showing the rookie (played by Ethan Hawke) the ropes in South Central L.A., highlights the distrust many citizens of Los Angeles feel toward the LAPD.

5. Clueless (1995)

A favorite 90s film of mine, this modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma depicts the stereotypical “valley girl” in all of her glory. Shotouts to the City of Angels included the showcasing of mall culture at the Westside Pavilion, as well as the Los Angeles freeway in the driver’s ed scene.

6. Die Hard (1988)

A must-watch every Christmas, this action hero film starring Bruce Willis as the now legendary John McClane, highlights Los Angeles’ media culture. The building where all the action takes place, Fox Plaza, has been featured in at least four major motion pictures released by Fox.

7. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

The city of Los Angeles is annihilated in a nuclear attack by Skynet, while landmarks such as the cement waterway of the L.A. River, and the Elysian Park are also featured in the film.

With that I end my list. What are some of your favorite films showcasing Los Angeles? Leave your comments below or on my Facebook page.  Also check out more films that give Los Angeles love at the following links:

http://www.timeout.com/los-angeles/film/los-angeles-movies-50-films-that-best-capture-the-essence-of-la

http://www.buzzfeed.com/louispeitzman/movies-that-define-los-angeles#.sgPPDxAm

Happy Birthday Chris Pine! 8 Fun Facts About the Actor

Today marks Chris Pine’s 38th birthday. To celebrate here are 8 fun facts about the actor.

1. Legacy

Pine comes from a family of actors. His maternal grandmother Anne Gwynne was one of the first horror, scream queens and was also a favorite pin-up model amongst the soldiers. His father Robert played Sgt. Joseph Getraer in the TV series CHiPs, while his mother Gwynne Gilford starred in the sci-fi film “Masters of the Universe.”

2. Production Assistant

When he was a teenager, Pine worked as a production assistant on Roger Corman’s Black Scorpion. In an interview with Hero Complex, he said that he did a variety of jobs and that working on the film solidified him wanting to be an actor.

3. Education

He has a degree in English from UC Berkeley and also studied acting at the University of Leeds in England and the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

4. Film debut

The actor’s film debut was in 2004 when he starred as Nicholas Devereaux, Princess Mia’s (Anne Hathaway) love interest in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.  During a Q&A for Entertainment Weekly back in 2016, Chris mentioned that he was open to doing a third entry for the series.

5. Avatar fail

Pine auditioned for the role of Jake Sully in Avatar but he lost the part to Sam Worthington. According to Chris it was the worst audition that he’s ever done.

6. Pals

Before they starred in Star Trek together, Pine and costar Zachary Quinto were already well acquainted with each other because they shared a lot of mutual friends and worked out at the same gym.

7. The Youngest

When he was 28, the actor became the youngest actor to play a lead in Star Trek.

8. Mistaken identity

A lot of times, the actor gets mistaken for other celebrities. Specifically fans have confused Pine with Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and even Ryan Reynolds!

And those ladies and gentlemen are the facts! Happy Birthday Chris!

Check out my other Chris Pine related articles:

7 Favorite Cult Classics

They’re either so bad it’s good; filled with nostalgia; a beloved B-movie; guilty pleasures; or a combination of all of these descriptions. Cult classics have a special place in every movie fan’s heart. They’ve been around since the early days of cinema, and show no signs of stopping – thank goodness. Here are seven of my favorite cult classics mostly in horror genre:

1. The Crow (1994)

Not only is it a tradition to watch The Crow during Halloween, it’s a film that you can watch over and over again regardless of the time of year. The film’s premise, unique visual style, emotional depth and its tribute to the late Brandon Lee, have contributed to its massive fan base.

2. Battle Royale (2000)

An action thriller adapted from the 1999 novel of the same name, this film reigns supreme among cult classics. Since its debut, it’s developed an international following,  influenced filmmakers, and has been part of the inspiration or copied for films such as Smokin Aces, The Hunger Games, Kill Theory, and The Tournament.

3. The Craft (1996)

This film was released the same year that Romeo + Juliet was. I didn’t see it for the first time until a few years ago, and I fell in love with it instantly.  I’ve never fit in even with groups that I’m supposed to belong to. I  will forever be a weirdo. This movie is perfect and there doesn’t need to be a remake of it ever!  It strays from the cliches of teen films and features darker themes.  It’s a rite of passage for young women and it’s a progressive film.

4. Tank Girl (1995)

I saw this film for the first time ever back in March 2014 and I instantly became a fan. I love Tank Girl’s quips, the action and the comedy. The film was ahead of its time, and when it first came out Tank Girl received negative reviews and was considered a failure at the box office. However, over time, viewpoints have changed and Tank Girl has developed a cult following that won’t ever die.

