Best bad movie accents

Best Of lists

The dreaded accent. When a casting director calls an agent and asks if their client can do X accent, the answer always has to be, ‘Of course! Are you kidding? They’re a natural!’. It’s either that or the casting director ALREADY KNOWS the actor in question cannot do said accent for love nor money, but they’re a big star and will pull in audiences regardless of whether they drift from American to English cockney to South African, and all things inbetween.

Anyway, here are some of my favourites that – God bless ’em – tried their hardest to pull off something beyond their mother tongue.

Gerard Butler

Ok, recently I watched Olympus Has Fallen and, a week or so later, London Has Fallen, and his American accent is wobbly at best. But then, the whole movie is kind of a joke, so an accent is the least of our worries here.

Jason Statham

Suffers the same fate as old Gerard, in that his American accent is like the weather. Sometimes good sometimes bad, but it’s anyone’s guess what’ll turn up on the day. Maybe it’s just action stars? They’ve never been great at accents, I find.

Don Cheadle

His stab at cockney in the Ocean’s films was truly something. And the problem was it seemed like he was GENUINELY taking it seriously and not some quirk where his character found it amusing to do silly accents.

Natalie Portman

Now it pains me to stick her in this list but her ‘English’ accent in V for Vendetta jarred with me for the entire film. Pity, as she’s SUCH a good actress too. And I bet she’s got a good accent or two in her locker. Just not in this case.

Nic Cage

Not known for immersing in a part his mediocre Southern drawl in Con Air was pretty patchy. And Italian in Captian Corelli’s Mandolin? Hey, forget about it.

Cameron Diaz

Poor Cameron, ever the sun-kissed Californian beach babe. Her go at Irish in Gangs of New York was admirable but it didn’t convince anyone. DiCaprio’s wasn’t a whole lot better, if we’re honest.

Anne Hathaway

Now for Americans, an English accent is tough at the best of times, so what made Anne think she could manage a tricky regional one in One Day? Truly awful.


Then there’s those actors that poke fun at themselves because they KNOW their accent is a big joke. They’re in on the gag.

Brad Pitt

In both Inglorious Basterds and Snatch he revelled in his shoddy accent, either put on for a scene or two (the former) or the entire film (the latter). Although he’s also come a cropper attempting a serious Irish accent in The Devil’s Own.

Kevin Costner

It’s funny, in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Costner didn’t attempt an accent at all and just used his own. Weirdly, it didn’t bother me at the time. But it still makes this list. Hooray for Carey Elwes calling him out on it years later, though.

Sean Connery

What’s great about Highlander is Connery was meant to be Spanish and he simply didn’t bother AT ALL. Already a huge star he probably felt turning up was enough. He was probably right too. Given Christophe Lambert’s ‘Scottish’ was even worse.

Best films of 2016: my picks

Best Of lists

To be fair I shouldn’t even write this post, I’ve seen a woefully low number of films this past year. So what I’ve done is split it (like last year) into favourites I’ve seen, those on my ‘to watch’ list and proper turkeys.

Enjoy.

FAVOURITES I’VE SEEN

Captain America: Civil War
Famed for their back and forth dialogue, the Russo brothers stepped up from TV to film effortlessly. It also bucked the trend of a smashy ending, which was welcome.
Deadpool
Despite the trailer ruining a lot of the jokes and the positive reviews threatening to put me off, it was still a fun blast and a breath of fresh air in the superhero genre.
Sing Street
As far as coming of age films go, this one is a treat. If you grew up in the ’80s, have been in any way part of a band or creative, this will resonate.
Rogue One
Gareth Edwards has come a long way since his debut Monsters. Here he expands the Star Wars universe in a satisfying way, giving us the familiar but twists and nice new touches.
Doctor Strange
Is it silly to doubt that Cumberbatch would be anything but good for Marvel? His performance was nigh on perfect and helped expand the MCU into new and exciting areas.
Creed
Seems young blood gives old a new lease of life from time to time. In this instance Stallone plays an aged Balboa, training Apollo Creed’s son in this surprisingly engaging story.
The Revenant
The making of this film has become almost as famous as the movie itself. With stories claiming DiCaprio went through utter hell and back to make it. It’s gruelling, but worth watching.
Spotlight
As this came right at the start of 2016 it almost slipped off my list. Not flashy nor showy, but a well-told tale making archive researching seem as engaging as it can.
High-Rise
I’m starting to think I can only take Ben Wheatley films in small doses. They’re way too stylised and I just don’t get them. That said, this film is insanity in a good way. And it’s Hiddleston as you’ve never seen him before. 

