Five Favorite Films

Five Favourite Films with Bill Nighy

The Boat That Rocked star on his most prized movies.

by | April 2, 2009 | Comments

Horton Hears A Who Director Jimmy Hayward Picks His Five Fave Animated Flicks

“This is weird for me because I’ve spent so much of my life studying live action films. I love animation but I’m not one of those guys who can watch traditional Disney movies over and over. I’ll blow the needle off my princess-ometer if I do. I love those pictures, I just don’t go back to the well that often. I was always a Looney Tunes kid anyway. This is also difficult because I’m such a film nerd and I just can’t decide! Here goes nothin’!” — Horton Hears a Who Director Jimmy Hayward 

 

Jungle Book
1) The Jungle Book

“This picture is amazing. The design, the voice performances, and most of all the character animation is astoundingly accomplished. Frank and Ollie were at the height of their ability to exercise their extraordinary talents and animated huge chunks of the movie. Shere Khan is amazing, and Kaa is so fun to watch because he’s such an appealing villain.


2) Toy Story

Toy Story

This was the first picture I ever worked on and the one I learned the most from. John Lasseter is an amazing director and I was a wide eyed little punker who was lucky enough to watch him work every day. (John drove a Honda then, now he literally has a Nascar!) I got the chance to animate Buzz Lightyear for %#$@’s sake! Seriously though, it’s an incredible story with amazing characters and the amazing comedy talents of Andrew Stanton and late great Joe Ranft flowing out of it. After working on Toy Story I just assumed that’s how it was done.

Akira

3) Akira

I love this picture because it showed me at a very young age the scope an animated movie could have. It also inspired me to look deeper into this genre and the different filmmakers working in it. I loved the graphic novels and it was the first time I saw a comic book translated to the big screen. It unspooled at a second run by my house and I saw it a TON of times. I also believe this is why I own a red Japanese motorcycle that goes really really fast. AKIRA HUUUUH?!

 

Iron Giant

4) Iron Giant

Brad Bird is a triple badass. That’s all there is to it. I would have said Incredibles but I watched Giant more. It was so ground breaking with the mixed media. Great story, great characters, good heart, super smooth filmmaking AND Christopher McDonald is in it and I love him. Too bad they marketed a bunch of other movies that year. Good thing there’s life after death on DVD.

 

Heavy Metal

5) Heavy Metal

Don’t shoot! I know this picture is corny and sexist but nobody loves the whole “She-warrior in an iron bikini riding a snow leopard over her smited bloody fallen foes” more than me. You need to understand what a true cheese dealer I am. Heavy Metal is nothing if not living, breathing boogie van art. And what’s wrong with that? John Candy as Den of Earth?! Oh Canada! It came out when I was very young and I watched it a million times. It made me look at animation a whole other way and it had Black Sabbath in it! Dio AND Black Sabbath! So Rad!”

See what Pixar, anime and Heavy Metal influences come through in Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino’s co-directing debut, Horton Hears a Who!, starring Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, and Seth Rogen, in theaters this Friday.

Horton Hears a Who
Click image to watch the Horton trailers!

Filmmaker Judd Apatow has been very busy. He’s produced four films that are being released this year (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Pineapple Express, Step Brothers, and Drillbit Taylor, which opens this Friday), and he’s also one of the writers of You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. But he was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about which movies have really influenced him as a filmmaker.


The Last Detail


There are certain movies that I always go back to, but before I make a movie, I always find myself watching The Last Detail, the Hal Ashby movie. There’s something about it that’s so alive. It’s one of the first movies to really have frank language. I think it was somewhat shocking at the time. It was the first movie where everyone aggressively cursed, but it was about people in the armed services. It’s also a small story that’s very intimate and you just fall in love with all these characters that are in this terrible situation.

I always watch it because Hal Ashby shot it in such a way that it just feels real. It’s almost like a documentary. I like how he paces the scenes, the coverage, and I always go back to it because it reminds me that the most important thing I can do as a filmmaker is convince the audience that what they’re watching is really happening. I don’t want them to be aware of me. So that’s one movie. It’s both heartbreaking and hilarious, which is always my favorite combination.



Terms of Endearment

Terms of Endearment is always a touchstone movie for me. That’s one of the best acted comedy-dramas that has ever been made.

I can never get enough of Terms of Endearment. I find myself watching it over and over again. It does everything that I want a movie to do. I fall in love with the characters. I care about their journeys. It never does anything easy to make me like the characters. It doesn’t sell out the characters for likeability. They all do things that are awful to each other. The relationships are very complicated. Yet, you root for all of them when you watch the movie.

A large portion of the movie is also about cancer. It’s treated realistically and it is also hilarious in some of those moments. It’s not a maudlin movie. There are moments in that movie that I think about all the time that haunt me. The moment when Shirley MacLaine is yelling at the nurse to give her daughter more medicine… As you get older, you find yourself in those situations. It may be my favorite film of all time.



Being There

Being There is one of my favorite movies. It’s much more precise than a movie like The Last Detail. It’s a type of movie I hope one day to be able to attempt to make. It’s brilliant on every level. It is one of movies that I watch and go, “I probably will never be able to get close to this, but I should try.”

The use of television in the movie is spectacular – how what’s happening on the television in the rooms that they’re in reflects or comments on the action. Nobody has ever done that better and people have tried since and always failed. Any time I see something on a TV in a TV show, I know that they’re thinking about how great they did it in Being There. It’s another movie with some of the best performances in comedy history – Jack Warden, Melvyn Douglas, and Shirley MacLaine, so I go back to that a lot.



Welcome to the Dollhouse

I’ve always been fascinated by the film Welcome to the Dollhouse, the Todd Solondz film. It’s a really dark comedy. It might be because I grew up in Long Island and it feels like where I grew up. A lot of the strangeness of it feels familiar to me. I love the look of it. I love the tone of it.

When we started working on Freaks and Geeks, I thought a lot about Welcome to the Dollhouse, in terms of how it was lit, the production design, the strange cadences of its comedy, and these kids who feel like they’re in hell, their families and how their parents treat them. She (Heather Matarazzo) and that character (Dawn Wiener) is one of the greatest outcast nerd characters ever created in film or television. So it’s for someone who always loves a great underdog story. That’s one of my favorites and not a movie that makes it a triumphant fantasy for the nerdy girl either. That is never the Todd Solondz way.

I thought about it when we did Freaks and Geeks because we often thought, “This movie is about how you handle failure. It’s not about succeeding. It’s not a show about wish fulfillment.” You see that in a lot of Todd Solondz work. I don’t think we had half the balls that he has.



Tootsie

Tootsie is a perfect movie. I watch that all the time. You know there used to be a commentary track on it. They put it out on laserdisc, and there was a commentary, [but] they keep doing “anniversary editions” and they don’t have the Sydney Pollack commentary track. As a comedy nerd, I’m up in arms.


Peter Segal, WireImage

Director Peter Segal has spent time with The Klumps, gone on 50 First Dates, and lived through Anger Management. This year, the go-to guy for summer comedies is gearing up to Get Smart, the spy spoof update starring Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, and Alan Arkin that’s out June 20. Read on to find out Segal’s five favorite movies as told to RT.


The Godfather: Part II



I’m sure this is on practically everyone’s list of favorites, but if I’m being totally honest I have to start here. I’ve made sequels and I know how hard they are to do well. The fact that this movie won Best Picture is a testament to how successfully Coppola topped his own masterpiece. The flashbacks are pure genius, and give it a completely different feel from the first movie.

I’ve watched this film probably more than any other, and have learned so much from it. How a character can deliver key information in a wide master with his back to the camera… in very dim light? I can imagine the studio notes: “I can’t see who’s talking. Where’s the coverage?”



Dr. Strangelove


A masterpiece. Kubrick is one of the most fascinating directors of all time. The fact that this movie sits alongside 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining in his filmography is mind-boggling. Peter Sellers was so understated.

This movie constantly reminds me how comedy is funnier when you ground it in real circumstances. The more dramatic the stakes, the more you can mine laughs out of people who have to squirm through those situations. I still try to emulate Kubrick’s sense of editing and composition. I patterned a war room scene in Get Smart after the one in Strangelove.



Young Frankenstein


Talk about a movie that holds up… this is the king. I remember the first time I saw this in Westwood when I was a kid. I’ve never heard an audience go that nuts before in a theater.

This movie, probably more than any other, made me want to do comedies. It’s so grounded and faithful to the Boris Karloff version. That’s what makes it so great. Mel stayed within the boundaries of the original, and then pushed it an inch further for the laugh. That’s what he did with Get Smart [the TV show], too. He took the premise of James Bond and pushed it that same inch. It’s such a delicate balance… and one that he has mastered.



The Natural


This movie is my ultimate guilty pleasure. I’ll admit it, when Randy Newman’s score kicks in as Redford’s final homerun is blasted through the stadium lights into the stratosphere? I don’t just have chills, I’m a weeping bag of tears and snot.

I love everything about this movie: Caleb Deschanel’s spectacular cinematography, Randy Newman’s iconic score that I ripped off from the opening tree house shot in Tommy Boy, to Barry Levinson’s amazing direction. This movie is magical. I love stories about second chances, and this movie epitomizes that.



The Right Stuff


Whenever I watch this movie, I want to go out with my son and fire off an Estes rocket in the back yard. I love this movie. I love what it stands for — exploring the unknown and our deepest fears. I love the era: the space race with the Russians. I love the heroism — Chuck Yeager had the biggest pair of balls of any man. Ever!

The greatest lesson this movie teaches is the balance of tone. Obviously it has some incredible drama and action, but it also has straight up comedy. It’s really hard to juggle those three things in one movie. Harry Shearer and Jeff Goldblum are the perfectly understated comic relief guys. Fred Ward, who I got to work with in Naked Gun 33 1/3, is hilarious. This movie has it all.


Uwe Boll

Sure, he’s confronted his critics — and Michael Bay — in the most unusual ways. And yes, he’s turned a some of your most beloved video game titles into big-screen clunkers (none of which have yet broken 11 percent on the Tomatometer*). Heck, the man who gave us such stinkers as Alone in the Dark, BloodRayne, and Dungeon Siege: In the Name of the King has even agreed to retire if an online petition asking him to simply “stop” reaches one million signatures. But we bet you never expected Uwe Boll to pick veritable classics of cinema as his favorite films of all time…

Read on for Dr. Uwe Boll’s five favorite films, as told to RT.

*Boll’s latest film, the political satire Postal, currently has a career-high 29 percent Tomatometer.

 


Apocalypse Now



One of my all-time favorites is Apocalypse Now, because it shows the craziness of war, and you have the feeling that the shooting also was a big adventure. And this is what I like.

What is lost, if you see war movies today — not like Pearl Harbor, that’s one of the worst movies of all time — but like Mel Gibson‘s Once We Were Warriors or Soldiers or whatever (2002’s We Were Soldiers), all that stuff, you feel it’s all fake. You feel they go in the evenings to their hotel rooms and it’s all good.

But in Apocalypse Now, you feel like these guys were f—ed!



Dances with Wolves


I love a big adventure; it’s one of the reasons I like Dances with Wolves, also on the list. Because I feel that this was also a big adventure [to film] and I like the very realistic feeling, what Kevin Costner did with that movie. I love that movie. It’s emotional, and it’s real, in a way. I really like it.

[Editor’s note: check back for next week’s full interview with Uwe Boll as he tells us how he almost got Kevin Costner to join the cast of Dungeon Siege: In the Name of the King!]



Citizen Kane


Citizen Kane is, like you see now, P.T. Anderson‘s There Will Be Blood. It’s a good movie; it’s the same kind of thing. You follow a crazy character who gets really successful, and in a very bitter way. So I really love those two movies.

It’s still one of the biggest crimes of Hollywood that they didn’t finance Orson Welles’ movies after a while. To have a genius like him, sitting there and trying to get his last 5,000 bucks together to make another movie after he did a movie like this… (Welles’ follow-up to Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, was notoriously completed and re-cut without his input.)



The Searchers


Number five…like I said, it always changes. There are a lot of good movies out there [that are] from time to time favorites. I would do The Searchers, from John Ford, with John Wayne. I’m a big Western fan, and this was a great Western.

John Ford is interesting; if you are younger, you don’t appreciate John Ford so much. I liked more Howard Hawks and William Wyler Westerns when I was younger, and now, later, if you get a little older, you like John Ford more and more. It’s the same with some writers. There are some writers you love when you’re 20, and when you’re 30 or 35 you think it’s completely silly bulls–t what the guys wrote (laughs), but you appreciate other writers.


Tune in next week for our full interview with Uwe Boll, in which the Postal director shares the secret of how exactly he makes money on flicks like Alone in the Dark and Dungeon Siege: In the Name of the King, and answers your submitted questions!Doug Jones

You may not know it, but you’ve seen Doug Jones’ work. One of the best physical actors in Hollywood, he has performed under heavy make-up and special effects as the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the “Gentlemen” on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and gave life to both The Faun and the Pale Man in Guillermo del Toro‘s Oscar-winning horror-fairytale, Pan’s Labyrinth. This week, Jones reprises his role of amphibian psychic Abe Sapien in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, the sequel to del Toro’s 2004 comic book adaptation, in which he enjoys extended screen time as Hellboy’s crime-fighting sidekick and romances a princess — and more importantly, takes over (or takes back) Abe’s voicing duties for the first time.

We spoke with Doug Jones about his work under prosthetics, his close relationship with Guillermo del Toro, and his battle to win Abe Sapien’s voice back from David Hyde Pierce (who, as the story goes, graciously deferred vocal credit in the first Hellboy after seeing Jones’ own performance). And after playing every fantastical creature from robots to aliens to yetis, Jones told us what his dream role would be — and how he and del Toro may already be planning to bring it to the screen.

But first, Jones took time to share his favorite films of all time with Rotten Tomatoes. Read on for more!

 


Somewhere in Time (1980, 63% Tomatometer)



I have favorite chick flicks and favorite comedies. My taste goes to romantic comedy a lot. Somewhere in Time, with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour — stop already! That was one of the most romantic stories I’d ever seen in my life; I was in tears, but it also involved a little bit of science fiction, with the time travel element. That one really moved me back in 1980.



Airplane! (1980, 100% Tomatometer)


Also, the very first Airplane! movie, with that zany comedy, slapstick-y, sight gag thing going on. I’d never seen a movie like that before. Of course, after that came more Airplanes and Hot Shots, Top Secret, and the Naked Gun movies. But Airplane took me so by surprise, and Leslie Nielsen was brilliant.

[RT: Surely, Airplane is one of the best spoof movies ever made. Doug Jones: Well it is, and stop calling me Shirley!]



Waiting for Guffman (1997, 95% Tomatometer)


What else? Waiting for Guffman! Stop already, right? Christopher Guest and all of his tomfoolery. Of course, there was Spinal Tap, but in more recent years…I think the storyline of [Guffman] was so relatable to any actor who’s ever done community theater in their hometown. Here were all these egos, in a small town, where it just didn’t matter. I come from Indiana, and when you’re doing stage productions in high school, or in your community theater, or on the college stage, you think you’re Broadway bound, for sure. You’re all going to be stars! It’s delusional theater, is what it is. But that whole cast of people, having their basic storyline, and then vamping on their own brilliance, was just golden. Just golden.



Waking Ned Devine (1998, 82% Tomatometer)


Waking Ned Devine. Loved it. There’s something about aged, experienced, mature people acting like kids. This whole town bands together to pull a ruse, to win a lottery ticket and split lottery ticket winnings; it was kind of morally wrong, and yet also giddy and made you clap your hands and say, “Go you guys, go!”


Next: Our full interview with Doug Jones!

Doug Jones

Your Five Favorite Films are interesting because they seem to speak to you as an actor’s actor, not just a creature actor. You’ve not only done great creature work in films like Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, you also play regular characters. Has it been strange to become known for your work under prosthetics as opposed to the latter?

Doug Jones: Thank you. It’s very kind of you to notice that. If you asked me this a few years ago, I might have said that the day would come where I’m not wearing prosthetics anymore and I’m just doing straight acting roles. But you know what I think I’ve learned in the last couple years especially, is that with a little bit more recognition, a certain respect and dignity has returned to these kinds of roles — monsters with a heart. It’s a throwback to the Golden Era, when you had Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney doing these roles that were leading men in their own little creature-y, freaky little way. Directors like Guillermo del Toro (pictured at left with Jones at the Hellboy II premiere), who like to tell that kind of story, take you to a fantastical world but deal with real human issues when they get there. That’s brought a certain, like I said, respect and dignity to this kind of story and this kind of acting, so that I’m now happy to continue it until the day I die. In fact, I’ll tell you the perfect way for me to die. You want to hear it? I think if I’m on a Guillermo del Toro film — and I want to finish it for him, I don’t want to leave him hanging — and my last day, when they yell, “It’s a wrap on Doug Jones,” that’s how I want to die. That’s the perfect way for me to go.

That’s really sweet. It speaks to the bond that you and Guillermo have obviously formed by working together.

DJ: We definitely do have a sort of shorthand with each other, and a respect for each other, and an actor-director relationship that really works and doesn’t need a whole lot of dialogue. We understand each other with very few words.

Speaking of words, let’s talk about how you came to voice your character, Abe Sapien, in Hellboy II. We know that David Hyde Pierce, who voiced Abe in the first Hellboy while you did the physical acting, had such tremendous respect for your performance in that film that he had his credit removed.

Doug Jones

DJ: He’s a gentleman beyond words. And in an ego-driven business like ours it’s unheard of for an actor to do what David Hyde Pierce did. The more questionable thing is, how did it come about that someone was voiced over like that in the first place? When presented with an acting role, any actor assumes they’re taking on the character, and that would include all of it — it would include the visuals and the audio part and everything. I don’t walk down the street doing half of Doug Jones! I walk into a 7-11 and I get to order for myself. So originally it was kind of like, you’ve got this major make-up, and you’ve got A-list celebrities that probably don’t want to don that much make-up and be obliterated in the face, so the studio was thinking, we’ll get someone to physically pull it off, and we’ll get an A-list name that we can market with the film that’ll provide the voice, and there you go. We can attach a name to the part without gruesome amounts of make-up on that person. When I heard that that’s what the plan was — that was already decided by the time I was cast — I said, hey, how about we don’t do that? How about I get to do the part, as I’d play any part? So I was given the opportunity to be one of the voices being considered, but at the time Doug Jones didn’t carry a lot of weight as a name, as a marketing tool.

In the end, everyone was happy with my performance, and I was kind of directed even to sound like… Guillermo wanted me to sound a little bit like Niles Crane from Frasier, with a little bit of HAL the computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey. So I kind of affected a sound for Abe that wasn’t far from David Hyde Pierce anyway. He, being the gentleman that he is, heard my performance in his ear piece when he came in to voice-over, and he saw my performance on film, and he kind of backed away saying, “Why am I here?” It was one of those things where he, as legend goes, was very much a gentleman that backed away from taking a credit in the film and doing any press, and doing any limelight-type things, and he left that all to me. Which was very, very, very sweet and kind of him.

Hellboy II

So that continued through to the animated features, when he was offered the voice of Abe Sapien, and he politely declined. And that’s when they just deferred to me immediately. Part of the discussion that Guillermo had with me, when he told me about the first film and what happened with the voice, was he said, “If we get the blessing and the opportunity to do a Hellboy II, I would like to have your voice back in it.” So this animated feature was a nice transitional period to do that in, and by the time Hellboy II came around, I was assured and promised that the voice would stay intact as mine. I love David Hyde Pierce, I think he’s a wonderful actor, but it really is nice to have that whole baby, in its entirety, back in my hands again. Before I was kind of holding a baby without legs [Laughs].

In Hellboy II, Abe has a considerably large storyline; was that borne of fan love of Abe from the first movie, and will that prominence carry over to the third movie?

DJ: Yes, and yes. And I believe it’s also borne of Guillermo del Toro’s love for Abe Sapien. I’ll share a little moment with you from the set. We were doing the scene in the library, when Abe and the lovely Princess Nuala are getting to know each other over a book of poetry. There was this backlight that shined and hit my gills, and Guillermo said to me, before we rolled on the next take, “There’s something about the way the light shines on Abe’s gills that just makes my heart flutter.” That was one way of him expressing his absolute adoration for Abe Sapien. So, yes; I think there was a resounding cry from the fans for more Abe in the second film, and there was a desire in Guillermo all along to build on Abe as well.

 

Next: Doug Jones’ dream role

Hellboy II

Your work as the Faun and the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth was well-received. Again in Hellboy II, you play three different characters.

DJ: I was Abe, and the Angel of Death, and the Chamberlain; those are my three. The Chamberlain is the doorkeeper for the king of the elven underworld — he’s a sad looking fellow, isn’t he?

These new characters even seem to have some resemblance to those you played in Pan’s Labyrinth.

DJ: It was the same creature designers as the first Hellboy, Spectral Motion. They’re also the ones who made me up as the Silver Surfer [in Fantastic Four 2]. The Pan’s Labyrinth people were DDT Effectos Especiales in Barcelona. In Hellboy II they did design and apply the make-up for young Hellboy. Hellboy II had so many creatures in it, they pulled in a lot of shops, but the main characters were by Spectral Motion — Hellboy, and Abe, and the Angel of Death and such.

One last question: If you could play any creature from mythology or lore that we haven’t seen yet onscreen, what would it be?

DJ: Actually, there’s been some talk recently that really intrigued me, about doing Frankenstein. That’s something I had never thought of because he’s rather large and lumbering in the imagery that you’ve seen of him before. However, there are new art concepts that Guillermo has seen, and the idea of doing Frankenstein with a thinner, more soulful kind of monster in Frankenstein could be something really delicious to chew on.

Alex Tuis, Conception and Design

Guillermo was asked about this recently, on the red carpet of the Hellboy II premiere. [ShockTilYouDrop‘s Ryan Rotten got the scoop.] A journalist got to him first and asked, “Hey Guillermo, if you did Frankenstein, who would the monster be?” And Guillermo said, a resounding “Doug Jones” — which seems like an alternative choice to what you’ve seen before, but there’s a certain type of artwork that he’s seen of Frankenstein and that’s what interested him. The journalist got to me next and said, “Hey, guess what I just heard Guillermo say?” I was like, “Oh, you’re kidding!” I went onto DelToro films, which is his website, and there’s a message board that the fans talk on, and somebody on a thread for fan art submitted a piece of art of a Frankenstein built on Doug Jones. The artist’s screen name is Riddick, so that’s how you can find it. (Click here for a full view of the art. Conception and design courtesy of the artist, Alex Tuis.) There’s a drawing in there that is based on me that is a Frankenstein that I would kill to play. Looking at that imagery, and having Guillermo as a director, and knowing Frankenstein’s sympathetic side and his scary side — I love characters like that that are sympathetic and yet scary at the same time — that could become a dream role for me. Absolutely.

It seems like if Guillermo’s in for a project, you’re in.

DJ: As he said, [in his best Guillermo del Toro voice] “Listen, if I direct a hemorrhoid commercial, Doug Jones will be in it.” And I feel the same way. If he’s directing a hemorrhoid commercial, I’ll play the frickin’ hemorrhoid. He’ll find a way to make it artful; I know he will.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army is in theaters this Friday, July 11 and currently sits at 89 percent on the Tomatometer. Doug Jones

It’s been eleven years since we last saw Casper Van Dien as Federation soldier Johnny Rico in Paul Verhoeven‘s sci-fi cult film, Starship Troopers. Two sequels later, Van Dien is back with a new crew, new weapons, new dangers, and the same familiar problems with authority figures and alien bugs. Van Dien spoke with Rotten Tomatoes to share his Five Favorite (Sci-Fi) Films of all time, discuss his longtime friendship with Starship Troopers: Marauder director Ed Neumeier, and reveal how the last decade and two sequels have changed Johnny Rico and the Starship Troopers franchise.

 

Starship Troopers: Marauder premieres on DVD Tuesday, August 5; click here to preview two exclusive behind-the-scenes clips for peeks of the new Marauder suit and weapons. Read on for Casper Van Dien’s 5 Favorite (Sci-Fi) Films of all time!

 


Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982, 92% Tomatometer)


First we have Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. That would be because of “Khaaaaaaaaaan!” “Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!” That’s number five.



Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991, 100% Tomatometer)

Then I would have to go probably with T2. It was another great sequel to a great movie. I loved the humanity of Arnold Schwarzenegger. I loved the humanity in the cyborg, in the Terminator. I loved the fact that he was not human and he had more humanity than most humans do. And he was just cool.

 



Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope (1977, 95% Tomatometer)

Then I would go with the first Star Wars, which is actually the fourth episode, because I remember standing in line; I was one of those bazillion kids that were standing in line opening day. My poor mother and father had to do that with me. I remember my mom left, and came back a day later. So my dad stood there with me. I think that is one of the most incredible memories for me. It was an awesome film; I’ll never take anything away from the film, but the fact that I had a father who was willing to stand in line with me all that while…let’s see, I was born in ’68, so I was 8 or 9. Eight or 9 and my dad stood in line for me. Yeah, I was there for like a day and a half!




The Matrix (1999, 86% Tomatometer)

And then I would put The Matrix. The first Matrix. Are there any others? [Because of] Neo. And it was just so cool. Everything in that movie made you see how we’re all interconnected; I think that the internet is like a man-made version of, the closest we can come to conceptualizing God. It shows how we’re all connected, and this Matrix is really that more defined. The Wachowskis were just a couple filmmakers who did an incredible job.



Aliens (1986, 100% Tomatometer)

And my all-time favorite number one science fiction movie would be…Starship Troopers! Because I’m vain! And full of myself! No, actually I’m excluding me from this, but I would put that on the list. But I can’t do myself, because it just isn’t right. I would say Aliens. Because, as Jim Cameron himself said, “Why are they making Starship Troopers? I already did!” He was wrong, by the way!



Bonus Answer: RoboCop (1987, 85% Tomatometer)

Actually, I have to add one more in. I have to add RoboCop only because of the one line at the very end, when they go, “What’s your name?” And he says, “Murphy.” It’s the greatest way to end any movie, ever. It’s true, if you think about that. Everybody in the audience stood up and screamed. They went ballistic; I know, I was there. I’m probably revealing some geekdom here. I was there in the theater opening weekend! I remember everybody — as soon as he said his name, he got his humanity back, and it was such a powerful moment. It was awe-inspiring.


Next: Our full interview with Casper Van Dien!

Starship Troopers 3
Casper van Dien: I love Ed Neumeier; I think he’s got a wonderfully sick, perverse sense of humor. It was a lot of fun to have in the first film, and to also see it in RoboCop as well, and to see him put it into this script — I had the opportunity to read five of the scripts for Starship Troopers 3 specifically over the last four years, and I just love reading his dark sense of humor. I love seeing it, and to get the opportunity to read it so many different times was awesome. And to see him make the film, it was a natural segue for him, so it was a thrill for me to be a part of.

Were you close with Ed from working on the first Starship Troopers? Was he a presence on set back then?

CvD: Ed is a unique writer — Paul Verhoeven is a unique director, but he demanded that Ed be on the set [of Starship Troopers] every day. So for RoboCop and for Starship Troopers he was on the set every single frickin day. He was there from the beginning to the end. It was fun for me, because he and I became friends. But Ed and I became friends actually when he saw me when I first walked into the audition for Starship Troopers. I was sitting out there with all the other guys that were auditioning for the role, and Ed poked his head out of the office; he was not only one of the writers, but he was one of the producers at that time. He poked his head out of the office, looked at me, pointed at me, and fingered me to come over to him. So I went over to him and in front of the other kids, I was like “Ha ha hah…” I walk into his office and he had a rifle there and I picked it up, and I did some drills with it from military school and we got to talking, and he said he knew when he poked his head out of the office that I was Johnny Rico. And Paul Verhoeven said that when I came into read he knew that I was Johnny Rico. So it was always a thrill to have these men believe in me. Ed really wanted me in the second one, but the director didn’t want any characters from the first film in it. Ed said if he got to do one of his own, that he would demand that I be in it, and I guess he got his way.

Starship Troopers 3
I was wondering why you weren’t in the second Starship Troopers film, Hero of the Federation

CvD: The director [Phil Tippett] really wanted to go a different way, from what I gather. I don’t know everything for a fact — you’ll have to ask him personally — but he also, from what I hear, wanted the humor out of Starship Troopers. It might have been the studio at the time that wanted the humor out, but they really asked Ed to put it back in for this one. So Ed was like, well, that’s the way I like to write, and that’s what he did.

This film was always meant to be a DVD release. But it’s getting a theatrical in Japan because they did such a phenomenal job with it that Japan said, we want this for a theatrical [release]. But it was always meant to be a DVD.

Well, there’s definitely a collective love for the first Starship Troopers, and Marauder seems to fall much closer to the spirit of the original.

CvD: Definitely. You are one hundred percent correct. Robert Heinlein created Starship Troopers, but Ed created the Starship Troopers movie world. He put in his political satire in the first film, he’s got it in this film and then some, and he’s also got this new religious twist, which some may or may not get. I think it’s hysterical, though. He’s a phenomenal writer. Different people will embrace it in different ways. And other people will hate it in other ways, but it’s always fantastic to have that kind of variation in appeal, or lack thereof.