5. Scream (1996)

Prior to its release, the popularity of the horror genre had waned, and when Scream came out, it screamed new life into the genre. With its well-known cast and a script that made fun of but also embraced the cliched conventions of horror, this film changed the status quo when it came to horror films. Scream made such an impact that many believe its legacy to be the creation of a distinct era of post-Scream horror films.

6. Heathers (1988)

Another example of a film that flopped at the box office but became a cult classic. This film is so messed up that its good. It hacks out what a conventional high school movie is supposed to be and turns it all upside down and inside out. Heathers is dark, cynical and subversive and changed the game for all the teenage-related comedies that came after it.

7. Romeo + Juliet (1996)

This is my first Leonardo DiCaprio film and it came out when I was in 9th grade back in 1996.  At that time I was reading Romeo and Juliet in my English Honors class (shot out to my awesome teacher Dr. Whitnowski) so it just perfect timing.  Aside from that, this film is one of my favorites because of its take on a Shakespeare classic.    Everything about this film makes it wonderful. From the modern setting to the soundtrack and the excellent casting.  John Leguizamo as Tybalt Capulet,  and Harold Perrineau as Mercutio, were standout additions.

Cult classics are an integral part of film, and with their loyal fan base they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.  What are some of your favorite cult classics? Leave your answers in the comments section below or my Facebook page.

10 Unforgettable Movie Homes

Home is where the heart is and that’s especially true in film, where some of the best homes, fictional and real, have appeared on screen and left a big impression on movie viewers’ hearts. Here are 10 unforgettable homes featured in film.

1. The Sheats/Goldstein House

Location: Benedict Canyon, Beverly Hills

Films: The Big Lebowski, Charlie’s Angels Full Throttle

Built between 1961-1963 by John Lautner, this home was built right into the sandstone hillside, and was designed to mimic a cave.

2. Ennis House

Location: Los Angeles

Films: Blade Runner, House on the Haunted Hill, The Day of the Locust, and more.

This home was built in 1924 by Frank Lloyd Wright and has been featured in many films, TV shows, and commercials. It became world renowned after it was featured in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner as bounty hunter Rick Deckard’s cyberpunk apartment.

3. Hearst Castle a.k.a Xanadu

Location: San Simeon, California

Film: Citizen Kane

Hearst Castle is the inspiration for Xanadu, the fictional estate of Charles Foster Kane, in the iconic classic Citizen Kane. The house sets the mood as the film opens with a distant image of the home. Allegedly, the fact that Xanadu beared a strong resemblance to Hearst Castle was non-coincidental.

4. Charles Deaton’s ‘clamshell’ house

Location: Denver, Colorado

Films: Sleeper

This home played a leading role in Woody Allen’s sci-fi comedy as the setting 200 years in the future where the protagonist Miles wakes up after being cryogenically frozen. The clamshell house is located on Genesse Mountain and was built by architect Charles Deaton in the early 1960s.

5. Norma Desmond’s mansion
From https://martinturnbull.com/2015/08/03/norma-desmonds-mansion-in-sunset-boulevard-1950-at-641-s-irving-blvd-being-demolished-in-1957/

Location: Beverly Hills, California

Film: Sunset Boulevard

Featured in the classic American noir film, Sunset Boulevard, this home was actually located on Wilshire Boulevard and was specially rented by Paramount from its owner J Paul Getty on the condition that the studio build a pool on the grounds. Unfortunately the house was demolished in 1957 and a 22 story office building took its place.

6. Elrod House

Location: Los Angeles, California

Film: Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Billionaire Willard Whyte’s summer home became the main villain’s headquarters in this James Bond film. The house was also featured in numerous Playboy photo shoots. Built in 1968 by John Lautner, the Elrod House has a rooftop deck, an enormous pool, and a four-car garage.

7. Oakley Court

Location: Windsor , UK

Film: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The House in Nightmare Park, Brides of Dracula, The Curse of Frankenstein, Plague of the Zombies, and more.

It’s where they did the time warp… again, and has been featured as Frankenstein and Dracula’s humble abode. Built in 1859 for a Sir Richard Hall, the house became rundown after many years of different owners in 1965, but was purchased by Hammer Film’s Bray Studios. Over 200 films have been shot on the house grounds, but its most recognized as, Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s estate. The house was renovated and now operates as a renown hotel.

8. El Fureidis

Location: Santa Barbara, California

Film: Scarface

Tropical Paradise may be known for its famous inhabitant Tony Montana on film, but its had many famous tenants and visitors like Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Charles Chaplin, and John F. Kennedy. The four bedrooms, nine bathrooms, many Persian gardens, and reflecting pools and terraces was currently for sale since last year for $35 million before dropping to $17.9 million.

