Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe


Happy Birthday Jack Kirby

Jordana Brewster

Jordana Brewster (born April 26, 1980) is a Brazilian-American actress. She began her acting career in her late teens, with a 1995 one-episode role in the soap opera All My Children; followed that with the recurring role as Nikki Munson in As the World Turns. She was later cast as Delilah Profitt, one of the main characters in her first feature film, Robert Rodriguez’s 1998 horror sci-fi The Faculty. The film brought her to the attention of a much wider audience, gained critical acclaim and achieved financial success. She also landed a starring role in a 1999 NBC television miniseries entitled The 60s.

Her breakthrough role came in the 2001 high budget car-themed action film The Fast and the Furious, which was a worldwide success. Other film credits include the 2004 action comedy film D.E.B.S., the 2005 independent drama Nearing Grace and the reason for this post, the 2006 horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. In the film, she had the starring role of Chrissie. The Beginning was not well received by critics, however, grossed over $51 million worldwide, becoming a modest hit. For her performance, Brewster was nominated for both “Choice Movie Actress: Horror” and “Choice Movie: Scream” at the 2007 Teen Choice Awards.

She then starred in the 2009 film Fast & Furious, the fourth installment of the, The Fast and the Furious series; and she appeared in the fifth film in the franchise, 2011’s massive hit Fast Five, which gained critical praise, becoming the highest rated entry for Brewster.

Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Simon Nimoy (born March 26, 1931) is an American actor, film director, poet, musician and photographer. Nimoy’s most famous role is Spock in the original Star Trek series (1966–1969), and in multiple film, television, and video-game sequels.

Nimoy began his career in his early twenties, teaching acting classes in Hollywood and making minor film and television appearances through the 1950s. In 1953, he served in the United States Army. In 1965, he made his first appearance in the rejected Star Trek pilot, “The Cage”, and would go on to play the character of Mr. Spock until 1969, followed by seven feature films and guest slots in various sequels. His character of Spock had a significant cultural impact and garnered Nimoy three Emmy Award nominations; TV Guide named Spock one of the 50 greatest TV characters. After the original Star Trek series, Nimoy starred in Mission: Impossible for two seasons, hosted the documentary series In Search Of… (TV Series), and narrated Civilization IV, as well as making several well-received stage appearances.

Nimoy’s fame as Spock is such that both his autobiographies, I Am Not Spock (1977) and I Am Spock (1995) detail his existence as being shared between the character and himself. He is the only original cast member to make an appearance in the J. J. Abrams reboot.

Simone Signoret

Simone Signoret (25 March 1921 – 30 September 1985) was a French film actress often hailed as one of France’s greatest movie stars. She became the first French person to win an Academy Award, for her role in Room at the Top (1959). In her lifetime she also received a BAFTA, an Emmy, Golden Globe, Cannes Film Festival recognition and the Silver Bear for Best Actress.

Les Diaboliques, released as Diabolique in the United States and variously translated as The Devils or The Fiends, is a 1955 French black-and-white feature film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, starring Simone Signoret, Vera Clouzot and Paul Meurisse. It is based on the novel Celle qui n’était plus (She Who Was No More) by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. The story blends elements of thriller and horror to great effect, with the plot focusing on a woman and her husband’s mistress who conspire to murder the man; after the crime is committed, however, his body disappears, and a number of strange occurrences ensue.

Clouzot, right after finishing Wages of Fear allegedly snatched the screenplay rights from master of suspense, director Alfred Hitchcock. This movie apparently helped inspire Hitchcock’s Psycho. Robert Bloch himself, the author of novel “Psycho”, has stated in an interview that his all-time favorite horror film is Diaboliques.

William Shatner

William Alan Shatner (born March 22, 1931) is a Canadian actor, musician, recording artist, author and film director. He gained worldwide fame and became a cultural icon for his portrayal of James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise, in the science fiction television series Star Trek from 1966 to 1969, Star Trek: The Animated Series from 1973 to 1974, and in seven of the subsequent Star Trek feature films from 1979 to 1994. He has written a series of books chronicling his experiences playing Captain Kirk and being a part of Star Trek, and has co-written several novels set in the Star Trek universe. He has also authored a series of science fiction novels called TekWar that were adapted for television.

