Just stop it will you! There is no need. Stop being a dick. Please stop checking your phone whilst watching a film at the cinema.
Thankfully, gone are the days when some people actually answered a phone call during a movie. However, there are still lots of people who feel the need to regularly check their phone during the film for text messages, emails, Facebook updates, etc. If you are one of these people, please just stop it.
You’re not at home, you are in dark room with lots of other people who have paid to watch a cinematic spectacle in the dark. When you check your phone, everyone to the side of you and behind you DOES see it and IS distracted by it. Why should our enjoyment of a film be tainted just because Bob, someone who you don’t even know that well, sent you a SongPop request.
The point of going to the cinema to watch a film rather than watching a DVD or Blu-Ray is that you are paying for the privilege of watching it in silence in the dark on the big screen surrounded by others who also want to do the same. We pay over the odds to do this so that we can enjoy the film without the distractions and annoyances of daily life. No knocks at the door, no interruptions, no pets jumping on you wanting to be fed, no phone calls, no anything … just you watching a film.
If you can’t handle spending two hours doing this, then don’t go into the fucking cinema in the first place. Expecting to hear your wife is about to go into labour? Rent a DVD or watch one online.
There is no need to check your phone in the cinema as we all know your life really isn’t that important and interesting that it can’t wait 90mins before dealing with. When you check your phone, the rest of us can all see it and we all then realise you are a total bellend.
So, cinema goers, pretty please … with sugar on top. Stop with your fucking phone.
I am writing to express my disappointment at your remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It wasn’t a bad film, don’t get me wrong, but because of your impressive film-making record I was expecting more. A lot more.
When I heard that the film was going to be remade for English-speaking markets I did not have high hopes as the original Swedish film, 2009’s The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo directed by Niels Arden Opley, is a very good film that does not really need to be remade. However, when I heard that you were directing and that Steven Zaillion was writing the screenplay I was greatly encouraged and thought you would be able to enhance the visuals, intensify the story, draw more out of the characters and electrify the dialogue. You did not achieve any of this.
Perhaps I have too high expectations, but then I know you set high expectations for yourself and all those who work with you. The film felt like you were on cruise control, only operating at 70% of your abilities. If the original film didn’t exist we would be saying it is a good film, not amazing, but that it was a fairly decent story but unlikely to be remembered years down the line. However, the original does exist and so we can make a direct comparison.
This film very much felt like Red Dragon compared to the original Manhunter. It copied the story, but just didn’t make it work as well despite the great actors and film-makers involved.
Alarm bells started to ring the moment the credits sequence began. It seemed so out of balance with the story and I couldn’t help but think it was a bit like a naff James Bond credits sequence. As Daniel Craig is starring this immediately left my mind thinking about this rather than getting involved into the story. The credits sequence was definitely a misjudgement.
It must be so annoying that people make these comparisons with the original, but it is inevitable when doing a remake and am sure you would have been concious of this more than anyone. This is why I was so disappointed. The original film had a much tighter story, for example, Lisbeth is monitoring Mikael’s computer and spots what he is working on and helps him solve the bible reference numbers problem. Whereas in your version, you felt the need for the daughter to come and visit to solve this which made it all a bit more long-winded and didn’t help the story move as quickly or help establish the relationship between Lisbeth and Mikael.
Noomi Rapace did such an amazing job playing Lisbeth Salander that it is hard to imagine anyone else playing that role but I thought Rooney Mara did a really excellent job. She still wasn’t quite as rough and gritty as Noomi, but still a great effort that she desrves recognition for. Daniel Craig was okay as Mikael, but I thought Michael Nyqvist was much more believable physically as an ageing investigative journalist.
The difficult role of of rapist Nils Bjurman was played far more sinisterly by Peter Andersson in the original whereas Yorick van Wageningen seemed more simple and a bit of fool. The original made it much clearer the hold he had over Lisbeth and why she went along with it.
The part of the story where Mikael finds the photos of the parade and notices Harriet staring at someone was carried out much better in the original and the photos used were just more convincing and helped tell the story better.
