In 2001, long before he helped launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe juggernaut, Jon Favreau could reasonably be described as “that guy in Swingers”. But sometime between Swingers and Iron Man, Favreau used some of his clout to create and host a new show for the Independent Film Channel. It was called "Dinner for Five". [more inside]
On the fiftieth anniversary of its theatrical release, Slate is taking a look back at the Cold War thriller Fail Safe (trailer), which stars Henry Fonda as a U.S. President who has to deal with a computational accident that risks nuclear war. The film was preceded at the box office by Dr. Strangelove, a film very similar in plot but drastically different in tone. Fail Safe bombed as a result of the comparison with Kubrick's masterpiece, but the story itself would have a second chance at reaching audiences come the year 2000. [more inside]
Coming soon to a theater near you, it's Tetris! The Movie.
Cowspiracy is a crowdfunded documentary now being screened that examines the environmental impact of animal agriculture and seeks to examine why prominent environmental groups have apparently not made it a focus of their efforts. David Robinson Simon, the author of Meatonomics who appears in the film, interviews filmmakers Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn. [more inside]
The Herculean Effort Taken By One Group To Show Hollywood Is Sexist. "In dissecting the top 100 grossing films each year, Smith and her team have analyzed a total of 26,225 characters in 600 films for gender, body type, age, race and more. In their most recent annual review, released in July, they found that in 2013, only 29 percent of characters were female, and a mere 28 percent of the films had a female lead or co-lead." [more inside]
ComicsAlliance writer Benito Cereno has put together a collection of links to horror films available for streaming on Netflix this October: The Haunting of Netflix House 2: Your Sister is a Netflix
Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau speaking at UCLA 12/1/1971 (audio with rotating pictures, 45 min 25 sec) [SLYT]
Scarecrow Video (previously), also known as "the largest independent video store in the world", announced back in August that they were closing its doors. But Wait! There's More! Scarecrow also announced their plans to soon after re-open as a non-profit. And after a successful Kickstarter effort that ended two weeks ago, they have now launched the first phase of The Scarecrow Project with the "singular purpose of protecting the invaluable collection of Scarecrow Video under a four-pillared mission of preservation, access, education and community".
Inspired by the recent Criterion re-release of Eraserhead on Blu-ray, Flavorwire offers up The 50 Weirdest Movies Ever Made — "many that rival Lynch’s strange aesthetic."
“Alien 3 was flawed from its inception and it was certainly flawed—actually, pretty fucked up—well before we started shooting. So there you go. Take all of the responsibility, because you’re going to get all of the blame.” — David Fincher [previously]
The exhaustively researched Hollywood history podcast You Must Remember This (Previously) presents a two part episode focusing on Madonna's use of classic Hollywood imagery and references as a form of conceptual art and her early attempts to trade pop idol success for movie stardom within the context of two high-profile relationships with Sean Penn and Warren Beatty. Episode One. Episode Two. Meanwhile, Todd In The Shadows creates video reviews for every movie Madonna was ever in. So far he's done Desperately Seeking Susan, Shanghai Surprise, A Certain Sacrifice, and Who's That Girl.
Between the limited amount of titles on streaming services and the fact that Netflix seems to be shifting away from DVDs altogether, are you just out of luck if you want to watch a non-blockbuster like "Sweet Sweetbacks' Baadasssss Song" or "Raising Arizona"? KQED investigates.
The Atlantic pulls back the partition on Hollywood, Health, and Society, a CDC-funded clearinghouse for popular media to better understand modern medicine - and modern medical legislation like the Affordable Care Act.
What's that you say? You like to read movie and music related lists on the Internet? Well here you go: The Movies' 50 Greatest Pop Music Moments from the folks at The Dissolve.
The final film in the Atlas Shrugged trilogy (previously) is now in theaters and the reaction has been a stupendous... meh. [more inside]
Search for word usage in movies and television over time.
