The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is breaking with tradition and making a one-time exception – movies that debuted on a streaming service without a theatrical run wi… .
From the Tudors to the Windsors, the English monarchy has had an extraordinary legacy, a large impact on historic policies, and has always supplied fodder for the pop culture’s canon. Most recently, cinematic culture has taken a liking to creatively reviving some of England’s most prominent monarchs.
Related: All Bow To (Netflix’s) The Crown: 5 Best Onscreen Queens (& 5 Worst)
From a historical drama to comedic sitcoms and King Henry VIII or Queen Vicotria, the genres of films and television vary drastically alongside which generation fo monarchs the producers choose to work around. Here is a look at the top ten films and television shows centered around the English Monarchy.
The film, starring Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn, is a cinematic adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s novel with the same title. The Other Boleyn Girl sheds light on Anne’s sister, Mary, played by Scarlett Johanssen, whom of which King Henry VIII originally falls in love with, before Anne forces herself into the midst of the monarch.
This film follows the cunning socialite’s rise in power, which includes not only her infamous marriage to King Henry VIII but also the birth of England’s historical monarch, Elizabeth I. Her disgraceful fall from the king’s fancy is also noted in the film with Anne Boleyn’s execution.
Inspired by Philippa Gregory’s novel, this STARZ show, The White Queen, is a BBC miniseries that follows the political advancements of Elizabeth Woodville amid the 1464 war between the Lancaster and York houses. This tantalizing tale is full of mystery and intrigue as the monarchy is thrown into a war between houses and many are unsettled by Elizabeth Woodville and her witch-like reputation, as Edward IV decides to marry her and make her Queen of England.
Related: 10 Shows To Watch If You Love The Crown
The Lancaster house attempts to regain the thrown through not only wars on battlefields, but also warlike whispers behind closed doors. This show predominately focuses on the women of both houses and how they skillfully conspire to better their own families’ standings at court. This 10-part series only has one season, but that makes the show watchable in a single day.
The Favourite is a 2018 film that centers on Queen Anne in her elder years with two women, Lady Sarah and fallen aristocrat Abigail, vying to be in the Queen’s favor. Olivia Coleman plays Queen Anne, Emma Stone is Abigail, and Rachel Weisz, who plays Lady Sarah, all star in this delectable drama that acts as a back-handed comedy.
This film is a conglomerate of award funny lines and scenarios mixed with the strict rules of England’s aristocracy. In 2019, Olivia Colman won an Academy Award for an Actress in a leading role.
Inspired by Philippa Gregory’s novel, this STARZ show, The White Princess, is a BBC miniseries that follows the next generation of royals after those in The White Queen, with the princess being Elizabeth Woodville’s daughter. While England is at peace upon the union of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, their fiery, war-forged marriage is anything but easy.
While the families still conspire against each of the two houses (Lancaster and York), Elizabeth of York seeks to solidify her standing at court and proclaiming her motto to be “hidden and patient” and this applies not only to court politics, but also those within her bed chambers.
Victoria & Abdul, starring Judi Dench and Ali Fazal, focuses on the friendship built between a mature Queen Victoria and a clerk set to participate in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, while the monarch’s inner family seek to destroy such an alliance, despite the new perspectives and growth that Queen Victoria embraces.
Inspired by Philippa Gregory’s novel, this STARZ show, The Spanish Princess, is a BBC miniseries that follows Catherine of Aragon’s ambitious political pursuits to be Queen of England. The show chronologies Catherine’s short-lived marriage with Prince Arthur, where the princess claimed to have never lain with him and thus began plotting her way into marrying Prince Henry VIII, which was said to have been a mutual love, but history tells otherwise.
Related: The Tudors: 5 Things That Are Historically Accurate (And 5 Things That Are Aren’t)
Overall, this miniseries is full of spicy characters, heated and passionate drama, and political interference. The costumes in this show are phenomenal as they work to integrate both the English fashion of the time period as well as that of Spain.
Young Victoria (2009) follows the young monarch, Queen Victoria, who is played by Emily Blunt, as she navigates England’s political requirements and her budding relationship either husband, Prince Albert (Rupert Friend).
In a twist of fate, this political marriage actually turns into a romantic venture as the two historical characters fall in love.
Netflix’s original series The Crown is widely regarded as one of the most popular narratives to follow the English Monarchy. This drama series, which is expected to span 5 seasons in total, follows multiple generations of the modern monarchy.
Whether it be the amazing soundtrack, the phenomenal acting, or the closely followed historical timeline, Netflix’s The Crown exceeds the audience’s expectations with a very well-crafted show.
This film, released in 2010, follows Prince Albert (Colin Firth) on his quest to take command of his stammer by hiring Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).
This critically acclaimed film has won multiple awards including, Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (given to Colin Firth), Best Achievement in Directing (given to Tom Hooper), Best Writing, and Original Screenplay which was given to David Seidler.
This parody sitcom is the perfect show if you’re looking to watch the royal family navigate comical fictional shenanigans. Unlike many other shows about the English monarchy, The Windsors seeks to poke fun at the highly privileged family through implementing dry, satire comedy within the brief sitcom episodes.
Next: Netflix’s The Crown Ending One Year Early With Season 5
Actors have an inside understanding of the world of filmmaking. It is literally their job to stand in front of the camera, say the lines, interpret the role, follow the director’s orders, and make the whole affair come together.
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But how good are they on the other side of the veil, without the camera pointing at them? Some would say they are ideal: They have seen countless directors on the job. Others would say the opposite: They simply cannot switch sides so easily. This list proves that actors-turned-directors have both their great and failed moments (pretty much like anyone else).
Today, Penny Marshall is much more well-known as a director rather than as an actress, her biggest roles on film and TV having happened decades ago. Big is without a doubt her best film and the first-ever female-directed film to gross an amount exceeding $100 million at the United States box office.
