Michael Jackson Fan Appreciation
Michael Jackson Fan Appreciation
Michael Jackson Fan Appreciation
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 Michael's Favorite Movies

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PostSubject: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 7:30 pm

Peter Pan (1953)


Michael's Favorite Movies PeterPan1953


Michael and Peter Pan:









Amazon description:


Peter Pan has a special place in the realm of classic animated Disney films: it instills an element of childlike wonder. The 1953 version of James M. Barrie's story is colorfully told and keeps on the straight and narrow of the book. Barrie's wondrous focus on child's play is the key to its longevity: kids who don't grow up, shadows that run away from their owners, pirates, a fairy, and the magic ability to fly. In short, you can't help wishing the adventure would happen to you. Fueled by a few memorable songs (the stunner being "You Can Fly") and the strong impression of the pixie fairy Tinkerbell and the goofy Captain Hook, Disney's version of this story neither supplants nor lessens the Broadway version with Mary Martin that was produced for television the same decade. Unlike some classics, Peter Pan never ages along the way. --Doug Thomas
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 9:41 pm

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)


Michael's Favorite Movies MPW-10550


E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (album)


E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is an audiobook and soundtrack album for the 1982 film ET. It is narrated by Michael and the album was produced by composer Quincy Jones and distributed by MCA Records.


The ET album was released in November 1982, the same month that Thriller was released. However court action taken by Epic Records forced its withdrawal for sale.

The album was well received and Michael won a Grammy Award for Best Recording for Children.

According to the biography Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness, written by journalist J. Randy Taraborrelli, Michael had shown an early attachment to the story of E.T.

After a publicity photo shoot for the soundtrack album in which an animatronic robot of the extraterrestrial character hugged Jackson, the singer stated with wonderment, "He was so real that I was talking to him. I kissed him before I left. The next day, I missed him."


Michael's Favorite Movies MichaelJacksonET


Michael later revealed in the December 1982 issue of Ebony magazine—in which both he and E.T. appear on the cover—that he felt he actually was the creature during the album recording and shared his thoughts on why he had such a strong connection to the character:

"He's in a strange place and wants to be accepted—which is a situation that I have found myself in many times when travelling from city to city all over the world. He's most comfortable with children, and I have a great love for kids. He gives love and wants love in return, which is me. And he has that super power which lets him lift off and fly whenever he wants to get away from things on Earth, and I can identify with that. He and I are alike in many ways."


Epic Records allowed Jackson to record the album for MCA Records on two conditions:

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was not to be released until after Christmas 1982. (This was to avoid the audiobook competing with Jackson's new album, Thriller.)

The song "Someone In the Dark" was not to be released as a single.

The conditions were breached by MCA Records, which released the storybook in November 1982 and gave 7-inch promo copies of "Someone In the Dark" to radio stations. After Epic lodged a $2 million lawsuit, MCA Records were forced to withdraw the album and prohibited from releasing "Someone In the Dark" as a single.

Epic executives had felt that MCA were misleading members of the public into believing that the then-recently released single "The Girl Is Mine" was featured on the storybook album. The plaintiffs further requested that MCA Records be banned from working with Jackson in the future and that any other media owned by MCA featuring the singer be prohibited from release.

As a result of the legal restrictions that prohibited the public release of "Someone In the Dark" as a single, the promo copies which were made have since become one of the singer's rarest and most sought-after records; some have been sold for over £1000 ($1587).

