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A few basic facts about me: I have been an active member on IMDb for many years since I was a young one. Very laid-back, easy going and likeable. I presently reside in California and own a huge video/DVD collection (no doubt) and I am also a Josh Hartnett lookalike...
A Few Favorite Actors: Jack Nicholson, Ryan Phillippe, Glenn Ford, Robert De Niro, Kevin Bacon, John Wayne, Johnny Depp, Cameron Mitchell, Paul Gleason, Darren McGavin, Richard Jaeckel, Jason Miller, Robert Stack, Burgess Meredith, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, Kevin Spacey, Cary Grant, Jack Lemmon, and Jimmy Stewart (yes, I am also a character actor lover)
A Few Favorite Actresses: Bette Davis, Dorothy McGuire, Sylvia Sidney, Reese Witherspoon, Penelope Cruz, Mercedes McCambridge, Anne Ramsey, Anne Archer, Sandra Bullock, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Hilary Swank, Kim Basinger and Helen Hunt
Jon Stewart was a semi-relief.
Jon Stewart, I suppose gave a good well done performance this year as MC of the 78th Academy Awards show. He's been known to be a lot funnier, but was a joy instead of seeing the usual regular hosts that normally include Billy Crystal, Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg. His funny remarks to the 'gay' films this year were funny though.
This year, the top prize of Best Picture was awarded to the independent feature 'Crash' starring Matt Dillion who also was nominated for Best Actor, but instead lost the award to the rather underrated character actor Phillip Seymore Hoffman for his role as the title character in 'Capote'. By far, I had actually expected that Joaquin Phoenix would win Best Actor for his performance as another title character this last year as legendary singer Johnny Cash in 'Walk the Line'. Nonetheless, his leading lady Reese Witherspoon gave a wonderful performance as June Cash in the film, which resulted her in a very much deserved Best Actress honor. For the supporting roles, Rachel Weiz got Supporting Actress, and George Clooney got Supporting Actor. Other films that got Academy Award notice included the gay romance film of two cowboys, "Brokeback Mountain" starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall, both were nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively; Steven Spielberg's 'Munich' got Best Picture nod and one film that was particularly overlooked was the summer's blockbuster remake of 'King Kong' which got more of less of Special Visual Effects recongization.
The winner of Best Song was very very shocking, 'Hard Out there for a Pimp' was awarded to Three Hit Mafia and in turn it was quite an uproar as well.
The other annual events that are shown at Oscar included the honorary segment, this year awarded to director Robert Altman; legendary actress Lauren Bacall presented a tribute to film-noir movies from the 40's and 50's; as a tribute to the much controversial gay films done this year, the Academy showed clips of western films with funny gay themes just for laughs anyway, and then there was usual touching In Memoriam tribute paying respects to film industry members that passed away in the previous year which included: Teresa Wright, Pat Morita, director Robert Newmyer, Dan O'Herhily, Vincent Schivelli, director Robert Wise, Chris Penn, John Mills, Sandra Dee, Anthony Franciosa, Barbara Bel Geddes, producers Debra Hill, Ismail Merchant, Moustapha Akkad, Eddie Albert, Shelley Winters, Anne Bancroft and Richard Pryor, just to name a few.
Shadow Hours (2000)
A Unique Thriller
It is a shame that Shadow Hours is kind of one of those rare thrillers that may have been sorta ignored during it's release, but it is perhaps one of the likable thrillers I have seen in recent years. Director and writer Isaac Eaton did a rather fine job at creating tension and keeping me interested through the story.
Balthazar Getty in my opinion has been rather too underrated in films. This talented young actor did a good turning point here in Shadow Hours as the troubled Michael. Trying to straighten out his life, Michael has a new wife (Rebecca Gayheart) and a child on the way. He gets a job during the night shift and encounters a mysterious man named Stuart, (creepily portrayed by Peter Weller). They become close friends and they begin to experiment in the terrible parts of the city and Michael begins going downhill. Eventually Michael learns that Stuart could be a sociopath and he has to fight against him to get back to his life again.
Shadow Hours should very well be viewed for those that are fans and are inspired by this kind of genre. The film also has a familiar cast in cameo appearances that include Peter Greene, Richard Moll (of TV's Night Court) and Oscar nominees Frederic Forrest and Brad Dourif.
Okay romantic comedy.
Woo was released in May of 1998, near the end after Titanic hit it's stride of making more than a billion dollars worldwide at the box office and winning the top Academy Awards of that year. Well 1998 was a memorable year for me, and Woo was apart of it. Woo was far from earning any of the money and awards Titanic did, but it also had major competition of other block busters such as Godzilla.