Shatner also played the eponymous veteran police sergeant in T. J. Hooker from 1982 to 1986. Afterwards, he hosted the reality-based television series, Rescue 911 from 1989 to 1996, which won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Dramatic Series.

He has since worked as a musician, author, producer, director and celebrity pitchman. From 2004 to 2008 he starred as attorney Denny Crane in the television dramas The Practice and its spin-off Boston Legal for which he won two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award.

Ursula Andress

Ursula Andress (born 19 March 1936) is a Swiss actress and sex symbol of the 1960’s. She is most famously known for her role as Bond girl Honey Rider in the first James Bond movie, Dr. No (1962), for which she won a Golden Globe.

Andress has co-starred with Elvis Presley in the 1963 film, Fun in Acapulco, with Frank Sinatra in 4 for Texas (1963), opposite Marcello Mastroianni in The 10th Victim (1965), and as the countess in The Blue Max (1966). She also appeared in the Bond satire Casino Royale (1967) as Vesper Lynd, an occasional spy who persuades Evelyn Tremble, (played by Peter Sellers), to carry out a mission.

Known to horror/sci-fi fans for her roles in She (1965), and The Mountain of the Cannibal God (1978), and Clash of the Titans (1981), in which she co-starred with Laurence Olivier. In 1995, Andress was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the “100 Sexiest Stars in film history.”

Jaimie Alexander

Jaimie Alexander
 (born Jaimie Tarbush; March 12, 1984) is an American actress best known for portraying Jessi on the TV series Kyle XY and Sif in the 2011 superhero film Thor.

In 2006, she had her first lead role in the horror film Rest Stop where she portrayed ‘Nicole Carrow’, a girl who escapes from home and goes on a trip with her boyfriend, which is unexpectedly interrupted at a rest stop by a deranged serial killer. In 2007, she had her second lead role, also in a horror film, Hallowed Ground, in which she played ‘Elizabeth Chambers’, a girl stranded in a small town inhabited by a sect that plans to use her as a vessel for the rebirth of their founder.

Her most famous part so far was that of ‘Jessi’ on the ABC Family television show Kyle XY. She portrays a girl with superhuman powers who is trying to find her way in the world, with increasing cooperation and eventual romance with her male counterpart Kyle.

She portrayed the warrior god, Sif in the live-action superhero film, Thor, directed by Kenneth Branagh, released in May 2011.

Jessica Biel

Jessica Claire Biel (born March 3, 1982) is an American actress, model, and singer. Biel is known for her television role in the long-running family-drama series 7th Heaven. She has also appeared in several Hollywood films, including The Rules of Attraction (2002), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Blade: Trinity (2004) and The Illusionist (2006). She’s currently shooting the remake of Total Recall. Happy Birthday.

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo (18 September 1905 – 15 April 1990), born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson in Sweden, was an international film star and icon during Hollywood’s silent and classic periods. Many of Garbo’s films, from her first, Torrent in 1926, to her last, 1941’s Two-Faced Woman, were sensational hits, and all but three were profitable.[1] Garbo was nominated four times for an Academy Award and received an honorary one in 1954 for her “unforgettable screen performances”. She also won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress for both Anna Karenina (1935) and Camille (1936). In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Garbo fifth on their list of greatest female stars of all time, after Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn, and Ingrid Bergman.

Roddy McDowall

Roderick Andrew Anthony JudeRoddyMcDowall (17 September 1928 – 3 October 1998) was an English actor and photographer. His film roles included Cornelius and Caesar in the ‘Planet of the Apes’ film and television series. He began his long acting career as a child in How Green Was My Valley, My Friend Flicka and Lassie Come Home, and as an adult appeared most frequently as a character actor on stage and television. He served in several positions on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences as well as contributed to various charities related to the motion picture industry and film preservation. He’ll always be Cornelius, Caesar and Galen to me…

Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch was born today in 1940. She is an actress, author and SEX SYMBOL…

Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek is 45 today… to celebrate here’s a few images of her from ‘Dusk ’till Dawn’ Awesome!

Alfred Hitchcock

Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in his native United Kingdom in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood. In 1956 he became an American citizen while retaining his British citizenship.

