The 10 Best Superhero Movies of All Time Blog Relay

superhero-movie-relay

Yet another Blog Relay is circulating on the blogosphere! When I first saw this awesome relay idea on Bubbawheat’s Flights, Tights and Movie Nights Blog, I thought boy that’s something I’d love to participate. Well, waddayaknow, the fantabulous Andrew from A Fistful of Films passed the baton to me, hurray! 😀

The rule here is slightly different than a typical blog relay you might’ve seen in the past, so I’ll let Bubbawheat explain it in his own words:

Now the first thing you might be asking is “why are there 12 movies in this top 10 list?” Well there are a couple changes that I’m making to the typical blog relay. Here are the rules for my relay.

1. The list of movies will be passed to another blogger who will post their list within a week.
2. The blogger will take their list, remove 3 movies – with explanations, and replace with 3 new movies – with explanations.
3. If a movie lasts five rounds without being removed, it is locked into place.
4. If a movie is removed three different times, it is locked out and can no longer be chosen by someone else.
5. Once four movies are locked into place, bloggers will replace 2 movies.
6. Once eight movies are locked into place, bloggers will replace 1 movie.
7. Once all ten movies are locked into place, the relay will be complete.

I will keep the current status of the relay here and you can also follow the steps of the relay as it goes along.

Check out the original relay post to see which initial 12 films made the list.
Andrew removed Hellboy 2, Batman: Under the Red Hood, and X-Men.
He then added Chronicle, Mystery Men and The Rocketeer.

So here’s the list as it currently stands:

The Avengers
SuperheroesRelay_Avengers

The Dark Knight
SuperheroesRelay_TDK

Superman
SuperheroesRelay_Superman1

Spider-Man 2
SuperheroesRelay_Spidey2

The Incredibles
SuperheroesRelay_Incredibles

Iron Man
SuperheroesRelay_IronMan

Blade 2
SuperheroesRelay_Blade2

Batman Returns
SuperheroesRelay_BatmanReturns

Unbreakable
SuperheroesRelay_Unbreakable

Chronicle
SuperheroesRelay_Chronicle

Mystery Men
SuperheroesRelay_MysteryMen

The Rocketeer
SuperheroesRelay_Rocketeer

The three I’m removing:Chronicle_Blade2_MysteryMen Chronicle | Blade 2 | Mystery Men

Sorry Drew for removing two of the ones you added, no hard feelings? 😉 As I often say in other blog relays, I’m not so much removing them as I’m just moving them down the list if this were a top 2.

Now, I like Chronicle a lot (I gave it a 4/5 in my review) and if I only need to take out two instead of three movies, I might’ve let that in. I do think that even though it’s inventive, there are plot holes abound and the finale might’ve been a bit too bombastic that it felt like an abrupt shift in tone. As for Blade 2, I LOVE Wesley Snipes in the role but I just don’t know if any of the Blade movies deserve to make the top 10. I hardly remember much about them, so they didn’t leave a lasting impression to me other than Snipes look cool as a bad ass ninja vampire. Lastly, I took out Mystery Men because I haven’t seen it yet. Sorry again Drew, but I really tried to see if there’s another movie on the list I could take out but  in the end I had to let this one go. But since you included it, I might give it a rent 😀

The three I’m adding:

BatmanBeginsWinterSoldierX2Batman BeginsCaptain America: The Winter SoldierX-Men 2

I’m a huge fan of Nolan’s first entry to the Batman trilogy. In fact, I dare say that Batman Begins is as good as The Dark Knight and sets the bar high for a superhero film. I like that it focuses on the hero instead of the villain, and Christian Bale makes for a caped crusader who’s truly worth rooting for. I love it so much I’d even be willing to forgive the Katie Holmes casting! Now The Winter Soldier is still quite fresh in my mind and I do believe it deserves to be in the final top 10 because it has everything you’d want in an entertaining superhero flick and then some. It’s a successful genre-mashup, mixing the traditional superhero genre with a Cold-War espionage story, that expands the characters’ arc and takes the story forward in a thrilling way. As for X-2, well I think at least ONE X-Men film deserved to be on the list and I agree with Drew’s rationale that X-Men 2: X-Men United is a better film than the first film. The opening scene at the White House is fantastic and Brian Cox is one of my fave superhero movie villains as covert government operative Stryker. The multi-layered story combined with great performances gave the film a dramatic weight that transcend beyond fun entertainment. Not to mention the most indelible and emotional finale involving one of my favorite X-Men characters Jean Grey, as mutant vs. human struggle continues… ever closer to the brink of war. Powerful stuff!


