Sunday, August 23, 2015


Today's Director Spotlight focuses on a man who has done 8 films in his award-winning career - Wes Anderson. For all 8 of his films he has also co-written them as well with others such as Owen Wilson, Noah Baumbach and Roman Coppola. In this post , I will highlight 3 of Wes's films that are never considered his best work but still highly entertaining movies. They range from young love to a old man of the sea's search for a elusive creature.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) -  I have a little secret to tell. This and the last movie I will talk about might be my two favorite Wes Anderson films. In the film, Bill Murray plays world famous oceanographer documentarian Steve Zissou  who latest film is going to be his discovery and destruction of a "Jaguar Shark" that killed his best friend. A sort of black comedy at points, we get to see Steve and his crew go through everything from pirates , a unexpected son and lack of finances. 

The cast is one of many Wes Anderson regulars like Owen Wilson as Steve's possible son Ned Plimpton who financial supports the film as a chance to finally get to know the man who could be his father,Willem Dafoe plays a hilariously jealous first-mate who finds the presence of Ned a threat to his relationship with Steve to Jeff Goldblum as a  millionaire rival of Steve's who becomes a reluctant ally. Add in great actresses Angelina Huston as Steve's ex-wife & Cate Blanchett as a pregnant reporter there for a story and gets much more and this is one of the best cast in any of Anderson's films.

I enjoy this film because of all the wackiness that happens. Bill Murray plays Zissou as a grumpy, past his prime man but you also real sympathy for him thanks to Wes's writing and Bill's performance. A scene where Steve and his crew are trying to save the "Bond Company Stooge" (Bud Cort) from pirates who kidnapped him shows this perfectly. As Steve checks the rooms in a abandoned hotel and is unable to find him. Then as he is about to quit, he trips down some steps. Bill shows the pain and disappointment in his face as Steve has realized this is it and wonders what he has to show for it as he tells the cameraman filming it to leave it in. Just one scene that shows the flaws of Steve but lets you also continue to like him or at least understand him. 

Also it has a cool end credits sequence that is heavily borrowed from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai 

 Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) - A Stop-motion animated film, this comedy is widely considered one of the best of Wes's career.  George Clooney and Meryl Streep do the voices of Mr. Fox and his wife Felicity who are trying to live a quiet life but it is hampered by farmers protecting crops and Mr. Fox's inability to not let go of his days of being a thief. Based off the Roald Dahl book (the main reason Wes agreed to make the film), it is able to highlight the humor of the book but also add Anderson touches to the film. The stop-start animation might be tough to get use to at first but once you do you are able to you will enjoy the style and the humor of the movie. Also Wes picks some very classic and modern musical pop-tunes. 

The voices include many Anderson mainstays like Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman but the movie belongs to Clooney and Streep's characters. The story highlights their relationship through the good and bad moments and it is great vocal work by the two. Main other themes are hit upon in this film such as jealousy through Mr. Fox's son Ash (Schwartzman) when everyone starts loving his cousin Kristofferson.  Another one is what happens when you get restless for your old way of life and how it affects not just you but everyone around you displayed through Mr. Fox's return to thievery. I love films that look like it's one thing but ends up being something else and that's what Fantastic Mr. Fox is. As a reviewer said about this film "Wes made a kids movie for grown-ups."

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)- Moonrise is my favorite Wes Anderson film. A touching film filled with different and eccentric characters, this may Wes's most touching film as it's focus is the love story between a unpopular odd boy Sam (Jared Gilman) and quiet Suzy (Kara Hayward).  Their story is one that is very real and you can see it in their performances as they are going through the beginnings of young adulthood and still have the fire and love that the adults around them have lost. 