Next: Ed Neumeier vs. Paul Verhoeven, Johnny Rico vs. Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and more

Starship Troopers 3
Having known Ed for a while and worked with him before, how would you describe him as a first-time director, especially in contrast to Paul Verhoeven?

CvD: That’s a very good question. Ed Neumeier — this is a natural segue for him, to go from writer-creator to director, and this is an easier venue for him to do that as his debut. Because he is already known, and this is an established franchise that he’s affiliated with and have a lot more appreciation for and from. The advantage for him is as a director, he hired a great team around him. He did a superb job and the people really embraced it and loved him and went for it. But he also had the most incredible training and advantage over most debut directors, because he was on the set every day of RoboCop, and on the set every day of Starship Troopers, under one of the greatest directors of all time: Paul Verhoeven. So he had that instruction. Paul — even if you watch Black Book today…what a great film that is. Paul continues to grow as a director and his passion is unsurpassed by anybody. Ed was able to witness this and get these lessons and instructions. And also he’s a fan of films. Ed’s a huge fan of John Ford films, and you can talk to him about just about any film. Differences between them? Paul’s a bit more of a screamer, and he has more of an accent. [Laughs]

Paul had a bigger budget, but what Ed had for this was phenomenal. Robert Skotak was the Academy Award-winning special effects guy for Aliens and T2, and he wanted to be on the first Starship Troopers because he was a big fan of the book, and he got to do this one and he did something like 420 more special effects than he was scheduled to do because he loved it so much. The bug that Ed wrote about, he created. The old bugs, he put his little flavors into. For the budget that he had, he did the most phenomenal job. What I also appreciate is Sony, they got Klaus Badelt, who did the music for Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, who saw this and loved it and did the music for it. So they really got some remarkable people behind it. And Sony’s putting the most incredible campaign I have ever seen together for a DVD release. The Japanese website is incredible, and the posters that you see throughout the world, from Australia to America to Japan, are awesome! And I’m not just saying that because I’m on the cover…

Starship Troopers 3
Where would you place Johnny Rico in the pantheon of great sci-fi heroes?

CvD: Well, being the self-absorbed me…I remember seeing this article that rated different superheroes, and it had me beating Jesse Ventura from Predator, and it had me beating Demi Moore from G. I. Jane — it had Johnny Rico beating these guys — and it had Sylvester Stallone beating John Wayne…whatever! And Arnold Schwarzenegger beat me, but then Arnold Schwarzenegger beat Stallone. So I came in third. But right now, I could kick either of their asses, ’cause they’re old. I’m sorry! Put ’em down like the b****es they are! Just kidding, I don’t know. Arnold Schwarzenegger can still take me out, he’s the Governator; Sylvester Stallone, I just saw him in Rambo and he was huge. Huuuuge.

Yeah, but how many of them still do nude scenes like the one you have in Starship Troopers: Marauder?

CvD: [Laughs] I don’t think we’d want to see them in a nude scene right now! I hardly want to see myself in a nude scene, but I worked out really hard for that one.

So tell us how Johnny Rico has changed in the near-decade since we last saw him in Starship Troopers.

CvD: Well it’s eleven years later, and it’s eleven years later for him as well. He’s survived — one of the few in the Starship Troopers world to do so — men, women, an equal kill factor. It seems like he’s become more of a pure warrior. He might be more disillusioned with the higher ranking officers and their willingness to sacrifice good troopers, as many of us are disillusioned with the people in charge who are willing to sacrifice American soldiers who are willing to do their part, and do it well, and who have honorable intentions. I think that is what he’s become. He joined the military first for a girl, and was trying to impress her, though that of course didn’t work; we always do stupid things when we’re young to try and impress girls and it never works, but…he became a soldier, and now he’s a pure warrior, and he’s very good at what he does. Maybe not as good as everyone else because they get promoted a lot faster, but he’s good enough to survive, and that’s a definite plus in the Starship Troopers world.

For more info, photos and news, check out our Starship Troopers: Marauder page.
Eva Mendes

Actress Eva Mendes has made much of the last ten years in Hollywood, skyrocketing from small parts in movies like Night at the Roxbury and Exit Wounds to featured roles in — films like Training Day, Ghost Rider, and Hitch. More impressively, she’s gone for a variety of interesting roles in blockbusters and indie films alike, working closely with the likes of Will Smith, Robert Rodriguez, the Farrelly brothers, Nicolas Cage (twice), Denzel Washington (also twice), Frank Miller, and Werner Herzog, in the upcoming Bad Lieutenant.

In this week’s The Women, based on the play by Clare Booth Luce and Anita Loos’ 1939 script, Mendes plays Manhattan temptress Crystal Allen, a ruthless vixen in kitten heels (and a character played by none other than Joan Crawford in George Cukor’s 1939 film of the same name). Joining an all-star cast of some of Hollywood’s biggest female names, Mendes holds her own against the combined forces of Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Bette Midler whilst notching another prominent role in her filmography. Once you read her Five Favorite Films, you’ll agree that Eva Mendes is aiming high; we personally can’t wait to see her in a Coen brothers film.

 


Secrets & Lies (1996, 94% Tomatometer)



I’m a huge Mike Leigh fan and would love to work with him. His approach to filming sounds fascinating and exciting. I understand that he doesn’t give his actors a script but instead hands them scenes and encourages improvisation. I’m not sure if this is indeed his process, but the result is nothing short of beautiful intimate moments. And this film is full of them! At times it feels so intimate it’s almost voyeuristic. To me, that’s what makes a performance really exciting…when you’re almost embarrassed to be peeking into peoples’ lives. And that happens a lot in this perfect emotional drama.



Fitzcarraldo (1982, 86% Tomatometer)


I had the pleasure of working with the director of this film, Werner Herzog, recently. He is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers. In Fitzcarraldo, he manages to bring an opera house into a Peruvian jungle. What an amazing concept!

 



Network (1976, 90% Tomatometer)


Duvall, Dunaway, Finch, Holden and Ned Beatty…are you kidding?

This film is as true today as it was when they made it over 30 years ago. It’s just amazing how little things haven’t changed since then.

Faye Dunaway kills it in this film. Her body language is so precise and her character’s ambition is simply frightening. Ned Beatty’s monologue alone makes this one worth watching.



The Big Lebowski (1998, 77% Tomatometer)


I would die to work with the Coen Brothers. I love their sense of humor. This film is hysterical on so many levels, but I guess it’s the diverse group of characters that really gets to me. Jeff Bridges is perfection as “the dude” and Julianne Moore kills it as Maude, but my favorite may be John Turturro as “Jesus.” To me, this is a perfect comedy. Oh yeah and the soundtrack is SICK!!!



City of Lost Children (1995, 82% Tomatometer)


Nobody portrays children in cinema better than the French. Juenet and Caro direct the amazing Ron Perlman in this surrealist fairy tale. He plays a scientist that kidnaps children so he can steal their dreams in hopes of slowing down his own aging process. So beautiful, so French.


Next: Read on as we talk Women with Eva Mendes.

Eva Mendes

Please tell us about your character, Crystal. Is she as much a “villain” in The Women as she is in the original? Is she meant to be even partly sympathetic, or a full-on she-devil?

Eva Mendes: In The Women, I play Crystal Allen and I had a blast stepping into her stilletos. On paper, she is a vicious maneater, but I tried to really understand where she was coming from. I found out that, like most women who act like she does, she’s deeply insecure. She acts out of fear and ends up hurting everyone around her, although that was never her intention. Oh yeah, she’s kind of funny too!

George Cukor’s 1939 film was a who’s who of Hollywood power actresses. Was there a sense when you were cast in Diane English’s 2008 version that a similar “power group” was being put together?

EM: Working with these amazing women was so inspirational. Every day was a learning experience. You can’t buy that kind of experience in acting class!

In the climate of Cukor’s film, a woman stealing another woman’s husband had implications for her means of living, not only her heart — a gender imbalance that doesn’t exist today (as much). Do the stakes in a story like this change by setting it in 2008?

EM: Diane English did a great job of bringing this film to 2008. I love the original, but if it were a true remake, I don’t think it would have worked. Women are at a completely different place now….thank God!

You seem to be searching for varied roles in your career so far, not only in terms of characters but in the directors you work with (Robert Rodriguez, John Singleton, the Farrelly brothers, Frank Miller, Werner Herzog). What do you hope to learn from each of these filmmakers?

EM: I hope to never stop growing. I hope that with every role I play, I keep adding layers to my craft. I love acting and I study religiously with my coach Ivana Chubbuck. It’s important for me to work with a strong director because I know I can go to some really deep places, I just need direction on how to get there.

Your character poster for The Spirit is arguably the best of the bunch. Years down the line, do you think Sand Saref will be one of the more iconic roles that fans remember you for? If so, why?

EM: I hope not. I hope my best is yet to come!

Eva Mendes
“You
only roast the ones you love,” Dane Cook explained to Rotten Tomatoes
regarding

his colorful comments
about
My
Best Friend’s Girl
‘s poster, in which he compared his Photoshopped
face to a section of Britney Spears’s anatomy. “If you really, really are
pissed or whatever, you don’t say anything. You just tuck your tail between
your legs and you walk away.”

So Cook loves his upcoming movie (opening this Friday), in which he co-stars
with Jason Biggs, Kate Hudson, and Alec Baldwin as a jackass-for-hire who
takes women on legendarily bad dates and sends them running back to their
exes. What are the other movies the comedian/actor loves, namely his five
favorite of all time? RT puts Cook under the spotlight.




Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
(1987, 97% Tomatometer)



I know three right off the bat.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. How’d it influence me? Big Steve Martin fan. Knew I wanted to be a comedian when I was very young. And my sister brought the Wild and Crazy Guy album home, which I still have in my office. When
Planes, Trains came out, that was the first film that really I looked at and said, “I’d love to, someday if I’m lucky enough to have a comedy audience, bring them into film and make that kind of movie.” Big heart, big laughs. And, of course, Steve Martin at the car rental shop, you know, “I want my f–king car right f–king now.” Unbelievably funny movie. Of course, John Hughes, John Candy, one of my favorites ever.

Can I take two minutes to tell a story? Awesome f–king John Hughes story. [My Best Friend’s Girl director] Howie [Deutch] was directing
Some Kind of Wonderful and the studio wanted a four-page rewrite on a scene. So Howie’s all, “I can’t figure out what to do.” Calls John, says, “Can you come over and help me write these four pages?” For two-and-a-half hours they’re just pacing around, John is just smoking incessantly. Howie says, “I need to lay down. I’m beat. I’m going to sleep a few hours and then we’ll finish it.” Then he says, “Dane, I wake up at about five in the morning and John is scribbling like crazy. He hands it to me and says, ‘Read this. It’s only 50 pages right now, but read it. I’m calling it
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.’




The Empire
Strikes Back
(1980, 97% Tomatometer)


Absolutely blown away by the world of
Star Wars, Empire and Jedis. [But] my favorite moment of the three is actually in
The Return of the Jedi. And I argue this with people who are real Star Wars freaks. “Ewoks ruin the movie.” If you’re going to trifle over Ewoks, and you’re not going to talk about how great the speeder bike scenes through the redwood forests are, then f–k off. Those are some of the greatest action sequences… Okay, yeah, there’s some cute critters to sell merchandise. [But there’s] some [scenes] that I couldn’t even dream up with these unbelievable hovercrafts and modern-looking Stormtrooopers.

And Jedi has the best moment. [It’s] at the very end when the Emperor is trying to pull Luke over and, of course, Luke is getting the s–t kicked out of him and getting electricity blown at him. And Luke finally takes his lightsaber and throws it aside and says, “No. I’ll never join you. I’m a Jedi like my father before me.” And the Emperor says, “So be it…Jedi.” And it was the fact that the f–king devil himself gave Luke props and called him by [who] he was. It empowered him. That always gets by people, but that’s my stand-out moment.

But Empire, when that movie ended in a cliffhanger, my life was a cliffhanger. Until the next one came out, you couldn’t talk to me, you couldn’t talk to me, dude. I was hanging out with my Ungnaught action figures. Everything in my life went back to, “What do you think is going to happen next to Han Solo?” I promise you, you talk to my family and they will go, “Dane was bananas.”




Goodfellas
(1990,
96% Tomatometer)


Goodfellas is a movie that you can watch a million times in a row and there’s always a scene where you go, “Whoa, wait a minute, is this another director’s cut. Where did that scene come from? When did that scene get so amazing?” Just a classic. Love Scorsese. But this movie to me is just the cream of the crop when it comes to dramas.




The Dark Knight
(2008,
95% Tomatometer)


I’m going to put this on the list. It’s a new movie. It’s a movie that’s making history. It’s one of the greatest crime dramas out there. And when Kevin Smith lovingly compared it to
Godfather II, it was before I had seen the movie and I thought, “Okay, this is jumping the shark. Kevin Smith, if I see him, I want to punch in the mouth. Because he has taken the hype machine and he’s cranked it up to 11 via
Spinal Tap.” And I was unhappy with [his] statement.

Now that I’ve sat through the movie, I want to French kiss Kevin Smith. He f–king nailed it. And this movie,
The Dark Knight, it deserves the money its making. It’s epic, it’s classic, Heath Ledger would be amazing whether it was a posthumous performance, whatever. He’s awesome in it. I. Love. This. Movie.




Halloween (1978,
90% Tomatometer)


Let me really rattle my brain here. I want to go back. I’m going to say Halloween. When Mike Myers walks out of the backyard… It’s an establishing shot of the front of the house, and you think it’s just a standard exterior, night, Halloween, porch. [But] then the music goes [imitates Halloween theme]. And then [Myers] walks out of the shadow of the backyard. I, to this day, don’t look into a shadowy night yard situation without seeing him walk out.

The same way that when I’m in a very sudsy bathtub — and, yes, I do take baths, don’t judge me — when my f–king toe comes out of the water — my number six pick would be
Jaws — I still look at my toe and I still become frightened of Amity Beach and all the things that happened to the poor people in the Steven Spielberg epic.

I grew up in a family that loved film, loved music, loved comedy. Thirsty for the how-to’s. Some kids liked to take apart radios. I wanted to know how Johnny Carson set up punch. I wanted to know how Burt Reynolds jumped over the bridge in
Cannonball Run. I really have a love of film. And although I wanted to be a comedian primarily, I certainly wanted to, with a smidgen of success, be behind the camera and
live that incredible world.



Bestselling author Chuck Palahniuk burst onto Hollywood’s radar when his psychological novel, Fight Club, was adapted into a major motion picture directed by David Fincher; the resulting film became every American male’s aggro-fantasy (“The first rule of fight club is, you don’t talk about fight club.”) This month, the Palahniuk touch returns to cinemas via Choke, a raunchy and delightfully vulgar adaptation of his novel about a sex addict (Sam Rockwell) who cons people using the Heimlich maneuver.

Chuck Palahniuk took time to share his Five Favorite Films with RT. The results were morbid, to say the least. In no particular order, here are Chuck’s five favorites!



They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
(1969, 83% Tomatometer)



Once again, we see sex and death wed like chocolate and peanut butter. Jane Fonda looks like the angel of bitter, angry suicide girls before such girls were ever born. Bruce Dern plays the psycho hillbilly we loved him playing in ‘The Big Valley’ on television. Gig Young claws his way to the bottom of the bottom-feeders, winning the Oscar just before his own real-life suicide. Here’s my favorite “date movie” of all time.




Alien
(1979,
97% Tomatometer)



Do I really need to explain this? Except for the weird disco typeface spelling out “nostromo” on everyone’s uniform, this film seems timeless.




Session 9
(2001,
60% Tomatometer)



Again, everybody dies. That is such the best, most-great formula for a true masterpiece film. A classic film should leave you thinking, “How in the hell did this idea ever get financing?” The director, Brad Anderson, does more with his small budget than most movies do with huge, fat mountains of cash. The moment the credits start to roll, I want to watch the whole story over again.




Sunset Blvd
(1950,
100% Tomatometer)



Everybody ends up dead or insane-slash-arrested. Nancy Olson is dismissed to wed Jack Webb — the real off-screen horror ending. Every performance is outlandish, as big as anything on any Mexican soap opera. The dead monkey. Buster Keaton. The fun never ends. The best noir comedy, ever.


But wait, there’s more! We’ve got an exclusive clip from Choke for our RT readers, featuring Sam Rockwell as Victor and Anjelica Huston as his deranged mother, Ida.

Click to check out the latest reviews, images, and trailers from Choke.

Paris Hilton

Singer, actress, businesswoman…rock opera star? Paris Hilton has worn many hats during her reign as America’s most famous celebutante, but her most unexpected role is about to come. As a spoiled rich girl with a dangerous plastic surgery addiction in Darren Lynn Bousman‘s grand, Gothic rock opus Repo! The Genetic Opera, Hilton is surprising critics by taking more than a few jabs at herself — by playing a character some might call the Paris Hilton of Repo!

Rotten Tomatoes caught up with Hilton at the soundtrack release party for Repo! The Genetic Opera, which debuts in theaters November 7. Read on for the latest installment of Five Favorite Films with Paris Hilton!

There’s Something About Mary (1998, 81% Tomatometer)



There's Something About Mary

I love There’s Something About Mary. I love Ben Stiller, I think he’s hilarious, so funny. I love Cameron Diaz — she’s so beautiful, and such a great actress. I love the Farrelly brothers. They’re so talented. They have the craziest, sickest humor but I love it.

Moulin Rouge (2001, 78% Tomatometer)



Moulin Rouge

And Moulin Rouge — I love musicals, and I love the music in that. I have it all memorized, I’ve seen that movie twenty times. It’s so beautiful, and I love the makeup and the costumes. The story is so sad.

Beaches (1988, 27% Tomatometer)



Beaches

I love Beaches. I love that movie! It’s so sad, but it’s really a story about best friends. I don’t know, it’s a classic, and I grew up with it. And it has really great music.

Edward Scissorhands (1990, 91% Tomatometer)



Edward Scissorhands

I love Johnny Depp — he’s an amazing actor, and I love the characters he picks. And it’s just a really cute story. And I love the director [Tim Burton].

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961, 86% Tomatometer)



Breakfast at Tiffany's

And I love Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I love Audrey Hepburn. I love her style, and I think the whole idea of it is really fun, because I used to live in New York so I can relate to her.

Our interview with Paris Hilton continues as we discuss her role in Repo! The Genetic Opera, how her intensive singing for the role inspired her new album, and her dream role as an actress.


You’re here because you have a role in Darren Bousman’s film, Repo! The Genetic Opera, which seems to be kind of an unusual choice for you. What kind of roles are you usually offered, and why did you choose to venture into this Goth rock opera?

Paris Hilton: I’m always offered basically to play myself, or another blond role, so it’s hard to really do anything with it, because it’s like, you know, whatever. So I was really honored and excited when I got the call from Darren about it because I love all the Saw movies. The fact that I was being offered such a different role was really exciting for me, and I wanted to show people that I can do a lot more than what I’ve been offered.

I remember hearing Darren talk about how impressed they were at your auditions by your singing.

PH: Yeah, auditions were a lot of fun. I’m so excited I got the part! I really worked hard with my voice coach; this was completely different from my last album. The music was hardcore, so I really had to train. Doing those exercises really helps, they really built up my voice. I was excited to do another album so I set up a recording studio at my house, did a whole album this summer, wrote all the songs…so that’s coming out next month.

What kind of album will this be?

PH:A lot of the songs are very tongue-in-cheek, like I’m joking around and making fun of my image a little bit. And then some songs are more serious, some are love songs, anthem kind of songs.

Acting-wise, what are your goals?

PH:Well, people have been seeing Repo and giving great reviews, so I’ve been getting many offers and calls to do a lot. I’d like to play a total nerd, I think that would be fun.

 

Want more 5 Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Chuck Palahniuk, Dane Cook, Eva Mendes, and Judd Apatow.
Click to check out the latest reviews, images, and trailers from Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Kevin Smith

Coming off his most accessible comedy (Jersey Girl) and his most
vulgar (Clerks 2), writer-director Kevin Smith concocts a mixture of
the two styles for his latest, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, opening
this Friday. In a film by turns thoughtful and juvenile, Seth Rogen and
Elizabeth Banks star as two roommates who embark on a porno shoot to pay off
debts, while slowly realizing the possibility they could be more than just
friends, roommates, and on-screen amateurs.

RT spoke to Smith for his five
favorite films ever, and followed up with an interview about the process of
creating the Zack and Miri universe.

Jaws (1975, 100% Tomatometer)



JFK
Come
on, it’s common sense. Jaws is a fantastic film. Maybe the second film I
saw in my life — I saw The Gumball Rally prior to Jaws — but
Jaws is the first one that made a deep, deep impression. I saw it a drive-in
with my parents when I was five, which is kinda weird in retrospective. It was
PG at the time.

My kid’s nine and my wife still won’t let me show her Jaws.
I made the mistake of showing my kid Gremlins when she was six and I have
heard no end of it from my old lady. She’s all, “She’s still afraid of
Gremlins.” Gremlins is a harmless f–king movie.


JFK (1991, 84% Tomatometer)



JFK


Brilliant writing. Brilliant performances. Fantastic editing. That is
the most well-edited film I have ever seen in my life. I like a lot of Oliver
Stone stuff in general.

A
Man for All Seasons
(1966, 85% Tomatometer)



A Man for All Seasons

A Man For All Seasons is basically porn for people who love dialogue.
Paul Scofield’s brilliant performance. Robert Shaw’s equally brilliant performance
as Henry the VII. It’s always appealed to me. I was 13 years old the first time
I saw it. Absolutely fell in love with it because it’s wall-to-wall language
with compelling performances. And [it’s] about something to me, in terms that I
was raised Catholic. So Thomas Moore’s decision to not sign the oath of
succession appealed to me as I was growing up because this is a dude who’s
martyred for his beliefs and whatnot.

And people will always compare that movie
to The Crucible for some reason. But I never felt the same connection to The
Crucible
because in that instance John Procter is just going to great
lengths to try to keep his name. Whereas Thomas Moore went to great lengths to
keep, what he felt was his soul, intact. By taking that oath it would’ve been
selling out on his soul, it would’ve been lying. He couldn’t do it and I always
found that insanely admirable and the life one wants to emulate to some degree,
without being crazy Catholic at the same time.


Do the
Right Thing
(1989, 100% Tomatometer)



Do the Right Thing


Spike Lee’s finest movie. One of the movies that made me want to get
into the movies as well. I knew I was never going to make Do the Right Thing, to
do what he did with cinema and tell a story comedically but also dramatically.
Very intense. That movie goes from a fun comedy — I don’t know if you can
say fun comedy, but it’s a funny comedy — to a dramatic shift in tone. It’s a
slow burn. You don’t notice it when it happens. It comes out of left field but
it’s keeping in what has come before. You realize how masterfully it’s put
together.

That movie informed Clerks to a large degree: it takes place all in
one day, in one particular block, in one very specific city. So that was the
model I used for Clerks. So much so that the original version of Clerks Dante
gets killed because I was like, “I want to do something like that.” Then I
realized I’m not Spike Lee.

The Last
Temptation of Christ
(1988, 81% Tomatometer)



The Last Temptation of Christ


I was raised Catholic and I still consider myself a fairly spiritual
person even though I have a hard time identifying with most Christians in this
country. But I still maintain a belief in God and in Jesus, and that gets tried
on a daily basis. The older I get, the wiser I get, the tougher it is to believe
in a divine power or whatnot. So that movie appeals to me on that level alone.

To take it beyond, it’s just a fantastic Martin Scorsese picture. Great
performances in it. The first portrayal of Christ where I was, “Wow, this might
be what it was like.” He wasn’t a guy of all beatitude and perfection. He was a
man, first and foremost, who just happened to be the son of God.

Our interview with
Kevin Smith continues as we discuss the MPAA, the process of movie appeals, and
making comedies during a Judd Apatow era.

Now
Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a really sweet movie.

KS: Thank you.

Jersey Girl is also a really sweet movie, but the reaction wasn’t
quite-

KS: [Laughs.] No, not nearly as good.

With Judd Apatow’s productions currently the standard bearers
of American comedy, do you think people are now more receptive to this mix of
vulgarity and sweetness?

KS: Absolutely. It felt like once 40 Year Old
Virgin
did over $100 million, suddenly it made the type of movie that I
make, the kind that mixes vulgar stuff with sentimental stuff, or raunchy stuff
with sweet stuff, viable. Economically viable. For years, I felt any movie that
mixed raunch and sweetness couldn’t make more than $30 million. It was the best
we’ve ever done.

It was a niche thing.

KS: Totally. Absolute niche. Judd blows the ceiling out,
crashes through the glass ceiling, makes over $100 million with 40 Year Old
Virgin
, Knocked Up, and Superbad, and suddenly it proves that
genre viable. So, that to me was a blessing. I’m like, “Right on.” Now I can
totally make Zack and Miri Make a Porno without having it on a $200,000
budget on a 50 screen release.


Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks.

Has Zack and Miri‘s MPAA process given you a new
enthusiasm to do [upcoming horror project] Red State?

KS: [Laughs.] I don’t take as much umbrage with the
MPAA fiasco, if you will, as everyone else. Like everyone else wants to scream
“censorship” the minute it happens. I don’t feel that way because they’re not
saying, “Cut it or it don’t go out.” They’re saying, “If you want your rating,
the rating you want, you’re gonna have to make some changes.” So I would
much rather deal with one governing body than deal with it on a state-by-state
basis, which is what it was before the creation of the MPAA. A movie that
played in New York might not play in Texas, because that state’s censors could
shoot it down. And I assure you, if we were going state by state, I don’t think
any of my movies would have played in Texas at this point.

So I’m glad there’s only one body you have to deal with
that governs the entire country and how we view movies, as opposed to 50.
They’re also fairly generous, and as much as it’s a pain in the ass, they do
give you the option to appeal. Like, you know, they’ll tell you what your
rating is, and they’ll tell you what you need to look at if you want to reach
the rating you want via cuts.

Or they give you this last bite at the apple, which they
really don’t have to do. Like, if I was in charge of the MPAA, I’d be like “F–k
you, the rating is the rating. Either cut or accept that rating.” But they give
you this alternative, where you can actually go and flip it. Go above their
heads to a third party altogether, and I think that’s kinda generous, man. The
fact that they do that at all.

I mean, to me, it is what it is. At the end of the day,
it’s part of the business. If you want to be in this business, you have to be
willing to play that game. And you know, the key is finding a way to play the
game where it works in your favor. And so far we’ve gotten lucky. Three times
I’ve gone to the appeals process; three times we’ve flipped it without having to
make any cuts.

Clerks for one.

KS: Clerks. Jersey Girl they gave an
R rating initially. I had to flip it to a PG-13. Clerks 2, first time we
submitted it: R. That’s why I never thought we’d have problems on Zack and
Miri
because I’m like, “Nothing in this movie is nearly as outrageous as the
donkey show in Clerks 2. If they let that pass, this should be fine.” I
was wrong.

How does the appeals process work?

KS: There’s a bunch of people that work on the
ratings board. I don’t know if they all watch every single movie or if they
just use this many people and they rotate it or something.

First, you go before the ratings board. They watch the
movie, they give you your rating. Then you could either choose to work with the
ratings board, try to cut it to get to your rating, or you go to the appeals
process. The appeals process is made up of an audience that has no ratings
board members on it. There are MPAA members in the audience, people who work in
the studio system or whatnot, members of the Motion Picture Association, but
they’re not ratings board members. The other half of the audience is made up of
members of NATO, the National Association of Theater Owners. I’ve always felt
that those members of NATO should be what the ratings board is made up of.


Craig Robinson and Seth Rogen.

Because they’re the ones who exhibit the movie.

KS: They are the last line of defense. They’re the
ones that deal with the public on a regular basis. So a guy who owns a movie
theater, an exhibitor, can tell you precisely what will get a person on their
feet, out of the theater, asking for a refund. And that’s an opinion I trust
more than some nebulous body with people who may or may not be parents of
children who are of a young age.

Anyways, the appeals screening is made up of those members
of the audience. What you do is you screen the movie for them, and then you as
the filmmaker get up and you get 15 minutes to make an argument for why you feel
the movie should be rated R as opposed to NC-17. Then Joan Graves, who is the
head of the ratings board, gets up and she does 15 minutes as to why she feels
the movie is NC-17. Then you get 10 minutes to rebut her, and she gets
10 minutes to rebut you. Then you two leave the room, and people take a secret
ballot. That’s how it all works. And you have to win by 2/3 majority. You
can’t win by one vote. So we had 14 people in our screening. If eight of them
had voted for us, we would have lost. We had to have 2/3, so we wound up
winning 10-4.


Zack and Miri’s film crew.

Now after getting the R rating, people are taking
issue with the posters.

KS: It’s weird. After we won the appeal, it felt
like the MPAA got a little more stringent with our marketing materials. Like,
they started kicking back our posters and potential trailers. We had done a
bunch of behind-the-scenes shorts on Clerks 2 and put them up on the
Internet and ran them for almost 6 months in advance of the movie. Never once
had to approve them through anybody. We do what we want, because it’s the
Internet, and who governs the Internet?