TO WATCH LIST

Everybody Wants Some!!
Hell or High Water
Hail, Ceasar!
American Honey
Paterson
The Nice Guys
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Kubo and the Two Strings
Midnight Special
Sausage Party
Green Room
The Big Short
The Hateful Eight
The Girl With All The Gifts
Victoria
Arrival

PROPER TURKEYS
Maybe it’s mean calling these turkeys, but they failed to deliver on many levels, so they get what they deserve.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Hey guys, shall we have any humour in this film? No, let’s keep it as po-faced as possible. Shall we have a plot that makes sense? Nah, there’s no time. Shall we get the audience caring about the characters? Why bother, just smash stuff in the third act. Audiences like smashy, look at Transformers. ‘Nuff said.
Suicide Squad
Ok, I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. This film could have been as edgy as Deadpool. Instead it’s got a dull as ditchwater plot where almost nothing happens. It’s got too many characters that serve almost no purpose (including the Joker) and I didn’t care about a single one of them. Not even the delectable Harley Quinn, there I said it.
Magnificent Seven
Now I didn’t see the original, but many people I know did. And most said this remake failed to get us caring about any of the characters whatsoever. Embarrassing, given the quality of the cast. For me, I went in cold as a newbie and thought much the same. Magnificent? Not by a long way.

Top 5 ‘crotch related’ movie scenes

Best Of lists

Ok, I haven’t lost the plot… not entirely. But bear with me. There’s a good number of funny movie scenes related to the crotch area that I want to share. Mostly because I thought of a few and it got me thinking of others that rose up from the dim recesses of my warped psyche.

So, here they are. What would yours be? (Assuming you’re as weird as me and want to play along.)

‘What you been feeding this thing?’ Total Recall
Arnie’s character walks into a sleazy bar where we’re introduced to his love interest – a brunette – who grabs his crotch and says the line, to which our hero responds, ‘blondes’.

‘Simon wets himself’ True Lies
Arnie again, this time in this James Cameron action flick as a spy taunting Bill Paxton’s used car salesman; who breaks down under questioning and promptly wets himself.

‘We got a bleeder’ There’s Something About Mary
We start with Stiller’s uber geek stuck in the bathroom. Then various characters slowly join him and all attempt to help, until a policeman decides to roll his sleeves up.

‘Begbie gets a surprise’ Trainspotting
Robert Carlyle’s Begbie was one of the scariest characters in ’90s cinema. Here he gets a scare of his own in a fondling session that goes awry. Carlyle makes Begbie’s reaction priceless; in that he’s horrified, but at a loss as to what to do.

‘Dallas teaches The Kid’ Magic Mike
Well into his McConaissance, a Texan by the name of Matthew teaches a green around the edges Alex Pettyfer – aka The Kid – how to take his clothes off properly. Oh, and the thrust.

Top 10 performances of Bill Paxton

Best Of lists

About a year or so ago I saw Bill Paxton in Nightcrawler, a rather excellent film starring Jake Gyllenhaal. It got me thinking that Paxton is a funny actor, in that he’s been around a long time (since the start of the ’80s), turns up fairly frequently, often delivering performances which elevate a scene or the entire thing – yet he’s not really got the plaudits he perhaps deserves.

And he’s 60 now (if you can believe it) which, given his body of work, means he’s approaching legend status in my book. Add to that his distinctive Texan drawl that’s perhaps only matched by Matthew McConaughey and you’ve got someone that should really be given more roles. C’mon Hollywood, you can do it.

