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Holocaust Horrors: Films About WWII

It may be known for its entertainment value, but film has its other uses, like preserving history by telling stories, factual or fictional, based on specific events.

Film has been instrumental in recording important events in world history, such as tragedies (Titanic), biographies (Erin Brockovich), and even unbelievable circumstances (127 Hours).

One of the biggest, darkest moments in world history is the Holocaust, and the stories are never ending. After the second World War, films were made to keep people from forgetting the event that caused so much pain and fear, and many of these films, while not completely accurate, became instrumental in recording history. Here are some of the most poignant films about the Holocaust.

Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)

This extraordinary and beautiful confession is based on director Louis Malle’s experience as a child, when he befriended a Jewish boy in his religious school.

In the film, Gaspard Manesse plays a rich boy who returns to school after a holiday and is introduced to new students, one of which becomes a friend—Jean Bonnet, whose real name is Kippelstein, a Jew.

The film is about a childhood nostalgia shared from the point of view of an adult— and a story that stood up against cruelty at a time where nobody is brave enough to stand up for the oppressed.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)

Conveyed from the eyes of a child, the main focus of the movie is the German family who stays on their side of the fence during the war for most of the film. The Jews are seen as dirty, stumbling people they merely pass by. Asa Butterfield’s Bruno questions why farmers wear striped pajamas, but his mother, played by Vera Farmiga, does everything she can to maintain his innocence and ignorance.

Yet the child befriends a boy from camp, whom he does not realize until much later that the child on the other side of the wire has been sentenced to death by his own father and his fellow colleagues.

This heartbreaking story of family and friendship shows what happens when the ignorance of the average German can no longer blur the image of horror in the death camps.

The Reader (2008)

This Academy Award–nominated film is as essential as Holocaust films go. The significance of the film lies on a new generation of Germans who were born after the war and were confronted with their past. An Oedipus love between a 15-year-old boy (David Kross) and a 38-year-old ticket inspector (Kate Winslet) begs to ask the question whether or not the old generation were ever remorseful of their roles in the past.

However, if there is one significant thought to get from The Reader, however, it’s that there is no way to undo what has been done, but it is never too late to change what can still be.

Life Is Beautiful (1997)

This comedy is bittersweet, but it is also one of the most beautiful films that can gut your heart out about the Holocaust. What started as a love story became dark fast, as a Jew who fell in love with a schoolteacher got deported to a concentration camp along with his son, whom he tried to protect for most of the way.

The harshness of the comedy was refreshing when it was first released. It served as a slap that emphasized on the unspeakable terror of the Holocaust. While director Roberto Benigni depicts it in a different way, historical accuracy was not so much his issue than offering a dark comic tragedy that depicts the sadness and inhumanity of this piece of history.

The Pianist (2002)

This unmerciful account of the Holocaust in Poland is result of director Roman Polanski’s personal experience as a Jew during the Second World War.

More personal than historic, Adrian Brody’s Szpilman is a passive figure hiding in the dark and moving on before the war can catch up with him—not being able to witness the terror of those who surround him. Unlike most Holocaust films that show terror, this one has lesser-known images of the era, but the uneasiness is there, only in a different sort—the horror of survival during a time when Szpilman had to turn his back on his family to continue living his life in hiding, just on the edge of the bigger picture of the war.

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Scary Films with Even More Terrifying Dolls

Little girls are usually very fond of dolls, but apparently, adults cannot leave it alone and give them their innocent share of fun. In fact, the decline in doll sales may not be due to the availability of gadgets but more on the terror that they see in movies.

Come think of it, dolls are up there on the top things that scare kids half to death. So much for giving comfort to the little ones, eh?

There have been countless films that had dolls at the center of horror – and they have become so mainstream that many of them have turned solo films into massive franchises, and for the life of us, we still can’t figure out how dolls spawn other little evil dolls.

Anyway, here are some scary films that you will want your kids to watch if you don’t want them to ever have dolls ever again:

Child’s Play (1988)

Terrifying dolls? Well, that’s definitely Chucky. After the Good Guy doll was inhabited by the soul of killer Charles Lee Ray, Chucky was bought by a young boy and his mother.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for them to realize that the doll is more than what meets the eye. In fact, you don’t even want to look him in the eye, because with the soul of a killer in him, the innocent doll became their tormentor real quick.