We were gonna do [the shorts] again [for Zack and Miri,
and] this time around, the MPAA told us that we couldn’t run without getting
them approved by the MPAA first. The MPAA’s manifest is they have approval over
all movies and of signatory members of the MPAA. A studio has to be a signatory
MPAA member [and] most studios are. All of them are, as a matter of fact. But
[the MPAA] also governs the marketing material. So in the same way that they’re
like, “We can tell you what can go in a trailer that plays on TV, we can also
tell you these can or cannot be played on the Internet.” And that’s the first
time I’ve ever encountered that.

Suddenly, after years of ignoring the Internet, they’re now
paying attention. So all those [shorts] had to get rated through them as well,
and that was kind of weird. They were insisting that we install an age gate on
the site. An age gate is ridiculous. Anybody can beat an age gate. You don’t
even have to be Einstein to beat an age gate. You’re just f–king picking a
date that makes you 18 or older. And in a world where you can jump to a porno
site and watch a 15-second mpeg of people f–king without clicking an age gate,
how are you protecting people from anything, you know? It’s like, this movie is
a comedy. It’s not true porn, you know. All the f–king is fake, and silly at
that. What about the real porn over here? But they’re like, “We’re not in
charge of that. We’re only in charge of movies.” Because no parent calls up the MPAA to say, like, “My kid saw something weird on largelabia.com.”

I’ll be honest with you, I’m shocked they’ve let it go as
long as they have. The one thing I’m really terrified about is when they start
rating the extras on a DVD. So far, people have left that alone. Jersey Girl
was a PG-13 movie. Those two commentary tracks are R, if not worse. And some of
the features we had on it were definitely not PG-13-friendly. So for years
you’ve been able to do that. I’m scared that one day those cats are gonna start
turning on home video as well and being like, “We have to rate all the extras on
the disc.” So you could conceivably have a PG movie with R-rated extras. So as
long as they leave that alone, I’m fine.

Largely, I don’t make PG-13 movies, so it doesn’t matter.
If most of my [DVD extra] content was rated R, the movies are usually rated R,
so I’m okay with it. But, you know, [a potential MPAA crackdown] will prevent
things like that Jersey Girl commentary track from happening. Which, you
know, let’s be honest, wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. It wouldn’t be
the collapse of the American infrastructure. But it is kinda vexing.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno opens in theaters this Friday.

Want more 5 Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Chuck Palahniuk, Dane Cook, Eva Mendes, and Judd Apatow.

Seth RogenAfter a steady ascension to leading man status through cult TV work
(Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared) and supporting roles (Anchorman, The 40 Year
Old Virgin
), Seth Rogen fulfils another Hollywood dream this week:
headlining a Kevin Smith movie, reported to have been Rogen’s goal when
starting out in L.A. He stars in Smith’s
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
along
with Elizabeth Banks as one of two roommates who embark on a porno shoot to
pay off debts, while slowly realizing the possibility they could be more
than just friends, roommates, and on-screen amateurs.

RT spoke to Rogen for his five favorite films ever (click
here for Monday’s
Five Favorites article with Kevin Smith), and followed up with an interview
about Zack and Miri, opening this Friday.

The Big Lebowski (1998,
77% Tomatometer)



The Big Lebowski
Obviously
amazing. It’s hilarious. I can watch it over and over. Unbelievably funny.

Ghostbusters (1984,
93% Tomatometer)



Ghostbusters


That was just good ol’ high-concept fun. Evan and I always like to take
ridiculous situations and handle them as though they were real. That’s kind of
where the idea of Pineapple Express came from. These ridiculous action movie
situations and you handle it just how two idiots would handle it. And that’s
kind of what Ghostbusters did. It’s a ridiculous concept but it was handled very
much, “How would four dudes do that, you know?” And it’s great. I love that
movie.

The Last Detail (1974,
91% Tomatometer)



The Last Detail

I saw that more recently in life. Hal Ashby shoots very simply. He kind of takes
a step back and shoots stuff as it happens. Things are never about the shot,
you know? It’s always about the joke. It’s never about how the camera moves.
That’s a very interesting style.

Superbad is very
Last Detail-ish. We wrote Superbad before we saw Last Detail, but after we saw
it, it helped clarify what we were going for, I think.

Total Recall
(1990, 79% Tomatometer)



Total Recall


Total Recall‘s just f–king rad. And super violent. That movie is a good
indicator that you can take things much farther than you think you could.
[Laughs.] And they will strike a chord with the mainstream, I think. That movie
goes really far. It’s pretty crazy. I love Paul Verhoeven. He’s the man.

Goodfellas (1990 96% Tomatometer)



Goodfellas


I just love that movie. It’s a rad
movie. It’s beautiful.

Our interview with
Seth Rogen continues as we discuss his upcoming projects, including The Green
Hornet
and Judd Apatow’s Funny People.

Freaks and Geeks is now a show that means a lot to people. When fans
talk to you, do you feel like you’re required to be knowledgeable about the
show, Star Trek-style?

SR: I’m not that familiar with some of the episodes
because I’m not in all of them. [Laughs.] I actually have not seen the ones I’m
not in as many times as the [ones I am in]. But, no, [the fans] are nice, and I
know it pretty well. I feel that I don’t disappoint those people too much.

So among your upcoming projects is writing a Simpsons episode.

 

SR:
Yeah, we did it.

When is it airing?

SR: I don’t know. It takes a while to
animate them. It was the greatest thing we ever did. It was the smartest idea we
ever had, trying to do that. The greatest day of my life.

And you also voiced a character?

SR: Yeah. You do it all together, which is amazing. The
whole cast is in one room. So it’s me and Homer…you’re talking to Dan
Castellaneta!



Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks.

Considering animated films now record everything
separately, it surprises me The Simpsons still records in a single room.

SR: Surprised me too. I can’t believe they
do it like that. I haven’t even met half the people [I co-star with] in
[animated] films.

And [the episode] is really funny. I think. I hope. I hope it’s a good one. The
fact that we came up with an idea at all that they hadn’t done before was
shocking. And I just got the script in the mail signed by the whole cast and I’m
all, “This is the f–king best thing we ever did.”

Before you came on board for The Green Hornet, Kevin Smith was attached
to the project. Did you discuss your versions during the Zack and Miri shoot?

SR: Yeah, I asked him what his version was. I told him what we were
doing. It seems that we have totally different takes. They’re totally different
movies. I had no idea that he was ever involved with it when we first came on.
It’s funny. Funny how things work out. But it’s happened before. I’ve been fired
from movies that my friends are later hired on. Everyone knows each other. It’s
bound to happen. [Laughs.]

Right now you’re filming Funny People, rumored to
be more dramatic than comedic?

SR: I don’t know if I’d say it’s more
drama than comedy. I’d say [there’s] more drama than our movies generally have.
But it’s still played pretty funny. I feel just the nature of having Adam
Sandler in every scene is [making] it funny. But it definitely is about
something more serious, in that it deals with death in a lot of ways. It’s a
really interesting tone. Normally, our movies balance sweet storyline with the
dirty jokes, but this one seems to balance more dark, depressing storyline with
the dirty jokes.

 


Craig Robinson and Seth Rogen.

With the dramatic elements in Freaks and Geeks and
Knocked Up, is Funny People not actually that big of a leap anyways?

SR: I do feel like I’ve done quite a bit
of drama. [The upcoming film] Observe and Report also has a lot of very dramatic stuff in it, so
that was good preparation. I think it’s actually easier to do drama to be
honest. Like, because, you just…you just don’t have to try to be funny.
[Laughs.] For me to act natural and real but also try to be funny while doing
that [is hard].


Why was The Green Hornet the project that convinced
you to work out? Had it ever come up before with any other roles that you should
get into shape?

SR: No, it never had. [Laughs.] No, it
just never came up really. [Laughs.] I honestly think it serves the movie more.
I don’t need to be in incredible shape for it. But it’s definitely served by [a
hero] who’s into his image, a guy who’s a little more physical attentive than
some of my other characters. A guy who physically who just has to do a lot of
stuff.

When was it known that Stephen Chow was going to
direct in addition to co-starring?

SR: It was simultaneous. We sent him the
script. We said, “The world is yours. Tell us what you want your involvement to
be, and that’s what it’ll be.” He wrote back that he wanted to direct it and be
Kato. And that was it.

Was Chow familiar with your work when you sent him
the script?

SR: I think maybe he was familiar with
The Green Hornet. And then he heard that a comedian was involved in it. I think
he had heard of our movies but I don’t know if he had seen them. He has seen
them all now, and he’s liked them. Enough to read the script, I guess. And we
got along really well.

And vice-versa: how familiar were you with Chow’s
work?

SR: I remember when Shaolin Soccer came
out. I saw Kung Fu Hustle and that was the first I really saw of him. And it
just blew my mind. And then I went back and watched all the other stuff, God of
Cookery
and all that.

 


Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks.

How did you originally get involved with The Green
Hornet
?

SR: You know, you tell your agent, “We
want to work on our next movie. Is there anything out there that’s interesting?”
She’ll tell you one ten things and one of them’s The Green Hornet. “Oh,
[producer] Neal
Moritz has the rights to The Green Hornet. Maybe you can pitch an idea to the
writers. Maybe you can pitch an idea if you have one.” Me and [writing
partner] Evan [Goldberg] knew of The
Green Hornet
, we liked it. I wasn’t, like, f–king crazy about it or anything.
But we’ve always wanted to write a movie about a hero and his sidekick. And we
always thought that was an interesting story. And one that’s never been told
well. It’s a funny relationship. And we thought that’d be the perfect one to do
that with. Get the one thing where the sidekick’s more famous than the hero.
Like, everyone knows Bruce Lee. We just pitched our idea. And I could be him in
this version because it’s about not really being your traditional hero. He needs
[Kato]. He can’t do it on his own.

In the new wave of superhero movies, you can’t have
a sidekick anymore.

SR: Exactly!

Do you think a superhero/sidekick movie is
inherently funny or campy?

SR: Yes. It’s impossible for that
relationship to not be slightly comedic. It just by nature is. That is why we
always wanted to make a movie about that. And our movies are all about
relationships. That’s where we always start. From Pineapple Express to Superbad,
as dumb and weird as those movies are, we always start with the relationship.
Again, yeah, we were huge comic book fans, but with this, it seemed like our way
in. It seemed like, “Ah, we get to make a comic book superhero movie, but it’s
also based on a relationship.” And that’s something we know how to make movies
about.

And not that many people are fans of it. Which is also good. There’s very few
people to piss off. No one knows s–t about The Green Hornet.

There’s four guys on a message board who are out for blood.

SR: [Laughs.] There’s four guys who are
real pissed off about it, and f–k those guys. Who cares, you know? The fact
that anyone right now is excited about a Green Hornet movie is a miracle. Like,
it is unbelievable that we somehow got people talking about The Green Hornet.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno opens in theaters this Friday.

Want more 5 Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with
Kevin Smith, Dane Cook,

Paris Hilton
, and Judd Apatow.

Mike Mignola - Mark Sullivan/WireImage.com

Hellboy creator Mike Mignola first saw his trademark comic book character make the leap from page to screen in 2004’s critically-acclaimed adaptation of the same name, helmed by fantasy auteur Guillermo del Toro. After co-writing two direct-to-DVD animated Hellboy films (one of which was nominated for a Primetime Emmy), Mignola reunited with comrade-in-arms del Toro to pen an original sequel to their successful first Hellboy film, infusing the familiar world of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense with a distinctly folkloric twist. The result, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, opened this summer to a Certified Fresh 88 percent Tomatometer score and comes to DVD this week.

RT spoke with Mike Mignola to learn his Five Favorite Films of all time, which appropriately span the cinematic landscape where art meets horror. (Stay tuned for Guillermo del Toro’s Five Favorite Films to see which beloved movie both Hellboy artists share in common!)

Bride of Frankenstein (1935, 100% Tomatometer)



Bride of Frankenstein
It’s just the greatest monster movie ever made. It’s so much weirder than it needed to be; in a way it’s kind of like Hellboy, where the first Hellboy movie was like, kind of normal, for what it was, but the second movie was so much weirder because the director was like, well I got that studio picture out of my system, now I’ll just go crazy. That’s what Bride of Frankenstein was like. It’s like a monster art film.

Beauty and the Beast (1946, 95% Tomatometer)



Beauty and the Beast


Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast — because it’s just the greatest, weird, fantasy art film ever.

Moby Dick (1956, 90% Tomatometer)



Moby Dick

Moby Dick — John Huston’s Moby Dick, because it was a movie I saw as a kid, and it was like the great, dramatic boy movie; it’s the movie I can still watch every week.

Basquiat (1996, 64% Tomatometer)



Basquiat

I moved to New York in 1982, and I didn’t know any of those kind of people but that kind of world was going on. It’s a brilliant film; the poetry of the language and everything else — it’s just a great film about art.

Henry V (1989, 100% Tomatometer)



Henry V

Kenneth Branagh‘s Henry V. Because it’s just a perfect mix of that great Shakespeare dialogue, with the music and the tone of everything, and the drama…it was just perfect.



Click for behind-the-scenes images from Hellboy II.
For more on Hellboy II: The Golden Army, click here.

Guillermo del Toro - Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.com

With a reputation for excellence in the realms of fantasy and horror, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro brought a visionary touch to such critically-acclaimed films as Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone, Cronos, and last year’s The Orphanage, which he produced. When del Toro turned his attentions to Dark Horse Comics’ Hellboy franchise in 2004 — infusing the big, horned anti-hero with a distinct sense of style and wit — fans and critics were summarily delighted, and the reins came loose for a bigger and more fantastical sequel. Hellboy II: The Golden Army surpassed the critical and box office performances of its predecessor and is Certified Fresh at 88 percent on the Tomatometer.

Rotten Tomatoes caught up with del Toro at the Hellboy II: The Golden Army DVD/Blu-ray Launch Party, where, in signature self-deprecating fashion, he guided those in attendance through the immersive Hellboy II Blu-ray experience. More importantly, del Toro announced plans to join fans in a ground-breaking BD-Live chat event (November 23rd at 6pm PST), where Blu-ray owners can log in and ask him their most burning questions. Except for, say, his favorite movies of all time; we’ve got that covered below.

Read on for Guillermo del Toro‘s Five Favorite Films (click for the Five Favorite Films of Hellboy II star Doug Jones and Hellboy comics creator Mike Mignola, who shared at least one top movie with del Toro himself)…

Bride of Frankenstein (1935, 100% Tomatometer)



Bride of Frankenstein
Bride of Frankenstein is absolutely perfect. It has the innocence and beauty of a fairy tale, but has the darkness of a gothic horror tale. So the combination is irresistible. [On hearing that Hellboy comics creator Mike Mignola also named Bride of Frankenstein among his favorite films, del Toro said with a smile, “Well, we are alike in some aspects.”]

Blade Runner (1982, 91% Tomatometer)



Blade Runner

Blade Runner is simply one of those cinematic drugs, that when I first saw it, I never saw the world the same way again.

The Forgotten Ones (Los Olvidados) (1950, 93% Tomatometer)



Los Olvidados

The third film, Los OlvidadosBunuel‘s movie — which I think is one of the best depictions of childhood ever made.

The Road Warrior (1981, 100% Tomatometer)



Henry V

The Road Warrior — again, it transformed the way I see the world.

The Gold Rush (1925, 100%) / City Lights (1931, 100% Tomatometer)



The Gold Rush


City Lights
And [lastly] probably The Gold Rush, or City Lights, by Chaplin, because they are absolute pinnacles of filmmaking. You have precision comedy, precision filmmaking, and one of the best directors ever. He and Buster Keaton were fantastic, and they were two of my idols.




Click for images from Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy II production diary!
For more on Hellboy II: The Golden Army, click here.

Robert Pattinson - Charley Gallay/WireImage.com

Thanks to a teen phenomenon called Twilight, Robert Pattinson has gone from being a little-known Brit actor (best known as the handsome, ill-fated Cedric Diggory in two Harry Potter films) to having his face plastered across every major magazine, television show, and website known to man. Or at least, every one of them known to teenage girls. This Friday, thousands of Pattinson’s admiring fans will have the pleasure of finally watching the teen vampire romance that has launched their favorite new teen idol into the stratosphere, as he stars opposite Kristen Stewart as Edward Cullen, the dreamiest undead boyfriend of the year in Catherine Hardwicke‘s (Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown) adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling novel.

But there’s more than Tiger Beat fodder to the 22-year-old actor; after the Twilight frenzy peaks this week (with fans and Summit Entertainment suits crossing their fingers for a breakout box office to justify a multi-sequel franchise) Pattinson will appear next March as a young Salvador Dali in Little Ashes (click for images)– a period piece that might test the ardor of Pattinson’s Twilight fan base — and the indie outsider pic How to Be, which will likely pick up distribution in the wake of Twilight. Pattinson’s artful leanings came out in a conversation with Rotten Tomatoes about his favorite films of all time, which span such cinematic luminaries as Jack Nicholson, Jean-Luc Godard, and…Chris Kattan?

Read on for Five Favorite Films with Twilight‘s Robert Pattinson.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975, 98% Tomatometer)



One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The films that I like aren’t necessarily because they’re good films in themselves — One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a good film — but that one specifically meant a lot to me. Not because I was in a mental home or anything, but that character influenced me so much when I was 15 or 16, and bits of it stuck with me. A lot of that kind of “putting your middle finger up to the world” attitude — not that I really have that, but…I used to be so timid, and that was one of those films that [helped me break out], by pretending to be [Jack Nicholson’s character] Randle.

The Exorcist (1973, 85% Tomatometer)



Exorcist

The Exorcist, because I love Linda Blair. [Laughs] She’s my ideal woman.

Prenom Carmen (First Name: Carmen) (1983, 88% Tomatometer)



Prenom Carmen

What else do I like? A Godard film called Prenom Carmen, which sounds like I’m just saying that to be cool, but it’s actually one of my favorite films. I think it’s the best Godard film. It’s like his version of Carmen the opera, one of his films from the eighties. In terms of just pure filmmaking and manipulating an audience, it kind of starts out as a farce, as a complete, stupid farce, with this bank robbery; but it’s really, really…Godardian, with kind of a stupid humor that’s so random. Only he could make it, mixed up with these kinds of philosophical elements.

It starts out with one of these bank robbers, these students, and she starts to sleep with one of the guards; she’s having sex with him in the bank, and he pretends to arrest her and they run away together. And he wants to be part of her gang. It’s all so completely ridiculous. And then suddenly, halfway through, it turns into the most heartbreaking, serious thing that you’ve ever seen — out of nowhere! — and you’re suddenly so attached to these characters, which you weren’t before, because it seemed like a stupid student film. They have this secondary story where they have a string quartet playing the soundtrack which runs in the other story, but they film them during rehearsal, just doing really close up things with them playing cello and stuff, and it’s about the relationship with the conductor and this girl, the cellist — and it’s completely random to the film, but it’s incredible.

Continuing on the subject of Godard…

I love the last line of Breathless — it’s literally one of the best [representations] of the relationship between women and men. He was also very aware of how people viewed his films, and that film in particular. Everyone was thinking, oh, I’m cool, because I like this, and it’s like, “What does ‘bitch’ mean?” [Laughs] That’s kind of the conflict. I love that.

Breathless is definitely what got me into Godard. You can’t really be influenced by Jean-Paul Belmondo though, because he’s too cool — so there’s no point in me trying to be like him! Randle McMurphy, you can kind of wear his clothes. [Laughs] It’s quite easy to find them. But if you wore Belmondo’s clothes, you’d look like an idiot.

But even he’s trying to be someone else — he’s trying to be Bogart.

He’s not really — he’s cooler than Bogart! [Pattinson imitates Belmondo’s signature move, brushing his thumb over his lips.] That’s like the coolest thing! Another film, Pierrot le Fou — I did everything from those movies. These stupid, random things, like when he says, “Can I get two beers?” And she’s like, “Why?” “I want to have one when I finish the other one.” I was like, that’s so cool! I have to do that all the time! There’s this stupid thing from Arizona Dream, with Vincent Gallo and Johnny Depp, where Vincent Gallo does this thing, [in Gallo’s American accent] “Two shots, two beers.” So every time I buy drinks, I go “Two shots, two beers!” I love that film so much.


Corky Romano (2001, 5% Tomatometer)



Corky Romano

Corky Romano. I love that film. Literally, that’s one of the only films I’ve pissed my pants at. Like, I actually pissed my pants. The first time I was in L.A. I was watching it on TV. The scene where he’s on coke…was literally the only thing that they advertised, it was like the only point of the whole movie! I love that character. I love how Chris Kattan just stripped his whole career in one movie. The only guy off Saturday Night Live who just messed it up! It’s like, what happened? The only guy. That’s why I think it’s so great.

I also love the behind-the-scenes stuff on the DVD where none of the crew are laughing; the director’s [hiding] and he’s telling Chris Kattan, “Just do something funny, just make Chris Penn laugh,” and none of the crew think it’s funny at all. And you can tell Chris Kattan is just freaking out. Also, he had that vein, which I have [Pattinson points to his forehead] which pops out of his head. I can really relate to him.

ivan’s xtc. (2002, 75% Tomatometer)



ivans xtc.

A film called ivan’s xtc. It’s a Danny Huston film. That’s what I’ve been watching obsessively recently. It’s amazing; Danny Huston should have gotten nominated for an Oscar for it. It’s about an agent in Hollywood, and it’s kind of a dumb movie before Huston comes in, and then literally is the best example of one performance elevating a movie. It was shot on digital video; it’s all improvised. Just having him there, he’s literally this — I don’t know, I can’t even describe it. I’ve never seen a performance like it. He’s flawless. And if you’ve ever met an agent, ever…

Check out more info on Robert Pattinson here, and view pictures and trailers from Twilight. Twilight opens nationwide this Friday, November 21.

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Chuck Palahniuk, Kevin Smith, Guillermo del Toro, and Judd Apatow.

Primarily known for co-founding Pixar and revolutionizing the animation
medium after directing Toy Story (along with its sequel, A Bug’s Life, and Cars), John Lasseter
took over the wheel at Disney animation studios’ as their Chief Creative
Officer, entrusted with reversing the tide of their direct-to-DVD sequelitis and diminishing impact on feature animation. So it’s probably no coincidence
that Bolt, Disney Animation’s first Certified Fresh feature in over six
years, is also their first to have been fully supervised by Lasseter. Starring the voices of John Travolta and Miley Cyrus,
Bolt (opening today) centers around a thespian dog who, with the help of a
world-weary cat and a fanboy hamster, explores America beyond the confines
of his TV set.

We spoke with Lasseter in his Burbank office for his five favorite
movies of all time. He agreed to list them but with one request: “In a John
Lasseter top five, I would put a short in front of each of these. Typically,
these are Chuck Jones shorts. Can’t have a top five without having the
shorts.”

Dumbo (1941, 97% Tomatometer)



Dumbo
Dumbo is my favorite movie of all time. A remarkable motion picture. Just over 60 minutes, it’s so tight in terms of storytelling. It’s like [snaps fingers]. When you have kids and you watch
Dumbo, it really nails you because there’s that “Baby Mine” sequence. I like [Dumbo] because it’s the most cartoony of Disney features. I like it because the main character doesn’t talk. Such a wonderful film. It is very funny.
Great music. It also really moves you. It has a really huge heart. Walt Disney always said that for every laugh, there should be a tear. I live by that.

Lasseter’s bonus short:
Rabbit Seasoning

Star Wars (1977,
95% Tomatometer)



Star Wars
Probably everybody has that on their list. [Star Wars] came out and I just finished my sophomore year at CalArts. The May of ’77, saw it opening weekend at the Chinese Theatre. It worked in so many ways, but one of the things personally [that] was so inspiring [was] how it entertained an audience to a new level. I was there with a packed audience. I waited six hours. Towards the climax, when Luke is in the X-Wing and he’s going down the trench, I was just shaking I was so excited. And I’d never seen an audience so excited. First of all, it was everybody, from kids to adults, teenagers. Everybody was going crazy for this film. The quality of the storytelling, where it’s one foot in sort of the past and one foot in the future, I was so impressed by that. I came out and said, “That’s what I want to do with animation.” Many of my friends left animation [because of
Star Wars] and went to actual special effects. At that time, animation was thought of just for kids. I saw this and said, “No, no, I want to entertain audiences.” That’s all I think about when I make my movies.

Bonus short:
What’s Opera, Doc?

Sullivan’s
Travels
(1941, 100% Tomatometer)



Sullivan's Travels

I saw this for the first time at CalArts [and] since then I’ve become a big fan of all Preston Sturges films. Again, I [had] already chosen what I wanted to do for a living but [this] story touched me so deeply.

Here’s a guy who makes comedies during the Depression and he’s so isolated in Hollywood [that] he sets out to learn what’s going on with people. He becomes a hobo. And he ends up way in the South and [is] put into this work prison. And everyone in Hollywood believes that he’s dead, that a hobo stole his coat and was killed by a train. And so he’s there and [he can’t] get word back that he’s still alive. It’s a horrible situation. For Christmas Eve, at the depth of his misery, a black church in the segregated South invites all the prisoners out. And they sit there and what they watch is a Pluto cartoon. It’s the famous scene of Pluto getting the flypaper stuck on him and he can’t get it off. And [the audience] starts howling with laughter. Howling with laughter. People who you wouldn’t think would still have laughter in their bodies. And Sullivan came out of this and gets back to Hollywood and everyone’s like, “Oh, you had this horrible situation, you must make a great drama.” And he goes, “No, I’m going to make a comedy. Because that’s what the world needs.”

Bonus short:
A Bear for
Punishment

Mr.
Deeds Goes to Town
 (1936, 93% Tomatometer)



Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

This is between Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life and
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Hmm, I’m going to go with Mr. Deeds. Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur. It’s just an amazing film. It’s very funny. Longfellow Deeds is the main character, Gary Cooper plays him and he’s so appealing. I think it’s the definition of appeal.

So Longfellow Deeds is this guy who lives in this tiny town, he’s makes a living writing greeting cards. Just a sweet guy. There’s a distant relative who’s this gigantic millionaire. Has a huge fortune. So this industrialist dies in New York City and they trace [him] down, he’s the only heir to this huge fortune. So they bring him to New York and now he runs this company. [But] this really ace reporter for the local paper wants to get the dirt on him, and [she’s played by] Jean Arthur. So she waits for him to come out and she acts like she’s starving, like she’s a homeless woman during the Depression. So he picks her up and feeds her some food and they start doing things together. And he absolutely falls in love with her. But, so, there’s all this dirt that’s coming out in the newspapers and they don’t know how it’s happening. But the scene…it starts very funny, but, again, it’s that heart, it’s balancing humor and heart that Frank Capra did so well, the scene in which he finds out the woman he’s fallen in love with is actually the one who’s doing all the dirt is one of the most emotional scenes in the film. And it’s so underplayed. So beautifully underplayed. He gets behind this column but you know he’s crying. And he can’t bear anyone to see him. It’s so incredibly moving and touching.

Bonus short:
Rabbit of
Seville

The General (1927,
91% Tomatometer)



The General
I’m going to choose Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill Jr. It
was either Steamboat Bill Jr. or The General. You know, let me change it to
The
General
. Love the train. Anyways, Steamboat Bill Jr.-slash-The General. It’s
about Buster Keaton. He was one of the great inspirations in my career, my
life, in studying his works. He’s like a human cartoon character. But, more
importantly, he developed character and personality. These films are so
appealing because of the personality of the characters he created. His comic
timing is staggering.

Bonus short:
Zoom and Bored

Check out more info on John Lasseter
here, and view pictures and trailers from
Bolt. Bolt opens nationwide
today.

John Lasseter accepting a Certified Fresh award.

 

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Robert Pattinson, Kevin Smith, Guillermo del Toro, and Judd Apatow.

British actor Jason Statham has made a career of reviving a forgotten genre – that of the ultimate “guy flick” – by blending the ultra-cool masculinity of Steve McQueen, the physicality of 1980s action stars, and a post-modern, knowing slyness that belies the otherwise B-movie nature of many of his vehicles (all of which often make him the most engaging element of his own films). This week Statham returns to one of his best-known characters in Transporter 3: Frank Martin, the black market driver with a “no questions asked” policy and a knack for kicking ass without leaving so much as a wrinkle on his tailored designer suits.

While the first Transporter film (2002) was directed by acclaimed martial arts choreographer Corey Yuen, French director Louis Letterier took the helm for its follow-up, Transporter 2 (2005). This week newcomer Olivier Megaton takes the wheel for a bigger, faster Transporter 3, with Yuen returning to choreograph a leaner (and often shirtless) Statham in the film’s impressive action sequences.

Rotten Tomatoes spoke to Statham about his favorite films of all time, which surprisingly include a few Paul Newman classics and unsurprisingly include a Bruce Lee film. As our conversation continued, we also discussed the different feel of Transporter 3, Corey Yuen’s diminished role in the film’s action scenes, and his recently announced film, The Expendables, in which he’ll star with action legends Sylvester Stallone (who will also write and direct) and Jet Li.

 

Cool Hand Luke (1967, 100% Tomatometer)



Cool Hand Luke
I saw it years ago, when my mom and dad made me watch it. And I was like, “This guy [Paul Newman] is just the coolest dude ever.” He just had such charisma. It just really spoke to me, and it’s one of those films I can watch time and time again. Paul Newman! It was like, Oh my God, look at this guy, he’s so cool! It was pretty much the first time I saw Paul Newman and I’ve been hooked on most of his movies ever since.