The ending of the film (both the Harriet twist and Lisbeth being in love with Mikael) was also a lot weaker than the original film and I got up feeling dissatisfied. But then maybe I’m not the target audience, the people who wouldn’t want to watch a good film if it had subtitles.
Basically, this is a below par effort from you Mr Fincher and I expect and demand you to do better next time out.
I finally got around to watching the 2009 Guy Ritchie-directed ‘Sherlock Holmes’ starring Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role and Jude Law as Dr.Watson. I had avoided it so far, but when I saw the DVD during a quiet evening in whilst home visiting the folks this weekend, I decided to give it a whirl.
I like Robert Downey Jr., in fact, I like him a lot, but just did not see him as Sherlock Holmes. He just didn’t look like Sherlock in my eyes and was really not sure about an American playing such a quintessential British character.
For me, Jeremy Brett will always be Sherlock Holmes. No one else has even come close … his portrayal is unmatched, in terms of his look, his acting ability, his gravitas and even his flaring of his nostrils and upper lip movements seem so positively Sherlock. Brett played Holmes the genius, but was also a very real character with many flaws as well as being very able to empathise and relate to other human beings when he wanted to.
I watched the recent BBC TV series ‘Sherlock’ with great interest and definitely enjoyed this version that brings Sherlock into the 21st century. It is a well made and well acted programme. I wasn’t immediately convinced, because of the Brett-bias, by Benedict Cumberbatch but he definitely had a Sherlock look about him and a way that he carried himself that I could believe. Like a young slightly impetuous and more lively Jeremy Brett.
Guy Ritchie’s movie ‘Sherlock Holmes’ was actually far more enjoyable than I thought. It was great to see a beautifully recreated late 19th century London (with emphasis on beauty rather than accuracy) and to have a story based in this time period that was so energetic and explosive. However, Robert Downey Jr. never convinced me as Sherlock Holmes.
His British accent was good, but it was such a neutral accent that it did not have the gravitas that Sherlock Holmes should have. I know this was an escapist film and a re-imagining of the Holmes character, but because I have seen Jeremy Brett play the character so well, anything else just doesn’t quite cut the mustard. I can imagine, and I think this was the point, that young people could very much enjoy Downey Jr.’s version of Holmes and if they make another film I would actually be tempted to cough up cash at the cinema to see it.
Some may read this and be thinking hang on! What about Basil Rathbone who played Sherlock Holmes pretty darn well and a long time before Jeremy Brett? And, whilst we are thinking up objections, what about the original Arthur Conan Doyle books and his portrayal of Holmes?
I would still argue that Jeremy Brett was still best, but the point is that it is a personal choice (although I am happy to fight anyone who says Brett isn’t the best) and can depend on what generation you are from. Younger generations may well be saying in the future that a new version of Sherlock doesn’t live up to their remembrance of Robert Downey Jr or Benedict Cumberbatch.
Just like Christopher Reeve will always be Superman to me. Others can play him well (e.g. Brandon Routh), but they won’t be Christopher Reeve. It’s also why I couldn’t go to see the new A-Team film … well, that and the fact it looked proper shit!
Shadowboxer arrived through my door earlier in the week via my DVD rental service (I use lovefilm.com here in the UK) and I could not actually remember putting the film on my list or what the film was about?
A quick IMDB search reminded me that it was seemingly a thriller type film about an odd pairing of assassins, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Dame Helen Mirren?! It is directed by 2010 Oscar-nominated Director, for the film Precious, Lee Daniels. I think I had come across the title when looking up what other stuff Vanessa Ferlito had been in, after seeing her again in Day 3 of 24 (the best series of 24 in my opinion).
On the face of it, the film is really quite intriguing. The lead two actors are interesting and are well supported by not only Ferlito, but by Macy Gray (looking a bit like a transvestite, but maybe she always looks like that?), Stephen Dorff (what has happened to him these days?), Mo’Nique (2010 Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actress) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (from3rd Rock from the Sun). First-time director Lee Daniels is at the helm, the man who produced Monster’s Ball and The Woodsman. The renowned designer, Vivienne Westwood, also designed the costumes for the lead players.
