Tag Archives: directors

My Top 5 Favourite Film Comebacks

‘Everyone loves a comeback story’ – that old adage that rings true throughout all entertainment, sports and media. But of course the most distinctive and popularised is that of the comeback movie. Whether it be a director returning to their roots, a franchise reinvigorated or a troubled actor finding their place amongst the stars again – film lovers and critics alike find a certain new adoration and pride for the ‘comeback kid’ when it all comes to fruition.

Without question, this can trace back as far as the 1970’s. But in recent memory there have been some standouts that not only won me over, but redefined careers.

5. Bill Murray (‘Rushmore’)

After possibly one of his greatest films ever, ‘Groundhog Day’. Murray’s form fell flat through a gauntlet of comedy misfires. But he found his second calling in the form of young filmmaker Wes Anderson in 1998. Co-starring in his second feature ‘Rushmore’ as rich tycoon ‘Herman Blume’. Garnering an entire new audience to the King of deadpan delivery. Additionally, he starred opposite Scarlett Johansson in the rather lovely ‘Lost In Translation’, further cementing his return to form. Subsequently, Murray has featured in some capacity in all of Anderson’s subsequent works and continues to be one of the all-time greatest workers in the business.

4. Ben Affleck (‘Gone Baby Gone’)

Before 2007, Affleck couldn’t shake off the gremlins that were plaguing him since the less than favourable reactions to Hollywood turkeys like ‘Gigli’, ‘Jersey Girl’ & ‘Daredevil’ (although I will argue that the director’s cut of the latter being an honestly decent film). After a string of average movies, Affleck took to the director’s chair.

He co-wrote the screenplay and directed the adaptation of the detective novel, ‘Gone Baby Gone’, triumphantly crafting an engrossing and prodding mystery thriller filled with great direction of tension, drama and acting. Affleck now appears to have moved away from that Matt Damon-sized shadow that had been cast over him for sometime. Becoming one of the most respected and impressive new directors of the last decade. 

He continued hitting home runs across the board with his 2010 film ‘The Town’, which he also starred and the multi-Academy Award winning ‘Argo’. Which everyone loves. 

Of course you do. 

3. Josh Brolin (‘No Country For Old Men’)

Josh Brolin is an interesting guy. While being an extremely talented & versatile actor, he never had been able to lose that ‘Goonies’ annotation that had latched onto him since the 80’s. 

In 2007, (opposite Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem) starring as man on the run ‘Llewelyn Moss’ in the Coen’s masterful modern Western ‘No Country For Old Men’ gave him the massive boost he deservedly received. 

Brolin is now enjoying a plethora of notable roles. Including turns in ‘Milk’, ‘True Grit’, a rather awesome one in ‘Men In Black 3’, ‘W.’ and ‘Inherent Vice’. Before the release of Marvel’s ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ last year. Josh was cast in a multiple picture deal as ‘Thanos’, considered to be one of the greatest comic book antagonists of all time.

2. Robert Downey Jr. (‘Iron Man’)

RDJ’s story is the ultimate comeback story. Falling prey to addiction in the 90’s up until the early 2000’s. He successfully recovered and went on to star in ‘The Singing Detective’ and delivered well-received performances in the comedy crime film ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’, as well as one of my favourites in David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac’.

Downey’s casting as genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist ‘Tony Stark’ aka ‘Iron Man’ for Marvel Studios has redefined what anyone would consider a Hollywood comeback. His casting was not only a great move by the studio, as the actor effortlessly declares on screen that he was born to portray the character. But also for the man himself. 

As the ‘poster boy’ somewhat, he has helped the studio achieve record breaking numbers in the box office and is one of the most overwhelmingly adored figures at the heart of the franchise at the fresh age of 49. You know who he is.

1. Michael Keaton (‘Birdman’)

It’s one thing to make a comeback, it’s another to make one in an Academy Award winning movie. Yet it’s another to make one in a narrative that perhaps parallels that of your own career to an extent.

I’m not going to detail what Mr Keaton had been upto since his Batman days. All I will say is – bravo. One of the most heavily debated movies of the last few years is ‘Birdman’, which scooped the top honours at this year’s Oscars. Keaton unfortunately lost to Eddie Redmayne for the Best Actor gong, which I really felt was a travesty. Not taking away anything from Redmayne’s performance. I just felt ‘The Theory Of Everything’ was purely made to win awards based on its biopic nature. The other brewing argument that surged the internet was whether ‘Boyhood’ or ‘Birdman’ were the more deserving of the Best Film Award. 

