Category: 5 Favorites Redux

5 Favorites Redux #84: Ryan Reynolds

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

Hollywood’s heartthrobs are well known for appearing in some relatively banal films and Ryan Reynolds is certainly no stranger. After his emergence as a television actor in Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, he quickly rose to fame through a co-starring role in Blade: Trinity and a starring role in remake of The Amityville Horror. They weren’t his first films, but they established his blockbuster bona fides. Unfortunately, his fame took a hit with the failures of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the box office bomb Green Lantern. He’s since revitalized his career thanks to his well received starring role in massive X-rated hit Deadpool and co-starring with Samuel L. Jackson in the prior film to this week’s sequel release The Hitman’s Bodyguard’s Wife.

All this while, Reynolds has quietly been making an impact in small, art house roles, delivering two of his finest performances in two of my selections for this week’s five favorites. Aside from the two other films cited above, the third film is an animated film, which I have often neglected to include for these articles, but which effectively used his vocal talents.

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5 Favorites Redux #83: Big Screen Musicals

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

This weekend, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s breakout Broadway hit makes its way to the big screen after a year’s delay due to the pandemic. In celebration of the first major live-action movie musical since La La Land, I wanted to take a look at my all-time favorite musicals, both originals and stage-to-screen adaptations.

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5 Favorites Redux #82: Horror Series

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

With A Quiet Place: Part II last weekend and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It this weekend, horror seems to finally have found the footing it needed to survive in a pandemic world. While A Quiet Place isn’t yet a franchise, The Conjuring is and since neither stars Patrick Wilson nor Vera Farmiga have done enough great films to carry out a list this week, I thought I would look at five horror film series that I have most enjoyed, which makes them ostensibly my favorites.

Some honorary mentions include Halloween, which has had a few clunkers, but some really solid efforts; Friday the 13th, which is just campy horror fun even if more than half of the outings have been awful; and Hellraiser, a series with such bloody excess that you can’t help but be impressed by its masochistic glee.

Now, let’s look at the five series I did land on and only one of them would fit wholly within another genre as well.

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5 Favorites Redux #81: Emma Stone

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

With two major wide releases this weekend, Disney’s origin story of the villainous Cruella DeVil, known simply as Cruella, and the horror sequel A Quiet Place: Part II, the box office should get a sizable jolt. The two leads of these films are women, which marks a decided departure from your typical blockbuster releases. It’s a welcome turn of events, though it made it difficult to decide between Emma Stone or Emily Blunt for this week’s 5 Favorites article. Ultimately, I landed on Stone, which affords me a chance to talk about five amazing films that characterize her broad range of talent even as Cruella suggests another excellent example.

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5 Favorites Redux #80: Bana, Collete, Rhys-Davies

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

In past weeks, when there’s been several actors who don’t have sufficient film projects to fill a 5 Favorites list, I’ve pulled 5 individual actors and highlighted one per person. This week, I’m going to do something a little different. There were three actors who’ve done terrific work in terrific films in the past and between them, I could highlight a handful (or a couple) between them. John Rhys-Davies, who stars this week in Starbright, has had a rather storied Hollywood career with over 90 film credits and more than 130 television credits. Four of his big screen outings were under consideration for this article.

Second, Eric Bana has been a rather tepid actor, but his filmography features two very strong films that could have been selected for this week. His film opening this weekend is The Dry. The third is Toni Collette who’s had a fairly strong career, but a lot of duds. I was able to set out four titles for potential consideration. Her release this week is the delayed-for-a-year Dream Horse.

Now to what I settled on. For Bana, it was between Munich and Hanna, and I felt that one of them was a clearly stronger film.

For Rhys-Davies, I’ve talked countless times about The Lord of the Rings trilogy, so his prominent role as the dwarf Gimli in that film certainly merits consideration as does his appearance in two of the Indiana Jones films. The fourth title was a smaller role in the 1982 Blake Edwards comedy Victor Victoria.

Collette’s film selection had a few borderline titles like Little Miss Sunshine and The Hours, that just barely missed consideration. The four titles I narrowed the list down to were Muriel’s Wedding, Emma, About a Boy, and Hereditary.

After the break, I’ll dig into the final five. Without looking, can you guess which ones? Let it be known that there were some cheats engaged to include more of the titles. Stay tuned.

