Tag Archives: Tom Cruise

Do Not Miss TOM CRUISE WEEK at Grantland

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 11.28.26 PMGrantland is hosting TOM CRUISE week, and it’s a must see. The top of the page has this Top Gun/Risky Business mashup header, which features an animated Tom Cruise doing his iconic underwear dance.

staceejaxx-tom-cruiseThis special celebratory section has several articles with titles like THE COMEDIC STYLINGS — INTENTIONAL AND OTHERWISE — OF TOM CRUISE, and  REMEMBERING ‘RAINMAN’: THE $350 MILLION MOVIE THAT HOLLYWOOD WOULDN’T TOUCH TODAY and  SEX, DEATH AND KUBRICK: HOW ‘EYES WIDE SHUT’ CHANGED TOM CRUISE’S CAREER.

bracketround1The most entertaining one is called WHICH TOM CRUISE IS THE BEST TOM CRUISE? Be sure to try your hand at the interactive bracket that allows you to vote for you own favorite Cruise. You vote in four different seeded divisions, in which you can struggle to choose between Joel Goodson and Maverick, to rank Ethan Hunt against Ron Kovic, and to pit Les Grossman vs. Jerry Maguire. Couch Jumper Cruise looks to be way out in front in the Real Cruise division.

Check it out at Grantland.

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New Mission Impossible Trailer Features Tom Cruise’s Latest Amazing Stunt—Hanging From A Plane

The new trailer for MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE — ROGUE NATION has been released by Paramount Pictures. A hallmark of the series is incredible action, and this installment promises plenty of thrills.

The recent release of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD trumpeted the use of practical stunts in that film. Visual effects were used to create environments and weather, but the stunts were real, for the most part. Director George Miller and his team received well deserved praise for this approach, especially in a cinematic universe filled with CG characters and action that defies the reality of physics.

No single action star has been more dedicated to keeping it real than Tom Cruise. He reportedly does almost all of his own stunt-work no matter how dangerous it may be. In ROGUE NATION the signature stunt is featured at the end of the trailer: Cruise hangs on the outside of an Airbus A400M military transport at 5,000 feet above the English countryside. Doubt it was done for real? Check out these pix of the stunt being performed:rV5FDfg3BqKlHxThat takes guts. Cruise has been doing this kind of thing for years now. Whatculture has a gallery of Cruise’s most insane stunts; here are the ones from the MI franchise,  with Whatculture’s descriptions excerpted below:

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE

While Brian de Palma’s opening installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise isn’t as action packed as the other installments, this sequence is one of the most memorable across all four movies. The fish tank set-piece was reportedly Cruise’s idea, and the actor insisted on doing the stunt himself much to the dismay of the director.

Paramount Pictures

The explosion and subsequent jump through the window were shot on a soundstage at Paramount Studios, with Cruise neglecting to use a stunt double. No less than sixteen tons of water were used for the scene, and seeing the actor’s face as he escapes only enhances the power of the scene, especially when you consider the very obvious drowning hazards.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II

Looking for a suitable way to reintroduce the character of Ethan Hunt at the beginning of Mission: Impossible II, Tom Cruise somehow arrived at the conclusion that free climbing the sheer cliffs of Utah’s Dead Horse Point would do the job. Although stunt doubles were used for the more dangerous moments, the studio was still understandably skeptical of having their star dangle precariously on a cliff-face hundreds of feet above the ground.mission_impossible_ii

While Cruise was wearing a harness during filming (which was digitally removed in post-production), there was no safety net in case anything went wrong. John Woo was reportedly terrified about having the actor perform so much of the climbing himself, but Cruise insisted on doing as much as possible and even ended up injuring his shoulder in the process when jumping from one part of the cliff to another. The end result is a dizzying opening sequence that uses sweeping aerial shots and wide angles to let the audience know that Tom Cruise’s daredevil instincts remain intact.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III

We remember him leaping off the roof of a skyscraper, but the leap, while dangerous, was made on a soundstage from a rooftop set piece. Perhaps more audacious was his slide underneath a fuel tanker truck; Cruise lay down in the middle of the road, only to have the huge vehicle jackknife directly over him. mi3First-time feature director J.J. Abrams has noted that he saw his career flash in front of his eyes as the truck came ever-closer to the A-list star. The end result is truly a remarkable stunt. Only a matter of inches separate Cruise from the underside of the tanker as it passes over him, and having the camera up close and personal only increases the tension of the scene.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE — GHOST PROTOCOL