Here is the trailer:
Shadowboxer is an offbeat and slow-paced film that focuses on the character Mikey, excellently played by Cuba Gooding Jr., who had an abusive father and loses both his parents at a young age. He had been brought up by an assassin Rose (Helen Mirren, also good) and they work together as a close knit team, with a rather unusual relationship where Rose acts both as Mikey’s mother and lover.
We learn very early in the film that Rose is dying of terminal cancer and begins to question whether she is being punished by god. On their next assignment she makes a choice that has a significant effect on both their lives. As the years goes by, Mikey gradually realises he is not simply content with being an assassin but is enjoying playing a father role. Predictably though, events from the past catch up with them.
It is easy to see why Director Lee Daniels would have been interested in this subject but the film does not really know whether it is more a character-driven story or a thriller and fails on both counts. Cuba Gooding Jr. is great in the role, but it was only an hour into the movie that I realised that the film was meant to be about his character Mikey as it had seemed like it was more about Helen Mirren’s character Rose?
The film has a reasonable amount of violence, sex and nudity (e.g. Stephen Dorff’s condom-covered winkle and Gooding Jr and Mirren getting down to it in the park) but they don’t add anything to the story and often serve to make the viewer a little uncomfortable. This could be deliberate of course by the director, but there is no logical reason why it should be so?
In the world the characters operate in, there is plenty of opportunity to film scenes to entertain and enthral without it being cheesy or taking away from the narrative or characters. Take Luc Besson’s 1994 assassin film, Leon, this is a well directed and photographed movie with superb performances that combines drama of character struggles with engaging and exciting action scenes.
Of course, Shadowboxer should not be a copy of this type of film and I respect and enjoy when a film takes an original approach. However, Shadowboxer misses great opportunities to excite and enthral the viewer. I can only guess that the director is trying to show the coldness of the assassin Mikey and how nothing gets to him, not even the potential adrenalin of the kill.
The finale of the story could have been far more tense and exciting in the hands of a more experienced director. There is a good supporting cast, but they are underused with little or no character development.
If you enjoy offbeat type films and find the cast and story intriguing then I would recommend watching Shadowboxer, otherwise I think you will be left rather unsatisfied and disappointed.
The list is finally complete. The deliberations are now over and the top ten list of the best movie characters of all time is finished. Boy, it’s been a lot tougher than I thought!
You end up having to make impossible choices between characters that are nothing alike, for example, how can you really compare Al Pacino’s Tony Montana from Scarface with Eddie Murphy’s Axl Foley in Beverly Hills Cop? Also, just because a character is in one of your favourite films of all time, doesn’t make necessarily them one of the best characters of all time.
Being somewhat of a movie buff I was surprised at how ‘mainstream’ my top ten movie characters were. However, I picked the characters that for me, and you are very welcome to disagree, have made the biggest impression and that still resonate with me.
Here is my personal list, one at a time, of the top ten movie characters ever. However, feel free to agree or offer better choices and argument. SPOILER CAUTION! The content below may give away some of the plot of the film(s) concerned.
The ultimate movie character is, of course, the legend that is James Bond. What other character continues to enthral and fascinate nearly 50 years after his original showing (1962’s Dr. No) through an astonishing record-breaking 22 ‘official’ movies and with 6 different actors. We simply cannot get enough of Ian Fleming’s licensed to kill British secret agent, ‘007’, who risks his life for Queen and country to often save the whole world. Men want to be him; women want to be with him.
No matter how big the problem, no matter how bad and powerful the villain, no matter how dangerous, James Bond is your man. He somehow manages to be suave, charming and sophisticated as well as being tough, cold and brutal. On the one hand he is an English gentleman who will happily discuss the sherry or wine he is drinking and meet you to play a round of golf, but will not even blink if he needs to put a bullet between your eyes.