Chucky’s sinister and menacing personality made him even creepier. The first film may have been released in 1988, but even now, Chucky continues on tormenting little children who had the misfortune to come across him. Spawning nearly half a dozen movies, the last one was released in 2013, called Curse of Chucky.

Considering the franchise’s history, it probably won’t be the last time we see the creepy killer either.

Dead Silence (2007)

Things went south fast when a young couple received a creepy ventriloquist doll as a present.

After the murder of his wife, the young man returned to his home town to explore the legend of the murdered ventriloquist, Mary Shaw, and unearthed details surrounding her death, her attachment to her dolls, and the murders that have happened in and around the town.

A bit similar in plot to A Nightmare on Elm Street, this terrifying tale has an interesting twist that you would not see coming.

Saw (2004)

Do you want to play a game? Probably not, if Jigsaw arranged it.

The original “Saw” film was one of the more epic films in the slasher genre. It has interesting twists that you wouldn’t see coming, but after half a dozen films, the film became a tired cliché.

However, before the quality deteriorated, the story of Jigsaw and the creepy doll he uses to explain dire situations to his victims were some things that are new in the horror genre. The clownish doll became an icon in the horror genre as the movie progresses into the games that Jigsaw wanted to play.

The Conjuring, Annabelle (2013/2014)

Most of the films on this list are fiction—after all, why would dolls ever come to life? The Conjuring and Annabelle, however, are on a different plane as these movies are based on the writings and case files of real-life spiritual investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Even though there is little about the doll in The Conjuring, a prequel showed that the doll, Annabelle, is actually the center of the horrors experienced by couples who lived in the haunted home—mainly that occultists invaded the house and a mortally wounded one dripped blood on the new, then-innocent doll.

There were a lot of jump-scares in the film, even though it focuses more on spiritual terror than the doll itself. Still, Annabelle is the vessel for evil in the film, and that’s why she made it on this creepy list.

Dolls (1987)

What would a list about evil dolls be without an aptly-titled movie?

The 1980w tale is about a group of strangers who were stranded during a storm. Taking shelter at a mansion that is home to a nice elderly couple who make toys.

Instead of a perfectly innocent business, however, they find that the toys and dolls were actually vessels used to trap souls of degenerates that the couple imprisoned over the years.

Which of these scary films effectively scared you the first time you watched?

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Can’t-Miss Films Set in New York

New York—it has been written about, talked about, sung about. Jay Z and Alicia Keys were right when they sang of the Big Apple being the concrete jungle where dreams were made of. New York, after all, is the great American dream for people who wish to dabble and exploreTalent and skills.

Movies inspire people more than ever to see this city that never sleeps, and here are the best films that put the city on wonderful display—being the uncredited star of these amazing films.

Gangs of New York (2002)

This film by Martin Scorsese is a semi-historical epic taking place about 150 years ago in the early days of the city—a place plagued by racism, elitists, corruption, and violence.

The film centers around Leonardo DiCaprio’s Amsterdam Vallon, who witnessed the death of his father as a child. He then returns to the city as an adult to seek revenge on the killer. The historical accuracy is questionable, but Scorsese’s take is symbolic of the old New York—a city born of immigrants looking for better lives in a world full of promise, only to realize that they have to fight for it in the city full of turmoil.

West Side Story (1961)

Turn a family feud into a gang rivalry, a ball to a school dance, and a balcony to a fire escape, and you have successfully changed Romeo and Juliet to the New York–centric West Side Story.

This different take on the Shakespearean classic acknowledges bias and racism—social experiences that are made very different due to who they were. This fictional version of New York was set in a lighted studio, but despite not showing the real New York, it safely states its commentary, effectively drawing the importance of the city in the story.

12 Angry Men (1957)

This film may not be on the top ten to come to mind when it comes to displaying the great New York hits; however, it does have an ensemble that shows much of being a New Yorker. Taking place almost entirely in a jury room of a courthouse, twelve citizens convene to decide the fate of a young boy who was accused of murdering his own father.