One of the greatest action set-pieces in recent memory, Brad Bird’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol sees Tom Cruise scaling the outside of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at a vertigo-inducing 2,722 feet. Of course, the actor decided to perform the entire sequence himself without the use of a stunt double, adding further realism to an already nail-biting scene. Ghost-ProtocolAlthough securely attached to the building with a safety harness, Cruise admits that he failed to anticipate the crosswinds that come with being up so high, which caused him to slam into the side of the building on numerous occasions. However, the combination of the actor’s dedication and some stunning camerawork create a sequence that is nothing short of awe-inspiring, with Cruise’s sprint down the outside of the building a particular highlight.

detail.0b970f20Genevieve Koski, writing in The Dissolve, says this about the stunt: “Cruise and director Brad Bird’s audacity comes through in the final product, and the sequence is rightfully brought up in discussions of the all-time greatest on-screen stunts. Here’s a good barometer for how impressive a practical stunt/effect is: Does it look just as awesome outside of the movie itself? To wit: The behind-the-scenes video of Cruise filming the sequence … is almost as intense as the final product.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE—ROGUE NATION opens July 31. In addition to Cruise, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner return to the series; new cast members include Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris, Simon McBurney, and Zhang Jingchu. Christopher McQuarrie directs and Robert Elswit is the cinematographer.  mission_impossible_A64F875DED234C2FA196DA05EB2B6613

A Gorgeous Supercut: 120 Years of Cinema

-1Youtube is littered with tribute videos that review the history of cinema, but this one is something special. French editor Joris Faucon Grimaud has created an inspired tour thru the last 120 years of film. You will see over 300 of your favorite movie moments, some of which  you had forgotten. Most are from Hollywood films. Grimaud makes surprising connections that give each shot added meaning and context.

Thanks to Oktay Ege Kozak over at The Playlist for bringing it to our attention.

Here’s the list of films included:

Une scène au jardin de Roundhay
La Sortie de l’usine Lumière à Lyon
L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat
Lover of Beauty
Edison’s Films
Edison’s The Kiss
Le Voyage dans la Lune
The Great Train Robbery
The General
Les Vampires
The Birth of a Nation
Intolerance
Pandora’s Box
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
The Kid
Broken Blossoms
Way Down East
Nanook of the North
The Phantom of Opera
The Golden Age
Sunrise
Strike
Battleship Potemkin
Metropolis
Citizen Kane
La Belle et La Bête
The Dictator
Le Quai des Brumes
The  Wizard of Oz
City Lights
M
The Seven Samurai
Rashōmon
A Date with Judy
Sunset Boulevard
Frankenstein
The Night of the Hunter
Witness for the Prosecution
La Dolce Vita
Singing in the Rain
12 Angry Men
Psycho
Casablanca
Double Indemnity
All About Eve
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Gone With The Wind
It’s a Wonderful Life
Paths of Glory
Rebel Without a Cause
To Kill a Mockingbird
The 400 Blows
La grande vadrouille
Les Tontons Flingueurs
Belle de Jour
La Piscine
It Happened One Night
Vertigo
Dr. Strangelove
North by Northwest
Lawrence of Arabia
Lolita
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Contempt
Breathless
Some Like It Hot
Manhattan
Mad Max
Top Gun
Taxi Driver
Goodfellas
The Godfather
Raging Bull
Once Upon Time in America
The Godfather II
Apocalypse Now
Full Metal Jacket
The Thin Red Line
Platoon
Hook
Schindler’s List
Once Upon Time in The West
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
The Quick and the Dead
Stagecoach
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Little Big Man
Dances With Wolves
Giant
Rio Bravo
The Wild Bunch
Dead Man
Unforgiven
3:10 to Yuma
No Country for Old Men
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
True Grit
Django Unchained
Fantasia
Snow White
Cinderella
Alice in Wonderland
Dumbo
The Sword in the Stone
Pinocchio
The Lion King
Sleeping Beauty
Balto
The Jungle Book
Aladdin
Peter Pan
Mulan
Tarzan
Princess Mononoké
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Spirited Away
Lady and the Tramp
Beauty and the Beast
Corpse Bride
Bambi
The Fox and the Hound
How to Train Your Dragon
Pocahontas
Toy Story
Monsters, Inc.
Finding Nemo
The Incredibles
Wall-E
Up
Toy Story 3
Fight Club
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Jurassic Park
Men in Black
Requiem For A Dream
Reservoir Dogs
A.I.
Pulp Fiction
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The Matrix
Spiderman 2
Lord of The Rings
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone
X-Men 2
American History X
Dr. No
Casino Royal
Star Wars:The Revenge of The Sith
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Kick Ass
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban
Minority Report
The Shining
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Saw
Insidious
Watchmen
300
Transformers: The Dark Side of The Moon
Harry Potter and The Deadly Hallows part 2
The Avengers
Mission Impossible III
Saving Private Ryan
There Will Be Blood
V for Vendetta
Avatar
Star Trek: Insurrection
Die Hard
Léon
Titanic
Alien
Edward Scissorhands
Sin City
Eyes Wide Shut
Yves Saint Laurent
The Beat That My Heart Skipped
Usual Suspects
Basic Instinct
Brokeback Mountain
Kill Bill
Secret Window
Little White Lies
The Shawshank Redemption
Birdman
Drive
La Vie en Rose
The Wolf of Wall Street
Interstellar
Man of Steel
Batman Begins
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight Rises
Batman
Batman Returns
The Godfather
Jaws
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Taxi Driver
Back to The Future
Rain Man
Scarface
2001 A Space Odyssey
The Tree of Life
Pulp Fiction
Lost Highway
Heat
Forrest Gump
La Haine
A Clockwork Orange
The Big Lebowski
Donnie Darko
The Notebook
Dirty Dancing
Mulholland Drive
Braveheart
Blade Runner
Gladiator
Se7en
The Artist
American Beauty
Amélie
The Great Gatsby
Black Swan