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5 Favorites Redux #79: Films of Samuel L. Jackson

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

Although Spiral will be good for a poll of the best Saw films, it won’t work terribly well for a 5 Favorites list since I love fewer than 5 of the films in the series. Chris Rock doesn’t have a lot of truly great films on his filmography, and since I don’t tend to highlight voicework, which leaves out the Secret Life of Pets films. That said, Spiral does co-star Samuel L. Jackson who is one of the most prolific modern actors with over 133 film credits since his debut in 1972 and his rock star emergence in the late 1980s and most notably post-Pulp Fiction in 1994. There are plenty of films in his filmography to make this selection process a little difficult.

Among the films I considered, but didn’t pick were: Goodfellas (1990), Jurassic Park (1993), Eve’s Bayou (1997), The Red Violin (1998), Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016).

A lot of these that I chose to highlight but not detail were because his role in the film was minimal or wasn’t particularly key to its success. He was also a welcome vocal presence in The Incredibles and its sequel.

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5 Favorites Redux #78: Favorites: Garfield, Haddish, Molina, Oyelowo, Statham

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

A wide array of new movies releases this weekend and it’s impossible to pick just one actor to highlight, so I picked five. I ultimately bypassed two names. The first was Billy Crystal whose new comedy, Here Today, co-stars Tiffany Haddish, whom I did include below. I struggled to find an adequate film to represent Crystal that I would say I enjoyed more than these other films. The other I thought about including was Rosario Dawson, who features in this week’s The Water Man, but for similar reasons to Crystal, I couldn’t choose a film that I ultimately cared for more than the below.

Now to the five actors I ultimately selected. Alongside Dawson, The Water Man features David Oyelowo and Alfred Molina. Haddish, as mentioned above, is in Here Today while Andrew Garfield is front and center in this week’s Mainstream. Finally, there’s Jason Statham, an actor whom I generally cannot stand, and his new film Wrath of Man looks like more of the same, but who did deliver one performance that finally made me appreciate him…but only that one time. Now, to the five films that I chose to represent Garfield, Haddish, Molina, Oyelowo, and Statham.

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5 Favorites Redux #77: Oscars: Best Picture

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

Sunday is the 93rd Oscars and in time with the annual ceremony, I reach the end of my 5 Favorites series on my favorite Oscar nominees and winners. Today, I tackle Best Picture.

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5 Favorites Redux #76: Oscars: Female Actors

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

In my penultimate 5 Favorites Redux article before the Oscars, I give the women their fair due and, honestly, I felt genuinely more impressed with the female side of the ledger than the male. After the break, my 5 favorites in lead and support.

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5 Favorites Redux #75: Oscars: Male Actors

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

We only have three weeks left to go before the 93rd Academy Awards and so my series of favorite Oscar nominees and winners is slowly coming to a close. This week, I look at male actors in both leading and supporting categories. Some of these choices were difficult and I may have ultimately put more in than I should have, but there have been a lot of favorite performances nominated (and myriad other favorites that weren’t).

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5 Favorites Redux #74: Oscars: Directing

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

The penultimate award of almost every year of the Oscars, Best Directing is often the crowning achievement of a cinematic career, with the winner being able to crow about their victory even if they aren’t on the list of the film’s producers who could win the year’s top prize.

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5 Favorites Redux #73: Oscars: Animated Feature

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

Having matured during the 1990s Disney renaissance, I became a quick study of animated pictures, largely those in the Walt Disney canon, but eventually branching out into various studio works. I gained appreciation for a number of studios and directors as animation entered a revitalized period in the late 1990s and 2000s with the advent of computer animation, pioneered by Pixar, a studio that eventually became a part of Walt Disney. During this period, I came to revere the works of Hayao Miyazaki, the burgeoning DreamWorks Animation, and, eventually, into the stellar works of Aardman Animation and Laika. This knowledge and familiarity hasn’t diminished in the resultant years and the emergence of the Best Animated Feature category in 2001 forever linked two of my great passions.

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5 Favorites Redux #72: Oscars: Screenplays

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

I move along this week in the post-nominations landscape with a continuation of my favorite nominees and winners in several Oscar categories.

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5 Favorites Redux #71: Oscars: Score & Song

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

This week, we get a bit musical with the two categories that fall under the purview of the Music Branch of the Academy. Below are my impressions on the Music and Song categories along with just a bit of history.

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5 Favorites Redux #70: Oscars: Film Editing

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

As I continue on in my review of the best winners and losers in each category in Oscar history, we come to a category that some don’t realize just how crucial it is to the filmmaking experience. I’ll also highlight a handful of films that didn’t make my list and even a few that didn’t make the Academy’s either.

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