Thursday Movie Picks 2020

Thursday Movie Picks: Unforgettable Film Scores

Film scores have such an important part in creating a mood and elevating the images on screen. Unfortunately I’m a very lousy movie lover when it comes to scores and I definitely don’t pay enough attention. Mostly because I’m more of a visual person than auditory. There are, despite my lack of awareness towards scores, a few that have stood out. These are three film scores that I have listened to from start to finish… more than once.

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# 238 – The Rum Diary (Trailer special)

Since I’ve been pretty much behind on everything this trailer is basically old news – movie is already aired and soon in Estonian cinemas as well. But I still wanted to put this up here because of no other than Johnny Depp. It is no secret that I like him and his work, I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember. His characters are always a little bit special and I like how he stays true to rum. “Why is the rum gone?” is no longer the question, now it seems that the rum is never going to go away.

Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard and Giovanni Ribisi also star in this movie directed and written by Bruce Robins.

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YUx36yLLug]

PS: There are many versions of the poster but I chose this one cause I thought it looked the coolest.

# 231 – Tim Burton (Director special)

This is it, my first director special and I chose Tim Burton to have the honor of being the first one I write about. I don’t really know the reason but I thought that since I’ve seen so many of his movies it might be pretty content-rich. Hoping that this wouldn’t be the first and the last director special I’m gonna start off with Burton and his creations.

Born in August 25, 1958 Burton showed early signs of creativity and interest in movies. He started making his own movies in his backyard, for instance he made a short film called The Island of Doctor Agor when he was only 13. Instead of getting good grades in school he focused on arts, painting and drawing that led him to study character animation in California Institute of Arts. After graduating (based on his work in school) Disney was interested in him and he ended up working for them as an artist. Though it was clear from the beginning that his style was so different from Disney. Besides Burton wanted to do solo projects: so in 1982 he made a 6 minute short film inspired by a poem (his poetic influence would be Edgar Alan Poe) he wrote about Vincent Price (who himself narrated the animation) that showed off the type of style that will start to describe Burton the most.

Here is “Vincent”: [youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxQcBKUPm8o”]

Years of working, Burton managed to produce hits with low budgets and this made him stir interest among big budget productions – in 1989 Batman fell into his lap and he made superhero history. The movie crossed over $250 million in the States and over $400 million worldwide (at that time it was the biggest box office hit of all time) and also shaped the new way of portraying superheros – more darker and psychological.

Batman (1989) starred Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as The Joker. The movie has a great score of 7,6 on IMDb and won the Oscar for Best Art Directing. Although this movie is as old as I am I still remember it, sadly I don’t remember if it was my first experience with Tim Burton but I have a slight hunch that it was Batman. The more clear memory of Tim Burton is definitely Edward Scissorhands (1990) which I re-watched just a couple of years ago – this marks the beginning of a duo that all of you are probably familiar with – Burton and Depp.

Poster for Edward ScissorhandsEdward Scissorhands also marks the beginning of what I think, Burton’s career cause it wasn’t just directed and produced but also written by him. It tells a story about a so-called science project who happens to be a man with scissors instead of his hands. The quite unrealistic story is a heart warming human version of the ugly duckling. This movie showcases well some of the elements that start to characterize Burton’s work through out his career. The positioning of dark and colorful, the unusual leading role (amazingly portrayed by Johnny Depp) and dark humor. At this time Burton’s work wasn’t recognized by the big Oscar but IMDb’s 8.0 score shows that the movie is far more that just your average entertainment.

1992 Batman Returns was directed by Burton but his signature was also put on a full-length stop-motion animation that came out a year after. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) was directed by Henry Selick who studied with Burton in California Institute of Arts. The movie is a fantasy musical with 227 puppets that tells a story about Christmas in a Halloween way and has also an 8.0 score on IMDb. As an interesting twist, the puppets have unusually long legs and arms and to grasp the idea of a stop-motion movie there’s an interesting fact for you: the lead character Jack the skeleton had over 400 different heads that allowed him to have every possible emotion there is!

Still from Sleepy Hollow

Then followed many other works by Burton (some only produced) like Cabin Boy (1994), Ed Wood yet again with Johnny Depp (1994), the third Batman (1995), another collaboration with Henry Selick called James and the Giant Peach (1996) and the well known comedy about aliens Mars Attacks! (1996). The 90’s end with one of my favorite Burton films –  Sleepy Hollow (1999). Again together with Johnny Depp Burton brings us a fantasy crime story which also stars Christina Ricci and Christopher Walken. Legend of the headless rider is somehow stuck in my head but I’m not surprised, I’ve seen the movie about 5 times and I’m surprised it only won an Oscar for Best Art Director and ironically for the same guys who helped Burton out with Edward Scissorhands.