Eleven of the jurors already decided the verdict, but one man forced them to take another look at the evidence. A tale of morality, 12 Angry Men shows the classic racism people are all too familiar at the time—the accused is a Hispanic and is part of the lower class. The all-white jury stands in stark contrast, being the rich who are separated by a few blocks. The film begs people to ask, what is a “jury of peers” really about?

The Naked City (1948)

Said to be one of the first movies that prominently filmed in the actual streets of New York, the story is almost hidden behind the photography of the city itself. Not exactly considered a noir film, the beauty of the project shows cinematographer William H. Daniels’s shot of the streets held in secret, hiding cameras to make sure that the shots look as “real” as possible.

Inspired by tabloid photography, this crime film paints it as a city that is full of good and bad, of right and wrong. The Naked City is a film about triumph and tragedy, with the gorgeous city as its backdrop.

Manhattan (1979)

The hometown of Woody Allen, it comes as no surprise that he paid an homage to the city. Manhattan is a romantic comedy that centers around an older man and a young girl, something that mirrored the controversies of his own life. Focusing on the glamour shots around New York, this film is dryer than his usual brand of film. However, the real romance in the film is between the man and his city, admitting, “For some reason I’ve always had an irrational love for New York. The city is so full of chaos, and the chaos is, for many people, pleasurable.”

New York City is the ultimate American dream, not only are there big opportunities in the Big Apple, it is also a form of proof of the glitz and glamour that made people wish they are living in one of the best cities in the world. Which of these films would you want to watch in the future?

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ExploreTalent Movies: Hear the Wedding Bells Ring in These Films

Weddings—you either love it or hate it. But whichever side you are on, June is nearly here. Roughly translated—wedding season is here, so cue the tears.

So if you’re happily in a new relationship, in a serious relationship, a bride-to-be, attending a wedding soon, or single but likes weddings anyway, here are some movies to get you ready. Who knows, you might get ideas for wedding speeches or outfits or literally quite anything wedding-related from this list.

My Best Friend’s Wedding

Perfect for: if you’re realizing too late that your best friend is your perfect match—and wants to destroy the impending wedding. (Tip: just don’t.)

Starring: Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz

Plot: A woman’s long-time friend calls her to tell her that he’s engaged. It was only then that she realized she was actually in love with him, so she sets out a plan to steal him for herself—with only days before the wedding.

Bride Wars

Perfect for: when you’re in a fight with your best friend over wedding plans

Starring: Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway

Plot: Two best friends become rivals when they ended up scheduling their weddings on the same date—and things got ugly fast.

The Hangover

Perfect for: when you’re afraid what shenanigans your future groom might get into during his bachelor party. (Spoiler: it can’t get this bad)

Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong

Plot: Three friends wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas with no memory of the previous night’s shenanigans—and no bachelor. They make their way around the city to find their missing friend to be able to take him home in time for his wedding.

27 Dresses

Perfect for: when you’re always the bridesmaid, but never the bride

Starring: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Ackerman

Plot: Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, a young woman had to wrestle with the idea of being bridesmaid—yet again—to her sister’s wedding, with the man she’s been secretly in love with.

Corpse Bride

Perfect for: when you’re forcing your groom to fully commit on your marriage, even though death has already, in fact, parted you. (Or for when a cool couple is getting married on Halloween.)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Watson

Plot: A shy groom practices his wedding vows in the forest, unknowingly in the presence of a corpse bride, who rises from the grave, assuming that he married her.

Wedding Crashers

Perfect for: when you’re one of those who plan on going to the wedding single but not leaving with someone in your arms

Starring: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams

Plot: A pair of committed womanizers sneak into weddings to take advantage of romance in the air. They find themselves at odds when one of them falls in love with a girl—which, clearly, is out of their script.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Perfect for: dealing with bi-cultural weddings

Starring: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Michael Constantine

Plot:  A young Greek woman struggles to get her traditional family to support the fact that she’s getting married to a non-Greek man. In her attempt to get them to accept her fiancé, she also comes to terms with her own heritage and culture.

