The 10 Greatest Special Effects Movies of All Time

The 10 Greatest Special Effects Movies of All Time

Every few months, not often enough, a film is released with visual special effects so stunning that they stop us cold, grab our attention, and set our imaginations on fire. Sometimes the effects pull the worlds within the movie apart with grand explosions and monumental shifts. At other times, the subtle artistry of the effects isn’t immediately obvious to the viewer.

One thing the 10 films on this list have in common is the masterful use of CGI and practical effects to create scenes so realistic and life-like that we never forget them.

A Trip To The Moon (1902)

Cinema hadn’t been around for a decade when filmmaker Georges Méliès began creating amazing effects. He dazzled his audience with simple techniques that produced astonishing transitions and transformations. He was among the first to discover that when different scenes were tied together, the human eye would fill in the gaps. His amazing illusions were the first generation of cinematic special effects.

The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

Using four different flavors of gelatin powder on horses, a facsimile of a twister, and a sharp shift from sepia tones to amazing Technicolor, the musical adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was MGM’s most expensive film production at the time. Eventually, the costly effects paid for themselves and allegedly, the entrepreneurial minds that created them had no regrets.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi classic made space travel look amazingly authentic in 1968. Fifty years later, the film still impresses with the awe-inspiring surrealism of its final scenes.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

The sequel to James Cameron’s career-launching The Terminator came along at a time when digital effects were in their infancy. Featuring a CGI shapeshifter as its primary villain, the body-morphing techniques used in this film kept copycats busy for several years.

Jurassic Park (1993)

Steven Spielberg kicked off what many see as the beginning of the computer era in special effects with Jurassic Park. A perfect blend of CGI and practical effects, the journey into the return of the dinosaurs was so realistic that audiences were dazzled and terrified at the same time.

Forrest Gump (1994)

Aside from placing the film’s titular character in several huge historical moments, it also convinced us that Gary Sinise’s Lt. Dan was a genuine double-amputee from the Vietnam era.

Pan’s Labyrinth (1996)

Guillermo Del Toro’s dark nightmare of a tale featured contortionist Doug Jones as two characters: the faceless monster Pale man and the bizarrely touching Faun. It featured the perfect blending of effects and sublime acting.

The Matrix (1999)

In a feast for the eyes that combined the best techniques of cinema and video games at the time, the Wachowski brothers developed the slow-motion tracking method that utilized complex multi-camera rigs for the truly unique shots used in the film.

Avatar (2009)

In this film, James Cameron created a world of stunning 3D digital characters that are among the very best of the era of computer effects. Three more Avatar films are planned to create a franchise.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014)

Using innovative special effects, the franchise hero Caesar, brought to life by actor Andy Serkis, and his cohorts are polished, technical wonders that offer so many realistic nuances that it’s easy to get lost in the suspension of disbelief.

Logan Sekulow is a renowned producer and director.

The Top 10 Best Shark Movies of All Time

The Top 10 Best Shark Movies of All Time

Long before global warming menaced the public on the big screen, there were sharks. Big and bad with flesh-ripping teeth and huge appetites, they swim to the tune of ominous music and stoke the primal fears that make watching these ultimate monster movies so much fun. Grab some popcorn and have a seat — these are the top ten you have to see.

Sharknado

In the tradition of movies like Lake Placid that we love to watch just to hear Betty White swear, a couple of drinks and a freak storm dropping sharks on Los Angeles is undeniable fun.

Open Water

Based on a true story of a couple trying to rekindle their romance with a scuba adventure, this low budget thriller has nothing special to offer but gut-gripping, sleep-defying fear. Watch it in the morning.

The Shallows

Blake Lively stars in this campy woman versus shark tale that’s both funny and futile on a personal level. It doesn’t have much to offer, but you’ll feel better about your life after.

The Reef

With water, blood and preppies demonstrating why they shouldn’t be given the keys to a yacht, The Reef takes itself way too seriously, but is still worth the ride.

Deep Blue Sea

This is the cruel and usual scientist-makes-breeding-blunder story that just won’t go away. Check your brain at the door and just revel in the blood and guts.

47 Meters Down

Mandy Moore and Clair Holt try to avoid being lunch in this low-budget flick. The ideas are high octane, but the execution isn’t. Still, it’s a great excuse to mow through a bucket of popcorn.