Well I hope that at least one of my three pics would stay to the end 😉

I’m passing the baton to my pal & fellow superhero movie fan Terrence of The Focus Filmographer! I’m pretty sure he’s seen all or most of these movies so I’m VERY curious to see how he’d shake up the list.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on my picks. Agree/disagree? Well, let’s hear it!

Retro Friday – Why I LOVE The Rocketeer

A few days ago, the Blu-ray version of The Rocketeer arrived in the mail. I’ve been waiting for this movie for so long and finally Disney released the BD on it’s 20th Anniversary. I’m dismayed that there are NO special features whatsoever which is just so lame, I mean to call it a ’20th Anniversary Special Edition’ with nothing but the trailer is just cruel!

But I suppose for die hard fans like me and Marc who are super excited for this release, I guess this will have to do. I can’t wait to re-watch it this weekend and re-live the excitement I had the first time I saw it on the big screen with my big brother. We both were fans of adventure movies like Indiana Jones and this was so much in the same vein. It’s mind-boggling to me why this movie failed to ignite at the box office, grossing only $46 million domestically. I blame that on marketing campaign as the reviews were generally favorable, even Peter Travers @ Rolling Stone Magazine called it “The Rocketeer is more than one of the best films of the summer; it’s the kind of movie magic that we don’t see much anymore,” he continued, “the kind that charms us, rather than bullying us, into suspending disbelief. (per Wiki)

In any case, now that it’s available on Blu-ray, I hope more people would see it. Here are some of the reasons why I LOVE this wildly underrated movie:

The storyline

Based on a comic book by Dave Stevens in the early 80s, the story is set in late 1930s L.A. Our hero The Rocketeer is Cliff Secord, a young stunt pilot who stumbles upon a top secret prototype jetpack that allows him to fly. It’s a classic ‘regular-guy-turned-unlikely-hero’ story we all know and love.

Billy Campbell with Alan Arkin

The awesome cast

Timothy Dalton as Neville Sinclair… Dalton steals every scene he’s in and as he’s one of the major reasons I LOVE this movie. I’ve dedicated a whole post just on his character last year in his honor. When I saw this film in high school, I didn’t come out of the theater having a crush on the hero, but it’s Dalton’s Errol Flynn-personified Sinclair that left an indelible mark in me.

dalton_sorvino_rocketeer
Dalton with mob boss Paul Sorvino

Now, Billy Campbell has the tall, dashing looks and certain likable quality to pull off the heroic protagonist, and he has a nice, sincere chemistry with Connelly. Yet he just lacks the palpable charisma against someone like Dalton so he ends up being upstaged by him and the other supporting cast here. Perhaps that could be the reason his career did not um skyrocket, pardon the pun, after this movie’s release.

Terry O’Quinn as Howard Hughes … Forget Leo DiCaprio in the Scorsese’s movie, I think O’Quinn makes for a much more believable and compelling aviation mogul. In fact when I watched The Aviator, I often thought how good O’Quinn was in the role. Just like Sorvino as the mob boss, O’Quinn looked like he literally stepped out of that era.

Jennifer Connelly as the Betty Page-ish love interest … again perfect casting here as Connelly could easily belong in this era with her raven hair and voluptuous figure. She is so skinny now because that is what Hollywood is into these days but her fuller look combined with her breathy voice is far sexier and I think most guys would agree. It’s not exactly an ‘acting’ role as she’s not required much but to look gorgeous, but I think she’s done more to the part than a lesser talent would’ve done otherwise. I love the line she delivered after smashing Neville in the head with a flower pot… “I’ve finally played a scene with Neville Sinclaire.” She nailed that line beautifully.

