With his new film Transcendence opening nationwide this week, our Movie Poster REDUX series takes a look at several alternate movie posters of the films of Johnny Depp. Depp, who was born John Christopher Depp II in Owensboro, Kentucky in 1963, moved around a lot as a child to accomodate his father’s job as a civil engineer. The family finally settled down in Miramar, Florida (a mere 10 minutes from where I presently live) when Depp was 7. His parents divorced in 1978 and Depp dropped out of high school to join a garage band (which actually opened for The B-52’s and Iggy Pop) all the while living in a friend’s ’67 Chevy Impala.
After getting married to his first wife in 1983, Depp moved to Los Angeles and began taking acting classes at the Loft Studio. He landed a small role in Wes Craven’s classic 1984 horror film, A Nightmare on Elm Street, after his wife introduced him to her ex-boyfriend, actor Nicolas Cage, who then introduced Depp to a Hollywood agent. Depp then landed the role of undercover cop Tommy Hanson in the popular TV series 21 Jump Street and became an overnight star. His first starring role in a film was the John Waters 50’s rock musical Cry-Baby and he’s gone on to become one of his generation’s most unique actors.
Surprisingly, Johnny Depp has only been nominated for an Academy Award 3 times(!) and has only one Golden Globe win for Best Actor in 2007’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. It’s typical of Hollywood and the Academy, however, to overlook those actors who can expertly play the more unusual characters in films (Gary Oldman, anyone?) and Depp has proven he can do “weird” just about better than anyone. Enjoy the posters…
The Coen Brothers are “widely considered one of the most visionary and idiosyncratic filmmakers of the late 20th century. Combining thoughtful eccentricity, wry humor, arch irony, and often brutal violence, the films of the Coen brothers have become synonymous with a style of filmmaking that pays tribute to classic American movie genres — especially film noir — while sustaining a firmly postmodern feel”(*).
The brothers grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. Their mother was an art historian and their father was an economist at the University of Minnesota. After both graduating from from St. Louis Park High School (three years apart) and Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Joel then spent four years in the undergraduate film program at New York University while Ethan went on to Princeton University and earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy.
Early in their careers, Joel Coen was often credited as director and Ethan Coen as producer, though they shared filmmaking duties, including writing and editing; in later years they have also shared directing and producing credits. Their body of work ranks them among the greatest American filmmakers of all time and one of my favorites. I got hooked on their style after renting Blood Simple on VHS; and after watching Raising Arizona and Miller’s Crossing (still my fave Coen Brothers film) in theaters, I was hooked.
With their latest film, Inside Llewyn Davis (which I have yet to see), having been nominated for 3 Golden Globe Awards (including Best Picture) I figured I’d dig up a collection of alternate posters of 12 Coen Brothers films (I’ve seen them all). Couldn’t find any cool posters for Intolerable Cruelty (which I thought was just OK), The Ladykillers (which I’ve never seen) or A Serious Man (which I thought was rather dull, same with The Man Who Wasn’t There) but the ones I did find are pretty cool. Enjoy…
What’s your favorite Coen Brothers film?
(*) Excerpt taken from www.coenbrothers.net/coens
Check out these cool alternative movie posters from Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, David Cronenberg, David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, and Steven Spielberg films; or browse our Movie Poster REDUX section for other alternative movie posters.
“Taxi Driver” Poster by Dan Norris
With the highly anticipated release of Martin Scorsese’s latest film The Wolf of Wall Street (hitting a theater near you on December 25th), this week, we present you with an assortment of alternative movie posters from just about every Scorsese film (well, every film that we could actually find a cool alternative movie poster for!).
Scorsese, who was born in Corona, Queens before his family moved to the Little Italy section of Manhattan, attended New York University’s film school (B.A., English, 1964; M.F.A., film, 1966). He was a sickly child so his parents (both of whom have appeared in his films) often took him to the movies; that’s where he first developed a passion for film. Scorsese was the assistant director and editor on the 1970 documentary Woodstock and is also credited as one of the cameramen who photographed the infamous late-1969 Altamont rock festival for the Rolling Stones documentary film Gimme Shelter.