The Godfather (1972,
100% Tomatometer), The Godfather Part II (1974, 98%)



Godfather
It’s just quality at its best. Fantastic writing, an amazing caliber of acting; just beautiful, everything about it. The details of the clothes, the sets — just a masterpiece. Again, I can watch any of the trilogy time and time again. [RT: Even Godfather 3??] Well…(laughs) Listen, the first two are so good.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969, 90% Tomatometer)



Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Another favorite movie is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Again, I can watch that movie a hundred times and never get tired. I think the pairing of Redford and Newman is amazing. Paul Newman and Robert Redford are just so good.

The Sting (1973, 91% Tomatometer)



The Sting

The Sting. I have a lot of Paul Newman films, don’t I? But they’re so good!

 

Enter the Dragon (1973,
97% Tomatometer)



Enter the Dragon

If we want to talk about the movies that have made an impact in what I do in the action realm — Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon. I’ve watched that countless times. That is a standalone pioneer in action movies, and anyone that was inspired by Bruce Lee…I’m sure everyone that has ever done an action movie has just drooled over how full of talent Bruce Lee was, and how unique he was.

[On the first time he saw Enter the Dragon]: I was a kid; my brother had posters of Bruce Lee on the wall. My brother’s you know, punching me and he was a lot bigger than me; I was like, what? I couldn’t see the movie, I was tiny. But as soon as I was able to steal the VHS and stick it in, it was like, Gee, this guy is just…so avant-garde, he’s years above, so far ahead of his own time. So that made a massive impact in my life.

Next: Jason Statham on Transporter 3, Corey Yuen’s diminished involvement, and his plans to team up with Sly Stallone and Jet Li.

I hear you visit Rotten Tomatoes…

Jason Statham: Sometimes, yeah! You’re making all these films, and sometimes – hey, listen, it can be quite depressing or it can give you a big head for all the wrong reasons. So I don’t know whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but sometimes you spend so many hours making these films…people are going to give an opinion on them, and everyone’s entitled to an opinion. There’s always good and there’s always bad. So it’s best not to take it too seriously, but at the same time it’s nice to know people support what you’re doing, and at the same time you also get the ol’ custard pie. “That was a piece of crap!” But at the end of the day, no one tries to make a bad movie. And people really do work hard. And there are a lot of people involved. And sometimes it doesn’t end up the way it was supposed to end up. So to think that some people just say, “Well that was a piece of shit…” It’s quite harsh when you read that. But at the end of the day, it’s just us trying to do good.

And you’re just a part of the whole picture…

JS: Yeah, you’re not solely responsible for the finished product. But it is what it is; people like feedback.

The Bank Job got great reviews.

JS: I know! I was like, hey, somebody likes a movie of mine!

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You mentioned how influential Bruce Lee was to you; in many of the scenes in your movies, but especially in Transporter 3, you seem to be going for such a precise physicality that is reminiscent of Bruce Lee’s lightning-quick moves and poses.

JS: Oh, God. Bruce Lee was just so lightning-fast. People try to emulate him in whatever way they can, but to try and do what he was doing…you’re just inspired by it; you’re not trying to say, look, I can do that. No one can do what he did.

And Corey Yuen, by the way, is the one that creates all these sequences. [Yuen directed the first Transporter film, served as second unit director on Transporter 2, and choreographed the action in Transporter 3.] He’s ultimately responsible for those choreographed pieces.

Now, Corey directed the first Transporter; the second film was by Louis Leterrier (Incredible Hulk). In the third Transporter, you’ve got a new director, Olivier Megaton. How different has it been working from movie to movie with these different directors?

[rtimage]MapID=1197818&MapTypeID=2&photo=11&legacy=1[/rtimage]
JS: think it’s difficult, because this time the action sequences took on a bit of a different twist. Normally Corey Yuen gets to edit the sequences; because he creates them, he’s responsible for the snip, snip, snip, and puts them together in his own musical way. But this time, Olivier – who’s obviously the director – he wanted to give it a new twist, a fresh twist, and basically put them together in what he saw as the best way. It’s only down to individual taste, really. I don’t know whether it was better…I hope it was.

But Corey still choreographed the sequences?

JS: Yes, but usually if you choreograph it, you usually edit it, too. But you know, Olivier has a very certain style of filmmaking, and it’s very stylistic and cool; I think he’s done a great job. But it is very different to the previous two. A lot faster; doesn’t have the silky-smooth feel. A little bit of timing was lost. But at the same time, some people like that; it’s a little more contemporary. It’s all about flavor, it’s all about what you like.

Can you talk a bit about The Expendables, which was just announced?

JS: Yeah, we’re gonna team up with Sly, who’s going to write, direct and star in The Expendables movie and I’m going along for the ride. With Jet Li as well! It’ll be a powerhouse combo – get out of the way, motherf***ers! (laughs) That’s what it should be called.

Will you be fighting each other?

JS: No, we’ll be on the same squad. There’ll be some ass to be kicked. I’m looking forward to it.

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Robert Pattinson, Kevin Smith, Guillermo del Toro, and Judd Apatow.

In last August’s Traitor, Don Cheadle took on the challenge of tempering a Bourne-like action hero with the moral ambiguity of real world concerns: namely, terrorism and the Muslim identity. And who better to portray the conflicting identities of American spy and fundamentalist defector than the Oscar-nominated Cheadle, one of a handful of actors capable of sympathetically depicting such hot-button polarities?

Rotten Tomatoes spoke via email with Cheadle about his favorite films, his interest in Traitor, his thoughts on Darfur and more. Traitor is released on DVD December 19.

I don’t have five favorite films. My affinity for them changes as I change over the course of my life from child to student to professional to husband and father, etc. All the films that follow are not in any order nor etched in stone, but here goes.
— Don Cheadle

 

City of God (2003, 93% Tomatometer)


City of God
Today, I’ll say City of God though that could change tomorrow. It is so special in its storytelling, a perfectly executed, beautifully shot, wasting nothing, brilliant acting, etc. What’s not to like?

The In-Laws (1979, 83% Tomatometer)


The In-Laws
It makes me pee with laughter. Peter Falk and Alan Arkin are a perfect combination and play off each other so well in this ridiculous movie. I watch it at least once a year.

Sounder (1972, 87% Tomatometer)


Sounder
Another film that I saw at an impressionable time in my life that served for me as a beautiful testament to the power of love in the face of absolute injustice and oppression.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, 100% Tomatometer)


Dr. Strangelove
Another perfect film showcasing the brilliance of the one and only, never to be seen again talents of Peter Sellers. What a beast. Kubrick actually wanted him to play another character. I can only imagine what he would have done with that. I’m sure he would have crushed it.

Man Facing Southeast (1986, N/A)


Man Facing Southeast
It’s a great meditation on how we treat and mistreat ‘the other.’ A magical, thought provoking film that I saw at a time in my life when I was questioning a lot of things about the nature of humanity and how we react when we come up against the unknown and unknowable.

Next: Don Cheadle explains why he was drawn to Traitor, his thoughts on the future of Darfur, and one of his favorite performances.

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Why was Traitor an important film to make in today’s political (and filmmaking) climate?

Don Cheadle: I don’t know that I would use the word “important.” I leave that up to the viewer. It caught my interest because it dealt with a complex issue in a way that wasn’t as black and white as other offerings in the genre.

The world is a much more complicated place than it used to be, and film audiences have grown more interested in morally ambiguous heroes. Is that a good thing?

DC: I think it’s good that people are more open to characters that are complicated, in a certain kind of film experience that is. I think people still want clear good guys and bad guys in the tent pole blockbusters but are more amenable to the grey areas. Most of us live there anyway.

[rtimage]MapID=1192419&MapTypeID=2&photo=1&legacy=1[/rtimage]

You’ve helped to raise the issue of genocide in Darfur. Although there’s been an increase in attention on the region, the violence continues. What needs to be done there?

DC: A lot needs to be done and hopefully with this new administration, more will be. We need to engage in a very robust and committed negotiation process that brings everybody to the table while also protecting the innocent as well as seeking justice. We need to be in support of the ICC [International Criminal Court] and get behind the indictments that the court has requested.

We fondly remember your guest starring role on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” as Will’s friend, Ice Tray. What role would you name as your funniest performance? What is your favorite early role?

DC: My funniest performance…? That is a question for you. I don’t really like watching my own films too much. I had a very good time working on Rebound [The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault].

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Robert Pattinson, Kevin Smith, Guillermo del Toro, and Judd Apatow.

Nothing But the Truth director Rod Lurie (The Contender)
took a circuitous route to Hollywood — he was an army officer and an
entertainment reporter before perching himself in the director’s chair. He’s
also an engaging conversationalist, full of insight on the key issues of the
day, especially where the worlds of film, politics, and journalism collide.

In Lurie’s latest film, Nothing But the Truth, Rachel Armstrong (Kate
Beckinsale), a reporter for a fictional Washington newspaper, is jailed after
revealing the identity of Erica Van Doren (Vera Farmiga), a CIA agent who’s
married to a government official critical of a U.S. attack on Venezuela.
Armstrong’s imprisonment takes a toll on her family life, while Van Doren and
special prosecutor Patton Dubois (Matt Dillon) try to find the source of the
leak. The film has a number of parallels to the real-life cases of Judith Miller
and Valerie Plame, although Lurie says he was not trying to make a fictionalized
account of their stories. Rather, he wanted to make a thriller that examined the
personal toll on these two women.

In an interview with RT, Lurie not only waxed poetic on his favorite movies, he
also discussed his approach to melding fact and fiction, and bemoaned the
current state of the mass media.

 

All the
President’s Men
(1976, 100% Tomatometer)



All the President's Men

My number one favorite film is All the President’s Men, by [Alan]
Pakula. All the President’s Men is a movie that has a very personal
place for me because it made me want to be a journalist, and then it made me
want to be a filmmaker. I think that it has a level of realism that’s really
unparalleled in the world of thrillers which, inevitably, this film actually is.
There are moments of naturalism in it that are extraordinary. I remember there’s
one moment in it where [Robert] Redford is speaking to someone on the other line
who’s speaking Spanish. And he turns to the newsroom and says, “Does anyone here
speak English?” And then he laughs at himself and says, “I mean Spanish.” It had
this very real feel, and I asked Bob whether or not it was improvised. He said,
“No, it was actually planned. It was in the screenplay.” And there’s that sort
of attentiveness to human mannerism and the frailty of our diction is rather
beautiful in a film. It’s also supremely cast. There’s nothing about it I don’t
like.

The 400 Blows (1959,
100% Tomatometer)



The 400 Blows

Les Quatre cents coups, better known as The
400 Blows
, a film that every man can relate to, because every man once was
a boy. It also bears the historical importance of being among the first films of
the Nouvelle Vague, along with Breathless.

[The last shot] is one of the few freeze fames that I think really works in the history of
film. When you do a freeze frame, you have the opportunity to find the exact
shot that you want — no guessing. And [director Francois Truffaut] used it to
the full effect.


The Godfather
Part II
(1974, 98% Tomatometer)



The Godfather Part II

I would say [I like it] more so than [All the President’s Men], because I sort
of luxuriated in the ambition of it all: telling two stories simultaneous from
different eras. I don’t think that had ever been done before. It was also the
first R-rated movie I saw. I saw that, and in the evening I saw Chinatown.
So I saw two R-rated movies when I was 12 years old. That was quite a Christmas
vacation. I remember quite distinctly that my dad and I also saw The
Conversation
, and we saw Lenny and The Towering Inferno.
We saw all five movies over that Christmas vacation. That was really great.

Paths of Glory
(1957, 92% Tomatometer)



Paths of Glory

Being a military historian, I was really blown away by the depiction that
[Stanley] Kubrick had of trench life. But more importantly, I was immersed in
the moral quagmire that Col. Dax, played by Kirk Douglass, experienced in the
film. There’s a moment when somebody looks down at a cockroach and says, “You
see that cockroach?” He says something like, “In an hour, he’ll have more
relevance than I do.” And [another character] steps on the cockroach and says, “Not anymore.” Also, it was a very revolutionary shooting style that Kubrick
presented, with his long tracking shots and his use of close-up wide lenses that
I found very attractive. I first saw that film when I was a cadet at West Point.


The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three
(1974, 100%)



The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

And the final film, since you limited me to a mere five… that’s always the
biggest battle, not what will be number one, but what will be the last film on a
short list, because, you know, I would want to throw Pan’s Labyrinth on
there, or City of God, or Annie Hall, or Crimes and
Misdemeanors
. What I’m gonna put on is The Taking of Pelham One, Two,
Three
. You want to throw on your list something that is perhaps would be
contrarian, or would be unusual. But to me, it’s the most entertaining crime
film that I have ever seen. In a movie like that, involvement is the most
significant aspect in determining whether or not it’s successful. And you’re
simply involved in this movie. It doesn’t have one movie star. There’s nobody
particularly handsome or heroic in the film. You’re dealing with Walter Matthau
and Marty Balsam and Robert Shaw. To me, it’s a delight. It’s interesting
because a remake of it is gonna be coming out, I believe next year. I don’t
begrudge them. I think it’s an absolutely appropriate film to remake. As good as
it was, it can be given a modern sensibility that can appeal to modern
audiences.

Next: Rod Lurie talks about mass media, film distribution, and the politics
of awards season.

[rtimage]MapID=1202524&MapTypeID=2&photo=5&legacy=1[/rtimage]

It’s really interesting that you started off this whole thing with a
discussion of All the President’s Men, because that harkens back to a
time when the general public thought of journalists as heroes, after Watergate.
In the current climate in which Nothing But the Truth finds itself, not
only are newspapers folding left and right, but there’s a general distrust of
the mainstream media?

Rod Lurie: I think there is a good reason for that. As
corporations started buying up newspapers and magazines and television stations,
the need for profit overwhelmed every other aspect of that business, which was
not the case years ago. The networks looked at news divisions as loss leaders,
and they felt, “Really, no problem, as long as we got it right and we did well.”
But the need for profit has forced all of these organizations to get the widest
possible audience that they can, and one of the ways to do it is to become
partisan, to know that you’re gonna get all the Republicans to watch Fox, and
the vast majority of liberals are gonna watch MSNBC. As a result, this
partisanship has created a bias in the news. That bias, then angers a gigantic
section of the population. It never was that Walter Cronkite had people who
hated what he stood for. At the same time he was on, people didn’t hate John
Chancellor, or Harry Reasoner, or Howard K. Smith. But now, people really have
animus toward Sean Hannity on the right, or Chris Matthews, say, on the left.
They’re calling themselves journalists, and that’s not really what they are.
They’re just more politically–oriented Andy Rooneys. The bias has found its way
into the reporting of news.

I’ll tell you what: I’m a lefty, so let me take away my own bias and attack
the New York Times for a second. If you look like something like that
story about McCain having a mistress, or maybe she wasn’t a mistress, or they
weren’t sure what she was but they had to report something…In the old days, this
article never would have been published, because there wasn’t enough information
to report what they said were the facts. In today’s world, in order to feed
their liberal readership, they plastered it on the front page.

In Nothing But the Truth, there are a lot of parallels to
the cases of Judith Miller and Valerie Plame, but you twisted it a bit. When you
heard those stories, what did you want to leave in, and what did you want to
take out when making this film?

RL: Whenever you make a movie, when it’s done, as a
filmmaker, you never sit there and say, “Boy, I really got that right.” It’s, “Where did I screw up?” I’ve not confessed to anyone yet, but I really feel,
after having read a lot of reviews of the film — which have been overwhelmingly
positive — but those negative ones, every one of them make objection to the
fact that we have quote-unquote “gotten wrong” the Judith Miller sorry, or that
we have romanticized Judith Miller in some way, who by most people’s accounts is
not a glamorous figure. I never intended for this to be a roman a clef
of Judy Miller versus Valerie Plame. What I wanted to do was to take their
situation and put completely different characters in it, and see how different
human beings would behave in their situation. Of course, the story goes wildly
off the Plame story. But I dug myself a bit of a hole having enough parallels
that some of the lazier critics or some of the critics who have a political bias
could use that against the film. It probably would have been wise of me not to
make it a CIA agent. I could have made it some other sort of national security
[employee]. Maybe I shouldn’t have made her the wife of an ambassador. Most
people seem to seem to think it’s a high quality film, particularly for its
performances, [but] they’ve been sidetracked by [the facts versus the fictions].

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With this film and The Contender, are you attempting to
provide a civics lesson — for lack of a better term — within the framework of
a thriller?

RL: The answer to that is not just no, but unequivocally no.
I don’t think I’m equipped enough to be giving anyone a civics lesson, or any
kind of message. What I’m trying to do with both The Contender and Nothing
But the Truth
is to try to find entertaining stories that could come out of
“what-if” situations with regard to things that really happen in the world. For
example, in The Contender, a lot of people thought it was influenced by
the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In fact, it was influenced by me watching the
Clarence Thomas hearings and thinking, “Could you imagine if this person was a
woman, and this woman had to answer all these sexual questions, and how un f—-ing
comfortable that would be?” It would be outrageous. And I thought, “That’s a
good movie!”

In the case of Nothing But the Truth, its real genesis was I was
gonna do an episode on a smaller lever of this for Commander in Chief.
But I was fired, and Steven Bochco came in and killed it. So I really wanted to
do a story of a journalist in jail for protecting their source. When Miller and
Plame happened, I didn’t really follow their case, but I really wondered what
would happen if these were both moms, and their kids went to school together and
they had some sort of connective tissue between them. Once I started thinking
about that, the dominoes started falling into place. In fact, I wrote the ending
first. I felt it was a very a very cool and interesting idea to put the lead
character into an impossible situation.

As someone who came out of the world of journalism, what do you think
the future holds for newspapers?

RL: I think with the print newspaper business, it is
empirically obvious that it’s going the way of a disaster. I’ve noticed Rolling
Stone
has literally shrunk from its classic large size. The New York
Times
has also physically shrunk, and there are layoffs left and right.
It’s really a shame to me, because in 30 years my grandchildren probably won’t
know what a newspaper is. It’s rather stunning, and not good for the
dissemination of news, because there seems to be a less thoughtful and
calculated amount of research and investigation done by purely internet-run
publications.

Now, I love the internet. I’m on it all f—ing day long. I do read my print
newspaper in the morning, but all day long, I’m on the Internet. I love the
access to information, I like to be able to find anything I want, but there are
a couple things you don’t find that you’d be able to find in a print newspaper.
A newspaper will run a lead story that will go 2,500 to 3,000 words filled with
information. Being able to physically hold the newspaper and read it over a cup
of coffee at a diner lends itself to that. Stories of that length just don’t
appear on the internet almost ever. It’s kind of a shame; I wish both worlds
could coincide, but the internet has put a dagger in the heart of newspapers in
many ways.

The Contender came out at the tail end of the Clinton
administration, and Nothing But the Truth is being released at the end
of the Bush administration. Are you optimistic about the current state of
affairs?

RL: It seems to me that even the people on the
right seem to be watching Obama perform in the transition, and they’re putting
their fingers on their chin and they’re saying, “You know, let’s give this guy a
chance. Maybe there is something here after all.” I think there is a tremendous
amount of hopefulness. Now, I say this at the exact moment when the company
that’s releasing Nothing But the Truth, [Yari Film Group], last Friday
went into chapter 11 bankruptcy. And I’m seeing my own film, as far as the
immediate distribution beyond this qualifying run get obliterated. And I’m
seeing almost everyone at the Yari Film Group being fired, and these are people
I really like. And it’s all part of the economy that George Bush sank us into.
I’m hoping the confidence that the economy that the world seems to have for Obama is going to help our economy. Too late for my film, but people are having
far worse problems.

What is your next project?

RL: Well, if I tell you, it’s gonna open up a line of
questioning that’s gonna take forever…. I’m remaking Straw Dogs.

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What’s the new take, given that a lot of what Sam Peckinpah was doing
in that film is very much of its time?

RL: It was very much of its time, because it was about a
liberal anti-Vietnam guy who goes into an Irish town where he discovers he’s
capable of as much brutality and violence as those who he’d had objection to. I
certainly admire Peckinpah’s movie, but anyone who watches it objectively — and
certainly if they take the mythology about Peckinpah out of it — would find it
to be a film that’s more notorious than it is great.

When you’re making a film, do you ever think of awards recognition?

RL: I’ll be honest with you: the answer is yes, for Kate Beckinsale, and Vera Farmiga and Alan Alda in particular. I think the movie’s
impeccably acted. And in fact, both of them {Beckinsale and Farmiga] are both in
the mix; the both got nominated for the Critic’s Choice Awards. Here’s the
thing: the awards at the end of the year are absolutely driven by the ability to
finance a very aggressive marketing campaign. In today’s New York Times,
the ad for Revolutionary Road runs six full pages. That must be
$500,000 to $750,000 ad in just the New York Times. The truth is the
Yari Film Group couldn’t get anyone to see the film. What can you do when you’re
a tiny distributor with a high level film, and you’re sending out screeners, and
[a critic] gets a screener for Nothing But the Truth, but at the same
time you’re getting Benjamin Button and Doubt and Revolutionary
Road
and Slumdog Millionaire. These movies just have major
financial clout behind them. I contacted about a third of the Broadcast film
critics just to make sure they were looking at the film, and almost everyone I
spoke to said they had the screener but they hadn’t gotten around to it, which
meant they weren’t gonna see it before they voted. And I asked them just to look
at the film, and they looked at the film and voted for the women. I feel that if
we had a little more marketing power, we would have been more successful,
because I really do believe, as many of the critics pointed out, that Kate and
Vera are absolutely on fire in this film.

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Don Cheadle, Robert Pattinson, Kevin Smith, and Judd Apatow.

Thanks to his powerful turn in Darren Aronofsky‘s critically-acclaimed drama The Wrestler, Mickey Rourke has become the year’s biggest comeback kid. It’s a story not lost on critics and pundits, who place Rourke’s washed-up ex-ring champ Randy “The Ram” Robinson among the year’s best performances; the tragic portrait of a proud man living in the shadow of his former glory has proven a much-needed career redemption for Rourke, for whom success had been elusive in the decades since Diner and Rumble Fish.

Mickey Rourke spoke with Rotten Tomatoes about his favorite films of all time, and also reflected on the great reception that The Wrestler (and his own performance, for which he’s received a Golden Globe nomination) has enjoyed. “It’s a movie I’m very proud of,” Rourke said. “It’s the best movie I’ve ever made, the hardest movie I’ve ever made. I think Darren Aronofsky is one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with. I’d put him right up there with [Michael] Cimino, [Francis Ford] Coppola and Adrian Lyne.”

The Wrestler is currently in limited release and is Certified Fresh at 98 percent on the Tomatometer.

 

The Deer Hunter (1978, 91% Tomatometer)



The Deer Hunter

The Deer Hunter. I think the subject matter was very interesting. The way Michael Cimino works, he just got so much out of his actors, especially De Niro, Walken, and John Cazale, even secondary characters like the French guy in the movie. I’ve probably seen the movie 30 times, and you’re just on the edge of your seat the whole time, you don’t know what’s going to happen next. I think the interesting relationship that Walken and De Niro had with Meryl Streep is very complex. Really great movies are made out of special moments, and there were just so many moments in the movie, like when Chris Walken broke down when they were asking him his family’s name while he’s sitting in the window. I always remember that. The way that Bobby De Niro went back to rescue his friend. I think the movie had a lot of layers and a lot of integrity, and I think the love these men had for one another was so real you could identify with it. It was like going back to get your brother, you know?

The Godfather (1972,
100% Tomatometer)



The Godfather

I love the first Godfather movie, part one. And two. Another great director, Coppola. And then of course, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro. I had heard the stories about how they wanted a whole other cast, and Francis was under the gun and he rose to the occasion. He got great performances out of Pacino, and De Niro was unbelievable. All the secondary guys from Joe Spinell to Michael Gazzo. The casting was impeccable. He got a lot of great performances from people who were just getting into the business themselves.

Duvall, everybody had so many layers. The performance he got out of Lee Strasberg, who never really did much acting in front of the camera. When I was in the Actor’s Studio, the only actor that Lee actually spoke to was Al, so [Coppola] used the relationship that the two had and that was quite interesting.


Lonely Are The Brave (1962, 100% Tomatometer)



Lonely Are The Brave

There was a movie Kirk Douglas did that I loved a lot, Lonely Are the Brave. You’ll have to look that one up. I actually met him about 14 years ago, and he actually said that was his favorite movie.

 

RT: Just like you have said that The Wrestler is your favorite movie of your own
.

 

MR: Hands down. It’s kind of nice being able to say that after so many years of my answer being: “I haven’t made it yet.”
[Darren] surrounded me with a great stunt coordinator, and he took the time [for me] to put all the muscle on and to learn how to wrestle, and the scenes that he allowed me to rewrite.

RT: Which scenes did you rewrite?

MR: The scenes with Evan Rachel Wood and the speech at the end. Working with Evan, she’s only 21 and she’s just so f***ing professional. She’s so good and each take she got better and better. She’s probably the best actress I’ve ever worked with.

RT: She’s tremendous for her age.

MR: She’s tremendous for even beyond her age.


On the Waterfront
(1954, 100% Tomatometer)



On the Waterfront

I really liked On the Waterfront, I have to put that up there. Those great scenes with Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger. Really great scenes with Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint.



Gilda
(1946, 96%)



Gilda

There’s an old movie that Rita Hayworth was in that I really loved because I thought she was just smokin’ in it. [Gilda.] She just reminds me of all the girls that I want to be with. It was a movie where she was driving all the men crazy. I was going crazy, too. [My] favorite female actresses: Rita Hayworth, Ingrid Bergman. And Evan Rachel Wood.

For the latest reviews, trailers, and news on The Wrestler, click here.

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Don Cheadle, Robert Pattinson, Kevin Smith, and Judd Apatow.

Writer/director David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, the Blade trilogy) has held close associations to the comic book genre — he’s currently awaiting the green light on his script for X-Men Origins: Magneto — but took a break from adapting superhero tales to write and direct an original horror story. The result is this week’s The Unborn, a PG-13 supernatural thriller about a doe eyed co-ed named Casey (Cloverfield‘s Odette Yustman) haunted by an ancient Jewish dybbuk, or demon.

Unlike many contemporary horror films, The Unborn opts for old-fashioned suspense over gore and treads ground rare for its genre; twin studies, Nazi experimentation, Jewish mysticism and even the abortion debate pop up thematically throughout Goyer’s tale, which also stars Meagan Good, Gary Oldman, and Cam Gigandet.

Rotten Tomatoes spoke with Goyer about his other extra-cinematic influences, how he developed The Unborn through his own personal fascinations, and whether or not the film is meant to spark the pro-life vs. pro-choice debate. He also shared his Five Favorite Films, noting that his choices are ever-changing and perhaps surprising. “Those aren’t necessarily the kinds of films I might make,” Goyer explained. “But that’s okay — I think people are more complex. We’re not just little sound bites.”

 

The Man Who Would Be King (1975, 100% Tomatometer)



The Man Who Would Be King
Well, my favorite film of all time, period, is The Man Who Would Be King. John Huston, you know, based on the Rudyard Kipling story. Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer. First of all, I love Connery and Caine, and John Huston is probably my favorite old-time director, and I just love that movie from start to finish. I love everything about it — I can never get enough of it. It’s epic adventure, and I love the rogueish relationship between Connery and Caine’s characters. I think I was 13 or 14 when I first saw it. I watch it probably once a year — I love it.

Being There (1979, 97% Tomatometer)



Being There
Another one is Being There. Hal Ashby — that’s finally coming out on Blu-ray and DVD, so I’m very excited about that. That movie, I think, is just a really lovely, amazing movie. Peter Sellers‘ best movie by far, and Hal Ashby’s best, in my opinion. I think it’s just terribly funny and terribly touching, and…I don’t know. I love that movie.


28 Days Later (2003, 88% Tomatometer)



28 Days Later
What else? 28 Days Later is one of my favorite movies — a horror film. Danny Boyle is probably my favorite director. I just loved how ballsy 28 Days Later was, from start to finish. He’s fearless, he’ll do any genre — “Fine, I’m going to do a zombie movie” — and just smack you in the face with it.


Pan’s Labyrinth (2006, 96% Tomatometer)



Pan's Labyrinth
Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my top five. That’s just a perfect movie, a beautiful movie, and I thought it absolutely deserved to win Best Foreign Film until I saw The Lives of Others.

Rotten Tomatoes: Pan’s Labyrinth was made by Guillermo del Toro, who you’ve worked with. Were you able to see it before it came out?

David Goyer: I just saw some artwork. He showed me some of his journals where he sketches, and told me a little over dinner one time, a year or so before he made it, but it’s kind of an impossible film to describe. I think everything he does is interesting, but it was hard to visualize until I’d seen it.


The Lives of Others (2006, 93%)



The Lives of Others
I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it, and among recent movies, it’s probably in my top five as well. I couldn’t believe Pan’s Labyrinth got shut out, and then I saw The Lives of Others and was floored. I bawled like a baby at the end of that movie. Just staggering.


Next: Goyer discusses his influences outside of film and how his creative process took him from twins to Nazi science to demons and beyond…

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Rotten Tomatoes: You’re known for your love of comic books, and how it’s influenced your filmmaking, but I’m sure that’s not the only medium you love.

David Goyer: Oh, no. I still read comic books, but they aren’t the only things. I’m a voracious reader.

