Ten Greatest Movie Actors

On a lighter note, having been a buff for life, I have always admired motion pictures as being one of the greatest art forms of modern times which, in my view, is not appreciated enough. The sheer complexity that goes into the making of a movie is mind boggling: script writing, acting, costumes, sound, music, photography, props and settings, make-up, wardrobe, research and so much more. I’ve engaged in writing novels, which is a tough road to tackle in itself. I couldn’t imagine being a director and handling the entire production.

Naturally, we in the audience pay most attention to the actors, and we form our opinions on who we consider the best in the business. Often, we will go to a movie knowing little about it in advance, other than the names of the players. Star power is everything. I plead guilty. When I know that Robert DeNiro or Meryl Streep is starring in a new release, it’s a sure thing we’ll be buying tickets to that movie.

I’ll be putting out some of my “Ten Greatest” lists (my opinions). I hope some of you movie buffs will share your opinions as well.

Starting with the Ten Greatest actors… still living and active in movies, and based on sheer talent, versatility, power, and varied body of work, here’s my humble list, starting with number one:  

Robert DeNiro

Jack Nicholson

Daniel Day Lewis

Al Pacino

Tom Hanks

Denzel Washington

Robert Duvall

Morgan Freeman

Dustin Hoffman

Gene Hackman

 

 

Next week, the ten greatest actresses.

 

Your vote?

 

MOVIE “TRAITOR” UNVEILS STARK REALITIES

 

“Traitor,” is a must see movie for anyone interested in delving deep into the bowels of the jihad netherworld where Islamic revolution is at the core of international terror. It was recommended to me by a close friend whose opinions and judgement I respect. He was right on.

This is not just another suspense/thriller replete with chases, Karate fights, crashing cars and bombed buildings, though there is plenty of that. The movie is also a learning experience for us who wish to know more about the internal mind-set of jihadists and methodologies used by terrorists in executing their mission all over the world.

Don Cheadle plays a Sudanese-born, American citizen educated and trained in the art of making bombs who finds himself caught up in the complex world of counter-terrorism, CIA, FBI and the radical Islamic underworld, while used as a tool by the plotters of terror. Without unveiling too much of the story, suffice to say Cheadle tackles a complex role inextricably caught in a vice between conscience, faith and duty, and he does it well.

To me, the most profound scene of all is one that is relatively obscure in any of the trailers and/or commentary. But it stood out like an epiphany. Cheadle’s character meets up with high level jihad organizers at a local Paris bistro. (Or was it London?) As Cheadle arrives, he notices that the slick, well-dressed boss, Fareed, is enjoying a glass of wine. Astonished at this violation of Islamic law, Fareed smiles and informs Cheadle that it’s all right. He informs Cheadle that he also eats pork sometimes. “Taqiyya,” he comments with a smile. In war, one must be like the enemy to defeat the enemy. Blend in. It’s okay to deceive, if it serves Allah and furthers the cause of spreading Islam.

This is something I already knew from researching and studying Islamic history and the Koran. I was surprised to see it boldly portrayed, non-politically correct, in a Hollywood movie.

When Fareed uttered that, I immediately thought about the nineteen suicide terrorists from 9/11, and of the months preceding the most successful and bloodiest terror act in history when they lived among society in various parts of the country, including south Florida, partying, drinking alcohol, and commiserating with women, all for the purpose of appearing “normal.” Blending in. Then I thought about the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of jihadists presently blending amid the free world, …London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Washington D.C….everywhere.

They blend within businesses, universities, banks, religious institutions and, yes, government.

Some may even pretend to be another religion. If it furthers the cause, it is acceptable.

With one exception the entire cast gave an award winning performance. Cheadle may well have earned an Oscar nomination. I could also see a Best Supporting nomination for French-born Moroccan actor, SaVd Taghmaoui, who does a powerful job portraying Cheadles’ mentor in terror. Neal McDonough’s role as an FBI agent didn’t fit for me. He reminded me of a Malibu surfing “B” actor reciting lines.

Naturally, there were some implausibles and a couple of scenes that didn’t seem to fit reality, but that’s normal when true life is relegated to the fiction pen. Ironically, the story was originally written by none other than a famous comedian, Steve Martin. How’s that for a juxtaposition?

