My Matt Damon Top 10 on his Birthday

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Matthew Paige “Matt” Damon is an American actor, screenwriter and producer. Damon and Ben Affleck wrote an Academy Award-winning screenplay, Good Will Hunting, for which he also received a number of Best Actor nominations. His latest film garnering critical acclaim is The Martian directed by Sir Ridley Scott.

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The Martian:When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must utilize his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet. Meanwhile, back on Earth, members of NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring him home, while his crew mates hatch their own plan for a daring rescue mission.

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#10:Oceans Eleven: Dapper Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is a man of action. Less than 24 hours into his parole from a New Jersey penitentiary, the wry, charismatic thief is already rolling out his next plan. Following three rules: Don’t hurt anybody, don’t steal from anyone who doesn’t deserve it, and play the game like you’ve got nothing to lose. Danny orchestrates the most sophisticated, elaborate casino heist in history.

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#9:Contagion:When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to Minnesota from a Hong Kong business trip, she attributes the malaise she feels to jet lag. However, two days later, Beth is dead, and doctors tell her shocked husband (Matt Damon) that they have no idea what killed her. Soon, many others start to exhibit the same symptoms, and a global pandemic explodes. Doctors try to contain the lethal microbe, but society begins to collapse as a blogger (Jude Law) fans the flames of paranoia.

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#8:Saving Private Ryan:Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in combat. Surrounded by the brutal realties of war, while searching for Ryan, each man embarks upon a personal journey and discovers their own strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honor, decency and courage.

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#7:The Adjustment Bureau:Just as he is on the brink of winning a Senate seat, politician David Norris (Matt Damon) meets a ballerina named Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt). Though David is instantly smitten, mysterious men conspire to keep him away from the beautiful dancer. David learns that he is facing the powerful agents of Fate itself, and glimpsing the future laid out for him, must either accept a predetermined path that does not include Elise or else defy Fate to be with her.

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#6:The Departed;South Boston cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) goes under cover to infiltrate the organization of gangland chief Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). As Billy gains the mobster’s trust, a career criminal named Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) infiltrates the police department and reports on its activities to his syndicate bosses. When both organizations learn they have a mole in their midst, Billy and Colin must figure out each other’s identities to save their own lives.

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#5:The Informant:Though a rising star in the ranks of Archer Daniels Midland, Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) suddenly exposes a price-fixing conspiracy to the FBI, agreeing to wear a wire and gather evidence against ADM and other agribusinesses. However, the FBI agents get a rude surprise when they learn that Whitacre has embezzled heavily from the firm.

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#4:Rounders:Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) loses his money in a poker game against Russian gangster Teddy “KGB” (John Malkovich). Under pressure from his girlfriend, Jo (Gretchen Mol), he promises to quit gambling. This lasts until his friend, Lester “Worm” Murphy (Edward Norton), gets out of prison and needs to pay off an old debt. The pair come close to earning the money back but are caught cheating. Then Mike finds out the debt is owed to Teddy and makes one last-ditch effort to beat the Russian.

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#3:Good Will Hunting:Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has a genius-level IQ but chooses to work as a janitor at MIT. When he solves a difficult graduate-level math problem, his talents are discovered by Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard), who decides to help the misguided youth reach his potential. When Will is arrested for attacking a police officer, Professor Lambeau makes a deal to get leniency for him if he will get treatment from therapist Sean Maguire (Robin Williams).

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#2:The Bourne Supremacy;Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is living in India when he is framed by Russian agent Kirill (Karl Urban) for the theft of millions from the CIA. Kirill begins to pursue Bourne, intending to assassinate him — but while Bourne and his girlfriend, Marie (Franka Potente), are on the run, a shot meant for him kills her instead. Vowing revenge, Bourne sets out to prove his innocence and bring the culprits to justice, but he has to evade CIA head Pamela Landry (Joan Allen), who is convinced he is guilty.

