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Cinemania

Cinemania: best movies about summer

Posted by Peter Keough June 13, 2014 02:19 PM

Summer means wacky vacations, running through water sprinklers, and beach blanket bingo bonanzas.

But summer also means oppressive heat, sunburns, noxious insects, sweaty men in tee-shirts, testy tempers, the sweltering battlefield of Gettysburg, the German invasion of Belgium in 1914, and, of course, bad summer movies. So in picking your favorite movies about summer, remember that there’s more to choose from than just those celebrating fun in the sun. [Shown is the trailer for “The Long, Hot Summer” (1958)]

Cinemania: best summer blockbusters

Posted by Peter Keough June 6, 2014 12:53 PM

The summer movie season does not generally produce Oscar-worthy fare, but let’s not scorn the appeal of sequels, fantasies, sci-fi thrillers, horror movies and dumb comedies.

I suspect we all have favorites among these big-budgeted audience pleasers, and, who knows, maybe this summer’s releases will include a similar gem. What are your choices for the best summer movie? [Shown is a trailer for “22 Jump Street”].

Cinemania: best films about the war in Europe

Posted by Peter Keough May 30, 2014 12:50 PM

When I was a kid my parents took me to see “The Longest Day” for my birthday.

Since then I have been in awe of those soldiers who took the war to the Nazis in World War II. In honor of the 70th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, send in your choices for the best films about the war in Europe to petervkeough@gmail.com or include them in the comments. Deadline is Monday, June 2. We’ll be presenting the best Sunday, June 8. [Shown is the trailer for “The Longest Day” (1962)]

Cinemania: Great Japanese Movies

Posted by Peter Keough May 23, 2014 09:59 PM

One of the world’s greatest movies, “Sansho the Bailiff” (1954), screens Sunday at the Harvard Film Archive as part of its ongoing Kenji Mizoguchi retrospective.

That might be a good choice for your favorite Japanese film. But then there are the works of Akira Kurosawa, Yasujirô Ozu, Mikio Naruse, Hayao Miyazaki and Ishirô Honda, the guy who directed the original “Godzilla” (1954). It’s a challenge to pick just one, but send your choices to petervkeough@gmail.com or include them in the comments. Deadline is Monday, May 26. We’ll be presenting the best Sunday, June 1. [Shown is a trailer for “Sansho the Bailiff” (1954)]

Cinemania: Golden Silents

Posted by Peter Keough May 16, 2014 04:59 PM

If you are at all stumped trying to come up with the best silent feature, you might check out some of the Charlie Chaplin pictures playing at the Brattle Theatre as part of the “Little Tramp at 100” retrospective from May 23-27.

Three of them are in the top 150 of the British Film Institute’s 2012 poll of the best films of all time. There’s plenty more to choose from, so pick your favorites and put them in the comments section or send them to me at petervkeough@gmail.com by May 19. We’ll be running the top five on May 25. [Shown is a trailer for “City Lights” (1931)]

Cinemania: the movie that turned you on to movies

Posted by Peter Keough May 8, 2014 10:45 PM

Everyone has that movie they saw as a kid that initiated them into the magic of cinema. For me it was “Invaders from Mars” seen on the old “Fantasmic Features” TV show.

That cave scene in particular, with the drill. Suddenly everything – my fear of the dentist, the suspicion that everyone was under alien control – made sense. What movie that you saw as a kid made the biggest impression on you? Send your choices to petervkeough@gmail.com or include them in the comments. Deadline is Monday, May 12. We’ll be presenting the best Sunday, May 18. [Shown is the trailer for “Invaders from Mars” (1953)]

Best movie moms

Posted by Peter Keough May 2, 2014 12:18 AM

Adding to the list of great movie mothers is Patricia Arquette in Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,”

seen in the recent Independent Film Festival of Boston and opening theatrically this summer. In honor of Mother’s Day, tell us who your favorite film moms are – nice, nasty, or in between. Send your choices to petervkeough@gmail.com or include them in the comments. Deadline is Monday, May 5. We’ll be presenting the best Sunday, May 11. [Shown is a trailer for “Boyhood”]

Cinemania: heaven

Posted by Peter Keough April 17, 2014 07:33 PM

If I were to choose my favorite song about the sweet hereafter, it would probably be “Heaven” by the Talking Heads. But if I were to pick my favorite film about heaven, it would not be “The Sweet Hereafter” by Atom Egoyan. Fortunately, there are a lot more to choose from, including “Heaven Is for Real,”

which opened Wednesday. What are your favorites? Send your choices to petervkeough@gmail.com or include them in the comments. Deadline is Monday, April 21. We’ll be presenting the best Sunday, April 27. [shown is a trailer for “Heaven is for Real”]

