Sunday, February 27, 2011

Favorite Oscar Nominated Movies 2011

Here is my list of Favorite Oscar Nominated Movies that were posted on my Facebook page throughout the month of February, 2011. Its not a totally complete list of my favorites (which can go on forever). There's so many movies that have been nominated throughout the years that are some of my favorites and then there are those I have yet to see. But I chose this list because they are some that I have watched more than once and continue to enjoy. Next time, I'm sure to have another list of great movies and commentary prepared that will added to this one.


Citizen Kane (1941) - A TRIBUTE TO CITIZEN KANE

Quite arguably, the greatest film of all time. It is the equivalent to the works of Shakespeare by which all modern writers owe a debt, “Citizen Kane” is the measure of film to which all modern directors of TV and Film have been influenced directly and indirectly. A film shrouded in controversy, director Orson Welles fought hard to get the film made despite opposition from a variety of enemies including American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, due to the fact the film was a semi-autobiographical take on his life. Hearing about the film being made enraged Hearst so much that he banned any word, review and ads of it in his papers and helped to persuade Hollywood film companies to make an offer to producers, RKO Pictures of $805,000 to destroy all prints of the film and burn the negative. Although Hearst's efforts to suppress it damaged the film's success at the time, the film is now inexorably connected to him. And yet, “Citizen Kane” endures. The first time I watched it was about 20 years ago after years of hearing from some movie fans how great it was. So I rented it, sat down and reminded myself, “OK. This was made in 1941.” With that perspective, I was blown away. I could see how revolutionary, at that time, this film came across. The cinematography was ahead of its time. I recently watched it on TCM a few months back and the restoration on the film looks great! I could even see clearly the reflection of one character’s face on a wood desk! If you have not seen the film itself, I would suggest you check it out. Most of all the movies and films that have been produced since its release can be traced to this highly recommended original. – Torrence King


It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” - “Hee Haw!” - “Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?” – These quotes, among others, are as timeless as the movie itself.

“It’s A Wonderful Life” was not as well received when it was released due to high production costs and stiff competition in 1946. It was also nominated for five Oscars without winning any. But, for some reason, in its re-release and countless airings on the then-new technology of television, it started to develop a life of its own and touching the hearts of many for generations to come. It is one of my favorite movies of all time and one of the few I know every bit of dialogue. Also, most of the humor in the film never gets old. It reminds me so much of an extended “Twilight Zone” episode with a little bit of heartfelt comedy and “Citizen Kane” thrown in for good measure with a more redemptive outcome for the main character. And, of course, who can forget the performances of James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell and Henry Travers and the magic of directing by Frank Capra. Quite possibly, along with “The Wizard of Oz”, the most widely enduring film of all time. – Torrence King


The Last Emperor (1987)

One of the great films from the 1980's. The true story of the last Emperor of China, a man born into a world where he is absolute ruler over all around him but a twist of fate and the tides of war lead to his eventual fall. – Torrence King


Million Dollar Baby (2004)

“Girlie, tough ain’t enough.” In my opinion, “Million Dollar Baby” is the best motion picture in the purest form of the medium produced during the past decade. I watched this expecting a “Cinderella” story on par with “Rocky” and every other fighter-down-on-his-luck-turned-champion. What I got was life lessons, deeper truths and a tragic ending. Director Clint Eastwood, who I’ve told friends I “hate” because he keep making great movies I watch and love, crafted yet another work of art. Eastwood continues to change our expectations for most of his movies produced during the past decade and “Million Dollar Baby” is a crowning achievement (so far) to his current cinematic artistry. The acting and dialogue banter between Eastwood and actress Hilary Swank are both top notch and funny and to carry the movie along are fundamental lessons of a boxer’s methods and life poetically delivered as narration by Morgan Freeman. – Torrence King


Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) - Trailer

Clark Gable's Fletcher Christian can only stand by so long as Charles Laughton's Captain Bligh mistreatment of officers on the HMS Bounty finally causes him to take action. After seeing this movie, I could care less about its historical accuracy. The acting is superb. Plus, its message of defiance in the midst of injustice resonated with audiences back then and continues to this day. I believe most of us have become a witness to those in leadership positions who let their power go way too far and one person, out of many, that will not stand for it any longer. – Torrence King


One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

One of Jack Nicholson's greatest performances. I hadn't seen this since a broadcast of it years ago. Watching it a few months back, its amazing how many guys are in this movie that went on to become icons of TV and film. The matching of wits and wisdom between Nicholson's Randle McMurphy against Nurse Ratched played with subtle evilness by Louise Fletcher, is an engaging mental battle of epic proportions. – Torrence King


Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Surprisingly, this film did not win best picture the year it was nominated. That honor went to the less violent and even less impressive "Shakespeare In Love" (Which was OK but compared to this masterpiece...c'mon!) Director Steven Spielberg and company crafted the most realistic view of World War II the world had ever seen. Even I was shaken in the theater and thinking, "Damn, Now This is War!" And, again, Spielberg was snubbed that year. You can literally count how many times he along with Martin Scorsese have been snubbed versus how many times they actual won. ("Goodfellas" anyone?) The realism and popularity of "Saving Private Ryan" eventually led to the production of the equally, if not better, HBO World War II mini-series "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific" – Torrence King


Schindler's List - The 1993 American biographical drama film about Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. -

‎"Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire". I came to watching this movie because of the trailers, box office buzz and various scenes I saw on the Academy Awards the year it won the Oscar for Best Picture. When I did finally see it on a 2-tape VHS, afterward, I was a bit numb and tears did form. Director Steven Spielberg put his heart and soul into this film. Using all the techniques of storytelling, movie making and art to craft a testament to how one life can change many lives. Not only do we see how prejudice can drive a society to madness, we also see the scenes behind the darkness and are showed the lives of those who chose to hate versus those who chose to help. Plus, add the heartfelt theme music by John Williams and you have a cinematic masterpiece. – Torrence King


Star Wars (1977)

Quite literally the film that changed everything about movies since the time of its release in 1977. Sure there were other science fiction/action movies before like "The War of The Worlds", "The Day The Earth Stood Still" and "2001: A Space Odyssey", but nothing caught the imagination of the mass movie-going audience like "Star Wars" (and have yet to let go). Director George Lucas, took a huge gamble and it paid off. Influenced by classic comics and movies of space adventurers "Buck Rogers" and "Flash Gordon", whose stories relied primarily on the readers and/or viewers own imagination to carry the plot, Lucas created a whole universe of people and places that would surpass the popularity of most mythological and literary characters. The release of the movie in 1977 was at the right time when the future generation of current filmmakers and computer-tech kids would go see it (numerous times and, in a way, studying it over and over) and evenutally go on and create equally important films using the technology and visual effects Lucas and company pioneered. Without "Star Wars" there would be no Pixar's "Toy Story" and other great CGI animated films, "Tron", "Lord of The Rings Trilogy", "Spider-Man" movies, "Superman" movies, "X-Men" movies and the list goes on. – Torrence King


A Soldier's Story (1984)

“A Soldier’s Story” is an ensemble acting tour de force. Howard E. Rollins, Jr, Adolph Caesar, Denzel Washington, and William Allen Young all give performances of high caliber. To me, It is part-“Mutiny on The Bounty”, part-“Billy Budd” and part-“Full Metal Jacket” due to the fact it deals with an authoritative figure whose hate and jealousy causes him to treat his subordinates with malice, and especially the one subordinate who is popular with everyone and talented; things that he does not possess. When he is killed, there are complications to the investigation that does not seem to have a clear resolution. A great movie indeed. Plus, you get to see a young Denzel in one of his earliest motion picture roles. A sign on great things to come…. – Torrence King


Sunday, February 13, 2011

PLAYLIST: 100 Favorite Love Songs

100 Favorite Love Songs

"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two." - St. Augustine

With love and the sound of broken hearts in the air, I would like to present my 100 favorite love songs.

