Saturday, January 31, 2015

Top 5 Movie Guide: Julianne Moore

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we take a look at some of our favorite films featuring Julianne Moore, who's nominated this year for her work in "Still Alice". After graduating from Boston University with a degree in acting, Moore started her professional career on the stage in off-Broadway productions. She spent most of the 1980's doing soap operas and TV movies, and didn't get her first role in a feature film until 1990, when she was 30-years-old. Her first leading role came in 1995's "Safe", for which she earned praise throughout the industry. After "Safe", she quickly landed prominent roles in notable films such as "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" (1997), "Boogie Nights" (1997), "The Big Lebowski"* (1998), and "Psycho" (1998).

She's so far appeared in 58 feature films, earning five Academy Award nominations along the way, including two in 2002 (Leading Role: "Far From Heaven"; Supporting Role: "The Hours"). She's yet to win, but it appears likely she'll finally take home to prize this year. Among other roles she's won, lost or turned down throughout her career, she lost out on the lead roles in "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" (to Frances O'Connor) and "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" (to Cate Blanchett); she turned down the roles of Audrey in "Unbreakable" (the role went to Robin Wright) and Kate in "Fair Game" (the role went to Cindy Crawford); she beat out Helen Hunt and Cate Blanchett to reprise the role of Clarice Starling in 2001's "Hannibal".

*"The Big Lebowski" was enshrined by this site on October 10, 2012 (John Goodman). As such, it was not eligible for our lists below. Please reference this link for more details on how that system works. Otherwise, hit the jump to see which films each of us selected as our favorites!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Top 5 Movie Guide: J.K. Simmons

J.K. Simmons (Jonathan Kimble Simmons) was born in 1955 in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from the University of Montana (neat!), originally studying to be a composer - he has a degree in music, though he eventually got into acting and pursued that passion instead. His early career consisted mostly of stage work, but his breakthrough screen role come playing an inmate on HBO's first hour-long drama, "Oz", in 1997.

Since then, he's mostly taken supporting roles, but has mastered that niche and has stayed incredibly active throughout his career. Since his start in 1986, he's appeared in more than 70 films and 50 television shows. Among his regular collaborators over that time are Sam Raimi (the Spider-Man trilogy, "For the Love of the Game") and Jason Reitman, the latter of whom he's appeared in every one of his feature films (six to date).

He's one of the hardest working and most respected actors working today, and his performance in 2014's "Whiplash" is a testament to his dedication and commitment. His Oscar nomination (and probable win) is one of the most deserving you'll ever see for the award. It's nice to see an actor like Simmons finally get some of the credit he's most surely due.

Hit the jump for some of our favorites from his vast filmography!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Top 5 Movie Guide: Keira Knightley

This is not a mirage. You are not dreaming. The Slackers are back! (at least for a limited stint.) It's been nearly two years since a post last hit the walls of this site, and we decided it was time to correct that. It all started with the simple idea of again posting our Top 15 Films of 2014 - which we will still do sometime next month. But as we've been working on those posts and talking about films together again, we realized just how much we missed 1) talking about movies collectively, 2) making lists, and 3) pretending like anyone else cares about what we think. So we're back at it the best way we know how - the Top 5 Movie Guide!

This time around, we're only going to focus on one list a week - and outside of our end-of-the-year lists, don't expect to see much else posted. Also, the way we're setting this up, we're giving ourselves an out if it goes terribly over the next month or so. Traditionally, we picked our subjects (either filmmaker or genre) based on a film that was releasing that particular week. For now, we're going to base this and the next five entries around the top Oscars categories this year. For the first four weeks, we'll highlight the films of one of the nominees from each of the acting categories (Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, Best Actor). After that, one of the directors from the Best Director field, culminated by a list revolving around past Best Picture winners (this list will debut Saturday, February 21, one day before the Oscars ceremony).

So, if we realize we just don't have the time or our heart isn't into it, we cap all of the postings with that, and enjoy the Oscars-themed Top 5 Movie Guide limited series that was. If we're loving it, however, we'll continue with our Saturday posts and go back to selecting our subjects in the traditional way.

For now - and apologies to Keira Knightley for my description ruining her screen time (I'll give her a little plug after the break) - we'll get started with this week's subject, Keira Knightley, who's nominated this year for her work in "The Imitation Game".