JenniferConnelly_Rocketeer

Alan Arkin as Peevey, Cliff’s technician BFF and Paul Sorvino as a posh mobster Eddie Valentine are both perfect in the roles. Arkin’s got this snarky yet lovable personality… I love it when he told Cliff that he looked like a hood ornament when he don the Rocketeer helmet!

The dynamic script and one liners

I think every single line out of Dalton’s mouth is a hoot, he practically got all the great one liners in this movie, and like Hans Gruber in Die Hard, he practically upstaged the hero in this one.  The script pokes fun at the cockiness of Hollywood matinee idols

Neville: If I go to the Feds, I’m taking you down with me. Who are they going to believe? A petty crook, or the No 3 box-office star in America?

Cliff Secord: [Cliff knocks Neville Sinclair down] Where’s your stuntman now, Sinclair?

Neville: [Neville Sinclair knocks Cliff down] I do my own stunts!

The fantastic retro look & feel

There’s something so charming about superhero movies in period setting. In fact, my hubby and I would love to see a Superman movie set in the 30s or Batman done an actual 30s pulp noir (like this Den of Geek article suggests) That’s part of what I love about X-Men: First Class and this one. Disney got the perfect guy, Joe Johnston, to direct this film. As those of you who’ve seen Captain America would agree, Johnston had a penchant for creating the perfect period set pieces that evoke a sense of nostalgia. Everything from the costume, cars (including that awesome yellow Rolls Royce!), planes, the whole ambiance of this movie is so meticulously crafted that really takes you back to the bygone era.

I love the throwback to the Hollywood Golden era, mixing real life characters like Clark Gable and Howard Hughes in fictitious scenarios. Per Wikipedia, the characterization of Neville Sinclair was inspired by movie star Errol Flynn, or rather by the image of Flynn that had been popularized by Charles Higham’s unauthorized and fabricated biography of the actor, in which he asserted that Flynn was, among other things, a Nazi spy.

That set pieces of the dinner scene of Connelly and Dalton was constructed with painstaking detail as to evokes the movie stars’ glitz and glamor. Even the finale refers to the Hollywood sign in regards to how it lost the last four letters of its original name.

The rousing soundtrack by James Horner

This could be one of my all time favorite scores from award-winning composer! It just elevates the adventurous spirit of this movie and makes it soar. Every time I hear it I just want to stand up and cheer. It has the right amount of nostalgia, heroism and exhilarating fun!

Final Thoughts:

The Rocketeer is what you’d call a rip-roaring adventure movie with a terrific mix of action, romance, drama and intrigue, it’s the ultimate escapist entertainment that you can enjoy time and time again. Check out this trailer and tell me you don’t agree 🙂



So have you seen this movie? I’d love to hear your thoughts about it. And if you haven’t, well what are you waiting for? 😀

Random Question: What movies you wish would get a theatrical re-release?

Hello everyone! Welcome to another collaborative post with my lovely friend Paula G! This time we each came up with five movies we wish we could see on the big screen (either a repeat viewing or for the first time).

Seems like almost every other week nowadays we hear news of previously-released films being shown again on the big screen for one reason or another. Of course Hollywood is all feverish now with the 3D hype so every darn thing is getting the 3D treatment that serves no purpose whatsoever! There’ve been reports that Star Wars, Titanic and The Lion King are all being converted to 3D for a re-release in the near future… apparently both George Lucas and James Cameron are running out of hundred-dollar bills to swim in.

Now, I do think some films are meant to be seen in its big screen glory and obviously there are many we missed out on, either because they’re out before we were born or we simply didn’t get a chance to see ’em during their theatrical run. I’m fine with digital remastering, just save the unnecessary 3D please, thank you very much!

So without further ado, here are our picks starting with …

Paula’s List:

1. Lawrence of Arabia  (1962)
I just saw David Lean’s Bridge On The River Kwai on a big screen here and I noticed a lot of things I’d missed when watching it on TV, so it’s only logical to choose Lawrence of Arabia, with its desert panoramas and perfect compositions. It’s stunning on a small screen and probably only more so when seen at its proper size.

… 

2. Black Narcissus (1947)
One of my favorite films ever, by my favorite directing duo Powell & Pressburger. The radiant colors and intricate settings would look even better larger, and the denouement would be even more tragic. Possibly some of the visual effects might be more noticeably artificial but Jack Cardiff’s cinematography would thrive.