The movie is helped by a wonderful supporting cast (Murray, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand) and the beautiful cinematography of the land that showcase the wonderful scenery. The film highlights how some adults are stuck in certain ways and the kids who are not yet beaten down by adulthood and finding young love and adventure for the first time.  Also I can't say enough how good Jared and Kara's performances are. They have to jumble so many emotions and they nail it perfectly. As it has a kitten in it , so of course I was going to love that as well. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Recently it was said that we are in a golden age of cartoons. The last great age of cartoons to me was in the early to mid 1990's. We had such wonderful cartoons as : Animaniacs, X-Men, Gargoyles, Batman :The Animated Series, Rugrats, Rocko's Modern Life are just a few of them you could name. While I won't say whether cartoons are better now or then, I am going to make my picks for the best current cartoons on the air right now. (the criteria being that it has to have to be currently showing new episodes or will in the future. So for example, Legend of Korra would definitely be on this list and very high too but since it ended last year I can't include it.) In the future I will be doing a all-time greatest cartoons list but for now here is my Top 10 Best cartoons on television right now!

10. Regular Show

- Zany would be a excellent way to describe this show. A show about two friends Mordecai, a blue jay and Rigby, a raccoon and their lives and all the characters they interact with.  I admit to not having seen all the episodes but the ones I have, I've enjoyed. The show does miss sometimes with it silliness but it is better to miss wildly sometimes and succeed other times then to be normal and boring all the time.

9. Adventure Time

- About to start it's 7th season, Adventure Time is one of the longest-running cartoons on this list and in television today.  While not quite at the level of it's earlier seasons, A.Time is still able to deliver some terrific episodes. A example of this is "Jermaine" - a story about brothers but also about letting go of the past so you can focus on the present. Other episodes focus on parenthood and the joys and fears of being a parent through Jake, " The Diary" a wonderful soap opera-ish story and "The Comet" a tremendous season finale.

8.American Dad

-To say Family Guy is a mess is a understatement and The Cleveland Show was cancelled just as it was hitting it's peak but American Dad remains Seth McFarlane's best show out there today. Boosted by funny characters like Roger the Alien and Stan Smith and the rest of his family. The show is able to have heartfelt moments in the midst of some of the strangest and wildest episodes you could imagine. (Example : In one episode Hayley's husband Jeff returns from outer space while in another Stan shrinks his family so they can live in a miniature toy town)

7. Archer

-This was a unique season of Archer overall as we got to see Sterling Archer as a father as the team got back to basics. It was a fun season as we got to see the show continue to be hilarious while tackling important real issues like "what do you do when you become a parent and you are nowhere near ready for it?" Also the writing on the show remains top-notch with quick fire insults and some of the best catchphrases and innuendos any show could write.

6. Star Wars : Rebels

-To make a cartoon from a legendary movie series is difficult. To blend in new characters with some of the main characters from the movies is even harder. Rebels accomplished both remarkably well. Combining new characters  like Ezra Bringer ,Kanan Jarrus and Ahsoka Tano (who was in previous Star Wars cartoons) with guest appearances by Yoda, Darth Vader , Lando Calrissian  and C-3po/R2-D2.  The best thing about the show too is it is fun to watch, tons of enjoyable action with a little bit of wit. After all, isn't that what we want from Star Wars : fun? Thankfully the show delivers that and more with great stories.

5.Bojack Horseman

- The second season of this popular show was much better than it's first as each of the characters got to see growth however big or little it was. The show matures into a comedy that blends the wackiness of multiple human and animal characters interacting with the dark drama this show features.  We got to see Bojack have a little fame to only see it all crash down again. Yet even with that , there was still hope that things would get a little better each day.

Other supporting characters had great moments like Diana's crisis of trying to find purpose and figuring out what her purpose is, Mr.Peanutbutter and Diane's marriage woes but also shows why the make a good couple and  Princess Carolyn finally standing up fro herself at the end of the season. "Hank After Dark" is a tremendous episode of Bojack that touches on the Cosby story in it's own way as Diane calls out the celebrity and we see the public reaction.  One other thing to credit the show with is how it blends so many cameos from different celebrities without taking away from the main focus of the cast.  Hopefully season 3 will continue not only the brillant mix of humor/drama but also expand these characters even more.

