Monday, December 27, 2010

Top Ten Prison Movies

The top ten films about everything from jailbirds to great escapes and battles with the wardens or guards often command our attention. Movies set in prisons are often among the most riveting or touching stories around.

Whether they deal with the consequences of a life gone wrong or the brutality of life in prison, movies about prison life are somehow deeply moving. Maybe it is because we can often relate to the protagonist as in the Shawshank Redemption or because we want to see him or her beat the odds as in The Green Mile. Whatever the reason, these ten prison flicks will entertain, engross and engulf your heart and mind for a couple of hours at a time.

Shawshank Redemption (1994) Based on the short story Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King, the story centers on Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and his time at Shawshank. Convicted of killing his wife and her lover and sentenced to life in prison, Dufresne, a white-collar worker must adjust to life inside one of the most horrific prisons in the country. Here he makes friends with several inmates but none he trusts more than Red (Morgan Freeman).

The Last Castle (2001) Robert Redford stars as General Irwin, recently court-martialed and sent to a military prison under the control of Colonel Winter (James Gandolfini). The two men don’t hit it off and friction mounts to full scale war. Irwin retaliates against Winter’s treatment of the inmates by mounting an assault and taking control of the prison.

The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) The visual retelling of the classic Alexandre Dumas tale with Jim Caviezel and Guy Pierce in the lead roles of Dantes and Mondego, childhood friends who are forever shattered by one’s betrayal of the other. Dantes, set up by Mondego, is sent to prison where he serves insufferable years in solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit. He meets a priest in prison who reveals on his deathbed, the location of a vast treasure that allows Dantes to become the Count of Monte Cristo and exact his revenge on all those involved in destroying his life.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top Ten Revenge Movies

Revenge movies are based on a character’s need to extract his pound of flesh from someone over a perceived wrong. The films are always action-based and driven by intense performances. At least they ought to be. Vengeance is a strong emotion and to capture it successfully on film, takes a masterful performance, something all of these films have.

Every once in a while, we all have the urge to exact a pound of flesh. Luckily most of us don’t act on those urges. We can live vicariously through those that do or be reminded of just how much could be at stake and why we are better off leaving things alone.

Law Abiding Citizen (2009) Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx square off as victim and prosecutor in this tale of a man seeking justice for his murdered family. When the D.A. makes a deal that puts the killer back on
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Top Ten Veteran’s Day Movies: WWII

Movies that embody the reasons we honor our fighting men and women of WWII on Veteran’s Day make my personal top ten list.

Veteran’s Day is not just a day off from school or work, Veteran’s Day is a day set aside to honor the brave men and women who have risked and given their lives to protect Americans and our way of life. Take a couple hours out of your day to watch a movie that reminds us all just why we celebrate our veterans on Veteran’s Day.

Veteran’s Day Movie: The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) Drama
A British officer shows grit and determination by defying the orders of his Japanese prison camp commander. In an effort to show British superiority and to boost the morale of the men in his command by giving them something to do, he later agrees to build a bridge for the Japanese railway. Unknown to him, the bridge is an Allied target scheduled to be destroyed upon its completion as a train carrying Japanese soldier and officials makes the first crossing. Will he stand by and let the monument he has built be destroyed or will he come the aid of his countrymen and help destroy the bridge?

Veteran’s Day Movie: Patton (1970) Drama
One of the most decorated and an ingenious commander of WWII, Patton demonstrates his skills from North Africa to Italy to France and then Germany. His reputation wins him many supporters but his big mouth gets him in trouble time and again. Read More

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Top Ten Veteran’s Day Movies: WWI

Movies that embody the reasons we honor our fighting men and women of WWI on Veteran’s Day make my personal top ten list.

Veteran’s Day is a time for honoring those who have served and died for our country and these movies exemplify that sacrifice. This top ten list focuses on World War I and the men and women of that era. Courage, patriotism and bravery are the key features in all of these movies about World War I. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) The epic tale of the life of T.E. Lawrence as portrayed by Peter O’Toole follows the man through several battles as he faces conflict over his allegiance to his own country and army and his feelings for the tribal Arabian people he has come to know. The movie is considered a classic and has a memorable soundtrack.