Over a career spanning more than half a century, Hitchcock fashioned for himself a distinctive and recognisable directorial style. He pioneered the use of a camera made to move in a way that mimics a person’s gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. He framed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative film editing. His stories frequently feature fugitives on the run from the law alongside “icy blonde” female characters. Many of Hitchcock’s films have twist endings and thrilling plots featuring depictions of violence, murder, and crime, although many of the mysteries function as decoys or “MacGuffins” meant only to serve thematic elements in the film and the extremely complex psychological examinations of the characters. Hitchcock’s films also borrow many themes from psychoanalysis and feature strong sexual undertones. Through his cameo appearances in his own films, interviews, film trailers, and the television program ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’, he became a cultural icon. 

Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six decades. Often regarded as the greatest British filmmaker, he came first in a 2007 poll of film critics in Britain’s Daily Telegraph, which said: “Unquestionably the greatest filmmaker to emerge from these islands, Hitchcock did more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly different without him. His flair was for narrative, cruelly withholding crucial information (from his characters and from us) and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one else.” The magazine MovieMaker has described him as the most influential filmmaker of all-time, and he is widely regarded as one of cinema’s most significant artists

Gillian Anderson

It’s Gillian Anderson’s birthday today. She was every nerdy guys pin-up throughout the 90’s, well, maybe her and Buffy… Armstrong is far classier than her stake wielding junior though. Happy birthday.

Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick (July 26, 1928 – March 7, 1999) was an American film director, writer, producer, and photographer, noted for the scrupulous care with which he chose his subjects, his slow method of working, the variety of genres he worked in, his technical perfectionism, his reluctance to talk about his films, and his reclusiveness regarding his personal life. He maintained almost complete artistic control, making movies according to his own whims and time constraints, but with the rare advantage of big-studio financial backing for all his endeavors. Kubrick’s films are characterized by a formal visual style and meticulous attention to detail. His later films often have elements of surrealism and expressionism that eschews structured linear narrative. His films are repeatedly described as slow and methodical, and are often perceived as a reflection of his obsessive and perfectionist nature. A recurring theme in his films is man’s inhumanity to man.

After his early forays into film, ‘Fear and Desire’ (1953) and ‘Killers Kiss’ (1955); the film that first brought him attention to many critics was ‘Paths of Glory’ (1957), the first of three films of his about the dehumanizing effects of war. Starring Kirk Douglas, Paths of Glory tells the story of three innocent soldiers who are charged with cowardice and sentenced to death, allegedly as an example to the troops but actually serving as scapegoats for the failings of the commanding officers.

Kubrick was about follow up with ‘One-Eyed Jacks’ starring Marlon Brando, however the two clashed and Kubrick was sacked from the project. It turned out to be fortuitous as Kirk Douglas hired him to direct ‘Spartacus’ (1960), whose original director, Anthony Mann was similarly fired. Despite on-set troubles, Spartacus was a critical and commercial success and established Kubrick as a major director. However, its embattled production convinced Kubrick to find ways of working with Hollywood financing while remaining independent of its production system.

In 1962, Kubrick moved to England to film ‘Lolita’ (1962), where he would live there for the rest of his life. The original motivation was to film Lolita in a country with laxer censorship laws. However, Kubrick had to remain in England to film Dr. Strangelove since Peter Sellers was not permitted to leave England at the time as he was involved in divorce proceedings. ‘Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb’ (1964), became a cult film and is now considered a classic. Roger Ebert wrote that it is the best satirical film ever made.

It was after filming the first two of these films in England and in the early planning stages of 2001 that Kubrick decided to settle in England permanently. Kubrick spent five years developing his next film, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The film was conceived as a Cinerama spectacle and was photographed in Super Panavision 70mm. Kubrick co-wrote the screenplay with science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Kubrick reportedly told Clarke that his intention was to make “the proverbial great science fiction film.” 2001: A Space Odyssey was noted for being both one of the most scientifically realistic and visually innovative science-fiction films ever made while maintaining an enigmatic non-linear storyline. The $10,000,000 (U.S.) film was a massive production for its time. The groundbreaking visual effects were overseen by Kubrick and were engineered by a team that included a young Doug Trumbull, who would become famous in his own right for his work on the films Blade Runner and Terence Malicks recent ‘The Tree of Life’.