3. Atonement (2007)
Psst…confession time…I’ve never seen all of Atonement. You know the drill…All together now…”It’s in the queue” But I have seen the 5-minute marvel that is the Dunkirk tracking shot and it deeply affects me. I’ve been known to cry. Not seeing this at a proper cinema is one of my biggest movie-viewing regrets.


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4. Valhalla Rising (2009)
OK, so, this film doesn’t have much dialogue. It’s about a one-eyed Viking who ends up on a ship headed for the New World. It’s paced slowly. There’s some nasty violence (though there’s way less than you’d think from watching the trailer) and some really weird stuff goes down. BUT Mads Mikkelsen plays the one-eyed Viking, and it is beautifully shot. It has gorgeous scenic vistas, both glowingly warm and gloomy cold. Between the visuals and the sound, it’s almost sensory overload on a small screen. I can only imagine what effect all of this would have on a big screen.


5. Children of Men (2006)
I have never seen this one on any screen. It may well resemble my nightmares too closely for me to ever see it. But what I have seen of it, including this 10-minute tracking shot below is disturbing and incredible. It was nominated for the Editing and Cinematography Academy Awards and it seems like it should have won.


Ruth’s List:

1. Ben-Hur  (1959)
It’s no secret that I love and greatly admire this film. The chariots scene alone is worth the price of admission, but there are lots to marvel in one of the best Hollywood epic ever. I don’t mind that it’s 3.5 hours long, I’ve seen this film multiple times and there’s not a single seen not worth watching.

… 
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Cowboys & Aliens is out tomorrow, and seeing him wearing that Cowboy hat somehow reminds me of his iconic Fedora as Indiana Jones. I was only a toddler when this movie came out so I didn’t see it until perhaps a decade later with my two twin brothers. We all absolutely loved it, and upon several viewing later, it never lost its appeal. Oh how wonderful it’d be to see Indy’s classic adventures on the big screen.

3. The Rocketeer (1991)
Ok, I’m feeling nostalgic again… especially after seeing the Captain America. I actually saw this on the big screen and I remember discussing it in detail with one of my brothers on the way home. Director Joe Johnston certainly knows how to create a stylish yet authentic retro vibe in his movies, the 1930s Hollywood era he created was awesome, complete with Terry O’Quinn as Howard Hughes (way more fitting than Leo was in The Aviator) and Timothy Dalton as an Errol Flynn-like movie star Neville Sinclair. They did show it at El Capitan theater with the cast & crew for their 20th Anniversary celebration last April (per HeroComplex), oh how I wish I could’ve been there!


4. Superman: The Movie (1978)
Christopher Reeve was my first ever movie crush, I think some of your already known that. I was only 4-5 years old when I saw it playing at a local cinema next door back in my home country. It was pure magic and I remember renting Superman I and II so many times from the video store that my uncle finally bought me a copy. This Lois Lane chopper scene with that iconic John Williams score never ever fails to move me. Yes, I did believe a man could fly… in fact, I still do 🙂


5. L.A. Confidential (1997)
I guess I have a penchant for a retro vibe in movies and this noir thriller not only looks good but it’s got one of the best script and ensemble cast ever! It was nominated for 9 Oscars and won 2 (one of them for Best Adapted Screenplay) and I think both Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe each deserved a nod for their performance. It’s such a juicy, multi-layered story full of twists and witty dialog aplenty that would be such a treat to see in a dark theater. I shall dedicate a proper post for this film, perhaps in a couple of months to coincide with its anniversary date of release.



Well, now your turn folks. What movie(s) do YOU wish would get a theatrical re-release? Better yet, share your own top five!

Friday the 13th Birthday Tributes: Samanta Morton, Joe Johnston and Rob Pattinson

Happy Friday the 13th all!

A few of my upcoming posts are taking longer than usual, but no fret, in the meantime, we’ve got some film folks’ birthdays to celebrate. So to mark the occasion, I pick a scene from one of the films in their resume that I think are memorable.