The Bourne Identity:The story of a man (Matt Damon), salvaged, near death, from the ocean by an Italian fishing boat. When he recuperates, the man suffers from total amnesia, without identity or background… except for a range of extraordinary talents in fighting, linguistic skills and self-defense that speak of a dangerous past. He sets out on a desperate search-assisted by the initially rebellious Marie (Franka Potente) – to discover who he really is, and why he’s being lethally pursued by assassins.

The Bourne Ultimatum:Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) continues his international quest to uncover his true identity. From Russia to Europe to northern Africa to the United States, he must stay one step ahead of those who would capture or kill him before he has a chance to discover the truth.

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#1:The Talented Mr. Ripley:To be young and carefree amid the blue waters and idyllic landscape of sun-drenched Italy in the late 1950s; that’s la dolce vita Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) craves- and Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) leads. When Dickie’s father asks Tom to bring his errant playboy son back home to America, Dickie and his beautiful expatriate girlfriend, Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow), never suspect the dangerous extremes to which Ripley will go to make their lifestyle his own.

Dan Skip Allen

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My 30 Most Anticipated Films of the Fall and Winter 2015 Pt. 2

15;Trumbo

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In 1947, successful screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) and other Hollywood figures get blacklisted for their political beliefs.

14:Creed

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Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) never knew his famous father, boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died before Adonis was born. However, boxing is in his blood, so he seeks out Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and asks the retired champ to be his trainer. Rocky sees much of Apollo in Adonis, and agrees to mentor him, even as he battles an opponent deadlier than any in the ring. With Rocky’s help, Adonis soon gets a title shot, but whether he has the true heart of a fighter remains to be seen.

13:Bridge of Spies

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During the Cold War, the Soviet Union captures U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers after shooting down his U-2 spy plane. Sentenced to 10 years in prison, Powers only hope is New York lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks), recruited by a CIA operative (Scott Shepherd) to negotiate his release. Donovan boards a plane to Berlin, hoping to win the young man’s freedom through a prisoner exchange. If all goes well, the Russians would get convicted spy Rudolf Abel, who Donovan defended in court years earlier.

12:Suffragette

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In late 19th and early 20th century, the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal state in the quest for equal rights.

11;Joy

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A story of a family across four generations, centered on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Facing betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love, Joy becomes a true boss of family and enterprise in a world of unforgiving commerce. Allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside the family, as Joy’s inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she faces.

10:The Walk

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In 1974, French high-wire artist Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) attempts to walk on a tightrope attached to the north and south towers of the World Trade Center.

9:The Martian

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When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must utilize his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet. Meanwhile, back on Earth, members of NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring him home, while his crew mates hatch their own plan for a daring rescue mission.

8:The Danish Girl

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Artist Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) undergoes a sex-change operation in the early 1900s.

7:The Hunger Games:Mocking Jay Pt 2

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Realizing the stakes are no longer just for survival, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) teams up with her closest friends, including Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Finnick for the ultimate mission. Together, they leave District 13 to liberate the citizens of war-torn Panem and assassinate President Snow, who’s obsessed with destroying Katniss. What lies ahead are mortal traps, dangerous enemies and moral choices that will ultimately determine the future of millions.

6:Sicario

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After rising through the ranks of her male-dominated profession, idealistic FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) receives a top assignment. Recruited by mysterious government official Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), Kate joins a task force for the escalating war against drugs. Led by the intense and shadowy Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), the team travels back-and-forth across the U.S.-Mexican border, using one cartel boss (Bernardo Saracino) to flush out a bigger one (Julio Cesar Cedillo).

5:Black Mass

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While his brother Bill (Benedict Cumberbatch) remains a powerful leader in the Massachusetts Senate, Irish hoodlum James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) continues to pursue a life of crime in 1970s Boston. Approached by FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), the lawman convinces Whitey to help the agency fight the Italian mob. As their unholy alliance spirals out of control, Bulger increases his power and evades capture to become one of the most dangerous gangsters in U.S. history.