This comedy film tells the story of 12-year-old Josh Baskin, who – being frustrated with his young age and small size – wishes to become at last an adult (“to be big”). His wish is granted and he grows to adulthood overnight. Tom Hanks was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role.
If there ever was a bad attempt to incorporate Shakespeare into a film, then Renaissance Man was it. Danny DeVito portrays Bill Rago, a divorced advertiser. When he is rendered unemployed, the agency finds him a brief job teaching elementary literacy skills at a U.S. Army base, Fort McClane, where the majority of soldiers are unresponsive.
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Not managing to bond with his pupils and anxious to trigger their curiosity, Rago starts introducing them to Shakespeare’s plays. With a 12% score on Rotten Tomatoes, Renaissance Man fails to work as a comedy or drama, even with DeVito in the lead role.
Praised for its visual magnificence, flawless use of CGI, and as a rare live-action adaptation of a Disney animated classic that actually works, Favreau has every right to be proud of this film.
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An adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s homonymous combined works and building on Walt Disney’s 1967 animated movie of the same name, The Jungle Book is a live-action film that narrates the tale of Mowgli, a parentless young boy and “man-cub.” Advised by his animal carers (the wolf Akela, the bear Baloo, and the black panther Bagheera), Mowgli embarks on a voyage of self-discovery while eluding the menacing tiger Shere Khan.
From the title alone one understands that this movie will be weird; now, there is nothing wrong with a weird work of art, provided that the weird factor actually works or has a purpose. Here, it does not.
Starring Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, and Olivia Wilde, Cowboys & Aliens centers around amnesiac bandit Jake Lonergan (Craig), affluent and cruel cattle owner Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Ford), and enigmatic voyager Ella Swenson (Wilde), who are forced to partner up to rescue a band of townsfolk kidnapped by aliens. The movie has good enough performances but some definite tonal issues.
This is a definitive masterpiece. Hailed as Clooney’s best directorial contribution to the film industry (he also co-wrote it), Good Night, And Good Luck was nominated for and received many accolades and is still regarded as a brilliant neo-noir drama and one of the best modern black-and-white films.
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It narrates the story of Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn), the reporter who presented CBS’s news documentary show See It Now, and his relations with his co-producer Fred W. Friendly (Clooney) and CBS correspondent Joseph Wershba (Robert Downey, Jr.). The title is a reference to the phrase Murrow always used at the closure of his show: “Good night…and good luck.”
A criticism many made concerning this film is that it did not know what it wanted to be, do, or say. The setting is 1959 and an African-American family arrives in a “peaceful” all-white neighborhood, causing the community to lash out and become even more oblivious to the actual crimes and corruption happening in their midst.
With a 28% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, Suburbicon struggled to balance its central murder mystery plot with social commentary, leading to a disappointing final product.
The best way to describe Lost In Translation is beautiful. Apart from its universal critical acclaim (it was nominated for four Academy Awards [including Best Picture] and Coppola won for Best Original Screenplay; Murray and Johansson won BAFTAs for their roles), it was also an audience favorite.
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This comedy-drama narrates the story of the relationship between aging and existentially fatigued actor Bob Harris and disillusioned young college graduate/wife Charlotte. They meet in their hotel in Tokyo and come close due to their shared issues with loneliness, fear, culture shock, and disappointment in their careers.
While not the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) example of a failure on this list, other gems created by Coppola do show that she could have done better with the material here.
This satirical crime film with its ensemble cast (featuring Emma Watson) is grounded on the 2010 Vanity Fair piece “The Suspects Wore Louboutins” by Nancy Jo Sales; the article concerned an actual band of thieves called the Bling Ring. The narrative follows an assembly of fame-obsessed adolescents who stalk celebrities online and learn their whereabouts so that they can raid their houses and steal from them.
Mystic River was brilliant in every aspect. Based on an iconic crime drama novel by Dennis Lehane, this neo-noir mystery thriller follows childhood friends Jimmy Markum, Sean Devine, and Dave Boyle, as the latter is kidnapped and sexually abused by two men while the other boys are left alone.
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This incident causes them to drift apart until a cruel crime reunites them decades later; only this time they are on opposing sides. Mystic River is fantastically acted, splendidly written, and features a strong central storyline.
This more recent directorial attempt (2018) by Clint Eastwood shows that he is not without artistic mistake. This biographical drama is an adaptation of the autobiographical book The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes by Jeffrey E. Stern, Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos.
In what proved to be a poor decision, they starred as themselves in the movie. While they are very well acquainted with the events, they most certainly are not actors. The film was a critical failure and disliked by audiences, averaging a 38% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
NEXT: Clint Eastwood’s 10 Best Movies (As A Director), According To Rotten Tomatoes
Alfred Hitchcock is one of those iconic filmmakers who has solidified his place in film history and lore. His films have captivated audiences to this day with their unnerving thrills, gripping suspense, and unsuspecting twists. With a diverse catalog of psychological thrillers and suspense films expanding several decades, his content ranges from complex crime capers to deadly birds.
Naturally, he’s inspired many succeeding directors like David Lynch, M. Night Shyamalan, Jordan Peele, and Steven Spielberg, who have drawn from his nuanced, stylistic, and often a cerebral brand of filmmaking.
And whether directly inspired or not, there’s no shortage of gripping suspense films that hold some parallels with works from “The Master of Suspense” himself.
RELATED: Alfred Hitchcock’s 10 Best Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes
With that said, let’s cover 10 of the best suspense films that Hitchcock fans should love.
As it happens, 2007’s Disturbia closely parallels another Hitchcock film, in the form of the ’54 classic Rear Window. In fact, in this case, D. J. Caruso’s thriller is at least partly inspired by that film.