The song was later included as a bonus track on the 2008 special edition of Thriller, as well as the box set Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection.
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 10:06 pm

Edward Scissorhands (1990)


Michael's Favorite Movies Edward-Scissorhands-1990-Hollywood-Movie-Watch-Online


Michael owned the Edward Scissorhands prop gloves:


Michael's Favorite Movies Edward-scissorhands-prop-gloves


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Once upon a time in a castle high on a hill lived an inventor whose greatest creation was named Edward. Although Edward had an irresistible charm, he wasn't quite perfect. The inventor's sudden death left him unfinished, with sharp shears of metal for hands. Edward lived alone in the darkness until one day a kind Avon lady took him home to live with her family. And so began Edward's fantastical adventures in a pastel paradise known as Suburbia.
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 10:10 pm

On The Waterfront (1954)


Michael's Favorite Movies On_the_waterfront


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Marlon Brando, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, Rod Steiger, Eva Marie Saint. An ex-boxer tries to find out where he belongs as he lives day to day as a dockworker and struggles against injustice in his NY labor union.
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 10:13 pm

To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)


Michael's Favorite Movies ToKillaMockingbird


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Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice.
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 10:17 pm

My Life As A Dog (1985)


Michael's Favorite Movies 51B3YQDHDKL


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Ingemar lives with his brother and his terminally ill mother. He may have a rough time, but not as bad as Laika - the russian dog sent into space... He gets sent away to stay with relations for the summer. While there, he meets various strange characters, giving him experiences that will affect him for the rest of his life.
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 10:21 pm

The Elephant Man (1980)


Michael's Favorite Movies 75-elephant-man


You Could Only See His Eyes Behind The Layers Of Makeup, But Those Expressive Orbs Earned John Hurt A Well-Deserved Oscar Nomination For His Moving Portrayal Of John Merrick, The Grotesquely Deformed Victorian-Era Man Better Known As The Elephant Man. Inarticulate And Abused, Merrick Is The Virtual Slave Of A Carnival Barker (Freddie Jones) Until Dedicated London Doctor Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins In A Powerfully Understated Performance) Rescues Him From The Life And Offers Him An Existence With Dignity. Anne Bancroft Costars As The Actress Whose Visit To Merrick Makes Him A Social Curiosity, With John Gielgud And Wendy Hiller As Dubious Hospital Staffers Won Over By Merrick. David Lynch Earned His Only Oscar Nominations As Director And Cowriter Of This Somber Drama, Which He Shot In A Rich Black-And-White Palette, A Sometimes Stark, Sometimes Dreamy Visual Style That At Times Recalls The Offbeat Expressionism Of His First Film, Eraserhead. It Remains A Perfect Marriage Between Traditional Hollywood Historical Drama And Lynch'S Unique Cinematic Eye, A Compassionate Human Tale Delivered In A Gothic Vein. The Film Earned Eight Oscar Nominations In All, And Though It Left The Oscar Race Empty-Handed, Its Dramatic Power And Handsome Yet Haunting Imagery Remain Just As Strong Today. --Sean Axmaker
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 10:28 pm

Patch Adams (1998)


Michael's Favorite Movies Patchadams


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Meet Patch Adams (Academy Award-winner Robin Williams), a doctor who doesn't look, act or think like any doctor you've met before. For Patch, humor is the best medicine, and he's willing to do just about anything to make his patients laugh - even if it means risking his own career. Based on a true story, Patch Adams combines sidesplitting humor with an inspiring story that transcends the traditional comedy.
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 10:30 pm

Shane (1953)


Michael's Favorite Movies Shane


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A weary gunfighter attempts to settle down with a homestead family, but a smoldering settler/rancher conflict forces him to act.
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 10:34 pm

Men In Black (1997)


Michael's Favorite Movies Meninblack


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A sci-fi adventure comedy about two top secret agents (Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith) with the everyday mission of policing alien activities on planet Earth. The Men in Black's current assignment: to stop an intergalactic terrorist from making Earth his next victim.