4:The Revenant

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In the 1820s, a frontiersman, Hugh Glass, sets out on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling. (Leonardo DiCaprio) Hugh Glass, (Tom Hardy) John Fitzgerald,(Domhnall Gleeson) Andrew Henry

3:The Hateful Eight

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While racing toward the town of Red Rock in post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunter John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive prisoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh) encounter another bounty hunter (Samuel L. Jackson) and a man (Walton Goggins) who claims to be a sheriff. Hoping to find shelter from a blizzard, the group travels to a stagecoach stopover located on a mountain pass. After encountering four strangers, they may not make it to their destination.

2: Spectre

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A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City and Rome, where he meets the beautiful widow (Monica Bellucci) of an infamous criminal. After infiltrating a secret meeting, 007 uncovers the existence of the sinister organization SPECTRE. Needing the help of the daughter of an old nemesis, he embarks on a mission to find her. As Bond ventures toward the heart of SPECTRE, he discovers a chilling connection between himself and the enemy (Christoph Waltz) he seeks.

1:Star Wars: A Force Awakens

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The further adventures of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). (Daisy Ridly Rey,(John Boyaga) Finn,(Oscar Issac) Poe Dameron, (Adam Driver) Kylo Ren, (Gwendline Christie) Captain Phasma,(Domhnall Gleeson) General Hux.

These are the 30 Films I am most looking forward to in the next for months. A few films I left off of my list I am still interested in seeing are Youth, Bye the Sea,Room,Our Brand is Crisis,33,Legend and Truth. I hope everyone finds this list informative and enlightening. There area lot of great films coming out in the near future so go to the theater and watch.

Dan Skip Allen

Neil Blomkamp is becoming a house hold name.

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When I first heard the name Neil Blomkamp it was in a story about him being tapped to direct a Halo movie. Peter Jackson said he wanted to produce it and have this unknown filmmaker direct it. Of course this didn’t go over so well with the video game faithful who religiously play the game for hrs at a time. The Halo fans created such a stink that Blomkamp and Jackson never made the movie. Neil Blomkamp would later go on to direct his first feature length film called District 9 instead. Neil is a South African filmmaker he directs,produces and writes his own material. He generally mixes science fiction and special effects shots with realistic settings and themes. He is based out of Vancouver British Columbia, Canada.

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District 9 was a critical and financial success. This film has some realistic themes like all of Blomkamp’s films. The theme apartheid was very prevalent and up front and in your face in this film. Coming from South Africa Blomkamp knew very well how this would be a tough theme to sell to audiences and critics. Nonetheless it was a huge success. Sharlto Copley was a child hood friend of Blomkamp’s and they would becomes very close after high school. They helped each other further there film careers in different ways. Blomkamp has used Copley in all of his theatrical releases to date. Copley plays Wikus a government agent who accidentally  opens a can of alien technology and spays its contents on himself. Trying to escape the law he eventually befriends some of the aliens living in squalor in District 9. Blomkamp uses a shaky cam style of film making while adding state of the art special effects. Mixing the two he creates the near futuristic  realistic world of Johannesburg. With the alien ship over head it looms large in the over all plot of the story and how these aliens disrespectfully called prawns because of there likeness to  sea creature’s can find better way of living. Wikus worked for MNU (Muti-National United and all the cared about was how to turn the alien tech into weapons they can use. Also Mumbo a Nigerien runs the slum of District 9 and he has is own agenda on how to use these sad aliens for his own gain. District 9 premiere’d August 14th 2009. District 9 has a 90 % on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Elysium was Blomkamp’s next film and once again he would have strong themes through out this sci-fi drama. Once again he would use his go to guy Sharlto Copley in Elysium but, this time as the evil killer Kruger. Big name actors have come on board this time around though as well. Matt Damon and Jodie Foster play both sides of a question. Damon’s Max who has been infected with a disease and Fosters Delacourt who is the defense minister vying for the Presidency. When her beautiful world of Elysium is threatened by this earth scum he vows to stop him and his friend Julio (Diego Luna) at all costs. Heath care is the major theme of Elysium and it was in the United States at the time this film came out was well. Blomkamp is great at putting his thump on the pulse of hard hitting topics. Then combining them with great sci-fi adventure and drama. Elysium came out in theater’s August 9th 2013 to mediate to mixed reviews by critics and audiences alike. Elysium has a 68 % on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Chappie is Blomkamp’s latest film out this week March 6th 2015. He once again mixes sci-fi themes with drama and action. Bullying and pear pressure are up front in this film. Along with who should be able to weld technology and the key to its creation. A couple of big name star once again join Blomkamp on this fore into robot police and law enforcement. Hugh Jackman is the foil to Dev Patel this time around with a company owner played by Sigourney Weaver. William Fichner played the company owner in Elysium. Very similar characters in both films. Chappie is voiced non other then Charlto Copley. This makes three films he and Blomkamp have worked together on. Blomcamp uses a couple local rappers/singers as some criminal robbers who find Chappie and reprogram him. He then gain sentient life and try to become more human.