Like Rear Window, Kale (Shia LaBeouf) is restrained to the confines of his residence. Bouts of espionage through his binoculars lead him to suspect his neighbor of being a murderer as he notices suspicious happenings.
Despite the fun nature of this romp, critics have noted some lack of originality and occasional campiness. To its credit though, Disturbia does offer a creative spin on that Hitchcock classic with some flashier cinematography and heart-pumping action to boot.
Before the cult classic Fight Club, director David Fincher helmed this similarly ambitious, mind-twisty classic – 1997’s The Game, starring Michael Douglas as wealthy banker Nicholas Van Orton. This film takes its audience on a surreal and cerebral ride with twists and turns, keeping the viewer engaged with its slew of action scenes and stylish cinematography.
By enlisting in the practices of an unorthodox company that sets up thrilling escapades, Nicholas decided to embark this a real-life game up action to spruce up his mundane life, setting chaotic events in motion.
The plot takes on something of a North by Northwest vibe, as it hones in on a protagonist who’s left to question everything and everyone around him.
Despite dating back to 1981, this crime caper has been scarcely matched when it comes to clever plot twists and its gripping suspense-laced story. We follow a small-town lawyer, who’s coaxed by a seductive femme fatale to kill her rich husband. But what starts as a basic murder plot escalates into a complex conspiracy of another kind, brimming with shocking revelations few will see coming.
Lawrence Kasdan’s captivating drama takes a bit of film noir and some Hitchcock-style suspense along with eroticism to round out this memorable film. This is enhanced by the dynamic performances of William Hurt and Kathleen Turner who play Body Heat‘s passionate lovers.
Hitchcock had a knack for presenting leads in the midst of bizarre circumstances, often to the point of questioning their own sanity. This psychological thriller/suspense from ’16 greatly captures this quality. It centers around a troubled man named Will (Logan Marshall-Green), who is called to attend a dinner party with his ex-wife, amongst the very property that saw their only son pass away.
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Coupled with this emotional burden, Will experiences growing doubts and uneasiness as he senses an odd group among his old friends may have malicious intentions. It’s an atmospheric and unnerving mental trip and draws from Hitchcock’s style of coaxing the viewer to question what’s happening from subtle cues.
This film from Thailand puts a supernatural spin on the typically more grounded Hitchcock suspense, making for a thriller that’s both creepy and rife with thought-provoking suspense. While Shutter received a 2008 remake with more mixed reception critically, this ’04 foreign film was praised for its dynamic acting, gripping narrative, and visual flair.
It begins with a simple premise – a photographer and his girlfriend finding ominous shadows in their photos following a tragic accident. Yet, jaw-dropping revelations begin to unfold, leading to an epic crescendo, in true Hitchcock form.
While many emphasize horror or suspense traits prominent in Hitchcock films, David Lynch tends to go in more of a psychological, trippy direction more akin to Vertigo. Mulholland Drive from 2001 definitely channels this mind-bending ride into insanity. This is strengthened through convincing performances by Naomi Watts and Laura Harring, who play the film’s leads and troubled lovers.
This was originally meant to be a miniseries, and given its shifting settings and rich, in-depth narrative, it certainly shows.
We follow Betty’s (Watts) Hollywood journey to become an actress and Rita’s (Harring) battle with amnesia following a car accident. We’re then left to put together the pieces of a complex, warped puzzle as it’s increasingly hinted that something’s very wrong here.
Not to be confused with the 2000 suspense by the same name, 2015’s The Gift also uses elements of mystery and suspense, but in a very different way.
We follow a well-off couple, who’s new residence brings an unwanted guest claiming to be the old acquaintance of Simon (Jason Bateman). The film builds up an uneasy tension as the odd man continues to appear, which mushrooms into a deceptively complex tale wrought with character drama and shocking reveals.
Australian Director Joel Edgerton, who doubles as the strange guest, Gordo, captures that Hitchcock quality of unique cinematography and unexpected twists.
Taking its place as the oldest entry on our list, 1960’s Midnight Lace runs with a premise and setting that rings similar to Dial M For Murder with added neo-noir flair for good measure.
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This unsettling mystery-suspense stars Kit (Doris Day) who gets terrorized by ominous phone calls threatening to kill her. Tension builds as the threats increase and those around her are hesitant in believing her, putting her in danger. As the plot unfolds, escalating action and revelations captivate its audience and lead to a truly intense conclusion.
Similar to “The Master of Suspense,” Spanish director Oriol Paulo has a knack for keeping viewers on the edge of their seats with this mystery thriller. This is thanks to its crazy twists and turns that keeps its audience guessing, along with great performances by Mario Casas and Ana Wagener who play an accused murderer and lawyer.
In one sense, The Invisible Guest is a classic, rich tale of suspense and mystery, while injecting a tinge of psychological drama that allows it to shine. The film’s nuanced hints and clever twists – leading to shocking character revelations – would surely make Alfred Hitchcock proud.
There are a number of parallels to make between 2000’s What Lies Beneath and Hitchcock works, aside from its sheer quality and heart-pumping thrills. You have the memorable performances by Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford to help bring the story to life. Yet, you’ve also got some truly clever “red herrings” and left turns that remind one of the classics that are Psycho and Vertigo.
We follow Claire as she’s haunted by ghostly manifestations; a seemingly standard plot that escalates into an intense crime caper full of edge-of-your-seat scares and creative twists.
NEXT: 10 Sweat-Inducing Suspense Films To Watch If You Like A Quiet Place
Until relatively recently, the world of superhero films was still controlled by the good guys. But films like Suicide Squad (2016), Venom (2018), Joker (2019), and, of course, Birds of Prey (2020) finally changed that. While Birds of Prey did introduce a whole new superhero team, Harley Quinn was the one who helped to put the team together in the first place.
