Monthly Archives: August 2017

Four Criteria Of A Great Romance Movie

Romance movies are timeless. Everyone has his or her favorite romance movie. Most of the time, the romance movies serve a purpose, mostly, as an escapism. One thing that these movies do is that they keep the idea of romance alive. No matter how happy or tragic the ending is, romance movies are loved by its viewers for entertaining them and keeping their dream alive.

It begs a question.. what makes a great romance movie? There are some actors and actresses who are great for romance movies and some who do not. There are some stories that are simply remarkable and there are some stories that make you wonder who made it the first place. I believe that there are at least four criteria of a great romantic movie

1. Likability of the Leads

First and foremost, the leads in the movie must be ‘likable’, meaning that the target audience love them and believe that they are lovers or can be lovers in real life. Which means that they must have chemistry between them. When the chemistry is there, it makes the interactions in the movie likable and believable. And it is important for the audience to like the leads for them to ‘get’ the movie.

This factor made Meg Ryan, the romantic comedy queen in late 80s / early 90s. Her two major performance in ‘When Harry Meet Sally’ and ‘Sleepless In Seattle’, paired with two great leading men, Billy Crystal and Tom Hanks, was a major tour de force. In both movies, she ‘clicked’ with both of them, which gave the movies critical and commercial success.

2. Simple And Clear Storyline

Another important criteria is the storyline. It has to be simple and clear, so that the viewer can understand what is going on in the movie, which means, who are the parties in love and what is the situation. Romance movies are not good grounds to do plot twist and turns as it will turn off the viewers as it will interfere with the viewers enjoyment of the romance. An example of good storyline was the movie adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, in 2005. The movie did an excellent job in portraying the romance of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Darcy, showing the ‘games’ that both played with each other till they eventually fell in love in the end.

3. Movie Location / Background

The role of the movie location and background is to support and enhance the romance movie. It is not very important but it does play a role. The background refers to the cast that surrounds the leads, for example, family members or office mate. The movie location refers where the movie is situated. Usually, it is the movie locations that spice up the romance. A good example of the movie background is the cast of Four Weddings and a Funeral. In the movie, Charles’ set of eclectic friends complimented his ‘adventures’ in pursuing Carrie. A good example of movie location would be the location of Venice and Positano in Only You, starring Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, where it made the romance in the movie magical, with glorious location scenes, Italian language and songs.

4. Excellent Movie Song / Soundtrack

And finally, the killer criteria would be the song or soundtrack of the movie, as it enhances and reminds the viewer of the romance movie experience. Usually, it would be a pop song sung by the popular artist and it becomes a chart topper. An obvious example would be the song “My Heart Will Go On” sung by Celine Dion from the movie Titanic. The song functions as a killer hook that drives the success of the movie and does help the commercial success of the movie soundtrack and movie itself. In the movie, the song typically appears either as a short music clip or becomes an instrumental background.

Well, those are the four criteria that I think makes a great romance movie. There might be others but these are the four main criteria and when all four criteria appear in a romance movie, it is almost certain that the movie becomes a commercial and critical hit.

Best Car Movies

All of us love movies, no matter how old or how new or what type all of us love movies. Why? Because movies are entertaining they give us a good story. Now there have been many car movies made, but which one is the best car movie? We will judge car movies based on the cars in the movie, the car scenes, and the racing.

10. Hot Rod Girl (1956) – I am not sure whether this movie was meant to be an anti-hot rodding movie or not. The plot isn’t much guys brother dies, the city wants to stop hot rodding and the kids still want to race. Since this is 1956 there has to be a chicken game right (it was a law in 50’s Hollywood). In the movie there are a few 32 Fords (actually a lot of 32 Fords), a 56 Chevy, a 56 Ford, 55 T-bird, and an Olds 88.

9. Death Proof (2007)- The first half of this movie maybe seem a bit boring, its mostly talking and just a bunch of girls drinking in a bar (not even a wild bar party, just a group of 3 girls drinking) but then it gets good, with a 71 Chevy Nova used as a weapon and later a car chase with a 69 Charger and a 70 Vanishing Point Challenger. The movie is meant to feel like a 70’s Slasher movie crossed with Vanishing Point. If you’re a Mopar guy check this one out!

