You are here: Home > Blogs > Movie Maniacs

Latest Posts

Off Line

The Versatile Steve Buscemi

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

I did a post on Sam Rockwell not too long ago, and that got me thinking about Steve Buscemi. With his wonderful snaggle tooth and slightly protuberant eyes he doesn't fit the leading man role, but he certainly has screen presence and has forged an excellent career as a character actor. Like Rockwell he takes on some really challenging roles and isn't afraid to play loathsome characters. He has been kicking around a long time and often turns up in Coen Brothers films.

The one most people likely remember him from was Fargo, one of the more twisted offerings from the 'director with two heads' as the Coen's are often referred to. Now I must say this movie creeped me out something terrible, Oscar wins aside, but it turns up on a lot of must see lists. Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski and The Hudsucker Proxy are worth your two hours, and Big Fish is also worth a look.

He had recurring roles in two very popular series, The Sopranos and 30 Rock which have both finished their long runs. But he can be seen headlining in Boardwalk Empire (now in its 4th season), which chronicles the life of fictional gangster/politician Nucky Thompson, the undisputed ruler of Atlantic city. Boardwalk Empire has won numerous awards including a Golden Globe for Buscemi as Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama. Martin Scorcese is involved in this series and we all know nobody does gangstas better than Marty S.

And because he is so darn versatile, he had me howling with laughter in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, playing opposite Steve Carell. This was a lot of fun, and these two guys played off each other very well. Throw in the always good Alan Arkin and the sometimes good Jim Carrey—and he is good here—and this one works.

The role of a lifetime...or not

by Trevor - 0 Comment(s)

Johnny Depp as Edward Scissor Hands, Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. There are some actors who just seemed destined to play certain roles. They embody the character so perfectly that it’s almost impossible to imagine anyone else in the role. Despite that, there are many instances where that seemingly perfect casting decision was the result of the first, second, or third choice actors refusing the role. Here are a few iconic roles that were originally intended for other actors.

Silence of the Lambs
Everyone knows that Anthony Hopkins was phenomenal as Hannibal Lecter. I don’t think his role would have been nearly as good if he didn’t have Jodie Foster’s Clarice to play off of however. It was Michelle Pfeiffer who was offered the role first. When she, and many other A-list actresses, turned down the role, we were left with the perfect onscreen chemistry of Hopkins and Foster.

Terminator
“I’ll be back” and “hasta la vista baby” are two of the most quoted movie lines of all time. They loose a bit of their charm when you picture Sylvester Stallone slurring them in his mumbled drawl. It doesn’t quite fit does it? Though Schwarzenegger only got the role when Sly turned it down, I think we can agree that Arnie was the better choice in the end.

Die Hard
Speaking of Schwarzenegger, he (and pretty much every other male A-lister in Hollywood) was offered the role of John McClane in Die Hard. I can’t imagine anyone but Bruce Willis Yippee Ki Yay-ing while he blasted away terrorists. Schwarzenegger couldn't even fit through the air vents and Burt Reynolds, another choice, would have been laughable. Without Bruce my favorite Christmas movie would have been ruined!

The Shawshank Redemption
In what was likely the worst career choice of his life, Kevin Costner turned down the lead role in Oscar nominated “The Shawshank Redemption”. What did he turn it down for? At the time the most expensive film ever made, the critically maligned box office bust Waterworld. His loss was Tim Robbins’ gain however as Robbins stepped into the legendary role of Andy Dufresne.

Indiana Jones
Perhaps the most iconic character on the list, Indiana Jones was originally supposed to sport a big bushy mustache! Or at least that’s all I can assume upon hearing the role was initially offered to Tom Selleck. We can thank all that is good in the world that there was a scheduling conflict with Magnum P.I. Don’t get me wrong, Tom Selleck is a great guy; he’s just not Indiana Jones. No one but Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones!

A-List actors get sent a ton of scripts and there are undoubtedly many examples of actors dodging a bullet and avoiding bad roles. As the list above shows however, there are a few great bullets they shouldn’t have dodged. Do these actors regret passing up these roles? Who knows?

All we can say for certain is that it would be decidedly strange to see anyone else play these parts!

Crowfoot Film Night

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)

 

 

 

 

Join us on Thursday October 17th for this month's block buster movie. This is a brand new to DVD release and there are 100s of holds on this title, so a trek up to see it at Crowfoot is a sure fire way to avoid the wait. As always we can not put down the title but phone us at 221-4122 to see what the movie is---we don't want to leave you in Darkness. No registration is required, but seating is limited. Doors open at 6:00, show starts at 6:30 and it is rated PG13.