Cinemania: Jim Jarmusch gems

Posted by Peter Keough April 4, 2014 07:23 PM

There may not be a lot of dialogue in veteran independent director Jim Jarmusch’s movies, whose “Only Lovers Left Alive”

opens on April 11, there are always a few good lines. Like “I am the vinner!” Or, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.” Those of you who have seen the movies these lines are from probably know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you should watch all of Jim Jarmusch’s movies and help us pick the five best. Send me your favorites at petervkeough@gmail.com or include them in the comments. Deadline is Monday, April 7. We’ll be presenting the best Sunday, April 13. [shown is a trailer for “Only Lovers Left Alive”]


Cinemania: rain scenes

Posted by Peter Keough March 28, 2014 03:10 PM

Fighting, kissing, dancing, or just standing around looking miserable: no matter what's going on, adding a good dose of rain makes it more cinematic. No wonder fake rain has been one of cinema's most enduring special effects. Which rain scene has precipitated your greatest admiration? Send your choices to petervkeough@gmail.com or include them in the comments. Deadline is Monday, March 31. We’ll be presenting the best Sunday, April 6. [Shown is the trailer for "Noah"]

The Best of Arnold

Posted by Peter Keough March 20, 2014 10:40 PM


“I’ll be back,” he said in “The Terminator” in 1984. True to his word, he has made around 30 films since then, plus an extended role as Governor of California, and he’s back again on March 28 at the age of 66 with “Sabotage.”

He is interminable. Which of his films, or roles, or taglines (I’m fond of “You should not drink. And bake.”) are your favorites? Send your choices to petervkeough@gmail.com or include them in the comments. Deadline is Monday, March 24. We’ll be presenting the best Sunday, March 30. [shown is a trailer for “Sabotage”]

Cinemania: Best Feline Performances

Posted by Peter Keough March 14, 2014 06:11 PM

Long before there were movie stars, there were Thomas Edison’s boxing cats in 1894.

Cats have brought their mystery, magic and pugilistic skills to the big screen for 120 years; don’t you think it’s time for an Academy Award for Best Feline Performance? Which great cat acts of the past do you think would be deserving? Send your choices to petervkeough@gmail.com or include them in the comments. Deadline is Monday, March 17. We’ll be presenting the best Sunday, March 23. [shown is “The Boxing Cats” (1894)]

Cinemania: Irish eyes are watching

Posted by Peter Keough March 7, 2014 01:44 PM

Everyone Ioves the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), and it’s a good time to remember that there is a lot more to that wee island than green beer, “Danny Boy,” and shillelagh fights. The stories about Ireland on the big screen range from the boisterous beauty of John Ford’s “The Quiet Man” (1952)

to the grim brutalities of Steve McQueen’s “Hunger” (2008). Which films about Ireland or the Irish would be the leaders of your parade? The deadline for entries is Monday, March 10. We’ll be running the top five on Sunday, March 16. [Shown is a trailer for “The Quiet Man”]

Cinemania: sword plays

Posted by Peter Keough February 27, 2014 11:11 PM

Forget your Abrams tanks, Predator drones or M249 SAW machine guns. When people watch combat on the screen these days, they like it the old-fashioned way: swords, spears, arrows and cleavers, the more hand-to-hand the better. Whether the setting is pagan, medieval, or imaginary, these spectacles of hot blood and cold steel are guaranteed crowd pleasers. The sequel “300: Rise of an Empire”

(opens March 7) is the latest in this genre, which goes back at least to D.W. Griffith’s “Intolerance” (1918). Send your favorites to petervkeough@gmail.com or include them in the comments. Deadline is Monday, March 3. We’ll be presenting the best Sunday, March 9. [shown is a trailer “300: Rise of an Empire”]

Jesus on the big screen

Posted by Peter Keough February 20, 2014 07:58 PM

Good luck to the makers of “Son of God” [opens Feb. 28], because no matter how carefully or reverently they approach this story,

they're bound to offend someone. It’s the nature of the subject. Nonetheless, since the dawn of cinema, Jesus has been one of the most frequently featured characters on the screen. Which of the Messianic films do you think redeem the genre? Send your favorites to petervkeough@gmail.com or include them in the comments. Deadline is Monday, Feb. 24. We’ll be presenting the best Sunday, Mar. 2. [shown is a segment from “Son of God.”]

