Four Deleted Scenes from Aliens (1986)

aliens 1986 title“You know, Burke, I don’t know which  s p e c i e s  is worse. You don’t see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.”

After the success of my website’s most viewed post from a few years back, Three Important Scenes Deleted from Alien, I wanted to followup with an entry chronicling four important scenes omitted from the theatrical cut of James Cameron’s Aliens…a film so powerful that it has fans arguing that it’s the only sequel in a franchise to surpass the original in greatness.

Before the release of Aliens in 1986, James Cameron removed over 20 minutes of footage bringing the theatrical run-time to 137 minutes. Five years following Cameron decided to reinsert over 17 minutes of deleted footage back into Aliens creating the Aliens Special Edition.

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While I’ve seen both the theatrical cut and director’s cut, the latter doesn’t differ heavily from the former…certainly not nearly as drastic as  Alien³: The Assembly Cut. The advantage of this theatrical cut is all about the pacing of the film – it flows smoothly and quickly…exactly what studio execs wanted.

My preference? There are aspects of the director’s cut that I find could have been beneficial to keeping, while others deserved to be left on the cutting room floor. Personally, I prefer the theatrical cut.

Sigorney Weaver’s preference? She threatened to never shoot an Alien film again if the longer director’s cut was not released.

Here are four scenes that didn’t make it in the theatrical cut.

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Top 10 Movies of the 90’s

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Welcome to the second act of my three part decades series – the top 10 movies of the 90’s.

The 90’s had many classics that have come to define the landscape of film history.  With the success of the newly-founded summer blockbuster, studio executives began to invest more and more into mega-budget films. The average cost was now roughly 53 million dollars contrasting from the 18 million dollar budget average of the decade prior.

Addressing this matter Tim Dirks of FilmSite.org hits the nail on the head:  “There still existed an imbalanced emphasis on the opening weekend, with incessant reports of weekly box-office returns, and puffed-up reviews and critics’ ratings. The belief was sustained that expensive, high-budget films with expensive special effects (including shoot ’em-ups, stereotypical chase scenes, and graphic orchestrated violence) meant quality. However, the independently-distributed film movement was also proving that it could compete (both commercially and critically) with Hollywood’s costly output.”

With this rise of studios like Miramax erupted production and distribution of some of the most remembered and influential films of all time sparking the birth of the indie film movement. For those of us that were children in this decade, we were blessed with the continuing nostalgia factor of 80’s film-making, but the rise of future of visual effects, CGI and the beauty & grit of Guerilla film-making became more prominent.

So without futher ado here is my list of my 10 favorite films of the 90’s.

***Forest Gump will not be on this list.  I hate Forest Gump.  Sorry in advance.***

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3 True Crime Stories That Were Turned Into Movies

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Murder mysteries and true crime stories have always caused a buzz in the cinema world. Films that are shocking and gruesome tend to grab the attention of viewers and critics alike. Yet, there may be stories you’ve seen that you didn’t know were based on real events. Although many of these stories have been slightly altered for Hollywood effect, here are the actual facts of 3 spine-chilling stories that you won’t believe made it to the silver screen.

Warning: Spoilers!

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Oscars 2017 Recap

2017 Oscar Winners

Although the top four acting categories garnered predictable winners, what no one predicted at the 2017 Oscars were the infamous hashtags known as #Envelopegate and #Oscarfail.

When Warren Beatty and Faye Dunnaway went to present the Oscar to best picture, Beatty had been handed the wrong envelope by the accountants. Confused and apprehensive once he looked at the envelope (which read Best Actress Winner Emma Stone from La La Land), Beatty attempted to show Dunaway the mistake before she immediately blurted out: LA LA LAND!

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What a total F up. It’s one of the most surprising reversals in Oscar history.

As Trevor Dueck writes, Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel steered us through an overall entertaining show with Trump jokes and on ongoing feud with Matt Damon. Don’t forget about the bus-load of tourists who got the surprise of their lives when they were brought into the Dolby Theatre and got to meet some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

Here’s a recap of the 2017 Academy Awards.

Not Today Satan

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Top 10 Movies of 2016

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The 2017 Academy Awards are finally upon us, and this year we can safely praise the industry for not imitating #OscarsSoWhite. The hashtag heard round the world last year explained the lack of diversity in Oscar nominations, but not this year.

The Academy has nominated four Best Picture movies about people of color (Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion and Moonlight), seven acting nods for performances of color as well as nominations in categories such as directing, screenplay and cinematography.

This year it really comes down to two movies. One focuses on black America and personal diversity while the other is about following your dreams. Moonlight and La La Land are undoubtedly the two movies to beat.

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While I’m fearful that the overrated La La Land will sweep the Oscars, Trevor Dueck argues that “two white tarts dancing and singing in Hollywood might have come out a year too late.” I’m not so sure about that though.

As the director of Moonlight Barry Jenkins explains, “They could not be more different films. I don’t think a love for one has to be to the rejection of the other. I can only speak to the film I made, which was made in the service of shining a light on a character who is often marginalized. Where that falls in the context of the awards season, I can’t say. But I love that regardless of where we are right now, a year and a half ago, we sat down to make this thing, and that’s exactly how I felt and it’s how I feel now.”