After 2001, Kubrick initially attempted to make a film about the life of Napoleon. When financing fell through, Kubrick went looking for a project that he could film quickly on a small budget. He eventually settled on ‘A Clockwork Orange’  (1971). His adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ novel is a dark, shocking exploration of violence in human society. The film was initially released with an X-rating  in the United States and caused considerable controversy. The film was extremely controversial because of its explicit depiction of teenage gang rape and violence. It was released in the same year as Straw Dogs and Dirty Harry, and the three films sparked a ferocious debate in the media about the social effects of cinematic violence. The controversy was exacerbated when copycat crimes were committed in England by criminals wearing the same costumes as characters in A Clockwork OrangeKubrick voluntarily withdrew his film ‘A Clockwork Orange’ from Great Britain, after it was accused of inspiring copycat crimes which in turn resulted in threats against Kubrick’s family.

Kubrick’s next film, released in 1975, was an adaptation of William Thackeray’s ‘The Luck of Barry Lyndon’, about the adventures and misadventures of an 18th-century Irish gambler and social climber. His films were largely successful at the box-office, although ‘Barry Lyndon’ performed poorly in the United States.

The pace of Kubrick’s work slowed considerably after Barry Lyndon, and he did not make another film for five years. ‘The Shining’ (1980), was adapted from a novel by bestselling horror writer Stephen King. The film starred Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, a failed writer who takes a job as an off-season caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, a high-class resort deep in the Colorado mountains. The job requires spending the winter in the isolated hotel with his wife, Wendy (played by Shelley Duvall) and their young son, Danny (played by Danny Lloyd), who is gifted with a form of telepathy—the “shining” of the film’s title. As winter takes hold, the family’s isolation deepens, and the demons and ghosts of the Overlook Hotel’s dark past begin to awake, displaying horrible, phantasmagoric images to Danny, and driving his father Jack into a homicidal psychosis.

The film opened to mixed reviews, but proved a commercial success. As with most Kubrick films, subsequent critical reaction has treated the film more favorably. Among horror movie fans, The Shining is a cult classic, often appearing at the top of best horror film lists alongside ‘Psycho’ (1960), ‘The Exorcist’ (1973), and other horror classics.

Seven years later, Kubrick made his next film, ‘Full Metal Jacket’ (1987). The film appears as two films in one, the first part centres around the dehumanising training of raw recruits by the sadistic Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (an incredible turn by R. Lee Ermey). The second half throws those same recruits into Vietnam, following their advance on and through Hue City, which has been decimated by the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive.

Kubrick’s final film was “Eyes Wide Shut’ (1999), starring then-married actors Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as a wealthy Manhattan couple on a sexual odyssey. It follows Dr. William Harford’s journey into the sexual underworld of New York City, after his wife, Alice, has shattered his faith in her fidelity by confessing to having fantasized about giving him and their daughter up for one night with another man. Until then, Harford had presumed women are more naturally faithful than men. This new revelation generates doubt and despair, and he begins to roam the streets of New York, acting blindly on his jealousy.

In 1999—four days after screening a final cut of Eyes Wide Shut for his family, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Warner Bros. executives—70-year-old Kubrick died of a heart attack in his sleep. All of Kubrick’s films from the mid-1950s to his death except for The Shining were nominated for Oscars, Golden Globes, or BAFTAs. Although he was nominated for an Academy Award as a screenwriter and director on several occasions, his only personal win was for the special effects in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Stan Laurel

Stan Laurel was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson on the 16th of June in Ulverston, Cumbria in England, 1890. His father was a vaudeville performer and this led Arthur to being a stage performer too. He didn’t get much schooling and this led to the joining of Fred Karno’s Troupe where Arthur was understudy to the future star, Charles Chaplin. In 1912 they went on a tour to America where Chaplin remained, but Stan went straight back to England. In 1916 he returned to the States and did an impersonation of Charlie Chaplin and the act was called “The Keystone Trio” and it was quite successful.