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A couple of weeks ago on his twitter account Neil Blomkamp announced that his next film would be Aliens 5. It would star once again in the role of Ripley Sigourney Weaver. He said that it would take place between Aliens and Aliens 3 the the David Fincher outing he later disavowed. Blomkamp would bring so fresh energy to this dying franchise. After Aliens Resurrection and tow Aliens vs Predator movies this franchise has kind of died. Blomkamp definitely has a style he can and would lend to this sci-fi horror genre. Science fiction movies have been hit and miss and horror movies have been generally pretty bad and unoriginal. Hers hoping Blomkamp brings these two genre’s back with a bang. Ridley Scott will produce the new film and it will be separate from Prometheus 2 and its will be a 20th Century Fox film.

Dan Skip Allen

Are sword and sandal movies back for good or are they back just this year?

This year has been the resurgence of sword and sandal movies. There have been two sword and sandal films out so far this year. The Legend of Hercules starring Kellan Lutz and Pompeii starring Kit Harrington. In March 300: Rise of an Empire the sequel to 300 comes. Later this summer the second Hercules movies comes out starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson. In November Noah comes out starring Russell Crowe as Noah. That’s makes five sword and sandal movies out this year with some big names in them. With this in mind I wanna talk about some of my favorite sword and sandal movies through out the years.

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Now Sword and Sandals is a broad  title but, it includes Biblical movies, Roman,Persian or Egyptian movies, Fantasy and Animated movies. What follows is a list of some of my favorite sword and sandal movies of all time. Some of my favorites include TV shows as well as movies. Also they may include remakes or reboots.

20. Alexander is great director, Oliver Stones first and only foray into the Sword and Sandal genre. Its about Alexander the Great. Colin Farrell,Angelina Jolie,Val Kilmer, Jared Leto, Rosario Dawson and Anthony Hopkins star in this historical film.

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19.Prince of Persia is based on a video game and is Producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s one and only Sword and Sandal film to date. Jake Gyllenhall ,Ben Kingsley  and Gemma Arterton star in this action paced thrill ride based in Persia.

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18. Immortals is a fictional telling of the Greek gods. Its stars Henry Cavill as Theseus and Micky Rourke as King Hyperion and Frieda Pinto as Phaedra.

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17. The Gospel of John is a great mini-series based on the gospel of  john. Narrated by Oscar winner Christopher Plummer and stars Henry Ian Cusick as Jesus.

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16. There have been three Conan movies over the years. The first two starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Hyborian warrior. They also spawned another movie based on Conan’s girlfriend Red Sonja starring Brigitte Nielsen.The third stars Micheal Mimosa as Conan the Barbarian.

