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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)."

Tuesday, Jun. 12 2012, 11:40 AM

One of the breakout stars of the "mumblecore" movement that evolved during the mid-2000s, Mark Duplass has gone from writing, directing and starring in no-budget independent films to successfully adapting his brand of comedy-drama for a (relatively more) mainstream audience. This week, Duplass continues his fertile run with Your Sister's Sister, Humpday director Lynne Shelton's well-reviewed comedy which finds him caught in a love triangle with two sisters -- played by Emily Blunt and Rosemary DeWitt. To mark the movie's opening, Duplass shared his Five Favorite "sibling" Films with us -- doubly fitting, considering his working dynamic with his brother and how much of their stuff revolves around that very relationship.

Friday, Jun. 08 2012, 02:22 PM

There aren't many modern American filmmakers with a body of work as unique as that of Wes Anderson. His latest is Moonrise Kingdom, a fantastical tale of imagined childhood that follows two kids -- AWOL scout Sam (Jared Gilman) and moody dreamer Suzy (Kara Hayward) -- on their adventure through adolescent first love. Beautifully calibrated both visually and emotionally, the film, which opened Cannes, is drawing some of the best reviews of the director's career. We had the opportunity to chat with Anderson recently, where he talked about his inspirations for Moonrise Kingdom, his childhood obsessions, and how his experience in animation affected the way he approached his latest project. Read on for that and more, but first, we quizzed him on his Five Favorite Films.

Friday, Jun. 01 2012, 07:46 PM

It's been quite the few weeks for Jared Gilman. Just 13 years old, the star of Wes Anderson's latest Moonrise Kingdom has recently returned from Cannes, where the movie opened the festival to great acclaim, and now finds himself on a press tour as the film is breaking limited release box-office records and drawing some of the best reviews of the director's career. We sat down with Gilman recently for a chat about the film and working with Wes Anderson -- which sounds great and all, but what was even more impressive was that he learned how to tie a tie from Bill Murray. Read on for more on that, but first, here are his five favorite films.

Thursday, May. 24 2012, 03:42 PM

Filmmaker Oren Peli caused something of a box-office sensation with his no-budget, found footage spook show Paranormal Activity in 2009 -- the 2007-shot horror frightened more than $100 million out of American audiences' pockets, which is not bad considering the production budget was around $15,000. Peli found further success as the producer of the movie's two profitable sequels, along with working on last year's Insidious and TV's The River. This week he serves as the producer on Bradley Parker's Chernobyl Diaries, a horror about a bunch of tourists who decide it's a good idea to take a holiday in the former Soviet Union's most notorious nuclear waste zone -- where they discover they're not alone. While promoting the film, Peli took a moment to send in his Five Favorite Films, via email -- and here they are.

Thursday, May. 10 2012, 12:05 PM

Comedian, actor, and filmmaker Bobcat Goldthwait became a fixture on the stand-up comedy circuit in the '80s and '90s, developing an idiosyncratic persona that he parlayed into a string of movie roles and TV gigs. But rather than ride that schtick into the nostalgia sunset, Goldthwait turned his talents to filmmaking. This week, Goldthwait returns with God Bless America, a delightful valentine to popular culture in which a disgruntled office drone (Joel Murray) and his teenage sidekick (Tara Lynne Barr) go on a cross-country killing spree designed to right the wrongs of contemporary bad manners, reality TV and other social ills. We sat down for a chat with Goldthwait recently; read through for more of his thoughts on the film and his career, but first, here are his Five Favorite Films.

Wednesday, May. 02 2012, 03:41 PM

Kathleen Turner began her career in the theater, before a sizzling film debut in Lawrence Kasdan's 1981 thriller Body Heat established her as one of the screen sirens of that decade. Hits ensued: Romancing the Stone, The Man with Two Brains, Prizzi's Honor, Peggy Sue Got Married and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? numbered among her critical and commercial successes, while Turner would gravitate toward the black comedy of The War of the Roses and, later, a delectably unhinged turn as John Waters' Serial Mom. We spent some time recently with Turner to talk about her favorite movies -- a subject that proved to be both challenging and an entertaining glance back at her career.


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