8. Road Racers (1994)- This movie is called Road Racers however they is only one short race in the movie, and 2 Car Chases. The movie opens with a Car chase between a 56 Chevy being chased by the cops 56 Buick all to a badass Rockabilly song! There is greaser violence (not Grease greaser violence but like the Outsiders with a 90’s humor twist), there is great Rockabilly music from Glen Glenn, Hasil Adkins and Johnny Reno!

7. Thunder Road (1958) – Let me tell the story, I can tell it all… Actually let’s let Robert Mitchum tell you the story he can do it better. This movie starring Mitchum is about Running Moonshine in Tennessee in the 50’s and trying not to get caught be the revenuers. It has a number of crazy car chases featuring a 50 Ford Coupe, 57 Ford Fairlane, a 56 Chevy undercover car that can rip off cars bumpers and a song about the movie performed by Mitchum himself!
6. Dazed and Confused (1993) – I’ve been Dazed and Confused for so long its not true! Which sadly that song is not in this movie (it was suppose to be and Jimmy Paige was for it but Plant wasn’t). This movie is kind of like the 70’s version of American Graffiti except it’s the first night of summer not the last and the main character is entering High School. Anyway they is a car chase between a 64 Buick and 72 Chevy Truck, there is a 70 Chevelle SS 454, 70 GTO Judge, Ford Maverick, 37 Oldsmobile and a 74 Trans Am!

5. Tales of the Crypt: King of the Road (1992) – OK I lied this one is not a movie; it is an episode from HBOs horror series Tales of the Crypt. Why is this movie on the list? WHY ISN’T ON THE LIST? As soon as the episode opens we are greeted with a 69 yellow Chevelle SS street racing a 69 Red Dodge Charger to a rocking song by Warren Zevon. Later we get a car chase with the Chevelle SS and a police car and at the end a Street race with the Chevelle SS vs. a 57 Chevy Gasser! There is a great soundtrack by Warren Zevon, however only one of the songs “Roll with the Punches” has been released the other “Bad Road, Wretched Road” is only found as a cover by a band called Rebel Son.

4. Hot Rod (1979) – This movie is hard to find, it was a made for TV made from 1979. It probably has the most Drag Racing scenes out of any movie I have seen! The movie has a Street race between a 65 Hemi Plymouth and a 69 Olds Cutlass in the beginning, later a hemi powered 41 Willys Coupe Gasser, a few funny cars, and rocket powered Funny Car and tons of Drag Racing scenes in this movie!

3. Vanishing Point (1971) – Kowalski is a delivery driver who is delivering a 1970 White Dodge Challenger from Colorado to San Francisco. He does it by speeding the whole time and creates the world’s largest car chase! Being pursued by the police the whole time!

2. Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) – Who needs plots? This movie doesn’t! All we need is a Driver, a Mechanic, a Girl, a guy with a GTO, a 55 Chevy gasser and a few random hitch hikers to make a great car movie! This movie is all about cars and nothing else! You get to see and hear a nice 55 Chevy almost every scene as well as a GTO. The movie opens with a Drag Race and ends with one!

1. American Graffiti (1973) – Was this really a surprise to any of you? Nothing but classic cars, cruising, great music, humor, a few races and lots of fun! We get a nice but piss yellow 32 Ford powered by a 327, a 58 Chevy Bel Air also powered by a 327, a girl in a 56 T-bird and a Black 55 Chevy (actually the same one from Two Lane Blacktop). This movie really is all about cars, not coming of age. The movie ends with a great showdown between the 32 Ford and the 55 Chevy!

Ways to Select a Great Movie to Watch

Sometimes you just feel like a girls’ or a blokes’ night in, and so comes the question of how to select a great movie to watch. My friend Sam always told us that a group of three people should never go into a DVD rental store at the same time, because you’ll end up being there for hours and never really decide on which movies to hire.

When we’re selecting movies, we never go for the latest releases, because you pay a premium rate for movies that are new to the DVD shelves.