Here’s another interesting fact, during the next 10 years (from 2000 to 2010) Burton made 6 movies out of which I’ve seen 5 (some of them more than once). Out of which I loved 2 and liked 1 – sadly I had some issues with 2 that happened to be two of his latest works.  2001 Planet of the Apes came out, I haven’t seen it but I do know it marks the beginning of the second most productive duo (in movies and in real life), Burton and Helena Bonham Carter. To be honest I’m not sad I haven’t seen the movie, it has a 5,6 score on IMDb and compared to other Burton’s works it’s pretty low. But in 2003 Burton directed another favorite of mine, Big Fish (8.0) which is a fantasy-drama featuring Ewan McGregor, Billy Crudup and Bonham Carter as well. Just so you’d know, Helena Bonham Carter has appeared in every Burton movie after Planet of the Apes (except Frankenweenie which comes out in 2012).

Still from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Then four Burton and Depp collaborations follow – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd and Alice in Wonderland. First two are definitely among my favorites: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) brings back the vibe of Edward Scissorhands and Johnny Depp creates another dorky and memorable character. Even though the movie is based on a children’s book Burton manages to bring entertainment for grown-ups as well (for my review go here) and same goes for Corpse Bride (2005). Burton returns to stop-motion animation which was written by the same woman that put to paper Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas which of course brings back the puppets that have the same unusually long legs and arms.

The amazing trio: Depp, Bonham Carter and Burton

Then follows, what I think is a down-fall for Burton, with Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) and Alice in Wonderland (2010). I don’t exactly know what made me dislike Sweeney Todd which featured dark comedy and singing – maybe it was the complete darkness of the movie that didn’t appeal to me or maybe it was the singing. With Alice in Wonderland my problem is clear – the computer-animation that robbed Burton from his creativity. In my mind, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are perfect on their own and don’t need alteration that Alice in Wonderland gave to them. I find it ironic that it does have one of the lowest scores among Burton’s movies (6,6) but it managed to snatch not one but two Oscars. It is clear that Burton is loved by his fans but isn’t recognized by those who give away the Academy Awards – shows how little the Oscar actually means when it comes to these types of movies Burton does. Also, I did wrote a couple of sentences about Alice in Wonderland in the beginning of this blog (#6) where it seems that I hated the 3D and promised to see the 2D version which I haven’t done.

But Burton has two upcoming projects listed as well, one already mentioned Frankenweenie (2012) and Dark Shadows (2012) with yet again Johnny Depp. The last one is a promising supernatrual drama that features a vampire (Depp). I’m hoping this will bring back the Burton I started to love over the years.

So this is the end of my first director post, it turned out to be quite long and thorough which only means great things for following director posts. The bar has been set high and not only by this post but by Tim Burton as well – an amazing director, producer and a writer of our time.

# 125 – Rango

This is the second post about Rango, a movie that comes out on March 4th, 2011 – this gives much more information about the movie and it seems it is like an animated western movie. Johnny Depp really sells it to me but I think it is going to be a rather decent movie. How funny this is going to be, I am not sure because the trailer shows some jokes but it also seems to have depth and some serious story-telling is going on with that. So nothing more to do than just wait a little longer to see this cool lizard on a big screen.

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esudSstKUbI”]

# 114 – Jack Sparrow is coming back!

I usually don’t post news about movies that are being made without the trailer (which means the movie is in post-production) but you’ll never know, I might start to do just that next year. Until then here is the newest trailer I have found, Pirates of Caribbean 4. There are two good things about it – the trailer doesn’t give away too much (but just enough) and Jack Sparrow seems to be as good as before. Then there is that ? thing – Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom have left the Caribbean (to better things I hope – Keira is doing lots of good movies and Orlando is soon coming a father). I don’t know if that is a good thing but I think that it just might because their story lines were played out while Jack Sparrow being as complicated as he is could never be played out. This being said, I’m not sure if there should be a 5th Pirates of Caribbean, I mean – enough is enough.

But here is the trailer for the fourth, Pirates of Caribbean: On Strange Tides with Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz that comes out May 20, 2011.

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iuolp9rwgZU”]

# 111 – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Before I came a critic (almost have the paper to prove this fact) I watched a lot of movies. Now that I have some extra knowledge about the movie world I have re-watched my favorites. Mostly, I have noticed, I still like them and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is no exception.