He is seemingly the classic ‘lone wolf’ character who does not seek out relationships but somehow makes meaningful but fleeting friendships wherever he goes. The only people we see him being friendly with consistently are people he knows through work, Moneypenny (played by Lois Maxwell initially and then by Samantha Bond) and CIA agent Felix Leiter (played by actors Jack Lord (Dr.No), Cec Linder (Goldfinger), Rick Van Nutter (Thunderball), John Terry (Living Daylights), David Hedison (Licence to Kill) and most recently Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale & Quantum of Solace).
His profession, as England’s No.1 secret agent, suits being a loner but he very much maximises any opportunity to seduce a lady as he knows that he or she may not be alive for very much longer. Over the films we see that he has made a couple of attempts at meaningful relationships but they have always ended very badly indeed. In the recent Casino Royale (2006) we see a younger James Bond (Daniel Craig) who has just got his licence to kill and then proceeds to fall head over heels in love with Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) and even resigns so to be with her. However, she double crosses him and she ends up dying.
In 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, James Bond (played by George Lazenby) not only falls in love again, but actually marries Tracy Di Cicenzo (Diana Rigg) only for her to be shot dead at the end of the movie. At the beginning of For Your Eyes Only (1981) we see him lay flowers at her grave. James Bond is so deeply hurt by the tragic end to these relationships that he has clearly decided that he is not going to allow himself to become emotionally attached like that again to anyone.
Vesper: You can switch off so easily, can’t you? It doesn’t bother you, killing those people? Bond: Well, I wouldn’t be very good at my job if it did.
(2006’s Casino Royale)
Ironically, James Bond’s most interesting relationships tend to be with people who don’t seem to like him very much. His relationship with M (played originally by Bernard Lee and then by Robert Brown, and most recently by Judi Dench) has evolved over the years and began with M generally treating James Bond in the same manner a strict schoolmaster does with a naughty pupil, but by 2002’s Die Another Day we see the relationship has grown much stronger and there is genuine care and respect for each other. However, with Casino Royale going back to Bond’s beginning we are seeing an M who seems to really not like or trust Bond at all, not until he proves himself.
His relationship with Q (originally called Major Boothroyd) is also very amusing and has developed over the 22 films. Played superbly by the much-loved Desmond Llewelyn (although Peter Burton was the original Major Boothroyd in Dr.No) their relationship is first revealed in Goldfinger where Q is clearly quite annoyed by the cavalier Bond who has no respect for the equipment he and his department spend long hours creating. By 1999’s The World is Not Enough (Desmond Llewelyn’s last film) Q is much more of a loving uncle figure to Bond.
Q: I’ve always tried to teach you two things. First, never let them see you bleed. James Bond: And the second? Q: Always have an escape plan.
Each Bond film sees 007 take on a new villain and they normally end up with some sort of encounter where the villain, although wanting to kill Bond, shows respect for what Bond has done. Dr.No has a mostly civilised dinner with James Bond and one gets the feeling he is trying to see if he can recruit him, but realises his unwavering loyalty to his mission and England.
Dr. No: [to Bond] Unfortunately I overestimated you, you are just a stupid police man…
(metal door opens and guards enter) Dr. No: …whose luck has run out.
However, Dr.No, like all the other villains that follow, actually underestimates James Bond who always manages to foil whatever world-domination plan they happen to have. He has several interesting encounters with Auric Goldfinger, with the most memorable one being the infamous scene with Bond strapped to a table with an industrial laser pointing right at him.
In 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond is admired and respected by the villain, the 3-titted expert hitman Scaramanga (Christopher Lee), who believes he and Bond are very similar in character. He lures James Bond to his secluded island in Phuket which has now proved so popular with tourists it is actually called James Bond Island. Scaramanga and Bond dine together as gentleman before they get down to their business.
Francisco Scaramanga: You get as much pleasure out of killing as I do, so why don’t you admit it? James Bond: I admit killing you would be a pleasure. Francisco Scaramanga: Then you should have done that when you first saw me. On the other hand, the English don’t consider it sporting to kill in cold blood, do they? James Bond: Don’t count on that.
As they eat, Scaramanga outlines a proposition for him.
