Author: Donna

Greatest All-time Movies

From epic car chases to hand-to-hand combats, and back to gore scenes, action movies are home to the adrenaline rush. Despite all of these films being action-packed, some stand tall over the others. Be it being cast in memorable locations like Lexington or displaying ludicrous themes, these shows have something distinct.

A great movie is one that exceeds sophomore slumps and stakes its place in fanatic folklore. We travel down movie history and unearth some gems that are worth watching.

First Blood (1982)

Forget about Rambo’s other sequels; First Blood was the real deal. The ingenious storyline has an allure to it. The shaggy-haired Sylvester Stallone, a.k.a John Rambo, is arrested while visiting an old platoon colleague in the wild and lush Washington state.

He unleashes hell and escapes while in the hands of cops. The rest of the story is a gruesome survival adventure. Rambo uses all skills that he learned in the Vietnam war to outmaneuver sheriffs. If you haven’t watched First Blood, grab some popcorn, it’s worth your time.

Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)

With Quentin Tarantino at the wheels, Kill Bill barely goes astray. It stars Uma Thurman, a remorseful ex-bride who is after a lover who tried to kill her during a wedding. Bloody is an understatement when it comes to Kill Bill. Martial art is on full display as Uma seeks revenge. Armed with a samurai sword, she takes no prisoners when hunting Bill.

Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt) performance in this action-packed film is unmatched. With the IMF, an intelligence branch, Ethan works for disbanded; the CIA is hot on the heels of the organization’s members. They view Ethan as a rogue agent on the loose. Ethan and his crew are on a survival mission to justify themselves against a criminal entity named ‘The Syndicate’. You’ll undoubtedly enjoy this film from start to finish.

Broadway Facts

Broadway boasts one of the largest collections of theatres in the world with hundreds of performances stages every week. Here are some fascinating facts about the Great White Way:

1. The longest-running show is The Phantom of the Opera which first opened back in 1988 and has now been running for over 30 years. That’s over 11,000 shows! Chicago takes the second spot on the list.

2. The Lion King was the first show in the history of Broadway to take over 1 billion dollars at the box office. The show brings in an average of 2 million dollars each week it is open.

3. The term off-Broadway can be a little confusing. What does that mean as many theatres are not on Broadway itself. According to research, a theatre must have t least 500 seats to be considered a Broadway production, regardless of its location.

4. The famed song Edelweiss from The Sound of Music was the last song that the composer Oscar Hammerstein ever wrote. He was suffering from cancer while writing the show and died shortly afterward.

5. Waitress the musical which premiered on Broadway in2015 is the first to have an all-female creative team. The show’s director Diane Paulus said women were absolutely at the top of their game.

6. Based on the animated film, the Musical Aladdincontain seven songs by composer Alen Menken which never made it into the film.

7. The hit musical The King and I was based on the real-life events of Anna Leonowens who was a teacher to the royal family of Siam – which is now known as Thailand.

8. Stephen Sondheim originally wanted to use the F word in the lyrics of a West Side Story song but this was deemed too offensive and the words had to be changed.

Grammy Awards

Organized by The Recording Academy, the Grammy Awards are America’s top music awards and considered to be one of the top prizes in the industry. the ceremony was first held in 1959 and has been a staple of the industry ever since. The first event was held in both New York and California at the same time and it was not broadcast on television until the 1970s. It has been broadcast on CBS in the United States since 1973 and is one of the network’s premier annual events.

The ratings for the Grammys have fluctuated over the years. The peal viewership for the awards was in the 1980s when they would regularly get over 30 million viewers. In recent years, the figure has fallen as low as 18 million. In 1984 the awards got their biggest ever audience of over 50 million viewers.

Winners of the Grammy Awards receive one of its iconic trophies which are in the shape of a gramophone. During the 1990s the award was revamped to make it stronger. Over 7000 of the awards have been given out since the event was founded in the late 1950s.

Most of the awards are organized by genre, there are only 4 so-called general awards which are record of the year, album of the year, song of the year and best new artists. There are only 2 people who have been awarded all 4 of these general accolades. The Texan singer Christopher Cross won all 4 in 1980 while the British singer Adele won them across three years: 2009, 2012 and 2107.

There are a total of 84 different categories which are awarded across the different genres. These include, but are not limited to, pop, dance, rock, R&B, country, jazz, and American roots. There are also awards for spoken word, musical theatre and historical.

The person with the most Grammy’s is not a pop star but classical director Georg Solti with an impressive 31 to his name. Though he died in 1994, he still tops the table of the most Grammy awards to date. Second on the list is Quincy Jones with 27 awards and in at number 3 is the singer Alison Krauss with 27 – the most decorated female artist in the award’s history.