The first thing people should know is that this movie is directed by Tim Burton – one of my favorite directors out there. He is different, he is yes a little bit weird but he also has a vivid imagination that brings something extra to his movies. He likes to play with colors and oppositions – you’ll know what I’m talking about when you have seen his movies, he also has done a lot of work with Johnny Depp. Their first collaboration was of course the well known Edward Scissorhands which stole Johnny’s pretty boy image and made him gorky and yes, also a bit weird – which I love about him. There are other movies where they have come together but I’m not gonna get into them because I have Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to review.

The story is based on a book which I haven’t read but I imagine to be just as crazy as the movie was. It tells a story about a boy named Charlie (Freddie Highmore) who lives in poverty with his parents and grand-parents. Their house is something out of a horror movie: dark, crooked, broken (doesn’t this sound familiar, remember where Edward Scissorhands grew up?). In the town they live is the biggest chocolate factory owned by Willie Wonka (Johnny Depp). After many other chocolate makers try to steal his recipes he closes the factory down, but years later it re-opens mysteriously while nobody is allowed to enter the factory. Until one day Willie Wonka decides to let five children who find the golden ticket see he makes chocolate and other candy in his factory – outside it looks dark and cold but inside…. you’d have to see it with your own eyes.

What I like about this movie is the interior of the factory inside, the colors, the chocolate river (which is real chocolate!) and the umpa-lumpas – only Tim Burton can bring a children’s book alive like that and only Johnny Depp can play Willie Wonka like that! The thing about this movie is that while its story is for children it seems that the whole production of it is for everybody who enjoys the beauty of visual images that are captured to film. That being the reason why I have no problem watching this movie over and over again in the hopes of discovering something new every time I do – it happens sometimes and when id does, I get a rush of excitement. For that, I give it a solid 4,5 out of 5 – because I’m hoping that Tim Burton will make a movie that is even better than this one.

# 100 – Special Edition

Hip-hip-hurray! It is the 100th post in Mettel’s Movie Blog and I can’t be any happier. I have been thinking about this post for a long time but until yesterday I had no idea what I was going to write about. The 100th post seems so important (at least for me) and therefore I decided to dedicate this special post to all the  movie actors and actresses I like. (I wanted to stay out of TV-shows because this would’ve made it a much much MUCH longer list). This special edition post is listing all my favorites in no particular order because even I don’t know the “right” order but one thing is sure, the first actor is the one who is being missed every single day…

# 1: Heath Ledger

On January 22, 2008 the world lost one of its greatest actors who was only 28 years old when a lethal drug combination took his life. Most of his brilliant abilities surfaced when he was portraying the Joker in the Batman movie The Dark Knight which also earned him a posthumous Academy Award (second one in Oscar’s history). A lot of his fame came through that but some including me knew him long before that. Who could forget his role in a teen movie 10 Things I Hate About You or his interesting role for Terry Gilliam’s The Brothers Grimm – or the historical romance in A Kinght’s Tale and his undying love for another man in Brokeback Mountain? But it would be unfair not to mention Lords of Dogtown, Casanova, Ned Kelly, The Patriot and Monster’s Ball – which only prove to me that he had great roles through out his career (life) because I’ve seen more than a half of these movies listed here and have heard about all of them!

The reason I like him is not because he was handsome and had dark mysterious brown eyes – I like him because he was a great actor! He would’ve gone far and the time line of his movies clearly show that he was climbing the ladder fast and not only because he was gaining fame but because he was getting better and better in what he did. I watched The Dark Knight DVD special features and Christopher Nolan (I think) was talking about how Heath didn’t get out of character when they blew up the hospital (they had only one take); he didn’t look back, didn’t jump and was totally in the mind of the Joker – he wasn’t aware that the cameras were placed in the bus but he still stayed in character, if this is not a sign of a great actor I don’t know what is.

# 2: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

It is no surprise that I like him almost as much as I like Heath Ledger, he actually reminds me of him but despite the similarity I think that JGL is good actor on his own. He started out as a teen star in a well known comedy called 3rd Rock from the Sun and did a role next to Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You. After that he kind of disappeared, he gave up acting and went on to study in University (he knows French!) but I guess it was too hard to stay away from acting – he dropped out in 2004 to go back to his career in show business. I found him 5 years later in one of my all time favorites (500) Days of Summer but he had done a lot of indie-movies and smaller roles before that.

