Posts Tagged: Movies
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Movie Worse Than Expected

Scott Tobias on Men, Women & Children: Despite a few last-ditch pleas of moderation, Reitman offers a comprehensive portrait of The Way We Live Now, and the overall effect is a mass freakout, like a roomful of grandparents booting up their first AOL CD-ROM. And while there’s no doubt that the Internet age has profoundly transformed the culture, adding new dangers and stresses and altering the nature of how we communicate, blind panic is not a sophisticated adult response. Hiring Emma Thompson to bring her British gravitas to the voiceover narration isn’t sophisticated, either. Nor is opening the movie in outer freaking space. Politicians can get away with such [...]

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What Not to Stream

Center Stage 2: Turn It Up

The Eleanor Roosevelt Story 

Music of the Heart

Chalet Girl

Eyes of an Angel

Without a Paddle

Sherri Shepherd: It's My Time to Talk

Fred 2: Night of the Living Fred

The Dark Side of the Sun

The Big Wedding

Slightly Single in L.A.

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Comic Book Movies and the Forgotten Art of the Ending

During the summer of 2008, as the credits scrolled past, and we sat giddily contemplating how much fun we’d just had watching Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson sauntered out of the shadows to chat with Tony Stark about “the Avengers initiative.” This could have been a one-off appearance, but it was effectively the Big Bang of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the umbrella franchise and shared setting for a small battalion of Marvel superheroes which now spans nearly a dozen movies and at least one television series over the last six years.

Initially, the big pay-off promised by the MCU—after two Iron Man movies, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and [...]

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The Dead Cannot Consent

The End of the Tour is a movie currently in production based on David Lipsky's 2010 book, Although of Course you End Up Becoming Yourself: a Road Trip with David Foster Wallace. In 1996, shortly after Wallace’s sudden burst into literary superstardom with the publication of Infinite Jest, Rolling Stone had sent Lipsky to conduct an interview with with him. The magazine spiked the interview, and years later, after Wallace's suicide, Lipsky incorporated the material into his book—to my mind, the best about David Foster Wallace that anyone has yet written.

There is every reason to anticipate that the movie will be great: It stars Jason Segel [...]

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Why Won't Anybody Say That "Noah" Is Terrible?

Noah is getting the strangest good reviews. "I’m not sure who exactly this often grimly rapturous movie was made for, but I find myself surprisingly glad that it was made," wrote Richard Lawson in Vanity Fair. A.O. Scott went with: "Mr. Aronofsky’s earnest, uneven, intermittently powerful film, is both a psychological case study and a parable of hubris and humility. At its best, it shares some its namesake’s ferocious conviction, and not a little of his madness."

These are all incredibly charitable. This is not a good movie. I wanted to bite off my fingers. From the opening sequence, which explains the silly state of the world and [...]

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Column Filed

"The true subversion of The Lego Movie is its subversion of mindless anticapitalist showbiz liberals."

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The Places From The Godfather Where Are They Now

"Because the film is a period piece, The Godfather actually presents a fascinating record of what 1940s-era New York City locations still existed in the early-1970s. Sadly, many of them are now gone. What still remains? Let’s take a closer look."

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Inherent Vice, Awkward Mood

If the options for an Inherent Vice movie were Joaquin Phoenix reciting Pynchon's best lines in a grave tone OR Joaquin Phoenix slipping in and out of mania while falling down a lot, physically, this seems to have been the right choice. It's just barely apparent in the trailer, but here is something that I'm curious to see in practice: Robert Elswit, longtime Paul Thomas Anderson collaborator, is listed as the movie's cinematographer. Elswit's all BIG SKIES and SYMMETRY and LINGERING SHOTS and MUSCULAR ACTION. There's not a whole lot of comedy in his credits! And certainly nothing quite like this: "It’s a stoner detective film so overstuffed with [...]

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Film Demonstrably Superior

"There was more data pushed through on this film than on anything we've ever done." Data always wins. How else to explain Transformers $300 million opening weekend? The people demand data in all forms. So give them more data! Feed it through every available input.

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Let Us Welcome the Season of Cosmic Terror

There are not that many coming attractions that people actually seem to want to see; there are fewer that feel like they are defining some kind of moment in cinema. But there does seem to be one small weird thing going in trailers: The adults are thinking about the stars, and the teens are too. Everyone is suddenly terrified of infinity and it's making them all fall in love.

Here is the new trailer for Christopher Nolan's Interstellar:

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What Do TV Shows Want To Be When They Grow Up?

Human reviewers have mostly been apologetic when measuring Fargo the TV show against Fargo the movie, because how can you compare a film to a series? An apple to an orange? And apple to… ten apples? But the machines, who do not apologize, have it settled: According to Metacritic, Fargo the series (Rating: 87% – ‎38 reviews) is better than the Coen brothers' movie (Rating: 85% – ‎24 reviews). We are meant to understand that these numbers don't really say what they seem to say, but could you really explain how? To an alien?

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"Burn Hollywood Burn" v. "12 Years A Slave"

Nestled midway on "Fear of a Black Planet," Public Enemy's 1990 platinum album—and one of the greatest musical releases of all time—comes "Burn Hollywood Burn." (Halfway between "911 Is A Joke" and "Fight the Power"! I mean!)