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And even though she’s not a member of the teams, there are a lot of interesting characters who joined the team in the comics sooner or later. Some of them then definitely deserve their solo films, whether they appeared only in the comics or in the Birds of Prey film as well.
Helena Bertinelli aka The Huntress has a moving and complex history in the comics. It also appeared in the film, albeit in a shortend version. Born to a rich mafia family that ruled Gotham, Helena lost her parents and her brother when someone ordered a hit on them. Helena went on to live with her distant relatives and she trained in martial arts and in using a crossbow. When she was ready, she came back to Gotham, took on the mantle of the Huntress and decided to avenge her family’s death.
The Huntress crosses the thin line between a hero and a villain and seeing her interact on the big screen with Batman would be a delight, considering their difficult relationship in the comics.
Birds of Prey isn’t Black Canary’s first prominent appearance. She was in the TV show Arrow where she joined Oliver Queen’s side in his neverending battle against villains. However, her story is even far more complicated and interesting in comics. In the comics, Dinah Lance aka Black Canary starts out as an undercover operative in criminal gangs.
In another version, she’s a successful singer. She also has an off-again, on-again relationship with Green Arrow and the dynamic between these two superheroes would deserve a portrayal in a film since in Arrow, Black Canary was replaced by Felicity Smoak as Green Arrow’s love.
Just like another important DC comic book character, none other than Harley Quinn herself, Renee Montoya also first appeared not in the comics, but on the animated show Batman: The Animated Series which was released in the early 90s. Montoya worked for the Gotham City police department, but she eventually quit it when it became obvious that the police in Gotham was corrupt.
And while Renee Montoya doesn’t have any superpowers, if she got her own film, it’d also be an opportunity to adapt the comic book storyline Gotham Central onto a big screen since Montoya plays a part in the series.
Let’s move away from the Birds of Prey film and step into the world of comic books in which the Birds of Prey team is much wider and richer than the film’s viewers could have seen. Unlike the film, in the comics isn’t Harley Quinn the one who basically creates the team.
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Instead, it’s Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl who join forces with her Black Canary, they eventually take in more members and the rest, as they say, is history. There’s never enough impressive female superheroes on the big screen and Batgirl definitely fits the description. Plus, it could also mean the film could feature Nightwing since these two are not only a couple but also a badass crime-fighting duo.
Yes, Kate Kane aka Batwoman is currently shining in her own TV series, but that doesn’t mean she’d do any less well in her own solo film, or that the fans wouldn’t be excited to see it.
Not only would it allow them to get a more detailed glimpse into the world of crime and superheroism in Gotham, from another perspective than just the Batman’s, it would also mean that Batwoman could potentially team up with other above-mentioned heroes, such as Renee Montoya (see the picture above). And, of course, Batwoman is a total badass so it’d be great to see her kick ass on the big screen.
Another often-overlooked female character who was once a member of the Birds of Prey superhero group is Kendra Saunders aka Hawkgirl. It’s true that Hawkgirl already appeared on the Legends of Tomorrow but some fans felt that her portrayal in the show left a lot to be desired and would love to see her stand against her enemies in a solo movie.
Hawkgirl has a complicated history, since she has the ability to reborn again once she dies, and she usually retains the memories from her past lives. That would make-up for one complex origin story that would definitely be worth watching.
Similarly to the Huntress, Katana is the one hero whom some may consider a villain since she has no problem when it comes to striking down her enemies and making sure they’ll stay down… permanently. Killing villains is something most superheroes don’t want to do but Katana doesn’t mind it, which would make for a truly charged superhero movie.
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Katana already appeared both on Arrow and in Suicide Squad but she didn’t have that much space in either of them. In case you don’t know, her sword contains the spirits of the people she killed, and it also contains the spirit of her dead husband, so that’s some story material right there.
Birds of Prey certainly don’t discriminate and they don’t mind taking in members who are less than superheroic… such as Catwoman. Catwoman already has one solo film but all fans of the character like to pretend it doesn’t exist since not only it completely rewrites the origin of Catwoman, it also makes her look rather silly… and not even in a good way.
Catwoman has so many great stories in the comics that the filmmakers could use, and they wouldn’t even need Batman to do it and to finally give the fans the Catwoman solo film they deserve and wish for.
Another famous Gotham villainess who once joined the Birds of Prey team was Harley Quinn’s best friend and occasional girlfriend Poison Ivy. Of all the Gotham villains, Poison Ivy belongs among the more sympathetic ones, and she even sometimes teams up with heroes to help them.
In her own solo film, she could either be the good guy or the villain, depending on the portrayal, but with this lady, the possibilities are almost endless. Poison Ivy did appear on the big screen before, but it happened in Batman And Robin, the one film Batman fans like to pretend doesn’t exist, so she’d deserve a do-over, just like Catwoman.
Power Girl is one of those DC heroes that prove that in the world of superheroes and villains, everything is possible. Power Girl is Superman’s cousin, but she’s not Kara Danvers aka Supergirl. Instead, the mantle of Power Girl belongs to Karen Starr, also known as Kara Zor-L. She’s Superman’s cousin from an alternative universe.
She eventually becomes stranded in the same world and in the same universe where Superman and Supergirl live and she gets to know them. Unsurprisingly, Power Girl is a very powerful superhero, as her name suggests, and she can hold her ground with some of the strongest DC heroes, and she’d deserve more attention from moviegoers.
NEXT: Birds Of Prey: 10 Badass Female Empowerment Scenes The Movie Nailed
Perhaps most acclaimed for his time as executive producer of the monumental television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon has pursued a genre-bending array of projects during his career in Hollywood. Some are just as beloved as Buffy, while others have been effectively slain by critics and viewers alike.
