Category Archives: Lists

Emma Thompson’s 10 Best Movies

Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson, over a career of 35 years of excellence in movies and television has proven herself one of the most reliably outstanding actresses of the last half-century.  She’s had two boom periods in her film career: when she burst onto the scene after several years in BBC series, she was a mainstay at awards shows in the early-mid 1990’s with Howard’s End, Sense and Sensibility (which she both wrote and starred in), In the Name of the Father, and a number of other projects.  She’s in the midst of a career renaissance now as part of the juggernaut that is the live action Beauty & the Beast remake, was the worst Divination professor in Wizarding World history in the Harry Potter films, and starred as the creator of Mary Poppins in Saving Mr. Banks.

My two favorite performances of Thompson’s; however, showcase her darker, cynical sense of humor.  Stranger Than Fiction has to be one of the most criminally overlooked films of the 21st Century, and if you have a day to recover from it, watching her wickedly funny and devastating adaptation of the stage play Wit for HBO will leave you in awe of Thompson’s talent.   Continue reading Emma Thompson’s 10 Best Movies

Hugh Jackman’s 10 Best Movies

Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman is done playing Wolverine.  As Logan continues to do well at the box office, it seems so weird to think that we’ve seen Jackman as the X-Man for the last time.  Perhaps only Sean Connery as James Bond has so indelibly taken a popular culture character and married it to his own identity.  For 17 years, Jackman embodied the character from the first time we saw him cage fighting in a bar in X-Men to his farewell in Logan.  Not too shabby for a song and dance man.

The Wolverine, Logan, Hugh Jackman

X-Men was most people’s first exposure to Jackman, but his talents are far from merely dicing people in super hero films.  He’s a consummate Broadway actor; an old-fashioned song and dance man, as I said.  He’s hosted the Tony Awards on four occasions; winning an Emmy for one of the shows.  He most famously got to put his musical gifts to use on screen as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables; Jackman’s only Oscar nomination.  He’s an outstanding dramatic actor, you need only watch The Prestige and Prisoners back-to-back to see the amount of range he has.  His good nature also makes him a gifted comic actor, which I think has been best shown in the underrated Real Steel and Eddie the Eagle (where, yes, he is playing Wolverine as a ski jumping coach, but it WORKS!).  It’s always possible that a payday or Ryan Reynolds stalking him to be in a Deadpool or X-Force film could give us another Jackman as Logan turn, but his career is far from over just because he’s said farewell to his most famous alter ego.

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Natalie Portman’s 10 Best Movies

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker, Padme Amidala, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman is the first millennial to win an Oscar.  She’s the first profile we’ve done on a member of the Star Wars ensemble.  She’s been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing Jane Foster in the first two Thor films.  She was born in Israel in 1981 and started her acting career at 11.  Despite being around since the early 1990’s, the actress is still several years short of 40, and after going trough a slump for a few years (which spawned the famous “Star Wars ruined my career” rant), recent outstanding performances like last year’s Jackie indicate she’s back on track as one of the most talented actresses in Hollywood.  I actually think there is a little something to the Star Wars rant in that her best films are generally before or during her time playing Padme Amidala during Star Wars Episodes I-III.  I think it was only after she won her Oscar for the twisted ballet drama Black Swan that she transitioned into taking the kind of adult roles that suit her now the way things like Leon, Heat, and Garden State did at those times in her life.  I’m excited about her next project for 2017, and I think Portman is heading into a new golden phase of her career.
Natalie Portman, Garden State
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Bill Paxton’s 10 Best Movies

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While the Oscars were embarrassing themselves yesterday, we lost one of the great character actors of the last 30 years.  Bill Paxton passed away yesterday after complications from heart surgery at the all-too-young age of 61.  I am so tired of writing obituaries, so my new policy is that unless it’s someone with whom  I have a special connection (Robin Williams or Mary Tyler Moore, for example), obituaries go on the Facebook page and the deceased’s career will be celebrated in the next Their 10 Best.

From the mid-1980’s through the end of the 1990’s, Bill Paxton was in some of the most memorable films of the era: The Terminator, Aliens, Titanic, Apollo 13, and a host of others.  Just recently, he turned in one of my favorite of his performances in Edge of Tomorrow, taking a role that literally does nothing but repeat a speech over and over and making it new each time.  I have never watched Paxton’s successful HBO series, Big Love, but he was a brief part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, serving as the “Big Bad” in season one of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.  Like the also recently lost John Hurt, Paxton was seldom the leading man (the exception being what I think is his best performance in A Simple Plan), but he made ensembles great, and he’ll be sorely missed.

Apollo 13, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon
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Halo Wars 2 – Complete Achievement List (Xbox One, PC – 2017)

I was not a huge fan of the first Halo Wars, and RTS games were my obsession in high school.  Command & Conquer, Dune, Warcraft, Age of Empires, etc.  I still don’t think that format has ever been done as well on consoles as on the PC, but maybe Halo Wars 2 will be the one that breaks the mold.  Halo Wars 2 is a Microsoft exclusive for Windows 10 and Xbox One and will launch this Friday, February 25, 2017.  For a complete list of achievements, check out the list below provided by the site on the Intertubes all cheevo addicts should worship: xboxachievements.com. Continue reading Halo Wars 2 – Complete Achievement List (Xbox One, PC – 2017)