If you always select the movies that have been around for a while, then guess what? You have your own selection of “new” movies to choose from after a few months sincehat time the latest releases are down graded to recent releases at a discounted price. Not only do you save yourself some money, but you’ve also got a much better chance of having the “pick of the bunch” of the recent releases.

Here’s a list of things to help you decide how to select a great movie to watch:

1. Selection by a theme

Whether it’s a blokes night or a chicks night, you can decide a theme. Some great chick flicks include the “Bonnet Movies” the genre of Jane Austin’s “Pride and Prejudice”, “Emma” and so on.

For the blokes you may select the “X-Men” series, James Bond or such like.

2. Selection by Actor or Actress

Often we’ll sit and watch a bunch of Russell Crowe or Nicole Kidman movies, you may have some favorite actors and actresses that will help you in your choice of movies to watch.

3. Selection by Genre

There’s some great movies to motivate young sports players, such as Basketball, Baseball, or Grid Iron movies. You may be a fan of horror movies, romantic comedies, or action thrillers.

4. True Stories

They say that there’s nothing stranger than real life, and when Hollywood screen writers are looking at new ideas for movie storylines, they often turn to taking historical events and making some great movies.

Within the category of true stories you still have a wonderful selection of movies to watch about sporting heroes, national heroes, and even ordinary folk that have done some extraordinary things.

5. Selection by ratings

When selecting a great movie to watch, you need to consider the audience, as this can help with your decision making. If you are choosing movies for a bunch of young children then it’s generally a good idea to have watched those movies yourself first, so that you don’t have any surprises that could shock or scare the children.

6. Choosing a Foreign Language Movie

Whilst there’s a whole heap of great English Language movies, there’s also some fantastic foreign language movies that deserve your attention.

Do not be afraid to consider foreign films just because they have subtitles. After the first few minutes of watching a foreign movie and reading the subtitles you soon get drawn into the movie and almost “forget” that you are not listening to English.

7. Word of Mouth

We’ve never really found that personal referrals of movie titles from our friends have been of much benefit. Everybody has different tastes, and just because one person doesn’t like a particular movie doesn’t necessarily mean that you will not enjoy it.

This is often true with media movie critics. We’ve all heard stories about movies that have been slammed by the critics only to become box office successes.

There’s plenty of other ways to decide how to select a great movie to watch that include watching the previews or movie trailers, as well as watching movie review shows on TV and the internet.

The best thing about selecting a great movie is that there’s so much choice and so many opinions these days. As each year passes more movies are released and there’s still many of the good old favorites around, so sit back, relax and disappear into your own movie world, having made your own selection of great movies to watch.

Best Super Hero Movies Ever

I just finished watching Thor on Blue-Ray and I enjoyed it a lot. Who would have ever thought that a live-action Thor movie would ever be made. Especially if you had ever seen the Thor appearance in one of the Incredible Hulk TV movies years ago. The concept of Green Lantern is awesome but I never thought that a movie would be made. So while I’m waiting for a live-action version of the Legion of Super-Heroes I thought that I would mull over what I believe are the finest films in the ever-expanding genre of super-hero movies. I’ve limited myself to live-action films even though some of the animated stuff is really cool. I think it would be cheating to mix animated films with the live-action films. I’ve also limited the number of “best” films to 10 otherwise I quickly venture over into the realm of Return of the Swamp Thing and Steel. So here I go.

10. The Rocketeer (1991)

Any movie with Jennifer Connelly in it can’t be too bad unless that movie is Hulk. The Rocketeer perfectly captured the look and spirit of the Dave Stevens comic book. Super-Heroes and Nazi’s always go well together, like peanut butter and jelly.

9. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Not to be confused with “Hulk” which was mentioned above, this 2008 soft re-boot of the Hulk franchise is actually really good. While not a sequel this film moves forward without invalidating anything from the previous film. The movie explores the fragile psyche of Bruce Banner; evokes the best of the Bill Bixby television series and has incredible (no pun intended) fight scenes with the Abomination. Plus the love story with Betty Ross is kept to a minimum. What more can anyone ask for in a super-hero movie? The only thing I can think of would have been a been a cameo from Wolverine.