Related: Buffy The Vampire Slayer: 10 Best Episodes (According To IMDb)
While several of Whedon’s other television projects have received acclaim, including Firefly and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., his films have been notoriously inconsistent in quality. Here are writer and director Joss Whedon’s top 5 best (and 5 worst) films, according to the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer.
Whedon directed and wrote the screenplay for this present-day adaptation of Shakespeare’s play about manipulation and love. The 2012 film features many of Whedon’s previous collaborators, including Angel stars Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof, along with Firefly star Nathan Fillion.
Acker and Denisof play the contentious Beatrice and Benedick, who fall in love due to a scheme that makes each one think that the other already loves them. The actors’ chemistry, which is also palpable in their roles as the romantically-entangled Fred and Wesley in Angel, translates well to this Shakespearean comedy. Just as Beatrice and Benedick turn out to be a strong match, Shakespeare’s quippy dialogue is ideal fodder for Whedon.
Despite a compelling pairing in Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder, this 1997 film (the fourth in the Alien franchise) is not universally beloved by any means. Weaver nonetheless gives another passionate performance as Ripley, and Ryder plays earnest crew member Annalee – with a slight twist to her character.
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Whedon wrote the film’s screenplay and collaborated with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, whose most notable film credit is probably Amélie. In the final Alien film before 2012’s Prometheus, Ripley (who died at the end of Alien 3) comes back to life as a clone and must tackle some pretty profound issues, including the ethics of alien breeding and the use of humans in this process. While Whedon himself pointed out the film’s faults with special effects and casting, the movie has a better Rotten Tomatoes rating than Alien 3, which boasts a whopping 43%.
This innovative horror film showcases what Joss Whedon does best: sardonic wit and quirky, thought-provoking horror all rolled into one. Written by Whedon and Drew Goddard, who also directed, the film centers around a group of college kids who (indeed!) venture to a cabin in the woods but are not too carefree for long.
Played by the talented likes of Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, and Jesse Williams, the characters are terrorized by a slew of fascinating and disturbing horrors that have been orchestrated without their knowledge. Think that’s creepy enough? The real reason these scientists are wreaking so much havoc, revealed late in the film, offers a brilliant meta-commentary on the slasher genre.
Along with Ben Edlund and John August, Whedon co-wrote the screenplay for this animated sci-fi film from 2000, which takes place in 3028 and focuses on the aftermath of Earth’s obliteration by aliens (ergo “A.E.,” After Earth). The blond, pessimistic, and gritty main character Cale Tucker, voiced by Matt Damon, is pushed into locating a ship called the Titan, which could secure humanity’s future.
The cast also boasts Bill Pullman and Drew Barrymore, the latter of whom voices the quick-witted pilot Akima (who, of course, gets all romantic with Cale). The movie wasn’t terribly well-received or influential, but it still contains some moments of chuckle-worthy wit …. like when Cale names humanity’s new planet “Bob.”
Ah, yes, the 2012 Marvel film that precipitated three gargantuan sequels and a ginormous fanbase that shows no signs of shrinking. Directed and written by Whedon, The Avengers follows Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, and Hawkeye in their attempts to either “protect the Earth” from destruction, or, as Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark puts it, “avenge it.”
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The awe-inspiring cast includes Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, and Tom Hiddleston, who portrays principal villain Loki. Whedon went on to direct and write the 2015 sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron but then left his directorship for a handful of reasons.
Although it’s certainly not the most critically-acclaimed film with Whedon’s name attached, Atlantis: The Lost Empire has sometimes been applauded as a notable moment in animated science fiction. It technically includes an ensemble cast, but the plot hinges upon geeky protagonist Milo (voiced by Michael J. Fox) and his knowledge of the lost civilization Atlantis.
When he and a group of crew members arrive on the island, unfortunate motivations are revealed that put forth questions about greed and the pillaging of other cultures. Unfortunately, several of the characters lack intrigue due to the film’s heavy use of character tropes.
Whedon’s writing contributions helped create a riveting and sometimes funny action film, albeit one that doesn’t really resemble his other work. Directed by Jan de Bont and starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, the movie is heavy on cars, explosions, and heroic feats from Reeves’s character Jack.
The LAPD officer attempts to stop the explosion of a bus, while Bullock’s character Annie helps Jack and falls into some hallmark “damsel-in-distress” trouble.
The team-up nature of Justice League may be DC’s counterpart to Marvel’s The Avengers, but these big-screen adaptations are anything but equal. While Whedon was acclaimed for The Avengers, he has faced significant criticism for his screenwriting and directing contributions on Justice League, which commenced when director Zack Snyder left production.
Disgruntlement with Whedon’s alterations have escalated to the point that fans want the supposedly superior “Zach Snyder’s Justice League” cut to be released. Big ouch for Whedon.
As a co-writer of the screenplay for 1995’s Toy Story, Whedon lent his creative power to one of the most acclaimed animated films of all time. The endearing plot follows a sentient group of eccentric toys who alternately fight, band together, and experience existential crises about being a toy.
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Indeed, cowboy Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and space ranger Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen) begin as enemies due to their competition for attention from owner Andy, but self-preservation requires a partnership that evolves into BFF territory.
It is profoundly ironic that one of Joss Whedon’s most poorly-received films inspired such an enduring television show. Whedon wrote the screenplay for this 1992 movie about a high school cheerleader turned vampire slayer, but it lacks the ingenious complexity of his seven-season masterwork. Like the show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s main protagonist is Buffy Summers, in this incarnation portrayed by Kristy Swanson.
Luke Perry also appears as Pike, Buffy’s down-to-earth love interest, and Donald Sutherland plays Merrick, Buffy’s Watcher (note: he’s no Giles). Despite its cringeworthy faults (cheesy writing and underwhelming characters), the film constitutes a crucial moment in Whedon’s career trajectory. Without the questionable film, perhaps Sarah Michelle Gellar’s astounding Buffy would have never materialized.
