Five Favorite Films

Wednesday, Jan. 23 2013, 04:11 PM

Two time Emmy winner Jon Cryer is one of the funniest men on TV, with Two and a Half Men still enjoying success in its tenth season. But we've also enjoyed his quite memorable film work for years. No child of the 1980s can forget his "Duckie Dance" in Pretty in Pink, Hot Shots! still makes us laugh, and some of us fondly recall him as a punk rocker in the Penelope Spheeris film Dudes. Now, after a DVD release of his stage performance in Stephen Sondheim's Company and the upcoming Sundance debut of Ass Backwards with Casey Wilson, June Raphael, Alicia Silverstone and Vincent D'Onofrio, this terrific talent was gracious enough to take some time out and discuss his Five Favorite Films.

Tuesday, Dec. 25 2012, 05:00 PM

It's hard to imagine just how surreal Damien Echols' life must have been. In 1994, the teenager was sentenced to death for his alleged part, along with two others, in the gruesome 1993 murder of three boys in Arkansas. Convicted by state prosecutors riding a wave of public and media hysteria, the so-called West Memphis Three spent the next 18 years in prison -- until an accumulation of new evidence raised doubts as to their guilt and, in 2011, they were finally set free. Having spent most of his adult life incarcerated, Echols has since become something of a celebrity, drawing the support of people like Peter Jackson, Johnny Depp and Eddie Vedder, who lent their weight to the campaign to free the falsely-accused men and expose the miscarriage of justice. Jackson also co-produced an extensive new documentary about the case -- Amy Berg's West of Memphis -- and with the film opening theatrically this week, we had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Echols recently. Read on for more of the interview, in which Echols talks about life in prison, his admiration for Stephen King, how the support of those famous pals helped save him from death row, and his plans with Depp to produce a screen version of his memoir. First up, he took a moment to talk about his five favorite films.

Wednesday, Dec. 12 2012, 02:08 PM

An accomplished performer on both stage and screen, Alan Cumming has played an impressive array of parts in his career -- from roles in blockbusters like X-2 and GoldenEye to independent films to projects as diverse as Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut and Robert Rodriguez's Spy Kids. It's testament to Cumming's enduring talent that he's earning some of the best notices of his career for his latest turn, in this week's Any Day Now, a moving drama about a gay couple in '70s Hollywood fighting a biased legal system to keep their adopted son.

With the movie opening theatrically this week, we got the chance to speak with Cumming about his five favorite movies.

Monday, Dec. 10 2012, 11:17 AM

He's the star (well, co-star if you count Mark Wahlberg) of 2012's highest-grossing comedy (unless you count Breaking Dawn -- Part 2), so we felt it only fitting to ask Ted, the titular furball from Seth MacFarlane's R-rated hit, to give us his all-time five favorite films. "Besides Flash Gordon," he says, "which you already know is my number one favorite film of all time." Indeed, anyone who's seen the movie will remember Ted and John's shared affection for the camp sci-fi classic, and the bear also gave us another insight into his creative process: "Yes, the hotel room fight scene was inspired in part by Road House," he reveals. So now you know that. Ted arrives on Blu-ray and DVD this week.

Wednesday, Dec. 05 2012, 01:47 PM

It's a big, busy year ahead for Charlie Hunnam. Besides his ongoing role in TV hit Sons of Anarchy, the actor is starring in Guillermo del Toro's massively anticipated sci-fi throwdown Pacific Rim, which marks the director's first film in five years and looks set to be one of 2013's summer smashes. In the meantime, Hunnam is appearing opposite Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde in this week's snowbound neo-noir thriller Deadfall, in which he plays an ex-con boxer tangled up in a deadly game of survival. Read on for our chat and Hunnam's five favorite films of the moment.

Wednesday, Nov. 21 2012, 01:45 PM

Arguably the most famous director in cinema history (and the auteur behind the recently crowned Greatest Movie of All Time), Alfred Hitchcock can't be an easy subject for an on-screen biography. British-born director Sacha Gervasi has taken a shot at it with this week's Hitchcock, which adapts -- with some creative license -- Stephen Rebello's 1990 book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, while exploring the relationship between Hitch (played by Anthony Hopkins) and his wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren), as he fights to make the thriller that would prove one of his biggest and most influential hits. Gervasi, known for his hugely entertaining 2007 metal documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil, called in to chat about Hitchcock, the challenge of taking on a movie icon, working with Hopkins, and separating the man from the mythology. Read on for that, but first, he talks about his five favorite films.

Wednesday, Nov. 21 2012, 09:41 AM

Chances are, if you're breathing, you're a fan of Tony Bennett. Winner of 16 Grammys and 2 Emmys, Mr. Bennett is also an accomplished painter and founder of The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. His career has spanned over 60 of his 86 years, and you might assume that he wants to slow down a little, but that couldn't be more wrong. In fact, he's now the subject of another documentary, this time executive produced by his son and manager Danny Bennett. It puts a beautiful twist on music documentaries. The Zen of Bennett is as artistic as the man himself, and shares with you the incredibly, well, zen perspective of a worldwide legend.