Sam Rockwell

by Moe - 3 Comment(s)

Moon

Sam Rockwell is one of those actors that quietly goes about the business of acting, seeking challenging roles to perfect his skills, and as a result has amassed a very impressive filmography. If you don't know him or aren't looking for him it sometimes takes you awhile before you say "oh yeah, it's that guy, he was in......"

 

His first role was at the age of 10 in 1979 and he has been busy ever since. He flips back and forth between big budget, Indie films and the theatre, and currently has four movies in post-production. Entertainment Weekly said "he has an excessive interestingness" and grammar aside I think that is as apt a description as any. An excellent character actor, his range is broad and he deftly handles both comedy and drama.

 

On more than one occasion he has played a psychopath and I must say he does it very well. Wild Bill in The Green MileYou'll likely recall him as Wild Bill in the wonderful movie The Green Mile with Tom Hanks. Rockwell described Will Bill as 'Huck Finn meets Satan'. Seven Psychopaths won't be for everyone, but many liked it and I thought it was very good. Big cast including Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, and another perennial 'psycho', Christopher Walken. In Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, he may or may not be a psychopath, but he certainly is strange.

 

Guy Fleegman of Galaxy QuestOne of my fave movies, Galaxy Quest is not so much a spoof as an homage to the Star Trek franchise. He plays Guy Fleegman, one of the numerous expendable security guards. This is a really fun movie suitable for the entire family, and you don't have to be a Star Trek fan to enjoy it.

 

In a lesser known film of his called Moon, he plays a man who has a three year contract to work as the sole employee based on a lunar energy station. There is no direct communication link available between the lunar station and Earth, and strange things start to happen as his time to return home draws nearer. I really enjoyed this.

 

Give Conviction a look...a working mother puts herself through law school in an effort to represent her brother (Rockwell), who has been wrongfully convicted of murder and has exhausted his chances to appeal his conviction through public defenders.

 

He is very good as Tony Stark's competitor in Iron Man 2. Interesting factoid: Jon Favreau initially considered Rockwell for the lead in the original Iron Man when he feared that Robert Downey Jr. might be too difficult to work with. As fine an actor as Sam is it would have been a far less playful Tony Stark with Rockwell inside the red and gold suit.

 

These are just a few of the many films CPL carries that display his fine talents.

 

The 65th Annual Emmys

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)

 

The 65th Emmys just aired this past Sunday and you can follow this link to see who won what. A few surprises, but not many. Something that might surprise you is just how many of these series and specials CPL carries. When it comes to television, we've got you covered.

 

Here are just a few of the nominees and winners we carry: Breaking Bad, Modern Family, Downton Abbey, Homeland, Game of Thrones, MadMen, Big Bang Theory, The Newsroom, The Big C, Boardwalk Empire, The Hour, The Good Wife. This is by no means all that we have so if you want to see if we carry your own fave search the show's title in our catalogue. To help narrow your search add DVD to the show's name, as in Boardwalk Empire DVD.

So much to watch, so little time!

Tags:

Luther

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Season Three of the critically acclaimed BBC series, Luther, is arriving on our shelves even as I write.

If you have not yet seen this one treat yourself to one of the finest British crime dramas of recent years. And given how very good the British track record for this kind of programming is, that’s saying something.

Superior writing, fine, fine acting and some very unique storylines, this series has it all. They are also very dark and occasionally disturbing. You may know the star Idris Alba from some of his other recent offerings. He had a starring role in this summer's block buster, Pacific Rim and was in Ridley Scott's Prometheus from 2012. He was in the excellent multi award winning American crime drama from several years ago, The Wire. He has even been touted as possibly taking over the helm for the James Bond franchise, after Daniel Craig hangs up his martini glass- a rumour he is vigorously denying. Somebody else who is having their name thrown around? Michael Fassbender, who was also in Prometheus.

Do watch this series in order or you'll be lost. Besides they are that good you really don't want to miss a single episode. His star is definitely on the rise so expect to see a lot more of him.

Tags:

Monthly Film Night

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Join us from 6:30-8:30 on Thursday the 19th at Crowfoot Library. We are offering a new to DVD release and this one is suitable for 13 plus. For film night at Crow, I am not able to print the title, so as always if you want to know check in-branch where we have posters up, or give us a call at 221-4122. No registration is required.

Or pop in to our John Dutton Theatre at Central (1:00-3:30) this Thursday as well. We are showing a true classic, and one of my favourite movies of all time. I would not be lying if I said I've seen this 40 times---and this one I CAN tell you the title-The Magnificent Seven. A huge all star cast of Steve McQueen, Yul Bryner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn and Eli Wallach. Now these names might not mean much to the younger crowd, but trust me when I say it is the equivalent of current films like Marvel's The Avengers, which showcase seven current A-Listers in one film.

The Magnificent Seven is a western remake of the Japanese classic by Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai. Plenty of action, lots of iconic images, actors at the top of their game and one of the best music scores of all time.