While being a truly good piece of filmmaking, and certainly a labour of love of director Richard Linklater. For me, ‘Boyhood’ and its scoping of American life narrative didn’t break new grounds in what I love to see in film. Inarritu’s movie is as ambitious as it is gloriously compelling. Keaton being the driving force behind it. 

Fly high, my friend.

My Top Ten Favourite Sequels


It’s been a while, old friend. But I’m back – blogging, writing, complaining, gushing… Whatever.

As a way to dip my toes back into the world of bloggage, I thought I’d start with a few countdowns. So I took to social networks and I was given a couple of ideas for topics.

This one was suggested by my good pal, Ian Nesbit (@i_nesbot) – who has a lovely little Red Bubble store that you can check out here, for all your filmy, televisiony, comicy, nerdy needs.

Anyway. On with the fucking list.

*NOTE:- This will contain ‘threequels’ in some cases*

10. Evil Dead II (1987. Dir – Sam Raimi)

While I’m totally alienated by the horror genre in general – Sam Raimi’s approach to production and direction – of his horror work in particular, is something I really hold dear. Sure, everyone says there’s a ‘charm’. But there fucking is, ok? Evil Dead II, although is more or less a retread of its predecessor – Actually surpasses it with its downright mental hilarity, creative effects work and offbeat style. Groovy means groovy.

09. Aliens (1986. Dir – Jim Cameron)


Staying with the horror genre, so to speak. Ridley Scott’s beautifully constructed ‘Alien’ is among my favourite movies of all time. But with its sequel, James Cameron fucked that whole concept up the poop schute, and elevated it to gun-toting, ooh-ra chanting heaven. Additionally solidifying Ellen Ripley as a certified bad ass. It’s amazing how two films can be so vastly different, but so ball-achingly awesome aswell.

‘Awesome Jim Cameron’ – RIP

08. Toy Story 3 (2010. Dir – Lee Unkrich)


Oh, Toy Story. You beautiful bastard. No other film series has resonated with or affected me more than this. On surface a kids film, but deep down there’s a whole other level of just how much this series rocks. After two belters, in 2010 they give us the masterpiece. I’m not going to justify by any means why this film is on the list. It should really be on everyone’s. The last 20-15 minutes, in particular, struck a chord with me I believe no other film has ever done. And that, alone, is something as a movie lover I will treasure.

07. Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (1989. Dir. Steven Spielberg)


Welcome to big school. A lot of people seem to shit all over Indy prequel/sequel ‘Temple’, due to its missing sense of ‘adventure’ that was so richly prominent throughout ‘Raiders’. But with ‘Crusade’, there’s a welcome return. Couple that with the addition of Sean Connery in one of his most memorable roles – you’ve got a recipe for success.

06. ‘Lord Of The Rings – The Two Towers’ (2003. Dir – Peter Jackson)


Normally I consider Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy to be one complete body of work. However I felt I needed to include this particular choice on the list or I’d be fussing over whether to edit it or remove it. Whatever.  So, yeah. Helms Deep, Gandalf’s return, Gollum, the rise of Aragorn. It’s all there. And yes, I’ll highly recommend the extended cut, thankyou.

05. ‘Spider-Man 2’ (2004. Dir. Sam Raimi)


Raimi again! Where upping the ante is concerned, Spidey 2 is one of the most recent examples of how to get it so perfectly right. Peter’s (Tobey Maguire) dilemmas with being a superhero, caring for his lonely Aunt, his career, his love life, his guilt over events of the first movie and going toe to toe with an idol of his (Fred Molina) – is placed so precisely well throughout the course of the film, that it never seems to lose any traction. Keeping all those elements relevant to the entirety of the film’s plot. The action/effects are also leagues ahead of Raimi’s original. Particularly the train fight between Peter and Octavius. Check out the extended cut on You Tube for certains. Then thank me with money and praisings.

04. ‘The Godfather Part 2’ (1974. Dir – Francis Ford Coppola)


Considered to be one of the greatest films of the 20th century – ‘Godfather 2’ has one of my favourite film stories of all time. I love a good downfall movie. Newly donned…um… Don – Michael, completely unravels in perhaps Al Pacino’s most iconic, and best performance ever. Running parallel with the story of his father Vito’s escape from his hometown and settlement in America. A stellar turn by Bob De Niro. Though I’m a bigger fan of the first film, Godfather 2 is without question one that all filmmakers would aspire to.

03. The Empire Strikes Back (1980. Dir – Irvin Kershner)


Course I was gonna have fucking Star Wars in here…. What I love about Empire is that though tonally it’s drastically different from A New Hope, it seems to just seamlessly blend with past (and future) events. Everyone’s on top form here, particularly Hamill and Ford. The standout aspect for me though is the movie’s dialogue and interaction between characters. The script is sublime. Oh, and there’s awesome fucking battles involving giant mechanical walkers, lightsabers and laser shooters – peow peow!