And on that note, it makes picking ten of his best a tall order (his filmography turns up some gems, ‘Punk Leader’ in The Terminator anyone?) but here are my choices, in random order:

Private Hudson, Aliens (1986)
Morgan Earp, Tombstone (1993)
Simon, True Lies (1994)
John Garrett, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2014)
Bill Harding, Twister (1996)
Master Sergeant Farell, Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Joe Loder, Nightcrawler (2014)
Fred Haise, Apollo 13 (1995)
Jerry Lambert, Predator 2 (1990)
Chet Donnelly, Weird Science (1985)

From his slimy and sleazy used car salesman seducing Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies to his gung-ho soldier immortalising lines like ‘Game over, man!’ and making them gold, Paxton has had a varied and compelling career. And in recent years he’s kept his output high, popping up as the bad guy in season 2 of Marvel’s blossoming Avengers spin-off, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and the good guy opposite Gyllenhaal’s sociopathic baddie in Nightcrawler. That’s range.

So hurrah for Mr Paxton. Keep on acting, you’re a legend and we love you.

Game over? Never!

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The top 5 performances of Ralph Fiennes

Best Of lists

Somehow, I’ve not written about the living legend that is Ralph Fiennes before. And, these days, he’s just getting better with age. Well it’s high time we address that and look at my pick of his best performances.

So here they are, my favourite five. Do you agree? What would yours be?

Voldemort
Harry Potter (2005-2011)
A twisted, reptilian serpent of a villain, stealing every scene as poor Daniel Radcliffe tried to keep up. His take on Rowling’s primary bad guy was just as you’d want it to be – melodramatic, flamboyant, tortured, deliciously evil and highly watchable.

the-lost-story-of-how-tom-riddle-became-lord-voldemort-is-as-epic-and-insane-as-you-would-833734

Harry
In Bruges (2008)
Where did this performance come from? Who knew Fiennes was so funny? Obviously it helps to have a dark comedy penned by ‘the Irish Tarantino’ Martin McDonagh with zingers aplenty to get stuck into, but Fiennes’ performance was deadpan genius.

In Bruges

M. Gustave
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
In probably the quirkiest Wes Anderson film yet, Fiennes ran the show as enigmatic Hotel Manager M. Gustave, thoroughly embracing scenes with casual shootouts, jailbreaks and geriatric loving; as if it was the easiest thing in the world to pull off.

Gareth Mallory
Skyfall (2012)
Filling Judi Dench’s boots as M is a hell of a tall order, yet Fiennes effortlessly slotted into Sam Mendes’ world of Bond as if he’d been there all along. Initially we’re unsure of his motives (in terms of Bond) yet they come to earn each other’s respect.

skyfallreduced-0017

Lenny Nero
Strange Days (1995)
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by James Cameron, this gritty sci-fi thriller was a favourite of mine growing up. Largely due to Fiennes’ committed performance as former LAPD cop turned bootlegger. Worth seeking out if you’ve not seen it.

RF Strange Days

Top 5 actresses that look like cats

Best Of lists

We’ve all thought it. Well, er, some of us. Look at her eyes, so feline, so alluring, she can’t be human surely? Definitely some sort of alien. Well, whatever these ladies are, I like them. Those exotic creatures with the feline features.

So, for no reason at all really, other than I felt like sharing, here are my top five cat-like actresses in film and TV at the moment:

Olivia Wilde
The Change-Up, Alpha Dog, In Time, Her, Cowboys & Aliens, Tron: Legacy, House

her-olivia-wilde

Amanda Seyfried
Alpha Dog, Chloe, Jennifer’s Body, Dear John, In Time, Lovelace

amanda-seyfried-chloe-and-julianne-moore

Natalie Dormer
Game Of Thrones, Rush, Hunger Games, The Tudors

Natalie-Dormer

Olivia Munn
Magic Mike, The Newsroom, Iron Man 2, X-Men: Apocalypse (out 2016)

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Mila Kunis
Friends With Benefits, Family Guy, Black Swan, Jupiter Ascending

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Who are the most ‘in form’ British actresses right now?

Best Of lists

Now I was going to use the word ‘hot’ to describe this list, as in ‘they’re so hot right now’, but it seems a bit American for a list of British actresses. So for anyone into sport I’ve gone with ‘in form’, so you’ll get it – and I mean acting talent not physical form. Of course they’re all beautiful as well (goes without saying), but this is about their ability to convince us of their character and performance on screen.