Facts about Film

1. Do you know that famous drawing of Kate Winslet in Titanic? It was actually drawn by the director James Cameron.

2. A machine holding all the data for the film Toy Story 2 was accidentally deleted by a glitch in the system. the backup system also failed but luckily the technical director had a copy at home and most of the work was saved.

3. After the release of Finding Nemo, there was a 75 percent drop in the number of clownfish in the Australian reef as people wanted them for pets.

4. One of Robert DeNiro’s most famed role is the lead in the psychological thriller Taxi Driver. despite being a complicated and thrilling plot, the writer, Paul Schrader, actually wrote the script in just two weeks.

5. The fake snow in The Wizard of Oz was asbestos-based. It wasn’t just the film, asbestos was used in a variety of decorations across Europe and America at the time. Toto the dog also earned more than the actor’s playing the munchkins on the film.

6. The film scream was actually supposed to be called Scary Movie – the name of its latterly produced parody.

West End Facts

The West End is London’s answer to Broadway and entertains the capital with hundreds of musicals, plays, ballets and operas on a nightly basis. Here are some of the most interesting and informative facts about the UK’s theaterland.

1. It is reported to take up to two hours to apply the makeup to the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera. The actor wears prosthetics, two wigs, contact lenses and plenty of makeup.

2. In British theatres, it is considered bad luck to say the word, Macbeth. While some actors do not believe in this superstition, others take it very seriously.

3. During the Second World War over 150 bombs were dropped directly on the West End and many theatres were either destroyed or partially damaged. Thankfully they have all been restored to their former glory.

4. The first public theatre in London was built in 1576 and was even used by Shakespeare before he built the Globe on the South Bank. This theatre was not in what is now considered the West end and was located in Shoreditch to the east.

5. The longest running show in the world id in London, The Mousetrap.

Musicals

Musicals are a form of theatre which combines not only spoken dialogue but also singing, music and dance. They musical dates back to the 19th century and the second world war with Oklahoma considered the first ‘book musical’ where the story is driven by the songs. Before this, a musical was just a collection of songs added to a story that often dd not progress the plot.

While early musicals were mainly classical in style, think The Sound of Music, Oklahoma, and South Pacific, modern musical have to come to use a variety of different styles. Musical such as Rent, Porgy and Bess, School of Rock and We Will Rock You have pushed the musical far away from its traditional boundaries.

The nature and content of musicals have also changed. Traditionally the musical was a love story but in recent decades have come to deal with issues as wide-ranging as death, sexuality, drugs, and war.

While most musicals contain both songs and dialogue, some musicals have no speech at all and are known as sung-through musicals. Famed musicals of this variety include Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Starlight Express and Evita.

Tony Awards

Officially named The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence, the Tony Awards are held annually in New York and celebrate the achievements of the Broadway community – there is also one award which is dedicated to regional theater. The American Theater Wing first held the awards in 1947, with the now famed statue first introduced 2 years later in 1949. The award, which is commonly referred to as the Tony medallion was designed by the artist Herman Ross. The award updated in 2010 to be made a little larger and also to look a little more polished and represent modern times.

Awards are given to individuals who star in the show, the production and creative teams behind them and also to the shows as a whole. Some of the categories at the Tony Awards include the best performance for leading actor and actress in a play, the best performance for leading actor and actress in a musical, best new play, the best new musical, best revival and best director of both a play and a musical. Awards are also given in a number of additional categories which include geography, score, lighting, costume, and set design.

There has been some criticism of the awards with people suggesting that, much like the Oscars, the awards are a vehicle for those shows with large marketing budgets. The awards also have the potential to give a show a credible boost at the box office if it is successful on the night. Actors who win an award can also expect their earning potential to rocket as their names enter the popular American lexicon.

Hamilton takes the lead when it comes to nominations, receiving 16 across 13 different categories back in 2016. However, it is The Producers which has won most awards, sweeping the board with 12 wins.

Facts about the Tony Awards

  • Only shows which have been staged in official Broadway theatres can be nominated for awards, except for the regional theater award
  • The legendary director and producer Hal Prince has won the most awards in history, racking up a whopping 21 gongs
  • The performer with the most awards is the Broadway legend Audra McDonald with 6 Tonys to her name
  • The revival of Tony Kushner’s Angel’s in America is the play which has been nominated for the most awards, sweeping the boards with 11 nominations across 10 categories in 2018
  • The awards are named after the actress Antoinette Perry

The Oscars

The official name of the Oscars is the Academy Awards which were first established in 1929. The awards recognize the best actors actresses, directors and creative teams behind the previous year’s films. Winners are awarded a statue called ‘an Oscar’ which was designed by George Stanley and is said to be named as such because it looked like Stanley’s Uncle Oscar.