His films have been nominated for 75 Academy Awards (winning 20) and Scorsese took home the Best Director Oscar (his first and only) for The Departed in 2006.
Enjoy the posters…
Check out the Trailer for “The Wolf of Wall Street” which opens on December 25:
I’ve been perusing several ‘Greatest Movie Villains’ lists over the past week after watching Heath Ledger’s sensational portrayal of the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” for about the 17th time. It made me curious to see where Ledger’s Joker ranks among the other movie villains (he’s usually in the top 10 on most lists). Every list produced the usual suspects (no pun intended) when it came to movie villains: Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter, Kevin Spacey’s John Doe from “Seven”, Terence Stamp’s brilliant General Zod from “Superman II”, Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber, Keyser Söze, Freddy Kreuger, Jason, etc, etc.
What I found odd was the glaring omission of several great movie villains (even on the Top 100 lists!) that rank right up there with the crème de la crème of diabolical film characters. So, without further ado, I present you with my own list of 20 Great Movie Villains (ranked in order of sinisterness) for your displeasure. I didn’t want anyone just scrolling down to see who I chose as the #1 villain so I broke up the post into two pages. Here are villains 20-10:
20. SCREWFACE “MARKED FOR DEATH” (1990)
To say that a Steve Seagal film sucks is to confuse a Steven Seagal film with anything other than a vehicle for Seagal to beat and/or shoot the shit out of any bad guys who come up against him (with the aforementioned bad guys rarely ever landing a punch and/or eschewing the use of their guns in order to engage in hand-to-hand combat). That’s the case in “Marked for Death”, Seagal’s third film. The film does feature a standout performance by NYU grad Basil Wallace who plays Jamaican drug kingpin Screwface with sinister intensity. When Seagal kicks the shit out of one of Screwface’s men then threatens more ass kicking if he doesn’t tell him where Screwface is, the man replies, “Screwface kill me a thousand deaths worse than you. Go find him your *bleeping* self!” then proceeds to jump out of a window of a very tall building. That.
19. EDDIE DANE “MILLER’S CROSSING” (1990)
With all due respect to Jon Polito’s portrayal of mob boss Johnny Caspar, it’s J.E. Freeman’s Eddie Dane who’s the real badass in this great Coen Brothers gangster film. When he asks a wounded hitman (courtesy of Dane) where a rival mob boss is hiding out, the hitman asks him, “If I tell you, how do I know you won’t kill me?” to which Dane responds, “Because if you told me and I killed you and you were lying I wouldn’t get to kill you *then*.” That’s a badass dude.
18. EL INDIO “FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE” (1965)
Great actors make great villains and Gian Maria Volonté, one of Italy’s most celebrated actors, does not disappoint in Sergio Leone’s “For A Few Dollars More”. Volonté’s portrayal of the brutal desperado El Indio was preceded by playing a similar villain, Ramón Rojo, in Leone’s previous “Spaghetti Western” “A Fistful of Dollars” in 1964. One of the qualities of a great villain is that they’re often troubled souls who can actually be likable at times – that Volonté, with a steely gaze that rivaled his co-star Clint Eastwood, pulls this off despite being dubbed in English showed he was not just a badass villain but a badass actor.
17. THE MAN WITH THE PLAN “THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU’RE DEAD” (1995)
You think you’ve seen Christopher Walken at his creepiest? True Romance, King of New York, The Prophecy, The Addiction? Forget it. Pete Travers of Rolling Stone calls Walken’s portrayal of The Man with the Plan, the self-loathing quadriplegic who runs Denver’s crime scene, “Christopher Walken at his spookiest, which is saying something.” Indeed it is. With lines like, “One day you’re saving the rainforest, the next you’re chugging cock” and “I’m a criminal; my word don’t mean dick!”, Walken makes a tepid crime drama featuring a smooth performance by Andy Garcia and a killer performance by Treat Williams (maybe his best?) a little hotter.
16. HADES “HERCULES” (1997)
Gotta have at least one cartoon villain on my list, right? That would be Hades from Disney’s “Hercules”. James Woods easily steals the film in what Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly called “an inspired piece of deadpan vaudeville”. Playing Hades with “diabolical glee” (Roger Ebert), Woods creates “the most vibrant Disney creation since Robin Williams’ Genie” wrote film critic James Berardinelli. The film, which features one of the weaker Disney heroes in the tepid Hercules (voiced by Tate Donovan), is worth watching on Woods’ sinister performance alone.