To digress, I saw Woo back in theaters then and thought it was a reasonable romantic comedy. Jada Pinkett Smith was good as the sassy and sexy party girl who tries to seduce and date a straighted headed young lawyer (Tommy Davidson). I later re-discovered Woo on video a few years later and realized that it was indeed quite a dull comedy with little laughs, but the talent and directing and plot sorta kept it going. With Duane Martin and cameos by LL Cool J, Woo was nothing too special but at least viewed for the fans of Tommy Davidson and Jada Pinkett Smith.
On another note, Woo does have a good rather hip rap song 'Nobody Does it Better' performed by Warren G and Nate Dogg. Awesome song.
Night of the Dark Full Moon (1972)
Creepy Christmas Slasher
Not bad little horror film which was released around the same time during the Christmas season as was another film "Black Christmas". Silent Night, Bloody Night is about a man whom inherits a house that used to be a mental hospital were a serial killer was incarcerated there. The killer had been moved to another hospital and escapes during Christmas time and returns to the same town to commit a series of grisly murders, one murder detailed gruesomely with an ax. Although this plot is usual for a slasher film and often outdated, "Silent Night Bloody Night" has plenty of little shocks and suspense as did "Black Christmas" did the same year of release. There is also a few familiar actors seen in the film, underrated Patrick O'Neal in the lead who is killed off a little too early in the film; Mary Waranov another familiar B-Movie horror actress; as well as James Patterson and legendary character actor John Carradine in a cameo role. Silent Night Bloody Night is recommended for fans of the Christmas season gone murderously wrong.
Space Mutiny (1988)
Awful Sci-Fi Film
Personally, Space Mutiny could have been much better, the writers needed to use a much better plot and to rely more on the originality instead of obviously knocking off other sci fi motion pictures. The footage used here in Space Mutiny is from the TV show Battlestar Galatica, the director must have figured that since that TV show was only on for one season back in 1978, they could make a movie out of it, but instead failed. The acting, cinematography, special effects and editing is really bad. John Phillip Law and Cameron Mitchell were both featured together in another film that was just as bad a few years before entitled "Night Train to Terror". How both of those fine actors got stuck with these two kinds of films was entirely beyond me.
Not as controversial as one may had expect, but surprising to me.
Many people thought that the 77th Annual Academy Awards were going to be controversial because of Chris Rock taking over as host this time around. We all know of Chris Rock's attitute and comic lines, but he was not as funny as I would have hoped.
To begin with, I was disappointed that neither Passion of the Christ or Phantom of the Opera got Best Picture nominations, instead the Academy nominated The Aviator, Ray, Million Dollar Baby, Sideways and Finding Neverland. The Aviator and Million Dollar Baby went head to head for the Oscar for Best Picture with Million Dollar Baby eventually taking the top prize.
Clint Eastwood won his second Best Director award for Million Dollar Baby, previously winning in 1993 for Unforgiven. Martin Scorcese probably may have been a better choice for directing The Aviator.
In this major breakthrough year for African Americans actors, as expected, comedian Jamie Foxx won Best Actor for his realistic role of real life blues singer Ray Charles in Ray. Leonardo DiCaprio and Clint Eastwood were also favored to win in the race as well.
As for Best Actress, Hilary Swank took home her second award in that category for Million Dollar Baby. Annette Bening, whom had also previously been nominated with Swank in 1999, was nominated for Being Julia.
For Best Supporting Actor, I personally thought Thomas Haden Church would win for Sideways or Alan Alda for The Aviator. Morgan Freeman took home that award for Million Dollar Baby, a long overdue and also deserved award.
Cate Blacnhett won for her portrayal of screen legend Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator. I thought that maybe Natalie Portman would have won for Closer.
Director Sidney Lumet was honored with the Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award.
One of my favorite segments was somewhat disappointing, the In Memoriam tribute segment remembering the artists that died the year before was done with a musical solo by Yo Yo Ma, I think his cellist performance was not as good as using the Academy orchestra like in previous years, but the Academy did remember quite a few of Hollywood's dearly departed: Ronald Reagan, Peter Ustinov, Carrie Snodgress, Dan Petrie, Dave Raksin, Fay Wray, Carol Eastman, Elmer Bernstein, Frank Thomas, Russ Meyer, Jerry Orbach, Ralph E. Winters, Robert Thompson, Howard Keel, Janet Leigh, Christopher Reeve, Ossie Davis, Mercedes McCambridge, William Sackheim, Ed DiGullio, Paul Winfield, Philippe de Broca, Jerry Goldsmith, Rodney Dangerfield, Virginia Mayo, Tony Randall and Marlon Brando.
As special tribute was also given to Johnny Carson, who hosted the Oscars in the past.