Samantha Morton turns 34

Miss Morton might not be a household name, but chances are you’ve seen at least one or two of her stellar work. The English actress was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Woody Allen’s Sweet and Low Down and she was fantastic in Jim Sheridan’s In America, about an Irish immigrant family adjusting to life in the United States. But one of her most memorable roles to me was in Steven Spielberg’s neo-noir sci-fi thriller Minority Report as the precog Agatha who ends up helping Tom Cruise’s John Anderton escape the Precrime team. This mall chase scene, especially right as the balloons show up, is by far one of the coolest scenes from the movie:


Joe Johnston turns 61

The Texan-born director isn’t what you would call prolific as he’s only got 11 titles under his belt. But this year is a big one for him with the release of Captain America this July. The look of the Marvel superhero flick is a throwback to an action adventure flick he did in 1991, The Rocketeer. It’s such an under-appreciated film that just celebrated its 20th anniversary recently with a special re-release event in L.A. attended by the cast and crew! (see info on Hero Complex) I wish I had been able to attend that and see it on the big screen once again. I highly recommend it if you haven’t already. Check out the trailer below:


Robert Pattinson turns 25

The massively popular Twilight star now can legally rent a car on his own 😀 Now, don’t worry, I’m not gonna post a clip of him all pale and sparkly. To his credit, I think he’s a pretty talented guy if you’re willing to get past his emo-vampire character and actually watch him in something else. I did that with Remember Me and thought he did a decent job shedding his Edward persona, and proves to be quite a versatile actor. There’s not exactly a memorable clip from that movie though (well other than the ending but I don’t want to spoil the film for you), so I choose this one from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the only HP movie Pattinson’s character Cedric Diggory appears in. His character’s tragic demise at the hand of Voldemort is certainly one of the most memorable scenes in the whole franchise.



So happy happy birthday, Samantha, Joe and R-Patz!

Please feel free to add your own well-wishes to the b’day folks in the comments below.

Flix Character Spotlight: Neville Sinclair – The Rocketeer

A couple of days ago, I saw Jennifer Connelly in the red carpet of The Tourist premiere with her husband Paul Bettany. As you can see in the poster, Connelly and Timothy Dalton co-starred in The Rocketeer back in 1991, and now her husband is co-starring with Dalton in The Tourist.

It turns out this post has been in my draft folder since August, around the time when I read this Hero Complex blog post back in August titled The Rocketeer’ — a retro adventure that was ahead of its time. Apparently a theater in L.A. was hosting a special month-long Disney screening series at the time. Oh, how I wish I could’ve seen this one on the big screen.

I remember seeing The Rocketeer with my older brother when I was in high school. It had everything you could possibly want in a movie: comic-book style action adventure, espionage, romance and cool visuals. Based on a graphic novel, the story takes place in a few years prior to WWII in 1938 and focuses on a young stunt pilot Cliff, who stumbles onto a prototype jet-pack that allows him to become a high flying masked hero dubbed The Rocketeer. Of course things starts to go awry when the Nazis want the device for their evil plans.

Dalton_Rocketeer

Well, one of the best things about the movie is undoubtedly the deliciously charming baddie, Neville Sinclair. He is Howard Hughes meets Errol Flyn meets James Bond… played to perfection by Dalton. It’s hard not to swoon for his suave and sexy portrayal, in fact, he’s the one I couldn’t take my eyes off. This is a text-book example of a supporting character completely overshadowing the protagonist, played by boyish Billy Campbell. The Hero Complex article aptly described him as ‘sly and rakish’… and Shakespearean actor used that debonair sensibilities to the max in trying to seduce Cliff’s girlfriend, the aspiring actress Jenny (Connelly).

Director Joe Johnston (who’s currently working on Captain America) made a perfect casting choice in Dalton. I can’t imagine anyone else playing the role of a Nazi spy disguised as a swashbuckling movie star, inspired by the real actor Errol Flynn (apparently, an authorized biography of the classic actor painted him as a Nazi sympathizer – per Wikipedia). Sinclair is right up there with Alan Rickman‘s Hans Gruber as my favorite villains of all time.

Take a look below of a couple of clips from the movie. If you haven’t seen this one, it’s definitely worth a rental! Need more proof? Read Marc’s full review at GoSeeTalk.com.