Movies and television shows often reflect cultural trends of the time they are made in. Even movies that take place during the past or future can say something about the present through metadata or production style. Using the Bookworm platform, Benjamin Schmidt, an assistant professor of history at Northeastern University, provides a tool that lets you see trends in movie and television dialogue.
In 2004 Joseph Kahn directed the hyper-kinetic, poorly reviewed motorcycle action movie Torque. It was Kahn's directorial debut, and though he was tapped for (one of many) failed Neuromancer adaptations, he devoted the next six years to a largely self financed project: the horror-comedy farce Detention. Noted cultural critic Steven Shaviro discusses in this essay why Detention, despite also being reviewed negatively, is one of his favorite movies of the decade. Shaviro's review contains major spoilers for the plot, and it's probably best to go into the movie blind. A brief non-spoiler synopsis is available below the jump. [more inside]
No, the above quote is not the answer to “How many total episodes are there of the various “Law & Order” franchises?”. In actuality, those nine words conclude one of the most exciting films of the 1940’s (and the direct ancestor of Dick Wolf’s prolific franchise). Welcome to “The Naked City”. [more inside]
Arcades in the Movies, a supercut.
The Death of Adulthood in American Culture (SLNYTimes Magazine), by A.O. Scott: Comic-book movies, family-friendly animated adventures, tales of adolescent heroism and comedies of arrested development do not only make up the commercial center of 21st-century Hollywood. They are its artistic heart.
A lot of the world’s most powerful people look like Lester Burnham: white, male, middle-aged, well off, and bored to death. There are Lester Burnhams in public office, in the Supreme Court, at billion dollar corporations, at record labels and movie studios. These people in power aren’t happy, and this movie gives them what must be a very comforting message: let go of your responsibility, but not your power. Don’t worry about what the world will look like after you die. You’ll be happy if you help yourself — not the people who need you.Fifteen Years Later, 'American Beauty' is Just a Bad, Pretty Movie
ROYGBIV (Single Link Vimeo, 1:28)
How do you say controversial in your Terran language? The top 40 space movies, as decreed by the Telegraph. (Deslided)
Geeky women's clothing company Her Universe teamed up with Hot Topic and Nerdist to present a fandom couture competition and fashion show. Here are some highlights. [more inside]
Online game retailer GOG--which started (as Good Old Games) with a focus on updating classics to run on modern computers, then branched into offering newer games DRM-free--has announced that they will start selling movies under their DRM-free model. [more inside]
"Hollywood's pathological fear of being political has made them blind to the changes that women's friendships have undergone over the last forty years. We're so far past women's relationships revolving around men that no one is even offended by the suggestion that women have relationships that don't revolve around men. Bridesmaids was a smash among women AND men, and so was [Paul] Feig's follow-up, The Heat, another female driven, non-romantic comedy." (Hat-tip: Mick LaSalle) [more inside]
Known to one generation as Bartlett in The Great Escape and to another generation as John Hammond in Jurassic Park (plus many roles in between), actor Richard Attenborough has died at the age of 90.
For over 25 years, film critic Leonard Maltin (along with a team of contributors and editors) have produced what has been the Bible of movie geeks everywhere in his annual movie guide. The 2015 edition that will be released next month will be his last. The Dissolve has offered their own eulogy. (The folks at MST3k were also fans, as evidenced to three memorable moments that pay tribute to the man, the book and his not entirely accurate rating system.)
Director, writer, and producer Mick Garris releases videos of his interviews with people in the horror and sci-fi entertainment industry at his new website, Mick Garris Interviews. There is also a YouTube channel. An introduction can be found at the about page. According to The Nerdist, interviews will be released at the rate of one per week. Interviews already uploaded: a four-parter with Director John Carpenter (here's Part 1 YT), and one segment with John Badham, director of Dracula (1979) and, incidentally, Saturday Night Fever (1977).
Tony Zhou (previously) has created another great video essay on filmmaking techniques: "A brief look at texting and the internet in film" (also previously).