8. Blade (1998)

I didn’t know a lot about Blade when I saw this movie. I still don’t know a whole heck of a lot about Blade the comic book character but Blade the movie super hero is awesome. Martial arts, swords and vampires. So cool its scary.

7. Batman (1966)

Sure it’s campy; sure Adam West is a little pudgy; sure Cesar Romero would not shave his mustache but this movie is just fun. Has there ever been a better Penguin or Riddler as played by Burgess Meredith and Frank Gorshin respectively? For that matter Lee Meriwether is #2 on the list of best Catwomen behind Julie Newmar and above Michelle Pfeiffer. In this movie we of course see the classic Batmobile but also the Bat-Copter, Bat-Bike and Bat-Boat. We also learn that Batman carries anti-shark repellent in his utility belt. This movie would make the top ten list just for the scene with Batman running around the pier with a bomb in his hands.

6. Superman II (1980)

Fifteen minutes of this movie is probably the greatest super hero movie ever made. The fight with Superman versus General Zod, Ursa and Non over Metropolis still stands up to this day. If only Richard Donner had been allowed to finish the movie. We would have been spared much of the camp (this is bad camp unlike the good camp in the Batman movie) added by Richard Lester. The cellophane “S”; teleporting Kryptonians in the Fortress of Solitude and the mind-altering “super-kiss” at the end of the movie (as if Superman didn’t already have enough powers someone thought it was necessary to add a few more) unfortunately forces me to keep this movie out of my top five.

5. Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Simply a good movie. No longer bogged down by the requisite origin story Peter Parker can just go and fight crime as Spider-Man. The scene with the passengers on the monorail protecting Spider-Man chokes me up a bit inside. “Spider-Man” probably would have made this list but no matter how much I liked Willem DaFoe as Norman Osborn I really disliked the Green Goblin costume in that movie.

4. Iron Man (2008)

Robert Downey Jr. playing a narcissistic self-absorbed self-destrucive person with a substance abuse problem…awesome casting. In one movie Iron Man went from B-list hero whom nobody but a comic book geek had ever heard of to a true cultural icon and being featured prominently on every Marvel kid’s toy right next to Spider-Man. That’s the goal for all of these movies (see Green Lantern above). Iron Man not only accomplished it but it is a very good movie on top of it. The only drawback to the entire movie is the closing fight scene between Iron Man and Obadiah Stane. I feel like the hero has to fight a bigger, badder version of himself has been done to death. For example it was done in the same year in Marvel’s other film the Incredible Hulk. Ultimately, I thought the movie was more interesting when it focused on Tony Stark rather than Iron Man. It made for a good movie but I’m not sure if that is a great thing for a “super hero” movie so Iron Man only makes it to #4 on my list.

3. The Dark Knight (2008)

This movie made a bazillion dollars. Heath Ledger was awesome as the Joker. It’s a fantastic movie. It’s just so long (2 1/2 hours) and Christian Bale is screaming throughout the entire movie. I’ve always imagined Batman to have a stoic coolness…like Clint Eastwood. Any complaints I have about this movie, however, are quickly mitigated by a Batman and Robin flashback.

2. Captain America (2011)

What did I say before about super heroes and Nazis? Well it’s even more true when the super hero is dressed up in an American flag. The Nazis don’t stand a chance. I loved everything about this movie. Chris Evans was very convincing as Captain America and as Steve Rogers. Even the Red Skull didn’t seem cheesy. All this and the Cosmic Cube too, I loved this movie. Captain America: The First Avenger is a great movie and well deserving of my #2 spot. There is only one movie that could beat it out.

1. Superman (1978)

This is it. The Grand-daddy of them all. It may not be the first super-hero movie but it is definitely the first movie that you think of when you think about a super hero movie. Where Chris Evans was convincing in the role of Steve Rogers/Captain America, Christopher Reeve IS Superman and at the same time he delivers the definitive portrayal of Clark Kent. Others have played the role before and after Reeve but none have worn the cape more convincingly or confidently. Christopher Reeve truly made me believe that if a man could fly it would be him.