In 1917 Stan made his first movie entitled ‘Nuts in May’ (1917) and at the first screening among the people in the audience were Chaplin himself and producer Carl Laemmle who were both impressed. This led onto more short comedies with such greats as ‘Gilbert M. ‘Broncho Billy’ Anderson’ and Hal Roach. Stan now changed his surname to Laurel thus given the name Stan Laurel. In 1917 Laurel had in fact appeared in a film called ‘The Lucky Dog’ (1921) with an actor in the cast by the name of Babe Hardy. They formed a friendship but not a very good one. Stan later said they did not see each other for another 2 or 3 years.

It was in 1925 that Hardy and Laurel had met again at the Hal Roach studios and at that point in time Laurel was directing movies at the studio with Hardy in the cast for a couple of years. Among these films were ‘Yes, Yes, Nanette’ (1925) and ‘Wandering Papas’ (1926) written & directed by Stan Laurel and starring Babe who now acted under his real name, Oliver Hardy. In 1926 they began appearing together but not yet as a team. One of the directors at the Hal Roach studio known around the world as director of such great movies ‘The Bells of St. Mary’s’ (1945) and ‘Going My Way’ (1944), Leo McCarey joined these comic geniuses and an immediate partnership unfolded. Laurel & Hardy appeared in ‘Putting Pants on Philip’ (1927) which led them to stardom. In 1931, their own first starring feature, ‘Pardon Us’ was released, although they continued to make both features and shorts until 1935, including their 1932 three-reeler ‘The Music Box’ which won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject. The duo’s subsequent feature films included ‘Sons of the Desert’ (1933), ‘Babes in Toyland’ (1934), ‘Bonnie Scotland’ (1935), ‘The Bohemian Girl’ (1936), ‘Way Out West’ (1937) (which includes the famous song “Trail of the Lonesome Pine”), ‘Swiss Miss’ (1938) and ‘Block-Heads’ (1938).

They made two more films for Roach, ‘A Chump at Oxford’ (filmed in 1939, released 1940) and ‘Saps at Sea’ (1940). Both of these films were released through United Artists, as Roach’s distribution arrangement with MGM had ended in 1938. As their new agreement with Roach was non-exclusive, Laurel and Hardy also starred in ‘The Flying Deuces’ (1939), produced and released by RKO Pictures. Laurel & Hardy are now known as one of the greatest of all comedy teams.

Laurel & Hardy retired from films in 1950 but Stan & Oliver went on a tour of England and appeared in many stage shows for years. In 1961, Stan Laurel was given a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award for his pioneering work in comedy. In 1964 he was the Life Achievement recipient from the Screen Actors Guild. He had achieved his lifelong dream as a comedian and had been involved in nearly 190 films. He lived his final years in a small apartment in the Oceana Hotel in Santa Monica, California. Like most people my age, I grew up watching the Laurel & Hardy shorts and features on television, they remain as great today as they were in their prime. Stan Laurel, Legend.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe was born 85 years ago today, christened as Norma Jean Baker. Her mother (Gladys Baker), widowed and insane, abandoned her. She was eventually committed to a mental institution. Norma Jean spent most of her childhood in foster homes and orphanages. She married in 1942, aged 16.

In the 1940s Norma Jean was asked to model to illustrate an article in ‘Yank’ magazine and in 1946, she went to Hollywood to try to become an actress. Marilyn was barely visible in ‘Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hey!’ (1948) but with two supporting roles (as mistresses) in ‘All About Eve’ (1950) and ‘The Asphalt Jungle’ (1950) she reaped a mountain of fan mail. ‘Niagara’ (1953) and ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ (1953) launched her as a love goddess. In 1954 she began to grow discontented with her career, so she began to study at Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio. A new contract offered her more creative control which gave her roles in ‘The Seven Year Itch’ (1955), ‘Bus Stop’ (1956) and ‘Some Like It Hot’ (1959).

In 1954, Marilyn married baseball superstar Joe DiMaggio. Unfortunately, her fame and sexual image became a problem. Nine months later Marilyn and Joe divorced. In the early sixties she was bothered by many rumors of affairs, including with the President, John F. Kennedy, and his brother, Robert F. Kennedy. In 1962 beset by depression and illness, Monroe died in her Los Angeles home, having taken an overdose of sleeping pills.