Robin Wiliams famous for his impressions, role as Genie in Aladdin, standup comedy, Mrs. Doubtfire and many other comedy roles has died at the age of 63.
"Twenty-five years after its release, The Abyss remains an oddity in director James Cameron's filmography. But the fact that it's an oddity seems like an oddity. The underwater sci-fi epic, about a team of commercial drillers who stumble upon a deep-sea alien civilization, wasn't a flop by any means. It made more money than The Terminator and came very close to matching Aliens at the box office. It holds a higher critical rating than Avatar and Titanic (according to the almighty Rotten Tomatoes, at least). And yet it has utterly failed to reach the same levels of cultural saturation as Cameron’s other works."
Menahem Golan has died at the age of 85. The name may mean very little to you at first glance, but for those of us who lived through the 1980's, he was a very big part of it. Here's an interview with the late producer and a bit more about his legacy.
The School for Postmen is a 16 minute short film from 1947 by French director and physical comedian Jacques Tati. It's being shown on The Guardian's website and is introduced by their film critic Peter Bradshaw. The film is about a postman in rural southern France trying to finish his round on time.
"DISCLAIMER TIME! 50 is a very small number. I make no claims to any of these lists being either comprehensive or some sort of objective analysis of the 'best' films directed by women. I make selections based on on what I've seen, what I like, and the position of the stars. One film per director. Ready? Let's go." [more inside]
This summer's Transformers 4 have seen its fair share of negativity, considering it's a master class in economics and its predecessor is Michael Bay's first art movie (last linked discussed previously.)
After over a decade in development hell, George Miller's return to the Mad Max franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road, has emerged at San Diego Comic-Con with a teaser trailer. [more inside]
Jason Blum—producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister, The Purge, The Bay, and Oculus—participated in an interesting interview at SXSW Film 2014 about his model of producing high-quality low-budget horror films for wide release. The video is almost an hour long, but worth watching if you're interested in contemporary mainstream horror.
James Garner, star of two classic television shows ("Maverick" and "The Rockford Files") and a wide slate of films including "The Great Escape", "The Americanization of Emily" and "Victor/Victoria", has died at the age of 86.
True Lies is a 1994 action comedy film directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Tom Arnold. The film was a huge hit, and is noteworthy in that it featured visual special effects considered impossible only a few years prior. It's been 20 years since it was released. Time for a revisit, then. [SPOILERS if you haven't seen this movie.] [more inside]
If you’ve read anything about this movie, you’ve probably heard about the rightfully infamous “Romeo and Juliet law” scene. Nothing I have read as of yet does actual justice to how absolutely fucking creepy this scene is. Cade and Shane (Tessa’s boyfriend, played by Jack Reynor) have been pissing on each other’s legs since the moment they met about, frankly, just to whom Tessa belongs. Then Cade finds out that Shane is 20; well, Tessa is a minor. Without so much as blinking, Shane launches into a lecture about the Romeo and Juliet law of Texas, and has the text of the law on a laminated card in his wallet. He is carrying it the way one might expect a young man to carry a freaking condom.If you're going to read only one profanity laden review of Transformers 4, make sure it's this one. The profanity because not even the power of alcohol was enough to protect Rachael Acks from this movie, after her readers were so kind as to donate $400 to charity to force her to see it. Bonus: PDF of the notes taken during the movie and for those who like less swearing, the io9 FAQ hits many of the same notes.
In the mid-70s, some sly film distributors decided to turn Amando de Ossorio's Tombs of the Blind Dead, a Spanish horror film, into something tangentially related to the popular Planet of the Apes franchise in order to turn a quick buck. The only problem: there are no apes in the movie. Easy fix: a new intro tacked on to the film turned the undead Knights Templar from the original version into time-traveling undead apes. [more inside]
At The Dissolve: 12 critics narrowed down a list of more than 650 movies, all released between May 1 and August 31 between 1975 and 2013, to arrive at the 50 greatest summer blockbusters. [more inside]