Top 5 Typecast Actors of All-Time

You may know them as some of the most famous actors and comedians in the world who seem to appear as almost the same person in each and every role they take on. Occasionally, we may get a bit tired of watching these stars in the same role continuously, but do we really want them to change? I think not as these Hollywood stars go from success to success and keep on churning out movies featuring their most reliable characters. From Adam Sandler’s childlike loser persona to the reassuring voice and presence of Morgan Freeman, these actors deal in a public image that begs for more of the same in the future.

Let’s start with Adam Sandler, the Saturday Night Live alum who has spent the last 20 years carving out his own version of the man-child character that has become his most popular persona. From ‘Billy Madison’ to ‘Happy Gilmore’ and his later appearances in ‘Grown Ups’, his films tend to follow the same formula and feature a team of comedians who have similar acting and comedy styles, such as Kevin James and Rob Schneider. Unlike many of his fellow stars on this list, Sandler did try to break free of his typecasting in ‘Punch Drunk Love’; despite being critically acclaimed, the movie was not commercially successful and has seen the comic largely return to his regular typecast roles since that film.

He may be everybody’s favorite high school virgin, but Canadian actor Michael Cera has reached his mid-20s without seeming to graduate to college. Forever typecast after his role in the cult sitcom ‘Arrested Development’, Cera remains a popular figure in movies, playing high school students and college freshmen, despite reaching his mid-20s. Films such as ‘Superbad’ and ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’ may have made Cera a household name, but unlike his co-stars such as Jonah Hill, they’ve yet to make the leap to more serious and adult roles.

Speaking of his co-stars, ‘This Is The End’ co-star Seth Rogen is another Hollywood celebrity who has struggled to shake off the character. He has become typecast playing to an extent. His break out performance as the stoner boyfriend of Katherine Heigl in ‘Knocked Up’ is now the character he plays on a regular basis. Stoner comedies like ‘Pineappple Express’ with James Franco have become the stock in trade of Rogen, who like Adam Sandler, has tried to shake off his best known character with little success. A small role in the latest Steve Jobs movie is unlikely to see his future career depart from the past despite the best efforts of the Canadian born actor and writer.

We’ve now arrived at the heavyweights of typecasting in Hollywood, which begin with Will Ferrell, who’s another comic actor forever destined to appear as the man/boy stuck in a world he doesn’t understand. Ferrell, like Sandler, made his name with SNL and went on to carve out a successful, if limited movie career for himself. Ferrell was typecast as soon as he pulled on a pair of tights to play Buddy the Elf and the helmet of Ricky Bobby as the man, who doesn’t quite understand the world he lives in and struggles to cope with an uncertain future. Ferrell has also tried to depart from his typecasting, but moviegoers only want another installment in the Ron Burgundy franchise.

Morgan Freeman may seem like a strange choice for this list filled with comic actors from across TV and the movies. However, the soothing tones of Freeman’s voice have made many blockbuster movies a little easier to watch after he broke out for the movie going public in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. Freeman has seen his soft narration for many movies featured on shows like ‘Family Guy’, which has seen the star of ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ become one of the best known and much loved actors of the modern time. He’s also an environmentalist and had offered his voice for the narration of the film ‘March of the Penguins’ back in 2005.

Typecasting has always been seen as one of the worst problems for actors who’re looking to create a popular and varied career. However, these actors have forged successful careers by playing similar roles in many top movies, which makes typecasting one of the best ways for comic and dramatic actors to enter the hearts of their fans.

What the Audience Will Learn About the Steve Jobs Movie

Director Danny Boyle stepped in to take over the duties of manning the Steve Jobs biographical movie from The Social Network’s David Fincher. Sony had originally looked to reunite screenwriter Aaron Sorkin with Fincher in a bid replicate the success of Social Network, ultimately Trainspotting director Boyle took the place of Fincher in the latest attempt to explain the life and success of Apple founder Steve Jobs. Ireland’s Michael Fassbender takes on the role of Jobs and is joined by Kate Winslet as Apple marketing executive Joanna Hoffman.

As with every biographical movie those who love the character being depicted will have problems with the movie, but Sorkin and Boyle have been at pains to explain the idea of the Apple team working behind Jobs to make the tech giant a success. The film takes a different approach to the majority of biographical works on Jobs, in the fact it concentrates on three product launches as the backdrop to the life of Jobs and his colleagues. Despite the assured presence of Jobs on stage at the product launches in 1984, 1988 and 1998 the backstage chaos of the company is revealed warts and all, hardware and software that are yet to be completed are just a few of the problems the Apple co-founder faces.

