Category Archives: 2009

Young Victoria, Charming History

 

This movie surprised me when it came out. I saw it while on break when I was working at the movie theatre and loved it so much I brought my wife to see it after work, then saw it again a few more times while it was still there. It’s really a great little film and my wife ended up loving it as much as I did.  We laughed later when we both gave it to each other for christmas that year. But did we take one back for a refund…no we did not, we still own both copies! We keep one and lend the other out to everyone we know!the-young-victoria

The Young Victoria (2009) stars Emily Blunt as Queen Victoria and concentrates on her struggle as a young Queen early on and her romance to Prince Albert played by Rupert Friend. There are some very fine actors in supporting roles as well with Paul Bettany, Mark Strong, Jim Broadbent, and Miranda Richardson. It was directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, who would go on to critical acclaim with the follow-up movies, Dallas Buyers Club (2013), Wild (2014) and Demolition (2015). He’s a versatile and incredibly strong director. All of these films are definitely worth watching, if you get the chance!Young Victoria

The film was written by Julian Fellowes, who won an Oscar for his screenplay of Gosford Park (2001), but who’s most recognized for being the creator of the hugely popular TV Show, Downton Abbey! I personally think he’s one of the best things to come out of Great Britain in the last decade and love just about everything he does. Let’s hope he continues to create fascinating characters and incredible drama! By the way the art direction and the costumes in The Young Victoria are amazing! Patrice Vermette and Maggie Gray were nominated for an Oscar for the Art Direction and Sandy Powell won the Academy Award for her Costume designs! Once you start looking at the amazing detail in this movie, it gets hard to just focus on the story…it’s that amazing. These things were very expensive to recreate for the time period, just to give you a few examples; Emily Blunt’s costumes worn were insured for £10,000 each and the very tall green bed cost £25,000 to build. The Duke and Duchess of Rutland, owners of Belvoir Castle, purchased it after filming.best costumes young victoria

Zoe Saldana Takes Over The World

 

If you don’t know the name, you will definitely know the face, soon to become the number 1 actress in total box office revenues of all time. Earlier this year, Scarlett Johansson was announced as the 1 actress in total box office revenues…but with the films that Zoe Saldana has lined up in the next few years, she could definitely be the one to take Scarlett’s place at the top. Scarlett has had a fantastic year with the release of The Jungle Book and Captain Marvel: Civil War, but Zoe has some pretty hefty releases of her own, especially over the next 6 years.zoe saldana avatar

Lifetime gross for Scarlett’s films hit over $330 Billion Dollars at the box office this year, and it will still be rising as she is at her peak right now.  Zoe Saldana is currently at $214 Billion Dollars at the box office this year so far with Star Trek Beyond having released over the weekend and with Live By Night with Ben Affleck and Scott Eastwood and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 being released next year and Avatar 2, 3 and 4 to be released every 2 years starting in 2018. If the Avatar films do as much as expected then Zoe will very much be in contention, even with the 2 upcoming Avengers Infinity War movies to come for Scarlett. It will be a very interesting race to watch.zoe saldana guardians of the galaxy

Zoe Saldana has racked up a very impressive list of roles in a very short period of time. Her pinnacle year was 2009 when she released Star Trek and Avatar. The thing I think I like best about her is that she plays very strong and intelligent women. She’s no-pushover in any of her movies. I also think it’s amazing that she has managed to have a family and a great career at the same time.  She gave birth to twins (yeah!) in 2014 with her husband Marco Perego. She recently said of directors that created strong female characters, “I’ve learned this about men who write good roles for women – there’s a very beautiful sentimentality to them. Their exteriors are sugarcoated with this manly presence, but deep on the inside, there’s also this [fragility]. During the shortness of my career, I’ve managed to work with Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, and now Jim Cameron- all directors who are known for having strong female protagonists. They don’t feel diminished by it as men; they can tap into the complexities of how woman really are.”Zoe-Saldana-Uhura-Star-Trek-Beyond-Movie

She has shown an interest in getting behind the camera and directing in the future.  She said, (on expanding her career to become a film director), ” It is more satisfying. You are more of a participant in the conception. I like having control. I think I have the capability. I am a storyteller and an artist and I love what I do. So I want to be part of it more and not just show up and say my lines.” Maybe after all the big movies coming up are gone and she starts her second career as a director, we’ll be talking about her amazing directing, but for now we are pleased to have her in front of the camera, entertaining us!

Best Movie Stunts of the Year List 2000-2009

 

Here is the list for the Best Movie Stunts for the Decade 2000-2009 as listed in the book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!

2000 – Mission: Impossible IImission motocycle

The motorcycle stunts in this John Woo Directed film performed by Tom Cruise and the rest of the stuntmen are worth the ticket of admission. Great bike stunts here.