Bait

It’s Sharknado meets Lost as a group of tsunami survivors become part of the meat counter at a flooded grocery store. It’s embarrassingly cliché and utterly devoid of terror, but it’s shamelessly funny and won’t keep you up at night.

Ghost Shark

If you harbor any high school angst and want to see the kids you hated get shredded like pulled pork for sandwiches, it’s your turn. The severed body parts layered between the sexual innuendos is the foundation for a parade of endless horror movie stereotypes that like a train wreck, can’t help but hold your attention.

Mega Shark VS. Giant Octopus

If you wondered what Debbie Gibson did after her 80’s hits stopped generating revenue, she changed her named to Deborah and made a film so bad that it’s sure to be a bonding moment with someone at the asylum.

Jaws

This Spielberg-fueled nightmare is still the king of the hill after more than four decades. The cast was average and by today’s standards, so was the shark, but the simplicity of this man versus Great White story and directing second only to Hitchcock was enough to scare a whole generation out of the water. It’s the benchmark against which all other monster movies are measured.

Logan Sekulow is a producer and director who’s known for relaunching Laugh-O-Gram studios.

The Top 10 Movies of the 1980’s

The Top 10 Movies of the 1980's

Back to the Future

The 1980’s were filled with incredible movies including Back to the Future. Michael J. Fox played Marty McFly and the movie encompasses his friendship with Doc played by Christopher Lloyd. Marty is accidently sent to the future in a time machine and changes the past. He must reunite his future parents or he will cease to exist.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

ET is both a salute to childhood and a science fiction adventure created by Steven Spielberg. This is the story of a homesick alien and a young boy named Elliott played by Henry Thomas. Elliot is trying to help ET get back home. He learns how to communicate with ET telepathically while learning how to be brave.

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters stars Bill Murray as part of a team of paranormal investigators including Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Harold Ramis. They use electronic paraphernalia to eliminate ghosties and ghoulies from the Big Apple in a film filled with comedy and special effects.

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

This is George Lucas’s second entry in the Star Wars Trilogy. Mark Hamill is back as Luke Skywalker and he is now a seasoned space warrior. Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher return as Han Solo and Princess Leia to battle Darth Vader and the insidious Empire. The film goes from the Ice Plant Hoth to tropical Dagobah with consistent action and excitement.

Sixteen Candles

This is a teenage comedy starring Molly Ringwald as a suburban teenager. She is suffering angst during the night before her sisters wedding because her family forgot about her birthday. This is a compassionate movie with respect for the characters.

The Shining

This horror film was based on a Stephen King novel. Shelly Duval and Jack Nicholson are acting as caretakers for the Overlook Hotel along with their son. The hotel is inaccessible due to the snow in the mountains. Jack Nicholson slowly descends into madness in this ghastly haunted hotel.

Raging Bull

This is a Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro film about middleweight boxing champion Jake LaMotta. The film covers LaMotta’s troubled personal life and the jealousy, suspicion and rage towards his manager and wife. He is eventually left alone looking for redemption.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Harrison Ford portrays an extraordinary archeologist called Indiana Jones in this Steven Spielberg and George Lucas adventure. He is searching for the Ark of the Covenant which has long since been lost. This leads to non-stop action from snakes in the Well of Souls to finally unearthing the Ark.

Do the Right Thing

This Spike Lee film is a combination comedy and drama set in Brooklyn about a pizza parlor. The focus is on the Wall of Fame because it only contains famous Italian-American pictures and does not represent the blacks in the neighborhood. The result is tragedy and violence.

The Princess Bride

Rob Reiner directed this sensational fairy tale that is a play on the damsel in distress concept. This is the story of a gallant hero who rescues the beautiful princess.

Logan Sekulow is a renowned producer and director.

5 Quintessential Summer Movies to Watch

5 Quintessential Summer Movies to Watch

What is summer without movies? And especially classic summer movies that refresh and rejuvenate us with memories? Not sure which ones to choose? Try these five summer favorites that are sure to help you recharge and relax while you reminisce!

American Graffiti (1973)

This is the perfect coming-of-age film about a seemingly normal group of teenagers growing up in Modesto, California in 1962. The comedy unwinds as stars like Richard Dreyfus, Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Harrison Ford and many others enjoy cruising and 60’s rock and roll. The stories of each of this group are told in brief vignettes throughout one average night giving a charming glimpse into teenage life during the 60’s.