Francisco Scaramanga: A duel between titans… my golden gun against your Walther PPK.
James Bond: Pistols at dawn; it’s a little old-fashioned, isn’t it? Francisco Scaramanga: That it is. But it remains the only true test for gentlemen. James Bond: On that score, I doubt you qualify. However, I accept.
James Bond always wins out in the end but not before frustrating his foe who keep failing in their attempts to kill him.
“Mr.Bond, you persist in defying my efforts to provide an amusing death for you”, Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale), Moonraker (1979)
“Why can’t you just be a good boy and die?” Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), Goldeneye
James Bond also had a curious relationship with the most famous henchman of all the films, Jaws (played by Richard Kiel), who appeared in just two films and although Jaws is committed to his task of killing Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me they both give each other a nod of respect in Moonraker and when Jaws falls in love, he actually ends up helping Bond.
James Bond’s world is a lonely one full of danger and he is someone who definitely has a dark side. However, our enjoyment of this character is the seemingly effortless and fearless way he conducts himself. In particular, his laconic and pithy remarks in the most lethal and precarious moments help define his approach to life.
(Bond has just been discovered in bed with KGB agent Anya Amasova in 1977’s Spy Who Loved Me)
M: Bond! What on earth do you think you’re doing?
James Bond: Keeping the British end up, sir
Tracy: Suppose I were to kill you for a thrill? Bond: I can think of something more sociable to do.
Bond: I tend to notice little things like that–whether a girl is a blonde or a brunette… Tiffany: And which do you prefer? Bond: Well, as long as the collars and cuffs match
Bond:[in bed with Jones] I was wrong about you. Dr.Christmas Jones: Yeah, how so? Bond: I thought Christmas only comes once a year.
There will always be the argument about who is the best Bond with Sean Connery most often winning as the original James Bond. George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton seem to be the least popular Bonds, whereas Daniel Craig’s reputation seems to be growing. I felt Pierce Brosnan was a most excellent and worthy 007, but my favourite has to be Roger Moore. He wasn’t as tough as Sean, but there is something about how he played him, the charm, and the humour and he was somehow more refined and matured than the early Bond.
James Bond simply is the best movie character ever. Carly Simon seems to have found the perfect lyrics in her song from The Spy Who Loved Me:
Here is my personal list, one at a time, of the top ten movie characters ever. However, feel free to agree or offer better choices and argument. SPOILER CAUTION! The content below may give away some of the plot of the film(s) concerned.
Indiana Jones is not just a superb movie character, he is an icon. He is the Professor of Archaeology who is also the hero who is forever in over his head, getting himself into and then out of tricky situations. In four films, we have followed Indy in his fedora hat, leather jacket and bull whip through his adventures to find or rescue some ancient artefact.
Dr. Jones is made larger than life by the amazing Harrison Ford, in a role he was born to play (it was very nearly played by Tom Selleck). From the opening sequence in the 1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark with the tarantulas, the booby traps, swapping the statue for a bag of sand and then finally escaping being crushed by the giant rock ball, only to be confronted by hundreds of arrows pointed at his head and having to give up the statue, you are completely drawn into the world of Indiana Jones and totally hooked.
We don’t learn a lot about Indiana Jones in the first or second films, only that he is an archaeologist who cannot stay in the library and will risk his life to ensure dangerous and powerful objects, such as the Ark of the Covenant, do not fall into the hands of evil Nazis. He is obviously a hero and always on the side of good, a man of conviction but also know he has got on the wrong side of several people.
In Raiders of the Lost Ark:
(talking about Marion’s late father) Marion: He said you were a bum. Indiana: Aw, he’s being generous. Marion: The most gifted bum he ever trained. You know, he loved you like a son. Took a hell of a lot for you to alienate him. Indiana: Not much, just you.
Belloq: How odd that it should end this way for us after so many stimulating encounters. I almost regret it. Where shall I find a new adversary so close to my own level? Indiana: Try the local sewer.