Here are my favourites with some of their work listed; ones who have been lighting up the screen in impressive ways over the last few years. It’s a mixed list, which is a good thing.

Up-and-comers like Emilia Clarke, Lily Collins and Imogen Poots are still finding their feet and working on the odd clunker, whereas others like Alice Eve, Rosamund Pike and Felicity Jones really need to be in decent stuff a bit more often, given their talent.

I would say Emily Blunt, Kate Winslet and Carey Mulligan are leading the way as the most ‘in form’ at the moment. Plus Winslet really should get some sort of lifetime achievement award at some point. She’s got ten years on the rest of the women on this list and has consistently worked on good projects throughout her career – she’s so impressive.

Emily Blunt
Sicario, Edge of Tomorrow, Looper, The Adjustment Bureau
Hayley Atwell
Agent Carter, Ant-Man, Cinderella, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Lily Collins
Mirror Mirror, Love, Rosie
Carey Mulligan
Suffragette, Far From The Madding Crowd, Shame, Drive, Inside Llewyn Davis

Rebecca Hall
Iron Man 3, The Gift, Transcendence, The Town, Closed Circuit
Alice Eve
Starter For 10, Crossing Over, Star Trek Into Darkness
Emma Watson
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, The Bling Ring, Noah
Emilia Clarke
Game of Thrones, Terminator Genisys
Rosamund Pike
Gone Girl, Jack Reacher, The World’s End
Juno Temple
Far From The Madding Crowd, Killer Joe, Cracks, Black Mass
Romola Garai
Suffragette, The Hour, The Crimson Petal and the White
Felicity Jones
The Theory of Everything, Like Crazy, Chalet Girl
Sienna Miller
High-Rise, Mississippi Grind, American Sniper, Foxcatcher

Imogen Poots
A Long Way Down, Filth, The Look Of Love, Cracks
Jessica Brown Findlay
Victor Frankenstein, The Riot Club
Naomi Watts
While We’re Young, Birdman, Insurgent
Kate Winslet
Steve Jobs, The Dressmaker, Labor Day, Carnage, Insurgent/Divergent

kate-winslet-_THE-DRESSMAKER_

Top 10 ‘not Christmas’ movies

Best Of lists

Ok, a little odd, but this is basically a list of either films that are set around Christmas time, but aren’t full blown Christmas films. My picks below are rated in order of how Christmassy I deem them to be – in terms of scenes or references within them.

10. In Bruges (2008)
Even though Christmas isn’t a necessary part of this film, it just sort of sits there under the surface and kind of works. ‘Tis the season to be, er, jolly.

9. Die Hard / Die Hard 2 (1988/1990)
Both films take place on Christmas eve, one in a tower block and one at an airport, leading Bruce Willis’ cop John McClane to ask himself, ‘How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?’

8. Trading Places (1983)
Possibly one of my favourite Christmas yet not Christmas scenes, with Dan Akroyd’s character dressed as Santa down on his luck eating salmon through his beard.


7. Go (1999)
Got a bit of a soft spot for this film. It features a rave called ‘Mary Christmas’, has Timothy Olyphant in a Santa hat and Katie Holmes talking about the joys of the holiday season.

6. Lethal Weapon (1987)
With a Jingle Bells opening and a Christmas tree drug bust writer Shane Black knows how to weave Christmas into his film with style.


5. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Stanley Kubrick’s film is kind of odd, in that Christmas saturates the film, but for no obvious apparent reason. It starts with the ‘happy’ couple attending a party.

4. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
We start with Robert Downey Jr.’s character robbing a store on Christmas and the film also features Michelle Monaghan in a sexy Santa outfit.

3. Batman Returns (1992)
Tim Burton sprinkles this film with Christmas throughout, including a lovely Christmas tree sequence and a sexy kiss from Catwoman.


2. L.A. Confidential (1997)
Russell Crowe’s Officer Bud White pulls Christmas decorations onto a wife-beater, Kevin Spacey’s Hollywood cop attends a festive party and Guy Pearce’s ambitious cop loses control at a ‘Bloody Christmas‘ scandal.

1. Gremlins (1984)
Considering it’s not a Christmas film this holiday runs right through this film, from Gizmo wearing a Santa hat to Phoebe Cates’ character’s confession that her dad died in a chimney dressed as Santa.