4.Bob's Burgers
- Season 5 brought us back into the lives of the Belcher family and it was a welcomed joy. Bob and Linda continue to be shockingly one of the best couples on tv as Bob continues to be a sloppy mess who cares about his place while Linda remains loyal and loving to her husband and family as she got more to do this season.  As for the children, Tina and Louise remain great especially highlighted in "Hawk and Chick" a nice episode that highlights the closeness of Louise to her father. Another fantastic episode is "Tina Tailor Soldier Spy" which highlights Tina and her ability to own the way she lives her life and the way she believes in herself no matter how outlandish it seems and Louise's love of her big sister.

3. Gravity Falls

- Season 2 of Gravity Falls did a great job of not only fixing up certain problems from season 1 but also adding even more depth and mystery to the show which was highlighted by one of the best episodes of the year "Not What He Seems" and the equally great " A Tale of Two Stans" . In these episodes we find out the origins of Stan and his big secret which introduces the real Stanford Pines to the Falls Universe.  The flashback story of how Stan and his brother broke apart and what happened to him is one of the best origin stories I have seen in any cartoon. Also highlighted through the season and these episodes is Dipper and Mabel's bond as siblings and their trust in their Uncle Grunkle Stan. Dipper's trust in Stan has been broken while Mabel worries that her and Dipper will end up hating each other when they get older like Stan and his brother were outstanding plot points highlighted by great vocal work by Jason Ritter and Kristen Schaal.

Alex Hirsch (besides being the creator also does the voice of Grunkle Stan) has created a quirky , strange yet heartwarming world here. What started out as a monster of the week show has now become about family and the main things that unite and break apart them.

2.Rick and Morty

- There have been 3 episodes of season 2 that has aired so far. This is not hyperbole when I say that the show is better as it has ever been. In just this season we have had great laughs to scenes where the tears start flowing and can't stop. In the latest episode , Rick had reunited with his ex , Unity (a organism that assimilates organisms and whole planets). They bring out the worst in each other yet when Unity leaves Rick and Rick goes back to Earth and contemplates committing suicide, you can't help but feel sympathy for Rick even though he had been a great A ass almost the entire episode.(Also the music at the end of the episode is so so good. The show always does a wonderful choice of music) A lot of this character-building is credited to the creators of the show Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon.

Each episode this season has shown off the things that makes this show great whether it be emotional moments like Morty playing the game "Roy" where he lives the life of a man who gets cancer and is able to overcome it to imaginary brilliant scenes like when Rick, Morty and Summer  mess with the time stream and cause over 24 parallel streams all shown on the screen at once to a bunch of Jerry's in one room trying to figure out how to set up a tv. We have had great lessons in episodes such as Morty learning that what you think might be the right thing to do, will end up causing repercussions in the form of a ton of death and destruction. The best part is that we still have seven episodes to go and the show has gotten better each episode. I can't wait to see what new things, creatures Dan and Justin will show us from their minds. I have no doubt it will be some of the most wild, imaginative, insane and brilliant things that will have been seen on any cartoon  show.

1. Steven Universe

- Steven Universe is the rare show that is made for all ages. Children can enjoy the humor and the wonderful visuals and fusions. Adults can enjoy the show as it brings up many adult topics through it's stories. Some examples being : Gender-neutrality in "Alone Together", Lost Love and Jealousy (Rose's Scabbard), Fear of something happening to someone you love and/or care about ( Full Disclosure), And consent and non-consent in the form of fusioning and the aftermath of that (Cry for Help, Keystone Motel) These episodes and more show what Steven and the Crystal Gems (Pearl, Garnet and Amethyst) go through and in some cases cause. Especially in the case of Garnet who is one of the best characters on television. Garnet, a fusion of non-binary lovers Ruby and Sapphire, has shown that you can show LGBT characters in a cartoon universe in a positive and beautiful manner.