Cinemania: best of the last

Posted by Peter Keough February 14, 2014 08:36 PM

Whenever someone in a movie has taken on their last heist, mission, or whatever, you know it will not go well. I don’t think it’s giving anything away to suggest that such might be the case in “3 Days to Kill” (opens Feb. 21)

in which Kevin Costner plays a secret service agent coerced into you know what. We know how this will end; maybe that’s why we keep watching. Kind of like Greek tragedy. But if you had one last movie about one last assignment to see, which would you choose? Send your picks to petervkeough@gmail.com or include them in the comments. Deadline is Monday, Feb. 17. We’ll be presenting the top five Sunday, Feb. 23 [shown is a trailer for “3 Days to Kill”]

Cinemania: best big screen break ups

Posted by Peter Keough February 7, 2014 06:40 PM

Inspired by the “The Bride of Frankenstein” inclusion in our Best of Frankenstein entry a few weeks back

and also to serve as a consolation to those who insufficiently acknowledge that Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day, our topic this week is best break-up scenes. They may be hell in real life, but they have made for some of the greatest moments in cinema. Which are your favorites? Include them in the comments section or send them to me at petervkeough@gmail.com We’ll be running the top five on Feb.16. [Shown is a scene from “Bride of Frankenstein”]

Cinemania: Best Found Footage

Posted by Peter Keough January 31, 2014 04:12 PM

For those fed up with the found footage genre as represented by such recent examples as “Paranormal Activities: The Marked Ones” and “Devil’s Due,” you might be reminded that there are also found footage films that are made of actual found footage,

not just stuff that’s been made up. I’m sure you can find worthy candidates from both versions of this quintessentially post-modern art form. Send me your favorites at petervkeough@gmail.com or include them in the comments. Deadline is Monday, Feb. 3. We’ll be presenting the best Sunday, Feb. 9. [shown is a segment from Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” (2010)]

Cinemania: the short circuit

Posted by Peter Keough January 24, 2014 11:16 PM

One of the hottest movies in this year's Sundance Film Festival, Damien Chazelle's "Whiplash," originated as a brutal, brilliant mini-masterpiece that won the Festival's Best Short Film Award last year. But not all shorts go on to feature greatness. Some are perfect just the way they are.

What's your short list of the best shorts? Put your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at petervkeough@gmail.com. The deadline for entries is Monday, Jan. 27. We’ll be running the top five on Feb. 2. [Shown is "Bambi meets Godzilla"]

Cinemania: the many lives of Frankenstein's monster

Posted by Peter Keough January 17, 2014 12:46 PM


You think zombies are cool? They’re just vulgar copies of the original walking dead man, Frankenstein’s monster, sprung from the mind of young Mary Shelley in 1818, and resurrected repeatedly on the page, on the stage, and on the screen. He’s a metaphor both for scientific overreach and existential despair, a creature for our times as he is reincarnated in “I, Frankenstein” (opens Jan. 24)

and reconfigured in “RoboCop” (opens Feb. 12).

Which are your favorite manifestations of the tragic patchwork? Put your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at petervkeough@gmail.com. The deadline for entries is Monday, January 20. We’ll be running the top five on January 26. [Shown are trailers for “I, Frankenstein” and "RoboCop"]

Cinemania: secret agents

Posted by Peter Keough January 9, 2014 03:37 PM

Most of us at some point have imagined ourselves in the role of secret agent, a lethal underground warrior for an organization fighting evil. Or is the organization itself evil? More than most heroes, the spy often has to fight against doubt, deception, and moral ambiguity. An old favorite in this line of heroes gets a new lease on life in “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” (opens Jan. 17);

what are some of the other great undercover operatives of the genre? Put your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at petervkeough@gmail.com. The deadline for entries is Monday, Jan. 13. We’ll be running the top five on Jan. 19. [Shown is a trailer for “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”]

Cinemania: antiheroes

Posted by Peter Keough January 2, 2014 07:16 PM

A tempest has erupted in the critical teapot about whether Martin Scorsese should have sympathetically portrayed such a gleefully venal rat as Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) in his film “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

But antiheroes have been in the movies from the very beginning, lovable scoundrels who embody something deep and dark in the souls of the audience. Which ethically challenged protagonists are closest to your heart? Put your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at petervkeough@gmail.com. The deadline for entries is Monday, January 6. We’ll be running the top five on January 12. [Shown is a trailer for “The Wolf of Wall Street”]