Sweet Home Alabama

Perfect for: the ones who reinvented themselves after high school just to see how everyone else has turned out

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Patrick Dempsey, Josh Lucas

Plot: A young woman reinvented herself to become a New York socialite, but she has to return home to Alabama so that she can obtain a divorce from her husband after seven years of separation.

Meet the Parents

Perfect for: when you’re jittery over meeting the parents

Starring: Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Teri Polo

Plot: A man meets his girlfriend’s parents before proposing, but her father is every date’s worst nightmare.

The Princess Bride

Perfect for: the couple with the fairy-tale romance

Starring: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright

Plot: A grandfather reads to his sick grandson a story called “The Princess Bride,” which is about a farmhand who must rescue a princess from a horrible prince.

Love and romance and weddings, which of these ones do you think you can relate to most?

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ExploreTalent Movies: Musical Films for Music Lovers

Music sets the tone in movies, no matter the genre. Love songs go with romantic flicks, rock for adventure, sinister for horror—the list goes on. A good movie is made even better if the soundtrack is spot on, and people are used to that. Yet music is rarely the central part of a movie.

That’s not always the case, though. Here are a few movies that focus on the music, great for the musically talented who want to kick back and relax over a tub of popcorn:

Across the Universe (2007)

The musically inclined will automatically tell you that this is the title of a The Beatles album, and Hollywood better not be ripping it off. It depends what ripping off means to you, though. The rock musical about a young British man from Liverpool in the 1960s is indeed driven by The Beatles’ album. In fact, it’s like they made a story based on the tracks of that album. The cast covered the songs pretty well too—some would even say that their renditions could rival the original.

8 Mile (2002)

This film is about the life of times of Marshall Mathers aka Eminem, as told through a factory worker who is down on his luck and tries to provide for his family by proving himself in underground rap battles. It features a lot of good rap songs from the 90s, including Eminem’s own “Lose Yourself.” If you’re wondering how good the film is, it was enough to catch the attention of the Academy. Eminem got an award for Best Original Song in 2003, making him the first ever hip-hop artist to win an Oscar.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

Hedwig is a transsexual rocker from East Berlin who is touring the US. She talks about her story to the people who watch her shows, which incidentally, happens to coincide with concerts of a rock star and former lover who stole her songs. The tragic story is told with punk-rock music as Hedwig searches for love.

For those who like different avenues for entertainment, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which was originally an off-Broadway musical in 1998, was revived on Broadway in 2014, starring Neil Patrick Harris as Hedwig.

Amadeus (1984)

Amadeus who? Mozart, of course.

Definitely for classical music buffs, this film is about the lavish life of the gifted Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart—as told by his musical rival Antonio Salieri, from the confines of an insane asylum.

Chico & Rita (2010)

Planets aligned when an ambitious piano player in 1940s Cuba fell in love with a talented and gorgeous singer. They make beautiful music together until their careers took them to different paths, with a sprinkling of industry prejudice and jealous business partners that fueled the flames even more.

If you’re interested in music, this is one you should watch. It starts with Latin bolero music and jazz.

Pink Floyd the Wall (1982)

Based on Pink Floyd’s 1979 album, The Wall, the story revolves around a rock singer who is crumbling under the past that is catching up with him as well as his drug addiction and the pressure of fame—which he all struggles to cope with in the confines of his LA hotel room.

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

If you’re a fan of Simon & Garfunkel and Mumford & Sons, you’re going to love this one, especially considering that the latter did appear on the soundtrack. The story is about a disillusioned singer struggling to make it in the Greenwich Village folk scene in 1961. Don’t take this as just another musical film, though as it is a black comedy drama that showed Oscar Isaac’s acting prowess. It was nominated for two Academy Awards and for three Golden Globe awards, which is enough to say that this is not a film to pass off.

Straight Outta Compton (2015)

When it comes to groups that changed history, NWA changed  the culture of hip-hop in the mid-1980s by their challenging lyrics, stories, and egos. The film has many NWA classic songs, but it also has a mix of the early tracks of notable hip-hop artists like Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and Ice Cube. Historically, however, the film is not too accurate, with DJ Alonzo Williams admitting that the film was “a great fusion of fantasy and reality.”