 

GOODFELLAS is 25 Years Old, So Here Are 25 Things You Don’t Know About The Film

The NY Daily News has a great article by reporters Rachel Maresca and Philip Caulfield, who have collected a surprising list — reprinted below — of things you (probably) don’t know about GOODFELLAS. The film has been called “one of the most quoted, influential, enjoyable and endlessly revisited movies of all time.”

goodfellas-main-reviewJoe Pesci as Tommy DeVito, Ray Liotta as Henry Hill and Robert De Niro as James Conway in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas.” The filmmakers are celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Maresca and Caulfield write:

We took care of that thing for ya.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of “Goodfellas” this year, the Daily News has compiled a list of 25 things every movie nut should know about the classic gangster flick, which is being honored on the closing night of The Tribeca Film Festival Saturday.

To celebrate, the cast of the Martin Scorsese movie will reunite and participate in a sit-down conversation hosted by Jon Stewart.

The violent, profane and often funny film, based on Nicholas Pileggi’s book “Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family,” featured several cameos by the story’s real-life characters, and is revered by movie fans for its colorful dialogue and memorable lines.

Now go home and get your shinebox . . .

1. Several Hollywood A-listers were mentioned for the role of Henry Hill, including Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin and Cruise’s “Top Gun” co-star Val Kilmer, who sent in a tape of himself playing the character, “Goodfellas” producer Irwin Winkler revealed to Playboy recently.

2. Author Nicholas Pileggi didn’t return director Martin Scorsese’s initial call about making his 1986 book “Wiseguy” into a movie because he thought someone was pulling his leg. “I didn’t believe it when Marty left a message. I thought it was my friend David Denby, the film critic, winding me up. So I just ignored him,” Pileggi told The Guardian in 2013. Scorsese eventually got Pileggi’s attention by reaching out to his wife, Nora Ephron.

3. Ray Liotta didn’t meet Henry Hill until after the movie wrapped. According to Hill, Scorsese insisted on keeping the two apart. “He didn’t want me to influence him whatsoever,” he once told an interviewer. Robert De Niro, however, met with Hill and endlessly quizzed him for insights into his character, Jimmy Conway, who was based on mobster James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke.
maxresdefault-1Robert De Niro as James Conway sitting in restaurant booth with Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in GOODFELLAS.

tumblr_n7p5ycyyth1rn5a30o1_500Ray Liotta as Henry Hill sitting with Lorraine Bracco as Karen Hill at a nightclub in GOODFELLAS.

