Industry scuttlebutt has it that Willis was let go, which certainly isn’t an unprecedented move for Mr. Allen. …Read More
Twenty years ago this week, Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects opened in theaters, and everybody lost their minds. It ended up redefining the “twist” ending, becoming a kind of shorthand for a left-field, eleventh-hour plot development that reconfigures everything that’s come before. But it was neither the first nor last movie to do that ending, or do it well. …Read More
Trainwreck celebrity interviews going viral: It’s a trend! And it’s a trend that comes as a direct result of the genuinely stupid way big movies are …Read More
Buried among this week’s DVD and Blu-ray releases is a little something called Absolution, an action thriller that teams Vinnie Jones (remember him?) with Steven Seagal. It’s the third film in which the former Under Siege star plays contract killer John Alexander, and if you’re not familiar with the series, don’t worry — you probably aren’t aware of of most of Mr. Seagal’s recent filmography, which (with the exception of his jokey cameo in 2010’s Machete) has consisted of low-profile movies, usually shot in Europe or Asia, and released straight to home video.
This week’s new release shelf contains two movies that I wish we could count among spring’s sleeper hits — but in spite of their high quality and genre trappings, they never found an audience at the art house. But that’s what home video is for, right? Also out this week: a terrific period thriller, and a pair of catalog titles, new to Netflix and worth a second look.
This week, Olive Films is releasing, for the first time on Blu-ray, The Road to Hong Kong, the last of the seven “Road” buddy comedies starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Hitting theaters a full decade after the penultimate entry, Hong Kong is an occasionally funny and occasionally wheezy bit of business, with one honest-to-God great sequence: an unbilled cameo by Peter Sellers, who strolls into the picture and steals the damn thing outright. Hope and Crosby were early adopters of the kind of inside-joke comedy that yielded such cameos, which became increasingly common in the years that followed; we’ve gathered up some of the funniest in movie …Read More
“Our world interconnected. Our systems interconnected. Our identities vulnerable.” So goes the on-screen tagline in the trailer for Michael Mann’s new cyber-thriller Blackhat, and as the word “identities” is replaced by “security,” “homes,” “secrets,” “money,” “privacy,” “safety,” and the like — along with a giant close-up of a cable plugging in — it’s easy to chuckle along with Hollywood doing one more fear-mongering thriller about hackers taking down sacred cows and exposing private information, as if such a thing were actually plausible. (Oh, wait.) Yes, the Sony hack suddenly made Blackhat’s potentially worrisome January release suddenly timely and relevant, but it’s part of a long tradition of films that looked at the capabilities of computers, artificial intelligence, and the Internet — and shit their collective pants over it.
I know you’re supposed to let a movie draw you into its narrative without excess baggage, and its characters should exist only as themselves and so on, but I had an odd moment of external realization when I first saw About Alex (which is out this week on DVD, and is pretty good). The scene comes about six minutes into this junior Big Chill, and there’s nothing earth-shattering about it as a scene; Siri (Maggie Grace) meets Josh (Max Greenfield) and Sarah (Aubrey Plaza) at the train station to drive them to the cabin where they and several other old friends are spending the weekend. But as the three characters embraced and reconnected, something in the back of my head whispered, “Look, it’s Schmidt and April Ludgate meeting up with Shannon from Lost.” And no, that didn’t make this scene the culmination of some sort of weird TV fan fiction; it merely accentuated, with a rare bit of clarity, how much the game has changed for actors, in terms of the transition from TV to film (and back).