Michael made a cameo appearance in Men In Black 2 in 2002:


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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 10:47 pm

Pirates Of The Carribean


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Join the adventures of Jack Sparrow and his nemesis Captain Barbossa.
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 10:50 pm

Wall-E (2008)


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The story of a robot designed to clean up a polluted Earth.
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 10:55 pm

The Lion King (1994)


Michael's Favorite Movies Lion_king_ver2


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Embark on an extraordinary coming-of-age adventure as Simba, a lion cub who cannot wait to be king, searches for his destiny in the great “Circle of Life.” You will be thrilled by the breathtaking animation, unforgettable Academy Award®–winning music (1994: Best Original Score; Best Song, “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”) and timeless story.
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 10:57 pm

West Side Story (1961)


Michael's Favorite Movies West_side_story


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A love affair is fated for tragedy amidst the vicious rivalry of two street gangsthe Jets and the Sharks. When Jets member Tony (RichardBeymer) falls for Maria (Natalie Wood), the sister of the Sharks leader, it's more than these two warring gangs can handle. And as mounting tensions rise, a battle to the death ensues, and innocent blood is shed in a heartbreaking finale.
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 11:01 pm

Saturday Night Fever (1977)


Michael's Favorite Movies Saturday_night_fever


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A Brooklyn paint-store clerk primps his hair, dons his white suit and becomes a disco king to Bee Gees music.
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 11:03 pm

Oliver! (1968)


Michael's Favorite Movies Oliver


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xperience the high-spirited adventures of Oliver Twist in this Oscar(r)-winning musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale! Young Oliver (Mark Lester) is an orphan who escapes the cheerless life of the workhouse and takes to the streets of 19th-Century London. He's immediately taken in by a band of street urchins, headed by the lovable villain, Fagin (Ron Moody), his fiendish henchman, Bill Sikes (Oliver Reed), and his loyal apprentice, The Artful Dodger (Jack Wild). Through his education in the fine points of pick-pocketing, Oliver makes away with an unexpected treasure... a home and a family of his own. Set to a heartfelt score that includes such favorites as "Consider Yourself," "Where Is Love?" and "As Long As He Needs Me," Oliver! leads us on a journey in search of love, belonging, and honor among thieves. Winner of six Academy Awards(r) (1968), including Best Picture and Best Score, Oliver! will steal your heart!
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 11:11 pm

The Sound Of Music (1965)


Michael's Favorite Movies Sound_of_music


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Rodgers & Hammerstein's cinematic treasure, "The Sound of Music" is the winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In this true-life story, Julie Andrews lights up the screen as Maria, a spirited young Austrian woman who leaves the convent to become a governess for Captain von Trapp's (Christopher Plummer) seven unruly children. Her charm and songs soon win the hearts of the children - and their father. But when Nazi Germany unites with Austria, Maria is forced to attempt a daring escape with her new family.


In the outtakes of Martin Bashir's documentary Michael starts quoting My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music.

He quotes it at 2:23:


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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 11:26 pm

The Phantom Of The Opera


Michael's Favorite Movies Phantom_opera


Amazon description:


A mysterious masked figure roams around the underground chambers of the Opera Populaire, a 19th century Parisian opera house. He tutors a young singer who rises quickly to stardom. The masked figure begins to harbor romantic feelings for his pupil, but his hopes are dashed when the singer's childhood boyfriend arrives in Paris.


Michael and the Phantom Of The Opera:


Michael's Favorite Movies MichaelJackson

Michael's Favorite Movies ThePhantom


Andrew Lloyd Webber: 'Michael Jackson wanted to appear in Phantom of the Opera'
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/michael-jackson/5664341/Andrew-Lloyd-Webber-Michael-Jackson-wanted-to-appear-in-Phantom-of-the-Opera.html


Michael Jackson was interested in starring in a film version of the Phantom stage musical, says Lord Lloyd Webber

The first person to call me to say Michael Jackson had died was my 17-year-old son. I had an awful feeling that one should almost have seen it coming. After the sadness came the disappointment that I was never going to see him again.

I first met Michael when he came to see Phantom of the Opera in New York when we'd just opened in 1988. He was clearly interested in the piece. He saw it several times and used to come backstage, often without the entourage that followed him around in later life.