Wednesday, Nov. 07 2012, 01:17 PM

One of the buzz films at this year's SXSW festival, writer-director Sean Baker's Starlet explores the unusual friendship between a 21-year-old actress (Dree Hemingway) and an 85-year-old woman (Besedka Johnson) when their lives cross paths in California's San Fernando Valley. Featuring breakout performances -- especially from Hemingway, the daughter of actress Mariel and great-granddaughter of writer Ernest -- the movie is getting early praise from critics ahead of its release in New York and Los Angeles this week. We caught up with director Sean Baker recently, who shared with us an interesting list of his five favorite films.

Monday, Oct. 22 2012, 02:06 PM

Joe Dante's movies root themselves into your psyche and refuse to let go. Those little guys with eating restrictions (Gremlins), watching movies during a national crisis (Matinee), having creepy neighbors (The 'Burbs), and accidentally getting shrunk down and injected into someone (Innerspace) remain some of the most memorable of all time. It shouldn't come as any surprise that his latest film, The Hole, is pretty much for kids, just not the ones who are faint of heart. Here are the great films that inspired this fantastic filmmaker. Watching them is kind of like going to film school for free. You can send Joe a thank you card.

Thursday, Oct. 18 2012, 07:25 AM

Sean Stone hasn't even been on the planet three decades and has already played Jim Morrison, Nixon's brother, and countless other roles in some of the finest films of his lifetime, directed by his father Oliver Stone. But he's not just a pretty face--he's taking up the family business and directing his own movies now, with terrifying results. Greystone Park is a found-footage scare-fest that blends Jacob's Ladder-esque visuals with Blair Witch tension, then ratchets them up about 300% and adds in spears and chicks wearing ball gowns dancing in mental hospitals.

Friday, Oct. 05 2012, 03:28 PM

Every once in a while, a few young actors and actresses emerge who help reassure us all that Hollywood is in good hands. Anna Kendrick, whose latest film Pitch Perfect expands into wide release this week, belongs on that short list. After securing a supporting role in the continuing pop culture phenomenon that is The Twilight Saga, Kendrick went on to nab an Oscar nomination for her superb work alongside George Clooney and Vera Farmiga in Jason Reitman's Up in the Air. That breakout performance led to roles in widely praised films like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and 50/50, and while she currently appears in three movies out in theaters, she has yet another -- Robert Redford's The Company You Keep -- set to open in November. Last week, RT chatted with Anna about Pitch Perfect, but first, of course, she gave us her Five Favorite Films.

Thursday, Aug. 16 2012, 11:58 AM

Following the success of Henry Selick's wondrous Coraline in 2009, the team at Laika studios are back this week with their second animated feature, ParaNorman, another stop-motion marvel concerning the misadventure of a young outsider and his spooky connection to the land of the dead. Pitched as "John Hughes meets John Carpenter," it's written by Coraline and Corpse Bride animation artist Chris Butler and co-directed by Butler and Aardman alum Sam Fell, with voices by Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick and John Goodman, and music by Jon Brion. We had a chance to chat with Fell and Butler this week ahead of the movie's release, where they talked about five of their favorite movies -- and how they influenced the creation and execution of ParaNorman.

Friday, Aug. 10 2012, 12:10 PM

David Duchovny became a bona fide pop culture star in the '90s with his wry, oddball performance as alien-chasing Special Agent Fox Mulder on TV's The X-Files -- though some may remember his even more eccentric FBI turn on Twin Peaks -- a role he reprized over several award-winning seasons and two big-screen films. Duchovny parlayed the success into his current starring role on the hit Californication, while on occasion finding time to appear in films like this week's Goats, in which he plays a bearded, stoned Arizona goat herder -- and quite convincingly, it should come as little surprise to learn. With the film opening in limited release this week we got a chance to sit down and chat with Duchovny, where we talked about his five favorite films.

Friday, Aug. 03 2012, 03:32 PM

One of the busiest and most recognizable British character actors in movies, Timothy Spall cuts a unique figure of comedy and menace that's seen him play everything from Winston Churchill in The King's Speech to the nefarious Wormtail in the Harry Potter series. Along the way, Spall has worked for the likes of Clint Eastwood, Tim Burton, Ken Russell and Bernardo Bertolucci, while his collaboration with longtime friend Mike Leigh yielded an acclaimed lead performance in the director's Secrets & Lies. This week, Spall makes an appearance alongside Donald Sutherland and Christian Slater in the action thriller Assassin's Bullet, and we had the chance to chat with the very charming actor about his career and five of his favorite movies.

