List: My Favorite Movie Ghosts

Posted on October 30, 2014 at 8:00 am

Copyright 1966 Universal Pictures
Copyright 1966 Universal Pictures

Happy Halloween! Here are ten of my favorite movie ghosts.  (NOTE: Some of these have inferior remakes — stick with the originals.)

Topper Cary Grant and Constance Bennett are the most sophisticated, witty, and glamorous ghosts ever in this delightful comedy about a young couple who are killed in a car accident and come back as ghosts to brighten the life of a shy banker.

The Uninvited Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey play a brother and sister who move into a house on a Cornwall cliff. It turns out someone is already living there — a ghost. This movie introduced the jazz standard “Stella by Starlight.”

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir A ghost romance? Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison play the title roles in this story of a widow who moves into a house inhabited by the ghost of a handsome sea captain.

The Canterville Ghost Margaret O’Brien teaches her distant cousin Robert Young about noblesse oblige when American troops are bivouacked a her family’s ancestral home. It turns out their mutual ancestor is staying there, too, a ghost (Charles Laughton) who has to show some courage before he can go to heaven.

Ghostbusters Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson battle a number of ectoplasmic manifestations in this classic comedy (soon to be remade with an all-female team).

13 Ghosts People often ask me if I’ve ever walked out of a movie. The answer is: just once, and it was this movie when I was 9. I was a little freaked out by the special glasses you had to wear to see the ghosts, but it was when the Ouija board pointer was lifted off the board by a ghost that I turned to my mother and said, “I have to go home now.” I’ve since developed real affection for all of William Castle’s films, including this one.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is my favorite Christmas story and I love just about every version, but I think the best is the one starring Alistair Sim.

Pirates of Caribbean: Curse of Black Pearl “You best start believing in ghost stories, Miss Turner… you’re in one!” Geoffrey Rush is the ghost captain of a pirate ship with a ghost crew in this rollicking adventure inspired by the Disney theme park ride.

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken Don Knotts is the nervous aspiring reporter assigned to spend the night in a haunted house. Or is it?

The Haunting Julie Harris stars in this classic of psychological horror about investigators who spend the night in a haunted house.


Copyright 1947 20th Century Fox
Copyright 1947 20th Century Fox
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List: Sam Rockwell

Posted on October 29, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Sam Rockwell is one of the most versatile leading me in Hollywood. This week, he stars with Keira Knightley in “Laggies,” playing a single dad. Here are some of my favorite Sam Rockwell performances:

Moon Rockwell takes on the biggest possible acting challenge — he in alone on screen for the entire movie as a man on near the end of a three-year solo mission in outer space.

Galaxy Quest One of my favorite comedies of all time is this knowing and very loving tribute to “Star Wars” and its fans. Rockwell plays an actor who appeared on one episode of the beloved sci-fi series who gets taken along when the stars of the show are transported into a real outer space adventure.

Conviction Rockwell plays Kenny Waters in this fact-based story of a wrongly imprisoned man whose sister went to college and law school to have his conviction overturned.

Charlie’s Angels In the Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz reboot of the 1970’s television series, Rockwell plays a client hiding more than one secret.

The Way Way Back Rockwell plays the manager of a water park in this warm-hearted coming of age story. He perfectly captures the character’s defensive use of humor and irresponsible streak but essential goodness.

The Green Mile Tom Hanks is a prison guard in this Stephen King story set on Death Row, and Rockwell is one of the most vile and despicable prisoners.

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Lauren Bradshaw’s Terrific New “Before They Were Famous” Column

Posted on October 29, 2014 at 8:00 am

My friend and fellow critic Lauren Bradshaw has a great new series on the very earliest appearances by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. You can see Emma Stone, Brad Pitt, and Jessica Chastain in their very first roles, and give her suggestions for who she should report on next.

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Big News From Marvel: Black Panther, Dr. Strange, and Much, Much, MUCH More

Posted on October 28, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Wow, Marvel really knows how to make an announcement. Get out your calendars:

May 6, 2016: Captain America: Civil War
Nov. 4, 2016: Doctor Strange
May 5, 2017: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
July 28, 2017: Thor: Ragnarok
Nov. 3, 2017: Black Panther
May 4, 2018: Avengers: Infinity War – Part I
July 6, 2018: Captain Marvel
Nov. 2, 2018: Inhumans
May 3, 2019: Avengers: Infinity War – Part II

And here’s what makes it extra cool.  Captain Marvel will be the first in the series about a female superhero and Black Panther will be the first starring a person of color.  I was really happy to hear that Chadwick Boseman, who has previously played Jackie Robinson (“42”) and James Brown (“Get on Up”) has been cast as the Black Panther.  For more details about these characters and the gleanings from the titles by the fanboys and fangirls, check out #MarvelEvent tweets.

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