Saturday, December 27, 2014

My Top 5 Underrated Actors/Actress

There are a lot of actors and actresses there are really good in films and television that in some ways outshine the A lister or Top billed name that are considered the draw.

Here are 5 people that I believe are some of the top tier in class when it comes to acting but doesn’t fully get the credit they deserve.

It took me awhile to narrow it down to 5 and even then I couldn’t just leave it with 5 had to have a sixth/seventh menn or in this case women and my honorable mention is…

Viola Davis

Davis had been nominated for major awards, and has been in quite a few high profile films, weather she is playing a bit part (Out of Sight), or the mother of a child who maybe being abused(Doubt) Viola always brings it on screen. She has always been a solid actress and stands out wheneven she is on screen.
She can be seen now on the new hit TV series How To Get Away With Murder where she is able to showcase her skills. she is one of the actors who should be showcased a lot more then she has been in the past, and with the success of her new show maybe she will be.

Jennifer Connelly 

One of the most vastly underrated actresses of all time, Jennifer first garnered attention for her role in Sergio Leone’s final film Once Upon A Time In America at just 14 she impressed and after watching the film you will remember her, during early in her career she is probably better known for roles in Labyrinth and Phenomena.

As she got older she never really went the main stream route of roles and focused on more smaller mainstream The Rocketeer, Higher Learning, Mulholland Falls and indie films like Inventing The Abbotts where she showcases that she is a top tier talent. 

Her most challenging role (imo) is her turn in 2000s Requiem For A Dream the overall movie is grim and depressing, she is one of the highlights in the film and should’ve garnered more attention for it, but it was with 2001's A Beautiful Mind where she finally got the attention that she more then deserved where she won best supporting actress academy award.

Afterwards she followed it up with Ang Lee’s Hulk which isn’t necessarily a bad film it just doesn’t know if its a superhero movie or a drama, the films she did after a few standouts Little Children, Reservation Road are good films but for the most part everything else was very lowbrow for her and she seemed to play more supporting roles like in the star studded romantic comedy He’s Just Not That Into You and the comedy The Dilemma.

It would be nice to see her given more dramatic roles in films that are equal to the caliber of actress that she is.

5. Blair Underwood

He has always be one of those actors that has put on good performances weather as a good guy or bad guy Underwood is always worth a watch, In recent years he’s been known more for guest roles on Sex and The City and Dirty Sexy Money, but one of if not his best acting job has been (for me atleast) his turn in 1995's thriller Just Cause where along side Sean Connery and Laurence Fishburne, its Blair Underwood who steals the show as Bobby Earl, if you have not seen the movie its a must see for sure.

Underwood to me has always been some what a poor man’s Denzel Washington which isn’t a knock against him at all but its saying that if he was more profiled on the big screen like Denzel then he might have had a similar career because he is that versatile as an actor.

4. Rosario Dawson

Dawson has been one of my favorites for a long time now I first saw her In Spike Lee’s He Got Game where she plays Ray Allen’s love interest and is one of the few that I’ve seen go toe to toe with Denzel Washington and come out the other end a strong actor, she has put in alot of really good performances 25th hour, 10 years, Rent,Trance to name a few, the one thing about Rosario is that with all of the really good performances she still hasn’t had that one true stand out performance that fully showcases her as an actress.
Her most recent film Top Five where she co stars with Chris Rock where she is allowed to show her range which is something that I was truly happy to see maybe after this it will lead to that home run role for her.

3. Ben Foster

What can I really say about Ben Foster, he’s one of the most solid actors that I’ve seen in the last 15 years that can lose himself in any role regardless how big or small it is, he’s just one of those guys that people know when they see his face but doesn’t know his name, he’s has held his own opposite some of hollywood big names Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Bruce Willis.

He has gotten critical acclaim for roles in The Messenger where he starred along side Woody Harrelson and also got high praise for his turn in Lone Survivor along side Mark Wahlberg.

pretty sure if you look at his filmography you’ll see more then a few films that he’s starred in that you’ve seen but didn’t know his name but you’ll remember his role.