Other terrific episodes have shown how Steven's father Greg met his mother Rose Quartz in flashbacks (Story for Steven and We Need to Talk),  Dealing with Broken Friendships (Maximum Capacity) and so many more. I have talked more about the show here : but the quality of the show has improved from where it started at. The show continues to be the best cartoon on television today.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Today is August 9th. Also more importantly it is Queen Gillian Anderson's birthday. (Also Anna Kendrick's as well and the universe needs to get these two in a movie together as soon as possible.) There is no doubt that Gillian's most famous and well-known role in tv or movies is as Dana Scully on The X-Files. In my humble opinion, over the course of nine seasons and two movies Gillian was able to make Special Agent Dana Scully into one of the best characters in television history. The scientific yang to Fox Mulder's paranormal believer yang, Scully was always there to question all of the stuff happening each episode but also always having Mulder's back no matter the circumstance.* Also Scully is also one of the most positive role models for young ladies as she is a tough, strong character without having to sacrifice anything to be that way.

*Just one of the numerous times this is highlighted is in "Tooms". Mulder worries that Scully's career could be damaged if she helps him on the case which leads to Scully telling him "Mulder, I wouldn't put myself on the line for anybody but you."

In this post, I am going to list my 3 favorite episodes that highlight what I love about Dana Scully and Gillian's performance as Dana. The fun and tough thing about this is that I know others will pick other episodes. For that I say: GREAT!! Different opinions is a good thing because no matter what episodes you pick as her best this is a undisputable fact. DANA SCULLY IS THE BEST.

Beyond the Sea - A early season 1 episode, at the beginning of the episode we get to meet Dana's mother and father after a dinner at her house. After they leave, Scully is awaken from her sleep by a vision of her father. Just as this happens, she receives a phone call saying her father has died.

Days later, Mulder and Scully are brought into a case where a young couple has been kidnapped. The only lead is the psychic visions of Luther Lee Boggs who Mulder put away and does not trust. As they visit Boggs, Scully suddenly sees another vision of her father in the place of Luther.  Then as she is about to leave, Boggs sings "Beyond the Sea", the song that played at her father's funeral and refers to Dana as "Starbuck'', her father's nickname for her. Later, Boggs tells them some things that helps Scully find one of the victims. So the big question is : IS Boggs truly on the level and does Scully really believe he has psychic ability or is Luther working with the kidnapper?

This is one of Chris Carter and Gillian Anderson's favorite episodes and you can tell why. A emotionally driven episode, this is also the first one to really focus on Dana's character. We get a glimpse of Scully's family and her relationship with her family and her beliefs. Also its a sort of role reversal episode where Scully is the one who believes and Mulder is skeptical of everything that is happening. Gillian does a wonderful job of showing vulnerability in her interactions with Boggs especially when Boggs tells her to come to his execution so she can receive her father's last message. It is shown that Scully does not go and Gillian nails the final scene when Mulder asks her why she didn't go and take the chance to hear from her father one more time.  With her voice trembling she tells Mulder she knows already. When he asks how, she says simply and emotionally "He was my father."

Memento Mori- This episode and season 4 is what won Gillian her Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama series.  At the beginning of the episode , Scully reads from a letter she wrote to Mulder about her cancer diagnosis. She decides to continue working after talking about it with Mulder. They head to Pennsylvania to meet with a MUFON member who has the same symptoms as Scully. Mulder and Scully find out that all but one of the members of the MUFON have died of the same cancer Scully has.

Scully goes to the hospital where the last surviving MUFON member, Penny is at.  After talking with her and her doctor, Dana decides to undergo chemotherapy. Meanwhile , Mulder and the Lone Gunmen investigate a research facility in the hope of finding something to will help Scully.

Gillian delivers one of her best performances of her career. From the opening scenes where she is narrating her letter to Mulder while looking at x-rays of her cancer to her discussing it with Mulder, Scully tries to show she is not afraid of this. But little by little, her resolve cracks as she gets closer to Penny and when Penny dies, the tears and emotions all start coming out. Scully confides to Mulder in a emotional and beautiful scene in the hospital hallway. Mulder tells her that they will find a way to solve this. Scully tells him that she will continue to fight and work with this cancer to prove something to him, her family and most importantly to herself. Mulder understand and one of the best moments of the show is Scully's smile to him and their embrace in the hallway. A wonderful moment that led to a well-deserved award for Gillian.