RT: What other kinds of art influence you?

DG: Well, I like documentary filmmaking very much — I’m a big fan of that. Photography, modern art, things like that — I love to travel, so I like historical and cultural art. Just last year, I went to Vietnam and Cambodia for about five weeks and immersed myself in that world. In college, I minored in poetry, so I pull from all over the place.

RT: One of the most striking aspects of The Unborn is how detailed it is, and how it delves into areas like Jewish mysticism, religion, and other layered themes that are developed.

DG: Well, I like even my genre movies to have a lot of historical underpinnings and research. There’s probably a lot more in there than you might realize. I hope it catches that air of authenticity — at least it helps me when I’m writing. So even if the imagery isn’t explicitly stated, a lot of the imagery comes from [historical research] — like the dream where she’s on the ceiling and looking down on herself, that comes from the idea that in olden days, Jewish people believed that their souls would go wandering while they were sleeping, so when they woke up, they’d say a prayer like Jane Alexander does in the movie for being thankful that nothing sort of unwelcome inhabited their body while their souls were out wandering. So the imagery of that dream comes from that, and obviously there’s the subtext of this thing crawling into [Casey’s] womb…

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RT: It seems that a lot of what you explore in this movie comes from your own deep personal interests, such as the fascination with twins.

DG: Sure.

RT: Was it the same with Jewish folklore?

DG: You know, it’s not like I was steeped in Jewish folklore. It started with the idea of the twins first, and that led me to researching heterochromia — the changing of the color of the iris — which is the condition that the lead character suffers from in the film, and that led me to the experiments that Dr. Mengele was doing in Auschwitz, which coincidentally also had to do with twins. That led me to the legend of the dybbuk, which in turn led me to all the imagery of the mirrors. So it wasn’t like I started off thinking I was going to make a movie about Jewish mysticism. I just kind of started with an idea, and started doing research, and let myself wander. One by one, the elements just sort of fell into place with one another. I was trying to see if I could kind of craft a new legend, at least filmically, because I don’t know that anyone had done a dybbuk story before, and it’s a different take on possession and exorcism. Ironically, most people’s perceptions of exorcism come from the Friedkin film, of course, but the tradition dates back five or six thousand years and actually originated in the Jewish faith, long before it started in the Christian or Catholic faith.

Next: On dybbuks, Holocaust guilt, and whether or not The Unborn overtly addresses the abortion debate….

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RT: Your characters talk about how the idea of demons —

DG: Predates organized religion. Well, they would. I always thought it was funny that you’d hold up a cross and Dracula would shy away from it, because it seems to me that evil isn’t Jewish or Muslim or Christian. In fact, I had a character say that in the film.

RT: There’s also the idea in the movie that younger generations are detached from their heritage, that Casey not only doesn’t practice the Jewish faith but also is unaware of the dybbuk that has cursed her family for generations.

DG: Well, it’s a subtext. They’re detached from their lineage, they’re detached from their heritage, they’re detached from their families, and that makes them more vulnerable, because there’s not as much of a sense of community. It’s all subtext, but it’s in there, yeah. Absolutely.

RT: What about Holocaust survivor’s guilt, and the idea that Casey now becomes responsible for setting right things that began so long ago?

DG: Well, I could make a joke about Jewish guilt, but yeah, that’s in there a little bit too. The grandmother has survivor’s guilt, and she unintentionally passes it along to her daughter, who does the same to her granddaughter. I think there’s this sense that in reality, whether it’s genetics or learned behavior, that generations tend to pass these things on to successive generations, and whether we know it or not, we’re often dealing with things that happened three or four generations prior to us. Hopefully, people will watch the movie and it’ll make them think about these things in different ways.

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RT: Another underlying theme that persisted for me was the question of whether this is a pro-life or pro-choice film.

DG: It isn’t meant to be either. I mean, you know, it’s funny that a very small percentage of the audience when we were testing it — we’re talking three or four people out of 500 — would say either “this is a pro-choice film” or “this is a pro-life film.” It’s not really either, and I don’t mean to make an overt political statement there. Obviously, people are going to imbue it with whatever their specific belief is, but in the same way, some people were saying that The Dark Knight was a Republican apology, and some were saying it was an anti-Bush film. Both sides were sort of claiming it for their own.

RT: Well, I think you’re in the clear, because at different times I thought it could possibly be either a pro-life or a pro-choice film.

DG: I try to walk that very thin line, so good.

For the latest reviews, trailers, and news for The Unborn, click here.

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle, and Robert Pattinson.

Though his first film, Shallow Grave, brought Danny Boyle to the attention of the film savvy, it was his 1996 adaptation of Irvine Welsh‘s Trainspotting that made his name as an internationally renowned directing talent. From a budget of $3.5m the film grossed $72m worldwide, and won critical praise the world over, currently sitting at 88% on the Tomatometer.

Many trailers and posters for his subsequent work tout it as being “from the director of Trainspotting,” but Boyle’s drive to deliver fresh and eclectic cinema will be a surprise for anyone expecting a redux of that film. His follow-ups have run the full gamut; from bleak sci-fi to zombie horror, through spiritual romantic comedy and traveller thriller. If there’s one thing Boyle’s not, it’s predictable.

Indeed, his most recent previous outing was 2007’s Sunshine, about a crew of astronauts in the not-too-distant future who are on a mission to reignite our dying sun. But it’s a far cry from his new film, Slumdog Millionaire, a fantastical romance set on the streets and in the television studios of India. The story of a young boy’s tragic upbringing in the slums and his appearance on India’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, it’s already attracting awards by the bucketload.

As you’d expect from his body of work, his five favourite films are diverse and disparate. “I’ve got an odd list,” he told RT. “Things like your ‘top films’ or your ‘top end playlist songs’ — these are the things that keep me awake at night. I watch all of these films through the director’s eyes, and I’ve watched them multiple times — well, except for The Bicycle Thief — to try and bow down and learn.”

 

Apocalypse Now (1979, 98% Tomatometer)



The Bicycle Thief
Always, and always number one for me in every list is Apocalypse Now. There are lots of reasons. It’s imperfect; which every film should be. I love action movies. I believe in motion, in the motion picture industry. And Apocalypse Now is the ultimate action movie.

Firstly, it’s the only period film you’ll ever watch where nobody ever says it still ‘stands up after 30 years.’ Every other film — like Alien, and I’m a huge fan of Alien, I even did some promotion for it when they re-released it — the main thing you say are phrases like “Even after 25 years it still stands up.” You never have to use that (phrase) for Apocalypse Now. Everyone always just says: “Wow.”

The second reason it’s the ultimate action movie is every time it stops moving it’s weird and unnatural and disturbing. Everytime it stops moving: they stop to collect mushrooms, they get attacked by a tiger; they stop and watch the playboy bunnies arriving; the boat stops and they end up shooting these people over a puppy in a little boat. And it stops, of course, with the ultimate stop: When he (Martin Sheen) meets Marlon Brando, Colonel Kurtz at the end. You can tell by how unnatural the stops are, how natural an action movie it is.


The Bicycle Thief (1948, 95% Tomatometer)



The Bicycle Thief
To my everlasting shame — the film is so good I hate to admit to it — I never watched it until last Saturday because I was in Italy promoting Slumdog and they loved Slumdog and I felt abject because I hadn’t seen The Bicycle Thief. Nobody asked about it but I ran out and got it the Saturday following. It’s the most beautiful film.

Do not be put off by the fact it’s black and white or in Italian. It is the most beautiful film about a father and a son than I’ve ever seen.


Wallace and Gromit – The Wrong Trousers (1993, 100% Tomatometer)



The Wrong Trousers
I’m a huge, HUGE fan of animation — and that sequence at the end, when he’s on the little mini train, is even better action than Apocalypse Now. Nick Park is one of the most underrated action directors in the world. If he weren’t only interested in doing Claymation they’d have him doing every action movie. That is the best action sequence I’ve ever seen in a film. Talk about breathless action! And with the multi, multi, multi-millions of dollars spent on explosions — nothing is as great as that action sequence on the train at the end of that film.

Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987, 100% Tomatometer)



Au Revoir Les Enfants
Louis Malle is one of the great, underrated French directors. That’s the best film I’ve ever seen about children. It’s a very, very adult film so of course you have to take the kids very seriously. What is it they say? ‘Kids are father to the man,’ or something like that. What you are is what you were, really. It’s one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen; one of the saddest, most moving, genuine films ever.

As a director I’ve done kids films — Slumdog has kids, and, I made a film called Millions — and it’s not easy to get kids to be good. You work hard at it. What is really difficult is to get every kid to be in the same film at the same time and I watch that film and every kid — and there’s a lot of kids in it, it takes place at a school — they’re all in the same film at the same time.


Eureka (1983, N/A Tomatometer)



Eureka
I can guarantee you this film isn’t on anyone else’s list. It stars Gene Hackman and it’s made by my favorite British film director, even more than Nick Park. He’s a guy named Nick Roeg, and he’s most famous, probably, for Don’t Look Now. Eureka is the film that probably ended his American career. I think it was a disaster when it was released.

The first half of this movie is as good as you’ll ever get in a movie. It’s about a guy who discovers, literally, liquid gold. He becomes the richest man in the world and the man who has everything and the man who has nothing. The second half of the film is a trial and takes place in a courtroom and that part doesn’t work as well, which is what probably led to it being a flop, but the first half is as good as it gets.

And I love Nick Roeg. He’s idiosyncratic, highly individual and yet for a ten year period he was working in the studio system with big stars like Gene Hackman. Hackman’s never been better. People say “Hackman” and think of The Conversation but he’s never better than he is in Eureka. If you can imagine a man who has everything and he (Hackman) just plays it as a guy who has nothing.


Slumdog Millionaire opens today in the UK and is out now in the US and Australia. And come back, because RT will have more from Danny Boyle later.

After a successful run of studio comedies (most recently, 2006’s Beerfest), the Broken Lizard gang is returning to their indie roots with the self-produced Slammin’ Salmon, a restaurant-set comedy co-written by and starring all five members (and directed by Lizard and first-time helmer Kevin Heffernan). Rotten Tomatoes caught up with the Lizards en route to Park City, Utah, where they’ll premiere Slammin’ Salmon at the Slamdance Film Festival, to find out their 25 Favorite Films of all time!

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The members of Broken Lizard (Super Troopers, Club Dread, Beerfest) — also known as Steve Lemme, Erik Stolhanske, Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, and Paul Soter — have been friends since their college days, and it shows; when RT sat down to chat with the Lizards about their favorite films, they chimed in over one another with their favorite movie quotes, recollections of man dates past, and of course, plenty of good natured jabs. Slammin’ Salmon, in which a heavyweight champ-turned-restaurateur (Michael Clarke Duncan, letting loose) pits his wait staff against each other in a Glengarry Glen Ross-style contest, marks the Lizards’ return to independent film; they hope to land distribution after their premiere at Slamdance. (And in case you’re wondering, having come face to face with Super Troopers fandom at a live, Rocky Horror-style version of the flick, they are indeed in the scripting phase of Super Troopers 2.)

Below, get to know your favorite Broken Lizards as we hear each member’s five favorite films — making this a very special installment of RT’s 25 Favorite Films with Broken Lizard.

 

Steve Lemme

 

Jaws (1975, 100% Tomatometer)



Jaws
My favorite film of all time is Jaws, for a number of reasons. I think it’s a perfect film; everything about it works. Obviously, the music — there are not many theme songs that actually elicit an emotion. From the floating barrels, the scene where Sheriff Brody’s on the beach, and stuff keeps blocking his view while he’s trying to see what’s going on and you’re in the audience [cringing]…additionally, my dad took me to see it in the theater when I was seven; he’s from Argentina and I guess he didn’t understand the rating system. The R rating meant nothing to him at the time. He bought me a Jaws movie poster afterwards and I stuck it in my bathroom and shut the door, and I didn’t open the door again for two years. I thought that when I opened the door, water and a shark would come pouring out and eat me. For the longest time, I couldn’t go in swimming pools.

[Editor’s note: Jaws is actually rated PG.]


Braveheart (1995, 76% Tomatometer)



Braveheart
Number two is Braveheart. I choose that as my second because I didn’t sleep that whole night, I was up for 24 hours after seeing it because I couldn’t believe they killed Braveheart at the end.

RT: Movies really mess you up, don’t they?

Erik Stolhanske: You refer to being thrown out of a castle window…

[Pause. Stolhanske “raises the roof.”]

Lemme: That’s a very inside Braveheart joke. And yes, Stolhanske raised the roof, and his face is turning beet red. Braveheart is both a love story and an action movie…and at any moment I thought they were going to rescue him and they never rescued him. Same with his wife: Okay, they’re not gonna cut her throat, they’re not gonna cut her throat — WHOA! They cut her throat! She’s scanning the horizon for Braveheart, any second now Braveheart’s going to come save the day…it’s awful.


The Matrix (1999, 86% Tomatometer)



The Matrix
Number Three would be The Matrix; I saw it opening day, Friday morning at 10 a.m., then saw it in the final screening that day, and four more times in the theater. It’s just an amazing movie.


Grease (1987, 83% Tomatometer)



Grease
Number four would be Grease, which I saw ten times in the movie theater [and recently]; Paul [Soter] had never seen it, so we went to a revival when it came out again.

Paul Soter: I had never seen it! I had three older sisters, so I was like eh, girl movie. But Lemme talked me into going, on a date. [Fun fact: three of five Broken Lizards named a favorite film that they’d seen on a man date with Soter.]

Lemme: I went as the Fonz for Halloween one year and put Vaseline in my hair, which was a mistake, because it took like two months to get it out.

Jay Chandrasekhar: And he couldn’t go to the bathroom because of the shark to wash it out.


The Sting (1973, 91%), The Natural (1984, 83%)



The Sting
And Number Five is a tie [the other Broken Lizards groan]. It’s The Sting and The Natural. And that’s it.


Next: Erik Stolhanske takes it back to the seventies…

Erik Stolhanske

 

[The other Broken Lizards chime in with Stolhanske’s “favorite films”: “Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment, Fried Green Tomatoes, Rachel Getting Married, Tea with Mussolini…”]

 

The Wild Bunch (1969, 97% Tomatometer)



The Wild Bunch
I’m going to start with The Wild Bunch. Peckinpah. I kind of like the anti-hero movies. I don’t like heroes, I like anti-heroes.

Five Easy Pieces (1970, 82% Tomatometer)



Five Easy Pieces
Why Five Easy Pieces? Also an anti-hero movie. Jack Nicholson is not necessarily a likeable character, but you can’t help wanting to root for the guy. Especially at the end when he goes to the bathroom and hops in a truck and just takes off. For some reason you still like this guy who leaves his girl sitting at a gas station.

Lemme: And that scene in the diner, “stick the chicken between your knees.”

Stolhanske:“Stick the chicken between your knees.” Nicholson giving Sally Struthers the business.

Lemme: Sally Struthers naked!

Stolhanske: Wild sex, too. Bouncing off the walls.

Chandrasekhar: We stayed in Sally Struthers’ house when we came out to L.A. We were struggling actors and she let us stay in her house, for like a week.


Husbands (1970, 57% Tomatometer)



Husbands
One summer, they were doing a ’70s movie revival at the Film Forum in New York, and Soter and I would go see double features; you pay for one, you see two. All ’70s movies. It was great, so we’d go there all the time. One of my favorites was John CassavetesHusbands. That was a great, funny movie; first of all, it was cool because a lot of it was improvised. There’s Peter Falk, Ben Gazzara, John Cassavetes…one of their buddies dies, so they basically decide life’s too short and they’re going to go get drunk one night and reflect on life. So it’s one night of these guys going out and drinking, but then they end up going to London.

Soter: What’s cool is that was our introduction to Cassavetes and the idea of movies like that, that are so cool and funny, but maybe warm and all over the place. That was the point when we realized that he made those really cool, guy movies.

Stolhanske: Yeah. I mean, it really seemed like they were actually sitting around a table and drinking and improvising these scenes. It felt incredibly naturalistic.


Being There (1979, 97% Tomatometer)



Being There
I love Being TherePeter SellersBeing There. Big Peter Sellers fan, love Hal Ashby.


The Empire Strikes Back (1980, 97%)



The Empire Strikes Back
I think my last favorite film would be The Empire Strikes Back. Tough, between Star Wars or Empire Strikes Back, I love them both.

Lemme: Empire had more dangers. It had some cliffhangers, too. Han Solo going down — I didn’t sleep after that one. How do you end a movie like that? What a revolutionary ending for a movie.


Next: Broken Lizard vet, first-time director and erstwhile Farva, Kevin Heffernan

Kevin Heffernan

 

 

This is Spinal Tap (1984, 96% Tomatometer)



Spinal Tap
I think Spinal Tap is the funniest movie ever made.

The King of Comedy (1982, 92% Tomatometer)



The King of Comedy
One of my all-time favorite movies is The King of Comedy, which is a Martin Scorsese movie. I think it’s a very different movie — there’s so much great De Niro; it’s a different kind of character for De Niro, which I loved watching.

Lemme: I like how De Niro would study animals to research roles, and the animal he studied for The King of Comedy was the crab. If you know that, go back and watch him, and his movements are all symmetrical — he moves sideways.


Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, 100% Tomatometer)



Dr. Strangelove
Definitely one of my all-time favorite movies. Here’s the guy who directed Spartacus, and Dr. Strangelove is very different. It’s got great political satire, and at the same time that kind of crazy, great Peter Sellers comedy mixed together, which is really amazing. And it looks awesome.


Reservoir Dogs (1992, 95% Tomatometer)



Reservoir Dogs
I like that it’s very similar to Slammin’ Salmon, in the sense that it takes place all in one place. That’s what I loved about that movie. It’s so interesting the way they made it dynamic, and not boring, and it’s all in this one warehouse. I really loved that about it. It’s cheaper to shoot an indie film that way; what, did they make that for $2 million bucks or something like that? So it allows you to do a little bit more with the dialogue and characters.

Stolhanske: My favorite single-setting film — like Slammin’ Salmon — is The Exorcist.

Chandrasekhar: Oh! I thought you were going to say…Glengarry Glen Ross. (Coincidentally, the server competition in Broken Lizard’s Slammin’ Salmon bears a cinematic likeness to the plot of Glengarry Glen Ross.)


Bob Roberts (1992, 100%)



Bob Roberts
I love that movie. Also a political satire, but done so well. Tim Robbins wrote, directed and starred in it.


Next: Jay Chandrasekhar double dips with a few shared favorites

Jay Chandrasekhar

 

 

Reservoir Dogs (1992, 95% Tomatometer)



Reservoir Dogs
Reservoir Dogs, I love for the dialogue. I think it’s just unbelievably brilliant and funny. Original, and just strange — the little conversations between Joe and Michael Madsen when they’re in the office, and Chris Penn comes running in and he goes, “I see you sitting there, but I don’t believe it!” I just love every inch of that movie.

This is Spinal Tap (1979, 97% Tomatometer)



Spinal Tap
Spinal Tap — I think you could make an easy argument that that’s the funniest movie ever. It’s just top to bottom quotable and brilliant, and I guess improvised? I’m curious to know how much of it was improvised. But it’s a tremendous movie.


48 Hrs. (1982, 97% Tomatometer)



48 Hrs.
I think 48 Hrs. is the perfect tough, funny buddy movie. I think Eddie Murphy exploded off of it — he was on Saturday Night Live, but…in his intro when he’s singing “Roxanne,” and going to the hillbilly bar, and Nick Nolte being such a hilarious, racist prick. I loved it. “Sorry about the watermelon joke.”


Halloween (1978, 91% Tomatometer)



Halloween
I think it’s the scariest movie I’ve ever seen. It was supposedly shot in Hattenfield, IL and I lived in a small town in Illinois. I just found it just horrifying. I still, to this day, find it incredibly horrifying; the music gives me the chills. The actual street, though is here in Hollywood right by our Blockbuster. So I always look down there. “I don’t see Michael Myers…”

Heffernan: That’s when he’s at his most dangerous!


Billy Liar (1963, 100%)



Billy Liar
There’s a movie called Billy Liar that Tom Courtenay is in, which I saw with Paul. It’s this guy who’s a daydreamer, and the movie goes deep into his daydreams and it’s so hilarious and bizarre.

Soter: It’s an older movie that is not dated at all, in terms of the comedy. I’m jumping in here because it’s on my list and I have to take it off —

Chandrasekhar: Ha-ha.

Soter: Jay and I were like, they’re showing this revival of this old movie we’ve heard good things about, and we go and the both of us are screaming through the whole movie, laughing our asses off. I can’t believe it was made in 1963; it was such a revelation, the idea that a very British, black and white movie would feel very immediate and hysterical.


Next: Last but not least, Paul Soter wraps up with his favorite flicks

Paul Soter

 

 

Airplane! (1980, 98% Tomatometer), Blazing Saddles (1974, 89%)



Airplane!
I don’t know that any other movies — for me — defined what was funny, what comedy was, and how to be funny. Those movies, you get no break from jokes, you get no break from laughter, but they’re also engaging and have drama.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969, 90% Tomatometer)



Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
I remember Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid being one of the first movies I saw as a kid. So I’ll also always equate it with discovering what a movie was. Being a young boy, and here’s my introduction to movies — it still feels like the most gigantic movie in terms of how big and beautiful it was, and the cool factor. Two amazing guys to watch.


Breaking Away (1979, 94% Tomatometer)



Breaking Away
Breaking Away is one of those movies that I can’t ever turn off. If it comes on and it’s halfway or two-thirds through, I just have to sit in front of it. I want that world to go on forever; you just wish that it didn’t ever end. I would love to be in this location with this people and it go on forever.


Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989, 92% Tomatometer)



Crimes and Misdemeanors
Woody Allen movies — now, maybe because I’m older, the movie that I think is perfect is Crimes and Misdemeanors. It does actually have very fun moments, but it’s also got some really amazing, heavy, dramatic stuff to it. I think it’s the best blend of that comedy and drama.


For news and updates on Broken Lizard’s Slamdance adventure, follow the daily updates on their official site. Stay up to date on all the latest Sundance acquisitions, celebrity galleries, and news at RT’s Sundance Film Festival 2009 headquarters here.

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle, and Robert Pattinson.

Having established his name in the Spider-Man movies, these days James Franco is clearly making some more personal career choices. He was in three films in 2008, notable for their vastly different styles. His extended cameo as Richard Gere‘s son in the weepy Nights in Rodanthe, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel, was followed by two far less forgettable roles; opposite Seth Rogen in Pineapple Express (for which he received a Golden Globe nomination) and as Sean Penn‘s boyfriend in Milk (for which he has been nominated with the cast for the SAG ensemble award).

He says he signed on for Pineapple because it was a chance to work with Judd Apatow and company, whom he knew from his days on the TV series Freaks and Geeks. “We did a lot of goofing around in a kind of constructed way,” he says of the film. “It’s a lot of improvisation, just letting the camera roll and doing the scene over and over again and seeing what happens. And I loved that!”

When asked to contrast the experiences on the two sets, he stops and thinks. “Milk had its own kind of looseness,” he says. “Gus Van Sant has his own approach, and there was the freedom to try different kinds of things. And Sean really encouraged that too. So it was somewhat improvisational, but what it did was to make the performances more natural. And it may be funny to say, but it was the same with Pineapple. I think that’s one of the things that Judd Apatow brings to comedies: there are wacky situations but it feels more emotionally grounded.”

Clearly this on-screen naturalism is important to him. He’s been studying film at New York University, and chooses five favourites that are all firmly rooted in authenticity…

 

Gimme Shelter (1970, 100% Tomatometer)



Gimme Shelter
It’s just amazing. I’ve been watching all of the Maysles Brothers‘ films and I’m really into their approach, which they called “direct cinema”, and the whole school that came out of DA Pennebaker, Robert Drew and so on. I love the whole idea that life can be as dramatic as fiction. It’s very different than reality television, because that’s very manipulated.

The Maysles’ approach is minimal interaction and being as observational as possible. Gimme Shelter has such drama, and it’s so well-done. As are all of their films.

I also love Salesman, which also proves that their philosophy can really work, because it just has these real Bible salesmen. But to me it has as much drama and tension as Arthur Miller or Eugene O’Neill – it’s like the Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh all rolled together – but it’s real! I just can’t get enough of it.


My Own Private Idaho (1992, 85% Tomatometer)



My Own Private Idaho
Even before I started acting, this was a very important film to me. Obviously I was really drawn to the performances and characters, but the whole film just kept bringing it back.

Gus has changed his style somewhat beginning with Gerry and all this Bela Tarr and Chantal Akerman influence, which I love too. But back then it was really about collage.

Idaho actually started as three different projects – three scripts – through Orson WellesChimes at Midnight, which was a distillation of Shakespeare, and this other story about street kids in Portland, and then something else about a kid finding his parents in Italy. And then this whole narcoleptic thing that was influenced by George Eliot. He’s got all that just in the script, and then there’s the way it’s shot – he had two DPs, plus time-lapse for the cloud sequences and 8mm for the dream sequences.

I love all of Gus’ movies. I think Drugstore Cowboy is a hilarious movie. I love how he can take a situation like that and make it funny. I think Matt Dillon gives one of the best comedic performances in that movie. Gus is taking a very personal approach in the film – from the look of Bob Yeoman‘s cinematography to the way Gus captures Portland on screen.


The Bicycle Thief (1948, 95% Tomatometer)



The Bicycle Thief
All of my favourite films are approaching realism in a different way. This is Italian neorealism – obviously there’s a script and a story and everything, but it’s shot in the street and it has the feel of Italy, of being in the streets and, like Idaho, a deceivingly, simply constructed narrative. But there’s so much emotion that’s evoked from these very simple stories.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2008, 97% Tomatometer)



4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Again, a very simple approach, but there’s so much power in that film. You’re not quite sure what’s happening from the beginning, but you’re just kind of thrown into it. All you know is that these women have this mysterious meeting, and it takes you from there. The film gives you a great sense of what it was really like to live in Romania in the 1980s.

The Wrestler (2008, 98% Tomatometer)



The Wrestler
I loved this film! I really like the films of the Dardenne Brothers, like The Child and The Son, and I’m sure The Wrestler was influenced by the Dardennes, especially in the beginning when the camera is following the back of Mickey Rourke‘s head through the hallways.

I know Darren Aronofsky a little bit, and I remember meeting with him just when The Fountain was coming out, and he told me to look at the Dardenne Brothers because they were doing some really good stuff, so I know he’s a fan.


Milk opens in UK on Friday and in Australia on 29th January. It’s out now in the US.

Ernest Borgnine is one of Hollywood’s most venerable character actors, with a career that spans more than five decades. To celebrate Borgnine’s 92nd birthday this week, Turner Classic Movies will air the interview special Private Screenings: Ernest Borgnine on Jan. 26, which will be followed by screenings of several of the actor’s greatest films, including Marty and From Here to Eternity. In an interview with RT, Borgnine shared thoughts on some of his favorite movies (and a few of his own performances that mean a lot to him).

After a 10-year stint in the Navy, which included service in World War II, Borgnine turned to acting. He caught his first big break as a supporting player in the Best Picture-winning From Here to Eternity, and after a series of sharp secondary roles, he rose to prominence in Marty, the story of a lonely butcher who makes a connection with a shy schoolteacher. Borgnine won a Best Actor Oscar for the role (and he remains the oldest-living Best Actor winner). After Marty, Borgnine co-starred in a number of memorable films, including The Dirty Dozen and The Wild Bunch. At 92, he shows few signs of slowing down; Borgnine has a recurring voice role on SpongeBob SquarePants, and he picked up a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in the 2007 TV film A Grandpa for Christmas.

In addition to his favorite films, Borgnine discussed why directors were easier to work with in the old days, a hairy situation on location, and why there was no one quite like Gary Cooper.

 

Life is Beautiful (1998, 77% Tomatometer)



Life is Beautiful
That is such a beautiful picture. I like the acting, I like the premise, I like the genuine honesty about the whole thing. It was one of those joyous things; even when [Roberto Benigni] was riding a bicycle, he was enjoying it, you know? ‘This is life, this is exceptional, this is something good!’ It’s just so beautiful. And it’s from the head and from the heart, and that’s what counts. And to me, Life is Beautiful is a beautiful film.

Citizen Kane (1941, 100% Tomatometer)



Citizen Kane
There’s another one called Citizen Kane. Here’s a man [Orson Welles] who didn’t look back and read about [William] Randolph Hearst and say, ‘sorry, I won’t make it until [Hearst dies]. He said, ‘To hell with it. I’m gonna make it anyway. If you see yourself in it, fine, that’s too bad.’ And he made it! And it was true! And the way he made it, and the way he works…. Ahhh. I had the opportunity to meet him one time, and I said, ‘Mr. Welles?’ And he said (mimicking Welles’ baritone voice), ‘Orson’s the name, and if you don’t win the g-d—ed Academy Award for Marty, I’m gonna quit it altogether.’ He was that kind of a fellow. He was a good man.

The Good Earth (1937, 92% Tomatometer)



The Good Earth
The Good Earth, with Paul Muni and Luise Rainer. What a piece of work. That to me is one you can watch all day long and not get tired of it. It’s wonderful.