02. ‘Back To The Future Part II’ (1989. Dir – Robert Zemeckis)


GLOVER REPLACEMENT! WELLS REPLACEMENT! Ah, shut up. This is always a winner for me. Sure there are some questionable elements that a lot of people take criticism with. I adore the filmmaker’s depiction of the future, the ramifications of the now infamous ‘Gray Sports Almanac’, Marty & Doc’s comedically heartwarming and lovable chemistry – in addition to the call backs to the first movie. It’s a time travel movie done right and then some.

01. ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008. Dir – Christopher Nolan)


“What about escalation?”…. Quizzed Gary Oldman’s Lt. Jim Gordon at the end of Nolan’s new vision of the Caped Crusader. Yes, escalation is exactly what they aimed for and high-fived that bitch so hard its hand ceased to exist. ‘The Dark Knight’ is by a loooong mile my favourite sequel of all time. A few character nitpicks aside, the story is faultless in my opinion. It deals with an interesting study into Bale’s Bruce Wayne, and how far he could be pushed, as well as the city he protects – to its limits. Though I can gush on about Heath Ledger’s immortal portrayal of The Joker, the movie itself is also benefitted by its superb casting and screenplay by Nolan and his brother Jonathan. The theme of the film is ‘escalation’. And one thing I love about Chris Nolan’s storytelling is how he uses some of his movies as a living example of these themes. (See – ‘Memento’, ‘The Prestige’). This is another prime example. Here, it feels like a gradual rush – a shot of adrenaline, perhaps. Toward a dizzying high of tension, emotion and unnerving… Until everything comes crashing down in complete devastation. It’s a simple, yet really, really effective and clever method of film making.

‘Disastrous to Prosperous’

Last year was undoubtedly one of the worst years in recent memory for films. The release of Avatar and the subsequent universal popularity it received, plus an ever-increasing development of films being shot/post-produced in 3D casted an enormous blue-hued shadow over the landscape of modern film-making. Turning our brains into mush and forever fecal-powerbombing the art form of motion picture.

So, where did it all go wrong in the past twelve months? Or should I say, what should happen in the next twelve months…


1. No more fucking SAW movies

If there’s one fucking thing that’s outstayed its welcome, it’s Saw.

Convoluted and ridiculously back and forth plots, stupid retarded scary puppet thing, unimaginable dumbness on all the actors to a degree, and boring, predictable drawn-out bullshit films as a whole.

Are people this stupid? Are you stupid? This franchise needs to die…. Just straight down the line, dead. No more fucking plot twists or dead characters getting resurrected for the fifteenth time.

Saw, suck my balls.


2. Give the fucking Coens a services to film award at the Oscars

Paul and Barry Chuckle. circa 1823

Yeah, do I really have to explain myself here..?… Oh

Blood Simple, True Grit, Big Lebowski, Fargo, No Country For Old Men….

Any questions?


3. Enforce retirement upon Johnny Depp

Last place in goatee contest

Look, this is going to get a few boos. But this guy is just fucking annoying me now. He does his job well I guess… Love him in Fear and Loathing. He’s just fucking everywhere though, he doesn’t take a day off! I mean does he have a wife? I wouldn’t marry him… What a bastard fella he would be!

“Yeah I’ll be off shooting tomorrow” ….

“What, again? Another 3 months?”…..

“Yeah sorry, well what can ya do? I’ve got millions in the bank, and I’m sexually frustrated”

Ever since the release of the first Pirates of the Caribbean, I swear to god – Depp is just the most sought after actor in Hollywood. Now I’m not saying that isn’t a good thing… Because obviously he loves to work SOOOOO fucking much. But… You know, give someone else a shot?? Please?? Contrary to what people say, you, and Brad Pitt for that matter – are showing your age.

Let’s vote to see which one’s gonna be first to play the ‘bumbling old man’ role in a Farrelly brothers comedy.


4. Hire assassins to maim or possibly murder Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg


After a number of years riding on the coattails (why?) of the Wayans team. These two cunts have found it increasingly necessary, and for some reason logical – To direct and script possibly the shittiest, most degrading, suicide-thought inducing ‘comedy’ films in the history of man. Yeah I went there.

They are the cause of the dumbing down of our society, they are going to single-handedly destroy all that is still good and pure of film-making.

Stop these men.

Stop them….. Please.