Tuesday, Jul. 17 2012, 01:08 PM

As one half of the Farrelly brothers, writer-director Bobby Farrelly has been one of the filmmakers instrumental in shaping modern American movie comedy. Before the Apatow era, the Farrellys redefined the idea of raunchiness on screen, delivering multiple hits like Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary while helping elevate performers like Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller to superstar status in the process. (Their unlikely influence on the mumblecore genre is also, apparently, not to be overlooked.) This week, the duo's latest -- their take on the classic slapstick The Three Stooges -- arrives on DVD and Blu-ray, which gave us the chance to talk with Farrelly about his all-time favorite films (and get an update on the Dumb and Dumber sequel).

Friday, Jul. 06 2012, 09:22 AM

Between playing Elrond in Lord of the Rings, voicing Megatron in Transformers and -- most memorably -- intimidating Keanu Reeves as the sinister Agent Smith in The Matrix, Hugo Weaving has been an integral part of three of the biggest film franchises of the past decade or so. The versatile Australian actor also delivered an uncanny Werner Herzog impression as Red Skull in Marvel's Captain America, will star in the Wachoswki's forthcoming Cloud Atlas and, of course, is reprising his role as Rivendell's boss elf in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, due at the end of the year. Yet being one of Hollywood's busiest character actors hasn't stopped Weaving from returning periodically to his homeland for some compelling lead roles, like that in this week's acclaimed Last Ride -- which has been hailed by no less than Roger Ebert as "the performance of a lifetime." A tough but ultimately moving (and beautifully lensed) road movie directed by Cannes' short film winner Glendyn Ivin, Ride has Weaving as a grizzled ex-con on the run across the Australian countryside, where he bonds with his 10-tear-old son in tow. The film debuted to much praise in its native territory, and this week finds its way to select theaters in the US. We had the chance to speak with Weaving for the release, where he talked about five of his favorite movies.

Monday, Jul. 02 2012, 12:00 PM

A couple of weeks back we heard from writer-director Mark Duplass on his five favorite sibling movies, so it seemed only fitting that we give his brother and co-collaborator Jay a chance to add his voice to the family discussion. Following the success of their mainstream-leaning Jeff, Who Lives at Home earlier this year, the brothers Duplass are back in theaters this week with a smaller-scale piece that recalls their mumblecore origins. The Do-Deca-Pentathalon -- which was actually shot before the team went "Hollywood" with Cyrus -- focuses on the rivalry between two brothers (notice a theme?) as they compete in a homemade version of the Olympics. Cannily timed for the 2012 event, in fact, and sure to appeal to all those fans of both overblown sports circuses and micro-budgeted indie films. To mark Pentathalon's release, then, here are Jay Duplass's five favorite films. Take it away, sir.

Wednesday, Jun. 27 2012, 01:56 PM

Droll, erudite and extremely affable, Bob Balaban is the kind of guy you could spend hours listening to -- which is probably why Wes Anderson cast him as New Penzance's all-purpose meteorologist narrator in his latest hit, Moonrise Kingdom. Balaban's own career as an actor, writer and director goes way back, and via many curious avenues: He made his debut in the classic Midnight Cowboy, has worked with the likes of Woody Allen, Ken Russell and Christopher Guest, and famously appeared as François Truffaut's interpreter in Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He's also directed and produced film and TV, appeared in theater, and been the NBC executive responsible for sinking Seinfeld -- on TV, anyway. With Moonrise Kingdom expanding nationally this week, sat down for a talk with Balaban about the film, his experience working with Wes Anderson, and much more. During the course of the interview, he also talked about five of his favorite films.

Friday, Jun. 22 2012, 01:40 PM

Between his stand-up comedy, astute writing on pop culture and wonderfully odd performances in movie and TV roles, Patton Oswalt is a something of a modern media renaissance man. He's voiced a rat for Pixar, terrorized a football franchise in the excellent Big Fan, and earned well-deserved praise for his part in last year's Young Adult; and this week, Oswalt appears in director Lorene Scafaria's Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, in a small but funny role as an enthusiastic party-goer who's succumbed to his most wanton desires as the apocalypse approaches. In the spirit of impending doom we chatted with Oswalt earlier this week, and asked him to pick five films he'd want to watch if the world was about to end.

Monday, Jun. 18 2012, 02:03 PM

Actor, writer and comedian David Cross is perhaps best known (in certain circles, anyway) for his role on TV's Arrested Development, the cult show that will soon be resurrected, thanks to years of dogged fan enthusiasm, for a feature film. But his credits extend well beyond the role of Tobias -- Cross has featured in numerous TV and film projects, including Mr. Show, Tim and Eric, Kung Fu Panda and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, to name but a few. This week, Cross stars in the ensemble comedy drama It's A Disaster, which features four couples holed up in a house as the end of the world approaches. Directed by Todd Berger, making his feature debut, the movie plays at this week's Los Angeles Film Festival en route to a theatrical release later this year. We had a chance to speak with Cross recently, and asked him to pick his five favorite films. "These are not my five favorite movies," he explained. "They are five of my favorite movies (of which I have hundreds)."


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