22 July 2008

American actors, British accents

British actor Hugh Laurie still stuns a lot of native speakers with his impecable American accent when he plays grumpy Dr. House on TV. But how good are Hollywood stars when they need to put on their best British accent? Here's an L.A. Times article that analyzes some of the best - and worst - accents in recent years.

22 May 2008

Indiana is back

So our favourite archaeologist/action hero has come back for more adventures. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opened worldwide on May 22nd and one of the big questions is: after so many years, was it worth the wait? Well, here are two reviews analyzing this latest Lucas/Spielberg enterprise. Read the article and watch the video comment. Do the critics share the same opinions?

29 April 2008

Celebrities' real names

We may know teenage actress Miley Cyrus by her TV character's name, Hanna Montana, but not many people are aware that her real name is Destiny Hope Cyrus. And British actress Helen Mirren ('The Queen) is actually Ilyena Vasilievna Mironov. Many Hollywood stars choose to adopt a different name early in their careers, sometimes because they sound common, other times because they are difficult to pronounce, occasionally because there is already an artist with the same name.

Here's a fun quiz to check if you can identify some famous people's actual names. You'll be surprised...

24 April 2008

Who are they?

Who are these 12 movie stars? Watch the slideshow and see if you can recognise them. Then click on 'comments' and check your answers. It's fun! :-) .

And here's another fun quiz with some other famous people!

14 April 2008

Actors and their movies - a cool quiz

How much do you know about Hollywood actors and actresses and the movies they were in? Answer this quiz and find out!

  • For the students who have been practising asking questions with and without auxiliaries (do, did, etc.), notice how the questions were made there...

7 April 2008

Get ready for Pangea Day - May 10th

Technology may be helping the world get smaller, but people are still a long way from understanding each other. So here's a question: If you had the entire world's attention for just a few minutes, what story would you tell?

This is the idea behind Pangea's Day, an event that will gather viewers in six different places in the world (Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro) and be broadcast live through the Internet, television, digital cinemas and mobile phones.

Anyone can participate, uploading their own films on YouTube or getting involved in many different ways. To learn more about Pangea Day, visit the official website.

31 March 2008

100 unforgettable film soundtracks

"Duh dum, duh dum, duh dum, duh dum..." Is there anyone who does not recognize the two notes played over and over announcing the appearance of the terrible white shark in Spielberg's classic movie 'Jaws'? Do names like Ennio Morricone and John Williams ring a bell?

A good soundtrack can help make a movie unforgettable. Here are, according to British newspaper Sunday Telegraph, 100 memorable soundtracks everybody should know.

And here's music composer Randy Newman (Toy Story, Boogie Nights, The Full Monty) in a video interview, talking about his writing style.

24 March 2008

Historically innacurate...

Movies are really about fun and entertainment, but isn't it nice when we can learn something from them as well? Film directors and scriptwriters, however, often exercise their 'artistic license' to re-create History as it never happened. Here is an interesting list showing the ten most historically inaccurate movies, Hollywood style. Can you remember any other? Tell us about it and say where they've gone wrong!

20 March 2008

Paul Scofield - a man for all seasons

He was considered one of Britain's greatest actors of all times, in the same league as sir Laurence Olivier, sir John Gielgud and Richard Burton. Paul Scofield, who died yesterday at age 86, received an Academy Award for his portrayal of sir Thomas More in the film 'A Man for All Seasons'. Based on Robert Bolt's acclaimed play, it's the story of Henry VIII's Lord Chancellor, who refuses to approve of the king's divorce to his first wife Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn. It's a great play (and quite short, in only two acts) and you can read it clicking here.

Here's a scene from the movie 'A Man for All Seasons', in which sir Thomas More talks about respecting and following the Law. You can click
here to read the extract of the play first (it's only slightly different from the film script).

15 March 2008

Getting accents right

It seems that some actors can do it and some can't. Meryl Streep, one of Hollywood's greatest living actresses, is well-known for her ability to master almost any accent perfectly; Kevin Costner, on the other hand, tried to sound British while playing Robin Hood but sounded, well... like Kevin Costner trying to sound British.

The L.A. Times has published a list of Hollywood stars who have managed - or not - to give their characters a credible foreign accent. But here is a young aspiring American actress named Amy Walker who has received raving reviews from YouTube viewers for her apparently flawless 21 different accents - in less than 3 minutes. What do you think? You can also listen to Amy's interview on NPR clicking here.

See also:
Improving your accent (funny video)