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ExploreTalent Movies: Films You Should Watch This May

Captain America: Civil War was just released in theaters, and it looks like May will not be too hot on the movie calendar. However, if you’re looking for something other than superhero movies, here are some lesser-marketed films that you should be on a lookout for.

Eva Hesse

Born in Germany in 1935, artist Eva Hesse was nearly 2 years old when her family fled the Holocaust and came to New York, and it is there that she grew up. Over three decades later, she went back to the country her family fled from, this time, with her husband, who got a year-long artist residency in her home country.

The film is a celebration of Hesse’s work, especially the post-minimalist sculptures that she created out of industrial materials such as latex and fiberglass, the type of work that made her a major figure in feminist art. Touching through the important aspects of her life—her development as an artist, her marriage, and her death—the film gave Hesse a voice, via her real journals, as read by Selma Blair.

The film is playing on limited release in New York and around the US only.

First Monday in May

The MET Gala is one of the biggest events of the year, but does anyone know why it has a strange parade of outfits? This is a film for fashion enthusiasts, and last year’s theme, China: Through the Looking Glass, was among the most controversial ones that it is trying to wrap itself around. Last year’s gala, organized by curator Andrew Bolton and iconic Vogue commandant Anna Wintour, oversaw the event that was supposed to show “the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion.”

First Monday in May is playing in limited release, and available for digital rental.

Los Sures

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The  predominantly Puerto Rican Brooklyn neighborhood in South Williamsburg in the 1980s was the subject of Diego Echeverria’s documentary. Being one of the poorest areas in that decade, the residents deal with gangs, unemployment, and drugs. The film, which runs just under an hour, centers on the lives of five people: three women and two men that were portraits of love and pain.

Los Sures depicts a close community where family is put foremost, and the streets are spilling with life. Given a theatrical release 32 years after it was first made in 1984. It also serves as a film of melancholy, considering that South Williamsburg is no longer the poor area in New York. These days, the area is filled of hip restaurants and glassy condos—radically different from what it was only three decades ago.

Los Sures is playing in the Metrograph theater in New York, and will also be opening in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and South Florida in the next few weeks.

Men & Chicken

Mads Mikkelsen is a man of many talents. From a former musketeer to an adulterous doctor, to a serial killer, he can do it all. Still, it’s still pretty hard to imagine him as a mustached, compulsive . . . masturbator.

Yes, he’s been tragic and villainous on-screen, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he can also do funny. Yet there is something endearing about playing a misfit who is still trying to find his place in the world.

He and his brothers share a decrepit house with some farm animals, as they settle their disagreements in a Three Stooges type of beat-up humor. While odd, it does have several off-beat comedy that you will like watching once you’re used to its strangeness.

Men & Chicken is open in limited release.

Sing Street

In 1980s Dublin, a teenager named Cosmo starts a band to impress a girl. Their romance is charming, but the music is even better. Cosmo’s recruits were shifting their styles from being a mere cover band to being their own songwriters. The group grows as a band, but the members are still struggling with everyday problems teenagers face, like impeding parent divorces and school bullies—and turning their rocky experiences into the music as fuel to run their passion.

Sing Street will be playing in theaters to a limited release.

These movies may not be the kind you think you’d watch, but there’s a first time for everything, and this could be the first time you watch something without a superhero in it.

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Movies with Single Cast Members to Bring the Story Together

A good script, good director, and a good crew are all elements of making a good movie – however, more than anything, good casting could bring it all together to make it a great cinematic experience. There are few movies that thrive on an actor carrying an entire film by himself – but when he does, the entire film becomes amazing.

In 1963, Andy Warhol experimented on the concept of anti-film in “Sleep” where all he did was take 321 minutes of footage of his friend sleeping during the entirety of the film. A year later, Sunil Dutt produced and acted in “Yaadein,” a film that went on into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the first Indian film with the fewest actors in a narrative.

However, the concept of a film being brought on by a single actor is becoming less unusual nowadays, and to prove that point, here are some movies where only one actor carried it in its entirety.

