Top 20 movie scenes I could watch over and over again – Part 2

Now that you’ve seen the first 10. Here’s the second part of my favorite scenes:

11. Casino Royale

Bond meets Vesper for the first time on a train. Their flirtatious banter is one of the best written dialogue I’ve ever come across. I like Eva Green’s Vesper in that she’s no bimbo, a far cry from Denise Richards’ Dr. Christmas Jones surely!

12. Batman Begins

I love the witty dialogue between Lucius and Bruce Wayne in both Nolan’s Batmans. But this one could easily be my favorite. Bruce asks what that ‘thing’ is that caught his eye, to which Lucius replies, ‘Tumbler? Oh, you wouldn’t be interested in that.’ An intense test-drive ensues, which ends with the billionaire looking all euphoric and out of breath, quipping ‘does this come in black?’ Major awesomeness!

13. The Dark Knight – The truck flip scene

First of all, I LOVE the batpod and the whole cape flying thing when Batman is riding it. Sure the scene defies scientific conceivability but it’s a grand film spectacle nonetheless. The Joker tantalizing Batman ‘Hit me!’ as he fires shots and the caped one barely missing him by a hair is downright intense, it the good vs. evil battle at its finest.

14. Dear Frankie – Frankie meets ‘daddy’

This is why I still have high hopes for Gerry Butler despite his dubious role choices of late. Known only as the Stranger, his mere 20+ minutes presence in this film is the heart of this little gem. I couldn’t find just that particular scene on you tube, so ffwd to 7:35 to see the scene I’m referring to (or better yet, watch the cafe scene also when Frankie’s mom Lizzie first met the Stranger). I love the expression on the Stranger’s and Lizzie’s face when the little boy ran to embrace him. Have your Kleenex handy.

edit: Sorry, the vid’s been removed from YouTube, but you can watch the trailer. I guess you’d have to watch the movie to find out what I mean 😉

15. The New World

Christian Bale has a great smile, but most would never know it as he rarely let it out. Well, this is Bale as his most romantic, all mushy and tender as John Rolfe who falls hard for brokenhearted Pocahontas. Man, I wish he’d do more roles like this. We’ve seen way too much of him being batty and bad @$$, but clearly his softer side is so darn watchable!

16. North & South (BBC Miniseries) – The train station scene

You have to see the entire 6-hour miniseries in order to appreciate this scene fully. But the kiss is a picture perfect climax of the volatile journey these two have been on. Ok, I’m not ashamed to admit Richard Armitage’s stubbly and strong jaw line is as mesmerizing as the kiss itself!

17. American President – Speech

Politics aside, Andrew Shepherd is one charismatic president whose public speaking prowess gives Tony Blair a run for his money. Michael Douglas fits this role like a glove, I kept wondering if the actor ever had aspirations to be a politician!

18. Moulin Rouge – Come What May

Ewan McGregor at his all-time gorgeousness and oh what a voice! He and Nicole Kidman can have a second career as a singer if they ever wish to. The bohemian love story is lush and beautifully shot. Too bad they cut the best part of the whole scene in this clip, when the Duke says, ‘I don’t like the ending.’ Richard Roxburgh plays the creepy but hilarious Duke to perfection!

19. Sense & Sensibility

Don’t you just love Alan Rickman? Sure he’s not young and dashing like Greg Wise as Willoughby but I kept rooting for him the entire film! When Col. Brandon beholds Marianne for the first time, his expression of awe and admiration for her gets me every time! Not a lot of actors are able portray being hopelessly in love in such a captivating way.

20. Equillibrium

This flick has flaws surely, but the story’s got so much potential to make it a classic. Bale (yes him again!) plays a super soldier trained to be devoid of emotion in a severe one-world government. This scene shows Bale struggling not to fall for a woman prosecuted for a ‘sense’ offense. Emily Watson is superb as Mary, as her unabashed resolve clearly makes John question what it really means to be human.