Bad Blood- A episode that shows off Gillian's comedic side (As well As David's too). It starts off with Mulder shooting a young man who he thinks is a vampire but revealed to only be wearing dentures. So Mulder and Scully have to tell their sides of the story and as they are telling each other what happened, we see what they think of each other and themselves.

This is probably the funniest episode of the show and we get to see Gillian flex her comedic muscles. From a scene where in Mulder's version she tells Mulder how she does everything for him "I only had cream cheese bagel and it wasn't even real cream cheese, it was light cream cheese!" to in Scully's version her exacerbation at Mulder's crazy theories and her reaction to Mulder's denial of singing the Shaft theme while drugged up. Such a fun episode and one of the most quotable episodes of the series.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

                HOPES FOR 2015 TV season 

We are coming up very soon on a new tv season for a lot of our favorite shows. I've lost count of how many I will be watching but in the following below I will name the shows I regularly watch and list my hopes for what happens this season. Tell me your thoughts on Twitter by tweeting at me @cdulaney85 or in the comments below.

Sleepy Hollow - Oh boy, I don't know to be honest. I do hope they are doing "monster of the week" stories. The main thing though is they must have the focus about Abbie and Ichabod. Season 1's success was because of their tremendous chemistry and that was messed around with too much in season 2. So a focus on them and their partnership with nice moments from Jenny Mills as well will go a long way in righting the ship back to the great course it was on before.

Agents of SHIELD - The upcoming "Secret Warriors" arc sounds pretty good. My main hope is for a few more "traditional" comic villains to show up. Simmons to be found quickly and not turned evil. Bobbi to get healthy and kick more ass. Fitz gets to be happy for once. AND WARD FUCKING DIES

The Flash - I am looking forward to all the new heroes being introduced in the series but I hope they keep the focus on the core team members. Iris working together with Team Flash is another thing I am looking forward to and I hope we can see a friendship between her and Caitlin grow. Joe lives at least for one more season and Tom Cavanagh continues to be a part of the cast as well no matter what his role will be. As for the romance side, have it not the main focus of the show until they finally decide to have Barry and Iris get together which I hope comes by the end of the season at the latest. (If you are going to commit and have a bunch of future hints to it, then just do it.)

Agent Carter - With season 2 being in Hollywood, I'm hoping for Peggy to be hit on by movie actors and then turn them down in fabulous fashion. Jarvis absolutely HATING it there but always being there by Peggy's side. Angie getting a chance to succeed there with help from Peggy. A return of Dottie!! Last thing is a one on one fight between Peggy and Madame Masque.

Brooklyn 99 - Hoping for more of the fun and comedy of season 2. As far as Jake and Amy, hoping they can be a full-fledged couple by the end of the season. Holt returns as Captain but not until a few episodes into the season. Rosa still being a complete badass.

iZombie -With it seeming like the Max Rager corporation being the big bad for season 2, I'd like to see Liv and Blaine working together to stop the corporation. Major and Ravi back to being besties. More Peyton in season 2. and last but not least , A Kristen Bell guest appearance as well. (Save Jason for season 3.)

Arrow- First, I'd like to see Olicity in full relationship form some episodes and in the background of others. (like the little teasings, the fights, the making up after the fights, etc.) Would love to see more of Diggle's family life. Laurel and Sara to reunite and then have Laurel move over to Legends of Tomorrow where more women are much needed.  More unique team-ups : Thea/Felicity, Diggle/Thea, Oliver/Mr.Terrific for example. (excited to see Echo Kellum as Mr. Terrific, hopefully in costume by the end of the season)  The biggest thing is I want Damien Darhk to be a badass villain. I was so disappointed in Ra's last season and I think Neal McDonough will do a great job and will make Damien a  wonderful opponent for Oliver Queen.