This list consists of some of the most thoughtful, “sappy” and honestly poetic songs on the subject of love: both lost and found that I have come to appreciate.

I chose these songs because, primarily, most of them are personal favorites either for lyrical content or musically diverse or both. Some songs I grew up listening to while others are current favorites that take their cue from those romantic classics of years gone by. Included below is the list of 100 songs with a few selected music/video for my readers to sample or just play to your hearts content. And as always: search, download, listen and enjoy.

Song / Artist

1. #41 – Dave Matthews Band
2. (Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away – Barry Gibb
3. A Song For You – Ray Charles
4. All About Our Love – Sade
5. All I Do – Stevie Wonder
6. All This Love – El DeBarge
7. All Time High – Rita Coolidge
8. Always and Forever – Heatwave
9. Always on My Mind – Willie Nelson
10. Angel – Jon Secada
11. Anyway – Over The Rhine
12. At Your Best – Aaliyah
13. Babe – Styx
14. Baby Come Back – Player
15. Be With You – Enrique Iglesias
16. Best of My Love – The Eagles
17. Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis Presley
18. Crazy – Patsy Cline
19. Cryin’ – Roy Orbinson
20. Don’t Worry Baby – Beach Boys
21. Ebony Eyes – Rick James and Smokey Robinson
22. Endless Love – Lionel Richie and Diana Ross
23. Everybody Here Wants You – Jeff Buckley
24. Faithfully – Journey
25. For The Love of You – Isley Brothers


- VIDEO: Everybody Here Wants You - Jeff Buckley

If the video above does not display, copy and paste the following in your URL:

I know everybody here wants you

I know everybody here thinks he needs you

I'll be waiting right here just to show you

How our love will blow it all away


26. Halo – The Cure
27. Have I Told You Lately – Van Morrison
28. Hearts – Marty Balin
29. Hello, Again – Neil Diamond
30. Home – The Cure
31. How Deep is Your Love – Bee Gees
32. How Much I Feel – Ambrosia
33. I Can’t Tell You Why – The Eagles
34. I Could Fall In Love – Selena
35. I Couldn’t Love You More – Sade
36. I Just Fall In Love Again – Anne Murray
37. I Just Wanna Stop – Gino Vannelli
38. I Love You – Sarah McLachlan
39. I Want You – Marvin Gaye
40. I Will Always – The Cranberries
41. I’m On Fire – Bruce Springsteen
42. I’ve Got You Under My Skin – Frank Sinatra
43. If You Leave Me Now – Chicago
44. Is This Love – Bob Marley
45. It Might Be You – Stephen Bishop
46. Just Once – James Ingram
47. Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
48. Lifetime – Maxwell
49. Live On My Mind – Bruce Cockburn
50. Look of Love – Diana Krall


- VIDEO: Live on my Mind - Bruce Cockburn

If the video above does not display, click or copy and paste the following link in your URL:

See you standing in the door against the dark
Fireflies around you like a crown of sparks
You blow me a kiss that blurs my vision
Blurs the human condition

You're the ocean ringing in my brain
You are my island ripe with cane
Catch the scent of strange flowers when you pass
Fluid motion like the wind in grass

It's your eyes I want to see
Looking into mine
Got you live on my mind
All the time