5. Minimalise post-production 3D conversion


Yeah, this one’s a pretty major one for me. As I’ve noted before. It wouldn’t be fair to say boycott 3D altogether, because it CAN work and compliment a film if used correctly. However, due to budget constraints, studios have opted to convert their completed films into 3D, instead of using 3D cameras during photography – In turn, making those films extremely harsh on the eyes when watched with 3D glasses on.

It’s simply just a marketing commodity, and it’s beginning to stink like the webbing in between my toes. The vastness of ‘eye-rapes’ from the past year is astronomical and it just needs to be calmed down, soon. It’s not always about the visual, people. Use all other forms of media to tell your story, that’s what we’ve paid our money for. Not a migraine.


Take the power back everyone, and take heed.



Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver, Christopher Reeve in Superman, Sigourney Weaver in Alien, Harrison Ford in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Al Pacino in The Godfather….

We all refer to these as ‘iconic’ film roles. Portrayals of some of the greatest characters to grace the silver screen. Heroes, heroines, rebels, criminals, saviours. These characters have been embraced worldwide and have each become mainstays in cinematic history and popular culture for decades. It may be something like their clothes, their hair, their actions or even their speech – We, the audience, make a connection to that one vital part, and it’s forever embedded.

We call these portrayals ‘iconic’…. But is it the actor? Or the character itself? The real problem with this argument is that we all have attached those actors to those roles. Even after 30 years and ridiculous attempts at emulation, Sigourney Weaver is still synonymous with the ‘ass-kicking female lead’. It still remains to be seen of an actress who can pull off a similar role without inhabiting elements of Ellen Ripley. This is what frustrates me to the core – there’s no ‘suprise’ in cinema anymore. No original thought. As pointed out vivaciously by Mike Stoklasa of Red Letter Media in his Star Trek 2009 review, the overall majority of films from the last decade have been either remakes, re-imaginings of past films, as well as direct/indirect translations of fictional material released years prior. But it’s all about marketability – if you see something you recognise or like or love, you’re naturally going to want to see more of it. And that’s what I’m trying to point out here. We subconsciously feel safe seeing something or someone we vaguely recognise and we feel comfort in knowing to an extent what we are seeing and feeling. But that’s human nature and can really be applied to most situations. However, we also feel obligated to enjoy films starring iconic actors. Again, we feel ‘pre-satisfied’ and ‘safe’, because of their previous work, and high praise for it.

Isn’t there anything like it though? Harrison Ford putting on that hat? Christopher Reeve spinning retardly in that phone box?

I might be going slightly off in another tangent, but I think it’s food for thought. As sometimes we really do take for granted what these amazing actors have done for cinema and television today. Maybe there wouldn’t be a career for Michelle Rodriguez if it wasn’t for Vasquez… Maybe Samuel L Jackson would be a bank teller if it wasn’t for John Shaft. Films can and probably have changed your life one way or another. An unescapable effect.

But if all those defining, iconic roles that I listed above were not portrayed by those actors/actresses – Would they have honestly been as much a part of our lives as they are today? An often clichéd quote from directors we hear time and time again is – “he/she was the only person who could play the part.” If you really dug deep you’d find countless amounts of directors who have said something along similar lines. But who was the first choice to play Indy? Tom Selleck. Who was cast as Marty McFly initially? Eric Stoltz. You’d be hard-pressing trying to envision any other actor playing those parts, really wouldn’t you? Odd one eh?

But wait, it’s the same character, right? Just with another face, hair-do, voice. Could we honestly admit that the perception of that iconic character can ever be anything than what it was? I can’t attempt to answer the question, however it’s a mind-boggling one. Cinema has hit it’s crisis peak in my opinion, we don’t have that ‘one-man show’ anymore. And judging from a time where new releases are merely fecal matter (i.e Alvin And The Chipmunks, The Last Airbender, White Chicks) – Is there much point to finding that defining role for the 21st century?

That’s what I love about those iconic characters. We’re mentally configured to loving those characters just purely from the simplest of things – and it’s the way those simple things are presented that make the actors so tightly knitted to that character.

Could there ever have been another Ripley, RP McMurphy, Alex DeLarge, Han Solo or Michael Corleone???… The actors that portrayed those roles were masters of their art. They didn’t do it for a quick buck, they did it for us, the audience. Nothing like today. And that’s why they are considered icons, and you won’t find anyone close in Hollywood currently even attempting at best to prove otherwise.

Maybe I’m not seeing the bigger picture :/ . We all know what that is. Acting isn’t really about the acting anymore, nothing DEFINES iconic when I watch films today. In reality, it’s all business and it makes the world go round on its soon to be toppling axis.


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