Gallipolli (1981) A youthful Mel Gibson is joined by Mark Lee in this movie about the men who join the Australian Army during World War I and end up in Turkey during the Gallipolli Campaign. The film examines the romance of war and how the realities of it bear little resemblance to the dreams the men once held. Read More

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Barbra Streisand: Biography of a Filmmaker

Streisand has accumulated Oscars, Emmys Grammys, and Tony nominations and awards on her way to becoming one of the most important female filmmakers of our time.

I have been a fan of Streisand’s for many years. I loved her soaring and powerful voice playing on my mother’s turntable long before I ever saw her in a film. Her role in Funny Girl cemented her in my heart and sparked a desire to pursue a career in the performing arts myself. I didn’t make it but Streisand did. And oh how she did.
Born in Brooklyn, NY on April 24, 1942, Streisand lost her father when she was just 15 months old. She has always had a strong work ethic and began by graduating from Erasmus High School in Brooklyn with honors 2 years ahead of her classmates. She then began singing in clubs around New York and by 1962 had won a role in I Can Get It for You Wholesale on Broadway. This was followed by the lead in the Read More

Suggested Films:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Top Ten Halloween Movies

My Personal Favorites Will Scare the Pants Off of You on Halloween
Halloween and movies go hand in hand. Halloween is not only a time for costumes and treats but a time when we all enjoy indulging in a little terror.
Horror movies abound and I’ve loved many of them. Based on my own preferences and personal viewing history, these are my favorite movies to watch at Halloween. I wonder how many of these scary Halloween movies are on your list too. In descending order, they are:
Top Ten Halloween Movies - #10
The Ring (2002)- The remake of a Japanese film starring Naomi Watts has plenty of jump-out-of-your-seat moments. While the idea that watching a videotape could cause your death seems preposterous, give the movie a few minutes and it will suck you right in. Once you watch the tape, your remaining lifetime is seven days. Strange things begin happening and your clock is ticking. Rachel (Watts) starts investigating the source of the tape and a way to stop its curse but will she find the answers in time? Watch this movie on Halloween and find out for yourself.
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Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Fresh Start

Welcome to the new home of The Movie Muse. I have found that I prefer the Blogger platform for my blogs so I have decided to move this bolg here as well. If you followed me before, I thank you for making the move. If you are new to The Movie Muse, then let me welcome you and share a little something about myself.

Movies have been an important part of my life since I was a small child. Before the invention of VCR’s and DVD players, the thrill of going to the theater to see a new movie was incomparable to anything else I knew. There was no chance to see it again when it released on DVD in a few months. Every nuance, color, and musical score – every line spoken, every song sung was to be savored, gulped down whole and committed to memory. One of my earliest recollections was awakening at the age of four to the strains of the overture from Mary Poppins – the record being a surprise gift from my parents which I still own. I had seen it in the theater and like the rest of the world, been absorbed into the sooty world on the rooftops of London and the sidewalk drawings of Burt the chimney sweep. At four years old, having only seen that movie one time, the strains of that overture playing on my little 33 1/3 rpm record player were like attending the Boston Pops conducted by Arthur Fiedler would be for a concert enthusiast.

Movies continue to play prominently in my life. They entertain, to be sure. Sometimes they disappoint. More often they capture a moment or a feeling that touches me or makes me think. I have found inspiration in the characters on the big screen. I do not worship celebrity or fantasize about stars or the characters they play. But when a character leaps off the screen at me and I find myself thinking, ‘I’d like to be more like that’ or ‘is that how I would have handled that situation’, then for me, the movie has touched me.

I hope to share some of my insights, feelings and reviews of movies with you and hope you will feel free to comment.

If you would like to read some of my older posts, they can be found here.