The Swarm (1978)
Not bad 'disaster' movie
Actually Irwin Allen's The Swarm is not actually a disaster film, although many people may suggest that it is a disaster of a film. Irwin Allen was responsible however of bringing in some of the greatest actual disaster flicks into our generations. We had back in 1970 Airport, in 1972 there was The Poseidon Adventure and in 1974 Earthquake. Now in 1978, he released The Swarm, a major budget motion picture about a swarm of killer bees spreading and killing people in the United States. The plot sounds good, and we do have a gigantic list of famous actors with Michael Caine leading the way with Katharine Ross, Richard Widmark, Olivia de Havilland, Ben Johnson, Lee Grant, Henry Fonda, Jose Ferrer, Patty Duke, Slim Pickens, Bradford Dillman and Cameron Mitchell. The Swarm fails to deliver good suspense and the acting is occasionally bad, however it offers a good time since that is what Irwin Allen was usually good at doing to an audience. I must say that The Swarm may not be as good as The Poseidon Adventure or Earthquake, but much better than Irwin Allen's 1980 volcano disaster flick When Time Ran Out.
The Black Cat (1941)
Good scares, laughs and mystery.
Rating: *** (of of five)
Greedy family heirs stay at their grandmother's mansion and wait for her to die, so they can collect her money and estate. They later discover that they cannot collect a dime until all of her pet cats are dead as well. Someone in the mansion then begins to murder them one by one. This film has all of the elements of horror. Although it bears a notch below many of the popular horror films released by Universal Pictures, director Albert Rogall's The Black Cat has the "haunted" house scene, a rain storm, secret passage ways and plenty of laughs and scares to make it a good horror film. Basil Rathbone and Broderick Crawford are also both good as the leads, as well as Hugh Herbert providing the laughs. Oscar winner Gale Sondergaard and Bela Lugosi, both playing the servants looked wickedly evil and sinister, and it was my surprise that they were not the murderers when both of their characters were murdered as well. The real killer was a surprise, especially with the premise of the black cat being around at the time of the murders often throws the viewers off. The Black Cat is a good horror film classic with intriguing mystery.
It was a good surprising show, but some was disappointing.
The 74th Annual Academy Awards show had a few good surprises, for instance it was nice to see for the first time an African American actress, the lovely and talented Halle Berry take home the Best Actress Oscar for Monster's Ball. Her speech was very emotional to me, and it was nice that an African American actress finally won that award. Denzel Washington, became the second African American actor to win the Best Actor Oscar for Training Day. Earlier before his win, he presented the Honorary Award to his idol, actor Sidney Piotier. Another Honorary Award was given to actor and producer Robert Redford, for his achievements over his career. Veteran director Arthur Hiller took the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his charitable and generous contributions to others. Whoopi Goldberg, I must add, was a hilarious host, she may not have been good as Billy Crystal or Steve Martin, but she did say a few funny sarcastic remarks. The Best Supporting Actor and Actress Oscars were also surprises, for me anyway. Jennifer Connelly gave an outstanding performance in A Beautiful Mind, but I was almost sure that either Marisa Tomei or Helen Mirran would win for their roles in In The Bedroom and Gosford Park. British actor Jim Broadbent won for Iris, and I was hoping that Ian McKellen was going to win for The Lord of the Rings or Ethan Hawke for Training Day. The show also had some good appearances as well, Woody Allen introduced a clip on the films made in New York over the past 74 years of Oscar, in a time after the shadow of the September 11th terrorism attacks, also Tom Cruise presented a clip at the beginning of the show and continued throughout the show of American people sharing their favorite films. The Memorial presentation done by Kevin Spacey was not as good as past shows, and a few deceased actors in the past year were "mysteriously" left out of being remembered, but those that did catch my eye included the great Jack Lemmon, British actor Nigel Hawthorne, Eileen Heckhart, Beatrice Straight, "Exorcist" actor Jason Miller, Ann Sothern, handicapped actor Harold Russell, directors Mike Ritchie and Ted Demme, animators Chuck Jones and William Hanna, Emmy winner Carroll O'Connor, singers Aaliyah and George Harrison and Anthony Quinn, among others. Lots of young presenters at this years award show as well including Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Hartnett, Kirsten Dunst, Tobey McGuire and Cameron Diaz, whom all gave good presentations. A Beautiful Mind walked away with the top prize as Best Picture.
White Mama (1980)
Touching television film.
White Mama is a fine and well made television film starring screen legend Bette Davis, as a poor aging old woman living in a decaying apartment building in the black ghetto of the city. She is befriended by a black boy, who treats her like she was his own mother. Touching and sometimes sad, this made for TV film earned Davis an Emmy Award nomination and has good a good supporting cast including Oscar winner Eileen Heckart (Butterflies are Free), Oscar nominee Anne Ramsey (Throw Momma from the Train) as well as fine African American actors Ernie Hudson and Tony Burton. This film is sometimes hard to find, but should be viewed and recommended for touching stories and fans of Bette Davis's fine work, especially here in television which was even rare for her.