The majority of the world only knows of Steve Jobs through his presence on stage during these product launches and a juxtaposition is created between on stage and backstage. The depiction of Jobs in the movie looks to show the world the struggles he faced during his personal life and career. One of the product launches serving as a backdrop for the movie is the 1988 NEXT product launch that saw Jobs leave the apple fold and launch another tech company.

Viewers of the movie will also see something of the man behind the Apple logo, which includes a paternity battle with a former girlfriend. Steve Jobs relationship with his business partners, friends and family are revealed in the Steve Jobs movie, which gives an insight into the man who became famous for his turtleneck sweaters and being the inventor of much of the technological hardware that has changed life for almost everybody in the 21st century.

The Development of Movie Props

Movies have been a constant form of entertainment for many decades. As those decades have gone on, the technology of movie props has become highly advanced. Movies from earlier times used hand-built sets and costumes to create the magical world of film, but these methods are very limited. It was extremely difficult and very expensive to create a scene that involves highly complex character costumes and props in these early years of film.

As computers advanced in power and efficiency, complex scenery and characters that would’ve involved extensive work hours by skilled artists, became increasingly easy to create through the use of CGI (Computer-generated imagery). Utilization of CGI allows directors to dazzle movie goers with all kinds of amazing effects, which adds to the overall movie experience.

CGI’s very popular but some directors still choose to create props and costumes by hand just to add more realism to their movies. The combined effects of CGI and handmade costumes add thrilling scenery to any movie. Techniques utilized by creative makeup artists allow for some very convincing monsters and aliens that’ve a real live feel to them unlike characters created by CGI. With the advancement of technology comes even more advanced CGI techniques that allow for whole movies to be created with CGI animation. When before, animated movies used either stop motion or hand-drawn techniques.

Movie props that could never have been imagined are created everyday by people either using a computer program or their skilled hands. It’s fascinating to take a look into just how these people can pull off some of the things they do now-a-days. Many movies include behind the scenes looks into how the scenery and costumes are created. Films that’re based heavily on Sci-Fi and fantasy genres tend to include features like this due to the large amount of work put into creating characters.

It seems that many films that have come out recently showcase a variety of movie prop techniques, but focus heavily on CGI. This focus is due to the fact almost anything can be created with the right program; so many directors push the boundaries in order to get the most viewers possible. After all, the more people who see the movie, the more revenue that movie makes.

The development of movie props has created new worlds we could’ve never imagined just a few short years ago.

Keeping The Suspense Going

One of the hallmarks of any great film is suspense, whether the viewer is aware of it or not. If it weren’t for this magical ingredient, there’d be no reason to continue watching.

You see, what’s the point of watching a movie if you know what happens before it does? If you’ve seen the film many times, that’d be acceptable. Not on the first viewing tough. That one must be authentic and special to us.

Without suspense in the film industry model, it’d surely go bankrupt.

Think about any of the films that we hold dear to our hearts. Even if you’re the only fan, it’s the suspense of the unknown that keeps the viewer engaged. There’s simply no substitute for the feeling of not knowing.

Suspense in and of itself, isn’t a genre, or even a sub-genre. It’s the product of a vision and attention to the little details. Any great screenwriter will know that keeping the audience in suspense is mandatory.

Suspense could be synonymous with the word entertaining in the film industry. The most engaging and entertaining films to date have been filled with deliberate points of this.

Sometimes this can be the feeling of dread or a building of curiosity. Either way, you, the viewer, are fully engaged and along for the ride. That most memorable character reveal, the time you were hit with an amazing plot twist, or you were simply on the edge of your seat with your hands on your face. 

These are the moments that we, as movie-goers, pay the price of admission to see.

There’s simply no substitute for gripping your audience than suspense. It doesn’t matter the genre. Without it, there’s no film worth watching. Period.

It’s Horror Movie Season Time!

Fall is generally the season for horror movies, at least partly because of Halloween. Also, as the days get colder and shorter, outdoor activities tend to become less appealing, so fall’s a good season for movies in general. Summer is generally the season of the blockbuster, and most filmmakers prefer not to pit their movie against the latest superhero flick. Summer movies are also often aimed at teenagers or young adults. In the fall, most members of this demographic are back in school and thus have less time for the movies. While some horror movies are made that appeal to the young, most are aimed at adults.