Doctor Who - More fun adventures with Doctor/Clara. New and scary villains (and please no more Daleks or Cybermen, I know this is wishful thinking but give them a year's rest.) (update: I guess the Daleks are going to be in this season but at least they are multiple colors this time!)

Legends of Tomorrow - If the show is going to travel through time then go all the way with it. Quantum Leap this bitch. Also I want to see lots of bickering and Rip Hunter wise-cracks. Sara struggling with her resurrection but still being herself. Also limit the crossovers with The Flash and Arrow once the series starts. Let it get it's footing before we do mega-crossover "CRISIS" stuff.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Let me start this column by saying Anna Kendrick is one of my favorite actresses in the world. She is one of the most talented actresses in the world today and in this post I am going to highlight a few scenes as proof. In these I will explain why she makes the scene so good and afterward you can watch it for yourself. These scenes will highlight her dramatic, comedic and romantic chops as well as her unbelievable good singing ability.

In 50/50 it is the story of Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who finds out he has cancer and has a 50-50 chance of surviving it. Adam goes to see a young and inexperienced  therapist Katherine played by Anna. Through a their sessions they become more and more friendly as it is shown that she is helping him open up and they end up connecting as patient/doctor, then friends.

This leads to this scene as Adam calls Katherine as he is scared and tired. Anna is wonderful in this scene as Katherine is falling for Adam but still needs to help him as a doctor first. (a note : It is really hard I think to do emotional scenes on the phone as you can't see the person in the scene you are talking with. Anna and JGL do a great job in this scene overcoming it.) You can see their chemistry and Anna shows it via her facial expressions and the tone in her voice. Anna also does a great job showing Katherine's emotions just via her eyes and her smile when she hears Adam mention how she would be a good girlfriend. It is a wonderfully romantic scene between the two.

Up In the Air is where Anna earned her first ever Academy Award nomination for playing Natalie Keener, a newly-hired employee where Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) works. She has devised a idea of instead of firing people in person, they fire people via videoconferencing. Natalie is a ambitious go-getter who can't understand why Ryan is so unemotional about many different things. Over the course of their business trip, Natalie gets to see up close what this life is like and she finds herself not liking it.

In this scene, Natalie is firing a person for the first time via teleconference. She is nervous and uncomfortable as she knows the person she is firing is in just the other room. Natalie goes through the scripted material as the employee she is firing at first yells at her and then starts crying uncontrollably. Through it all, Natalie keeps her reserve as she finishes the call. Anna shows so much in this scene with just her eyes as when the call starts she looks to see his silhouette in the other room. How she keeps looking at him in the other room as he starts sobbing uncontrollably. You can see on her face that she wants to help him more, console him but she can't. And because she can't, it is hurting her inside having to do this. Great work by Anna and shows why she deserved her nomination.

Pitch Perfect is without a doubt the movie Anna is most famous for and her most popular movie (not counting Twilight ) In the film Anna plays Beca Mitchell, a introverted college student who just wants to produce music and does not want to be a part of anything. Her father makes Beca a deal : Join a club for a year and if she doesn't like it she can leave (SPOILERS : She stays). So she joins the Barden Bellas and she becomes friends with them while winning the acapella competition. (There's way more including romance and some great supporting characters so I'll just say buy the dvd and watch it. You will not regret it.)

The two scenes I am going to highlight show Anna's humor and musical sides. The first scene shows off Anna's ability to be the "straight man" in a comedy to Brittany Snow's Chloe. Beca is in the shower singing when Chloe hears it and goes to try to convince Beca to try out for the Bellas. It's a pretty funny scene for how Chloe is all casual talking to her as Beca is as uncomfortable as you can get. The scene shows off how well Anna can play off other characters wackiness which she has shown in other films like Rapture-Palooza and the movie's sequel Pitch Perfect 2.