Clint Eastwood

Icon and a living legend, Clint Eastwood is a superstar in international cinema. Born in San Francisco 81 years ago today, he is the son of steelworker Clinton Eastwood Sr. (1906-1970), and factor worker Ruth Eastwood-Belden (nee Runner, 1909-2006). The family moved around Northern California before settling in Oregon. After graduating high school, he moved to Seattle and worked as a lifeguard before training as a lifeguard for the military in 1951. After completing his service, he moved to Los Angeles where he found work digging swimming pools. Clint started trying out for bit parts in B-movies, and was signed as a contract player for Universal. He found work as an actor with brief, uncredited appearances in ‘Tarantula’ (1955) and ‘Revenge of the Creature’ (1955), which led to credited supporting roles in more various b-movies. He got his breakthrough at the end of the decade with the TV series ‘Rawhide’ (1959), where he was a cast member for six years. As Rowdy Yates, he made the show his own and became a household name around the country.

But Eastwood found even bigger and better things with ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ (1964), ‘For A Few Dollars More’ (1965) an ‘The Good, The Bad & The Ugly’ (1966). Clint became synonymous with the character the Man With No Name and the movies were a big hits, with the latter turning him into an international star. Eastwood got some excellent roles thereafter. He starred in ‘Coogans Bluff’ (1968), the western   ‘Hang ‘Em High’ (1968) and the musical ‘Paint Your Wagon’ (1969). Eastwood went in an experimental direction again with ‘Kellys Heroes’ (1970) and ‘Two Mules For Sister Sara’ (1970), both of which combined tough-guy action with offbeat humor.

1971 proved to be his best year in film, or at least one of his best. He directed his first movie, the thriller ‘Play Misty For Me’ (1971), in which he played a man being stalked by a crazed female admirer whose obsession with him turns from seductive to violent. That same year, he starred for his mentor, director Don Siegel in ‘The Beguiled’ (1971) an played the hard edge police inspector in ‘Dirty Harry’ (1971) that gave Eastwood another one of his signature roles and invented the loose-cannon cop genre that has been imitated even to this day. Eastwood also found work in American revisionist westerns like ‘High Plains Drifter’ (1973), which he also directed. He had constant quality films over the next few years, teaming up with Jeff Bridges in Michael Cimino’s directorial debut, the buddy-acton flick ‘Thunderbolt and Lightfoot’ (1974), and starring the “Dirty Harry” sequels ‘Magnum Force’ (1973) and ‘The Enforcer’ (1976), the quintessential western and my personal favourite ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ (1976), action flick ‘The Gauntlet’ (1977), and the hugely successful comedy ‘Every Which Way But Loose’ (1978) with Clyde the orangutan.

Eastwood found even more solid work with the fact-based thriller ‘Escape From Alcatraz’ (1979). The sequel to “Every Which Way but Loose”, ‘Any Which Way You Can’ (1980), was also a blockbuster despite negative reviews from critics. It was the fourth ‘Dirty Harry’ sequel, ‘Sudden Impact’ (1983) (the highest grossing film of the series) that made him a viable star for the eighties and gave to world a new catchphrase: “Go ahead, make my day”. Clint also starred in ‘Firefox’ (1982), ‘Tightrope’ (1984), ‘Pale Rider’  (1985), and ‘Heartbreak Ridge’ (1986), which were all big hits but did not become classics. His fifth and final “Dirty Harry” movie, ‘The Dead Pool’ (1988), was a minor commercial hit but severely panned by critics. Shortly after his career declined with the outright bomb comedy ‘Pink Cadillac’ (1989) and the disappointing cop adventure ‘The Rookie’ (1990). It was fairly obvious Eastwood’s star was declining as it never had before.

But Eastwood surprised yet again. First with his western, ‘Unforgiven’ (1992), which garnered him an Oscar for best director and producer of the best picture, and nomination for best actor. Then he took on the secret service in ‘In The Line of Fire’ (1993), another huge hit. Next up was ‘The Bridges of madison Couty’ (1995), a popular love story with Meryl Streep. Over the next few years, the quality of his films was up and down. He directed and starred in the well-received ‘Absolute Power’ (1997) and ‘Space Cowboys’ (2000), and the poorly received ‘True Crime’ (1999) and ‘Blood Work’ (2002).