The Man Who Sleeps (1974)

The critically acclaimed French drama by Bernard Queysanne and Georges Perec is based on Perec’s 1967 novel A Man Asleep. The premise is simple: an alienated young student (Jecques Speisser) decided to abandon the world he knew and wandered along the streets of Paris. A woman narrates his innermost thoughts as he goes along, and the cinematography focuses on the student’s rituals as the audience follows him in what seems to be real-time as he wanders from place to place.

The utilization of black-and-white emphasizes on Queysanne’s love for exposure and contrast, but nothing in the film brings attention to itself. Instead, the viewers remain focused on the calm voice that relates the man’s thoughts and life in his silence.

Buried (2010)

A coffin, a man inside it, and a fistful of items that could save his life if he doesn’t run out of air. These are the only three things present in the film by Rodrigo Cortes, and only Ryan Reynolds appears on screen.

The story revolves around Paul Conroy, a truck driver working for a private contractor in Iraq. His truck was ambushed, and when he woke up, he was inside the blackness of what appears to be a coffin. He finds a cellphone, realizing that he has been kidnapped and is being held hostage. He speaks to other characters via the phone, but many of the people he tried to reach to for help are out, busy, or passing him along to someone else, and literally making him waste away his breaths.

Reynolds and the limited cinematography dictates the audience’s reactions to the film, but despite the limited space, the actor proved that he can hold his end up to a movie.

127 Hours (2010)

The biographical survival drama starring James Franco tells the story of how a man survived his trip to the chasm of an isolated slot canyon in Utah.

Based on a true story, Franco’s Ralston found himself literally between a rock and a hard place when he accidentally slips and falls while climbing down the canyon. His attempts at removing the boulder where his hand was lodged and his cry for help were of no avail, so he set on recording a video diary on his camera to record his fate.

While there are a few other characters in the film such as hikers he met, his girlfriend, and his sister, most of whom appear in flashbacks, the majority of the film focused on Franco’s character. His performance was nearly stellar too as he was nominated for six Academy Awards for the film, including Best Actor, and 127 Hours for the Best Picture.

Cast Away (2000)

There were a lot of people involved in the movie, but for two-thirds of it, Tom Hanks had to tell the story on his own, and that accounts for something.

Cast Away is about FedEx executive Chuck Noland who flies all over the world as he attempts to fix everyone’s problems. He hitched a ride on a FedEx flight across the Pacific, which was blown off-course and crashed after an on-board explosion. He was the only one to survive the crash, and to save himself, he held on to a life raft until he reached a deserted island. The only thing he could speak with during his time on the island was a volleyball, which became the plot device to illustrate his character’s alienation and need for companionship. Chuck then painted on a face and named it Wilson, and you would never remember another time where you cried over an inanimate object with no lines in a film.

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Celebrity Advice: What Vin Diesel Took from Harrison Ford

Before he was a big Hollywood star, Vin Diesel was just another actor struggling to get parts. You might not believe it now, but in fact, he started as a background extra in New York City!

It might be hard to see him as a nobody, after all, these days, it seems that he’s starring on most of the big action flicks with fast cars and big explosions—and his bald head in itself an icon.

He may seem to have had it easy, but the truth is that Vin Diesel remembers what it’s like to be just another person in a sea of faces, and today, he’s giving great advice for those who are starting to think of giving up on their acting dreams.

In an interview with The Talk, Diesel spoke about his experiences, sharing, “When I was growing up as an actor in New York, they would say don’t ever do extra work, because they’ll never see you as a real actor. But I was hungry, and I needed to get some money. “

He also added that unlike those with a fixed career set for them, being an actor can be difficult. “If you’re a doctor you can go to the hospital, if you’re a lawyer you can go out and seek advice on what that career lane might be like, but if you have aspirations to be a movie star, there’s no one really that you can go to (for advice).”

However, he chanced upon meeting Harrison Ford, one of the Hollywood legends, and decided to ask him advice about how he could Explore Talent and become a movie star at the craft service table on set.

Lucky for him, Ford was friendly and generous and gave him quite a bit of advice that he took to heart. Diesel shared, “He was very generous and he said, ‘Let’s take these apple boxes and let’s sit over there and I’ll tell you how I did it.’ He said, ‘Fifteen years ago, I and 12 other friends went to Hollywood. Three years later, two friends went home. Three years later, five friends went home—I just never left. I never gave up.’”