The story got to him. I think he had a connection with the lonely, tortured musician. He found the idea of somebody working through music and having a girl as a muse very intriguing – and he loved that there was illusion in the show.

Michael became interested in playing The Phantom himself, in a movie version of the show. We talked about it a lot, but we'd only just opened and, at the time, I felt that it was too early for it to become a film. I felt his interest in Phantom was because he was interested in doing something theatrical himself.

He was a highly theatrical animal. I remember him saying to me that he'd seen Cats and how happy he was that dance was making a comeback in the theatre. He certainly talked about theatre a lot, and when he was last in London, he went to see Oliver!. Of course, he was a great showman himself, but he found the whole stagecraft of musicals extraordinary.

Seeing clips of Thriller on the news this week reminded me what an extraordinary dancer he was. He really brought dance and staging into the pop world, through his videos and concerts. Nobody before him had really done anything much like that. He was ahead of his time with all that he did.

I saw him a couple of times in concert. Thriller was probably the best stage event I've ever seen. From my musical-theatre perspective, I could see that he was bringing a completely new vision about dance to the stage. A tremendous amount of what he was doing then you see in musicals now.

Musically, Michael was also different to anyone before him. He was clever at taking pop hooks and using them in original ways, developing them theatrically. It's an influence that is now everywhere today. I remember listening to a Justin Timberlake album and hearing Michael's influence.

Young people still keep coming to his music because so many of his songs are classics. In the history of pop, Thriller will possibly stand out more than Sergeant Pepper because there were even more stand-alone hits on it. It's right up there with the all-time great albums.

Similarly, I would absolutely put him up there with the all-time greatest performers. I've seen most of the top rock acts – I saw Elvis several times – but with Michael's concerts, his showmanship was consummate. Very few rock singers have such quality.

Everybody was so looking forward to seeing what he would do when he came back to London. From what I was hearing, he was going to push the boundaries of what we'd seen in a rock arena much, much further.

The debts, all the court cases, and the trouble he got himself into, it was all so sad. But you can probably say already that his music has transcended all of that. Nothing sticks to him. In the end, the music will always survive.


Michael's Favorite Movies PhantomoftheOpera


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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 11:34 pm

The Wizard Of Oz


Michael's Favorite Movies Wizard_of_oz


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A tornado whisks Kansas farm girl Dorothy and her dog, Toto, to a magical land populated by odd characters.


Michael asked Liza Minnelli to perform Somewhere Over The Rainbow at his 30th Anniversary Special concert:


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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 11:39 pm

The Lord Of The Rings


Michael's Favorite Movies Lord_of_the_rings_the_fellowship_of_the_ring_ver1


Amazon description:


As the triumphant start of a trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring leaves you begging for more. By necessity, Peter Jackson's ambitious epic compresses J.R.R. Tolkien's classic The Lord of the Rings, but this robust adaptation maintains reverent allegiance to Tolkien's creation, instantly qualifying as one of the greatest fantasy films ever made. At 178 minutes, it's long enough to establish the myriad inhabitants of Middle-earth, the legendary Rings of Power, and the fellowship of hobbits, elves, dwarves, and humans--led by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the brave hobbit Frodo (Elijah Wood)--who must battle terrifying forces of evil on their perilous journey to destroy the One Ring in the land of Mordor. Superbly paced, the film is both epic and intimate, offering astonishing special effects and production design while emphasizing the emotional intensity of Frodo's adventure, and ends on a perfect note of heroic loyalty and rich anticipation.
After the breaking of the Fellowship, Frodo and Sam journey to Mordor with the creature Gollum as their guide in The Two Towers. Meanwhile, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) join in the defense of the people of Rohan, who are the first target in the eradication of the race of Men by the renegade wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) and the dark lord Sauron. Fantastic creatures, astounding visual effects, and a climactic battle at the fortress of Helm's Deep make The Two Towers a worthy successor to The Fellowship of the Ring, grander in scale but retaining the story's emotional intimacy.