However, Eastwood rose to prominence once again, first as director with ‘Mystic river’ (2004) and then directing and starring opposite Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman in what is arguably the best made film of his career: the boxing drama ‘Million Dollar Baby’ (2004). A critical and commercial triumph, the movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as earning Eastwood a nomination for Best Actor and a win for Best Director. He directed ‘Flags of Our Fathers’ and ‘Letters From Iwo Jima’ (2006) for producer Steven Speilberg. He then directed the Angelina Jolie starring ‘The Changeling’ before breaking his four-year acting hiatus by starring in ‘Gran Torino’ (2008). This film grossed $30 million during its opening weekend in 2009, making him the oldest leading man to reach #1 at the box office, and another one of his biggest hits.
After starring in iconic movies for four decades, Clint Eastwood has proved himself to be the longest-running movie star. Although he is aging now and focusing more on directing, his career continues to thrive. Clint Eastwood has been one of my idols for as long as I can remember, as a kid watching him on TV, seeing him at the cinema to replaying VHS copies of his movies throughout the 80’s and now on DVD. I love the image, his westerns, the dry humour and dark heart in his work; he’s priceless and irreplacable. LEGEND.

Peter Cushing

Peter Cushing was born in 1913 in Kenley, Surrey, England. At an early age Cushing was attracted to acting, inspired by his favorite aunt, who was a stage actress. While at school Cushing pursued his acting interest in acting and also drawing, a talent he put to good use later in his first job as a government surveyor’s assistant in Surrey. At this time he also dabbled in local amateur theater until moving to London to attend the Guildhall School of Music and Drama on scholarship. He then performed in repertory theater, deciding in 1939 to head for Hollywood, where he made his film debut in ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ (1939). He featured in a few other Hollywood films such as ‘A Chump at Oxford’ (1940) with Laurel & Hardy. However, he soon returned to England by way of a stint on Broadway in New York. Back in hisEngland he contributed to the war effort during World War II by joining the Entertainment National Services Association.

After the war he performed in the West End and had his big break appearing with Laurence Olivier in ‘Hamlet’ (1948), in which Cushing’s future partner-in-horror Christopher Lee had a bit part. Both actors also appeared in ‘Moulin Rouge’ (1952) but didn’t meet until their later horror films. Towards the end of the decade he began his legendary association with Hammer Film Productions in its remakes of the 1930s Universal horror classics. His first Hammer roles included Dr. Frankenstein in ‘The Curse of Frankenstein’ (1957), Dr. Van Helsing in ‘Dracula’ (1958) and Sherlock Holmes in ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ (1959).

Cushing continued playing the roles of Drs. Frankenstein and Van Helsing, as well as taking on other horror characters over the next 20 years. ‘The Revenge of Frankenstein’ (1958), ‘The Mummy’ (1959), ‘The Brides of Dracula’ (1960), ‘The Evil of Frankenstein’ (1964), ‘The Gorgon’ (1964), ‘She’ (1965)’ ‘Frankenstein Created Woman’ (1966), ‘Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed’ (1969), ‘The Satanic Rites of Dracula’ (1973) and his last outing as Frankenstein in ‘Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell’ (1974). He also appeared in films for the other major horror production company Amicus Productions where he made a couple of Dr. Who films (1965, 1966), ‘The House that Dripped Blood’ (1971), ‘I, Monster’ (1971) and ‘The Beast Must Die (1974), among others. By the mid-1970s these companies had stopped production, but Cushing, firmly established as a horror star, continued in the genre for some time thereafter.

Perhaps his best-known appearance outside of horror films was as Grand Moff Tarkin in ‘Star Wars’ (1977). He made appearances on television shows ‘Hammer House of Horror’ (1980) and ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ (1983). Cushing’s retired in 1986. I grew up watching Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee on television every weekend, they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Universal horror legends.

In 1989 he was made an Officer of the British Empire in recognition of his contributions to the acting profession in Britain and worldwide. Peter Cushing died in August 1994 aged 81. Legend.