He took these words to heart, and now, as a big Hollywood star himself, he is sharing the same with younger actors. “That valuable advice is kinda what I would give (to) some youngsters that want to follow their dreams. Just don’t ever give up.”

Diesel certainly didn’t and look where that got him. Today, he is on the list of Forbes highest-paid actors of 2015, earning $47 million for Furious 7 alone—not that it’s going to be a problem for Universal Studios, it was the fifth highest-grossing movie of all time, taking about $1.51 billion worldwide.

Being a big star does not mean that Diesel is throwing much of his money around with glamorous parties, though. When he’s not driving fast cars or voicing adorable tree aliens, he just goes around playing dungeons and dragons—he even celebrated his birthday with an awesome themed cake!

His star won’t go out anytime soon as Universal Pictures already started filming for Furious 8 in Cuba, and it seems that the action is bigger than ever. Not only are there flaming cars involved, there are also more movies to watch! There are plans to keep the franchise going up to ten installments, and spin-offs and prequels are also in the making.

Most of the cast members are going to return for the next film. Alongside Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Elsa Pataky, and Lucas Black are said to be reprising their roles, as are Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, and Kurt Russell.

Charlize Theron has been confirmed to play the villain, and Kristofer Hivju will be one of her henchmen. Finally, Scott Eastwood is also said to make an appearance as a protégé of Russell’s Mr. Nobody.

Who would have thought so much stardom can come out of a man who started his career as a background extra? It’s a good thing he took Harrison Ford’s advice to heart—or else we never would have known the man that is as sweet as sugar underneath all that muscle. Besides, could anyone else even play Dom Torreto in the Fast and Furious series?

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Films from the 90s That Deserve Sequels

Reboots and remakes are the entire craze in Hollywood these days, mostly in the TV show business. For movies, they’re more into doing sequels—let’s face it, the last Fast & Furious story drew millions of fans to the cinema for the mere fact that it was Paul Walker’s last film.

There have been one Iron Man film too many, four Bring It On movies that didn’t bring it like it did the first one, and four Step Up sequels that didn’t really step it up past the hip-hop vibes. Also, just how many Bond films does the industry have to make before they cast a black man as 007?

There’s not much that we can say when Hollywood insists on making these stories over and over and over again, but here are movies from the ’90s that they really should have made sequels for.

Ravenous (1999)

The dark comedy and horror of Ravenous opened the concept of cannibalism in Native America, where the legend of the Wendigo showed a man consuming another man’s flesh to gain strength. By the end of the movie, most of the characters are not exactly doing well, which makes it difficult to bring back the original cast; however, the core concept can still be kept despite a different ensemble—that happens in other films like Final Destination and Saw, so why not?

Election (1999)

While the end of the film does not leave too much for a sequel, there is some potential in Tracey Flick, whose fate is still unknown. She was last seen working for a congressman, but it’s still interesting to find out where her idealism will take her. A story about Tracey will seem like a darker version of Reese Witherspoon’s Legally Blonde, but if she can pull off a ditzy blonde, she can face the realities of life in Election 2—if and when the production company finally realizes a sequel would work out great for the character, especially if fans get to find out where she finally lands after all these years.

Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

There have been a lot of versions of The Muppets since Treasure Island, but it’s always good to know where Long John Silver is by now. Would he be taking another young boy to his wing? Would Jim be a pirate? The possibilities are endless. Tim Curry probably can’t reprise his role anymore, but recasting and being able to explore the talent of other actors won’t be too difficult, considering the time jump between the two movies, if ever Muppet Treasure Island 2 could ever come in fruition. Also, if they can keep making Pirates of the Caribbean movies, which many will admit are already played out, so why can’t they make a pirate movie with the Muppets?

The Big Night (1996)

Until recently, films about food and cooking are not really part of mainstream Hollywood. Sure, Chef Gordon Ramsay made a lot of money from all his cooking shows, but when it comes to movies, things are a bit different, which is sad, considering how eating is a universal concept that everyone can relate to.