NEXT: Sarah Michelle Gellar’s 10 Best Films (According To Rotten Tomatoes)
For many modern moviegoers, black-and-white films may have negative connotations: one might believe that this kind of color scheme only belongs to classic films that were archived a long time ago and are usually found in lists like ‘The 100 Best Films Of All Time’ (for example Citizen Kane, Casablanca et cetera).
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But black-and-white is not something filmmakers would just resort to once upon a time because there was no other option; many kept using it even after being able to shoot in color. Some notable modern examples include Schindler’s List and Good Night, And Good Luck. But to celebrate the closure of the decade, we will focus on great black-and-whites from the 2010-2020 period.
The critics did not love this one, unlike its predecessor Sin City. But still, this modern-day neo-noir vision of a city full to the brim with corruption, stylish violence, perversity, and of course guns and booze (quite faithfully adapted from Frank Miller’s comic books) is worth the watch.
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The plot follows four intermingling stories that feature (Ba)Sin City citizens, some of whom participate in more than one (e.g. Marv, Nancy, Senator Roark), with the main story being that of Dwight McCarthy who is drawn into his ex-lover Ava’s scheme. Miller’s and Rodriguez’s concept of a world of black-and-white, deadly justice is fascinating.
Maybe the inclusion of this independent horror film seems peculiar; critics were seriously divided, while mainstream audiences were alienated and weirded out. But conceptually this film is ingenious and as for its shooting, well… let us say emerging filmmaker Randy Moore ruffled some feathers. Shot guerrilla-style at Walt Disney World (Florida) with no permits whatsoever, principal photography was kept completely under the radar. The potential legal issues were massive, but Disney responded with silence to the whole affair. It follows an unemployed dad experiencing increasingly uncanny occurrences and ominous visions during the final day of a family trip at the Disney World Resort. The lack of color here is apt: it befits the sedate and sanitized type of happiness sold by Disney.
This subversive and eerie horror film was Nicholas Pesce’s directorial debut (he also wrote and edited it). It brilliantly explores the subjects of murder, loneliness, and parenthood, as we observe the world through the colorless gaze of the protagonist, kidnapper, and murderer Francesca who takes away the eyes (as she was taught by her mother, a veterinarian) and vocal cords of her kidnap victims and then imprisons them in her farm’s barn to escape her solitude. Variety website called the film a “subtle take on the horror-thriller genre reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock meets Roald Dahl meets the Saw franchise”.
This dramatic romance premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was directed by Alex Lehmann, also in his directorial debut (black-and-white is apparently a relatively popular choice for up-and-coming filmmakers). It received overwhelmingly positive reviews and has been called one of the gems of TIFF.
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It narrates the story of Jim Henderson who goes back to his birthplace in California and reunites with his high-school sweetheart Amanda and it is revealed that the two had a tumultuous end to their relationship years ago. It was written by Mark Duplass (also the writer of Creep, and actor in Zero Dark Thirty and The Lazarus Effect).
The peculiar amalgamation of genres found in this Canadian film makes it an enthralling, if also uncanny, watch. It blends gangster elements with haunted houses, thriller elements, and allusions to the Greek epic of Odyssey for a film that has plenty to say. Guy Maddin’s Keyhole narrates the tale of Ulysses Pick who returns to his home with his gang as the place is surrounded by police; he then embarks on a journey from room to room. Plenty of surrealism piles up here, with dead people simply getting up and leaving, ghosts that no one seems to mind and plenty of twists involving murder and revenge.
This horror film, written and directed by Mickey Keating (director of Carnage Park and Psychopaths), unfolds its terrifying plot in six chapters (but the implied vicious cycle of this story happening time and again points to many more chapters). Darling moves into Madame’s luxurious New York flat to become the new caretaker.
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Madame leaves her with an ominous warning that the previous caretaker killed herself (The Shining much?) and with instructions never to open the door at the corridor’s end. Strange hallucinations and disturbing visions ensue, as Darling is tormented by the flat’s past and by appearances of the Latin proverb “Abyssus Abyssum Invocat” (Deep calls to Deep/ Hell invokes Hell).
Again, the blending of genres here is exquisite. In this Iranian vampire western horror film (exactly), the protagonist and antihero only known as The Girl roam the roads of Bad City, over which solitude and death seem to rule. She barely talks and has no connections with other people, her sole motivation to seek them out is being her thirst for blood, until she comes upon a lost, but compassionate young man Arash.
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It was Ana Lily Amirpour’s directorial debut and an homage to the style of spaghetti westerns, as well as to the classic German vampire film Nosferatu.
Paweł Pawlikowski’s drama garnered many accolades, amongst them the 2015 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (the first Polish film to win it). It was also crowned as Best Film of 2014 by the European Film Academy. Taking place in 1962 Poland, it narrates the story of a young woman preparing to take her vows as a Catholic nun. Having lost her parents as a toddler during World War II, she now reunites with her aunt (her ideological and life-style opposite). The ex-Communist and Ida’s single living relation reveals that her parents were Jewish. The two women embark on a journey around the Polish countryside to uncover their family’s past.
This film’s uniquely impressive array of accolades and its critical reception shed a completely new light on the possibilities of a Netflix Original. Alfonso Cuarón’s masterpiece (taking place from 1970 to ’71) narrates parts of the life-story of Cleodegaria “Cleo” Gutiérrez, a native live-in housemaid for an affluent family. It was created as a semi-autobiographical dramatization of Cuarón’s childhood in the Colonia Roma neighborhood in Mexico City. In the movie star Yalitza Aparicio (Cleo) and Marina de Tavira (Sofia, Cleo’s employer). It was the first (and still sole, although there are things happening) Netflix Original to be added to the Criterion Collection.