Cinemania: Samurai Movies

Posted by Peter Keough December 12, 2013 02:18 PM

Keanu Reeves takes on the daunting task of starring in a remake of the 1941 Kenji Mizoguchi masterpiece “47 Ronin,”

and we’ll have to wait until Christmas Day when it comes out to see if purists will be appalled. But give him credit for reviving the samurai film, a genre which has spawned an generations of international action heroes going back at least to Clint Eastwood in “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964) -- roaming warriors who are cynical, fatalistic, deadly, and dedicated to a personal code of honor that the samurai call “bushido.” What are your favorite films in this tradition? Put your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at petervkeough@gmail.com. The deadline for entries is Monday, December 16. We’ll be running the top five on December 22. [Shown is a trailer for ”47 Ronin”]

Cinemania: Best Fantasy Adventures

Posted by Peter Keough December 6, 2013 04:36 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.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”]

Cinemania: War in the Pacific

Posted by Peter Keough November 28, 2013 03:53 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.com. 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)].

Cinemania: Spike Lee movies

Posted by Peter Keough November 21, 2013 03:57 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.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”]

Cinemania: best holiday movies

Posted by Peter Keough November 14, 2013 03:55 PM

“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 petervkeough@gmail.com. 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)]

Cinemania: best rebels

Posted by Peter Keough November 5, 2013 10:07 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.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)]

Cinemania: superhero movies

Posted by Peter Keough November 1, 2013 02:46 PM

“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 petervkeough@gmail.com. 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”]

Cinemania: golden oldies

Posted by Peter Keough October 24, 2013 02:57 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.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”]

Cinemania: Best Ridley Scott movies

Posted by Peter Keough October 17, 2013 11:52 AM

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 petervkeough@gmail.com. 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”]

Cinemania: scariest scenes

Posted by Peter Keough October 10, 2013 06:54 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.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

Cinemania: best biopics

Posted by Peter Keough October 3, 2013 08:58 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.com. 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)]

Cinemania: Best Robert De Niro performances

Posted by Peter Keough September 19, 2013 03:53 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.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)]

Cinemania: new formatting for old classics

Posted by Peter Keough September 12, 2013 05:36 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.com by September 16.

Cinemania: best concert movies

Posted by Peter Keough September 5, 2013 09:45 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.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)]

Cinemania: labor movies

Posted by Peter Keough August 23, 2013 01:25 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.com. 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”]

Cinemania: Best dystopian movies

Posted by Peter Keough August 9, 2013 09:51 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.com. The deadline is Monday.

Cinemania: Best opening scenes

Posted by Peter Keough August 2, 2013 08:58 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.com. We’ll be running the five best on August 11.

Cinemania: best beach scenes

Posted by Peter Keough July 26, 2013 01:24 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.com.

Cinemania: Dog daze -- best canine performances

Posted by Peter Keough July 19, 2013 06:38 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.com. We’ll be running the five best on July 28.

Cinemania: the best of Bruce Willis

Posted by Peter Keough July 13, 2013 07:13 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.com. We’ll be running the top five on July 21.

Cinemania: All Star Baseball Movies

Posted by Peter Keough July 6, 2013 10:02 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.com. We’ll be running the top five on July 13.

Cinemania: best TV shows on the big screen

Posted by Peter Keough June 29, 2013 07:46 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.com. We’ll list the top five on July 7.

Cinemania: worst first date movies

Posted by Peter Keough June 22, 2013 06:19 PM

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

Cinemania: best of the Bard on the big screen

Posted by Peter Keough June 16, 2013 02:14 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.com. The top five will be out June 23.

Cinemania: Best high school movies (reprise)

Posted by Peter Keough June 9, 2013 09:25 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.com.

Cinemania: Best High School Movies

Posted by Peter Keough May 25, 2013 02:36 PM

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

Cinemania: Before "After Earth" -- the best Will Smith roles

Posted by Peter Keough May 19, 2013 11:46 AM

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.

Cinemania: Best 'morning after' films without 'Hangover' in the title

Posted by Peter Keough May 13, 2013 05:57 PM

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 petervkeough@gmail.com. We will pick the five most memorable choices and post them on line and in print next week.
Good luck!

Cinemania: Inspired by 'Star Trek Into Darkness,' the five best sci-fi sneak attack scenes

Posted by Peter Keough May 10, 2013 05:33 PM

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

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