Sad news – the Oscar Winning director of one of my favorite movies The Silence of the Lambs Jonathan Demme has died aged 73 – Demme also directed several other superb movies including the epic Something Wild that stars Melanie Griffith & Ray Liotta, Rachel Getting Married, Married to the Mob and Philadelphia but it will always be the brilliant and chilling 1991 classic that the movie world will remember him for – those who worked with him called him one of the most enthusiastic and kind filmmakers in the business, he always had a story to tell and was devilishly smart in bringing that story to the screen, his films changed the course of an actors life, Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Tom Hanks and Mary Steenburgen all won Oscars and much acclaim for their roles in his movies and all became better actors because of it – through the medium of film Jonathan Demme has left behind a cinematic legacy, a treasure trove of funny, gripping, haunting movies that will continue to entertain and live on forever – he was a passionate filmmaker who loved his craft, so when your next watching one of his movies take a moment to smile and fondly remember this talented New Yorker and the joy he breathed into the cinematic world we all love so much…
“I am honored and proud to be flying the flag for the 70th Festival de Cannes and delighted with this choice of photo. It’s the image I myself have of the festival, of an event that illuminates everything around. That dance on the rooftops of Rome was back in 1959. No one remembers the photographer’s name… I’ve also forgotten it. But this photo reminds me of my origins, and of a time when I never dreamed of climbing the steps of the world’s most famous cinema hall. Happy anniversary!” – Claudia Cardinale (2017)
Claudia Cardinale not only is a beautiful screen goddess but she is also one of the great actresses of our time and somewhat a Cannes veteran appearing at the festival with films such as Girl With A Suitcase, La Viaccia, The Leopard, 8 1/2, La Pelle, Fitzcarraldo, Henry IV, A Man In Love and Claude Lelouch’s And Now.… Ladies And Gentlemen – she also starred in two of my favourite all time movies The Professionals and Once Upon a Time in the West and I am so pleased she is fronting this years Cannes Festival
Cannes also wrote these word in response to this gorgeous poster for it’s 2017 Festival “She dances, she laughs, she lives! Who better to symbolize the next Festival than Claudia Cardinale, the image of an adventurous actress, independent woman and social activist?”
the loss of any movie star is a sad time but losing Bill Paxton an actor I have adored since the 80s, iconic, beautiful, crazy and delightfully funny is something I’m really struggling with – as I write this tears are welling, my heart is sinking and the memories of all my favorite Paxton movies are swimming round my head in what can only be described as delirious grief – I have lost count of the times since 1986 I have uttered that line from Aliens “Game Over Man!” and watched over and over his psychotic performance as vampire Severen in the fantastic horror movie Near Dark – to say he is one of my favorite movie idol’s is an understatement, his films have ignited my passion of the screen and for me he will be remembered as this infectious, ballsy movie star that owned the screen with his cowboy swagger, his mischievous grin and one of the most recognizable vocals in film – he was loved and will be missed by all – RIP #FilmLegend
“I’m gonna separate your head from your shoulders. Hope you don’t mind none”
Bill Paxton – Near Dark
Written by David Koepp (Spider-man, Jurassic Park, Toy Soldiers and Inferno) – Here’s two fabulous Behind the Scene Shots of Kristen Stewart, Jodie Foster and film-maker David Fincher at work on 2002’s incredible PANIC ROOM
Jodie Foster replaced Nicole Kidman in the movie who had to leave due to a knee injury – Panic Room became Jodie Foster’s longest shoot on a movie set of 120 days
No.10 : Transformers: The Last Knight
Directed: by Michael Bay and Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Isabela Moner
Why the Excitement?: If you can’t get jumped up for a big screen action movie directed by one of cinema’s finest visual directors then all is lost – Michael Bay is the master of entertaining and regardless of it’s acting and narrative his movies have always given me that slice of escapism and shit loads of fun and this fifth in the franchise looks the most explosive of the bunch !!