(500) Days of Summer being his comeback led him to G.I. Joe as a villain and to one of the best movies in 2010 – Inception! But that is not all for JGL, he also started an interesting project called HitRecord which allows different types of artists to collaborate on ideas and this has led to wonderful cartoon(ish) short movies about  Morgan M. Morgansen. To some it is also known that JGL can sing which kind of shows that young actors nowadays are multi-talented and Joe is no exception. Right now I am really looking forward to see his next projects and roles while trying to catch up with his earlier works from 2001-2005.

# 3: Johnny Depp

If I’m already listing my favorite brown eyed actors why not talk about Johnny Depp next. I myself start to see an interesting pattern here which shows that I do like male actors more than women and they all tend to look handsome and have talent that is more than just being pretty but talent that is willing to go on the dark side as well. Heath Ledger as Joker, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a mad scientist (in G.I. Joe) and well, where should I begin with Johnny Depp? It seems that his roles aren’t about being a villain but being different. He likes to play characters that are weird – Edward Scissorhands, Willy Wonka, Captain Jack Sparrow  (seriously, he seems to be drunk all the time) and Mad Hatter or movies that are a bit dark and twisted like Sleepy Hallow, Ed Wood and Corpse Bride.

His collaboration with Tim Burton has had a big influence on Johnny and his work with him is probably my favorite director-actor duet out there but I also like that he has done so many great movies that aren’t all about the twisted characters like… nope, can’t recall any roles that I’ve seen him in which he didn’t have something extra-extra AND that is what I love about him. Besides his acting I really admire his family life as well, 12 years with the same partner is really rare among actors and actresses but that being said, I think Johnny Depp is something else than Hollywood.. he is more special and maybe a little bit twisted and dark – in a good way.

# 4: Ellen Page

I’m not that kind of a girl who only likes male actors and Ellen Page is a solid proof of that – she is tiny, fresh and talented. I have four movies in my head which Ellen starred and I like them all a lot – Juno, Hard Candy, Whip It and Inception. These actually show her being able to adapt to different roles – as a pregnant teenager, dark and twisted killer, fun and interesting roller skater and somebody who can create things in dreams. The best thing about her is the way she looks, I mean  she is 23 but she looks like 16. Before I thought that this would become her thing even though there are couple of under 20 year old’s who will give her a run for her money (the Fannings for example). But after Inception I think she will do just fine playing women who are over 20, she just does it with a little more seriousness in her eyes and still looking like 16 – not all can do that.

Her most favorite role for me is probably Whip It. I just watched it and I can’t believe how good this movie actually is. The way it is made and the humor that it is using is something that I find really appealing for me – I think that Whip It for me describes my own style. This old way and 80’s style of living mixed with sarcasm and strong willed women who can hold their ground – even if they are little like Ellen is, she still seems strong. She has Carolyn listed as her upcoming role in Tilda which is HBO’s new series – as a big fan of TV-shows, I am really looking forward of seeing her every week.

# 5: Emma Stone

I’m going to continue with the ladies and introduce my another favorite, Emma Stone. She is currently a rising star because of her newest movie Easy A but she has done some comedy before and probably will remain doing that. I can’t really imagine her doing anything else than comedy – I find her to be a true woman of laughter like a fresh young Jennifer Aniston in the making. Like Jennifer, I see Emma doing good girl funny laughter movies rather than kick-ass secret agent woman like Angelina Jolie. But she has a more serious movie called The Help coming out soon which might counter act with my previous statement but I still stand by what I believe in, Emma Stone is the new generation funny.

I have seen Easy A, didn’t like it as much as I thought but Emma was great. I’ve seen The House Bunny and Ghost of Girlfriends Past – both not my “I would watch it again and again” but I guess it takes a while to find those right comedies. Easy A was pretty much a very good idea that failed because every joke it had was used in the trailer (bad publicity!) and rest of it was same old same old. But Emma is a hot red head no matter what so I think she will stay my favorite for a long time unless she gets boring like Jennifer Aniston got, we’ll have to wait and see.

# 6: Robert Downey Jr.

Back to handsome men and brown eyes, Robert Downey Jr. has had a rough life but at last he is on his two feet (after a long battle with drug addiction) and making movies right and left! I “met” him in a TV-show called Ally McBeal and he was as I remember (which I do only a little) pretty good but he at that time was using and this really gave his career a bad blow. He still did movies but looking back I think he was under the radar which changed with Iron Man because superheros belong to the spotlight!