On a scale of one to ten: 8

Suggested links and reading:

Click here: Islam Watch – “Understanding Taqiyya

Click here: American Thinker: Know your enemy

From the Quran, Surah 16.106:

“He who disbelieves in Allah after his having believed, not he who is compelled while his heart is at rest on account of faith, but he who opens (his) breast to disbelief– on these is the wrath of Allah, and they shall have a grievous chastisement.”

 

 

 

MOVIE "TRAITOR" UNVEILS STARK REALITIES

 
“Traitor,” is a must see movie for anyone interested in delving deep into the bowels of the jihad netherworld where Islamic revolution is at the core of international terror. It was recommended to me by a close friend whose opinions and judgement I respect. He was right on.
This is not just another suspense/thriller replete with chases, Karate fights, crashing cars and bombed buildings, though there is plenty of that. The movie is also a learning experience for us who wish to know more about the internal mind-set of jihadists and methodologies used by terrorists in executing their mission all over the world.
Don Cheadle plays a Sudanese-born, American citizen educated and trained in the art of making bombs who finds himself caught up in the complex world of counter-terrorism, CIA, FBI and the radical Islamic underworld, while used as a tool by the plotters of terror. Without unveiling too much of the story, suffice to say Cheadle tackles a complex role inextricably caught in a vice between conscience, faith and duty, and he does it well.
To me, the most profound scene of all is one that is relatively obscure in any of the trailers and/or commentary. But it stood out like an epiphany. Cheadle’s character meets up with high level jihad organizers at a local Paris bistro. (Or was it London?) As Cheadle arrives, he notices that the slick, well-dressed boss, Fareed, is enjoying a glass of wine. Astonished at this violation of Islamic law, Fareed smiles and informs Cheadle that it’s all right. He informs Cheadle that he also eats pork sometimes. “Taqiyya,” he comments with a smile. In war, one must be like the enemy to defeat the enemy. Blend in. It’s okay to deceive, if it serves Allah and furthers the cause of spreading Islam.
This is something I already knew from researching and studying Islamic history and the Koran. I was surprised to see it boldly portrayed, non-politically correct, in a Hollywood movie.
When Fareed uttered that, I immediately thought about the nineteen suicide terrorists from 9/11, and of the months preceding the most successful and bloodiest terror act in history when they lived among society in various parts of the country, including south Florida, partying, drinking alcohol, and commiserating with women, all for the purpose of appearing “normal.” Blending in. Then I thought about the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of jihadists presently blending amid the free world, …London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Washington D.C….everywhere.
They blend within businesses, universities, banks, religious institutions and, yes, government.
Some may even pretend to be another religion. If it furthers the cause, it is acceptable.
With one exception the entire cast gave an award winning performance. Cheadle may well have earned an Oscar nomination. I could also see a Best Supporting nomination for French-born Moroccan actor, SaVd Taghmaoui, who does a powerful job portraying Cheadles’ mentor in terror. Neal McDonough’s role as an FBI agent didn’t fit for me. He reminded me of a Malibu surfing “B” actor reciting lines.
Naturally, there were some implausibles and a couple of scenes that didn’t seem to fit reality, but that’s normal when true life is relegated to the fiction pen. Ironically, the story was originally written by none other than a famous comedian, Steve Martin. How’s that for a juxtaposition?
On a scale of one to ten: 8
Suggested links and reading:
Click here: Islam Watch – “Understanding Taqiyya
Click here: American Thinker: Know your enemy
From the Quran, Surah 16.106:
“He who disbelieves in Allah after his having believed, not he who is compelled while his heart is at rest on account of faith, but he who opens (his) breast to disbelief– on these is the wrath of Allah, and they shall have a grievous chastisement.”
 
 
 

Movie Reviews 2

 

Vicky Cristina Barcelona
It’s a comedy. It’s a drama. It’s a romance story. Actually, it’s all three.

Remember Javier Bardem, who won the Oscar for his portrayal of the psychotic killer in “No Country For Old Men?” Imagine him with a haircut, walking up to two beautiful American women in a Barcelona restaurant who he never met before, and politely asking — with his Spanish accent — if they’d like to join him for a weekend where they could have fun and make love.

