It’s easy to get jaded, in this season of After Earths and Hangover IIIs and Furious 6es, but let’s remember: sometimes big summer blockbusters attain that phenomenal degree of success for a reason. There’s nothing wrong with a good, old-fashioned popcorn movie, and those that do it well deserve our praise. But in researching a recent roundup of favorite summer movies, your film editor was shocked to discover how many presumably beloved modern classics were not, in fact, universally acclaimed. So, as with award winners and cult classics, it’s time for another round of “movies the critics got dead wrong.” … Read More
Italian illustrator and cartoonist Massimo Carnevale has been capturing attention on film blogs all over the world for his beautiful and inventive artwork inspired by scenes from American movies; he makes striking use of color and repurposed iconography, creating works that are both recognizably his and true to the spirit of the films that inspired them. After the jump, join us for a quick stroll past some of our favorites by this prolific artist. … Read More
A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth entry in the Die Hard series, includes a rather peculiar closing credit: “Certain original characters created by Roderick Thorp.” There’s an explanation for that curious wording: the original Die Hard film was very loosely based on Thorp’s novel Nothing Lasts Forever, with its leading character of Detective Joe Leland (a holdover from Thorp’s book The Detective, played by Frank Sinatra in that volume’s 1968 film adaptation) de-aged and transformed into Bruce Willis’s John McClane. But the clumsy verbiage seems appropriate, since A Good Day to Die Hard is kinda, sorta based on Thorp’s work, but not really, because the latest Die Hard sequel is (like the film that preceded it) barely related to the character at all. It’s another chapter in the continuing betrayal of what the series is, and what it once represented. … Read More
This week, Bruce Willis rides the current wave of Boomer Action Cinema to return as John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard. Willis’ working-class hero has now been gracing theater screens for 25 years and has seen his fair share of changes – more road trips, added sidekicks, children popping up, developing super powers that let him duck flying cars and surf jets. Live Free or Die Hard in particular began to pull the character away from his roots. But no matter where Willis’ hero goes, no matter who he fights, there are always dependable things we can expect to see in each film — and we’re not just talking about his potty-mouthed catchphrase. A recent reviewing of the entire series made us realize that there are a variety of smaller tropes that keep popping up in every Die Hard film. So, in the hopes of temporarily putting aside any fears that we may be increasingly losing the spirit of the franchise to filmmakers who don’t get John McClane, here are a few of the surprising things that help make a Die Hard movie, a Die Hard movie. … Read More
Christmas movie season is in full swing, and if you’re like us, you’ve got holiday films blasting from your television and Netflix window 24/7. “Timeless” is the term that gets thrown around for the good ones, and it’s often true — except in one respect. Those cute and cuddly kids so often at the center of yuletide tales have, in the years since they staked out a permanent place in your heart, grown up. Some have gone on to successful acting careers. Some dropped out once puberty hit. And one even, God help us, did porn. After the jump, our roundup of the after-Christmas lives of our favorite holiday movie kids. … Read More
If Live Free and Die Hard left you calling for a permanent moratorium on all things John McClane, then you’re definitely not alone. But perhaps you’ll reconsider your position after watching the newly-released teaser for the fifth installment in the Die Hard franchise, which, as much as we didn’t want to like it, looks to be a good bit of fun. Sure, Bruce Willis is slightly haggard for an action hero these days, but he still knows how to deliver a quotable one-liner (“The 007 of Plainfield New Jersey”). Plus, if it’s eye candy that you’re craving, Spartacus star Jai Courtney plays his son Jack, who according to the press release, “may even be more of a hardass than his father.” Yippee-ki-yay, motherf*cker! Click through for your first look at A Good Day To Die Hard, and let us know in the comments if you think it’s worth checking out. … Read More
1. The first trailer for Gore Verbinski’s big-screen adaptation of The Lone Ranger, which stars Armie Hammer as the title character and Johnny Depp as Tonto, has arrived online, but doesn’t give away much in terms of plot or tone. We are clear, however, on the fact that there will be lots and lots of… Read More
Earlier, we reported that in celebration of the upcoming Blu-ray release of the Indiana Jones series, Raiders of the Lost Ark would be making its way to IMAX theaters next month. Steven Spielberg told the New York Times:
“For me, it’s always been the bigger the screen, the better. It’s the only marked contrast we have to the generations that are seeing our movies on phones and hand-held platforms. It’s a complete relief to be able to see a film that many people have just experienced on a palm-sized platform technology, suddenly hurled at that them on an Imax-sized screen.”
A great platform for tentpole actioners and other epics, IMAX’s 72-foot screen and immersive environment makes it a stunning and exciting way to transform older film favorites, allowing audiences to appreciate their craft and consideration once more. The horizontal IMAX 70mm standard is about nine times larger than 35mm and three times bigger than normal 70mm. Keep in mind, we’re not talking about the retrofitted multiplexes where the digital projection is pretty pathetic by comparison. We’re only interested in a true IMAX experience. Since seeing a remastered movie on IMAX’s large-scale canvas conveys a tremendous sense of scope, enhances details and sound, and can be a hell of a lot of fun, we made a list of other movies we want to see. Click through to check out a few of our picks, then head to the comments to share yours. … Read More
With the reboot of Total Recall hitting theaters this week, and Cloud Atlas on the horizon we’ve been thinking a lot about the way films are adapted from books, and how often people totally miss the books in favor of the movies that spring from them — including us. With film adaptations of Philip K. Dick stories like Total Recall, which tend to veer so wildly that you might not recognize even if you had read the source material, we understand. But as it turns out, there are a lot more movies that we didn’t realize were based on books — until now. Click through to see our list, and let us know which movies surprised you (or which ones you totally knew about, smarty pantses) in the comments. … Read More
As you may have heard — if you have watched a television, been to a movie, visited a website, or looked at the side of a bus in the past two months — there’s a motion picture coming out tomorrow called The Avengers, and it is expected to be quite the big hit. What you might not be aware of this that there are two other movies hitting multiplexes this weekend: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a comedy/drama from Shakespeare in Love director John Madden (no, not that John Madden) featuring the Anglophile wet-dream cast of Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, and Bill Nighy; and something called A Little Bit of Heaven, a romantic comedy in which Kate Hudson has cancer, Peter Dinklage is a male prostitute, and Whoopi Goldberg is God. No, seriously.
Those two films could be most diplomatically deemed “counter-programming,” that old Hollywood notion of putting out movies designed to appeal to audiences far different from those of the big blockbusters. The problem is, a movie like The Avengers defies counter-programming; it’s a movie that cuts across demos and marketing quadrants. Everybody wants to see that movie. (I, for one, know far more young women who are interested in seeing The Avengers than another goddamn Kate Hudson movie.) What you often end up with instead are kamikaze movies — films whose release opposite a major, hype-driven blockbuster indicates a competing studio is just giving up and burning off a movie that they have to release sometime (maybe even for contractual reasons), so this is as good a time as any.
There’s a long, strange history to be found in tracking the movies that opened against the sure things; we’ll take a look at a few prime examples after the jump. … Read More