From its opening credit sequence, which finds Chris Pratt boogeying through an alien landscape to the strains of Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love,” Guardians of the Galaxy seems the perfect antidote to Serious Summer Blockbuster Syndrome, a blissfully goofy and tartly self-aware slab of sci-fi silliness. Writer/director James Gunn is another of Marvel’s unconventional hires — his pitch-black 2010 comedy Super features Rainn Wilson as a mentally unbalanced would-be superhero who attacks people with a hammer while shouting “Shut up, crime!” — and for much of Guardians’ 122 minutes, Gunn’s grab-bag of quirky characters, genre ribbing, and incongruent ‘70s pop tunes goes over like gangbusters. The trouble is, it’s only irreverent to a point, and when the time comes to wrap things up, Gunn plays it strictly by the book. And this is becoming a real problem in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. … Read More
If you look up the filmographies of Anthony and Joe Russo, directors of the new (and very good) Captain America: The Winter Soldier, you’re not going to see much that screams SUMMER TENTPOLE ACTION MOVIE MAKERS. Their only two previous features were the mostly unseen Big Deal on Madonna Street remake Welcome to Collinwood and the mostly unloved Owen Wilson comedy You, Me and Dupree. And then you will find lots and lots of television comedy, everything from the monkey-doctor comedy Animal Practice to more acclaimed programs like Arrested Development, Happy Endings, and Community. The natural assumption is that the powers-that-be at Marvel who handed the Russo brothers the keys to Captain America were taking a big chance. But Marvel has reached a point where it’s actually more unusual for them to pick conventional action directors for their films — in fact, what’s making their big-screen efforts stand out from the blockbuster pack is their tendency to place them in the hands of, when you get down to it, comedy filmmakers. … Read More
As you’re enjoying that Netflix stream of The Avengers, the first question you’d ask might not be, “How exactly would the New York media cover this?” But luckily for you, graphic artist Kimba McG did ask that question, and the result is her MediAvengers project, in which she works up inventive covers and spreads for magazines and newspapers’ imagined coverage of the superhero crew — from Time and the Times to Forbes and US. Check out a few of her best after the jump, and swing by her Tumblr and Facebook page to see more. … Read More
Henri Langlois, co-founder of the Cinémathèque Française, once said of Louis Feuillade’s 1915 silent crime serial, “I am convinced that surrealism preexisted in cinema. Feuillade’s Les vampires was already an expression of the 20th century and of the universal subconscious.” The ten-part, subversive serial runs a whopping eight hours, but it’s easy to lose track of the time when you’re following the exploits of a vampy Parisian gang — including proto-goth starlet Musidora as the infamous Irma Vep.
It’s great to see companies like Kino International bringing old-timey serials like Les vampires to Blu-ray, keeping the low-budget, action-packed chapter plays alive. These early movies are where many film tropes and characters evolved — including several of the superheroes audiences go crazy for, today — and where moviegoers grew to love (and sometimes hate) them. Click through to watch several entertaining serials that are online right now (follow the video links for other parts in the series), and school yourself on an essential chapter in cinema history. … Read More
Welcome to Flavorpill’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. Last time, we walked you though a mass exodus of titles at the end of July, but as Netflix taketh away, it giveth; a ton of new (and catalog) titles were added at the beginning of August, so we’ll walk you though the best of those, and a few other films worth seeking out as well. Check them all out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now. … Read More
Captain America might have grossed $368 million worldwide, but it wasn’t up to the same standard as Iron Man or The Avengers — we’d group it with second-tier, good-but-not-great Marvel fare like Thor or Iron Man 2. So we’re intrigued to hear that Joe and Anthony Russo — who are actually better known for their… Read More
How would the major events of the world have been changed if superheroes truly existed? We may never know, but Indonesian photographer Agan Harahap, whose work we first spotted over at Design Taxi, takes a step towards imagining what it might have been like with these incredible vintage photos of World War II, manipulated to include superheroes and movie villains getting a piece of the action. The photos range from hilarious to poignant and even slightly disturbing — Batman giving orders to the paratroopers at Greenham airfield, Darth Vader sitting for pictures at Yalta, Captain American infiltrating a Russian prisoner-of-war camp — and a few of them make us feel a little better that superheroes don’t actually exist. After all, you never know whose side they might wind up on. … Read More