15. MORTWELL “MONA LISA” (1986)
With over a hundred films to his credit, two Academy Awards and six nominations, few actors are better than Michael Caine; and few possess more range. In Neil Jordan’s romantic thriller “Mona Lisa”, Caine plays Mortwell, a sinister and dangerous vice king of the London underground. It’s to Caine’s credit that Mortwell projects menace with chilling subtlety; as Roger Ebert put it, “he plays the character without apology and without exaggeration, as a businessman. That’s why Mortwell is so creepy.” Oh, and the film, which also stars a terrific Bob Hoskins and a stunning Cathy Tyson is excellent.
14. CASTOR TROY “FACE/OFF” (1997)
In a role actually shared by Nicolas Cage and (mostly) John Travolta, Castor Troy is a loose-cannon killer (Cage) who switches places (faces) with an FBI agent (Travolta) in John Woo’s wildly entertaining summer blockbuster “Face/Off”. “Mr. Travolta is shockingly good, summoning a slinky, mockingly vicious personality that could be his evil twin” wrote Janet Maslin of The New York Times. Travolta “twinkles with evil” (Stephen Hunter, Washington Post) as Castor, taking devilish glee in his new role as FBI agent, even slipping into bed with the agent’s unsuspecting wife(!) while flirting with his daughter(!). It’s Travolta at his most badass.
13. DENNIS PECK “INTERNAL AFFAIRS” (1990)
Richard Gere as a murderous sociopathic police officer? Uh, yeah. And not only is our beloved “Pretty Woman” star a rotten cop but “one of the rottenest movie cops in memory” said Janet Maslin, film critic for the New York Times. Gere is totally believable as sergeant Dennis Peck, who comes under investigation by Internal Affairs officer Raymond Avilla (played by Andy Garcia) in Mike Figgis’ excellent crime thriller. Need more evidence? Film critic James Berardinelli said of Gere’s performance: “he outacts co-star Andy Garcia so forcefully that the latter is often unable to hold his own”(!). If you haven’t seen it, see it.
12. O-DOG “MENACE II SOCIETY” (1993)
When you can gun down a Korean grocery store owner and his wife, snatch the surveillance camera tape of the crime and then proudly watch it with your homeboys over and over – you’re a bad dude. That’s the case with O-Dog, played with terrifying realism by Larenz Tate, in The Hughes Brothers’ breakthrough inner-city Los Angeles drama “Menace II Society”. O-Dog’s homeboy Caine, played by Tyrin Turner, descibes him best, “Now O-Dog was the craziest nigga alive. America’s nightmare. Young, black, and didn’t give a (well, you know the rest, yes?)”.
11. VINCENT “COLLATERAL” (2004)
My admiration for Tom Cruise is no secret and it’s mainly because of the many risks he takes as an actor. Allow me to introduce as evidence Cruise’s portrayal of the chilling hitman Vincent in Michael Mann’s gritty crime drama “Collateral”. Playing a bad guy for the very first time “Cruise takes his game to a whole new level” says Pete Travers of Rolling Stone. Cruise plays a hitman who makes cab driver Max (played by Jamie Foxx) his unwilling driver as he makes his rounds from hit to hit over the course of one night in Los Angeles. In his comparison of Cruise to two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks, Andrew Sarris of the New York Observer put it best: “Mr. Hanks has been overrated as a supposedly subtle character actor just as much as Mr. Cruise has been underrated. For another, Mr. Hanks has never played a role as unabashedly monstrous and menacing as Mr. Cruise’s Vincent.” Nuff said?
GO TO THE NEXT PAGE TO SEE MY TOP 10 UNSUNG MOVIE VILLAINS
This week, we present a selection of movie posters from Lakewood, Ohio based artist Chod. Chod’s earliest recollection of being affected by art was by a book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales Illustrated by Benvenuti. He works primarily in acrylic and ink with hints of collage. Using the canvas as a form of therapy, his subject matter includes commentaries on politics, religion, love, war and death. All with heavy doses of monsters.
