Film

The 30 Best Movie Posters of 2014

The image on its poster often bolsters a good film, leaving a remarkable impression before we’ve even seen it. The image often sees us through the film, casts its own lens over our perception of the whole experience. Of course, there’s no dearth of mediocre films with beautiful posters out there, and these can long outlive their lesser, more time-consuming counterparts. Here, we’ve gathered and ranked the best film posters of 2014 based on both their aesthetic appeal and the ways they work alongside their source material. … Read More

  • 0

Quvenzhané Wallis Can’t Save the ‘Annie’ Reboot, But Her Performance Is More Important Than Critics Let On

When I checked the Rotten Tomatoes page for the Annie reboot this morning, I was surprised to see its positive ratings had crept up past the 20 percent mark. I was surprised because the critical response to the film has felt so universally negative: vicious review after vicious review has reveled in “hard knock life” and “the sun’ll come out tomorrow” puns that are about as unoriginal as the movie’s dialogue, all in the service of complaining about Annie‘s lack of originality. … Read More

  • 0

‘Unbroken,’ ‘Still Alice,’ and the Desperate Pursuit of Oscar Gold

One of the many ingenious running gags in Ben Stiller’s scathing 2009 Hollywood satire Tropic Thunder is Simple Jack, a widely derided, financially disastrous attempt by Cruise-style action star Tugg Speedman (Stiller) to be taken seriously as an actor by making a film that panders, with comic desperation, for Academy Award recognition. We see clips from Simple Jack, and the parody is dead-on: the faux-inspirational music, the sepia-tinged photography, the “tear-jerking” storytelling. We laugh, because the intentions are so transparent — and because we’ve seen films that clamor for that Oscar with no less sophistication. Now, I’m not saying that the inspirational drama Unbroken is a 137-minute version of Simple Jack, or that the Julianne Moore vehicle Still Alice is Moore’s Tugg Speedman moment. But let’s just say I’ve been thinking of the spoof movie a lot lately. … Read More

  • 0

The Best Films of 2014

At the end of every year, the assembling and organizing of a best-of list becomes an exercise in incongruity; it seems like we spent all of our time complaining about blockbusters and avoiding dystopian YA adaptations, and yet, when you look at the sum total of a year of cinema, there are enough great films for not only this list, but two supplementary ones. Some film writers have taken this year’s shortage of clear-cut “favorites” as the sign of a weak year. I say just the opposite: the wide swath of quality releases, from personal indies to whip-smart genre flicks to thoughtful documentaries, tells the story of an uncommonly rich and rewarding 12 months of… Read More

  • 0

Jennifer Aniston Is Just as Great as You’ve Heard in the Disappointingly Mediocre ‘Cake’

Let it be said: Jennifer Aniston’s performance in Daniel Barnz’s Cake is fantastic. Just look at that punim above! It’s not just an Oscar-baiting punim, it’s the punim of an actor convincingly embodying a very pained character! Let it also be said: it shouldn’t be a surprise that Aniston’s performance would be fantastic — she killed it in Nicole Holofcener’s Friends With Money and Mike White’s The Good Girl. But finally, it must be said that Cake is not really good enough to pay attention to, and the only reason people most definitely will is because of that Aniston punim, which, while convincingly pained and convincingly scarred, remains trapped beneath the manipulative emotional anvils the movie drops. … Read More

  • 0

Oh Look, Here’s a Trailer for a Good, Multicolored S&M Film: ‘The Duke of Burgundy’

Berberian Sound Studio director Peter Strickland has been rousing festival audiences with The Duke of Burgundy, a lush S&M drama named, oh… Read More

  • 0

Like It Or Not, ‘The Interview’ Is a Battle Worth Fighting

It was a no-win situation, which was probably why the hackers made the play they did. When the “Guardians of Peace,” drunk with the power of infiltrating and publicly humiliating one of the biggest entertainment conglomerates on the planet, fired off their comically villainous missive Tuesday (I mean, seriously, “how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to”?) threatening 9/11-style attacks on theaters showing Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s Kim Jong-un assassination comedy The Interview, it put Sony Pictures in a helluva spot. If they kept the release date and (contrary to all available intelligence) an attack did occur, then moviegoers and theater employees could be hurt or killed, and the narrative would be, “Greedy Sony is responsible for this, because of their greed.” If they pulled the movie from release, it would mean that any hackers worth their salt — and, as is probably the case here, the totalitarian government behind them — could dictate what we see. It would be a loss of backbone and credibility and “face,” but that’s not the kind of thing that results in liabilities and lawsuits, so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Sony made the call they did. Corporations gonna corporate, after all, and there’s really nothing we can do about that. But what we can control is what our takeaway will be from this whole affair — how to deal with it, and what we’ve learned from it. … Read More

  • 0
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,657 other followers