Everyone knows my stance on the undeserving Goliath that is La La Land (see here), but this feel-good musical has earned a whopping 14 nominations, a record only shared with All About Eve and Titanic. WTF, right? Even the LA Times asks who will survive the onslaught of La La Land? After sweeping the Golden Globes, it’s proven to be an unbeatable force.

But there were more great movies this year than those two. Many of those movies were ignored by the Academy entirely but were some of my favorites of the year.

Here are my top 10 personal favorite movies of 2016!

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How Many Oscars Can La La Land Lose?

La La Land movie poster

Okay, so these are not predictions, not me trying to be clever…just merely an attempt to throw a huge “what if” out there regarding how many of the 14 Oscar nominations La La Land is going to come away with in two weeks. With the voting now live, and the question of “how many” seemingly everywhere, I thought I would get thoughts spinning, and tongues wagging, by attempting to put forward some basic arguments as to how La La Land could lose each category (not necessarily in the same reality) come Oscar night.

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5 Things I Learned from Captain Fantastic

Captain Fantastic cast4star-2“Always tell the truth. Always take the high road. Live each day like it could be your last. Drink it in. Be adventurous, be bold, but savor it. It goes fast.”

If you had the opportunity to be fully present for your children, could you do it?

In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.

Writer/director Matt Ross was fully focused on parenthood while penning this script. He took questions that he asks himself as a father and translated them into the character of Ben (played by Viggo Mortensen). “My goal was to create a movie that was intellectually stimulating and emotionally moving.”via First Showing.

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I’m about seven months late to catching one of the most outstanding and underreported indies of last summer, so pardon the delay. Each year brings constant booms in technology and increased distractions for us millennials and non-millennials. Captain Fantastic delves into a territory I’d be most uncomfortable with – an existence void of the toxic influences of society. The horror! Right?

Here’s what I learned from Captain Fantastic…

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Top 10 Movies of the ’80s

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The 80’s had some spectacular movies. As I sit here writing this post, I look back on my life with a love for cinema, but now my news feed is our current political climate. I think what happened to the love of our neighbors.  We live in a constant state of apology and open bigotry.  We march, we complain, we are given participation awards and have never been more divided.

Don’t worry…this is not a political rant or a cry for us to unite.  As a matter of fact, this is a distraction from these very  issues.  Having now been around for nearly 4 decades, I’ve built quite the love for the cinema.  I studied cinematography in college, I’ve produced shorts, I’ve worked on 200 million dollar mega budget films and I’ve even tried my hand in documentary production.  During all of this time, I’ve found that the film arts are my salvation. With that being said I figured I would give a subjective look at my 10 favorite films of each decade: The 80’s, 90’s and 00’s.  

These lists are meant to be my personal favorites that I watch often, or they’re movies that changed the landscape of the industry through storytelling, production, acting, etc. I hope you enjoy!

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The 80’s…As Tim Dirks of FilmSite.org eloquently says, “The decade of the 1980s tended to consolidate the gains made in the seventies rather than to initiate any new trends equal to the large number of disaster movies, buddy movies, or ‘rogue cop’ movies that characterized the previous decade. Designed and packaged for mass audience appeal, few 80’s films became what could be called ‘classics’. The era was characterized by the introduction of ‘high-concept’ films – with cinematic plots that could be easily characterized by one or two sentences (25 words or less) – and therefore easily marketable and understandable.”

 With this mentality we were introduced to a slew of teen angst films, sequels galore and the birth of the modern day “Hollywood Blockbuster.”  Here are my personal favorites.

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Review: Jackie

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Natalie Portman is Jackie Kennedy.

Dramatizing an event for film or television already heavily ingrained in history and culture presents challenges: actors may look different than their real-life counterparts, events could be changed or forgotten, the overall “feel” of the event (due to music, costumes or other production quirks) can be lost. Historical pieces are tricky, but when handled with ingenuity, these films stand as a crowning achievement in the world of cinema.

Typically portrayed for her style and elegance, Jackie gives us a rare glimpse of the First Lady as she gives a revealing look at her tenure at the White House and introduces the idea of Camelot following the JFK assassination for an article in Life magazine. The film gives us an opportunity to experience a side of Jackie seldom explored and how she cemented her husband’s legacy. Said Jackie in the interview: “There will be great presidents again, but there will never be another Camelot.”

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Review: Green Room is Year’s Most Horrifying

Green Room Movie Poster5star“It’s funny. You were so scary at night.”

There are some movies that make you question where you stand on Darwin’s survival of the fittest theory – Green Room is one of them, and I don’t think I’d survive.

With white power slogans subtly displayed throughout the film’s central location, a neo-Nazi skinhead bar in the desolate Oregon backwoods (led by Sir Patrick Stewart!?), the timing of the film’s release is a eerily relevant in the era of a Trump America. Green Room creates a raw, gut-wrenching survival experience that had me white-knuckled throughout the entire movie.

Even Sir Patrick Stewart (Darcy) 30 pages deep into reading the script, stopped reading to immediately set his home security alarms and open a bottle of scotch before finishing the script.

“Remember, it’s not a party,” Darcy tells his followers on stage in the microphone. “It’s a movement.” You’re damn right.

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