Goosebumps (premiering October 16) is based on the children’s series by R.L. Stine (Jack Black). The monsters in Stine’s books turn out to be real, and he has somehow been keeping them captive in his books. Of course, the monsters escape their confinement, and Stine and his allies have to recapture them.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (premiering October 23) is the fifth movie in the Paranormal Activity series. The creatures from the titular Ghost Dimension go after a family who find a video camera and box of tapes in their garage.

Rings (premiering November 13) is the third movie in The Ring series. It’s a prequel that tells the origins of the evil Samara and that cursed video tape which kills the viewer within seven days.

Victor Frankenstein (premiering November 25) is yet another variation on the Frankenstein story. This one’s told from the point of view of Frankenstein’s assistant, Igor (Daniel Radcliffe). He and Frankenstein (James McAvoy) have been friends and colleagues since their med school days and are determined to discover the secret of immortality.

Krampus (premiering December 4) is unusual in that it’s a horror movie with a Christmas theme. In European folklore, Krampus was a demonic creature who worked with St. Nicholas. While St. Nicholas brought gifts for well-behaved children, Krampus punished the naughty kids. In the movie, a boy get fed up with his squabbling, dysfunctional family who’ve ruined another Christmas. He ends up accidentally summoning the title monster. The movie is also described as a comedy that skewers the clichés of Christmas movies.

It’s really too early to say how good these movies will be, but they may be predictable. Rings and Ghost Dimension are both sequels, while Goosebumps and Victor Frankenstein are at least loosely based on well-known books. That limits these movies’ capacity to surprise people which could limit their ability to scare people. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be bad, but they’ll need to compensate for their predictability. The makers of Victor Frankenstein seem to know that and have made the friendship between the two leads a major plot point. Krampus is a wild card since it’s not based on anything other than European folktales people may or may not know. It could be this generation’s Gremlinsand be both funny and scary, or it could be dreadful.

So as fall begins as of tomorrow, we shall see how these horror films do in theaters!


Movie Directors: Acting In Their Own Films

There have been quite a few directors turned actor in the history of films. Their ability (or lack thereof) to act as well as direct, are apparent to  movie-goers. This is going to be a brief overview of a few directors who’ve had their hand in acting as well.

Quentin Tarantino

This is a director few can match. His list of hits are many. Ever since the days of True Romance, Tarantino has been captivating his audience. Many of his films include a performance by him such as Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. However, one of the more memorable ones being “Ritchie” in the movie “From Dusk Till Dawn.” His acting here’s believable, and somewhat disturbing at times.

Jon Favreau

He’s known as the director of the “Iron Man” films. He’s also been a strong  supporting actor in many movies. In Iron Man, he plays Tony Stark’s limo driver. Not his most admirable role, but he’s funny and endearing in the short time on screen. You can see a more polished performance in the movie, “Very Bad Things,” directed by Peter Berg. In this one, Jon Favreau finds himself in an increasingly stress filled, and very illegal situation. This is a dark comedy that shows his acting chops.

Peter Jackson

Not many would recognize Peter Jackson in his role in “The Hobbit,” as he plays one of the dwarfs. Many would recognize however, that he’s far more talented as a director. Not to knock the performance, he has just shown so much more to us as a talented director. Few would disagree that “The Lord Of The Rings” movies were an epic achievement in scope and scale. The adaptation of the novels are well executed to boot. Jackson’s acting however, won’t win him any Oscars.

The world of cinema has brought to us many skilled directors. Some of them happen to be equally as skilled at acting. The multi-tasking required to direct, and perform in your own film shouldn’t be downplayed. It must demand a great deal of attention.

And we love them for it.

2015 Fall Movies to Keep an Eye On

There are some great movies being released over the next few months, so get ready to buy lots of popcorn at the theaters! There are sequels of sequels on the horizon along with some intense dramas. Look forward to seeing stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Johnny Depp, Matt Damon, and Tom Hanks on the silver screen this fall.

Here are just a few new releases to keep an eye out for.

One of the most anticipated movies that’ll be in theaters in a couple of weeks stars Johnny Depp as Boston crime boss, Whitey Bulger, in ‘Black Mass’. This big time gangster movie, based on a true story, is a renaissance of sorts for Depp who has left the spotlight for a while. He makes a smashing return with this critically acclaimed performance. The complicated story of Bulger, head of Boston’s Irish mob in the late 70s, and FBI agent John Connolly, portrayed by Joel Edgerton, centers on their attempt to take down a rival Irish gang. There’s enough mayhem in this plot to satisfy theater goers and the performances of this stellar cast will certainly be worth the price of admission.

