As the box office busting numbers of recent films such as “Thor: The Dark World,” ($187 million) “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” ($296 million) and the upcoming “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (opens December 13)
might suggest, the market has never been better for fantasy adventure blockbusters. For some reason we can’t get enough of noble characters in imaginary worlds fighting the powers of darkness with edged weapons. What films from this genre would you put on your fantasy team? Put your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at email@example.com. The deadline for entries is Monday, December 9. We’ll be running the top five on December 15. [Shown is a trailer for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”]
Among the many things we should be thankful for today are the sacrifices of those in the armed forces, in particular those who served in World War II following the attack on Pearl Harbor, commemorated on December 7.
A campaign of unimaginable brutality and heroism, the War in the Pacific has inspired some great movies. Which are your favorites? Include them in the comments section or drop a line to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for entries is Monday, December 2. We’ll be running the top five on December 8. [Shown is the trailer for “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (1970)].
Spike Lee, whose new film “Oldboy” opens November 27,
has had a career kind of like the trash can his character tosses through a window in “Do the Right Thing” (1989), challenging the status quo both politically and cinematically. Beneath the truculence, though, lies a poet capable of the eloquence seen in his documentary, “When the Levees Broke: a Requiem in Four Parts” (2006). Which of his features do you like best? Put your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at email@example.com. The deadline for entries is Monday, November 25. We’ll be running the top five on December 1. [Shown is the trailer for “Oldboy”]
“The Best Man Holiday” (opens tomorrow) is just the first of several films being released over the next month or so which celebrate this festive season. Every year Thanksgiving, Hannukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve get the holiday movie treatment. Which films in this mini-genre do you think are up to their occasions? Include them in the comments section or drop a line to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for entries is November 18. We’ll be running the top five on November 24.
[Shown is a trailer for “Black Nativity” (opens November 27)]
In 1605 on this date (November 5) Guy Fawkes and other Catholic conspirators were thwarted while attempting to blow up Parliament in the so-called Gunpowder Plot. Though he and his cronies were executed, Fawkes nonetheless had a holiday named after him and his infamy has since lived on through history. To the best of my knowledge, except for a silent made in 1923, he has yet to attain the immortality of having his exploits put on the screen.
But many other revolutionaries and revolutions – both doomed and successful, real and imaginary – have been made into movies. Which do you think are worth celebrating? Include your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at email@example.com. The deadline for entries is Monday, November 11. We’ll be running the top five on November 17. [Shown is a clip from “V for Vendetta” (2005)]
“This town needs an enema!” proclaims Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Tim Burton’s “Batman” (1989). Maybe the town he was referring to was Hollywood, because after that blockbuster the floodgates opened and superhero movies have ruled the screens ever since – “Thor: the Dark World” (opens Friday)
being only the latest example. Which are your favorites? Put your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for entries is Monday, November 4. We’ll be running the top five on November 10. [Shown is a trailer for “Thor: the Dark World”]
It's age before beauty in a number of recent releases.
Johnny Knoxville puts on piles of latex to play the title geezer in “Bad Grandpa;” Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline (when did he get old?) act their age in “Last Vegas; and Bruce Dern makes a comeback as the crapulous coot in “Nebraska” (opens November 22). So old age has its consolations, especially on the screen, where geriatric characters have inspired some great performances. Which old roles have aged best? Include your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at email@example.com. The deadline for entries is Monday, October 28. We’ll be running the top five on November 3. [Shown is the trailer for “Last Vegas”]
Ridley Scott, whose “The Counselor” comes out October 25,
was almost 40 when he released his first feature, “The Duelists” (1977). He’s made up for lost time since, and his 21 credits to date include such landmark films as “Alien” (1979), “Thelma & Louise” (1991), and “1492: Conquest of Paradise” (1992). Well, the first two anyway. Which are your favorites? Put your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for entries is Monday, October 21. We’ll be running the top five on October 27. [Shown is a trailer for “The Counselor”]
In the August, 2007 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research Eduardo Andrade (University of California, Berkeley) and Joel B. Cohen (University of Florida) released their study of why people like to be frightened at the movies.
Their findings: "The assumption of people's inability to experience positive and negative affect at the same time is incorrect."
Maybe that applies only to horror movies; otherwise, why can’t I enjoy Adam Sandler comedies? With that in mind let us know what movie scenes scared you the most. Send your picks to email@example.com by Monday, October 14. We’ll be running the five best on October 20.
Shown: a trailer for the remake of “Carrie” by Kimberly Peirce
From Amadeus to Zola, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has favored films about famous people.
