10 Essential Animated Movies That Are Absolutely Not for Kids

This week, the Criterion Collection releases Watership Down, Martin Rosen’s 1978 adaptation of Richard Adams’ novel. It’s one of the few animated films in the collection to date, but don’t go gathering up the kids, movie nerds — from the moment little Fiver gets his apocalyptic vision, wherein “The field… the field… it’s covered with blood!,” it’s very clear that this is one cartoon that’s not for the kiddies. But it’s also a terrific movie, reminding us that too often, the seemingly malleable form of the animated feature film is consigned to family entertainment and left there. Here are a few notable… Read More

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Watch Trailer for ‘Farah Goes Bang,’ the Only Extant Road Trip Sex Dramedy About Canvassing for John Kerry

It’s pretty hard to find any romance, beauty, joy or even humor in the act of canvassing: while those… Read More

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Idris Elba, Anthony Mackie and Hayley Atwell Will Appear in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

Avengers: Age of Ultron has revealed some new members of its already impressive cast list: Idris Elba, Anthony Mackie and Hayley Atwell.… Read More

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‘Electric Boogaloo': How Cannon Films’ ’80s Trash Tactics Took Over Hollywood

It would be tempting to say that documentarian Mark Hartley’s in trouble once he runs out of schlocky movie subcultures to turn into films, but who am I kidding? Hollywood will never stop turning out schlocky movies. He broke out with the 2008 film Not Quite Hollywood, a raucous celebration of “Ozploitation,” the exploitation pictures of his native Australia; he followed it up with 2010’s Machete Maidens Unleashed!, which looked at the (frequently foreign) exploitation filmmaking of the Philippines in the 1970s and 1980s. His latest, Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (which opened the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s “Film Comment Selects” series last weekend), dives into the rich story of the notorious mini-studio run by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. It is, as per usual for Hartley, a giddy, lightning-paced celebration of cheerfully terrible movies. But in a post-movie discussion with Hartley and some of his participants, it became clear that it’s also not some piece of moldy, irrelevant movie history. … Read More

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‘Birdman,’ ‘Maps to the Stars,’ and Hollywood’s Current Vogue for Self-Obsession

“Pray that those that eat, those that are eaten, and the act of eating be universally devoid of self,” celebrity therapist Dr. Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) says smugly in Maps to the Stars, director David Cronenberg’s big, wet defecation on the deadening influence of Hollywood. He’s quoting the Dalai Lama, he says, but long before his cushy life goes up in flames, it’s clear that Weiss’ Buddhist wisdom is all smoke and mirrors, a vain stab at profundity from an exceedingly shallow man. Indeed, here, as in other recent depictions of Tinseltown’s insider baseball, such noble sentiments ring false, or are otherwise crushed by an industry no longer much interested in altruism. That four films from four directors, each with its own distinct style and tone, should tread such similar thematic ground in this short span of time suggests a certain discomfort with the changing rules of the game, a fear that the dog-eat-dog business of filmmaking threatens to annihilate a particular brand of film art. Call it the unexpected anxiety of obsolescence. … Read More

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