2. Jeffrey Wright

If you look up the word underrated in the dictionary you’d probably see Jeffrey Wright’s picture. He’s starred along side some of the biggest names in Hollywood Denzel Washington, George Clooney, Samuel L. Jackson, Will Smith, Daniel Craig to name a few.

He has turned in countless award worthy performances but for some reason he is still vastly overlooked, Hollywood insiders and film lover alike appreciate his work and performances weather it be as over the top street wise maniac Peoples Hernandez in the 2000 remake of Shaft, womanizer blues legend Muddy Waters (Cadillac Records) or most recent as Tech Geek BeeTee in The Hunger Games franchise, Wright always brings something fresh to his performances and deserves alot more credit then what he’s gotten.

1.Walton Goggins

Goggins or as I like to refer to him as The Warren Oates of this generation, mostly known for his TV roles FXs The Shield, Justified, Sons of Anarachy, similar to Jeffrey Wright his performances deserves alot more praise then what they have garnered thus far. 

I first noticed Walt as Detective Shane Vendrell where he was a scene/episode stealer for alot of the series, even though he should be an unlikable character Goggins made the character one of those bad guys you liked to watch no matter what.

His turn on Justified as Boyd Crowder has been one of my favorite characters on any show in recent and it’s one of the main reasons Justified is worth a watch, but its what he has done on Sons of Anarchy as the Transgender Venus Van Dam  he shows just how good he really is what started out as somewhat of a comic relief character grew into a well rounded and fan favorite on the series(how he didn’t get any guest award nods here I don’t know)

With Sons of Anarchy done and soon Justified will be ending, Goggins hopefully will become a more sought after actor weather its Television and even on the big screen where he seems to be leaning more towards with big supporting role in 2012's Django Unchained and will once again be teaming up with Tarantino in The Hateful Eight.

All the aforementioned actors and actresses are some of the best who I feel deserve more credit then what they have garnered thus far but even if they don’t I’ll continue to support any and every thing that these quality performers do. run

Monday, December 15, 2014

Top Five(2014)

"Finally what"

A comedian tries to make it as a serious actor when his reality TV star fiancee talks him into broadcasting their wedding on her TV show.


Chris Rock takes on the big screen this time not only as Actor, but also as Writer and Director of this sleeper comedy, Rock stars as comedian Andre Allen a former standup comedian turned film star who wants to be taken more seriously(sounds familar) Allen spends the day reflecting on his life, career, new movie, wedding, catching up with family and friends.

I must admit I’m not the biggest Chris Rock fan, do I like some of his stuff yes, do i like everything that he’s done no, but I do love Top Five. Rock pulls off something with this film that not to many comedians are able to do anymore which is tell a funny store as well as put a social twist on it(Richard Pryor is somewhere smiling down on this).

This movie isn’t your typical comedy Rock does a fine job as writer/director by telling a multi layered story about Andre Allen(Rock) who spends the day in New York City reflecting on his life and career by visiting old friends and family, doing press for his new film Uprise, getting ready for his up coming wedding to reality star Fiance Erica (Gabrielle Union) all the while being shadowed by Chelsea(Rosario Dawson) who is a reporter for the New York Times.

Top Five makes the audience feel as if they are along for this day in the life of Andre Allen where we learn about personal details about him and makes you think about what exactly the cost of fame can not only do you some one but how it effect the people around him and how he deals with weather or not if he’s consider himself funny is something I’m sure all comedians (Rock included) feels at some point.

The core of the movie is the dynamic between Rock and Dawson who ground the movie from their banter to them relating and helping each other with a few dilemmas that the two find themselves in at different points in the movie, which is probably my favorite thing about the movie and Rosario shows her range and why she is a very good actress who I believe should be doing more high profile type of films.

Gabrielle Union even though she gets a high bill isn’t in the film that much but what she does with this reality star character really speaks about the whole reality star era of Television and how everything that you think is reality isn’t that at all.

I was impressed with JB Smoove as Allen’s bodyguard and really good friend Silk, Smoove who is normally over the top and very animated in other films and TV shows here is more laid back and shows what it means to truly be someone friend.

The cameos from some of Chris Rock friends are nice, funny and aren’t distracting in any way and a few of them have some standout moments in the film. I won’t spoil them for anyone who hasn’t seen the film yet but seeing one person in a strip club and making it rain with a stripper is one of my favorites.