4. Instead, to get into character, Liotta listened to hours upon hours of interviews Pileggi taped with Hill while writing “Wiseguy.” “Henry Hill was eating potato chips the whole time . . . it (was) just a horrible noise,” Liotta recalled to a radio interviewer in 2014.

5. Both of Scorsese’s parents are in the film. His mom, Catherine, plays Joe Pesci’s character’s mother, while his father, Charles, plays Vinnie, the old mobster whom Paulie warns about putting too many onions in the tomato sauce in the prison dinner scene. Charles died in 1993, while Catherine died in 1997.

goodfellasMartin Scorsese’s father, Charles Scorsese, played Vinnie, an aging mobster who gets a little heavy-handed with the onions in his tomato sauce in the prison dinner scene.

goodfellas-1
Catherine Scorsese, the director’s mother, as Tommy DeVito’s mother.

6. In the scene where Henry and Karen Hill are discussing the witness protection program, the prosecutor they are speaking to is Ed McDonald, the actual federal prosecutor who put Hill in the witness protection program. McDonald, now in private practice, told the Wall Street Journal in 2008 that all of his lines were improvised, including the famous, “Don’t give me the ‘babe in the woods’ routine, Karen.”

7. “Goodfellas” was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. It won only one, a Best Supporting Actor trophy for Joe Pesci.

8. Pesci’s acceptance speech was just five words: “It’s my privilege, thank you.”
golden-globes
Lorraine Bracco (l. with James Gandolfini and Edie Falco in 2000.)

9. Lorraine Bracco turned down the chance to play mob wife Carmela on the HBO series “The Sopranos” because she’d already played a mob wife Karen Hill in “Goodfellas.”          “I said, ‘Look, I don’t think I should play Carmela because I did it, I did it in a Scorsese movie, I got an Oscar nomination. I really don’t think I’m going to bring so much to this for you that I haven’t done already,” she recently told HuffPost Live.
goodfellas23f-9-webJoe Pesci as Tommy DeVito, Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in the classic 1990 mobster flick.

10. Joe Pesci’s character Tommy DeVito is based on Lucchese family hit man Thomas DeSimone, aka “Two-Gun Tommy” or “Tommy D.” While Pesci is only about 5-foot-4, DeSimone was actually a hulking 6-foot-2 in real life. Describing Tommy’s death in the film, Henry Hill says: “They even shot Tommy in the face so his mother couldn’t give him an open coffin at the funeral.” In reality, DeSimone vanished in 1979 and his body was never found. He was 28.

11. According to “Wiseguy,” DeSimone did in fact pistol whip William (Billy Batts) Bentvena to death after Batts ribbed him about being a shoeshine boy, but the insult and the murder occurred a few weeks apart. During the gruesome attack, DeSimone smashed the butt of his .38 revolver into Batts’ face and screamed, “Shine these f— shoes!”

12. The famous “Funny how?” scene was inspired by an experience Joe Pesci had working at a restaurant and mob hangout as a young man. As Liotta and other castmates tell it, Pesci got put on the spot after he quipped that one mobster was “a funny guy.”
msdgood-ec056

13. Chuck Low, who plays the pestering wig salesman Morrie Kessler, was Robert De Niro’s real estate consultant before appearing in the film.

14. De Niro’s character, Jimmy Conway, was based on James Burke, a top associate of the Lucchese crime family nicknamed “Jimmy the Gent” because of his dapper appearance. As depicted in the movie, Burke masterminded the 1978 Lufthansa robbery, which ripped off nearly $6 million from a JFK cargo hold and was the largest robbery in the U.S. at the time. He and Hill were also players in the 1979 Boston College point-shaving scandal.

In “Wiseguy,” Hill describes Burke’s love of stealing: “If you ever offered Jimmy a billion dollars, he’d turn you down and then try to figure out how to steal it from you.” He died of lung cancer in a Buffalo hospital in 1996 while serving a 20-to-life sentence for murder.

mcdgood-ec024Robert De Niro as Jimmy Conway in GOODFELLAS.