Chattar Lal: Dr Jones, wasn’t it the Sultan of Madagascar who threatened to cut off your head if you ever returned to his country? Indiana Jones: No, it wasn’t my head. Chattar Lal: Then your hands, perhaps? Indiana Jones: No, it wasn’t my hands. It was my… (looks down at his groin)… my misunderstanding.
The same qualities that alienate him from some, have also led to some close and loyal friendships who believe and trust in Indiana, friends such as Sallah (John Rhys-Davies), Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) and Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan). We also learn he is not so keen on snakes.
Indiana: Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes? Sallah: Asps. Very dangerous. You go first.
We also learn from the first three films that he is attracted to intelligent and sassy women and the fact that none of them return in the film that follows, that he is not able to sustain a relationship. One woman, Marion Ravenwood (played by Karen Allen) has been a significant other of Indiana three separate times in his life, once before Raiders of the Lost Ask, then during that film and then in 2008’s disappointing Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Marion: You’re not the man I knew ten years ago. Indiana: It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage
It is in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) that we discover much more about Indy’s background and character. We see Indiana as a boy (River Phoenix) and learn that his name is actually Henry Jones Jr. and that Indiana was the name of their dog and he adopted this name as a rebellion against his father who simply refers to him as ‘Junior’.
Sallah: Please, what does it always mean, this… this “Junior”? Professor Henry Jones: That’s his name. Henry Jones … Junior. Indiana Jones: I like “Indiana.” Professor Henry Jones: We named the *dog* Indiana. Marcus Brody: May we go home now, please? Sallah: The dog? (starts laughing)You are named after the dog? HA HA HA…! Indiana Jones: I’ve got a lot of fond memories of that dog.
We also see the guy who Indiana has modelled himself on, in terms of look, and it is he who gives Indy his iconic fedora hat. We also learn where he gets his bull whip and how it causes the scar on Harrison Ford’s chin. The main character development is gained from his interactions with his father Henry Jones (Sean Connery) who he has been almost completely estranged from in 20 years by the time of the Last Crusade film.
Professor Henry Jones: You don’t?! You think my son would be that stupid? That he would bring my diary all the way back here?
(pause) Professor Henry Jones: You didn’t, did you?
(another pause) Professor Henry Jones: You didn’t bring it, did you? Indiana Jones: Well, uh… Professor Henry Jones: You *did*?! Indiana Jones: Look, can we discuss this later? Professor Henry Jones: I should have mailed it to the Marx Brothers! Indiana Jones: Will you take it easy? Professor Henry Jones: Take it easy? Why do you think I sent it home in the first place? So it wouldn’t fall into their hands! Indiana Jones: I came here to SAVE you! Professor Henry Jones: Oh, yeah? And who’s gonna come to save you, JUNIOR? Indiana Jones: (shouts) I *told* you… (grabs a gun and shoots all soldiers dead) …DON’T call me Junior!
As they share the adventure together, Indiana comments on them finally having a quiet drink together and the last time that had happened, he had had a milkshake.
Indiana Jones: It was just the two of us, dad. It was a lonely way to grow up. For you, too. If you had been an ordinary, average father like the other guys’ dads, you’d have understood that. Professor Henry Jones: Actually, I was a wonderful father. Indiana Jones: When? Professor Henry Jones: Did I ever tell you to eat up? Go to bed? Wash your ears? Do your homework? No. I respected your privacy and I taught you self- reliance. Indiana Jones: What you taught me was that I was less important to you than people who had been dead for five hundred years in another country. And I learned it so well that we’ve hardly spoken for twenty years. Professor Henry Jones: You left just when you were becoming interesting.
Although the film is about the search for the Holy Grail, it is really a search for the lost love of a father and son. As they journey along their quest, they regain their respect and admiration for each other.
Even though the fourth film, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, is not so good in terms of storyline and character development, it is enjoyable only because of the Indiana Jones character. We had all missed Indy and could not wait to see him don that hat again and embark on another amazing adventure.
Indiana Jones is a movie character that will be enjoyed for generations to come. I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark again for the first time in several years and had forgotten not only what a great film it was, but how great the Indiana Jones character truly is.