Opening Oct. 11 is “Captain Phillips,” about the Vermont seaman who defied Somali pirates and saved his ship and crew, and opening Oct. 18 is “The Fifth Estate,” about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. No doubt they will figure in the awards mix in the months to come. What is your favorite biopic? Include your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for entries is Monday, October 7. We’ll be running the top five on October 13. [Shown is a clip from “Lincoln” (2012)]
In his most recent film “The Family” he combines roles ranging from “Casino” (1995) to “Meet the Parents” (2000). He already has another movie, “Last Vegas,” coming out on November 1. Few American actors have been as prolific, versatile, and brilliant as Robert De Niro, who has been in more than 80 films over nearly 50 years.
Which of his performances is his best? Include them in the comments section or drop a line to me at email@example.com. The deadline for entries is Monday, September 23. We’ll be running the top five on September 29. [Shown is a clip from Roger Corman’s “Bloody Mama” (1970)]
Well, at least they didn’t colorize the Kansas parts. Not yet, anyway. Many are appalled that “The Wizard of Oz” (opens September 20 for a week-long run) is being re-released in 3D.
But is that so blasphemous? After all, the Technicolor for the Oz sequences might have seemed pretty cutting edge back in 1939. Perhaps other movie classics could benefit from the 3D treatment? An eye-popping Rosebud from “Citizen Kane” (1941)? Water splashing in your face from “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952)? Scissors plunging out of the screen in “Dial M for Murder” (1954)… Whoops, that one is already in 3D. Which films would you reformat? Put them in the comments section or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 16.
Though it just missed being number one at the box office for its Labor Day weekend opening, grossing almost $19 million, and though fans of the band might inflict bodily harm on anyone who would dare to suggest otherwise, is “One Direction: This is Us” indeed the best concert movie ever made?
Let us know what concert films you think are more deserving of a Zippo lighter salute and an encore. Include them in the comments section or drop a line to me at email@example.com. The deadline for entries is Monday, September 9 and we’ll be running the top five on September 15. [Shown is the trailer from my own nostalgic favorite, Larry Peerce’s “The Big T.N.T. Show” (1966)]
It's the unofficial end of the summer film season, as well as the occasion for numerous special sales events. It's the last day of the year you can wear white clothes, and the final opportunity for vacationers to join millions of others at the seaside. But most importantly, Labor Day (September 2) celebrates the generations of hard workers who have toiled to make this country great.
To acknowledge this, send in your favorite films featuring labor, the work place, the working class, or any other labor related topic (childbirth, perhaps, excepted). Include them in the comments section or drop a line to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 26. We’ll be running the top five on September 1. [Shown is the trailer from Mike Judge’s 1999 comedy “Office Space”]
Well, the year 1984 turned out to be not nearly as unpleasant as George Orwell predicted, so there’s probably no reason to worry about all the recent movies featuring a dystopian future. “Elysium” and the upcoming “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (opens November 22)
are just two of the films that suggest that if you think things are bad now, just wait a hundred years or so. What are your favorites in this genre? Put your picks in the comments section or send them to me at email@example.com. The deadline is Monday.
Some opening scenes are so terrific that revealing them is a bigger spoiler than giving away the ending. Take “Apocalypse Now" (1979), for example.
One of the biggest disappointments of the film is that Francis Coppola couldn’t come up with an ending as brilliant as the beginning. But since the beginning is backed by the Door’s song “The End,” maybe the beginning and ending should have been the same.
What are your favorite film opening scenes? Include them in the comments section or send them directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be running the five best on August 11.
One of the more memorable scenes in Guillermo del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” occurs when a father and son strolling along the seashore come across a wrecked "Jaeger" – a 25-story tall robot designed to battle giant reptiles from another dimension – collapsing in the surf.
Beaches often provide a heightened level of reality in movies, whether that reality is erotic, ecstatic, horrific, or surreal. And sometimes in the movies a beach is just a place where people have a good time. What are your favorite beach scenes? We’ll need your choices by Monday, and they will be posted on August 4. Put your picks in the comments section or send them to me at email@example.com.
These being the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to pay tribute to the great dogs of filmdom. Not movies that are themselves dogs, though that may be true in some cases, but the great canine performances that have left their mark on cinema. Below
is one of the first, and if I might say so, one of the best, the astounding boxer Mannie giving it all he’s got in “Laura Comstock’s Bag-punching Dog” (1901) directed by Edwin S. Porter of “The Great Train Robbery” (1903) fame. He might be my top dog, but who is your pick of the litter? Include them in the comments section or send them directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be running the five best on July 28.
Bruce Willis, who plays a retired CIA agent in the upcoming “Red 2” (opens July 19), has been anything but retiring in his choice of film roles.
They have ranged from the traditional action heroes of the “Die Hard” series (“Die Hardest” is due in 2015) to more challenging characters in artier films, like “12 Monkeys” (1995) and “Moonrise Kingdom” (2012). He’s the kind of actor who just gets better the less hair he has. What are Bruce’s best roles? Include them in the comments section or send them directly to me at email@example.com. We’ll be running the top five on July 21.