With The Return of the King, the greatest fantasy epic in film history draws to a grand and glorious conclusion. The trilogy could never fully satisfy those who remain exclusively loyal to Tolkien's expansive literature, but as a showcase for physical and technical craftsmanship it is unsurpassed in pure scale and ambition, setting milestone after cinematic milestone as Frodo and Sam continue their mission to Mordor to destroy the soul-corrupting One Ring. While the heir to the kingdom of Men, Aragorn, endures the massive battle at Minas Tirith with the allegiance of Legolas, Gimli, and Gandalf, Frodo and Sam must survive the schizoid deceptions of Gollum, who remains utterly convincing as a hybrid of performance (by Andy Serkis) and subtly nuanced computer animation. Jackson and cowriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens have much ground to cover; that they do so with intense pacing and epic sweep is impressive enough, but by investing greater depth and consequence in the actions of fellow hobbits Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd), they ensure that The Return of the King maintains the trilogy's emphasis on intimate fellowship and remains faithful to Tolkien's overall vision. By ending the LOTR trilogy with noble integrity and faith in the power of imaginative storytelling, The Return of the King, like its predecessors, will stand as an adventure for the ages. --Jeff Shannon and David Horiuchi
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 11:42 pm

The Nutcracker


Michael's Favorite Movies Nutcracker-DVDcover


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Angels and sugarplums. Candy canes and ice. A magic prince, a dreamy young girl, a mysterious old man and a Christmas tree that grows sky high. Enter the world of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, featuring the New York City Ballet, and let this all-new movie version of a timeless Yuletide fantasy, narrated ny Academy Award(R) winner Kevin Kline, draw you under its spell. Starring Macaulay Caulkin, Darci Kistler and Bart Robinson Cook.Year: 1993 Director: Emile Ardolino Starring: Bart Robinson Coo Macaulay Caulkin, Darci Kistler, Damian Woetzel
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 11:46 pm

Lord of the Dance (Riverdance)


Michael's Favorite Movies Riverdance_1


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Riverdance--The Show is a cultural phenomenon that defies criticism for the enthusiastic and leaves everyone else scratching their heads. The wonderfully talented cast, headed by the Riverdance Irish Dance Company, bewitchingly spins (and stomps) its Celtic folk choreography featuring numerous breathless solos by Michael Flatley (since departed) and Jean Butler. The mellifluous Riverdance Orchestra boasts Davy Spillane, who coaxes plaintive lamentations out of a peculiar instrument that resembles a bagpipe in a metal leg brace. For Enya fans, there is the sound-alike choral group Anuna, who casts a similarly New Age-style vocal spell. Also thrown into the mix are such disparate folk traditions as American gospel and Spanish flamenco. Though it's only 70 minutes long, Riverdance is repetitive by half. But judging from the ecstatic audience ovations and the continued foot-stomping during and after the curtain calls, too much is still not enough. --Richard Natale
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 11:50 pm

An American Werewolf in London (1981)


Michael's Favorite Movies American_werewolf_in_london


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One of the most gripping horror films of all-time with the cult classic An American Werewolf in London. Blending the macabre with a wicked sense of humor, director John Landis (National Lampoon’s Animal House) delivers a contemporary take on the classic werewolf tale in this story of two American tourists who, while traveling in London, find their lives changed forever when a viscious wolf attacks them during a full moon. Featuring groundbreaking, Academy Award-winning make-up by Rick Baker (The Wolfman), this digitally remastered Full Moon Edition also includes the new feature-length documentary Beware the Moon.
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 11:53 pm

Stand By Me (1986)