I have added Chaplin to my “must-see movies”, he got nominated for an Academy Award for that and since I already saw his second nomination worthy movie Tropic Thunder I thought it would be nice to see his first. His latest movie is Due Date which I actually saw almost right after I watched Sherlock Holmes and this is the interesting part, he reminds me of Johnny Depp but at the same time he is so different. His characters have also this slight twist but it is mostly about humor and that is why he is a class of his own. Plus, he is exactly my type of an actor – talented, funny, interesting,  a bad boy and handsome, and I really don’t need anything else.

# 7: Betty White

I couldn’t resist listing Betty White as one of my favorites – I know, I know, nobody could! She is the American grandmother as I’ve heard and despite her age she is funny, 21 century funny! Golden Girls was probably the first time I remember seeing her and while it didn’t give me a strong feeling about Betty White it did show me that old ladies can be funny.

Betty White has been around since forever (at least it seems that way) but her big popularity became a global phenomena after a Super Bowl commercial for Snickers. Then came the movie roles which are still coming and a Saturday Night Live performance! I can’t imagine a woman in her age doing all that and writing books and being a big activist (she helps animals) – it seems that she is a superhero who I can’t get enough of. Her latest movie I’m going to see is You Again, she plays the funny granny – a role that suits her like a glove.

# 8: Matt Damon

I don’t know any other actor who started out as a screenwriter – Good Will Hunting was written by Matt Damon and Ben Afleck, the first movie they ever wrote and acted – the movie that won 2 Oscars one for the screenplay and one for a supporting role (by Robin Williams ). This was over 13 years ago and since then I have seen Matt Damon in so many great roles that it makes me a little bit sad – Ben isn’t doing that well.

For me Matt Damon seems so versitile, he is the talented Mr. Ripley, the action man Jason Bourne while stealing stuff as Linus and cheating people as a Grimm brother – he can be funny, though and interesting. Matt Damon for me isn’t as “I need to see his every movie” type of actor but it seems that my true respect is what makes him one of my favorites. The respect that I have for an actor who comes from nothing and proves himself film after film. And even though I am not rushing to the cinema to see him, I like him when I get the chance to see him – that is a different kind of favorite but still as important.

# 9: Keira Knightley

This actually came as a surprise for me, I haven’t really been a fan but after writing about Matt Damon I started to think on a movie level and I have to admit, I like a lot of movies Keira has been in. She is especially good in timeless roles like Pride and Prejudice, Silk, Pirates of the Caribbean and Atonament. That kind of a role suits her so well that I can’t imagine her doing anything else.

Those classical strong women that have the kind of vibe Keira has I really like and Pride and Prejudice is kind of my favoirte. I think it is the simplicity that I like about that era, Jane Austen type of world – so it is not a big surprise that Keira who represents me of that world is in my special edition. Besides her past roles I discovered that I have completely missed her upcoming movie Never Let Me Go which is making its way into my Waiting list right after I finish with the last name…

# 10: Helen Mirren, Edward Norton, Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio  Sandra Bullock, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Bruce Willis, Ryan Reynolds, James Franco, Diane Keaton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Colin Firth, Ryan Gosling, Jamie Lee Curtis, Anne Hatheway, Zooey Deschanel and others I can’t recall due to my lack of sleep these past few days!

(Yeah, I guess I got a bit carried away with the last one but you know.. I have so many favorites that I think it is unfair to not name them all: that is why I named all of them just so they could be named).

# 33 – Here comes Rango

I am thrilled that Johnny Depp has a new movie coming up and it’s an animation! Not that I’m not waiting for the Pirates again, should be interesting to see what they come up with next, but since Rango had its second trailer (the first one was just a BIG tease) upI had to make this post about that. But no worries, it is written BY the same guys that brought (and are bringing) us Jack Sparrow!

This actually is great, because this shows that Johnny Depp is an amazing guy since a lot of  talented people want to work with him more than once (Tim Burton has cast him so many times in the past and will do so in the future!). And this shows he’s good and he’s likeable and he is so pretty that it hurts. Anyway, Rango – it is coming out in 2011 and I don’t know exactly what its about. But this I know, Rango is a lizard (as you can see on the picture, he wears a shirt) and he some how ends up in the desert and there is this spirit of the west guy or something, who’s voice Timothy Olyphant does. ( I like him too, from way back, when he wore a elf hat! – Go (1999).) I hope it turns out good since I’m kind of bored of those secuals (Shrek, Toy Story, Ice Age) – enough is enough, kids need new characters, escpecially those who’s voice Johnny Depp does! See ya in 2011, Rango/Johnny!