The All-Star Game takes place July 16, and its usual plodding irrelevancy illustrates many of the reasons why baseball is not necessarily the most cinematic of sports.
But some films have captured the national pastime’s unique qualities – its subtleties, its traditions, its ineffable but unmistakable spirit and character.
That would seem to immediately rule out any movie starring Rob Schneider, but don’t be so sure. What are your favorites? Include them in the comments section or send them directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be running the top five on July 13.
Maybe “The Lone Ranger” (opens July 3) will prove an exception to the rule,
but it seems like most attempts by Hollywood to transfer a hit TV series to the big screen end in failure. “The Beverly Hillbillies,”(1993), “McHale’s Navy,”(1997), “The Avengers” (1998) – and don’t get me started on the spin-offs from “Saturday Night Live.” But some of them must succeed, otherwise they wouldn’t keep making them, right? Which do you think are the best? And while you’re at it, maybe you can think of some series that have been overlooked by Hollywood and would make a great movie (I’m still waiting for an adaptation of “The Prisoner”). Put your choices in the comment section or email me at email@example.com. We’ll list the top five on July 7.
As fine a film as it may be, I don’t see Richard Linklater’s “Before Midnight” working romantic magic with couples seeing it for their first date.FULL ENTRY
William Shakespeare has been brought to the big screen even more often than fellow bard Nicholas Sparks.
The adaptations range from a silent, short version of “Macbeth” made in 1898 and starring the renowned Shakespearean actor Johnston Forbes-Robertson (whom George Bernard Shaw proclaimed the best Hamlet he’d ever seen), to the Taviani Brothers’ recently released adaptation of "Julius Caesar" shot in a Roman prison, “Caesar Must Die,” to Joss Whedon’s relaxed, contempo take on “Much Ado About Nothing” that opens June 21. In all there are around 250 features (I lost count, twice) from numerous countries listed on the IMDB, as well as innumerable shorts, TV versions, and at least two video games. Which is your favorite? You can place your picks in the comments section or send them to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The top five will be out June 23.
The best days of our lives, so they said. Or maybe not.
This summer another generation of seniors looks back at those four years of transition from budding adults to gangly misfits, wistfully recalling the sadistic teachers, the overbearing bullies, the first bloom of true love and persistent acne. We miss it, but luckily there’s a glut of movies that fill the masochistic need to relive the pain and exhilaration. Your assignment – and yes it’s the same one from a few weeks ago that was unavoidably postponed – is to share with us your favorite high school movies.The top five will be posted on June 16. Put your picks in the comment section or send them to me at email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again when high school seniors face the bittersweet rite of graduation. Few films have celebrated that occasion as memorably as does George Lucas’s “American Graffitti”(1973), which turns 40 this year,FULL ENTRY
It’s been over two decades since Will Smith debuted on the big screen, playing a teenage runaway in the Indie film “Where the Day Takes You” (1991), and since then he has become one of the top box office draws in Hollywood, with big hits including the blockbuster “Men in Black” series. If anyone can give “After Earth” (opens May 31) a lift and put M. Night Shyamalan’s career back on track, it’s him,
and he’s costarring with his son Jaden for good measure. On the other hand, Smith also starred in “Wild Wild West” (1999) and played Tea Cake Harris alongside Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson in “Made in America” (1993), so not all of his movies are winners. Which of his roles do you think is best? We’ll publish the results and some of your trenchant comments on June 2.
It's happened to all of us: you wake up with no memory in a hotel room with a missing tooth, someone's baby, and Mike Tyson's tiger. Such is the appeal of the "Hangover" movies, the third of which opens on May 24 -- their excruciatingly apt and funny recreation of the universal experience of morning after amnesia and/or regrets.
There's a whole genre of such films-- which, excluding those in the "Hangover" series itself, do you think are the best?
You can submit your suggestions in the comments section or send them to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will pick the five most memorable choices and post them on line and in print next week.
According to the psychologist Carl Jung, we all have access to a vast reservoir of archetypal images called the Collective Unconscious. (And that was even before we had access to movie trivia on the Internet.) In this new weekly feature, we aim to tap your collective thoughts by proposing a theme that relates to a current event or movie. Submit your favorite film titles that fit the theme and we’ll publish a sampling here.
This week, to get the ball rolling, we took our cue from the action-packed sneak attack on London in “Star Trek Into Darkness.” That produced five sci-fi movies featuring cities under attack, listed here in chronological order.FULL ENTRY
About Movie Nation
ContributorsTy Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.
Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.
Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.
Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.
Take 2 reviews and podcast
Look for new reviews by Ty Burr and Wesley Morris at the end of each week in multiple formats.