20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
Kissing is as much a part of movies as car chases and sarcastic best friends. All kinds of kisses have been captured on film, but there are some more than others that make us swoon as lovers lips join together.
We're taking a look at the most memorable kisses in film from the '80s on, including the Worst Kisses and the Most Perplexing Kisses. Here, however, are the kisses that made our hearts flutter.
Anna and Kristoff, Frozen
"I could kiss you," Kristoff says as he gleefully picks Anna up in the air. We watched the animated pair bond over an adventure to save her sister, Elsa, from the wrath of hostile villagers. The comment leads to a peck on the check that morphs into an embrace. Disney princesses always get their big kiss, but few are as well earned as Anna's.
Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman, While You Were Sleeping
You would expect a couple to have kissed — really kissed, not an under-the-mistletoe peck — prior to getting engaged, but such was not the case for Bullock's Lucy and her true love, Pullman's Jack. Falling in love while she pretended to be the fiancée of his in-a-coma brother, the pair skipped right to the ring after Jack (and his family) realized they couldn't live without Lucy. Sealing a marriage proposal with a kiss has never been sweeter.
Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, The Adjustment Bureau
The movie, about a shadow agency that controls everyone's lives, is a bit of a mess. What can't be denied, however, is the crazy chemistry that exists between Damon's politician and Blunt's mystery woman. Blunt follows Damon into the men's room at the Waldorf Astoria and strikes up a conversation about crashing a wedding. How does that lead to a passionate kiss? Well, what else were they going to do in the bathroom?
Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington, Django Unchained
Quentin Tarantino is not known for romance, but in his Western epic, Foxx's Django is driven by only one thing: the desire to save his wife, played by Washington, from the clutches of a nefarious slaveowner. When Foxx finally tracks her down, trapped on a plantation owned by Leonardo DiCaprio's bad guy, we're treated to a slow, sweet, reverberating moment as Washington gradually realizes that her love has come for her. The kiss begins within a chilling silhouette until the camera turns to show the passion of lovers reunited.
Michael Cera and Kat Dennings, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
Cera and Dennings' mixed-up teens actually kiss moments after meeting one another, as Dennings asks him to be her boyfriend for "five minutes" so that she can dupe a rival (who happens to be Cera's ex) into believing she isn't dateless. The real kiss, though, comes later on, as Dennings' Norah takes guitar aficionado Nick to see Electric Lady Studios. One thing leads to another and soon Dennings' impossibly full red lips are working overtime.
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
Much has been made over the years about the love scenes shared between Ledger and Gyllenhaal, even leading to a hilarious Jonah Hill rant in Knocked Up about the lack of explicitness. The duo brought a palpable passion to the movie in full, but there is something special about the urgency of the scene wherein Ledger's Ennis sees Gyllenhaal's Jack Twist from his apartment window and rushes to embrace him. As Ennis pushes Jack into a stairwell, the two attack each other like a pair of hungry wolves, throwing caution to the wind. Nearly 10 years later, the scene has lost none of its original impact.
John Cusack and Ione Skye, Say Anything...
Few teen romances have been as influential as Cameron Crowe's story of a high-achiever falling for the earnest slacker that dares to ask her out. As you would expect, there are multiple kisses throughout as the duo fall head over heels, including a particularly sweet embrace in the rain. It's when Skye's Diane Court realizes that she needs Cusack's Lloyd Dobler that takes the cake, though. The fact that she kind of distracted him during a sparring session, causing him to get his nose bashed in by Don "The Dragon" Wilson moments before only adds to the tenderness.
Leondardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, Titanic
Back in 1997, seemingly every woman on the planet wanted to trade places with Winslet's Rose. The romance aboard the doomed ship left movie audiences teary-eyed long after the credits rolled. In the iconic scene, DiCaprio's Jack takes Rose to the railing of the ship and extends her arms outward, making her feel as though she's... well, why not let her famous line tell the story. "I'm flying, Jack!" Rose exclaims, before Winslet turns backwards to let her lips meet DiCaprio's. No matter what happened after, thanks to Celine Dion, we're always assured that their hearts will go on.
Cary Ewles and Robin Wright, The Princess Bride
"Since the invention of the kiss," Peter Falk's narrarator intones in Rob Reiner's much-loved fantasy, "There have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind." Such is the power of the happy ending smooch that Ewles' Westley lays on Wright's Buttercup. For a guy that was "nearly dead" not long before, and a woman almost forced to marry a prince — not to mention that trip through the fire swamp — that seems like a fitting reward.
Molly Ringwald and Michael Schoeffling, Sixteen Candles
Ringwald's Sam had an epically bad birthday. Her family, preoccupied by her sister's impending wedding, forgets that it's even happening and the geeky Farmer Ted (Anthony Michael Hall) has parlayed a pair of her panties into a money-making venture. Worse, she's hopelessly in love with Schoeffling's senior dreamboat, Jake Ryan. As she exits her sister's nuptials and the crowd parts, there is Jake leaning against his sportscar waiting for her. As teen fantasies go, it's a hard one to top. Sam finally gets a birthday cake with the namesake candles and a sweet kiss from Jake to boot. It may have been a bit of a fire hazard, but it sure was romantic.
Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
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The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.