Michael's Favorite Movies Stand_by_me


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In a small woodsy Oregon town, a group of friends--sensitive Gordie (Wil Wheaton), tough guy Chris (River Phoenix), flamboyant Teddy (Corey Feldman), and scaredy-cat Vern (Jerry O'Connell)--are in search of a missing teenager's body. Wanting to be heroes in each other's and their hometown's eyes, they set out on an unforgettable two-day trek that turns into an odyssey of self-discovery. They sneak smokes, tell tall tales, cuss 'cause it's cool and band together when the going gets tough. When they encounter the town's knife-wielding hoods who are also after the body, the boys discover a strength they never knew they had. Stand by Me is a rare and special film about friendship and the indelible experiences of growing up. Filled with humor and suspense, Stand by Me is based on the novella 'The Body' by Stephen King.
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PostSubject: Re: Michael's Favorite Movies   Michael's Favorite Movies Icon_minitimeFri Jun 22, 2012 11:58 pm

Star Wars


Michael's Favorite Movies Star_wars


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Episode I, The Phantom Menace "I have a bad feeling about this," says the young Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor) in Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace as he steps off a spaceship and into the most anticipated cinematic event... well, ever. He might as well be speaking for the legions of fans of the original episodes in the Star Wars saga who can't help but secretly ask themselves: Sure, this is Star Wars, but is it my Star Wars? The original elevated moviegoers' expectations so high that it would have been impossible for any subsequent film to meet them. And as with all the Star Wars movies, The Phantom Menace features inexplicable plot twists, a fistful of loose threads, and some cheek-chewing dialogue. Han Solo's swagger is sorely missed, as is the pervading menace of heavy-breather Darth Vader. There is still way too much quasi-mystical mumbo jumbo, and some of what was fresh about Star Wars 22 years earlier feels formulaic. Yet there's much to admire. The special effects are stupendous; three worlds are populated with a mélange of creatures, flora, and horizons rendered in absolute detail. The action and battle scenes are breathtaking in their complexity. And one particular sequence of the film--the adrenaline-infused pod race through the Tatooine desert--makes the chariot race in Ben-Hur look like a Sunday stroll through the park.
Among the host of new characters, there are a few familiar walk-ons. We witness the first meeting between R2-D2 and C-3PO, Jabba the Hutt looks younger and slimmer (but not young and slim), and Yoda is as crabby as ever. Natalie Portman's stately Queen Amidala sports hairdos that make Princess Leia look dowdy and wields a mean laser. We never bond with Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), and Obi-Wan's day is yet to come. Jar Jar Binks, a cross between a Muppet, a frog, and a hippie, provides many of the movie's lighter moments, while Sith Lord Darth Maul is a formidable force. Baby-faced Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) looks too young and innocent to command the powers of the Force or wield a lightsaber (much less transmute into the future Darth Vader), but his boyish exuberance wins over skeptics.

Near the end of the movie, Palpatine, the new leader of the Republic, may be speaking for fans eagerly awaiting Episode II when he pats young Anakin on the head and says, "We will watch your career with great interest." Indeed! --Tod Nelson

Episode II, Attack of the Clones If The Phantom Menace was the setup, then Attack of the Clones is the plot-progressing payoff, and devoted Star Wars fans are sure to be enthralled. Ten years after Episode I, Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), now a senator, resists the creation of a Republic Army to combat an evil separatist movement. The brooding Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is resentful of his stern Jedi mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), tormented by personal loss, and showing his emerging "dark side" while protecting his new love, Amidala, from would-be assassins. Youthful romance and solemn portent foreshadow the events of the original Star Wars as Count Dooku (a.k.a. Darth Tyranus, played by Christopher Lee) forges an alliance with the Dark Lord of the Sith, while lavish set pieces showcase George Lucas's supreme command of all-digital filmmaking. All of this makes Episode II a technological milestone, savaged by some critics as a bloated, storyless spectacle, but still qualifying as a fan-approved precursor to the pivotal events of Episode III. --Jeff Shannon

Episode III, Revenge of the Sith Ending the most popular film epic in history, Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith is an exciting, uneven, but ultimately satisfying journey. Picking up the action from Episode II, Attack of the Clones as well as the animated Clone Wars series, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his apprentice, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), pursue General Grievous into space after the droid kidnapped Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).