15. In the famous introduction scene, Fat Andy, aka “Moe Black’s brother,” is played by Louis Eppolito, one of the notorious NYPD “Mafia Cops.” As a detective in the 1980s and early ’90s, Eppolito — whose father, uncle and cousins were made guys in the Gambino family — secretly worked for the mob, filtering tips and information that eventually led to several murders. Along with Stephen Caracappa, he was convicted of racketeering, murder and conspiracy in 2006 and sentenced to life in prison.

16. Sonny Bunz, the beleaguered Bamboo Lounge owner who gets a bottle cracked over his head, was played by Anthony Borgese, a Brooklyn-bred actor who uses the stage name Tony Darrow. As a young man, Borgese worked in the real Bamboo Lounge in Canarsie, where Hill, Burke and DeSimone hung out.

17. Queens native Christopher Serrone said playing young Henry put a giant target on his back during his teen years. “Every kid in my neighborhood wanted to be the guy who beat up the gangster kid from Goodfellas. It was tough,” Serrone, now in his late 30s, told the Daily Mail recently. “I took my share and gave my share.”

18. Nearly four decades later, the Lufthansa robbery is still being prosecuted in New York’s courts. In January 2014, Vincent Asaro, a 78-year-old Bonanno family capo, was nabbed in an FBI sweep and charged with plotting the 64-minute heist with Jimmy Burke and Henry Hill. Asaro isn’t depicted in “Goodfellas,” but he was in the room when the real Tommy DeSimone pumped a bullet into Spider’s foot. He took the bleeding kid to get patched up.

goodfellas2Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito in GOODFELLAS.

19. The movie’s second-to-last shot shows Pesci firing a pistol point-blank at the screen. It’s a reference to the ending of the 1903 silent film “The Great Train Robbery,” where one of the bandits does the same thing.

20. In the final scene, De Niro’s defense attorney, who says the line “Mr. Hill, you know everything about being a rat,” is played by Eddie Hayes, a legendary New York mob lawyer who was the inspiration for the slick-talking attorney in Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities.”

21. Frankie Carbone, who is found hanging from a hook in a refrigerated meat truck, was played by Frank Sivero. In recent years, Sivero has filed a handful of lawsuits accusing people ripping off the character. Later year, he went after “The Simpsons” for allegedly stealing his likeness for a Springfield mobster, while another suit targeted a Southern California deli for hawking a “Frankie Carbone” sandwich using his photo.

22. The exact number is in dispute, but it’s generally believed that the “f-word” is said between 300-320 times in the movie. However, another Scorsese flick, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” is said to be Hollywood’s F-bomb Don, with 544, according to a Slate tally.

23. In the scene where Tommy shoots Spider in the foot, the drunk mobster waves his smoking revolver and shouts “Take him to Ben Casey!” as Spider writhes in pain on the floor. Ben Casey was the titular doctor of a hit TV show that ran in the early ’60s.

24. While the movie has a reputation of being a bloody whack-a-thon, only five character deaths are depicted on screen, including Stacks Edwards, played by a then little-known Samuel L. Jackson.

25. Henry Hill died on June 12, 2012, at the age of 69. “His heart gave out,” his girlfriend said at the time. Two years earlier, he’d confided to a reporter that he never stopped feeling like a marked man. “There’s always that chance that some young buck wants to make a name for themselves,” Hill said in 2010. “I never thought I’d reach this wonderful age. I’m just grateful for being alive.”ss3432312_-_photograph_of_ray_liotta_as_henry_hill_joe_pesci_as_tommy_devito_robert_de_niro_as_jimmy_conway_from_goodfellas_available_in_4_sizes_framed_or_unframed_buy_now_at_starstills__92124__93223.1404460384.1280.12

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Ving Rhames Brings His Cool Self to MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 5

BxRcldoIcAAbqBkYesterday, director Christopher McQuarrie tweeted this photo of the main cast of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 5. Jeremy Renner, Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg look great, but gotta say, Ving Rhames adds a whole different layer of cool to this team. He’s the only cast member to have returned to costar with Tom Cruise in all five pictures in this franchise. The two of them have great chemistry; it will please audiences to see them together again.

Mr. Rhames sure knows how to wear a hat. Here’s a small gallery with a few of his looks.

vingrhames ving-rhames-mission-impossible-header Ving-Rhames-image-019 Ving_Rhames_i_Baby__139813n Rhames Ving-Rhames-image-040 WP-VingRhames fhd998OOS_Ving_Rhames_001 Ving Rhames