And the first on our list, this beautiful and moving French comedy/drama was an homage to silent-era black-and-white films. The narrative unfolds in Hollywood during a six-year period (1927 to 1932), and centers around the relationship of an aging famous silent film actor and an emerging young actress as silent cinema becomes obsolete and old-fashioned until it is eventually dethroned by the “talkies”/talking films. Directed and written by Michel Hazanavicius (whose dream had been to make a silent black-and-white movie), this film received many awards and posed some brilliant ideas about the importance of preserving art and about feeling outdated and lost in a rapidly changing world.
NEXT: Top 10 Black And White Classic Movie Every Film Fan Should See
After watching all the seasons of Full House, it’s hard to imagine the actors playing roles anything other than what you see them on the show. As it turns out, the cast hasn’t done as much work outside the series either. However, there are some options for you to try out.
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Since some cast members didn’t act as much, we’ve included a few recurring actors from the series in this list, whom you’ll be surprised to see fared very well in their careers. So, if you’re looking for stuff featuring your favorite Full House actors, then here are 10 TV shows and films you can find them in.
A man in his fifties comes to know that he has a grown-up son. To make matters crazier, he also finds out that he’s become a grandfather as well. Following this revelation, he tries to start a real relationship with both his child and grandchild.
Still known for playing the cool uncle, John Stamos’ turn as a cool grandfather will please Full House fans, with some diversification offered due to the single-camera format of Grandfathered. While the show sadly only lasted for a single season, it’s still worth a watch for the fantastic chemistry between the characters.
Though they are identical twins, two sisters hardly alike in personality are forced to work together in order to escape a situation around a comedy of errors. Over the course of a single day, the sisters run around New York trying to make sense of things.
It features both the Olsen twins, but you might argue that Ashley’s character has the main spotlight in this film. Her character has the main conflict, and her portrayal of an uptight perfect student is the real joy to watch in this family comedy movie that also features some other big-name actors.
In the year 2030, middle-aged Ted Mosby recounts to his two children the events leading up to his meeting their mother. Over the course of nine seasons, Future Ted divulges the various adventures he and his friends had during their younger days in New York.
It’s a shame that there are still many people unaware of the fact that Bob Saget happens to be the voice of Future Ted. Due to this, he appeared in almost each episode in the series, with his voiceover heard every few minutes or so. Once you do realize this, you’re going to want to watch the whole series.
Following the lives of professional gymnast girls with dreams of reaching the Olympics, the story follows their struggles to qualify for the event while usual teenage drama takes over, including relationship problems and growing pains.
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After watching the actress go through her growing phase on Full House, it’s an interesting change to see her be a motherly figure on this show. Playing an understanding woman who grows close to her boyfriend’s daughter, Make It or Break It is fair proof that Candace Cameron Bure can branch out in dramatic territory too.
Following the events of Ghostbusters, the gang goes on a series of adventures as they realize there are more ghosts out there than what they bargained for. Soon enough, these dysfunctional heroes start getting the hang of things.
Joey always had one impression or another in store for viewers on Full House, and with this animated series, Dave Coulier did his best to come across like Bill Murray would, playing the same character he did. It’s a comedic series fit for younger audiences and Ghostbusters fans alike.
After getting dumped by The Joker, Harley Quinn is left to her own devices as the entire criminal district of Gotham city comes out to get her. During this time, her paths cross with other women with special abilities, including the likes of Huntress and Black Canary.
Denise Fraser was incredibly well-acted for a child actress, so it’s natural she went on to bigger things. However, barely anyone knows that the superhero Huntress – whose story was one of the stronger aspects of the film – is played by someone who was once Michelle Tanner’s best friend on Full House. This guarantees you’ll be watching Birds of Prey with renewed interest.
Back before Walt Disney was a success, he went through a long period of struggle to get his dreams to become a reality. Walt Before Mickey humanizes Disney by detailing how he had things anything but easy to become the man he did.
Most of Jodie Sweetin’s filmography features one-time guest appearances, but nestled within these credits is the hidden gem of Walt Before Mickey, where she played the supportive aunt of Walt Disney. Unlike the feisty Stephanie Tanner, this portrayal saw the actress show off her dramatic chops.
A young man’s world is turned upside down when a baby daughter whose existence he hadn’t known about is dropped at his doorstep. Now adjusting to his role as a father, he’s helped in this transition by his family and friends.
Known for playing Michelle’s original best friend Teddy, Tahj Mowry ended up finding significant success in another sitcom whose premise was somewhat similar to Full House. If you’re a fan of the show, then you’ll have zero problems watching Baby Daddy, where Mowry played the funniest character.
In this modern take on Beauty and the Beast, a man’s features are turned into something resembling a horrific monster after he insults a witch without knowing her true nature. Now trapped in this state, he has no option other than have someone truly fall in love with him to remove the curse.
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In what turned out to be her final film, Mary-Kate Olsen played the role of the witch who curses the main character. Unlike the sweet-natured Michelle, here Olsen played out a more twisted interpretation of her acting skills to deliver a scary take on the classic story.
An orphan in ancient times is fooled into entering a cave that contains a magical lamp. After he’s left abandoned, Aladdin uses the genie of the lamp to set himself free and grant him three magic wishes. With hopes to marry the princess he loves, Aladdin puts his wishes to use.
The ever-hungry boyfriend of DJ Tanner was also the voice of one of the most popular Disney characters of all time, as Scott Weinger enjoyed Aladdin fame. The actor also did one better by voicing Aladdin in all accompanying TV shows and films, making the whole series worth visiting if you haven’t already watched it before.