Harvey Milk Day

Harvey Milk Day is organized by the Harvey Milk Foundation and celebrated globally each year held May 22 in memory of Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist who was assassinated in 1978. The holiday was established by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009 following the success of the award-winning feature film ‘Milk’ retracing Milk’s life.

Milk is a 2008 American biographical film on the life of politician Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Dustin Lance Black, the film stars Sean Penn as Milk and Josh Brolin as Dan White, another city supervisor who was Milk’s assassin. The film was released too much acclaim and earned numerous accolades from film critics and guilds. Ultimately, it received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, winning two for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Penn and Best Original Screenplay for Black.

James Stewart

James Stewart was born today in 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA. He made his acting debut in a boy scout play. After graduating from Princeton in 1932 with a degree in architecture, he joined the University Players whose members included such future stars as Henry Fonda and Margaret Sullavan.

His first motion-picture appearance was in 1935 in ‘The Murder Man’. Stewart’s career gained momentum after his well-received Frank Capra films, including his Academy Award nominated role in ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ (1939) and ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ (1946).

James served in the US Army Air Forces in World War II and was heavily decorated. After the war, he returned to the theater in ‘Harvey’ (1947) (he later re-created the role in the 1950 film version of the play). Then made his first collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock with ‘Rope’ (1948). During the 1950s, he took on more challenging roles and expanded into the western and suspense genres, thanks largely to collaborations with directors Anthony Mann in ‘Winchester ’73’ (1950) and ‘The Naked Spur’ (1953) and 3 more features with Alfred Hitchcock, including Rear Window (1954), The man Who Knew Too much (1956), Vertigo (1958)).

In the early sixties there were roles in three John Ford films, including the classics ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ (1962) and ‘How The West Was Won’ (1962). He won an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1941 for his role in ‘The Philadelphia Story’ and was awarded an Honorary Award in 1985 for ‘Fifty years of memorable performances, for his high ideals both on and off the screen, with respect and affection of his colleagues’ James Stewart died in 1997.

Frank Capra

Frank Capra was born today in 1897, he died on September 3rd, 1991. He was responsible for ‘It Happened One Night’ (1934) which was the first film to win all five top Academy Awards; ‘Mr Deeds Goes To Town’ (1936) and ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ (1938) for which he won his second and third Best Director Awards. Arguably his most famous films are ‘Mr Smith Goes To Washington’ (1939) and two of my all-time favourite classic movies, ‘Arsenic & Old Lace’ (1944) a macabre black comedy with Cary Grant and ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ (1946) with James Stewart. The latter was initially a box-office flop but has since become recognised as an all-time classic and perennial Christmas favourite. It is number one on the American Film Institute list of most inspirational American films of all time. Capra joined the army at the outset of World War 2 and made a series of propaganda films which were highly lauded for their remarkable craftsmanship and were the best of the U.S. propaganda output during the war.

Harvey Keitel

Born 72 years ago today, Harvey Keitel came to prominence in the early 70’s after working in theatre for around ten years. He worked in early Scorsese films ‘Who’s that Knocking At My Door?’ (1967) ‘Mean Streets’ (1973), ‘Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’ (1974) and ‘Taxi Driver’ (1976). He seemed to fade into anonymity in the eighties even though he turned in some impressive performances in films by some of America’s leading directors. However he reemerged into star status with his role as Mr. White in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and Abel Ferrara’s ‘Bad Lieutenant’ (both 1992) and ‘The Piano’ (1993). He worked again for Tarantino in ‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994) and alongside him as an actor in ‘From Dusk ‘Till Dawn’ (1996). His status intact, Keitel has forged a career in supporting roles over the last 15 years, regularly stealing the limelight. He made the excellent and underrated ‘Cop Land’ (1997) which is one of my favourite movies of that decade, the cast list is incredible. Happy birthday Harvey.

Kevin Peter Hall

Kevin Peter Hall was 7’2” in old measurements. Because of this he was regularly cast in monster roles, his credits include characters such as ‘Mutant Bear’, ‘The Alien’, ‘Bouncer’, ‘Monster’ and more famously as ‘Harry’ in Harry & the Hendersons (1987) and ‘The Predator’ in Predator (1987) and Predator 2 (1990). He would have been 56 today had he not died early due to pneumonia in 1991.