Il Re di Poggioreale (1961, N/A Tomatometer)



Il Re di Poggioreale
There’s one called Il Re di Poggioreale, The King of Poggioreale. It was called [Black City] in this country. The King of Poggioreale was one of [producer] Dino De Laurentiis‘ first pictures, and it was directed by Duilio Coletti. It was the story about a boot-maker in Poggioreale, outside of Naples. This cobbler, who was a complete nothing, a nobody, went on to become the big black marketer in Italy in World War II. And this actually happened. When people in Naples were starving to death, he managed to find food — steal it from the Germans, steal it from the Americans, steal it from anybody — to feed the people of Naples. And then, because of his knowledge of things, they sent him to the Vatican to bring back the jewels of St. Gennaro, who is the patron saint of Naples. And he went through the German lines, and came back with the jewels. Nobody ever expected him to come back. They said, ‘This man, he’s taken everything and run away with it.’ But he came back. And [the movie] actually showed what the people of Naples actually do today. One of the things about St. Gennaro is that they have his blood in what almost looks like a rolling pin. They roll it back and forth, and they move it back and forth, and it’s all dried blood. If there’s a good time coming for Naples, that blood will actually turn and become blood. In this picture, we took pictures of it — unbeknownst to anyone else — and you can actually see the blood flowing. It was a wonderful picture, and I played the lead. And I tell ya, I never enjoyed doing anything so much since Marty.

Marty (1955, 100% Tomatometer)



Marty
I played Marty because I was Marty. I was the kind of guy that was a wall flower. I didn’t know how to dance. To get a girl — my goodness, that was beyond comprehension for me, because I could see myself being turned down and I wasn’t the kind of person that liked to be turned down, you know? Why bother to ask if you’re going to be turned down? So I never asked. That was it. But time went along and I went into the service, and I grew up. When I saw that script, I said, ‘My God, that’s me.’ I was very happy to do it, because it gave me the opportunity to play something that I could easily play, and I knew that I had in my heart exactly what happened.

Next: Borgnine talks about his favorite actors, and recounts a scary moment south of the border.

Rotten Tomatoes: You’ve worked with so many of the greats, actors like Kirk Douglas, Spencer Tracy, and Burt Lancaster. Who was the best actor you worked with?

 

Ernest Borgnine: It’s a tossup. One was Spencer Tracy, and the other was Gary Cooper. Now, people say to me, “Oh c’mon, he got it for saying ‘yup.'” (Editor’s note: Cooper was known for saying “yup” instead of “yes,” and it became a signature line for the actor.) Yeah? Watch him! He was so honest and true unto himself. This is what an actor is all about. And it’s true of Spencer Tracy, don’t get me wrong. But Gary Cooper was the kind of a fellow that, with a look, with a glance, with a touch of his finger — with just a little, tiny move, you could see what kind of an actor he was, because you felt it. You knew what he was going through. When he did [Meet John Doe], where he was gonna throw himself off that building, you knew he was gonna throw himself off! There was no doubt about it. He was that honest. He said to me one time when we were riding along in a car, he said, “You know, I sure wish I could act like you.” I said, “But sir, you’ve got two Academy Awards that show that you’re a good actor!” He said, “I got ’em for saying ‘yup.'” That was his excuse. But for me, every time he’s on the television, I watch him like a hawk, because he was so pure and honest it wasn’t funny.

RT: Speaking of Gary Cooper, you were in Vera Cruz together, and I heard an anecdote about something that happened when you went to buy cigarettes on location in Mexico, dressed as bandits and wearing fake guns. Is that true?

 

EB: Yeah! Charlie Bronson and I started off to get some cigarettes, and we were dressed up in costume, naturally. A whole truckload of soldiers went by, and we said, “Hola! Como le va?” Y’know? “Hello! How are you?” And we kept on, and all of a sudden we heard, “Alto!” Which means “Halt!” We turned around and all these guys had pointed pistols at us! We said, “We’re actors! We’re actors!” Oh, God, we were frightened! It wasn’t easy, I tell ya. We were going to get some cigarettes, that’s all!

 

Borgnine (far right) in The Wild Bunch.

 

RT: As someone who spent 10 years in the Navy, how many war films come close to depicting the experience in any real way?

 

EB: I think The Longest Day was just about the best of ’em. Tora! Tora! Tora! was pretty good, but The Longest Day is just about the best of them, because it showed the guys trying to get up that cliff and everything else. It must have been hell. I wasn’t in any part of that, and I’m so glad I wasn’t, but I could just feel what those fellows were doing that day, and believe me, it wasn’t easy. And there’s Gary Cooper’s Sergeant York. He won the Academy Award for that one. Boy, what a piece of work that is.

RT: Are there any younger actors whose work you admire?

 

EB: The closest one that comes to mind — a wonderful actor — is Gary Sinise. What a great guy. What a wonderful person. Not only that, but I watched him where he took his band and performed for the troops overseas. I met him in person one time, and he said, “You mind if I come over and talk with you?” And I said, “No! C’mon!” It was the most wonderful hour you’ve ever seen in your life, and it passed like a minute. He can do no wrong, as far as I’m concerned. What a performance he did in Forrest Gump.

 

Borgnine (center) in TV’s McHale’s Navy.

 

RT: You’ve also worked with some prominent directors, like Sam Peckinpah, Nicholas Ray, Fred Zinnemann, and Robert Aldrich. Who was your favorite to work with?

 

DG: Bob Aldrich. The Dirty Dozen, Emperor of the North, Flight of the Phoenix — he did it all. Believe me, working with him was like a dream. Delbert Mann was another one. When you worked with Delbert Mann, you got an acting lesson. He was wonderful. He didn’t direct you, he just kind of suggested things as you go along, and first thing you know, it’s the easiest thing in the world. I’ve worked with people who drum you over the head and then [they say], “Try it again. Try it again.” When I was working making pictures — real pictures — directors came on the set. They actually watched you on the set. They watched your expression. They watched everything. Today, they watch actors who insist on wearing dark glasses. You can’t see anybody’s eyes! And they watch all this not by being on the set, but by watching a little television set. And as long as it all fits within the allotted section of time, it’s like, “Hey, that’s it. Print it!” There’s no honesty. There’s no real feeling that goes beyond it, with the head and the heart and everything else. To me, my directors are always the man who leads the band, and I say, “Yes sir,” and “No sir,” and that’s it. I’m the only one who does it. Everybody calls him by his name, but I call him sir, because to me, he’s the director of the band, and when we’re off the stage, that’s when I call him by his first name, and that’s fine.

For Borgnine’s complete filmography, click here.

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Mickey Rourke, Danny Boyle, and James Franco.

Given his filmography of stylized thrillers, Scottish director Paul McGuigan (Gangster No. 1, Wicker Park, Lucky Number Slevin) seemed a fitting choice to helm this month’s supernatural actioner Push, a Hong Kong-set sci-fi adventure about normal people endowed with super powers starring Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, and Djimon Hounsou. Accordingly, one may be taken aback to hear that McGuigan names romantic auteur Wong Kar-Wai among his favorite directorial influences, but as he demonstrates in Push — which captures the vibrant streets of Hong Kong in lush detail, appropriately — McGuigan possesses a strong visual finesse that belies his history of making brutal crime movies and Hollywood suspense flicks.

McGuigan shared his Five Favorite Films with Rotten Tomatoes, which range from the above mentioned work of Wong Kar-Wai to UK family classics to the edgy work of Darren Aronofsky and beyond. Read on to discover the films most loved by Paul McGuigan, and learn what Hitchockian backstory he’s developing into a feature film.

 

In the Mood for Love (2001, 88% Tomatometer)



In the Mood for Love
It’s such a beautiful cinematic poem, I suppose. When I did Push in Hong Kong, it was a great pleasure to be able to shoot the film almost in the style of Wong Kar-Wai — just with him in mind, you know. Beautiful light, reds and greens. I actually stayed in one of the apartments in Hong Kong that he designed, which was nice. Lots of wallpaper. As a movie, you’re just so compelled by these two characters, and he only shows glimpses of them, yet they’re so compelling — which is a feat in itself.

Have you taken any cues from Wong Kar-Wai in your overall directorial style?

I’d like to think so. I would never compare myself to Wong Kar-Wai — that would be silly, that would be like comparing yourself to David Beckham. But I would like to make more work that has the kind of silence that he has, you know?

Push isn’t quite that quiet film, is it?

Push is really loud. There’s not much silence in Push. [Laughs] It’s a pretty cool movie; it’s not going to stretch you intellectually, but it’s definitely going to make you have some fun at the cinema. In a way, that’s as much a part of what I do as anything; just to entertain people. It was great for me to do something like this. I mean, imagine going to work and talking about f***ing floating guns, you know?


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968, 59% Tomatometer)

Chitty Chitty Bang BangMy second favorite film is probably even more intellectually challenging than Wong Kar-Wai; it’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I f***ing love that movie! I have two children; I’ve probably seen this movie, with each child, about 50 times each. And that’s no exaggeration. There’s nothing I don’t know about this movie. I once went to a meeting with an executive in Hollywood, and they asked me what I wanted to do. I said, ‘I’d love to do a remake of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang‘ — I was just making it up — ‘and I’d call it Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Boom,’ and he said that’s a great title! [Laughs] I was only kidding. But that’s a movie I really love.

In the UK at Christmastime, the girls would get The Sound of Music and the boys would get Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It was that kind of thing, where every Christmas you would see it. So when I had kids, of course I put it on for my son and then he became obsessed with it. It’s the kind of movie where you never really get to the end; it’s so long, and the kids can only really wait so long. But the beginning of the film is like 20 minutes long, before anything even happens. It’s just the story of the car. It’s fantastic!


The Man in the White Suit (1951, 100% Tomatometer)



The Man in the White Suit
Alex Guinness, to me is — forget De Niro, forget Pacino — he’s the man. Alec Guinness is such a quintessential English actor, but he’s also a brilliant actor. He’s just the best. And The Man in the White Suit is just such a beautiful, charming movie. It’s about a man who invents a suit that you don’t have to wash. It’s a whole movie about it! It’s something that some of the more flamboyant directors should think about remaking. [Laughs] It’s about this guy who invents this material that keeps white all the time. It’s directed by Alexander Mackendrick, a fellow Scot, and the opening title sequence is amazing. Mackendrick is a brilliant director. I just enjoy his work; I enjoy the pace of his work. I think he’s really overlooked. He did The Ladykillers and Whisky Galore, and The Sweet Smell of Success. A lot of really cool movies.

Alec Guinness, to me — forget Star Wars and all that — he’s just the best. And to work with someone like Alexander Mackendrick, who really understood what a story meant…it’s funny, because on IMDB the movie is listed as sci-fi. It’s not sci-fi, that’s ridiculous! It’s actually a very nice tale, about inventing the thing that nobody wants. Like a car that doesn’t need petrol. The thing that people don’t want because of the money [the auto industry] could make off of you. If you say hey great, I’ve invented this car that doesn’t need petrol, and then there’s a silence, and then there’s a gunshot, and you’re dead. It’s that kind of thing.


Rear Window (1954, 100% Tomatometer)



Rear Window
I love Hitchcock’s Rear Window. I’m actually developing a movie about Robert Capa, who was a war photographer that Hitchcock seemingly based the movie on. I used to take photographs; I was a photographer for many years, and I’m intrigued by this idea. I think it’s a wonderful idea about being a voyeur. He just watches his next door neighbors, and becomes convinced that one of them has been killed. It’s the idea of what you see versus what you really see.

I loved making documentaries for that very reason; you just watch people, even after you’ve shot it. You go back to the edit suite and watch them, and you can understand when they’re telling the truth and when they’re lying. You get to know that stuff. It’s really fascinating — the idea that you can have a movie about something that might have happened… it’s a trick of the eye, or using the camera in a fascinating way. You’re using it to tell a story based on intrigue, and I don’t think I’ve seen that before, or since.


Requiem for a Dream (2000, 78% Tomatometer)



Requiem for a Dream
Requiem for a Dream is a really interesting film. It changed my idea of what people really wanted to see. Because I came from the UK, as a European film director, it was interesting to see how American studios or financiers were really into European cinema. They would always quote certain movies that I made that nobody else had seen — like Gangster No. 1. I was amazed, like, ‘Wow, you’ve actually seen that movie?’ And it dawned on me that people in America aren’t that dumb after all, you know? They’re kind of smart — much smarter than I was about movies. And when I saw Requiem for a Dream, I understood it. This guy got cash, he got money, to make this movie. It’s quite a hard movie to actually sell — can you imagine trying to sell that movie? And for that alone I think Aronofsky is a genius. I like what he does. I even liked The Fountain. The Wrestler is a great movie; I think Pi is a genius piece of work. I think he deserves a lot of praise.

For people like me, who come from Europe and go to America and think nobody’s going to know what I’ve done, I’m a struggling filmmaker, and then suddenly you go into a studio and the head exec is like, ‘Gangster No. 1, I loved that film, it had this and that person in it…’ They see everything. I was quite cheered by that.


Push opens in wide release February 6, 2009. Click here for a full synopsis, photo gallery and trailers.

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Ernest Borgnine, Mickey Rourke, Danny Boyle, and James Franco.

American audiences who know Jean Reno strictly from Luc Besson productions
(The Professional, Nikita, The Big Blue, Wasabi) and
smart action blockbusters (Ronin, Mission: Impossible, The
Crimson Rivers
) will be surprised how little ass-kicking he does in his role
as Ponton in The Pink Panther 2, opening this Friday. As family man
partner to eternal-bumbler Inspector Clouseau (Steve Martin), Reno’s character
is indeed one of the few to escape the mystery without slipping, falling, or
crashing into solid objects. But it’s representative of Reno’s career, a varied
body of work that frequently crosses over into video games, French slapstick,
and romantic comedies that is rarely seen in the States. RT spoke with Reno
recently to get his Five Favorite Films.

Apocalypse
Now
(1979, 98% Tomatometer)



Apocalypse Now
It’s like a surge of intimacy of human beings, you know? It is spectacular. It is well done, a lot of actors, and I like very much Coppola as a director. I like the performance of the main role, the guy…he had a heart attack. I don’t remember his name. Martin Sheen. I almost said Martin Short. [laughs] I like also the performance of Marlon Brando. I like it very much, that movie.

Taxi Driver (1979,
100% Tomatometer)

Taxi DriverIt was a shock, a real shock. The acting was so sincere, so honest. Brilliant performances from everybody, from Robert DeNiro and Jodie Foster. There are always good moments in the movie business, but that was a very intense moment in the American cinema. It was amazing to see those movies.




Life is Beautiful
(1998, 77% Tomatometer)



Life is Beautiful
A movie I like very much by Roberto Benigni. It’s a way of talking about a very serious matter through a comic form. A touching form. That was a new way of speaking of a moment in the history of humanity. Very painful.
[Having worked with him on The Tiger and the Snow], Benigni is somebody who [writes] the script and he is somebody who [interprets] the script, but he will let you very free. He is not a dictator. Basically, he is a poet. Somebody who sees the world through his own eyes in a poetic way. [The Tiger and the Snow] is a movie I like because he wanted to talk about the war through his eyes, and it is a very honest movie. Very.


Il Sorpasso (1954, Tomatometer N/A)



Il Sorpasso
Italian, a black-and-white movie. If you go to the internet, you can find it. Dino Risi movie, with Vittorio Gassman acting in it. And a French actor named Jean-Louis Trintignant. It is about somebody who is pretentious, who’s always speaking [loudly], always speaking about himself. And somebody in front who is shy. The story is about changing personality, and the moral of the story is, “If you want to change your personality, change with your own rhythm. Don’t try to imitate people.”
[This was] reality because so many people try to imitate things that they have seen without any reasons inside themselves. They just want to imitate because they have seen that on screen or in a book. Instead of following their own rhythm, their own needs. I still remember that… long time ago. 30 years
ago.




Beauty and the Beast
(1946, 95% Tomatometer)



Beauty and the Beast
Cocteau, black-and-white, with Jean Marais. That was [a] way of telling stories…very, very [strangely]. I was very shocked because everything [becomes] possible [when] you can present your story in a poetic way. And the voice of the actor…

When you are young, you understand [here] that even if you are not handsome, you can find love, because the girl loved the beast. [chuckles] It came maybe from my fears when I was young, not to find a girl, not to seduce. You know what I mean?


The Pink
Panther 2
opens in wide release February 6, 2009.
Click here for a full synopsis, photo gallery and trailers.

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Ernest Borgnine, Mickey Rourke, Danny Boyle, and James Franco.

After giving critically-acclaimed performances in Oscar-nominated films like Amistad, In America, Gladiator, and Blood Diamond, Benin-born actor Djimon Hounsou finally gets to play a villain in this week’s science fiction thriller, Push. Rotten Tomatoes spoke with Hounsou about his Five Favorite Films of all time and discussed the two-time Oscar nominee’s philosophies on the nature of acting, the perils of creating a signature style, and more.

In this week’s Push, Djimon Hounsou strikes a menacing pose as Carver, the ominous head of a secret government agency working to cultivate an army of telekinetics, psychics, shape-shifters, and others endowed with unique powers. It’s a bit of a departure for Hounsou, who came to attention as the leader of a slave rebellion in the Oscar-nominated Amistad only a little over a decade ago, but achieving variety, it would seem, is Hounsou’s intent. Read on as Djimon Hounsou takes us through his favorite films — classics of their respective generations — and shares his thoughts on filmmaking, acting and creative versatility.

“I’d like to think that when a story changes, your vision changes.” — Djimon Hounsou

Raging Bull (1980, 98% Tomatometer)



Raging Bull
What a scope of a film for Martin Scorsese. To really dig into the humanity of that character, Jake La Motta. And what a portrayal by Robert De Niro! What an amazing talent. How he was able to really touch into this organic moment…it was just unbelievable.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962,
98% Tomatometer)

Lawrence of ArabiaJust the scope of the film. The journey the film takes, the journey the character takes. Doing that film today you couldn’t get your head around it — it was such a massive undertaking. It leaves so much room for imagination, to escape. I escaped with that film.




The Bridge on the River Kwai
(1957, 95% Tomatometer)



The Bridge on the River Kwai
I think it was a beautiful, well-told story. If you’re learning to know how to direct a film, it’s a great subject film to study.


The Usual Suspects (1995, 89% Tomatometer)



The Usual Suspects
Obviously it has to do with the story and how complicated it was. [Bryan Singer] was an impressive young man, to be able to draw that.


Taxi Driver (1979,
100% Tomatometer)

Taxi DriverI thought its arc of character was beautifully captured. [Martin Scorsese] has got so many dramatic views — men fed up with life, the situation, the system. These days people are more experienced [as filmmakers] but we’ve just been poorly making movies lately. We used to tell beautiful, humane stories. We used to care about characters instead of just blowing some f***ing building down.


Next: Hounsou talks about Push, as well as formenting a personal style in the movies.

Rotten Tomatoes: In Push, the government secretly trains people with a number of special powers, but the most dangerous ones are “pushers” — people who can make you believe lies are real. Are all the best actors really pushers of some sort?

 

Djimon Hounsou: I guess you could look at it that way. But at the end of the day, actors are “pushing” themselves, not you; that belief makes you [the audience] believe. They don’t alter your thinking; they alter their own beliefs, embodying the life condition that they’re playing. They are convincing themselves, not you.

And you, do you ever push yourself too far?

 

DH: [Smiling] No. I’m not an actor who takes his bulls*** home. There are limitations.

 

Hounsou in Push.

 

Your director, Paul McGuigan, was previously known for a few very striking movies, Gangster No. 1 and Lucky Number Slevin among them. Did you feel that Push would fit into Paul’s style, or do you resist the idea that filmmakers or artists can have a signature style?

 

DH: I don’t know if it’s such a nice thing [to be thought of as having a signature.] It’s like a painter — where one stroke of a brush can be read into. In that sense, maybe. I like to think that moving to a new project, your style should change to accommodate the story. If it’s the same, you become repetitive with your style. Paul [McGuigan] is known for his visual interpretations, but I’ve paid attention to his directorial visions. I think of Push as an entity unto itself, completely independent of all other films. I’d like to think that when a story changes, your vision changes.

When I spoke with Ed Zwick, who you worked with on Blood Diamond, he said he preferred to not be typed and to let a film speak for itself.

 

DH: I certainly don’t see Zwick other than his great storytelling; I don’t want to pigeonhole him by saying I see the “Zwick trait.” I don’t look at directors like that. Hopefully we don’t all.

You’ve done historical drama, action drama, and now, sci-fi action. How do you strike a balance between the projects you choose?

 

DH: I guess you could try to balance but at the end of the day you’re left to what’s available at the time. Some projects can be amazing, but they won’t happen until five years from now. You sort of have to surrender to the outcome of what’s present at the time, and hopefully choose one of the best and hope it creatively comes together.

Push opens in wide release February 6, 2009.
Click here for a full synopsis, photo gallery and trailers.

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Ernest Borgnine, Jean Reno, Danny Boyle, and James Franco.

Super producer Jerry Bruckheimer has earned a spot amongst Hollywood’s elite players by producing some of the most successful and bombastic films of the last three decades, from Beverly Hills Cop to Armageddon, to Black Hawk Down and all three Pirates of the Caribbean movies. (They don’t call him “Mr. Blockbuster” for nothing.) So what’s Bruckheimer doing producing this week’s estrogen-powered Confessions of a Shopaholic, starring a radiant Isla Fisher alongside the fab fashion mise-en-scenes of Sex and the City designer Patricia Fields?

He’s taking people (in this case, the chick lit crowd) on a journey. In our discussion below, RT chats with Bruckheimer about his Five Favorite Films, many of which were directed by a sort of blockbuster magician of another generation, the celebrated British filmmaker David Lean. All five of his favorites, however, share certain elements that Bruckheimer strives for in his own career — a fortuitous combination of great writing, great visual style, and great casting. (They also share a lot in common with the picks of last week’s Five Favorite Films subject, Djimon Hounsou, to which Bruckheimer quips, “Really? He’s a smart man.”)

Below, Jerry Bruckheimer reminisces on working with Paul Schrader and the late artistic director Ferdinando Scarfiotti, with whom he worked on Cat People and American Gigolo, and compares the plight of Shopaholic‘s indebted heroine to America’s current economic crisis. Intriguingly, Bruckheimer also argues that there is no glass ceiling in Hollywood for female filmmakers today (although Confessions of a Shopaholic is helmed by male director P.J. Hogan). Read on for all this and more with Jerry Bruckheimer.



The Bridge on the River Kwai
(1957, 95% Tomatometer), Lawrence of Arabia (1962,
98% Tomatometer), Dr. Zhivago (1965,
84% Tomatometer)



The Bridge on the River Kwai
I’m a big fan of David Lean. Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, and Dr. Zhivago take up three of my favorites. This can go for all three of Lean’s films, because they’re all very similar. They all have very strong characters, very developed characters. He has a unique visual style; it’s very important for the way the movie looks. There are stories about how he’d sit in the desert for half a day, just waiting for the clouds to be right before he’d start filming. You can imagine what a producer would be doing during this. [Smiles] So I love films that have strong visual styles, and all of those films have very unique styles.


The Godfather (1972,
100% Tomatometer)

GodfatherThe Godfather is another big favorite of mine. It’s a great characterization. Fantastic casting, in every film. I can generalize on all of these favorite films, because they all have the same elements to them. Very strong directors; very strong writers. Robert Bolt wrote most of David Lean’s movies. You have a fantastic screenwriter working at your hand, penning these wonderful characters.


Raging Bull (1980, 98% Tomatometer)



Raging Bull
Another masterful director [Martin Scorsese]. Paul Schrader was one of the writers on that, another great writer and director. Casting, again; De Niro is amazing.

Next: Bruckheimer on Paul Schrader, making films to “empower women,” and how he pulls each project together

Speaking of Paul Schrader, I recently watched Cat People.

Jerry Bruckheimer: It’s cute, isn’t it? Not cute, but it’s out there.

It’s visually amazing. There are a number of things you’ve mentioned that seem to resonate, among them Paul Schrader delaying production a few times…do you remember making that movie very well?

JB: That’s right! Ferdinando Scarfiotti was the designer on it; he was just a genius, he really was. He was from Italy, and he comes to America and has a whole different perspective on what he sees. Things that you and I pass by every day that become commonplace, they’re unique to him. It’s so interesting to see things through his eyes, and that’s what that movie was. He also did American Gigolo, which I produced, with Paul Schrader.

I heard there was some lobby to get him a co-director credit because of how much he contributed.

JB: He was a genius, and one of the sweetest men ever. Just an amazing individual.

[rtimage]MapID=1191984&MapTypeID=2&photo=6&legacy=1[/rtimage]

Now, we’ve got Confessions of a Shopaholic, which at first glance seems like somewhat of a departure for you.

JB: A little bit, but not really. My first [romantic comedy] was 25 years ago, with Flashdance, and then we did Coyote Ugly. But I like to make movies that empower people — especially women — and I think this is a very powerful film. All three of those movies empower women, and take them on a journey. Shopaholic is the journey of this young girl who obviously has problems. She doesn’t like her job, she has a spending problem. And through the course of the movie, through her own conviction and through her own realization, she overcomes her problems, finds something she really likes doing, and finds romance. I think we all look for that. A lot of us have had jobs we hated, or have problems we have to overcome. So I think it’s nice for young kids to see that they can come out of these things.

On the one hand, you see Isla Fisher in Patricia Fields’ fabulous clothes, and on the other you have this story about debt which is really quite timely in today’s economic climate.

JB: It’s so funny how things happen. When we bought this book years ago, the country was flying high. Now we have the same problems that Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher’s character) has. We’ve spent too much, put too much on credit, and now they’ve come to collect and we don’t have the money. We have to take some lessons from Becky.

[rtimage]MapID=1191984&MapTypeID=2&photo=9&legacy=1[/rtimage]

Could you compare Shopaholic to any of your big action blockbusters, in terms of how you put the pieces together?

JB: I think you try to find the strengths and weaknesses of all the people you work with. If the director’s very visual — like Ridley Scott and Tony Scott, the Scott brothers are both very visual — then it doesn’t matter who the designer or the cinematographer is; it’s really their vision and you just have to have someone who’s very good at executing their vision. But other directors focus on character and story, and they don’t have the desire to have something more brilliant; that’s not their expertise. You have to find the Nando Scarfiottis of the world to come in and design the film. It’s the same thing with the cinematographer. Some directors are trained a different way, and they don’t have the skill and the understanding of what good cinematography is, so you’ll have to get a brilliant cinematographer. It’s all mixing and matching the talents of the people that surround you.

Some writers write great characters and great dialogue, but their storytelling is not as good. In the old Hollywood system, studios used to have writers under contract. Every screenplay went through five different writers. It started with the plotter, the guy who wrote the great plots, then they’d give it to the character person, then they’d it to the punch up dialogue, then they’d give it to the female writer, who bolstered the female characters, then they’d bring in somebody, if it was an action movie, who understood how to write action… it went through all these different hands. That’s why you have all those great movies in the ’30s and ’40s that had brilliant dialogue; they went through so many different typewriters.

Next: Bruckheimer on the best writers in Hollywood, gender politics in Hollywood, and why he selected a man to direct the female-centric Confessions of a Shopaholic

[rtimage]MapID=1191984&MapTypeID=2&photo=10&legacy=1[/rtimage]

Do you think a similar writing system could work today?

JB: Well, we sort of do it. It’s rare that we have writers like Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, who can actually do everything. The problem is, there may be ten of them in Hollywood, and they’re always busy so you can’t always get them. So you have to find somebody else and nurture them along, or you have to go through a bunch of different computers to get where you have a complete screenplay.

How did you decide on hiring P.J. Hogan (Muriel’s Wedding) to direct Confessions?

JB: You just look at his work. He’s wonderful with female characters, he’s wonderful with comedy, and he’s got a very light touch. He understands physical comedy. He was the perfect choice.

Confessions is poised to become a female-driven blockbuster. It’s a female movie, with a female audience. So why not hire a female director?

JB: I don’t look it as far as gender. I look at it as who’s available at the time, who’s the most talented. These pictures have a very short window in which they can get made, so you try to get a list of people who you think are really talented, and they start getting crossed off one by one because they’re making other movies.

[rtimage]MapID=1191984&MapTypeID=2&photo=2&legacy=1[/rtimage]

Why do you think there is such a lack of female filmmakers in mainstream movies?

JB: I think that’s changing. I think you saw that when you saw Twilight; [director Catherine Hardwicke] is very talented. There’s a whole group of young women and older women who are directing now, doing very well.

True, but I feel like despite there being a handful of established female directors, like Catherine Hardwicke, even with her success — nobody really knows what happened in the decision making process with the Twilight sequel, New Moon.

JB: From what I’ve read, it seems that most studios want to make movies for less money and she felt that she needed a little more…

Or a little more time —

JB: Well, time is money. [Smiles]

[rtimage]MapID=1191984&MapTypeID=2&photo=7&legacy=1[/rtimage]

So from what you can tell, Hollywood isn’t terribly unbalanced gender-wise –there’s not a huge uphill battle facing aspiring female filmmakers?

JB: Not at all. Quite the opposite. Historically, they’ll even hire people who have all kinds of problems, as long as they can make money. It’s all about talent.

For a director, do you think it helps or not to be an auteur?