The track is notable not just for rhyming "burn" TERM and "perm" (important correction!) but for the collaboration with Ice Cube and Big Daddy Kane—the only guest stars on the album. "Butlers and maids," slaves and hoes" is how Kane describes available Hollywood roles for black people.

Here we are in the future, 24 years later! How did the fellas take last night's best picture win for 12 Years A Slave, in [...]

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The "Liquid Sky" Sequel Is Coming: A Chat With The Director Of The Best Film About New York

A terrific update to this interview: After publication, director Slava Tsukerman clarified that, in Liquid Sky 2, the brilliant Anne Carlisle will return in the role of Margaret.

Liquid Sky is one of the most visually ambitious films ever made about fashion, heroin, New Wave clubs, UFO saucers, ordering Chinese food and having them put it on your tab, the Empire State Building, androgyny, neon and tin foil. The 1982 cult classic may be the perfect embodiment of camp. Unlike contemporary low-budget cinema, which prizes an aesthetic of apathy, Liquid Sky makes its efforts visible. Judgmental fashion reporters cackle straight into the camera. Catwalk scenes take place [...]

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Why Do So Many Romcoms Use Songs By The Cure?

Have you ever wondered why The Cure is used to soundtrack so many romantic comedies? Have you ever stopped to think about what that implies, that this British deep-goth turned pop-rock band hits a particular sweet spot, like the meet-cute, for this dying movie genre? A few months ago, I went to go see About Time, a middling romcom by the same writer and director of Love Actually, and when I heard "Friday I’m in Love," something in me snapped.

I couldn’t enjoy the montage. It was Rachel McAdams and a surprisingly alluring ginger man (Domhnall Gleeson) running around, changing from chic outfit to chic outfit, falling [...]

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'Shy People' and the Consequences of Excavating a Lost Film

-Look over there.

-I don't see anything.

-You don't see them. They'll see you.

Andrei Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky's Shy People opened in New York and Los Angeles in December of 1987 after winning the award for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival and receiving a handful of rave reviews. The film was seen by few people and nominated for even fewer awards, even though its lead actors—Barbara Hershey, Jill Clayburgh, and Martha Plimpton—teetered somewhere on the mostly recognizable and well-liked edge of B- and C-list. In May of 1988, the film was given a slightly wider release, allowing it to take one final gasp of air before falling into the murky [...]

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Premaking 'Transformers 4,' the Blockbusterest Film of Our Age

On Friday, Michael Bay will give us another 164 minutes of 3D-IMAX robots riding robots riding robots as they blow shit up in America—Detroit and Chicago—and China—also Detroit, actually—while Mark Wahlberg has to grapple with the fact his name is Cade Yeager. A fete of more than just Bay's extraordinary vision for setting General Motors vehicles and American military hardware against perfectly golden sunlight shining over a canyon as they race from one Optimus Prime death scene to the next, Transformers 4: The Age of Extinction is both the nexus and the prototype of a new kind of cinema-industrial complex that spans from Hollywood to Beijing.

That's the focus [...]

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Action Films Quantified

Data journalism goes to the movies: Violence is on the rise in blockbusters. While the term is rather vague, 40 percent of movies in the entire set spanning 1975 to 2013 — and 70 percent since 2010 — were tagged with 'violence.' Let’s break that down into some of the tags that are typically found in violent movies.

Gore is down since the decadent days of the late 1970s, but murder is up. Here’s something interesting, though. The “murder” tag and the “blood” tag largely kept pace with one another through 2004, which is to be expected, as the former often leads to the latter.

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Movie Old

"It opened April 14, 1989, and that weekend, it made $5.2 million. It wasn't enough to come anywhere close to what Major League pulled down in its second week ($9.1 million), but it was enough to come in one slot ahead of the opening weekend of the Tony Danza comedy She's Out Of Control ($4.6 million)." —Say Anything is 25 years old, as are all the unfulfilled hopes and aspirations of your youth, including but not limited to the dream you had of making a difference in the lives of people other than your friends and [...]

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How Far Beretta Will Go To Make You Love Guns

"We checked all the Hollywood crap at the door." —Mark Wahlberg, speaking about the making of Lone Survivor, in USA Today, December 22, 2013.

Even though it just opened on Christmas, Lone Survivor has made more money in the U.S. than Oscar-nominated thriller Captain Phillips, which opened back in October—and also stars Navy SEALs. Lone Survivor also beat big 2013 movies like The Hangover 3, Pacific Rim, Oblivion, and Elysium.

Lone Survivor has already made half as much in the U.S. as 1998's Saving Private Ryan, the epic war film to which critics—and its marketing material—favorably compare it. It's already beaten the war film it [...]

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Coming Soon (Again): The White Guy’s Nonwhite Sidekick

If the trailers in theaters now are any sorts of indicator, 2014 isn’t going to do much for Hollywood's endless race problem. The newsflash here is that while we’ll be watching Indian and Middle Eastern characters on screen, it will be 2015 (2016? 2017? 2064?) before they’re actually, like, people, in addition to just being "diverse."

I’m thinking of three forthcoming films in particular that seem to play dangerously into the trope of white male leads possessing “ethnic” boy sidekicks: Million Dollar Arm, about a (white) agent’s search for an Indian baseball player; Bad Words, about a (white) 40-year-old spelling bee champ with a nonwhite frenemy, and Wes Anderson’s [...]