Ok, your turn, readers. Share your own list of scenes you’re crazy about, I know you have them!

Top 20 movie scenes I could watch over and over again – Part 1

I love lists, they’re just so much fun to read and make up! Ok now, I was going to whittle this down to ten but I find myself agonizing which one to cut. So you know what, since it’s my own friggin’ blog, I get to make my own rules! Below are the first ten scenes which are worth repeated viewings even if the film itself isn’t.  Outrageous or poignant, bad @$$ or saccharine sweet, deep or frivolous — one thing for sure: they all deserve an encore!


1. Toy Story 2 – The toys crossing the street

The toys, led by the ever so self-assured Buzz, cross the street blindly under the cones which inevitably cause hilarious mayhem in the process.

2. Ben Hur – ‘Jesus’ scene

The enslaved Prince Judah almost dies of thirst and Jesus gives him water. My favorite part is when the Roman soldier scolds him for doing that and is about to whip him, when Jesus stands up and simply looks at the man. The soldier’s thunderstruck expression is so poignantly moving, it’s as if he knew what that man in ragged clothing could see through his entire being, and that makes him uneasy. Then when Judah’s thirst was satisfied, he too looks up at Him and is rendered speechless. The end of the scene shows Judah looking so revitalized and full of hope that he barely noticed being whipped. He can’t take his eyes off his Savior as he’s led away, still in chains but somehow free. Powerful stuff.

3. Ben-Hur –  ‘Chariots Race’ scene

The spectacular scene of the chariots scene between Judah and his nemesis Mesala. The fact that this was done prior to CGI technology makes it all the more mind-boggling. It’s best that you watch the entire movie to understand the significance of this scene, and why the ‘fall’ at the end is so gut-wrenching to watch. Even with the repeated watching, this scene never fails to take my breath away.

4. Phantom of the Opera – Phantom leads Christine to his lair

This is Butler in his prime and he’s got such a magnetic presence even with only one side of his face to work with that I wish he was taking me to his lair!  Joel Schumacher may not be a great film director but he knows a thing or two about art direction. The whole setting is just so beautiful and seductive, especially with Andrew Llyod Webber’s haunting theme song. The Phantom is supposed to be ugly but after seeing Butler as the masked musical genius, I can’t imagine anybody else in this role. He even ruined the stage experience for me, I saw it for the second time last May and I much prefer the film version!

5. Gladiator

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius – only Russell Crowe can say it without inducing giggles from the audience. I love watching how Commodus’ skin crawl as he stares at the supposedly-dead general. When Maximus proclaimed, ‘I will get my vengeance, in this life or the next’ he practically peed in his pants.

6. The Transporter – Opening sequence of Frank’s bank job

The transporter definitely lives up to its name with the most adrenaline-charged yet preposterous car chase in movie history.

7. Return to Me – Bob returns to O’Reilly

Bob returns to the Irish-Italian restaurant to retrieve his phone and finally gets a chance to be alone with Grace. David Duchovny & Minnie Driver’s chemistry is palpable which makes their encounter feels so effortlessly natural. Unfortunately I can’t find that exact scene, but you can see it in the clip below starting at minute 8:00. This is what I wish more rom-coms can be, sweet without being corny and shamelessly banal.

8. Bruce Almighty – Evan Baxter’s newscast scene

Steve Carell totally stole the scene as Evan Baxter with his hysterical blabbering. As Jim Carrey’s mischievous ‘God’ ups the ante on his trickery, Evan’s uncontrollable blabbering gets all the more hilarious. It never fails to make my stomach hurt from laughing so hard. Too bad the entire movie sequel with Carell isn’t half as funny.