JB: It works either way. It depends on what kind of auteur you are; if you’re a commercial auteur, that’s one thing. If you’re an auteur who makes very personalized movies that people don’t go see, it’s much harder to get work — or to get people to finance your films.

What is your favorite Jerry Bruckheimer film?

JB: I don’t have one — they’re all favorites. They’re all your children.

Confessions of a Shopaholic opens in wide release February 13, 2009. Click here for a full synopsis, photo gallery and trailers. Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Ernest Borgnine, Jean Reno, Danny Boyle, and James Franco.

Bill Pullman

Few will forget Bill Pullman‘s rousing speech as the US president in Independence Day, but it’s only one of a long string of vast and diverse roles that have seen him cast as romantic lead, action hero, comedy star and dark villain. In more than twenty years of screen acting he’s defined himself as a hard-working, engaging talent.

His latest film, Surveillance, opens in UK cinemas this week. Directed by Jennifer Lynch, it casts Pullman as one of a pair of FBI agents (with Julia Ormond) tracking down the culprit of a grisly collection of seemingly unpremeditated murders. With a fine ensemble cast it’s an original crime thriller; only Lynch’s second film since her 1993 debut Boxing Helena. It will open in the US on 26th June.

Of his five favourite films, Pullman says his choices depend on mood and context. “I always feel like there are a lot of different types of favourites,” he tells RT. “there are some that I look to for interesting things, some that I look to for acting things, others that I watch again and again. I don’t know if this is in any sort of order!”

Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia

“This is always the first choice when people say they have a new television set or home cinema system and they want to watch a great visual movie. I always choose this because I feel it has an incredible presence.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Lawrence of Arabia
Lawrence of Arabia

The Searchers
The Searchers

Zabriskie Point
Zabriskie Point

America, America
America, America

Scenes from a Marriage
Scenes from a Marriage


Bill Pullman

The Searchers

The Searchers

“I like The Searchers for the same reason. I like to see those performances again and just the way that without special effects or tweaked shots or CGI or whatever you get this expansive feeling of being in the outdoors.”


Bill Pullman

Zabriskie Point

Zabriskie Point

“When I was in college, first year, I saw it and I really hadn’t been exposed to a lot of European filmmakers. It’s such a ‘film’ film. It wasn’t required viewing, it was just a film playing on campus and I hadn’t been interested in film before then. Nowadays people are deciding to get into film at age five when they’re sitting, watching the Oscars. I really didn’t come out of that culture — I was pretty much a John Wayne fan and that was it. Zabriskie Point was a time when I was in a lot of change and flux and these incredible visuals hit me like they had rearranged the organs in my body. The ending and the free-floating debris and everything is an image that burned itself in my consciousness.”


Bill Pullman

America, America

America, America

“It’s a little bit of a Slumdog movie in a way of somebody coming from incredibly unlikely beginnings and climbing through a lot of incredibly hard challenges to get somewhere. As an actor you’re continually riding the waves of whether you’re in or out, getting work or not getting work, and Kazan was really a guy who was condemned into not working and looking to go deep into someplace and just live inside his art.”


Bill Pullman

Scenes from a Marriage

Scenes from a Marriage

“This is one I’ve watched a couple of different times in a couple of different forms. I’ve watched the film version and I’ve also seen the mini-series. I think when I first saw that it changed my idea of acting. I go back to it sometimes just to put myself back in that place where my discoveries about what was possible on a film and the level of immersion between people — this incredible dance that they do — really formed.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Lawrence of Arabia
Lawrence of Arabia

The Searchers
The Searchers

Zabriskie Point
Zabriskie Point

America, America
America, America

Scenes from a Marriage
Scenes from a Marriage


Surveillance opens in UK cinemas this week. It will open in the US on 26th June.

With 12 Rounds hitting theaters, wrestler turned actor John Cena stopped by Current TV’s Rotten Tomatoes Show to share his favorite films.


Carla Gugino

 

A certain quest for variety has allowed Carla Gugino to cultivate a fan base within two distinctly divergent demographics, alternating between femme fatale and strong maternal figures in films like Sin City and the Spy Kids trilogy, respectively. The juxtaposition has never been more apparent than it is during this month, in which she appears in back-to-back weeks as the pin-up superheroine Silk Spectre in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen and then as Dr. Alex Friedman, a brainy UFO specialist who teams up with a cab driver (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) to help a pair of alien teens in this week’s Race to Witch Mountain.

Rotten Tomatoes spoke with Carla Gugino about her favorite films of the moment (every true film geek has a hard time picking just five) and discussed her drive to diversify her career. While Race to Witch Mountain marks her third film of the year so far (following The Unborn and Watchmen) and her eighth in two years (including American Gangster, The Lookout, and Righteous Kill), Gugino also shared her enthusiasm for a trio of upcoming passion projects: Women in Trouble and Elektra Luxx, the first two films in a trilogy which she’s producing and starring in for director Sebastian Gutierrez.

Below, read on as Carla Gugino shares her Five Favorite Films (or go straight to our extended interview).

All That Jazz

All That Jazz

“Straight up Bob Fosse goodness. Roy Scheider is amazing in this movie. (It’s my favorite performance of his though I have many a good friend who would argue it’s in Jaws, but check it out and I think you’ll agree with me.)”

 

Click on a thumbnail below.

All That Jazz
All That Jazz

Tie Me Up Tie Me Down
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

Casino
Casino

12 Monkeys
12 Monkeys

Funny Face
Funny Face


 

Read our full interview with Carla Gugino!


More Five Favorite Films:

Bill Pullman

Jerry Bruckheimer

Danny Boyle

Mickey Rourke

Robert Pattinson

Click here for our Five Favorite Films archive

Carla Gugino

Tie Me Up Tie Me Down

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

“I am a huge Almodovar fan, so it’s hard to pick only one of his films, but today I shall choose this. Antonio Banderas and Victoria Abril are fantastic. It’s funny, sexy, and deeply human.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

All That Jazz
All That Jazz

Tie Me Up Tie Me Down
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

Casino
Casino

12 Monkeys
12 Monkeys

Funny Face
Funny Face


 

Read our full interview with Carla Gugino!
Carla Gugino

Casino

Casino

“I think it’s a totally underrated Scorsese movie. Massive in scope, stunning to look at and amazing performances all around. Plus, the coolest wardrobe ever.”


 

Read our full interview with Carla Gugino!
Carla Gugino

12 Monkeys

12 Monkeys

“I just can’t see this movie enough times. Genius, Gilliam. He creates such an impressive alternate world. And one of my favorite performances by Brad Pitt.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

All That Jazz
All That Jazz

Tie Me Up Tie Me Down
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

Casino
Casino

12 Monkeys
12 Monkeys

Funny Face
Funny Face


 

Read our full interview with Carla Gugino!
Carla Gugino

Funny Face

Funny Face

“Audrey Hepburn, Paris, fashion, all wrapped up in one great movie. Makes you happy — perfect for a rainy day.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

All That Jazz
All That Jazz

Tie Me Up Tie Me Down
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

Casino
Casino

12 Monkeys
12 Monkeys

Funny Face
Funny Face


 

Read our full interview with Carla Gugino!
What follows is our full interview with Carla Gugino. To return to her Five Favorite Films, click here.

 

Your character in Race to Witch Mountain is sort of a nerd’s dream girl — beautiful, smart, and a little bit dorky. Is that something that comes from you?

Carla Gugino: Yes! I think kind of in the way that everyone wishes they were smoother than they are. That was one of the things I really loved about playing that character — the fact that she is smart, and she’s got her act together to some extent, but when she’s confronted with something that blows her mind, she becomes a kid. And has obsessions about funny things, and is sort of phobic about being outside. I don’t share that particular one, but I definitely relate to the nerd in her.

What kind of nerd are you?

CG: Well, first of all, I’m an incredibly gullible person — I’m so bad that when I said that to someone, my friend said, “You know, ‘gullible’ isn’t even in the dictionary.” And I said, “Really?” As I was saying “Really?” I will acknowledge that I then realized what was happening, but that’s how bad I am. I like to think that’s a good quality, in the long run.

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For your character, Dr. Alex Friedman, the day that the alien kids come to her for help is the most important day of her career, possibly of her entire life. Have you had a similarly defining moment in your career?

CG: I’ve had nothing in comparison to that — in the sense of that moment where really, you thought something was completely impossible, but it was actually happening to you. But I’ve certainly had those “pinch yourself” kind of moments in the sense that, obviously as you know, this business is so tough, and I’ve been really fortunate. But you know, you get turned down a lot, and you have to not take those things personally. And so, I think along the way, when I’ve fought really hard to get a role and I’ve actually gotten it…there have been those times in my life where it’s absolutely ecstatic and you’re like, Oh my God, the hard work actually paid off! Because you get so used to having people say, well, there was the best person who came in, but we’re going to go with so and so…[laughs] so certainly in terms of the magnitude of Alex Friedman’s discovery, I haven’t had one of those yet.

Given that you’ve been working in Hollywood for so long and are known for so many different types of roles in studio films, independent films, and television, I would think your name recognition would carry you pretty far and you wouldn’t have so many of those moments any more.

CG: Thank you. Well, I definitely [have those moments] less than I have had. I’ve been doing this since I was 14, so I’ve gone through a lot of that for so many years that I think it’s just in your bones. But the truth is, I have more choices now than I did before, which I’m so grateful for.

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That brings me to your current gigs — the juxtaposition of your two back-to-back films is somewhat ironic. You’re going from playing Sally Jupiter (AKA Silk Spectre) in the R-rated Watchmen to playing a brainy maternal figure of sorts in Disney’s Race to Witch Mountain.

CG: I know, it’s so wild! You know, all my life I’ve sort of gravitated toward really different kinds of roles and I’ve always mixed it up. Right before I played the mom in Spy Kids I played a prostitute in Wayne Wang’s Center of the World. I’ve definitely always found myself gravitating towards the opposite of what I’ve just done, and after doing Watchmen and Righteous Kill, which I was shooting simultaneously, I was excited to go do something light and fun, and get to play kind of a kooky scientist! It was just a really appealing thing to me. Most people who understand movies and actors and all that, understand the desire to not be typecast and the desire to play different things. But I think I also confused people for a while…it’s funny because it’s never been so obvious as right now, because there are two big movies coming out at the same time and the roles are so different, the films are so different. It’s nice because I get to talk about what actually does matter to me, which is playing characters that are diverse and getting to challenge myself each time. I just think that in order to be good at what you do and get better and better — which is what I care about — you have to the things that scare you or inspire you.

With the whole world watching and talking about Watchmen right now, are you very attuned to all the buzz?

CG: I haven’t been checking the boards or blogs, just because for me, once I open that door it’s like too much information. I’m really excited that people are excited about it. I’ve been attuned to some responses, from people I know and/or from press, so I’ve gotten a sense of things to some extent. But you know what’s cool, I love the movie so much — I actually love both of these movies, and they’re such different movies, and I love them for different reasons. I think Watchmen is extraordinary. The character that I play was such a great challenge; I love the character, Sally Jupiter, so much. But there’s also a lot of the movie that I’m not in, so I feel I’m able to be pretty objective. And I do think that Zack [Snyder] has done something amazing, and with a great sense of passion and specificity. He is a fan. He’s a fanboy — as we all have become. In that way, I feel excited for people to see it. I think it is a challenging movie; I don’t think it is for everybody. But it is an exceptional movie, and I don’t think anyone will have seen anything like it.

Next: Gugino on the psyche of Sally Jupiter and getting friends like Malin Akerman and Marley Shelton onboard her passion project, Women in Trouble/Elektra Luxx

Your character, Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre, is one of the more fascinating characters in Watchmen — moreso because of how she relates to The Comedian, before and after their violent encounter.

CG: She is endlessly fascinating. It was so interesting, when I sat down with Zack and he said, “I really want the rape scene to be brutal, as it is in the graphic novel, and not titillating.” And I said, I think that’s really important. Obviously, there are the shots preceding it that are sort of sexy, as she’s undressing, and then you’re like, oh, holy shit, this is not what we thought it was going to be. Because it determines so much for her character and also The Comedian and the rest of the story. “But,” I said, “what we have to also maintain is the fact that she’s still really in love with him, even after that, and he is with her, too.” We were like, isn’t that amazing — it’s so great to be able to do a movie where you’re adapting it from a graphic novel where so often, big budget Hollywood movies end up having to simplify things as opposed to leaving the complexities that generally exist in human beings. And to be able to do it, and not quite be able to answer why she still loves him. But the truth is, for whatever reasons, they are kind of intrinsically connected.

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Definitely. Another project of yours that is really intriguing to me is Elektra Luxx. Can you describe that project and how it relates to another upcoming film, Women in Trouble?

CG: Yes — they are both part of a trilogy of movies that we made for very, very little money with friends who are a bunch of amazing actors. Sebastian Gutierrez wrote and directed them, and writes amazing women characters. Basically, Women in Trouble is the first, which is going to premiere at South by Southwest on March 15, which is really exciting; it’s a total labor of love, a day in the life of a bunch of different, amazing women and complex characters. It’s funny and sexy, and will possibly make you cry, too. It’s much more European-influenced; Almodovar is Gutierrez’s mentor, and it’s got a lot of those kinds of elements to it. That’s the first film, and in it I play a porn star named Elektra Luxx. The second film is Elektra Luxx, which sort of follows her more but we have a few returning characters and some new characters as well.

In Women in Trouble it’s myself, Connie Britton, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Adrianne Palicki, Marley Shelton, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Simon Baker…it’s a really cool group of people. In the second one, some return, but we’ve also got Timothy Olyphant

And Malin Akerman!

CG: –and Malin is in Elektra Luxx, which is so awesome!

Did you have a hand in her joining the cast?

CG: I did. Because we worked together on Watchmen, and right when I finished Watchmen we shot Women in Trouble, and she was like, “Oh my God, that sounds so cool!” We became very close friends; Malin’s like my sister now. There was a great role in the storyline with Joe Gordon-Levitt in Elektra Luxx, and Sebastian thought Malin would be perfect, so it all came together beautifully. So we finished shooting that, it’s actually being edited now, and Women in Ecstasy, which is the third film in the trilogy, has been written but we have not shot it yet.

It was just sort of an experiment; we were like, let’s make little movies that we sort of own a part of, that nobody makes money on, but we play great characters, shoot them in really short periods of time in between our “real movies,” and we ended up falling in love with them and having a great time!

Another actress you seem to work with frequently is Marley Shelton, a fellow Sin City veteran. You’ve both got the basketball movie Our Lady of Victory coming up, and she appears in Women in Trouble. Was that another friendship born of a movie set?

CG: Yes! She’s also in Elektra Luxx, and one of my dear friends. I’m a huge fan of her as an actress. We knew each other before Sin City — we actually met years ago, at the Toronto Film Festival. She was there with Pleasantville, and I was there with Judas Kiss. We ended up being fans of each others’ work, and her husband is a wonderful film producer who actually produced Judas Kiss, but they weren’t together at the time…just one of those small world things, and she’s since become one of my dearest friends.

It’s nice to see that films like Women in Trouble can come together from such a small, connected group of artists.

CG: That’s what’s been really valuable, certainly to me and I think to all of us. You just realize, we should start trying to make movies together! I’ve been doing this for 20 years and ended up crossing paths with so many wonderful and super-talented people, so to go, wait a minute, we should try to do this ourselves, as opposed to waiting around…of course, what you realize is when you do that, other people’s great creative energy comes in, like Robyn Hitchcock, who’s doing the score. It really inspires a lot of artists in a lot of different areas to come together to make something cool.

 

Catch up with Carla Gugino in this Friday’s Race to Witch Mountain. She can also be seen in Watchmen, now in theaters.

 

 


Rosario Dawson
Rosario Dawson is an actress that seems equally comfortable working on smaller, independent productions (Kids, Clerks II, and her current film Explicit Ills) as she does big-budget studio blockbusters (Men in Black II, Sin City, Eagle Eye). She recently took some time out of her busy schedule to talk with RT about her favorite movies, reveal a bet she made with Quentin Tarantino on the set of Death Proof, and admit to knowing that some movies were going to be bad even before shooting began (i.e. The Adventures of Pluto Nash).

Read on for Rosario Dawson’s Five Favorite Films, and catch her in the indie drama Explicit Ills, a New York-set drama helmed by actor and first-time director Mark Webber also starring Paul Dano, Lou Taylor Pucci, and Naomie Harris. Explicit Ills is in limited release this week.

Reservoir Dogs (1992, 95% Tomatometer)



Reservoir Dogs
I usually have Reservoir Dogs and Rocky Horror Picture Show on my list, because I just love them so much. I did Kids, and the first film I really can remember watching specifically to look at acting after that was Reservoir Dogs.

My dad had given me the VHS tape of it to watch over and over and over again. Well, he didn’t intend for me, I think, to watch it over and over and over again, but I watched it over and over again; I think I watched it like five or six times that week. I would come home from school and I would just watch it again, and memorize the whole thing, and I was just so blown away by the acting in it. It seemed like it must have had all this money, because you remember it being bloody, you remember the shock, all that kinda stuff. And then you watch it and you’re like, “Actually, [Quentin Tarantino] cut around all of that.” The dude with red stuff on his chest, you know what I mean? It’s all acting. And it’s such an interesting way of telling the story, going back and inside of itself. My dad, I’ll never forget, he was like, “Watch this for the acting,” and I was just blown away. So I feel like that’s a piece of work that I love looking at as sort of a modern way of getting into those huge monologues, telling stories in an epic way, and the sort of more modern kind of small stories.


The Misfits (1961, 100% Tomatometer)

MisfitsAnybody who has the audacity to say that Marilyn Monroe wasn’t a good actress needs to see that f***** movie. I want you to go inside and outside of a house, jumping in a box and going, “I’m in and I’m out. And I’m in and I’m out.” And you believe it, that this woman is standing there, working the little thing, the whole body jiggling, the entire place mesmerized. There were just so many moments, and it’s shot so beautifully, and I think it’s just a remarkable film. Clark Gable in a completely different way than we’ve ever seen him before. It’s remarkable.


Network (1976, 90% Tomatometer)

NetworkI think it’s a tremendous film, and I’m waiting for everyone to finally throw open their windows and say, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it any more,” because it just needs to be done, and it hasn’t been done yet.


Killer of Sheep (1977, 97% Tomatometer)



Killer of Sheep
Charles Burnett. It’s a really incredible film, shot all in black and white, 1970s, it’s Watts in Los Angeles. And it’s this guy who works in a slaughterhouse. They put it out in theaters, I think a year and a half ago, and I raced out to go see it live. The soundtrack is just so provocative, it’s so of that time. It was shot for less than $10,000…It’s a remarkable, remarkable film, and when you watch it, it’s just so profound.


Man on Wire (2008, 100% Tomatometer)



Man on Wire
It’s about Philippe Petit who walked across the World Trade Center in 1974, and it’s just…you watch that movie and it’s like you really get that whole [idea of] someone who did something super unique, that did something. It’s just an unbelievable thing; it’s so moving to watch.

That’s my new favorite film right now, and having just seen it, it’s so mindboggling. We don’t see enough documentaries; I love watching documentaries, and obviously there are really amazing ones and all that kinda stuff. But this one, I think, is profound to watch, because the footage is unbelievable, to really just see it from all different perspectives. I remember the interview with the security guard who went upstairs, and that awe on his face, and he was like, “I came out, and there’s this guy on a wire hanging between these two buildings.” They’re trying to get him to come off, but it’s just like, he can’t help himself. He’s like, “It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.” And you feel that. Just to imagine having been there. I wasn’t born for another five years, so I missed that, but damn, that’s such an incredible thing.

I just met [Petit] recently; he’s such an odd bird, he’s not so comfortable in a social setting, but it’s like there’s an energy that comes out of him that’s just like, to know you’re truly unique, to feel that personally, you know? There are the geniuses that you meet in the world, and the Quentin Tarantinos and stuff like that. You could talk to him, and he’s like, “I know I’m a genius!” It’s amazing. But there’s a whole other level, where you’ve done it physically…everything else must seem so small. [laughs] Or maybe big, actually, you know?


Next: Dawson shares a Tarantino moment from the set of Death Proof, reminisces on the great directors she’s worked with, and admits that she knew Pluto Nash was a bad idea


More Five Favorite Films:

Carla Gugino

Bill Pullman

Jerry Bruckheimer

Danny Boyle

Robert Pattinson

Click here for our Five Favorite Films archive

You picked Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs as one of your favorite films. I imagine that made it interesting to then work on Death Proof.

Rosario Dawson: Yeah, absolutely. When we did the round table shoot [a dialogue-heavy scene in Death Proof filmed entirely in one take], we’d been working on the lines for weeks and months with each other because that movie got pushed, and we always did that scene in one long [take], we always worked it all the way through. [Tarantino] had talked about how he wanted to shoot it, and it was going to be a Reservoir Dogs homage, and he was going to have the camera come around, and we were like, “Awesome!” And then we’re shooting, and he cut it in half. It was after my big speech; basically, it started getting into insert shots, and we were like, “Oh…” It felt really weird, actually, to do the scene and stop…It just felt really weird that he wanted to do a reveal on the gun and all this kinda stuff, and he was like, “It has to have inserts.” And we said, “Okay.” It just felt so odd, and I remember we shot a whole day of trying to get half the shot, and then he went and slept on it, woke up the next morning and goes, “You could have the scene all the way through. Let’s just shoot it all the way. I mean, it’s gonna be seven or eight minutes long, but let’s just shoot it all the way.” And the whole crew was down with us, and everybody, we just sat in our chairs, and they figured out how we’re gonna, you know, when the camera comes over here you lean forward so you get a good insert shot of her, and then it becomes a two-shot, and this and that. But it’s just one long take, and we were like, “F***in-A, this is better than Reservoir Dogs!”

Because that was the camera going around all over with cuts; there are no cuts in our scene, and I think we felt very proud of that. It felt good, especially because Reservoir Dogs literally is one of my most favorite films of all time. And he would make me do that whole “Like A Virgin” speech every once in a while. [Dawson begins to recite part of the speech.] I actually beat him, because he was like, “There’s only seven ‘dick’s in it,” and I was like, “No, there’s nine.” I have to count it. Yeah nine, there are nine “dick”s, and he was insistent that there were only seven, and he was like, “No, it’s ‘dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick.'” And I’m like, “No no no, it’s ‘dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick.'” I have that s***, like, memorized — the rhythm is embedded in my brain. I think I won five bucks off of him for that. It was pretty cool.

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You’ve worked with some great directors over the years.

RD: Yeah — Kevin [Smith], Spike [Lee], Robert [Rodriguez]. Very lucky. Oliver [Stone] — I mean, it’s remarkable. Larry Clark, I mean, is so genius. I would love to work with Harmony Korine, because I think his directing is so incredible and I love his visual style and obviously his storytelling. But yeah, I’ve been really blessed, to work with such incredible people, and mostly because that’s how I started, you know? Kids was such a huge film; people are such big fans of it. It sparked the eye of Spike, then other people saw [me in his films]. For someone who never wanted to be an actor — it wasn’t a dream or possibility or idea — it’s kind of remarkable to look at my career now.

Mark Webber, I think, did a great job on this film — a first time director. It’s definitely one of the most powerful films that I feel like I’ve ever done, and I’m in two scenes in it, but it’s one of my favorite films that I’ve ever done. Luckily — because of Larry, because of Harmony, because of Kids — I feel like I can sit down and talk to someone who goes, “I’ve never held a camera before in my life, but I’ve got a story I want to tell and I want you to tell it with me,” and I’m down. And I feel very lucky that, even with the more established directors that I’ve worked with, that I’ve also had an amazing opportunity to work with some of these really great directors as they’re just starting their careers.

You seem to really be able to successfully balance working on big budget productions as well as the smaller indie films, made by first-time directors. The dichotomy of that has got to be fun.

RD: Oh yeah, it’s remarkable. I think it’s a great balance and it’s powerful for me. I mean, you’ve got, I think it’s on Rotten Tomatoes — or maybe it’s AskMen, but I think it’s on Rotten Tomatoes — where you guys are talking about, like, you know, if Pluto Nash didn’t kill our careers, then nothing will. [Laughs] “She’s here to stay.” And you know, I roll with those punches. I get that. They’re all different moments in my career.

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Well nobody thinks they’re making a bad movie at the time.

RD: I knew. We knew we were making a bad movie. On that one there was really no doubt about it. I read that script and I threw it in the garbage. It’s called, “I was nineteen years old, and I needed to get off my couch, man.” It was an awesome experience. I mean, at the same time, it’s like, it was Eddie Murphy, Pam Grier, Randy Quaid, Joey Pantoliano, Ileana Douglas…Yo, that was an amazing experience. We had a ball doing that project; there just was not a good movie to show for it, you know? Sometimes it’s the exact opposite; you work with people you hate, and then the movie’s great, and you gotta talk about it all happily, when it’s like, “Actually, I hated working on that movie.” But this one was one that was really great; I just count myself really lucky for the good ones and the bad ones that have gotten me here, because I’m gonna be 30 this year and I’m feeling really reflective, and I feel pretty good.

See Rosario Dawson in Mark Webber’s Explicit Ills, in limited release now. For more Five Favorites, check out our archive.


Alex Proyas

This month, director Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City) returns with a new film for science-fiction audiences: Knowing, in which a professor (Nicolas Cage) discovers that predictions sealed 50 year prior in a time capsule have accurately predicted a series of disasters in modern history — and that some events have not yet happened. Among his influences for the thriller are William Friedkin, whose Exorcist he says partially inspired him during filming; below, we talk with Alex Proyas as he shares his Five Favorite Films, which range from science-fiction landmarks to horror classics and beyond. (Click to page 2 for our extended interview, in which Proyas discusses Roger Ebert’s idea of “generosity” in a filmmaker, and demonstrates his appreciation of the film critic’s efforts to seriously analyze his 1998 film, Dark City.)

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, 100% Tomatometer)



Dr. Strangelove
To me it’s the greatest comedy ever made, and I just love the fact that it’s a comedy but it’s just such a dark one. Apart from the visual treatment of the film…I guess it was the first Kubrick film that I ever saw, and it really had an impact on me as a result of that — because I hadn’t really seen a film that looked like that, that had it’s own unique style.

Stalker (1979, 100% Tomatometer)



Stalker
Andrei Tarkovsky. Again, incredibly… I mean, all these films are extremely influential to my own moviemaking, and they were the kinds of movies that just spun me around. I couldn’t compare them with anything else I’d seen at the time. And Stalker was definitely one of those. There was a sense of pace that I’d never experienced in a film before, such a wonderful sustained atmosphere, and then just this incredible metaphysical story. I think it’s still one of the great science fiction movies, and it’s so philosophical and yet so visual. The philosophical ideas are conveyed in terms of pure cinema and visuals as opposed to people talking. Quite a skill, I have to say.

Some people might draw that comparison to your own work – films like Dark City.

Well, I hope so. If I can get anywhere near Tarkovsky, I’d be a happy man. It’s something I would certainly aspire to.


The Exorcist (1973, 85% Tomatometer)



The Exorcist
Friedkin film; one that has actually inspired my current movie. You always dream about making the ultimate horror movie, and I think The Exorcist is it. The fact that it’s about such a dark and bleak subject, and yet it leaves us with a sense of hope, is something that I’ve sort of tried to do with my current movie. Again, it has this fantastic sort of sense of dread throughout the film that kind of takes you to this place you’ve never been to before in a movie.

It’s totally believable; somehow it makes you believe that this young girl is possessed by the devil, which is no mean feat, I have to say. But you buy it, you know? And it’s also done in such a simple technical way. You know, [it was made] before the age of CGI, and yet it’s as potent today as it’s ever been. It’s extraordinary.


Psycho (1960, 97% Tomatometer)



Psycho
I’m actually going into my favorite filmmakers and trying to pick the best of their films. Because it’s really hard, it’s very very hard to pick your five best[-loved] films. And it would change; if you asked me next week, it would be different. Psycho because…the moment where — and it’s a film I saw on television; I can’t imagine how impactful it would have been to have seen it theatrically when it was first released, but even seeing it as a kid on TV — the moment where Hitchcock, about 30 minutes into the film, kills his leading lady, and you go, “We’re in the hands of a complete madman, and all bets are off at this stage,” was such a powerful thing for me. It’s kind of haunted me ever since, and again, you can only dream of making a film that has that level of impact to an audience.

The Godfather (1972, 100% Tomatometer)



The Godfather
Well, you know, it’s interesting because my favorite films are ones that I keep watching. I just don’t think there have been many great science fiction films made. I mean, 2001 is genius, there’s no question it’s a masterpiece, but I’ve already picked a Kubrick film. I find Dr. Strangelove a more user-friendly and enjoyable film to look at and watch repeatedly. I can watch it endlessly. Blade Runner is a masterpiece, but I don’t know that I would put it in my top 5 at this stage. Maybe at some other point in my life, I would’ve.

I picked a Hitchcock film. Kubrick, Hitchcock, and Tarkovsky are my absolute Holy Trinity, you know? I’ve picked one from each person now. Oh! Okay, here’s a curveball. Um, no, I don’t want to say that one… I was going to say The Wizard of Oz, which I really like, but I don’t know that I’d put it in my top five, but in my top twenty. [Long pause] Godfather, I’d say. Just a flawless film, something that’s so beautifully crafted and so perfectly structured and designed, that I can watch it endlessly and enjoy it every single time.