9. The Home Alone House

From: http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/ct-biz-home-alone-house-may5-photogallery.html

Location: Winnetka, Ilinois

Film: Home Alone

Built in 1921, this Colonial Georgian house, featured in both Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, sold for $1.585 million.

10. Zsa Zsa Gabor’s house
From: Coldwell Banker Global Luxury

Location: Los Angeles

Film: Argo

The late old actress’ house was featured in the Oscar winning film Argo. She purchased it in 1970 and it was originally built by Howard Hughes. Even Elvis Presley once owned it.  The home is currently up for sale for the grand ole price of  $23,450,000.

That ends the list. What are some memorable movie homes that caught your eye? Leave your answers in the comments below or over on my Facebook page.

This Post Will Self-Destruct in 18 Seconds: Trivia from the Mission Impossible Film Franchise

Good morning/afternoon/evening, readers.

Since 1996, the Mission Impossible film franchise has been popular with moviegoers and continues to be a hit with its latest addition Mission: Impossible: Fallout.  This sixth film in the franchise was greenlit  several days before its predecessor’s-Rogue Nation- release. It’s the longest film in the franchise (140 mins.) and the first to be released in 3D. Fallout may also be the final film in the franchise, unless Tom Cruise has something to say about it.

Your mission readers, should you decide to accept it, is to learn the following trivia about the film franchise. As always, should you or any of your I.M. Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This post will self-destruct in 18 seconds. Good luck readers!

Mission: Impossible I

1. This is the only film in the franchise that doesn’t feature any shootouts or gunfights.

2. The shot of Ethan and Claire kissing passionately shown in the trailer and in the brief excerpts at the start of the film, was never actually featured in the movie.

3. This is the first film to have a release in over 3000 theaters in the USA.

Mission: Impossible II

4. This is the first movie that Metallica ever agreed to write a song for.

5. The part of Mission Commander Swanbeck was originally offered to Ian McKellen. Due to a prior theater engagement in London, he couldn’t accept the role, and the part eventually went to Anthony Hopkins.

6. Actor Dougray Scott was originally set to play Wolverine in X-Men (2000), but had to pull out when the production on this film went longer than expected.

Mission: Impossible III

7. This is the most expensive film ($150 million) ever directed by a first time feature film director.

8. For the role of Lindsey Farris, Scarlett Johansson was initially cast but pulled out of the project and the role eventually went to Keri Russell.

9. Actresses Keri Russell, Michelle Monaghan and Maggie Q have all voiced the superhero Wonder Woman. Russell in Wonder Woman (2009), Q in Young Justice (2010) and Monaghan in Justice League: War (2014).

Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol

10. The signature jump-and-hang-in-the-air stunt that Tom Cruise did in the first film was performed again by Jeremy Renner in this film.

11. Tom Cruise’s birthday (070362) is the code that Ethan uses at the payphone to get his latest mission.

12. Actors Anthony Mackie, Christopher Egan, Kevin Zegers, Chris Pine, and Tom Hardy were considered to play William Brandt, a role which eventually went to Jeremy Renner.

Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation

 

13. Benedict Cumberbatch was the filmmakers’ first choice to play the film’s villain.

14. This is the first film in the franchise where every member of Ethan Hunt’s IMF team is a veteran of at least one of the previous installments.

15. This is the only Mission: Impossible film to date where the main villain isn’t killed off.

Mission Impossible: Fallout

16. Solomon Lane who played the villian in the previous film Rogue Nation, will also appear in Fallout. Making him the first villain in the franchise to be in two films.

17. Rebecca Ferguson is the first actress in the franchise to appear twice in a leading role. She also was about 7 months pregnant when filming ended.

18. The film had 3000 setups, 13 helicopters, 6 pregnancies, 5 hiatuses, 4 weeks of aerial photography, 3 continents, 2 winters, and 1 broken ankle.

Bonus:

  • With the exception of Fallout & Ghost Protocol, every film in the franchise has had a different director. Brian De Palma directed the first film, John Woo directed the sequel, J.J. Abrams directed M:I III, Brad Bird directed Ghost Protocol. Rogue Nation & Fallout were directed by Christopher Mcquarrie.
  • Out of the directors, only J.J. Abrams & Christopher Mcquarrie are attached to other films in the franchise as producers. Abbrams is a producer for Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation, while Mcquarrie is a producer for Fallout.
  • While Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames are the only actors to appear in all six films in the franchise, Simon Pegg has appeared in every movie since Mission: Impossible III.

Source: IMDb

And those are the facts. Got any interesting trivia for the Mission Impossible franchise? Leave them in the comments below or on my Facebook page.