2001 – Black Hawk Downblack-hawk-down-57593_3

Military precision is on full scale display in this fine film directed by Ridley Scott.  The actors went through a serious boot camp to get them ready and to make this as realistic as possible. Very well done.

2002 – Jackass The Moviejackass golf carts

The first time a successful movie was released with UNTRAINED stuntmen performing all the stunts.  Some of them are quite dangerous and most of them just downright silly and stupid.  But all of them entertaining.

2003 – Ong Bakong-bak-2003-13-g

Stuntman-turned-Actor Tony Jaa sparkles in this fantastic martial arts film.  In the past most martial arts films uses wires and then cgi to cover the wires later, but not in this one.  Jaa seems to have elastic legs with the kicks, jumps and splits he performs at lightning speed.

2004 – District B13District B13 Lobby Card

The French turn in a fantastic film full of Parkour stunts performed by one of the creators himself, David Belle and another great stuntman and top stunt choreographers in his own right, Cyrill Raffaelli.  If you are a fan of Taken with Liam Neeson, then you’ll love this film as Pierre Morel directed this one first.

2005 – Batman Beginsbatman

Now another Director who likes to film the action scenes himself enters the list, Christopher Nolan with this film and the sequel 3 years later.  He wanted to direct a bond film and got this franchise instead and really took it to heart.  He’s a big fan of doing practical effects and the audience gets the benefit of it all the way.  Thank you, Mr. Nolan.

2006 – Casino Royalecasino jump

Speaking of Bond, Daniel Craig‘s first entry as bond has some great Parkour in it as well.  I liked it so much I used a still as the cover for the 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts book.  It also boasts a World Record by flipping a car a record seven times!

2007 – DeathproofZoe Bell in Deathproof

I love to be able to announce another bad-ass stunt woman on the scene and Zoe Bell is not one who disappoints.  She spends the better half of Quentin Tarantino‘s movie strapped to the hood of two racing cars, with Stuntman Mike in the other car trying very hard to kill her at every chance.  Stuntman Mike played by Kurt Russell.

2008 – The Dark Knightdark_knight_7Here’s Christopher Nolan‘s sequel to Batman Begins and in so many ways it tops the original.  He manages to flip an eighteen wheeler end to end for this one by driver Jim Wilky and an amazing stunt crew.

2009 – Fast & Furiousfast-and-furious-1

The previous versions of this series were more racing films and this one transforms the series into a more stunt spectacular series from here on out.  All of the original cast is back and film is chocked full of great stunts.  Justin Lin would be the Director I would give credit to making this franchise more Universal.  And we are all the better for it.

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM

Stunt Drivers For Fast and Furious

 

This action series is really ratcheting up the car chases, races and fights scene more and more after each installment. This is the fourth movie in the series and hits it’s stride confidently and collectively.  With an opening weekend in the US at $72 Million, Fast and Furious (2009) was the highest grossing car-themed movie up to this date, as well as the biggest April opening ever.fast-and-furious-1

The movie cars were built in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley. Around 240 cars were built for the film. However, the replica vehicles do not match the specifications they were supposed to represent. For example, the replica version of F-Bomb, a 1973 Chevrolet Camaro built by Tom Nelson of NRE and David Freiburger of Hot Rod magazine, included a 300 hp crate V8 engine with a 3-speed automatic transmission, whereas the actual car included a twin-turbo 1,500 hp engine and a 5-speed transmission.

The original Dodge Charger 426 Hemi R/T that was used in the original movie was a 1970, but the car in this movie was a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T 426 Hemi with a slightly modified front grill to appear as a 1970 car; the original 1970 Dodge Charger was in pieces, being totally disassembled for restoration.Fast-furious-2009-dodge-charger

The most radical vehicles built for the film were the Chevy trucks constructed for the fuel heist. Powered by 502ci GM big block motors, the ’67 had a giant ladder-bar suspension with airbags using a massive 10-ton semi rear axle with the biggest and widest truck tires they could find. The ’88 Chevy Crew Cab was built with twin full-floating GM 1-ton axles equipped with Detroit Lockers and a transfer case directing power to both axles and capable of four-wheel burnouts.

Another vehicle built for the film was the blue Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 owned by an uncredited owner who modified the vehicle to 1,200 horsepower and drove it at Japan’s Shuto Wangan Expressway at 241 miles per hour. It was a hard car to build by the production so they made clones by acquiring Nissan Skyline 25GT’s and made them look like the original car. The Skyline that was also used at the desert was actually a dune buggy using a Skyline R34’s shell.fast_and_furious_movie

There are some really good behind the scenes on the stunts in this film on the DVD and Blu-Ray two disc versions.  They include High Octane Action: The Stunts, Shooting the Big Rig Heist, and Driving School With Vin Diesel.  Fast and Furious was directed by Justin Lin for Universal.

Things to look up (go to IMDB):

  • Justin Lin
  • Vin Diesel
  • Universal Pictures

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!

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