When the awards began in 1929 it was a small lunch held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with just a few hundred people in attendance. Since 2002 the awards have been held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles with several thousand people attending each year.

The awards have 24 categories, which include, but are not limited to: best picture, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, directing, original screenplay, adapted screenplay, cinematography, production design, editing, original score, and original song. Traditionally the best picture award is the last award of the evening and is generally considered the most prestigious award of the evening.

In addition to being a way to cement the film’s place in history, the awards also have the potential to significantly increase the earning potential of the actors and actresses who receive an Oscar. Many actors have had their careers launched by winning the award early in their careers. The winners are a closely guarded secret. In the early days, the names of the winners were released to the press but after these were leaked the practice was stopped.

There was another major blunder in 2017 when the wrong envelope containing the name of the winner of best films was given to the presenters. After initial applause for La La Land and the actors making their way to the stage, the actual winner was revealed to be Moonlight.

There are only 5 actors who have won 3 best Oscars in the award’s extensive history. These actors are Meryl Streep, Ingrid Bergman, Jack Nicholson, Walter Brennan, and Daniel Day-Lewis. Katherine Hepburn is the only person to win 4 Oscars. She won for the films Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968) and finally for On Golden Pond (1981).

Fun Facts about the Oscars

  • Christopher Plummer is the oldest actor to win an Oscar at 82 for the film Beginners (2010)
  • When Liza Minnelli won her Oscar for Cabaret, she became the only winner whose parents have both won an Oscar
  • Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win an Oscar for directing when she picked up the gong for The Hurt Locker in 2009
  • Meryl Street has been nominated for an Oscar an impressive 18 times across her career – more than any other actor in the award’s history

Bollywood

Bollywood, which is otherwise known as Hindi cinema, is India’s movie-making industry and based in the sprawling city of Mumbai. Bollywood is actually larger than its American sister, producing as many as 2000 films a year and generates a little under half of India’s box office revenues. A study back in 2001 looked at the number of ticket sales in Bollywood which totaled over 3.5 billion in India compared to Hollywood which sold just over 2.5 billion tickets worldwide.

Bollywood is very stylised and always almost contains music and dancing – although not always. The most popular genre of Bollywood film is masala which is unlike any western genre and combines the fields drama, comedy, history, music, and dance into one spectacle. Bollywood is heavily influenced by Indian culture and, as in the classic Indian style, has many different subplots and side stories in addition to the main action.

In recent years, Bollywood has become popular around the world and is viewed as one of the country’s most influential sources of soft power and is credited as being one of the main drivers of people changing their perception of India.

A Hitory of Movies

The start of the movie industry is a difficult point to define as technology developed gradually and the definition of a movie changed rapidly over the decades until the emergence of modern film in the 20th century. However, the Lumière brothers are largely considered to have made the first recognizable movie in Paris in the late1800’s. These early films were often only minutes or even seconds long as not the cinematic masterpieces we are familiar with today.

At this early stage, movies were also merely a selection of movies pictures and had no constructed narrative or even sound. By the start of the 20th century, rapid developments in technology meant that the feature film was in its inception stages. Films at this stage were also silent films as the technology to capture sound and film together was still in its infancy.

Throughout the early 2oth century and into the First World War, the film became a popular form of entertainment and the industry exploded in both the United States. While France also has a popular film industry – with a cottage industry blooming in Germany, despite its politically turbulent circumstances, came to a halt due to the war. It was during this tumultuous time that Hollywood was truly born – a place that would forever remain the unquestionable home of the cinematic medium.

<p>It was during the 1920s that Hollywood reached its peak, producing over 800 films a year which is more than the industry produces today. It was also the time when the famed and infamous studio system was developed and made stars of Hollywood’s legends. By the end of this decade, sound would dominate film with the end of the silent movie era.

The 1930s became the most successful decade of film to date, with color films becoming the norm and the latter part of the decade saw the production of some of history’s most iconic films including Gone with the Wind and the beloved Wizard of Oz starring a teenage Judy Garland.

The following decades saw several transitions in the film era from the propaganda war films in the 1940s to the sci-fi explosion of the 1970s. The 70s also saw the emergence of some of modern cinema’s popular filmmakers including Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, and Terrence Malick.

Recent decades have been noted both for their technological developments and also for their growth in inclusivity. While Hollywood is still dominated by a few overused narratives, since the 1990s, many more films about minorities such as black people and the LGBT community have entered the film canon.

As streaming has become popularized, the film industry is once again undergoing rapid and seismic shifts, with many in the film industry critical of platform such as Netflix who they argue divert revenues away from the industry.

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