Top Five is something that should be seen and enjoyed by fans not only of the actors but to film lovers(Like myself) who enjoy films like this that has a good message in it and makes you pay attention more to things also it makes you think about who your Top Five is.

My Top Five

  1. Rakim
  2. Tupac
  3. DMX
  4. Public Enemy
  5. T.I.

MY RATING 7.5/10


Chris Rock-Andre Allen
Rosario Dawson- Chelsea Brown
JB Smoove-Silk
Gabrielle Union-Erica Long
Cedric The Entertainer- Jazzy Dee
Tracy Morgan- Fred
Kevin Hart-Charles
Romany Malco- Benny Barnes

Saturday, December 13, 2014

No Holds Barred(1989)

"No Ref, No Ring, No Rules"

There are no rings, no refs, no rules…No Holds Barred. this 1989 action/sports film is the World Wrestling Federation (WWF now WWE) first venue into the film world and who better to lead the charge then the man of professional wrestling at the time none other then Hulk Hogan.

Hogan stars as Rip the World Wrestling Federation champion who has millions of fans and is loved by everyone(very similar to Hogan in real life) he’s success in the WWF and on Network television doesn't sit well with Brell, who is a rival TV executive who’s ratings have slipped because of Rip.

Brell decides to try and bribe Rip into signing to his network and after a failed attempt, Brell makes it his mission to bring down Rip, he gets a couple of goons to attack Rip and Rip does what he does best and destroy them. 

Brell desperate for something, anything that will give him a leg up, finds it in the form of a fresh out of jail maniac called Zeus (Tommy “Tiny” Lister) who is a killer,Brell comes up with a concept for a show called Battle For The Tough Guys and he makes Zeus the cornerstone of it, all the while getting Rip’s attention.
It has been years since I last watched No Holds Barred. this virtually being the first movie to actually be about wrestling isn’t really that bad, could it have been better of course, but it has all the elements of an 80s action flick so if you like those types of movies like I do then you’ll enjoy No Holds Barred.

Since I basically went into the movie blind I completely forgot about the cameos from some of the big names in wrestling at the time like Mean Gene Okerlund and Jesse Ventura and the always over the top Stan “The Lariat” Hanson who oddly enough isn’t to much different in the movie then he was when wrestling which is kind of scary when thinking about it.

Hogan does a serviceable job as Rip, who is basically Hogan playing Hogan but with a different name and instead of the atomic leg drop he uses a double axe smash across the face as a finisher, Hogan is at his best when he’s in the ring but is charismatic enough in the more acting scenes to keep you interested in what’s going on when there isn’t any fighting going on.

Joan Severance is worth the watch of this movie alone just because of how beautiful she is and her eyes could put any man down for the 3 count, if I was Rip I would’ve said the hell with fighting Zeus and ran off with her, her stone cold demeanor in the beginning quickly goes away once her and Rip relationship grows and in one bedroom scene basically puts it over the top…did i mention how beautiful she is?

The stand out performance of the entire movie is Kurt Fuller as Brell who I quickly was convinced was playing a version of Vince McMahon for any WWE(World Wrestling Entertainment) fans know exactly what I’m talking about, his over the top acting makes for some of the movies unintentional hilarious moments along with his two stooges played by David Paymer and Charles Levin.

Tommy “Tiny” Lister, Jr. as Zeus is one scary guy from the moment he appears on screen he is an intimidating figure and looks as if he legit killed a couple of people before showing up, Lister does a good job as Zeus but looking back on it now there seems to be some off brand racial things about the character that I didn’t really care for but can be over looked.

All in all If you enjoy 80s action with alot of cheese then No Holds Barred is the movie for you, with this being the WWE(WWF at the time) first venture into film isn’t to bad considering that they ripped off Rocky III and IV and thanks to the cult success that No Holds Barred has gained was the launching point for WWE to create their own film company.



Hulk Hogan- Rip
Joan Severance-Samantha Moore
Kurt Fuller- Brell
Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Jr- Zeus
Mark Pellegrino- Randy
Charles Levin- Ordway
David Paymer- Unger
Bill Henderson- Charlie
Stan Hanson-Neanderthal