Jaws (1975)

No 4th of July is complete without a summer thrill with the shark that started it all.
“Jaws” is the epitome of summer thrills and will definitely make you think twice about going in the water! Based on the novel by Peter Benchley and starring Richard Dreyfus, Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw, Jaws keeps you mesmerized as a 25 foot giant man-eating shark terrorizes a small New England summer resort town called Amity Island.

Meatballs (1979)

This hilarious spoof stars Bill Murray in his first major movie role. A second rate summer camp is the setting where camp counselors play pranks on unsuspecting young visitors. Lots of camp competition, adventures on the lake and songs around the campfire making it a perfect movie for summer and as Bill Murray’s character says throughout, realizing that “It just doesn’t matter.”

National Lampoons summer Vacation (1983)

This classic road trip vacation movie starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo will have you laughing hysterically as you watch the Griswold family trek across the country to enjoy a vacation at “Wally World”. You’ll laugh at the ridiculous things that they encounter and probably a little at yourself when you realize that it could be any one of us on that trip!

Dirty Dancing (1987)

Fall in love with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in this “feel good” movie. Set in 1963 at a sultry summer resort in the mountains on a lake, the classic “good girl” falls for the “bad boy”. They discover a mutual love for dancing and ultimately find out much about each other that they didn’t know. You’ll have the “Time of Your Life” watching one of the best romantic comedy-dramas ever made.

Logan Sekulow is a renowned producer and director who’s responsible for relaunching Laugh-O-Gram studios.

The Best Movies to Watch on a Plane

The Best Movies to Watch on a Plane

If you’re looking for a great way to pass the time on a long flight, you’ll certainly enjoy watching a movie. However, some movies are better than others to watch on a plane.

Tear Jerkers:

According to experts, being on a flight puts you in a somewhat vulnerable emotional state, and you’re more likely to cry while watching a tear jerker on a flight than you would be otherwise. So, you’ll want a tearjerker that has a relatively good ending, such as these:

Lady Bird
Moonlight
Magnolia

Comedies:

Not only will being on a flight make it more likely that you’ll cry watching a sad movie, but it will also make you more likely to laugh. While you’re on a plane, you probably won’t be interested in a comedy that is difficult to figure out. Here are some examples of comedies with an easy to follow plot:

The Girls Trip
Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle
The Big Sick
Step Brother

Action Movies:

While some laptops can be a bit small for watching an action movie, this won’t be an issue with some action films. It’s a good idea to choose an action movie that has an interesting plotline. Here are some great action films to watch during your flight:

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Jurrasic Park
Crank
Hot Fuzz
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Movies That You Can Watch In the “Background”:

If you’re on a long flight, you might want to get some work done before you reach your destination. Here are some examples of movies that won’t distract you from your work too much:

The Big Lebowski
Singin’ In the Rain
The Princess Bride

What Types of Movies Should You Avoid Watching While You’re On a Plane?

It’s important to be considerate of other passengers. Therefore, you should avoid watching films that are extremely violent or contain a lot of graphic scenes involving nudity. This is especially important if children are around. If you’re watching a film that has graphic scenes of nudity or violence, you should fast forward through these scenes, and wear headphones while watching a film that has any violence.

Logan Sekulow is a renowned producer and director.

5 Movies That Were Hurt By A Mid-Film Director Change

5 Movies That Were Hurt By A Mid-Film Director Change

Movies cost more to make than ever before. Studios are keen to see their films make a profit. If a production is taking too long or not hitting the beats the studio wants to see, there’s a high chance the suits will step in to make things right. Sometimes studios think a film is so far gone that the only option left is to replace the director.

Changing a director is like giving a film a heart transplant. It’s a huge risk and many films that make the change end up flopping. Check out our list of five films that were hurt by a mid-production director change.

Justice League

Sometimes director changes can’t be helped. Zack Snyder made the decision to step down as director of Justice League after his 20-year-old daughter tragically committed suicide. Warner Bros. brought in Joss Whedon to finish the film, whose lighthearted style clashed with the darker tone Snyder had work. Whedon’s changes required reshoots that resulted in poorly done CGI being used to remove a mustache Henry Cavill had grown for another film.

Exorcist: The Beginning

This movie has a sordid pre-production that eventually resulted in two different films being produced about the same idea (both starring Stellan Skarsgard). Paul Schrader had already replaced an ailing John Frakenheimer when the studio decided that the film would not draw audiences. They went back to the drawing board and hired Renny Harlin who shot an entirely different screenplay. The Schrader film was eventually released as Dominion: Prequel To the Exorcist. Neither film was successful.