Top 5 movie quotes of 2015

Best Of lists

Strong year for strong lines I say. Some stick in your head because they shocked you, some no doubt amused, confused and titillated you. Some perhaps inspired you. Here’s my top five of the year.

5. Wild
‘My mother used to say something that drove me nuts. There is a sunrise and a sunset every day and you can choose to be there for it. You can put yourself in the way of beauty.’

Reese Witherspoon here plays Cheryl Strayed, a woman who walked 1100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail to find herself again. An inspiring film and underrated performance.

4. Legend
‘I come here for a proper shootout. A shootout, right, is a shootout, like a Western.’

Tom Hardy plays unhinged Ronnie Kray in a scene where he undermines a gangster who’s armed himself with a bat rather than a gun for a brawl.

3. Mad Max: Fury Road
‘Oh what a lovely day!’

Nicholas Hoult’s War Boy cries through grinned teeth as he chases Charlize Theron’s Furiousa into a life-threatening storm with Tom Hardy’s ‘blood bag’ Max strapped to his car.

2. Kingsman: The Secret Service
‘Manners maketh man’

Uttered by Colin Firth’s suave spy as he teaches his young protégé Eggsy what being a Kingsman is all about, doling out justice to some local pikeys with his clever umbrella.

1. Whiplash
‘Not quite my tempo’

Somewhat of an understatement given J.K. Simmonds’ highly strung jazz teacher would be as likely to throw a cymbal at your head moments after, as he would to praise your talent.

Top 30 Aussie actors

Best Of lists

They come from a land down under. And then they all eventually move to Hollywood. Ah, Australia. For Europeans and Americans it can feel like the other side of the world, and it pretty much is, in some ways.

Often the mention of the country conjures up images of beaches, surf and endless sunshine. Whilst that’s all there it’s also a place that seems to churn out an astonishingly high number of talented actors. Here’s my pick of a few of my favourites and the films or TV that put them on my radar.

THE UP-AND-COMERS
Margot Robbie
The Wolf of Wall Street, Focus
Chris Hemsworth
Thor, Avengers, A Cabin In The Woods
Liam Hemsworth
Hunger Games
Joel Edgerton
Warrior, Animal Kingdom
Rose Byrne
Spy, Sunshine, 28 Weeks Later
Jai Courtney
Spartacus, Jack Reacher
Mia Wasikowska
Alice in Wonderland, Stoker
Rebel Wilson
Pitch Perfect
Melissa George
30 Days Of Night, Triangle
Jason Clarke
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Zero Dark Thirty
Abbie Cornish
Stop-Loss, Limitless, Candy
Emily Browning
Sleeping Beauty, Legend
Yvonne Strahovski
24: Live Another Day, Killer Elite
David Wenham
300: Rise Of An Empire, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
Sam Worthington
Avatar
Teresa Palmer
Warm Bodies
Sullivan Stapleton
Animal Kingdom, 300: Rise Of An Empire

THE HEAVYWEIGHTS
Nicole Kidman
Eyes Wide Shut, Days of Thunder
Russell Crowe
Gladiator, L.A. Confidential, The Quick And The Dead, The Insider
Cate Blanchett
The Lord Of The Rings, The Life Aquatic, The Aviator
Eric Bana
Hanna, Troy, Munich
Hugh Jackman
X-Men, The Prestige
Geoffrey Rush
Pirates Of The Carribbean, The Tailor Of Panama, The King’s Speech
Guy Pearce
Momento, L.A. Confidential
Naomi Watts
King Kong, The Ring
Mel Gibson*
Lethal Weapon, We Were Soldiers
Toni Collette
About a Boy, Little Miss Sunshine
Hugo Weaving
The Matrix, The Lord Of The Rings
Heath Ledger**
The Dark Knight, Candy, Brokeback Mountain
Ben Mendelsohn
The Place Beyond the Pines, Animal Kingdom, Starred Up

* Despite the fact that, technically, Gibson is American, he carved out his acting career in Australia and was roommates with Geoffrey Rush at one point. So he gets included.
** I appreciate Heath Ledger is the only one on this list no longer with us, but he was so good he should stay. And that’s that.