51. Loose Ends – Bruce Springsteen
52. Lost In Love – Air Supply
53. Lost Without U – Robin Thicke
54. Love Song – The Cure
55. Making Love – Roberta Flack
56. Making Love Out of Nothing At All - Air Supply
57. Mercy of The Flame – Mark Heard
58. Missing – Everything But The Girl
59. More Love – Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
60. My Girl – The Temptations
61. My Heart Can’t Tell You No – Rod Stewart
62. My Love – Paul McCartney
63. Never My Love – The Association
64. Never Too Much – Luther Vandross
65. One More Night – Phil Collins
66. Ooh, Baby Baby – Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
67. Open Arms – Journey
68. Play Me – Neil Diamond
69. Sarah Smile – Hall and Oates
70. She’s All I Ever Had – Ricky Martin
71. Something – The Beatles
72. Something About Us – Daft Punk
73. Somewhere Only We Know - Keane
74. Stay (Faraway, So Close) – U2
75. Still – The Commodores


- VIDEO: Love Song – The Cure

If the video above does not display, click or copy and paste the following link in your URL:

Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am home again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am whole again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am young again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am fun again

However far away, I will always love you

However long I stay, I will always love you

Whatever words I say, I will always love you

I will always love you......


76. Suddenly – Oliva Newton-John and Cliff Richard
77. Superstar / Until You Come Back To Me – Luther Vandross
78. Sway – Bic Runga
79. Tender Love – Force MDs
80. The Air That I Breathe – The Hollies
81. The One – Elton John
82. The One You Love – Glenn Frey
83. The Scientist – Coldplay
84. The Search is Over – Survivor
85. There’s Nothing Better Than Love – Luther Vandross and Gregory Hines
86. Thirty-Three – Smashing Pumpkins
87. This Magic Moment – The Drifters
88. Time In The Bottle – Jim Croce
89. True – Spandau Ballet
90. Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers
91. Unforgettable – Nat King Cole
92. When I Need You – Leo Sayer
93. Wild Is The Wind – Nina Simone
94. Without You – Mariah Carey
95. Woman – John Lennon
96. You Are Everything – The Stylistics
97. You Are My Starship – Norman Connors
98. You Are So Beautiful – Joe Cocker
99. You Belong To Me – Anita Baker
100. You Make Loving Fun – Fleetwood Mac


- VIDEO: Superstar / Until You Come Back To Me – Luther Vandross

If the video above does not display, click or copy and paste the following link in your URL:

Long ago
And oh, so far away
I fell in love with you
Before the second show

And your guitar
And you sound so sweet and clear
But you're not really here
It's just the radio

Don't you remember you told me you loved me, baby
You said you'd be comin' back this way again, baby…..


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

IN MEMORIAM: John Barry (1933-2011) Award Winning Film Composer of James Bond, Dances with Wolves

Film composer John Barry, who wrote most of the music for the early James Bond movies starring Sean Connery and Roger Moore died in his home in Oyster Bay, NY, on January 30, 2011. Barry is most famous for the James Bond theme song (around which there was a small authorship dispute with another composer, Monty Norman), but his other Bond music is just as capable of conjuring instant recall (see song list below). He also wrote the title songs for a number of the early Bond movies (Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice), and the music for Louis Armstrong's "We Have All the Time in the World" for a love scene in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. And he did lots else besides: he scored Midnight Cowboy, won five Oscars, and was married for a few years to Jane Birkin.

The constellation of music around James Bond is actually quite unique: there's a particular combination of rumbly, sighing, surf-rock bass, blaring horns, and trilling, glassy strings that instantly signals "Bond." Barry ended up carving out a musical space for the films that is completely distinctive and enduring. And the theme songs in particular are unequalled concoctions of camp, celebrity, nostalgia, commercialism, and actual musical excellence. For instance, check out the totally great theme song for GoldenEye, written by Bono and the Edge and performed by Tina Turner: the Bondian musical palette is so distinctive that other musicians can simply take it on, like any musical tradition.

Read More:

For a complete biography, go to:


Here's a list of my favorite John Barry songs for the James Bond movie series:



Moonraker By Shirley Bassey - OST - (HQ Sound)


All Time High (From the movie "Octopussy") Rita Coolidge


A View To A Kill By Duran Duran - OST - (HQ Sound)


James Bond 007 Movie Theme Music