The second scene highlights Anna's tremendous singing ability. Anna before she went into films had already been a theater veteran and a Tony award nominee. So in the scene, Beca is trying out for the Bellas. She performs the song "Cups" in front of Chloe and Aubrey to get into the group. Anna learned the song prior to signing for the film and it was included into the movie. the performance is only a minute long but it is one of her best. You can hear her not miss a beat as she performs the song while playing with cups. This is just a little hint of how good a singer she is. (if you want to see a whole film of Anna singing, check out The Last Five Years. It is a unique musical and Anna does a great job of carrying the movie.)

I hope you enjoyed this spotlight on Anna Kendrick and some of her best scenes in films. (This did not even talk about how good at social-media she is. She is one of the best and funniest people on Twitter) She has some future films coming up that look good as well : The Accountant with Ben Affleck , Table 19 and she has just wrapped filming Mike and Dave need Wedding Dates - a rom-com with Aubrey Plaza, Zac Efron and Adam DeVine. As a fan, I am looking forward to these films and whatever else she has planned in the future.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


This week's post is going to be about a well-known director movies of the 1990's : Tim Burton. Tim has been working on movies ever since 1981 when he was a animator on The Fox and The Hound. The first film he directed was Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and has directed numerous other films including 2 Batman films. Today I will talk about 3 of my favorite films he made in the decade of the 1990's.

Ed Wood (1994) - I know this isn't a completely accurate portrayal of Ed Wood's life/career but this movie is just so fun. Originally not the director, Burton makes this his homage and tribute not only to Wood but the terrible exploitation films of the 50's. Johnny Depp delivers one of his best performances as Edward Wood, a man making some of the worst films in cinematic history but thinks he's making masterpieces. Depp and Burton always do their best to show Wood not as a tragic figure but a man who loved movies and loved making movies no matter how bad they were. Martin Landau won a Oscar for his portrayal of a aged, profane Bela Lugosi. Landau adds a clear vision of a man who knows he's past his prime as a actor only remembered for being known as Dracula but also knows that this is all he has left - fighting a giant mechanical squid in a inflatable pool.

Boosted by Bill Murray, Jeffrey Jones, Sarah Jessica Parker, George Steele and Patricia Arquette as Ed's future wife, this is a really enjoyable film to watch. You always root for Ed and his friends to succeed even when making horrible films and you feel the happiness Ed does when his showing of "Plan 9 from Outer Space" is sold out. I love that it doesn't make fun of Wood but celebrates him and his passion for movies.

Sleepy Hollow (1999) - Tim Burton's take on the classic "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" story is a very interesting one. Tim stays true to some of the story while adding more witchcraft and grittiness into the story making it very much a horror drama film. A visual delight to the senses is one way to describe the film. Very much like the Hammer films of the 1970's, it transports you into the period era it is set and also keeping the drama going throughout.

Johnny Depp plays Ichabod Crane, the "hero" of the story. Johnny does a nice job of playing Ichabod not as a macho hero but as a man out of his element and scared to death of what he is finding out in the small town. Christina Ricci is very good as Katrina Van Tessel who hides secrets while falling for the young constable from upper New York. A tremendous supporting cast as well from Michael Gough to Christopher Walken as the Headless Horseman who will scare you guaranteed. This film is one that if you are a fan of the Victorian era and a fan of horror movies , you will love it.

Mars Attacks (1996) - Tim's love letter to B-movie sci-fi films, disaster films and black comedy all in one exceptional and cheesy movie. Not critically beloved but a definite cult classic, exactly the way Burton probably wants it to be. The basic plot of the film is simple : Aliens from Mars arrive to Earth and cause havoc and destruction.

The cast is a all-star one from Jack Nicholson to Glenn Close to a young Natalie Portman to Danny Devito (in a role that is the beginnings of the one he will play on Always Sunny) to Michael J. Fox (brilliant in this) to Sarah Jessica Parker to Pierce Brosnan to...I better stop. If I keep rattling off names I'll be here all day. Three of the best roles though are played by Pam Grier, Jim Brown and Tom Jones. Brown and Grier in particular steal all the scenes they are in and add a lot of heart to the zaniness. I will say if you are looking for a very fun and wacky sci-fi film with extra cheese, I highly recommend this film.