2015 Summer Movie Forecast: Desert Explosions With a Chance of Good

What is it, exactly, that's so unsettling about this trailer? I am exhilarated by it, but I can't tell exactly why. Is it that the last film George Miller directed was Happy Feet? Is it that the most beautiful scene in the trailer, with the silent powder explosions over the desert, sort of evokes The Color Run™?


Villainous Hair

Even if you've only seen a trailer for Skyfall, the new and very good James Bond movie, you know Javier Bardem is the villain. Instantly. It's his haircut: a meringue of floppy blond mullet, as if the hairstyles of Michael Bolton and Nicolas Cage had crept off, spent a night of torrid passion together, and this bleached muskrat was the result of their union. The style doesn't suit Bardem's face or the setting, and no self-respecting man would ever consider wearing his hair in such a fashion (nor would any Hollywood stylist allow it)—that is, unless he was evil. Pure, unadulterated, villainous evil.

It seems that possession of a terrible [...]


Fall Comedy Preview: Movies

The fall movie season is here with a diverse batch of comedies headed our ways over the next few months. The movies that come out this time of year tend to be a little more adult and thoughtful and not typically as loud and brash as the teen-friendly titles that populate marquees in the summertime. It's a mixed bag as far as the quality of these upcoming films goes, with the best-looking movies coming from indie auteurs Alexander Payne and Jason Reitman, as well as Judd Apatow and his henchmen Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, and Jason Segel.

Let's see what we're in for, shall we?


Bet You Can't Say "Robopocalypse" Five Times Fast

"This will be good news for anyone who has wanted to see a big, explosive sci-fi film directed by Mr. Spielberg, as the project has a pretty simple logline: it is about 'the human race’s attempt to survive an apocalyptic robot uprising.'" —Steven Spielberg to direct Robopocalypse.


Why Michael Bay Can't Lose

There's a fascinating pattern in the first Transformers reviews: There is nothing to watch here, nothing to grab onto or hook into in even the simplest of ways. I staggered out of the theater feeling assaulted and insulted, but by the time I was standing out on 42nd Street in the muggy summer evening air, even those angry feelings had passed.

Richard Corliss agrees: "The final half-hour devolves into a kind of abstract-expressionist chaos, with commercials. Nothing coheres." At IndieWire, Eric Kohn complains that Michael Bay "constructs a barrage of showdowns remarkable for their ridiculous propensity to feature explosions and slo-mo, gravity-defying feats. They're all unmemorable but [...]


The Hollywood Life Of Walter Mitty

News that "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is being made into a big new movie starring Ben Stiller is somewhat worrying, and I say this as one whose favorite movie may well be Zoolander. Tad Friend's recent New Yorker profile of Stiller, "Funny is Money" (subscription-only) is full of disquieting (and fascinating) details about the project; apparently there's a comic shark attack involved. It's a mystery how Thurber's 1939 story of an ordinary man's daydreams, so small in scale, so evanescently brief (just 2,200 words), and so deceptively modest in its message, should have attracted the notice of so many producers of large and noisy entertainments. But it [...]


An Exhaustive Guide to Who's Remaking Your Favorite Comedies

The past few years have seen an uptick in the number of big-screen remakes of Hollywood classics and non-classics, with the bulk of these films revisiting beloved properties from the 1980s. Remakes and reboots of Karate Kid, Clash of the Titans, and Nightmare on Elm Street, amongst others, were released last year, with Footloose and Red Dawn due out in the coming months. This past weekend’s new release Arthur was the first comedy to come out of this recent slew of rehashes, an effort to update the hit 1981 Dudley Moore film by replacing Moore with fellow Brit Russell Brand. Arthur's underperformance at the box office this weekend [...]


David Bowie's Forgotten, Campy Berlin Gigolo Movie

To attempt any ranking of David Bowie's work in movies on a scale of strangeness seems a fool's errand; there's no computer on earth that can tally up respective curiosity points for playing both Nikola Tesla and Pontius Pilate, Andy Warhol and The Snowman, The Man Who Fell To Earth, and The Man Who Would Be Goblin King. That said, it's difficult to find a Bowie performance more abjectly forgotten—and yet so wonderfully bizarre—than the Weimar-set 1978 black comedy Just a Gigolo. Perhaps, you ponder, it was just a cameo? Nope, he's the star and the rest of the cast is filled out by—get this—Kim Novak, David Hemmings, Curt Jurgens, [...]


The Best And Worst Of What I Saw At Sundance

This year I went to Sundance, saw 24 films in six days, and whew! somehow lived to tell the tale. I tried my hardest to see everything that sounded intriguing but, with more than a hundred films screening, it was inevitable that I would miss out on some good ones. I’m still upset that I got shut out of Bachelorette, for example.

But I did get to see some fantastic films, which was a nice consolation for my complete failure on the celeb-sighting-at-Sundance front. What I would have given to spot Robert DeNiro in the wintry climes of Park City! Instead, I got cut in line at a nightclub [...]


Making Sense of The Black List

"Josh: These people are at war over stuff that will never mean anything to the casuals. Sara: Welcome to the internet." —Digging through the Hollywood magic that is The Black List. (And yes, good news! Eric Bana is allegedly "in talks" to star as Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.)