Welcome to Flavorwire’s streaming movie guide, in which we help you sift through the scores of movies streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and other services to find the best of the recently available, freshly relevant, or soon to expire. This week’s new releases are universally underwhelming (you may be tempted to watch Scream 4, but in the name of all that is Craven, resist that temptation), but we got a look at the titles expiring over the next couple of weeks and were amazed by how many great movies are disappearing — so the theme of this week’s streaming movie guide is, apparently, Watch Them While You Can. Join us after the jump for great stuff from Philip Seymour Hoffman, Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, Ethan Hawke, Robert De Niro, Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, James Gandolfini, Marisa Tomei, the Coen Brothers, Mel Brooks, Sidney Lumet, Robert Altman, and Alfonso Cuarón, and follow the title links to watch them right now. … Read More
Billy Bob Thornton
There’s no single figure more beloved during the Christmas season — and in Christmas movies — than good old Saint Nick. But as the years have passed and times have grown more cynical, the holly jolly Kris Kringles of Miracle on 34th Street have been joined in the cinematic Christmas canon by boozing, screwing, stealing Santas of the Bad Santa ilk. For this special Christmas supercut, we’ve assembled some of the sketchier Saint Nicks of cinematic history; check them all out after the jump. … Read More
Every Friday here at Flavorwire, we like to gather up the week’s new movie trailers, give them a look-see, and rank them from worst to best — while taking a guess or two about what they might tell us (or hide from us) about the movies they’re promoting. This week’s seven new trailers do not feature Lindsay Lohan or Will and Jaden Smith — you’ll soon see why we find that so strange. Check ‘em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments. … Read More
We don’t think we’re congratulating ourselves too much if we consider our office a bookish one. But what’s the fun in being bookish if you can’t share what novels are keeping you up at night, get suggestions from other literature nerds, and gossip about what’s next on your reading list? That’s why we’ve embarked on a monthly mission to share our virtual staff bookshelf with you (you can see past bookshelves here and here), so you can check out what books are on our minds and chime in with your own. Click through to check out our aggregated staff bookshelf, and read what a few members of the Flavorpill family have to say about their reading lists, and then let us know what’s in your own read/reading/to read piles in the comments! … Read More
Every Friday here at Flavorwire, we like to gather up the week’s new movie trailers, give them a look-see, and rank them from worst to best — while taking a guess or two about what they might tell us (or hide from us) about the movies they’re promoting. This time around, we’ve got six new clips, ranging from the newest quirk-drenched comedy by the folks behind Little Miss Sunshine to a slice of cartoonish violence starring Billy Bob Thornton to The Channing Tatum Stripper Movie. Check ‘em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments. … Read More
With the holiday season in full swing, it’s easy to get burned out — cable stations are running crappy movies like Jingle All the Way and The Santa Clause 24/7, saccharine holiday music is blasting out of every speaker, and you’ve still got like half your list to buy, and what the hell do I get these freaks?
Calm down. Have an eggnog. Put some rum in it. And enjoy some of our favorite anti-Christmas movies — not films that hate the holiday, per se (though a couple of them do), but ones that cut through all that warmth and good feeling and get at the darkness underneath. Our contrarian Christmas viewing list is after the jump. … Read More
Shame, a candid and powerful look at sexual addiction from director Steve McQueen (no, another Steve McQueen) is out in limited release tomorrow, and as we reported last month, it’s going out with the NC-17 rating—no children under 17 admitted, under any circumstances. The rating, many have surmised, is due to the film’s copious male nudity, and that’s how the American ratings system works: all the naked ladies you want, but the erect male member= automatic NC-17.
The rating was initiated by the MPAA back in 1990, and was intended to be an alternative to the porn-stained (if you’ll pardon the pun) X rating; NC-17 movies, like Henry & June (the inaugural film to carry the rating), Bad Lieutenant, The Dreamers, and Lust, Caution would be for adults, by adults. But it quickly became the kiss of death for filmmakers and distributors. Just as with the X rating before it, newspapers and television outlets wouldn’t carry ads for NC-17 films, while larger theatrical chains and home video outlets refused to carry them. Smaller films would take the mark or (as Kids and Happiness did) go out unrated, while the editing process for big releases became something of a con game: if a film was rated NC-17, the distributor would make the trims necessary for an R-rating, enjoy the publicity, and then restore the cut material for the inevitable “unrated” DVD release (frequently carried by the very chains that refused to stock NC-17 films). By the late 1990s, studios wouldn’t even bother with the first step, cranking out unrated versions of raunchy comedies and adult thrillers as a standard step in their home video release plans.
While the politics of who gets an R and who doesn’t are shady at best (check out the terrific documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated), we can’t help but wonder about what would have happened if the NC-17 could have been what its creators wanted it to be. Fox Searchlight’s decision to release Shame with the scarlet letters/numbers has prompted another round of “will the NC-17 finally become respectable?” questions (answer: dubious), but what if that question weren’t necessary, because the NC-17 had never been stigmatized? Had that been the case, we might have seen the uncut movies we’ve assembled after the jump. … Read More
This Friday is a day that Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, and Allison Janney probably thought would never come: the release date of Margaret, writer/director Kenneth Lonergan’s long, long, long awaited follow-up to his 2000 debut film, the Oscar-nominated You Can Count on Me. Shot clear back in 2005 (and capturing Paquin pre-True Blood and Damon at around the time he shot The Departed), the picture has spent the last six years in a perpetual state of post-production, with most parties involved blaming the perfectionist writer/director, who has seemed unable or unwilling to settle on his contractually-guaranteed final cut.
Meanwhile, Fireflies in the Garden, the familial drama starring Ryan Reynolds and Julia Roberts, is finally getting a release as well this fall — three years after its debut at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival. (Its extended delay appears to be the collateral damage of its original production company’s shutdown.) With both of those dawdling dates finally coming into view, we thought we’d take a look at a few other movies that took (or are taking) a bit longer than the standard one-to-two-year gestation period to make it to the big screen (or to your television). … Read More
Today marks the Blu-ray debut of Good Will Hunting, Gus Van Sant’s acclaimed 1997 drama that became the breakthrough film for writer/stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The pair, who had been friends since childhood, famously wrote the screenplay out of struggling-actor frustration, figuring that if they couldn’t find any good roles (or convince people to give them good roles), they’d write some of their own. The strategy paid off in spades; the film was a critical and financial smash, and the duo won that year’s Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Damon and Affleck weren’t the first frustrated actors who turned to the typewriter to take control of their careers; it’s a common strategy for young actors who can’t get a job, albeit not one that always works out quite as spectacularly. Young actors on the rise aren’t the only ones prone to take a shot at screenwriting, though — more established actors have frequently been known to try their hand at the gig as well, either to redefine themselves and redirect their careers, or to realize a personal, important project. And, let’s be honest, some have probably just done it to satiate their own massive egos. Whatever the case, there’s an abundance of movies written by actors out there; after the jump, we take a look at ten titles, and rank them in order of their artistic (and career-trajectory-influencing) success. … Read More