The rumors were swirling for a while, but now she’s made it official: Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson won’t be back for the remaining two (or, if they’re following the unfortunate current trend, three) film adaptations of E.L. James’ bestsellers. “While I will not be returning to direct the sequels,” she told Deadline, “I wish nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three.” This “one and done” pattern is surprisingly prevalent among big movie franchises. While many series keep the same director for multiple entries (Spider-Man, X-Men, Pirates of the Caribbean), if not all the way through (Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, Transformers, The Dark Knight), some filmmakers go through the work of creating a world, making crucial casting decisions, and starting a franchise, only to decide — or have someone decide for them — that they’re not going to go through it all again. Here are a few other filmmakers that were in for a penny instead of a pound. … Read More
Quentin Tarantino, America’s favorite over-caffeinated movie geek, turns the big 5-0 today — a bit of a shock, considering that he seems forever frozen as the animated, motor-mouthed kid we first met back in 1992, via his shockingly assured debut film Reservoir Dogs. Your film editor had the opportunity to spend a fair amount of time considering Mr. Tarantino’s influences and filmography while writing the forthcoming 20th anniversary volume Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino’s Masterpiece (out October 15th — but already available for pre-order!). Part of the fun of trying to figure out what makes a movie encyclopedia like Tarantino tick — particularly one who wears his influences so proudly — is in diving into his favorite films and tracing the path his own work took from them. So if you’d care to celebrate QT’s 50 years by watching some of his most beloved pictures, join us after the jump for an adapted excerpt from the book, with a few recommendations from his favorite flicks. … Read More
The “New York movie” — shot on location, pulsing with the heartbeat of a city, capturing with documentary-like attentiveness a snapshot of a city in constant evolution — is a popular topic for movie list-makers, and over the past few months, we’ve seen both Time Out New York’s exhaustive top 100 and Complex’s briefer top 50. They’re both good lists, and filled with terrific films; they also don’t offer much in the way of surprises, since the NYC movie canon has been so firmly established that it becomes less a question of what will be on it than what order they’ll choose for the usual suspects (Taxi Driver, Manhattan, Sweet Smell of Success, etc). Again, all great movies. But we thought it might be fun to point you in the direction of a few of our favorite New York flicks that didn’t make either list — just in case you’ve already worked your way through those 100-plus titles, or would like to check out something a little further off the beaten path. You’ll find our top dozen after the jump. … Read More
Tomorrow is the 65th birthday of Mr. Stephen King — yep, the master of pop horror is now a senior citizen — so break out a party hat, have a slice of cake, and douse yourself in pig’s blood. Mr. King’s gradual progression, over the last couple of decades, from genre populist to critical darling has been a joy to watch. But the conventional wisdom that his books make for lousy movies inexplicably still holds. Make no mistake, they’ve turned his works into some turkeys, as anyone who’s sat through Graveyard Shift, Dreamcatcher, or his first (and so far only) directorial effort Maximum Overdrive can tell you. But his novels and stories have also provided the groundwork for several genuinely great movies — many of them, surprisingly enough, not even set in the world of the supernatural. After the jump, our picks for the best Stephen King movies to date. … Read More
1. The lineup for this year’s Venice Film Festival has been announced, and among the 17 films in competition are new works from Terrence Malick (To The Wonder), Brian De Palma (Passion), and Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers). [via ArtsBeat]
2. If you didn’t grab a copy on Record Store Day, you can stream… Read More
Out tomorrow on DVD, and worth checking out, is Silent House, a film most notable not for its haunted-house narrative (which is adequate) nor its leading performance by Elizabeth Olsen (which is quite good), but for its remarkable technique: the entire film is cleverly shot to appear as though it is captured in one unedited, unbroken take. It wasn’t, of course (it’s pieced together seamlessly via several hidden “stitches”), and isn’t the first film to try to put that trickery across; earlier films like Russian Ark, Timecode, and PVC-1 have been executed entirely in a long take, though this is one of the few films to use the technique at the service of a genre story.
These films are part of a long tradition of stylish filmmakers showing off their craft via long, elaborate shots, often incorporating extensive camera movement and busy choreography to create an unending flurry of on-screen activity. After the jump, we’ve assembled ten of our very favorites; agree, disagree, and add your own in the comments. … Read More
While we were off eating and drinking and making movie merry at SXSW last week, we missed an important anniversary: March 15th marked 40 years since The Godfather’s theatrical opening. Since it is basically your film editor’s favorite movie ever, you can surely understand my inclination to make this oversight right — and we couldn’t think of a better way to do it than to look at the picture’s peers among the great canon on American gangster films. (We kept it domestic for the sole purpose of keeping the list to a manageable length; for the same reason, we’ve tried to focus on films that are primarily gangster films, as opposed to movies like Reservoir Dogs that are heist movies or other genres with organized crime in the background.) After the jump, we’ll take a look at The Godfather within that canon: the film itself, the films that inspired it, and the films it inspired. To be fair, we’re doing it chronologically — and it’s all opinion, of course, so let us know what was unfairly skipped in the comments. … Read More
Now that Christmas shopping season is in full effect, it’s time for your Flavorwire editors to swing into public service mode. Yes, yes, all the lists and links and commentary are fun, we know you’re saying, but where are the shopping tips? What do I get my movie-obsessed cousin Donovan? Do I have to actually communicate with him to find out what he wants? Those phone calls always last twice as long as I want them to, and his breathing patterns are disturbing! Fear no more, gentle reader, for after the jump, you’ll find a collection of films and books guaranteed to warm the hearts of your film fan relatives on Christmas morning, which they’ll enjoy to the fullest before fleeing the premises to catch the 1:20 matinee of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Check them out and add your own after the jump! … Read More
For film fans who are not entirely obsessed with the horror genre, October can be a long and lonely month indeed, since we’re seemingly expected to spend our every spare movie-viewing moment consuming horror movies as a kind of extended Halloween celebration. The trouble is, some of us just aren’t that nuts about horror movies — but there’s all of these “31 Days of Horror” and “October Horror Movie Challenge” threads, and nobody wants to be the killjoy who spoils the party. But remember this, fellow indifferent film fanatics: the nice thing about the horror genre is that it’s adaptable. Elements of the scary movie not only can be easily combined with those forms you’re more at home with, but have been. After the jump, we’ll take a look at a few of our favorite horror hybrid movies. … Read More
Well, we’ve all had a week to let the Oscar nominations sink in, and if there’s one thing almost everyone seems to agree on, it’s this: Christopher Nolan wuz robbed. As we noted when running down the snubs, it’s a bit surprising that Nolan’s dizzyingly complicated, masterfully-crafted work on Inception somehow didn’t net him a Best Director nomination, particularly after many felt he should have received that recognition for The Dark Knight two years ago. We know, it’s hard to feel too bad for a fabulously successful studio director; he can always take solace in his rave reviews, piles of money, and the knowledge that he gets to spend several months with a cat-suited Anne Hathaway. But it’s gotta sting just a little.
So take heart, Christopher Nolan: you certainly won’t be the first great filmmaker to get the cold shoulder from the folks at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. And keep in mind that, while these folks never won, Best Director Oscars sit in the homes of Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson, Warren Beatty, Robert Redford (pattern?), Robert Zemeckis, James L. Brooks, and James Cameron. Perspective given? Good. Join us, won’t you, for a look back at some of the fine filmmakers who never won the Best Director honor. … Read More