9. The Gods Must Be Crazy – The Land Rover Scene

If you haven’t seen this original and thought-provoking comedy, go put it on your Netflix queue, pronto! It’s genuinely funny without the shock factor you see in every comedy flix these days (yep, I’m looking right at you Sacha!) Pretty much this entire movie is jam-packed with side-splitting zaniness, but this is by far my favorite:

10. Superman I – Supes rescues his beloved Lois in a chopper crash

Every time the classic theme plays on as Lois quipped one of the memorable lines in the movie, ‘You’ve got me, who’s got you?’ I can’t help feeling nostalgic and giddy as the first time I saw this when I was a kid. This is why the Christopher Reeves will always be Superman in my heart, inimitable and unrivaled to this day.

Look for my second part sometime tomorrow. In the meantime, can you think of your own favorite scenes?

Speaking of sequels … Batman 3 starts shooting in 2010?

Gary Oldman let it slip at the SDCC (San Diego Comic-Con) that The Dark Knight sequel is definitely in the works! He told a fan who asked him about what’s happening with Batman 3,

“I think the next Batman is next year. We start shooting next year. You didn’t hear that from me.”

tdklogoIt’s unclear whether Christoper Nolan will be back at the helm though. So far he has not signed on the dotted line yet and from the start, he wasn’t too keen in making a Batman trilogy. Reportedly he’s still so shook up by the death of Heath Ledger who was originally going to be back as the Joker (read the detail report on Batman On Film). Nolan is currently working on Inception for Warner Bros, which is billed as a contemporary sci-fi action thriller starring Leo DiCaprio, backed by a strong ensemble cast that includes indie darlings Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page, as well as Cillian Murphy and Michael Caine who were both in Nolan’s Batman films. Since WB is the same studio that released The Dark Knight, there’s a possibility of some kind of agreement to bring Nolan back. However, in case that doesn’t happen, reportedly Zack Snyder is a strong contender. Wow, if he got this gig, Snyder is one busy guy working on both 300 and Batman 3 at the same time! It remains to be seen how he can pull this off though. Watchmen wasn’t as good as I thought it’d be—definitely didn’t live up to the hype—and 300 was not even remotely in the same league as The Dark Knight.

Meh, without Nolan’s extraordinary vision, I’m not as interested in this project. Not even sure if Bale is either, given his strong rapport with the British director. I guess I’m more intrigued by Inception, especially with Nolan also writing the script.

Guy Ritchie and his British Bromances

Sherlock Holmes posters
Sherlock Holmes posters

If you haven’t seen the 40 Year Old Virgin, Superbad, or Pinneaple Express, then the term ‘Bromance’ probably just flew past you. Short for ‘Brother’ and ‘Romance,’ it essentially means close friendship between straight men or heterosexual ‘man-crush.’

Well, before Judd Apatow made it popular with the flix I mentioned above, frequently with his ‘dream team’ of Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, James Franco, et al., Guy Ritchie gave us Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. Jason Statham was pretty much Apatow’s Rogen, his go-to dude whose film career he helped launch (Statham was a former Olympic diver). Ritchie then followed it with Snatch, the critical dud Revolver, and the recently released Rocknrolla (with Gerard Butler replacing Statham as the lead), which all center on the tight-knit friendship between a bunch of British guys.

I kind of think of Bromance flicks the guys’ version of chick flicks, and it’s definitely gaining momentum to rival that genre. With Sherlock Holmes, Ritchie tells the story the ultimate male BFFs of the 19th Century, that is Holmes and Watson. The plot according to IMDB, is a battle of wits & brawn between the titular detective with his partner with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England. Robert Downey (Holmes) and Jude Law (Watson) got along really well on the set, so well in fact that Downey joked at Comic Con of his ‘man-crush’ with Law. Reportedly Downey was sent to convince Law to do the part but before he even got to it, they both immediately clicked and started talking about what to do with their roles. That’s cool. I think when two actors who enjoy collaborating with each other, that ‘chemistry’ shows. Like when Russell Crowe and Christian Bale worked together on 3:10 to Yuma, the interviews revealed their ‘male bonding’ and it’s transported on-screen, too.