Best Westerns Vll

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

I put up a Western post in time for Stampede every year, but that didn't pan out this year because of the flooding in our beautiful city around that time! They have been a very popular recurring theme here at Movie Maniacs and we have dozens and dozens of our faves recommended in previous posts. But westerns are worthy of being watched anytime---I’ve tried to find some of the newer titles but of course they don’t make Westerns nearly often enough these days. Which is too bad, because a well-done Western is worth it's weight in oats.

Take a look at any of the following:

Kevin Costner’s The Hatfield’s and McCoy’s- great cast, big budget, multi award winning mini-series

Rango, for the whole family, as opposed to Django Unchained which is only for adults of strong constitutions

Cowboys and Aliens- the title says it all---very entertaining, with a strong cast including Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Paul Dano and Sam Rockwell


Hell on Wheels, this one is filmed in and around Calgary. We've blogged this more than once- it's an excellent series

Brand new to our collection, the Adventures of Brisco County Jr is just a lot of silly fun. This series from 1993 is available in one big 27 episode collection, so before you embark on this adventure set aside 23 hours! Featuring a Harvard graduate bounty hunter, robber baron's, and a recurring mysterious golden orb. Set this in the 1890's, reel it out like vintage movie serials, add a lot of tongue in cheek and keep it "just under over the top". It was well regarded by the critics and had a fierce and loyal following but in spite of that was not renewed beyond the initial first year.

And speaking of filmed in and around Calgary, try any of these sure bets: Shanghai Noon, Unforgiven, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Legends of the Fall and Open Range. And although not filmed near here, I'd feel remiss if I didn't plug my fave western of all time, the wonderful mini series Lonesome Dove.

Fantastic Films at the Library

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

 

The brand new program guide has just come out and CPL has dozens of opportunities for film lovers.

For years now the Central branch has been offering a movie every Thursday afternoon (1:00–3:30 p.m.) in our John Dutton Theatre. From Sept 5th to Dec 5th we are showcasing a total of 14 films from classics to contemporary.

Crowfoot runs a film night on the third Thursday of every month featuring brand new DVD releases. Join us 6:30–8:30 p.m. on Sept 19th, Oct 17th, Nov 21th and Dec 12th. To find out what film we are featuring call us at the beginning of each month at 221-4122. No registration required.

New this year we are offering a four part series called Alfred Hitchcock: Master of Suspense. Just in time for Halloween, this series rotates through four different branches/venues. Immerse yourself in the cinematic world of Hitch, the visionary director and icon whose films continue to shock and amaze audiences old and new. From 2:00–3:30 p.m. at Country Hills Thursday Sept 19; Shawnessey Friday Sept 27th; Signal Hill Sunday Sept 29; and Bowness Oct 24th.

Our Celebrate National Library Month Film Series kicks off with Hollywood Librarian: "A touching and insightful film that shows how librarians have been portrayed in the movies - often bespectacled, occasionally glamorous, sometimes too brainy for their own good — compared with real-life librarians in an increasingly digital and globalized world."  Or have a peek at these: Remote Access- Distant Libraries of the World; The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore; The Great Book Robbery; or Modern Marvels: The Real National Treasure.

Many of the branches also show films on school PD days, so call your local branch to see if they have something lined up.

Join old friends, meet new ones and enjoy a great movie from classics to contemporary.

They're Back!

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

After a two month hiatus because of the flooding at Central, new DVDs are starting to arrive at the branches again. All 18 of our locations get new selections several times a week and we have lots of hot new titles like Oblivion (Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman), GI Joe: Retaliation (Bruce Willis and The Rock), What Maisie Knew, The Place Beyond the Pines (Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling), Olympus Has Fallen (Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman again), Broken City (Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe), and The Company you Keep (Robert Redford and Shia LeBeouf).

I've seen four out of the above seven with various results. The Place Beyond the Pines I ended up liking a lot more than I thought I would, given I'm not a big fan of either Bradley or Ryan.Trust me on this one—stick with it and you're in for a very good film.

Is there a film you would like to see in our collection? Do you know that you can make recommendations? We welcome suggestions on specific titles we might add to the Calgary Public Library's collections. Check our online catalogue, and if you don't see what you want, take a few minutes to tell us about the item. (We automatically consider all items on all popular best seller lists, so there's no need to let us know about those).

Is there something a little more obscure we may have missed? Something you haven't seen in years but remember fondly and would like to introduce to others? Feel like going a step beyond a recommendation? Why not consider buying a title and adding it to our collection for others to enjoy. Here's how.

And if you do sponsor a title, leave a comment, and let me know what you chose and why. I'd love to post your thoughts on your selection.

12345678910Showing 31 - 40 of 381 Record(s)