Two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington teams with one-time Green Lantern Ryan Reynolds in this week’s Safe House, the latest of Washington’s midrange action movies. His recent output has been so heavy on popcorn flicks like Unstoppable and The Book of Eli that it’s easy to forget his wide range and occasional risky projects, so we decided to make Mr. Washington the subject of a video essay, spotlighting some of his more interesting (and less widely-acclaimed) films and performances. Watch it after the jump. … Read More
Now that we’ve all had the chance to let last week’s Oscar nominations sink in, the general consensus of complaint (and that’s always what they boil down to) appears to have settled on the acting nominations — specifically, the rather shocking number of brilliant performances that were snubbed outright, against expectations. Tilda Swinton, for example, was presumed a shoo-in; same goes for Albert Brooks and, to a lesser degree, Charlize Theron and Kirsten Dunst. We won’t rehash everyone who got shafted; the point is, it happened, as it seems to every year. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has a long and storied history of shutting out great performances; after the jump, we’ve assembled ten iconic acting turns that we were stunned to discover weren’t even nominated for the Oscar. … Read More
When you have to keep an obsessive eye on film, music, books, visual art, television, the Internet, and all other manner of popular culture, something eventually has to give, and for us — well, for this author, anyway — it’s sports. An almost-complete disinterest in professional and collegiate sporting events can make one feel a bit of an outcast (and it certainly makes for a confusing Facebook feed; apparently some guy who’s really into Jesus won something important on Sunday?), but after faking it through high school and college, I can’t pretend to care anymore. Maybe it makes me a pencil-necked geek, but the idea of spending three hours watching a football going to and fro — particularly when there are still Hitchcock movies I haven’t seen — is simply unacceptable.
However, many of the same film fans who are patently disinterested in a Sunday afternoon of TV sports will gladly spend that same time planted in front of a sports-themed movie — basically the same thing, albeit with better camera angles and a scripted ending. (And the angles are the only difference in a wrestling movie, HA HA!) And that’s fine with this viewer; as I told a friend after its release, “I’d watch football every week if it looked like Any Given Sunday.” But cinephiles more sport-phobic than I (and they’re out there!) might prefer films that keep the game play squarely off-screen. In honor of today’s DVD release of Moneyball, one of the best of the bunch, we offer ten genuinely good movies about sports that are notable for their minimal sports action. Check them out after the jump, and add your own in the comments. … Read More
Welcome to “Trailer Park,” our regular Friday feature where we collect the week’s new trailers all in one place and do a little “judging a book by its cover,” ranking them from worst to best and taking our best guess at what they may be hiding. We’ve got seven new trailers this week, ranging from family-friendly zombies to haunted hotels to psycho teens; check ‘em out after the jump. … Read More
One of the many pleasures of Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn’s slick new art house/action hybrid (opening in select cities tomorrow — and as Letterman likes to say, we sure hope your city has been selected) is the masterful performance of the great Albert Brooks. The comedian/filmmaker/comic actor (and, most recently, novelist) plays the film’s villain, a hard-boiled gangster type; Brooks harnesses his groggy weariness (that raspy voice has seldom been so well-utilized) and that impatient anger that’s always percolating under his best work. He’s unexpectedly chilling and effective.
His top-shelf work got us thinking about other actors who took on villainous roles and, whether due to their good-guy personas or comedic backgrounds, took us by surprise with the ruthlessness of their darker turns. We’ve rounded up our picks after the jump. … Read More
For the past six years, Franklin Leonard, a mid-level studio executive, has put together the annual Black List — a compilation of the year’s best unproduced screenplays according to him and 300 or so of his industry pals. But these aren’t just projects that will never see the light of day. A few of the films are in production now, and six of the top 10 screenplays — which we’ve posted after the jump — have already been scooped up by studios. Let us know in the comments what you think sounds the most promising; our money’s on Jackie, a film about Jacqueline Kennedy’s life in the days following her husband’s death, which is set to be directed by Darren Aronofsky. … Read More
Forbes has come out with a list of Hollywood’s most overpaid actors for 2010. To do this they looked at the 36 highest-earning actors in the movie business and compared the actor’s pay with what their last three films made earned (with a cutoff date of June 1, 2010). The resulting number comes in the form of amount the studio has made for every dollar they paid the star (for example, for every dollar Will Ferrell was paid, his last three films returned an average $3.35). Click through for the top 10 and our slightly over-the-top analysis. … Read More
1. The kick-ass trailer for Kick-Ass is up; the movie, which is based on the comic book series of the same name, is due in theaters next April. [MySpace via Pop Candy]
2. Vampire Weekend reveals the inspiration behind the title of their upcoming album, Contra. [via NME]
3. 600,000 gamers may have been cut off from Microsoft’s Xbox Live for modifying their consoles to play pirated games. [via BBC]
4. Playgirl is really trying to do its nude shoot with Levi Johnston on a budget. [via NYP]
5. Denzel Washington will return to Broadway this spring in a revival of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winner, Fences. [via Variety]
Bonus link: Best American Short Stories: By the… Read More
Obviously good press makes all the difference, as last weekend’s top two films (The Hangover and UP) hung onto their top spots with little to no competition from newcomers The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and the dismally-performing Eddie Murphy kid’s flick Imagine That (why, Eddie?).… Read More