During his film career, Australian director Alex Proyas has always displayed an affinity for science fiction. He is, after all, the filmmaker who followed his post-apocalyptic feature-length debut (the Australian picture Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds) by breaking into Hollywood with 1994’s The Crow, a dark comic book adaptation whose production was marred by tragedy. The tale of a supernatural avenger risen from the grave went on to become a hit, and Proyas turned his sumptuous visual style to another fantasy tale: Dark City.

Dark City, released in 1998, was a sci-fi noir opus about philosophy and romance — Proyas, his visual flair on display, created a vast alternate world in which, at the chime of midnight each night, time stopped and entire cities transformed. The film grew a devout cult following years after release, and was named one of the “Great Movies” by film critic Roger Ebert. After a detour back to Australia to make the rock ‘n roll flick Garage Days, Proyas returned to Hollywood to adapt one of the great Big Idea mythologies of science fiction: Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot.

This month, Proyas returns with a new film for sci-fi audiences: Knowing, in which a professor (Nicolas Cage) discovers that predictions sealed 50 year prior in a time capsule had accurately predicted a series of disasters in modern history. Below, we continue our talk with Alex Proyas, in which he discusses Roger Ebert’s idea of “generosity” in a filmmaker, and demonstrates his appreciation of the film critic’s efforts to seriously analyze his 1998 film, Dark City).

 

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Your citation of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather reminds me of the Dark City Director’s Cut DVD, in which Roger Ebert describes you as a “generous” filmmaker — meaning, a filmmaker that puts so much more onto the screen – production value, complex compositions, even ideas — than they need to.

Alex Proyas: Well, thank you so much for comparing we two. But I think you’re certainly right in terms of Coppola; I think there’s a lusciousness to his work, there’s a sensuality to it. And I think that’s kind of another expression perhaps of generosity as well. But yeah, there’s something so enjoyable about being inside that movie and enjoying that movie. And sensuality comes to mind. I don’t know why, but it does, you know? It’s a spectacular achievement. Sometimes it’s hard to even pinpoint why you like something. You have to like them from so many perspectives to sort of classify them as your greatest, most favorite films.

I did like the idea of generosity in a filmmaker; do you feel like that is a characteristic that you have in your films?

AP: I guess. You know, it’s very nice that people see that aspect and certainly nice that Mr. Ebert saw that aspect. I know what a supporter of that film he was; I very much appreciate it. For me, I guess, like most filmmakers, you kinda just do…you want to make movies that you want to see, and that you think are gonna be cool, basically. You know, you’re your own principal audience, I suppose. So I keep wanting to do stuff that I think would be enjoyable, that I would enjoy, you know? And hopefully there’s enough people — others that sort of conform with your tastes and opinions — that you can keep making them. I think in the case of Dark City and what Roger Ebert was saying was, there’s a detail in the texture of the movie, and a kind of an enjoyment of the visual. There’s a lot of effort put into that side of some of my films that it’s always nice when people respond to that, when people see that care that’s gone into it.

I mean, it can be somewhat a brutal business because you spend years creating these things, and some of them are embraced and some are not — and it’s very painful when they’re not, when people kind of miss the point or ignore the effort that you’ve made, and don’t even see the effort that’s been put into it. And it doesn’t just happen to me, it happens to everybody. So it’s always nice when someone appreciates the detail. I remember when Roger Ebert was helping support Dark City, he actually did a master class in Chicago, at a university in Chicago, sort of analyzing the movie, and someone video’d it and sent it to me, of him doing that master class. It was really wonderful, the level of detail that he went into over a few hours with this group of students, the thought that he put into it. If you, as a filmmaker, poured a great level of thought into something and care into something, if someone else can put an equal amount into viewing it and enjoying your film, there’s a great sense of satisfaction.

And that’s one of the reasons why Roger Ebert is one of our greatest living critics, because he takes that level of interest in films.

AP: I agree, I think he’s truly passionate about the medium, you know? He loves films. He’s a very special person in that respect. I had the pleasure of having dinner with him once years after Dark City. I actually met him at the Sundance Festival and we just had dinner and it was just a great pleasure to sit down with him and just talk about stuff.

Catch Alex Proyas’ Knowing in theaters this week. For more Five Favorite Films, visit our archive.

Greg Kinnear

How do you describe the career of a guy who started as the host of Talk Soup on E! and within five years was Oscar nominated for a role opposite Jack Nicholson? Greg Kinnear certainly hasn’t taken the usual career path. He may have starred opposite Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail, but he was also conjoined with Matt Damon, played a sex addict and a meat inspector, guest starred on Friends and voiced a character in the Beavis and Butthead movie. Not to mention leading the SAG-winning ensemble in one of the best indie comedies of recent years in Little Miss Sunshine.

Now he’s on screen as the inventor Bob Kearns in Flash of Genius, and he was happy to be playing a real-life character no one’s ever heard of. “Well, it’s not like everybody comes in with a preconceived idea of who Bob Kearns is,” he says. “So it was kind of loose as to how I could portray him. You know, nobody’s ever going to stand up in the theatre and say, ‘Hey, that’s not what I remember the intermittent windshield wiper guy to be like!’ It’s not like with Clinton or Nixon or some sort of galvanising figure that everyone’s familiar with. At the same time, as an actor I felt absolutely obligated to try to, as best I could, make him real.”

Later this year he’ll be sees in Paul Greengrass‘ new film Green Zone, about the hunt for WMDs in Baghdad after the American invasion. “Paul is a remarkable director,” he says. “He just has an immediacy on the set. He doesn’t come in with a prearranged agenda of how things are going to go, and he’s always chasing something that’s not easily found. It’s his own journey as a filmmaker, but I think everybody feels like you want to give him everything you’ve got, because the thing that he’s searching for always translates to the screen, always creates these pictures that feel very vibrant. He has a way of making even smallest moments really big and lifelike on screen. It was wonderful.”

When asked about his five favourite films, he looks to the ceiling and comments that he’s going through his mental Rolodex…


Greg Kinnear

Something Wild

Something Wild

“Great performances from a great ensemble of actors. Jonathan Demme did such a great job of making that look so real, creating an atmosphere that felt very immediate. It’s a funny film, but it’s scary as hell in parts. And it’s a completely unpredictable movie, I think. There’s no expectation, as you go into that film, what to expect or where it’s going.”

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Something Wild
Something Wild

The Godfather
The Godfather

Chinatown
Chinatown

North by Northwest
North by Northwest

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka


Greg Kinnear

The Godfather

The Godfather

“For obvious reasons. It’s just painted on a giant canvas – it’s larger than life. There’s a reason it’s a classic, and I don’t know what else to say about it that hasn’t already been said. It’s just one of the greats. There’s not a character in it that I don’t like, and there’s not a performance in it that’s flawed. It’s incredible.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Something Wild
Something Wild

The Godfather
The Godfather

Chinatown
Chinatown

North by Northwest
North by Northwest

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka


Greg Kinnear

Chinatown

Chinatown

“I had a chance to work with Jack Nicholson, which was a real thrill. You can scoop out a lot of performances from Jack, and consider them as possible films you could add to this list, but that was a great performance. Roman Polanski‘s direction is incredible too. It’s a movie where, the first time you see it, it’s kind of shocking because you don’t know where it’s going and how big the story actually is that’s being told.”


Greg Kinnear

North by Northwest

North by Northwest

“I like the classics! I like a pretty eclectic mix actually. But if you want a great old movie, this is it. It’s in colour but it always feels like a black and white movie to me. It feels like a film with great history in it, and it’s got great style.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Something Wild
Something Wild

The Godfather
The Godfather

Chinatown
Chinatown

North by Northwest
North by Northwest

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka


Greg Kinnear

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

“It’s one of the great endings to a movie ever when Willy asks Charlie what happened to the little boy who got everything he ever wanted. “You don’t know? He lived happily ever after!” And then the glass elevator breaks through the glass roof. It’s incredible. I worked briefly on a television show with Mel Stuart, the director, and heard all sorts of fantastic stories about that remarkable film. And of course I knew all the songs – I still do. I have a 5-year-old, but I haven’t shown it to her yet. It’s kind of scary – that guy who shows up with the little shopping carriage and makes that little speech about how nobody who goes in ever comes out. And the Oompa Loompas. And that boat ride – woo, acid trip!”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Something Wild
Something Wild

The Godfather
The Godfather

Chinatown
Chinatown

North by Northwest
North by Northwest

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka


Flash of Genius opens in UK cinemas this week. It is on DVD in the US and in cinemas in Australia.



Anil Kapoor

Slumdog Millionaire‘s American audiences were enticed to watch by the
name of director Danny Boyle or the movie’s kinetic exploration of an exotic,
far-away underbelly. In India, the selling point very well may have been
Anil Kapoor. Kapoor, who portrays the movie’s shifty host of India’s version of Who
Wants to Be a Millionaire?, is the movie’s biggest Bollywood name, something
fashioned over three decades of work, which includes Mr. India (an early work by
Elizabeth director Shekhar Kapur for which Kapoor received great critical
acclaim). The story of Kapoor’s  first international movie is a story we
know well now — the plot, the controversies, the international box office
success, and the endless trophies (including an ultimate Oscar Best Picture and
Kapoor’s own share of a SAG Oustanding Cast award). As he pursues new projects
in America (and on the release of Slumdog on DVD), RT sat down with Kapoor to get his Five Favorite Films.

Gold Rush (1925, 100% Tomatometer)



The Gold Rush
The films that really changed my life were all the films made by Charlie Chaplin. Films like
The Gold Rush
. They were silent films, they were black and white. As a kid,
I would just completely get mesmerized with every aspect of cinema. That kind of magic I’d never yet seen, the magic Charlie Chaplin created on screen — in terms of performances, in terms of technique, in terms of innocence, in terms of purity. I would wonder, “Is there anyone in the world who can match this?” I would see other films, and I’d think, “No, this guy is a real genius.” He makes me smile.
And sometimes he moves me.


City Lights (1931, 100% Tomatometer)



City Lights
Ah, City Lights.
[It] doesn’t [really] make an effort to do comedy or [try] to make me cry. It just flows so naturally.
A true artist. And you don’t have to be sensible [to watch  Chaplin’s
films]. You [can be] a kid but you still can understand his films.  [One] doesn’t need education, academic education, to understand or enjoy his films. And I would see in the theater, in the audience, all kinds of people: children, parents, grandparents, poor, rich, very rich people, everybody in the theater enjoying his films.

Chaplin really influenced me on being an actor. And I remember, back in India, Raj Kapoor, was greatly influenced by Charlie Chaplin.
[Kapoor] became one of the biggest filmmakers of our country. You know, [Kapoor] is one of the few filmmakers who are very very known in that part of the world, especially Russia and the Middle East, the Far East. All the countries, one of the most famous filmmakers, Raj Kapoor. And he was influenced by Charlie Chaplin.
Everybody says, “Are you influenced by Raj Kapoor?” and I say, “No, I’m not inspired by Raj Kapoor, I’m inspired by Charlie Chaplin.” It all goes back to that. And if you see my films, films like Woh 7 Din, Mr. India, and all those kinds of films, there is a bit of Chaplin. In every role which I do to this day, there is that flavor, because I’ve been influenced by all this. I will always think, if there is a scene, I will always have him in mind. Even in Slumdog Millionaire

[My performance in Slumdog Millionaire] is very animated, it’s very flamboyant.
That influence always works when I’m doing those kinds of roles. There are certain times when I’m slightly larger than life and animated, still in control and still looking natural, and not looking like a buffoon, and not looking caricaturish. Still looking real. I think some way it is the influence of Charlie Chaplin. And even if I can achieve one percent or two percent of what he has achieved in this life in terms of art, in terms of what he has done, I’ll feel pretty fulfilled. When I try to do stuff which he has done, a little bit here and there, then I realize what a great man he was, and what a great character he was, and what he accomplished. Very, very difficult. I heard that he would rehearse for hours and days for every punch. For every
punch. And there are times when I’m doing my films, I say, “Let’s copy this
punch on this film.” And we could never get it. We just couldn’t get it.


The Great Dictator (1940, 100% Tomatometer)



The Great Dictator
You can go into the depth and go inside into his mind, and it’s like miles and miles of depth. Which you can’t really get in the actor’s realm, but Charlie Chaplin could get. And his speech in The Great Dictator, the way he spoke when he played Hitler in The Great Dictator. It is one of the greatest monologues to come out of cinema. Nobody has ever been able to achieve that.

Every movie by Laurel & Hardy (1921 – 1951)

Laurel & HardyI feel performance cannot be done in isolation. So when I talk about teamwork, when I talk about timing between two actors, timing between two actors, I think about Laurel & Hardy. It’s like two sides of a coin. It’s the quickest examples of two people creating magic, two actors creating magic. I look up to these people [and] I get influenced by [them], because I try to create these things. I see others trying to create that thing, but nobody has succeeded yet.

Laurel & Hardy [are] completely timeless. And anything in art which is timeless — it might be architecture, it might be paintings, whatever you do — [if] it’s great art, it will entertain the people all over the world for centuries and centuries.


The Godfather (1972, 100% Tomatometer)



The Godfather
Everything just fell in place. The right people, the right director, the right script, the right timing, what the world was going through. Everything just fell right. So
Godfather, Slumdog Millionaire, Laurel & Hardy, and Chaplin. Well, it’s too early to talk about
Slumdog, but I’m sure after 50 or 100 years people are going to say that everything just fell in the right [place] for
Slumdog.

The Godfather is not [just] an American hit, it’s really a worldwide film. Anywhere [you go]: China, Japan, Mexico. Everywhere students of cinema, ordinary people, everybody just loved the film. It’s got that cinematic magic, The Godfather. And, you know, it’s the lighting, the camerawork, the editing, the performances, the casting, the colors, the costumes. It was cinema at its best, and I’m sure it is something which, as you say, was written. Just everything fell in place. It doesn’t happen with everybody, it’s [when] people are [from] a certain kind of work culture [that] these things happen normally.

What I like about The Godfather [is that] it’s very classical. [Coppola] just leaves the camera. You never see the camera moving. It’s very static and it’s the actors [who are moving]. [But] still you create the magic. You don’t have to juggle the camera to attract attention.

The music also is very subtle. Everything is subtle. Your mind is throbbing, your [hairs are] rising, you’re on the edge of your seat, but still everything is so calm and relaxed. It’s cinema at its best. Slumdog? That’s also cinema at its best but everything [is] movement. There’s so much movement, there’s so much energy, the script is moving, the screenplay, the camera is moving, the actors are moving, everything is moving. But still, you understand the story. It is in control. Still, it moves you.


Catch Anil Kapoor in Slumdog Millionaire on DVD this week. For more Five Favorite Films, visit our archive.


Steve Granitz/WireImage Greg Mottola

Most directors debut their deeply personal passion project before moving on to studio gigs, but indie helmer-turned-Apatow Buncher Greg Mottola (The Daytrippers, Superbad) flipped the script with Adventureland, his semi-autobiographical tale of love, angst, ’80s pop and corndogs that opens nationwide this week. Adventureland follows recent college grad James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) — an uptight, overeducated intellectual who reads poetry “for fun” — who takes a job at a low-rent carnival one summer working with excitable bosses (SNL‘s Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig), unmotivated slackers (Martin Starr of Freaks and Geeks), a surly, punk-loving love interest (Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart), and lots of righteous retro tunes. (Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” has never borne such loathing, or been heard so often, since 1985.)

But unlike Superbad, Adventureland isn’t all raunch and giggles — it’s a bittersweet comedy, a nostalgic look at self-discovery and first love that simultaneously provokes laughs and stumbles into moments of poignant beauty. Writer-director Greg Mottola took time out from prepping his next film (the geek road trip movie Paul, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) to share his favorite movies with RT, which range from Truffaut to Allen to Fellini — auteurs whose works similarly explore the spaces between love, humor, and the painful glories of growing up. “I didn’t want to do an ironic list or just include movies I think sounded cool,” he said. “These are five movies that for whatever reasons I re-watch insanely, and informed me.”

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, 96% Tomatometer)



2001: A Space Odyssey
My parents took me to see it in a re-release — it came out in the ’60s and they re-released it in the early ’70s — and I was only seven years old, so it totally blew my mind. My parents, I think, were just completely bored and baffled by it, but I was obsessed with it. It stuck in my head, and every time it came on television I would watch it, and I saw it again in the theater as a teenager; I would go to see it whenever they revived it. It was just a movie I’ve watched a lot. I think part of the reason is…when I was a kid, I didn’t know what to make of it. It was so unlike what I’d been exposed to on TV, or by watching Disney films in the theater. It was so fascinating to me. It has a really unique status, which is in my mind like a big Hollywood epic movie about esoteric ideas — which had never really happened before that, and I don’t think it’s going to happen again. No one would ever spend that kind of money on a movie that big, and with that scope, and be that strange and slow and oblique and unexplained.

Some people, of course, think it’s incredibly pretentious; I think the ideas in it are really fascinating. That Kubrick meticulousness is incredible. But part of what makes it a great movie, I think, is that as it proceeds it turns into this really intimate kind of horror-thriller — with HAL — and when I think, “Who’s a great writer who wrote in that style?,” I think Edgar Allan Poe in outer space. It becomes this real, psychological, bizarre, unexplainable thing about a murdering supercomputer! Those are some of the most handsome, greatest, cinematic scenes I’ve ever seen, so the fact that it was attached to this esoteric thing… To me, it works on so many levels. And the design, and the use of music…there’s nothing else quite like it.


The 400 Blows (1959, 100% Tomatometer)



The 400 Blows
One of the reasons this movie is important to me is that I’m a big fan of personal storytelling; people who tell their own stories and tell them vividly and honestly, and without sentimentality. It’s such a beautiful, naturalistic film, but unlike a lot of movies about children, it is devoid of sentimentality, but it’s also incredibly rich with emotion, which are two different things.

It’s a painful movie in a lot of ways, but it’s just never cheap. There’s nothing cheap about the depiction of that young man’s life. It’s also one of the best child performances I’ve ever seen in a movie, because he’s a very specific character, but there’s nothing about him that feels forced, or that the filmmakers are trying to make you like him or pity him in a phony way. Jean-Pierre Leaud clearly had something special that is fascinating to watch; he’s really funny and charming, but also it’s strange to see a child character depicted so richly — he’s got flaws, there are sh***y things about him, but he captures all of it.


Manhattan (1979, 98% Tomatometer)



Manhattan
I love Woody Allen‘s movies, and it’s hard for me to pick only one, but I’d pick Manhattan because so many of his films feel influenced by his heroes — you see some Bergman or Fellini or the Marx Brothers or whoever — and to me Manhattan is the one that most captures Woody. Even Annie Hall has bits of Amarcord in it; it’s a perfect movie, and it’s unique, but Manhattan seems to be the one where Woody does everything he does in his own particular way.

One of the things I love about his movies is the tension between the sort of romantic ideals versus his true skepticism about human nature. There’s always this push, this back and forth, about how he loves people and hates people; the misanthropy and the idealism fight each other constantly in the movie, and that’s why I think his films have a special quality. Manhattan has beautiful cinematography and the Gershwin music, and the characters are actually pretty dark and lost and restless, and unhappy. You mix it together and I find it really fascinating. I know some people are really creeped out by him and the girl, but we’ll skip over that.


The Godfather Part II (1974, 98% Tomatometer)



The Godfather Part II
I’m going Part Two only — I love Part One, but there’s something about the second film that takes the perfection of the first one and enriches it. Maybe it’s the novelistic detail, the flashback structure. I don’t know any other movie where the flashbacks are so long. I mean, the flashbacks aren’t just interspersed; they are entire long chapters of the movie. Somehow, with the contrast of the two stories unfolding — these two rich stories, the De Niro one and the Pacino one — all of the Shakespearean themes of the Godfather movies become so poignant. Also, it’s probably got the best cast of any American film, ever, down to every last character actor: Lee Strasberg is Hyman Roth; there’s this Fellini actor, Leopoldo Trieste — he’s in scenes with De Niro, and he was in Fellini’s first few films; and people like John Cazale, there’s no one better than him.

8 ½ (1963, 100% Tomatometer)



8 ½
Like The 400 Blows it’s incredibly personal, but as opposed to naturalism it’s much more expressionist; the whole mix of reality, memory, and real fantasy — the character’s fantasy versus the movie fantasy that’s unfolding through the real-time story. The character being a director making a movie, and how it all gets jumbled together and mixed together … to me it creates this amazing concept, that a person’s identity isn’t just one fixed thing. It’s actually — and this is very Fellini-esque — like a carousel of several things that are just always changing and swapping around. You don’t only have one identity, you have several of them, and they’re always changing and you’re always trying to satisfy all of them. Hence, we’re never happy and we never get it right, and it’s all very confusing. But you know, for Fellini, 8 ½ is incredibly optimistic in its own humanistic viewpoint on the beauty of that, as opposed to being smothered and depressed by the realization that this character will never be satisfied and is always disappointing other people. There’s an embrace of the life around him that I find really beautiful. I guess people can say it’s sentimental, but I think he earns it by the end of the movie because it explores so many truthful, and often dark, corners of the human soul.

 

Adventureland opens nationwide this Friday. Get the latest reviews and trailers here and check out more Five Favorite Films in our archive, including:

Five Favorite Films with Anil Kapoor

Five Favorite Films with Guillermo del Toro

Five Favorite Films with Judd Apatow

Five Favorite Films with Robert Pattinson

 

Bill Nighy

There can be few actors better suited to starring in a film about the golden age of British rock and roll than Bill Nighy. No wonder, then, that he’s front and centre as part of the ensemble cast of Richard Curtis‘ latest comedy, The Boat that Rocked. In it he’s the proprietor of the titular boat — a pirate radio station fictionalised from the many that escaped capture during the 60s by broadcasting from the sea.

It’s the latest in a long line of highly varied roles from one of Britain’s most beloved acting talents. He became a household name in 2003 when, alongside a starring role in the TV series State of Play, he was cast in vampire romp Underworld and as ageing rock star Billy Mack in Love, Actually. He’s rarely stopped since then with roles in the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels (if you didn’t catch him, he’s buried behind CGI and with a thick Scottish accent as Davy Jones), Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Shaun of the Dead and Valkyrie.

RT catches up with Nighy the day after the world premiere of The Boat that Rocked and he’s remembering a late night that involved hanging out with one of his heroes, Paul McCartney. His passion for music is evident is pretty-much any interview he gives, and as he chooses his five favourite films it’s incredibly obvious that a killer soundtrack has a big impact…


Bill Nighy

Punch Drunk Love

Punch Drunk Love

“A relatively new film that went straight into my top five, I adore Punch Drunk Love, and I can almost recite it to you. It was on TV on a loop for a while, and it’s like The Godfather, you hit that film on TV and you stay there. There aren’t many, but you just stay there, thinking, ‘I could keep flipping, but there’s not actually going to be anything better than this,’ and it doesn’t matter that you’ve seen it sixteen times – you just dig it because it’s such high quality.

I think Adam Sandler and Emily Watson are completely marvellous in it, and I didn’t know anything about Adam Sandler, I’ve never seen any of his other films, so I’ve only seen him in this. I love Paul Thomas Anderson, and I think it’s my favourite of his films. Possibly a controversial thing to say, as his other films are, perhaps, hipper, but I love the fact that it’s this fucked up love story. I love it stylistically, the jokes, the visual attitude of it and those funky links that he does. I love the apparent arbitrariness of the plot, which hinges on upon the fact that you get free air-miles with a particular brand of chocolate pudding, and I love the way it dovetails at the end.

Everyone in it is magnificent, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, who’s in The Boat that Rocked and who is beautiful in Punch Drunk Love. Adam Sandler gives one of the greatest light entertainment performances I’ve ever seen. It’s a submerged light entertainment, it’s so integrated, so authentic in terms of naturalism, that you surprise yourself by laughing, because it’s so deadpan, so undercover in terms of comedy, and that’s my favourite thing of all time, the highest level. For the first twenty minutes you think you’re in art movie hell, but you’re not, so don’t panic.”


Bill Nighy

Mississippi Burning

Mississippi Burning

“It’s a movie where I have to stay there, just to get to the bit where Gene Hackman creeps up behind the bigot in the barbers and takes the cut-throat from the barber’s hand and continues the shave. The story is such a big and important story.

I was asked recently, along with dozens of other people, to pick one film, by the BFI, to mark the 75th birthday of the British Film Institute. Which film would you leave for succeeding generations? There are many great art films but I chose Mississippi Burning because I figured that I would try to be responsible. I thought I could either be hip or responsible, and actually stick to the brief, and by succeeding generations, I assumed they meant the youth, young people, and I thought: “What’s the biggest issue in the world?” Apart from the way that drugs fuck everybody up, racism is the biggest thing. The newspaper is basically the story of what racism does, whether it’s religious prejudices, or tribal prejudices, or colour prejudice or whatever the fuck it is, but I think it’s the single most destructive element in our world and Mississippi Burning is a beautiful story of great courage. It shows individual and collective courage in that area, about people who took it on in a landmark situation and started to make great change possible.

It’s got one of the great cinema performances of all time, not that I’m given to superlatives, despite it being the second time I’ve said that, which is Gene Hackman. I could watch Gene Hackman all day long; he’s one of the people I most admire.”

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Punch Drunk Love<br
/>Punch Drunk Love

Movie Title #2
Mississippi Burning

Performance<br
/>Performance

Bowfinger<br
/>Bowfinger

Bringing Up Baby<br
/>Bringing Up Baby


Bill Nighy

Performance

Performance

“It’s predictable, but Performance, the Donald Cammell movie, contains one of the great cinema performances from James Fox. Mick Jagger is in there too giving a very good performance, and I know that by heart too. The soundtrack is epic, it’s beautiful, including a great Mick Jagger song called “Turner’s Song: Memo from T” which is a great, great song with some beautiful lyrics. It’s just a film that I have a soft spot for.

I always remember watching Mean Streets, which was the first time I ever heard a Stones song in a movie. It was on the jukebox in the club, Jumpin’ Jack Flash was the song, and it was shocking that the Rolling Stones would allow one of their songs to be in a movie. But Scorsese has always had them in there; he’s a man of taste. They have a long relationship, because the Stones don’t use to let just anybody use their songs, you’d never get a Rolling Stones song in your movie.

I also enjoyed Shine a Light, I thought it was wonderful. I loved the guests, Christina Aguilera, my god! What is that? She’s got so much talent, she’s so brilliant, and she looks so beautiful. You can see Mick’s face; he looked like he was so happy. Not only is she sensationally beautiful, glamorous and sexy, but also she can really, really, really do it, and the two of them pumping out that song was just beautiful. I’ve never seen a man look more happy or more grateful than Jack White, standing there singing Loving Cup. If you ever want to see a portrait of a young man looking as happy as it’s possible for a young man to look, check out Jack White in Shine a Light. At one point they’ve both got a microphone, Mick’s got one, he’s got the other, but he can’t bear it, he rushes over and shares a mic with Mick, because you know he wants to be able to say, “I shared a mic with Mick.” Then at the end he shakes everybody’s hand, Charlie, Keith and everybody, and if he was a dog he’d wag himself to death. If he’d had nine tails, it wouldn’t have been enough.”


Bill Nighy

Bowfinger

Bowfinger

Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy make me laugh out loud. Eddie Murphy makes me laugh generally speaking, Steve Martin makes me laugh, I love him with all my heart, and the combination was just beautiful. At the end when Eddie Murphy begins to believe the things that have been weirdly happening to him are in fact true, and that he might save the universe, it always makes me laugh out loud. I love the fact that he comes in and says to Steve Martin at one point “Guess who I had intercourse with last night?” which always makes me smile.”


Bill Nighy

Bringing Up Baby

Bringing Up Baby

“With Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, I have to stay there. I don’t know how people can act that quick. I’m a big fan of quick acting, and i’m going to try to build it into my career from now on – I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. I think in the old days, everybody used to act really quickly because Hollywood was built by theatre people. And I don’t believe that cinema is a non-verbal medium, I believe people should have t-shirts made with, “Cinema is a not a non-verbal medium,” because I don’t know how that entered the language – it’s from people who can’t write presumably. I don’t believe that, in some way, having a theatrical background should exclude you from the movies, which was a fashionable thing in the 1970s. It’s ludicrous given that Hollywood is built by mostly European theatre people.

You can’t speak any quicker than Cary Grant speaks in most of his movies – it’s really cool – and everybody gets everything, nothing misses. I love to watch those two together, because they’re dry, they’re witty, they’re fuuny and it’s romantic, and they get together in the end.

I’d have said The Godfather, because it is one of the greatest films ever made, but it’s too obvious! I also like to watch Sign of the Times with Prince, because he does the splits whilst playing the guitar and comes back up on the backbeat, and anyone who can do that is good enough for me. Also The Last Detail, with Jack Nicholson and Randy Quaid, which is a marvellous movie, and all those 70s movies like Dog Day Afternoon with the young Al Pacino. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. The Servant with James Fox and Dirk Bogarde is another great English film, that if you want to see two halves of the 60s British films, check out Performance with James Fox and check out Le Serpent with James Fox, and then you get a pretty good idea; both ends of the spectrum.”


The Boat That Rocked is out now in the UK. It’s released in Australia on 9th April and in the US on 28th August.

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