It's just the latest maneuver in the ongoing Clone Wars between the Republic and the Separatist forces led by former Jedi turned Sith Lord Count Dooku (Christopher Lee). On another front, Master Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz) leads the Republic's clone troops against a droid attack on the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk. All this is in the first half of Episode III, which feels a lot like Episodes I and II. That means spectacular scenery, dazzling dogfights in space, a new fearsome villain (the CGI-created Grievous can't match up to either Darth Maul or the original Darth Vader, though), lightsaber duels, groan-worthy romantic dialogue, goofy humor (but at least it's left to the droids instead of Jar-Jar Binks), and hordes of faceless clone troopers fighting hordes of faceless battle droids.

But then it all changes.

After setting up characters and situations for the first two and a half movies, Episode III finally comes to life. The Sith Lord in hiding unleashes his long-simmering plot to take over the Republic, and an integral part of that plan is to turn Anakin away from the Jedi and toward the Dark Side of the Force. Unless you've been living under a rock the last 10 years, you know that Anakin will transform into the dreaded Darth Vader and face an ultimate showdown with his mentor, but that doesn't matter. In fact, a great part of the fun is knowing where things will wind up but finding out how they'll get there. The end of this prequel trilogy also should inspire fans to want to see the original movies again, but this time not out of frustration at the new ones. Rather, because Episode III is a beginning as well as an end, it will trigger fond memories as it ties up threads to the originals in tidy little ways. But best of all, it seems like for the first time we actually care about what happens and who it happens to.

Episode III is easily the best of the new trilogy--OK, so that's not saying much, but it might even jockey for third place among the six Star Wars films. It's also the first one to be rated PG-13 for the intense battles and darker plot. It was probably impossible to live up to the decades' worth of pent-up hype George Lucas faced for the Star Wars prequel trilogy (and he tried to lower it with the first two movies), but Episode III makes us once again glad to be "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away." --David Horiuchi

Star Wars: The Original Trilogy (Episodes IV - VI) The Star Wars trilogy had the rare distinction of becoming more than just a series of movies, but a cultural phenomenon, a life-defining event for its generation. On its surface, George Lucas's original 1977 film is a rollicking and humorous space fantasy that owes debts to more influences than one can count on two hands, but filmgoers became entranced by its basic struggle of good vs. evil "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away," its dazzling special effects, and a mythology of Jedi Knights, the Force, and droids.

In the first film, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) gets to live out every boy's dream: ditch the farm and rescue a princess (Carrie Fisher). Accompanied by the roguish Han Solo (Harrison Ford, the only principal who was able to cross over into stardom) and trained by Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), Luke finds himself involved in a galactic war against the Empire and the menacing Darth Vader (David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones). The following film, The Empire Strikes Back (1980), takes a darker turn as the tiny rebellion faces an overwhelming onslaught. Directed by Irvin Kershner instead of Lucas, Empire is on the short list of Best Sequels Ever, marked by fantastic settings (the ice planet, the cloud city), the teachings of Yoda, a dash of grown-up romance, and a now-classic "revelation" ending. The final film of the trilogy, Return of the Jedi (1983, directed by Richard Marquand), is the most uneven. While the visual effects had taken quantum leaps over the years, resulting in thrilling speeder chases and space dogfights, the story is an uneasy mix of serious themes (Luke's maturation as a Jedi, the end of the Empire-rebellion showdown) and the cuddly teddy bears known as the Ewoks.

Years later, George Lucas transformed his films into "special editions" by adding new scenes and special effects, which were greeted mostly by shrugs from fans. They were perfectly happy with the films they had grown up with (who cares if Greedo shot first?), and thus disappointed by Lucas's decision to make the special editions the only versions available. --David Horiuchi


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