The Big Night is a film with fantastic cast, and while the premise is simple enough, it was the chemistry between characters that made it a standout. If anything else, bringing Stanley Tucci, Minnie Driver, and Isabella Rossellini together would be the best part about it.

Zero Effect (1998)

This Bill Pullman and Ben Stiller flick is like a modern-day version of Sherlock Holmes in Los Angeles, with Pullman as Holmes and Stiller as his loyal sidekick. Yes, the Sherlock series is overdone—what with Robert Downey Jr. making films out of it and Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller with their own TV shows. However, the dynamic between Pullman and Stiller made the the story good, and it could translate well to stories. Both actors haven’t aged too much since the film’s release either, so there’s no need for a recast. And if Stiller can go back to playing Zoolander, he can definitely go back to being a detective. Maybe soon.

There are a lot of great movies that should get their own sequels, if only Hollywood doesn’t have the tendency of making them badly. There are few movies whose sequels lived up to audiences’ expectations, which, come think of it, may be the reason these directors aren’t too keen in making them.

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Acting Tips from Hollywood A-Lister Robert De Niro

Academy Award–winning actor Robert De Niro does not need an ID to go anywhere in the world—whether or not you are a fan, you know his name and his face, and that’s because he’s established himself as a figure in Hollywood and as a master of his craft.

Recently, he gave a graduation speech at the Tisch School of the Arts, where he gave the fresh graduates an honest, no-nonsense reality check about the real world—and how their arts degree will not get them any nearer to their Oscars, Tonys, or Emmys and that in fact, they just opened themselves up to new doors for rejection.

Still, telling the NYU graduates that they’re “fucked” doesn’t mean he’s telling them to give up on their dreams. He even went on to give them advice about their careers; many of them you can use for yourself as well. Here are some.

Put effort in making choices

In an interview, the actor quoted acting coach Stella Adler, who emphasized on the importance of making the right choices—it is, after all, the starting point of how well you can act. Second comes with the comfortable relationship with the director.

“I’ll work with a director if I think I’m going to get into a comfortable situation, and if it’s someone I respect and who respects me, even if they’re not so well known,” De Niro shared. “Movies are hard to make, and you have to work toward a common ethic and do your best. You don’t want to work with people who don’t care or who are acting out some neurotic, crazy thesis on the set. Who needs it? Life is too short. But I’ve been very lucky in that area.”

Do the part

Most people make the mistake that they are too good for some roles, and according to De Niro, this should not be the case. He shared, “As an actor who’s starting out, you can’t say, ‘Hey, I’m too good for this.’ You gotta do it, because people see you, your name gets around, and it has a cumulative effect. Auditions are like a gamble. Most likely you won’t get the part, but if you don’t go, you’ll never know if you could’ve got it.

Act out of love, not money

At a talk at the Doha Film Institute, De Niro noted that love for the craft is even more important than the money that comes with it. He shared, “I always say—you’ve got to really love what you do. Don’t expect to be famous, do it because you really love doing it and have fun doing it. I’ve always said if I can make a living at it, I’m happy.”

Take feedback constructively

When it comes to your craft, De Niro said that family and friends can never be honest to you about it, which is why you have to rely on the words of your critics. Mean and nasty critics can never be totally off the table, but if you happen to have critics that are constructive in their judgment, you always end up learning about something.

“Those who are with you and know what you went through can never be honest with you. So they’ll always find a positive thing to say,” he said. “So the people who you’ll get real feedback from are critics. Especially good critics.”

Do not judge your characters

De Niro believes that as an actor, you should not judge the character that you are playing. He shared, “In order to be an artist, you have to be able to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. Only then can you understand their emotions and reasons, even though you do not agree with them. I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to taste the lives of interesting personalities without having to pay the price for it. My advice is to be true to your character and to yourself.”

Bonus: don’t be obdurate

In his commencement speech at Tisch, De Niro shared something that he said he will tell his children if they go on to follow his footsteps: “Do not be obdurate and do not be afraid to fail. Take chances, keep an open mind, look out for new experiences and new ideas. If you don’t go, then you never know.”

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