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15. There have been many incarnations of Hercules. I already talked about the two new movies out this year this year starring Kellan Lutz and Dwayne The Rock Johnson. My favorite Hercules movie though is the Disney version that came out in 1997. Hercules was voiced by Tate Donovan and also stars James Woods,Danny Devito and Rip Torn.

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14. Once again there have been multiple version of Clash of the Titans. The first came out back in 1981 and starred Henry Hamlin as Perseus and Lawrence Olivier as Zeus. This is a classic by Ray Harryhausen of mixing  stop motion animation or clay-mation. The Original Clash of the Titans also starred Judi Bowker, Burgess Meredith, Maggie Smith, and Ursula Andress. The second Clash of the Titans came out in 2010 and stars Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Mads Mickkelson and Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes. This new version spawned a sequel called Wraith of the Titans that came out in 2012 also starring Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson.

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13. Julius Caesar has been portrayed in multiple movies through out the years but, not better then Marlin Brando in Julius Caesar.

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12. One of my favorite TV shows of years past was Rome from HBO. It was a very well done show. There were two seasons of Rome. The shows stars James Purefoy, Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker and Linzay Duncan.

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11.Cecil B. Demille has crafted a couple great Sword and Sandal films on my list. The First being the classic Cleopatra starring Claudette Colbert. Cleopatra was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture.

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10. The two theatrical movies about Jesus have been fantastic. The acting portrayal by both Willem Defoe and Jim Caviezel  of Jesus have been great. Both director’s, Martin Scorses and Mel Gibson were passionate about about telling the story of Jesus in The Passion of the Christ and The Last Temptation of Christ.

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9.Lawrence of Arabia is the winner of seven Academy Awards. It won the Best Picture Oscar in 1962. It stars Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence. It is widely known as one of the best films ever made.

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8.300 is based on the comic book series of the same name from Writer/ Artist Frank Miller. It is the second movie from Director Zach Snyder, It stars Gerard Butler as King Leonidas and Rodrigo Santoro as Xerxes. 300 is an exhilarating feast for the eyes. Its about the battle for Thermopylae. It has a sequel out in March called 300; Rise of an Empire.

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7. Troy tells the story of Achilles and Helen of Troy as written in the Iliad Trojan Horse and all. Troy stars Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Diane Kruger, Eric Bana, Brian Cox,  Brendan Gleeson and Peter O’Toole in his last role as King  Priam.

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6. The Bible was an epic 6 hr. mini-series on the History channel in 2013 but, was cut down into a two hr. feature film length movie that comes out February 28th 2014.

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5.The Ten Commandments is considered one of the greatest films of all time. There was a 1923 black and white version and a 1956 color version. Cecil B. Demille directed both versions over 30 years apart from one another. The Ten Commandments tells the story of Moses played by (Charlton Heston).

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4.Now Spartacus was a TV show on the Stars channel and lasted three seasons. The first season was called Blood and Sand and the second season was called Gods of the Arena. Andy Whitfield portrayed Spartacus in the first season and second seasons of Spartacus.

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3.Spartacus the movie is widely considered Kirk Russell’s best role ever. It has some of the greatest stunt work of its time.

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2. Ben Hur is another Best Picture winner. It won 11 Academy Awards and is also considered one of the greatest films of all time. This also stars Charlton Heston. The stunts in this are groundbreaking for the times as well.

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1. Ridley Scott used some special effects to create the crowd scenes but the story was what made this movie so great! Russell Crowe plays Maximus a general turned slave, a slave turned Gladiator, a Gladiator that defied an empire!!!  Joaquin Pheonix play the evil Commodus and he is the man Maximus wants to kill because he killed Marcus Aurelius the Emperor of Rome. Everything about this movie is great! It is another Best Picture Academy Award winner and Russell Crowe also won the Oscar for Best Actor.

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I hope we get to see more of these kinds of  films again in the next few years. If these movies coming out this year do good then we will get more of these historical sword and sandal movies. Until then I recommend the films and TV shows on my list.

Dan Skip Allen