In early October, look for Matt Damon as The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott. This work of science fiction is based on the novel written by Andy Weir and tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney (Damon) lost on the planet Mars. Everyone thinks he has died but he’s alive and trying to survive amid the numerous challenges the planet provides. Consultants from NASA helped to keep the story scientifically accurate without sacrificing the dramatic moments. This one might be the surprise of the season.

Anytime Tom Hanks is in a movie directed by Steven Spielberg, people take notice. This fall will be no exception as they team up again in a new thriller, Bridge of Spies, to be released in mid-October. Hanks portrays a lawyer recruited by the CIA to help free a prisoner held in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The movie includes a return to the screen for Alan Alda and Amy Ryan. Ryan was last seen in the Oscar winning movie, Birdman.

If you’re a Hunger Games fan, get ready for the final installment of this spectacularly successful series. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 rounds out the epic tale of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her District 13 cohorts as they take on their stoic and cruel Capitol leaders. The character helped to launch the career of Lawrence and this episode is touted as the most exciting yet. Look for it to be out around Thanksgiving.

The fall of 2015 will be an exciting time for movie goers. Don’t miss these highly anticipated blockbusters.

Top 3 Back-to-School Movies

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, summer is officially over. If school hasn’t started in your area, it’s about to. If you’re starting another year, one thing is certain: going back to school kind of sucks. Here are the top three back-to-school movies to make it sucks less.

Back-To-School #3: 21 Jump Street (2012)
In this action-packed movie, two young cops, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) go under cover as high school students to dismantle a teen drug problem. This movie makes going back to school relatable, even if you’ve been out of school for years. Schmidt and Jenko make several “back in the day” comments throughout the film, which really gives 20-somethings an idea of how things have changed. Then, it was cool to be an athlete. Now, it’s cool to be a nerd. This makes the franchise relatable across generations.

Moral: Don’t forget the good times, but remember to move forward.

Back-To-School Movie #2:  Animal House (1978)
Further cementing the idea that college Greek life is one big party, Animal House does not disappoint. It follows two freshman pledges in their attempt to join the Omega Theta Pi fraternity. When they’re turned down, they opt for the Delta Tau Chi fraternity, which has been placed on “Double Secret Probation” for bad grades and excessive partying. With appearances by well-known actors such as Donald Sutherland and Kevin Bacon, Animal House is also credited as SNL-alum John Belushi’s breakout movie role. Thanks to notorious lines, such as Bacon’s “Thank you sir, may I have another?” moment, or John Belushi’s “Pop me, I’m a zit-get it?”, this movie’s filled with classic scenes. It’ll have you shouting, “TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!” for your next themed party.

Moral: Enjoy the good times, but beware of consequences.

Back-To-School Movie #1: Mean Girls (2004)
This movie is a classic. It follows a new student, Cady (Lindsay Lohan) as she starts at a new school. She quickly learns that if you want to survive and make friends, you have to fit yourself into one of the cliques. This is the film that rocketed Rachel McAdams (as the ever-bitchy Regina George) to super-stardom. This is the film that gave us great lines such as, “On Wednesdays we wear pink,” and “Boo, you whore!” This is the film that reminds us that stereotypes are made to be broken. There are other movies that capture high school girl culture–such as The Heathers (1988) and Clueless (1995), but none seem to be as highly regarded as Mean Girls.

Moral: Stereotypes are meant to be broken.

Whether you want to reflect on your school days or relieve the pain of another first day of school, these movies have something for everyone.

Action Films: 5 Great War Films to Watch

There’s something about action movies that gets our heart pumping. We cannot ignore the exhilarating feeling of excitement we get every time we see some of them, whether on TV or at the movies. At the height of the action genre are war films. For reasons we can’t explain, a lot of us just love great action movies, especially when theme is about war.

With that said, we came up with a list of the Top 5 most popular war movies:

Movie #5: Braveheart

This movie is based on true events in Medieval England. Besides the deep historical roots and based on a book of poems, there are friendships and love. Mel Gibson plays the main character, Sir William Wallace, who falls in love with and marries, his childhood friend. But this is a war movie and things don’t end in a fanciful happy ever after. His wife is killed, and of course, this sets off a huge sequence of events with the premise of him fighting for and leading Scotland’s freedom against England. This movie has a great ending, but it’s not an expected one – the hero dies! Sad.