In any case, I don’t think this genre isn’t going away any time soon. And with Ritchie back doing what he does best (and no more Madonna thank goodness!), this Bromance crime drama might be one to look forward to come Christmas.

300 & Gladiator sequel talks? Oh, please don’t!

Maximus & Leonidas might be back!
Maximus & Leonidas – seconds from being resurrected!

All the rumors swirling about a sequel/prequel of 300 just got a new boost now that director Zack Snyder told IGN at the Comic Con this weekend that he’s basically just waiting for Frank Miller’s draft of the comic. Snyder said that there’s a lot of Spartan history to draw inspiration from. He also hinted that even though his character King Leonidas died at the end of the movie, he doesn’t rule out Gerard Butler coming back in some form. Ha, if that’s true, Gerry better starts training pronto to get his 8-pack back. He’s been kind of plump lately, even on CNN’s review of The Ugly Truth, he’s called a ‘potato-faced Russell Crowe with a lot less charm.’ Ouch!

Speaking of Crowe, have you heard of the rejected Gladiator 2 script that was uncovered this past May? Apparently Crowe himself enlisted a fellow Aussie goth rocker (and sometimes screenplay writer) Nick Cave to write it. The supernatural-themed script has to be one of the most bizarre and preposterous scripts ever written. For those of you who haven’t seen Gladiator (would you just put it on your Netflix already?), Crowe’s character Maximus died at the end, but Cave’s script resurrected him by having the Roman gods reincarnate him and send him back to Rome. But it doesn’t stop there, according to the detailed review of it by Gone Elsewhere blog, the century-spanning script has Maximus stood up for early Christian rebels, as well as taking him to WW II and modern day Pentagon! [shakes head] No wonder the studios dismissed the script, deeming it too over the top despite thumbs up from Crowe and the original director Ridley Scott. The script itself seems like a hoot and craftily-written, but I can’t imagine it working as a sequel to such a classic film. I couldn’t even finish reading it, I mean I LOVE Gladiator and Maximus is one of my favorite cinematic characters, but what Cave wrote is just too out there and weird for my taste. Check it out for yourself (download the PDF) and let me know what you think.

I personally think they should leave masterpieces alone, why mess with perfection, you know? In the history of sequels/prequels, only a tiny handful of them actually works (The Lord of the Rings, Toy Story) but most sequels are craps driven merely by profits. Alas, they probably will do a sequel to both of them in the future, those suits in Hollywood just can’t resist it with the popularity of swords & sandals flicks popping up again (see my previous post). In fact, I just saw a promo shot of Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince of Persia on the latest EW magazine at Barnes & Noble today. Jake’s looking very Ryan Reynolds-like with his new buff physique, but sorry I just don’t see him as a bad @$$ hero the way Crowe in Gladiator or Butler did in 300. It’s more than just the body IMO, it’s the panache/charisma of the actor that makes the character believable.

Anyhoo, enough with the sequel talks. I think Hollywood ought to invest in a fresh new crop of writers instead of doing the same thing over and over again.

I wish I were at Comic-Con right now!

Avatar teaser image
Avatar teaser image

I’ve always wanted to check out the annual San Diego Comic-Con convention! With the increasingly popular comic-based flicks the past few years, it’s no longer just for comic geeks. A plethora of movie enthusiasts mob this convention, eager to see previews of highly-anticipated flicks and perhaps even get a chance to meet their fave actors. This year’s highlight seems to be James Cameron’s AVATAR (well, to non-Twilight fans at least). At the Avatar panel yesterday, Cameron himself and some of the cast members (including Sigourney Weaver & Zoe Saldana) were there to unveil a 25-minute footage of this groundbreaking flick. Boy, would I love to have been there to see that!

