Character Actors I Want Everyone to Know: Ed Lauter (1938-2013)

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An unfortunate event has forced me to move on an idea I’ve been mulling over as a companion to this column. In addition to films that I want everyone to know about, there are actors I think everyone should know as well. I hope to post every few weeks about an unsung hero of the acting world. I want to sing the praises of men and women who have made my movie going special over the years. I could amuse you with my man crush on Gene Hackman, or get you to see how sexy Susan Sarandon is. Maybe I can convince you to go back and revisit Claude Raines or Jean Arthur. All of them will be well known however and while I want to share my enthusiasm, I want to spark a little fire for those who never really get the spotlight. It is with sadness that I launch this series with a few words about the late Ed Lauter.

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Catching the Classics: The Silence of the Lambs

silence_of_the_lambs_ver2Since 1998, I have been maintaining a list of movies that I wanted to see. Sometimes these are all-time classics that passed me by, sometimes they’re genre classics that interest me. The list grows regularly and is currently more than 1800 movies long. Fogs has gone through and hand-picked several classic films for me to “fast-track” and review here. This is one of those films.

At 12 years old, I was old enough to be interested in live-action movies when The Silence of the Lambs came out, but not by any means old enough to watch an R-rated psychological thriller, at least by my parents’ reckoning. My parents watched the film when it came out on home video. I gather my mother thought it was fairly good — she always liked crime thrillers, although she was sometimes put off by gore — while my father wasn’t so fond of it. I’ve been hearing “it’s overrated” for around twenty years. But as Dad and I often disagree on films, I’ve long wondered what I would think of it myself. After all, this is a very highly-acclaimed film; it has a Best Picture win, several AFI rankings, and a top 25 spot on IMDb to its credit. It has a considerable reputation to live up to. Continue reading

The 2013 Summer Movie Preview – Part 2

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Ok, everyone, here we go! The second half of the Summer slate for 2013! There’s plenty of big movies in store, and of course, a handful of DOAs.

Click through to check out the second half of this Summer!

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Hitchcock

Hitchcock

“Hitchcock”, in part, tells the story of the making of Alfred Hitchcock’s most controversial and most successful film, “Psycho”. It also portrays a period of strain in his marriage to his wife, Alma Reville, brought on by the Great Director’s obsession with the project.

Featuring two awards calibre performances by Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren in the lead roles, “Hitchcock”, I’m sad to report, is weighted down by some unfortunate creative choices and (ironically for a film about Hitchcock) an overall lack of suspense.

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The 2012 Holiday Movie Season Preview

Ok, folks, here we are! One of the major movie release seasons of the year is upon us, The Holiday Movie Season!

The Holidays started a little early this year, with “Skyfall” (undeniably a major release) opening in the first week of November. So we’re underway! Between now and the end of the year, we’ll see some of the biggest films on the 2012 docket get released, including the conclusion to the “Twilight” Saga, “The Hobbit”, and “Django Unchained”!

Click through to check out what the Holidays hold in store!

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Now showing on cable: “The Rite”

Premiering this weekend on HBO was this January’s supernatural thriller, “The Rite”, starring Chris O’Donoghue and Anthony Hopkins.

“The Rite” is the story of a young man who enters into the seminary without a full desire to become a priest – his thinking being, if he decides to opt out, at least he’ll have a four year degree. When the time comes for him to take his vows, however, and he attempts to leave, it’s recommended that he take a class in exorcism. The church, it’s explained, is establishing an increased number of exorcists in order to address the rising number of reported cases throughout the world.

He’s sent to Rome, where the class is being held. When his skepticism is noted by the head priest, the young man is sent to see a practicing exorcist, played by Anthony Hopkins.

Together, they visit a couple of cases… until Hopkins himself succumbs to possession.

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Movies That Everyone Should See: “The Silence of the Lambs”

1991.

Jonathan Demme, Jodie Foster, and Anthony Hopkins unleash a tour de force.

“The Silence of the Lambs”.

The movie would sweep the Oscars; Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay (Adapted). It makes AFI’s “100 Years… 100 Movies” on both the original (#65) and 10th Anniversary (#74) editions. AFI honors Hopkin’s Hannibal Lecter with the top spot on their “100 Years… Heroes & Villains”, declaring him the greatest villain of all time. They honor Foster’s Clarice Starling on the same list, at number 6 on the heroes side. She is also the highest ranking female character on said list, which makes her the de facto greatest heroine of all time per AFI.

But most importantly to me, this is the first movie in this series that cracks my personal top ten.

I love this %$&#ing movie.

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