Movie #4: The Patriot

Rooted in history, this movie embodies the idea behind the word “patriot” during the American Revolutionary War. It has everything contained in a nice neat package – war, love, family, death and some very valuable lessons about fighting for what’s right and just. However, one of the better things about this film is its accuracy. From the clothes to some of the background characters and battles, almost everything else around the main fictional story line was historically correct. Love plays a huge part in this movie, as it’s a father and son relationship as the main focus. When his first son is shot dead, it begins to stir up his emotions for revenge and to fight for freedom. Then later on in the movie, his second and oldest son (played by Heath Ledger) is killed in battle. This lights a new fire for his father (played by Mel Gibson) to really take the battle up a notch and the cause his son so passionately fought against, continuing the battle and to help finish the war, all the while avenging both his sons’ deaths.

Movie #3: Saving Private Ryan

Another award winning action war movie. Set in Europe during the Normandy Invasion, this movie truly shows the horrors of war. It has a very realistic, heart pounding opening that shows the effects of war and what it’s really like. In fact, that’s exactly what lead to this films popularity! The idea here is “save and protect”, as a small band of soldiers, led by Captain John H. Miller (played by Tom Hanks) are dispatched to find the last living child of a mother, who has lost her three other children in war. The man survives and goes on to live a good long life, so this one at least has a happy ending!

Movie #2: Platoon 

As part of a trilogy, this movie is all about the hardships of war and the loyalty of good friends to have your back. Filmed on an island in the Phillipines, this movie comes from the producer’s real life experience during the war and growing up in Vietnam. Anyone else noticing a theme here? When the fighters start treating death casually, that’s when it’s time to worry. No love story here, but great friendships can be found along with a couple of enraged, crazy men who will stop at nothing to hide a few secrets! Charlie Sheen plays the main character, who is so tired of seeing death everywhere and fighting the war that he just wants to go home.

Movie #1: Glory

This movie was based upon half war/action and half dramatic screenplay. Based on letters long ago written by Civil War Captain Robert Shaw (played by Matthew Broderick), this movie shows ties to slavery, racism and friendship. While leading the first all-black infantry, the captain comes across many hardships, making him understand the former slaves and their cause better. Shaw stands with his men, shredding his own paycheck because of unfair government treatment and standing up for his men at the base to be given their normal supplies. When the men finally get a chance to enter battle, things don’t go quite as planned. Eventually Shaw is killed during a battle that would later be the reason the military started allowing black men to enroll.

While all these films are quite exciting, the most common theme seen is that they’re all historically based in facts, centered on real life events and people. It must be the commonality between these films that gives them a great rating. Loyalty, friendship, bravery – the embodiment of war movies. This is what makes them so thrilling, suspenseful and great to watch!

Over-Paying Stars On A Tight Budget

Often times, movie producers extend their budget, and actors and actresses are over-paid for a movie that already has a tight budget to begin with. They apparently get the cost of production accurate, but the amount that the actors and actresses are requesting to star in the film puts things well over budget. You can be sure that a star was over-paid when the revenue and the budget don’t add up. For example, the estimated budget could be $80 million, but the film only brought in $57 million. the stars make the most money from a film and sometimes bring in the least amount of money.

For example, Ben Affleck is paid $10.00 for every $1 that’s made. Affleck made a considerable amount of money for his films. We know and love Ben’s handsome demeanor which’s enough to make most of his fans run to the box office.

Acting can be a hard job and it takes a lot of experience. In fact, actors and actresses are forced to take on the role that they’re playing. It’s not all fun and games having to be in a costume (for horror movies) or keep your voice steady for a voice-over in a cartoon. Therefore, they demand to be paid considerably more than they’re worth. It involves them continuously being someone else. While most make only minimum wage, high profile stars are demanding more money.

Actors and actresses are known to be greedy. They demand a lot of money for an acting role because they have to maintain their lifestyle. A lavish home can cost them millions of dollars and this is what they require in pay for acting. They deliver a good film and will almost certainly demand what they feel they’re worth. This results in them being overpaid.

In fact, to do a sequel, some actors may require twice as much, but the film may not bring in as much money as anticipated. It’s basically a gamble by the producers but one they sometimes have to take. Again, being wealthy is a lifestyle that requires them to maintain their wealth, by requesting a considerable amount of money to act/appear in a movie.