NEXT: Full House: D&D Moral Alignments Of The Main Characters
By consistently releasing great films, Pixar has become known for being one of the best animation studios in Hollywood today. Starting as part of the Lucasfilm computer division in 1979, Pixar became its own studio in 1986 after being established by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The animation studio was bought by Disney in 2006 and has remained under the entertainment giant’s ownership ever since.
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Ranging from 1995’s Toy Story until today, Pixar has a vast, diverse filmography consisting of 22 films. Apart from garnering countless awards and being big box office draws, Pixar’s stories explore a variety of premises and characters with humor and emotion. In honor of the most recent addition, Onward (2020), let’s take a look back at Pixar’s amazing catalog with ten fun facts.
While films can sometimes reference other films, it’s certain with every Pixar outing. In 1986, the studio’s first short, Luxo, Jr., featured the Luxo Ball. The toy made a cameo in Pixar’s first feature film, Toy Story. Since then, the studio has put Pixar references and easter eggs in all of their films.
One of the most popular nods is the pizza truck from Toy Story, which has appeared in most Pixar films over the years. Other references are more subtle. Keen fans will notice “A113” throughout Pixar stories. A113 is a room used by the animation department at CalArts, a school some Pixar animators attended.
While cultural references can elicit strong reactions, it can also alienate audiences unfamiliar with them. As an animation studio, Pixar has the advantage over live-action filmmakers by being able to tweak each film based on what country it’s shown at so jokes and references can be effective.
A notable example is when Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) from Inside Out (2015) is eating broccoli. Unlike Americans, Japanese audiences are not culturally disgusted by the vegetable. As a result, it was excluded from the Japanese release. The strategy is one reason Pixar has a strong following internationally.
Pixar has always been an unconventional animation studio and 2008’s Wall-E is further proof. Apart from featuring a beautiful story, the sci-fi adventure features the first use of live-action in any of Pixar’s films. There are several scenes but the best example is when Wall-E watches the film Hello, Dolly! (1969).
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Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, director Andrew Stanton (Finding Dory) said the creative decision originated from his desire to mix “something old fashioned” with an “apocalyptic, futuristic setting.” After negotiating with 20th Century Fox, clips were used to create the classic cinematic moment.
After a 20-year stint with live-action roles, actor John Ratzenberger (Cheers) voiced Hamm the piggy bank in Toy Story. He did a few more live-action films before returning to Pixar for its second film, A Bug’s Life (1998). He would repeat this until he had a role — main or minor — in every Pixar film since then.
His long tenure was made fun of in the end credits of Cars (2006) where his character praises Ratzenberger-voiced characters before criticizing the fact that one actor played all of them. Ratzenberger told ABC News his favorite character is either Hamm or PT Flea from A Bug’s Life.
Pixar excels at making audiences laugh, but all the fun and games wouldn’t work as well without some heart. Despite the vast variety of fantastical worlds throughout Pixar’s history, much of the emotion from these films come from the directors and their experiences with reality.
The most recent example is Onward, which was inspired by director Dan Scanlon’s (Monsters University) deceased father. Having no memory of the man, Scanlon found a brief recording of him and used it as a blueprint for a fantasy story revolved around two teen elves trying to spend one day with their late father.
After four entries in the Toy Story franchise, actor Tim Allen’s (Home Improvement) voice is synonymous with Buzz Lightyear. But before the pairing, comedian Billy Crystal (When Harry Met Sally) was originally offered the role before turning it down. He later told ABC he regretted the decision.
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“I hate that this comes up,” he said, “It’s the only regret I have in the business of something I passed on.” Crystal was eventually offered the role of Mike in Monsters, Inc. (2001). He later starred in the prequel Monsters University (2013) and will be in the upcoming sequel Disney+ series, Monsters At Work (2021).
One of the most beloved parts of 2009’s Up is the opening sequence showing the relationship between Ellie (Elizabeth Docter) and Carl (Jeremy Leary). Apart from being an emotional rollercoaster, the scene is notable for its lack of dialogue. Despite its iconic status now, the scene wasn’t always so mute.
Originally, the sequence had moments of the characters completing each other’s sentences along with other noises. But after a suggestion from story supervisor Ronnie Del Carmen, director Pete Docter (Inside Out) cut the dialogue and sound effects out. He recalled his parents’ silent home movies as an inspiration.
Sometimes, the best person to do a job is yourself. In the story reel for Finding Nemo (2003), director Stanton voiced the easy-going sea turtle as a temporary fill in. His performance was so popular in test screenings he decided to keep it in — not bad considering he recorded it while lying on a couch.
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The director’s unexpected role was not the last time in Pixar history something like that happened. Brad Bird (The Iron Giant), director of The Incredibles (2004), voiced costume designer Edna Mode despite plans for an actress to do it. Like any production, Pixar sometimes relies on improv for their magic.
Many films have production issues but Toy Story 2 (1999) arguably had one of the biggest. In 1998, with work almost done on the sequel, an animator accidentally deleted most of the film’s assets from Pixar’s servers. The backups were discovered to be unusable.
Technical director Galyn Susman, who was working from home due to her newborn child, had backups of the assets on her computer. The team recovered most of the lost material from her and saved the film, which had been worked on for two years up until that point.
It’s possible to forget, but animated films were traditionally hand-drawn before the release of Toy Story. In the 1980s, Disney animator John Lasseter (Cars) pitched a computer-generated animated film that was rejected. After being eventually fired, Lasseter helped form Pixar and started producing CGI short films.
One was Tin Toy (1988), which won an Academy Award and captured Disney’s attention. Working with Disney, Lasseter and Pixar created a feature fully comprised of CGI with a similar premise as the short. It was not only the first Pixar film but the start of a new era of animation.
NEXT: 10 Pixar Films We Hope Get A Disney Plus Spin-Off Series
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