The 13th Warrior

The adaption of Michael Crichton’s epic book Eaters of the Dead was originally going to share its name with the book but was reimagined as The 13th Warrior when John McTiernan was replaced by Crichton after the film failed to please test audiences. This pushed the film’s release date back by a year. While Crichton shot a new ending and replaced the film’s composer, McTiernan was still billed as the film’s director. Despite a strong opening, the movie was not able to make a profit.

Rumor Has It

What happens when you fire a writer/director from their passion project? Their passion project flops. Such was the tragic story of Rumor Has It. Director Ted Griffin was let go for falling far behind schedule. This was in part due to his firing of cinematographer Ed Lachman. Village Roadshow Pictures hired Rob Reiner as a replacement and the script was reworked by Kathy Bates. None of the original film saw the light of day.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

“Creative differences” can mean whatever a studio wants. For Phil Lord and Chris Miller, it meant that they were removed from the latest Star Wars film. Rumors still make the rounds of the cut of the film we would have gotten if the duo had not been let go. Some speculate that they were replaced because they were working too much comedy into the script but it is more likely that Lucasfilm did not approve of the directors’ improvisational style that would have deviated from the screenplay penned by Lawrence Kasdan.

Logan Sekulow is a producer and director who’s known for relaunching Laugh-O-Gram studios.

The Top 5 Most Underrated Movies of All Time

The Top 5 Most Underrated Movies of All Time

Making a film is always a bit of a gamble with no perfect formula for a success or a flop. Even movies with A-list actors, award winning directors, and an established fan base, such as the recent Solo: A Star Wars Story, can fall short at the box office. Whatever the reasons, some wonderfully made films just don’t get the attention they deserve. Below is five of the most underrated movies of all time.

About Time:

This 2013 film has the wonderful ability to balance so many aspect of storytelling. It’s comedic, dramatic, sincere, and magical, all while maintaining a grounded sense of realism. The film is centered around Tim Lake, an awkward and anxious guy who discovers the men in his family have the gift to travel back in time. Tim uses his gift to improve his life, but soon realizes that time is more complicated and precious than he ever considered. While it is plagued with a handful of plot holes related to the time traveling, the film’s charm outshines it’s problems by far.

Waitress:

While this story has become more popular thanks to the hit Broadway musical, the movie experienced mild success at the box office. The film is a quintessential American dream story. Jenna Hunterson (played by Keri Russell) is known throughout her small town for the deliciously inventive pies she makes at Joe’s Pie Diner. Jenna dreams of a better life away from her brutish husband Earl, but an unplanned pregnancy make her dream seem impossible. Upset over the baby, she goes to meet with her doctor to discover he’s been replace by the young and attractive Jim Pomatter. Sparks fly and Jenna has to figure out what she truly wants in life.

A Goofy Movie:

Nestled in the heart of the Disney animated renaissance with a release date surrounded by films like The Lion King, Pocahontas, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Toy Story…A Goofy Movie never stood a chance of being a box office success. While Goofy is often used as a source of slapstick comedy, this film displays the emotional side of the classic Disney character. In the film, Goofy wrestles with the reality that his son Max is growing up and distancing himself from his father. In an attempt to repair their relationship, Goofy plans a father-son fishing trip that quickly turns into a hijinks riddled road trip across the country.

Hot Rod:

Originally written for Will Ferrell, this comedy was shelved by the studio until Andy Sandberg’s The Lonely Island gave the project new life. The film follows Rod Kimble, who dreams of becoming a famous stuntman like Evel Knievel. When Rod finds out that his step-dad Frank needs a heart transplant, he decides to jump his motorcycle over 15 school buses to raise money for the surgery. The film is a classic “village idiot” tale filled with offbeat humor that true comedy diehards will love.

Hunt For The Wilderpeople:

This New Zealand film made a splash internationally, but barely made a ripple in the United States. Critics loved the film with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 97% rating. In the film, Ricky Baker, a troubled kid in the child welfare system, gets place in the rugged home of Bella and Hec. After Bella unexpectedly dies, Ricky runs off to the woods, fearing he’ll be taken back by child welfare. Realizing Ricky is gone, Hec decides to chase after him and the two become fugitives together. This oddball adventure is as heartfelt as it is funny.

Logan Sekulow is a producer and director who’s known for relaunching Laugh-O-Gram studios.