That sets the stage for one hour and 36 minutes of a fabulous movie about damaged relationships, unpretentious love and people daring to take chances. I generally don’t care for empty-headed “chick flicks,” but trust me, this one doesn’t fit that category. It’s sure to flop at the box office, which means it’s of no interest to the youth audiences. But it is of interest to serious movie goers who still seek that rarely made attention-grabber, rife with great acting and interesting twists in a story that passes the time quickly because you stay so engrossed.

For the guys, it’s about Scarlett Johansson, Patricia Clarkson and Penelope Cruz, each playing crisply different characters, each beautiful, each gifted actors.

For the ladies, it’s about Bardem, his charm and his unabashed admiration for the opposite sex.

For movie lovers, it’s about fun, entertainment and good acting.

Do take the time to see “Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona.” It has three down sides.

1 – Directed by Woody Allen, not my favorite, but he excels in this one.

2 – The title is a loser. Surely, Woody could have done better.

3 – It only scored $3.7 million in the first week-end out. But don’t let that sway you. The best movies are not always best at the box office.

Rating: 8 ½

The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emporer

 Stay home. Don’t rent it when it comes out, unless it’s for your ten-year-old kid.

It’s an overdose of graphics ad nauseam, shallow plot, the usual chases and crashes where the protagonist never gets hurt, but he kills everyone else. Surely, Hollywood can think of something more original. Brendan Fraser may be locked into a stereo-typical character that he may never shed, especially after the previous “Mummy” pictures, and “Journey To The Center Of The Earth” (which wasn’t so bad.) It’s time to put the Mummy to rest.

We walked out after 45 minutes.

Rating: 2

 The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants 2 

We walked out of this one too.

Did I mention “chick flick” earlier? This picture was made with one audience in mind: teenage and young adult women who have no interest in quality art.

Four friends go their separate ways in various parts of the world then meet up to share their experiences. Sounds good. It’s not.

The four primary actresses, all of whom have made many movies, have a got a lot more to learn before they will ever see an Oscar nomination. The directing shares equal blame.

Pretentious, staged, stilted, implausible, shallow, are several adjectives that come to mind, not to mention the absence of any chemistry between the girls and the men actors.

To be fair, some critics gave this picture good reviews, which is one of the reasons we went to see it. Perhaps it’s time for the reviewers to be reviewed.

Rating: 2

MAMA MIA

If you enjoy musicals and pure entertainment without a heavy plot, be sure to see “Mama Mia,” the movie version of the hit Broadway play. Twas refreshing, for once, to sit through a picture with seeing cars smashing, bullets flying, buildings destroyed, blood gushing and sex oozing.

The story line is simple enough. Raised on a Greek island by a formerly rebellious mom who never disclosed the identity of her father, a bride-to-be locates three men who might be her father and invites them to her wedding.

The draw, of course, is the versatile talents of singing, dancing, acting Meryl Streep who seemingly is incapable of a poor performance. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her with another Golden Globe, or even an Oscar for this one.

Twenty-two year-old Amanda Seyfried is delightful as the young bride-to-be, full of life, fun, energy and a voice to go with it. She’s bound to go far in the movie world.

Next best, were the lady buddies of Streep’s character (Mama), played by Julie Walters and Christine Baranski…you’ll recognize them when you see them.

Two of the three possible dads were funny, believable and engaging in their roles, though they are relatively unknowns. (Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard). Then comes the miscasting of Pierce Brosnan who was utterly awkward and stiff trying to play a loose character out of Streep’s past, not to mention his second-rate singing voice. Casting Brosnan in this role would be like casting Charles Laughton as The Lone Ranger. Obviously, the producers were pandering for star power when they selected the former James Bond, but it detracted from an otherwise good movie.

The story line could well have eliminated the one quasi-gay scene which added nothing, and… like Brosnan’s inane performance, presented more of a distraction.

But…it’s an enjoyable musical ride, not of the same quality of “Chicago” and other past musical greats.

I give it 6 ½ out of 10.