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.

Advertisements

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!

 

 

 

Horrific Listen: Wondery’s Inside Series

You’ve seen the movies, now hear the stories of how these terrifying tales came to life on the big screen and the real horrific stories that influence them.  Introducing Wondery’s Inside Series!

With only three entries in the series so far, these podcast episodes are first person tales that’ll leave listeners intrigued, terrified and just outright spooked!

Inside Psycho

A deep dive into the mysterious and peculiar happenings that occurred during the filming of the legendary film Psycho. Mark Ramsey Media and Wondery create a magical mix of fact and fiction which transports you into the world of Hitchcock. Psycho is among the greatest thrillers in movie history–and it nearly didn’t happen!

 

Inside The Exorcist

In 1973 Hell came home and invaded the body of a young girl. This is the story of a movie and its makers. It’s a tale of dark and light, of loss and love. A story of faith and fury, of causes and curses, of horrors real and imagined, of unbridled ego and brute force filmmaking. It’s the movie critics called “religious pornography” and “occultist claptrap.” The movie that left audiences…hysterical. Decades later, it remains perhaps the most frightening movie we will ever see. From Wondery, this is a seven-part deep dive inspired by the story behind an unforgettable, classic movie. This is…Inside The Exorcist.

Inside Jaws

From the creators of Inside Psycho and Inside the Exorcist comes a new story about a classic movie and its inspirations. A tale of a modest thriller that became an ordeal and then a disaster and then a phenomenon and then a classic. A story of one man, a fresh-faced, inexperienced director who nearly wrecked his promising career and became the most important filmmaker of our era. This is Inside JAWS.

You can listen to these shows for free on Spotify or any podcast app of your choice.

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:

An Empire State of Mind: 8 Films That Show the Big Apple Love

Today, I’m showing the East Coast some love and giving you eight films that highlight the Big Apple.

1. West Side Story (1961)

A classic take on Romeo and Juliet, this film captures the energy and vibrancy of the city with its multiple dance numbers and songs. It also gives viewers an insight into the immigrant experience.

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

This film shows love for the city right away as it opens with a beautiful shot of the World Trade Center buildings that are no longer with us; their presence remains in our hearts. Shots of the subway system and New York’s notorious sewers are in abundance, in addition to the scenes of dark alleyways and street corners since most of the film’s story takes place at night.

3. The Godfather (1972)

One of the many mafia themed films in cinema history, this one is particularly iconic. Throughout the film, there are few exterior shots, as the majority of the scenes are filmed in personal spaces. The intimate moments between the characters introduce New York on a personal level.

4. Men in Black (1997)

New York is a city known for its strange tales and myths, and the fact that this film’s premise features aliens living among the human population unbeknownst to the earthlings makes sense. Watching Agent K and Agent J stop at a magazine stand to scan through the tabloids, because they were a verifiable source of information in finding the alien bug, captures that always mysterious aspect of the city. In addition, there’s a shot of the World Trade Center, and the observation towers of the New York State Pavilion at Flushing Meadows make an appearance, too.

5. 16 Blocks (2006)
From: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/16-blocks-2006

Bruce Willis plays a burnt out N.Y.P.D. detective who is tasked with escorting a witness (Mos Def) 16 blocks to the courthouse. What begins as a simple errand turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse as they’re chased by dirty cops determined to make the witness disappear. This film shows the daily coming and goings of New Yorkers, block by block. We see the diversity of the city dwellers, and the heroic – or villainous – actions made by members of the N.Y.P.D. There’s a message running throughout the film about how people can change, and in a way, that also applies to the city itself.

6. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Only in New York can the story of the rise and fall of a Wall Street stockbroker be told, and boy, is it a doozy of a story! The film showcases that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere  theme of the city while also showing the dark underbelly of New York’s rich, where corruption, lies, and deceit can be found.

7. I Am Legend (2007)

This sci-fi horror film depicts New York City in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic state. Watching Will Smith make his daily rounds through a deserted Manhattan, or waiting during midday at the South Street Seaport really let’s you see the emptiness of the once much too busy city, and the loneliness of Smith’s character is profound.

8. Godzilla (1998)

Yes, I know this isn’t a fan favorite but I love this film! It also showcases New York in its own colorful way. We get shots of some of the city’s landmarks being destroyed or scarred by the Godzilla wannabe. There’s also humor, romance and action and that’s part of the New York way of life.

What are your favorite films that highlight the city that never sleeps?  Leave your comments below or on my Facebook page.

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.