No.9 : Baby Driver
Directed: by Edgar Wright and Stars: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jamie Foxx
Why the Excitement?: Well if you’ve seen Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim then you can understand why this bad boy makes my Top 10 Baby Driver looks all sorts of fun, expect the Edgar Wright Stamp that will include a delirious soundtrack with a side dose of side splitting action scenes and a fair amount of talented actors making appearances throughout
No.8 : The Dark Tower
Directed: by Nikolaj Arcel and Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Idris Elba
Why the Excitement?: Having read the books by Stephen King I’m intrigued to see how this adapts to the big screen – the movie will be more of a new take on the series that follows frontiersman Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) on a quest to reach The Dark Tower – licking my lips with excitement !!
No.7 : Alien: Covenant
Directed: by Ridley Scott and Stars: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride
Why the Excitement?: I was not a fan of Prometheus but believe, I have too right? that the Ridley Scott of Alien and Blade Runner fame will turn this franchise on it’s head and return to former glories – the trailer looks incredibly creepy and with the cast including Fassbender and Waterston I have high hopes
No.6 : Star Wars: Episode VIII
Directed: by Rian Johnson and Stars: Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega
Why the Excitement?: Are you kidding right now? Star Wars? I love these movies and this latest directed by Rian Looper Johnson will be much different to Abrams in tone and style and maybe just maybe we will get to see more of Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker involved too?
No.5 : Okja
Directed: by Joon-Ho Bong and Stars: Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Lilly Collins
Why the Excitement?: I’m a huge fan of this South Korean Filmmaker and his unique, exciting style of bold movie making – 2006’s The Host, 2009’s Mother and 2013’s Snow Piercer all blew me away – the cast is exceptional and it’s story by Bong and Jon Ronson (Frank) looks delightfully quirky and wildly entertaining !!
No.4 : The Beguiled
Directed: by Sofia Coppola and Stars: Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst
Why the Excitement?: Loved the 1971 Clint Eastwood version and boy what an impressive cast !! Pretty big fan of Coppola The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette are three impressive, well written & beautifully shot movies so I think The Beguiled will continue this trend – might even read the novel A Painted Devil by Thomas P. Cullinan in preperation
No.3 : Hostiles
Directed: by Scott Cooper and Stars: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Ben Foster
Why the Excitement?: Reuniting Cooper and Bale after their epic Out of the Furnace this promises to be all sorts of dark, violent shit – love it’s premise reminds me slightly of Peckinpah’s Major Dundee and I do enjoy a good western
No.2 : Wonder Woman
Directed: by Patty Jenkins and Stars: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen
Why the Excitement?: Big comic film geek, love Wonder Woman as a character and Gal Gadot is sensational in pretty much everything she appears in – and Wonder Woman’s film trailer was easily the Best of 2016 – excited HELL YEAH !!
No.1 : Blade Runner 2049
Directed: by Denis Villeneuve and Stars: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto
Why the Excitement?: two reasons: the first it’s original movie the 1982 Ridley Scott master piece sits comfortably in My Top 10 of all time so being able to revisit these characters and world excites the holy hell out of me and second it’s director Denis Villeneuve is easily the most exciting filmmaker since Tarantino, with films such as Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario and Arrival who could argue?
2016 was not only a year of great loss but it was a year to celebrate some incredible cinema – some damn fine Independent Pictures that made me cry, laugh and sit back in pure amazement at the storytelling and acting involved – it was a year of exceptional Horror, mostly low budget affairs that reminded me of the movies of yesteryear and 2016 was also a year of some lighthearted, enormously fun blockbusters that didn’t quite make this list but I enjoyed thoroughly nevertheless – there are still many movies from last year that I didn’t get to watch but as custom I have put together a list of My Top 15 Movies of 2016 in poster form below – Have a wonderful Movie Watching 2017 from all of us all here A Very Happy New Year!