Enjoy the movie posters…
With the recent announcement that Ben Affleck will play the role of Batman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, the social space has exploded with debate (mostly outrage) over the choice of the director of the Academy Award winning film Argo as the future Bruce Wayne/Batman. With Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan setting the bar for any future portrayals of Batman rather high with the Dark Knight series of films, one has to wonder if the star of such disastrous films as Daredevil, Gigli, and Jersey Girl is up for such a task. I reckon we’ll just have to wait and see, yes?
In the meantime, we present you with a plethora of Batman movie posters to satisfy your craving for the caped crusader until the summer of 2015. Enjoy…
Anyone remember the film Judgement Night? It’s the story of four suburban buddies (Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding Jr., Stephen Dorff & Jeremy Piven) on their way to a boxing match who make an ill-fated exit off the highway and end up lost in Chicago’s grim inner city (in a lavish RV no less!). There they witness a brutal murder and end up on the radar of the killer himself (a fine turn by Denis Leary). The rest of the film has the four pals on the run from said killer in a very dimly lit part of town that apparently does not have any police presence or working pay phones. Typical.
The film, directed by the capable Stephen Hopkins in 1993, makes for fine viewing (if plausibility isn’t high on your list of movie requirements) but the story is pretty standard fare – comfortable middle-class types thrown into a hellish urban landscape and forced to fight for their lives. Nothing we ain’t seen before…yes? Its soundtrack, however, was another story. It’s quite remarkable.
Back in the late 80’s to early 90’s, hip-hop music was at its heyday. Acts like Public Enemy, Ice Cube, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Cypress Hill and many others were getting regular airplay on the radio and were the darlings of the popular Yo! MTV Raps TV series. During that same time, another sound had begun to rear it’s ugly head: Grunge. Led by groups like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden & Alice In Chains, Grunge dominated the radio airwaves and MTV throughout most of the 90’s.
Which brings me back to “Judgement Night”. The genius of the soundtrack was that it combined some of the best hip-hop acts of the time with some of the best grunge/hard rock/metal acts. Can you say Slayer & Ice T? Helmet & House of Pain? Mudhoney & Sir Mix-A-Lot? How about Pearl Jam & Cypress Hill? You heard right.
In short, the “Judgement Night” soundtrack was perhaps the finest implementation of the genre unification concept…ever. That’s right, ever. Oh, I know the idea of fusing hip-hop and hard rock has been done before – most notably Run DMC’s collaboration with Aerosmith on Walk This Way as well as Public Enemy and Anthrax on Bring The Noise. But an entire album? Never.
Unfortunately, over the last 10-15 years, hip-hop has become a hollow shell of what it once was. It’s now a bunch of soon-to-be-broke “rappers” flashing their “bling” in front of rented Bentleys while “making it rain” dollar bills over scantily-clad, big-breasted women hanging on to, or in the general vicinity of, a stripper pole. The hard rock scene has also seen a bit of a decline since the death of Kurt Cobain and grunge as we knew it. This is not to say it’s anywhere near what hip-hop (rap) has become but it ain’t what it used to be when Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, & Pearl Jam dominated most radio stations. And Metal? Metal still drones on, attracting a new generation of fans (mostly teenagers) despite recycling guitar riffs and lyrics that go back 20+ years to its glory days.
So why not revisit an album that captures these musical genres while at their peaks? Like the four friends in the film, get off the main road and get lost for a while in the grim but highly enjoyable musical landscape of the film’s soundtrack. Without the psychotic killer and his evil henchmen trying to kill you, of course.
Here’s the full album on Spotify. Warning: FIERCE!
So what are some of your favorite movie soundtracks? Share them…
[NOTE: This post was first published back in 2010. It still holds as true today as it did then.]
I recently came across this minimalist set of Christopher Nolan films by North Devon based graphic designer Mat Bond. Christopher Nolan (who never went to film school!) directed his first film in 1998 (no it wasn’t “Memento“), a crime drama called “Following“. Nolan, who still prefers film to digital and, thankfully, doesn’t believe in 3D, has become one of Hollywood’s most powerful directors.