Sam Worthington, who plays the lead, appeared via a video message from the set of Clash of the Titans, so I got to hear his thick Aussie accent for the first time. The 32-year-old actor, who beat out hundreds of established and unknown actors for the role, is what Cameron called an ‘old-school tough guy.’ “We were making a $200 million-plus movie and it’s all about the journey of one guy, Jake, and he’s in every scene in the film, from beginning to end. It all hangs on that one piece of casting,” Cameron said at the Australian In Film event last May where he presented the Breakthrough award to Worthington. Perhaps Avatar will do wonders for his career the way Titanic did for Leo DiCaprio?

Here’s what I learn so far about the plot:

Jake, a paraplegic soldier, participated in an experiment involving an alien planet called Pandora, to assume an “avatar” – a half human, half alien host body. Now that he’s able to walk again, he’s then unwillingly sent to establish a human settlement on Pandora, where he finds himself battling humankind alongside the planet’s indigenous Na’vi race.

This ambitious, big-budgeted, digital 3-D sci-fi epic has been a four-year labor of love for Cameron. He’s collaborating with Lord of the Ring‘s director Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital visual effects company as a consultant for the super complex CGI process.

Ok now, there’s always a risk all those special-effects mumbo jumbo and visual marvel would trample over character development, but according to a few of those who were lucky enough to be at the conference, that doesn’t seem to be the case here. According to Screenrant, that careful balance between strong CGI and character-driven storyline is what separates Cameron’s works from other sci-fi flicks out there. “Jim is always about story first,” Worthington said about Cameron whilst promoting Terminator Salvation. “He’s a very actor-friendly director. You can put all the bells and whistles you like, but if it’s not about revealing something about the human spirit, people are going to tune out.” That’s very promising indeed.

Cameron declared August 21st as “Avatar Day” as the filmmaker will be previewing 15 minutes of FREE footage on every imax theater worldwide! Leave it to him to spearhead this kind of genius marketing idea, I’ll definitely be setting my calendar to see that! You can catch a glimpse of what I presume is the ‘hybrid’ creature on the Avatar official site. Awesome!

The film opens wide December 18, 2009.

Conspicuous Trailer of the Week: The Book of Eli

Denzel on The Book of Eli
Click image to view TRAILER

Upon my weekly perusing of Apple trailers page, its poster graphic caught my eye. Well, partly because it was featured pretty large on the top of the page, and the names Denzel Washington & Gary Oldman are enough to make me click on it.

Well, if trailers usually reveal the best parts of a movie then let’s just say I won’t bother seeing this one.

For one, I’m kind of tired of apocalyptic themes, it seems like Hollywood is obsessed with it, yet rarely comes up with a real good one that isn’t a blatant excuse to amuse themselves with special effects. This one looks peculiarly similar to Will Smith’s I am Legend, and of course, Denzel is the lone hero in a post-acolyptic world. The key to humanity is held in that supposedly sacred Book of Eli that he’s somehow sworn to protect. Not sure exactly what or how the book is supposed to save humankind here but we’re supposed to just go along with it and sympathize with Denzel’s character for having such a burden on his own rugged shoulder.

This is pretty much a Denzel vehicle, which I have no problem with if it weren’t oh so dull. Gary Oldman on the other hand, appears in a ‘blink and you miss it’ moment halfway through the trailer, which is odd considering his name is on the poster! From the few seconds I had to deduce, looks like he’s playing the baddie again, which we all know he’s great at. Mila Kunis is indeed a very peculiar choice here, and not in a good way frankly. I guess she’s come a long way from That 70s Show, but still…

Anyhoo, the whole thing just feels rather banal and somber. Denzel’s voice narrates the typical cliched premise about how everyone on that earth would kill to get the book and how one man would do anything to protect it [yawn]. Even the fighting scenes are pretty blase, the arrow going across in a slo-mo a la 300 (and countless others since), meh, I’ve seen those a million times before. Oh well Denzel, I’d rather save my ten bucks for your next project, Inside Man 2.