You can’t judge a book by its cover, as we’ve recently discovered with not only books, but also music. That holds true with film as well — not just with movie posters, which have their own problematic elements, but when it comes time to sell you the movie in physical form. For years, DVD distributors have uglified some of our favorite movies — often even eschewing the classy and striking movie posters for Photoshopped, Frankensteined monstrosities of their own making, designed to move units at all costs. We’ve assembled some of the ugliest and most terrifying DVD images for movies we actually like — and provided their original posters as well, just so you can see how far they can fall. … Read More
If you try to follow the business end of the film industry too closely, you can get some awfully mixed messages. (I mean “the business end” in the literal sense, although I’d imagine the sentence reads accurately the other way as well.) Perusing the Internet this morning, I found out that a) domestic box office is still on the decline and b) DVD and Blu-ray rentals are continuing to drop as well, though c) IMAX is booming, and d) ticket prices will probably go up, to make it seem like 3D is less of a rip-off. Oh, and e) The Hunger Games had one of the biggest opening weekends in movie history.
In other words, William Goldman was right: In Hollywood, nobody knows anything.
Of course, this whiplash-inducing confusion (are people going to the movies, or not? And if not, where are they seeing them?) is a natural byproduct of the cinema’s current state of transition, where people are as engaged and passionate as ever about movies, but changing the ways they watch them. And that’s why we’re curious about you, the Flavorwire reader: how do you see movies these days? … Read More
Taking a glance at today’s new DVD releases (as we do on many a groggy Tuesday morn), we noticed the continuation of a disturbing pattern. Happily Divorced: Season One. The New Adventures of Old Christine: The Complete Fifth Season. Transformers Prime: Season One. “Fan Favorite” collections featuring the “best” of Hogan’s Heroes and Macgyver — since every season of those shows has already been released. And the question we ask (aside from “who the hell is buying this stuff”) is this: How is it that we get every single episode of Fran Drescher’s new TV Land sitcom a mere seven months after they aired, but we’re still waiting for our Wonder Years DVDs?
After the jump, we’ll take a look at a dozen great (or at least interesting) TV shows that are inexplicably unavailable on DVD, and try to figure out why. … 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
These are tough times for Netflix loyalists. The company’s recent subscription price uptick invoked a fury across the Internet that was, frankly, a little disproportionate; sure, they could’ve handled it better, but seriously, the $20 a month your author is paying for unlimited streaming and one-out-at-a-time DVD or Blu-ray is, any way you slice it, a bargain. The end of Netflix’s streaming deal with Starz that was announced shortly thereafter was ill-timed, but we seldom watched those “Starz-Play” titles anyway, since they were usually in the wrong aspect ratio. The subscriber drop that followed the price increase wasn’t good news for anybody, but the way we saw it, that translated to a shorter wait for that Blu-ray of Thor.
But now there’s this “An Explanation and Some Reflections” email and blog post from Reed Hastings, Netflix’s co-founder and CEO, and even us apologists can’t explain away this madness. Read it (and our contributions to the blogosphere-wide chorus of “WTF?”) after the jump. … Read More
Buried way down on the list of this week’s DVD releases — below Limitless and Take Me Home Tonight and Peep World — is a little movie called Skidoo, which you may have never heard of unless you are a bad movie aficionado (as your author is). This 1968 “comedy” was an attempt by Paramount and esteemed director Otto Preminger to make a hip film about the counter-culture geared towards the young people — starring such youth heroes as, um, Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Burgess Meredith, Mickey Rooney, and Groucho Marx. It concerns a gangster (Gleason) who is sent into prison to ice an informant and ends up dropping acid and escaping via a flying garbage can. It is as spectacularly ill-conceived as it sounds, and it sank without a trace following its release — though it occasionally popped up on cable, it was never released on home video (not even on VHS) until now.
Of course, Skidoo could be seen via the back channels of bootleg video, but it’s nice to see an oddity like this finally getting an official, authorized, legitimate home video release. And while the movie is an utter mess, it is an undeniably entertaining one, featuring inventive songs by Harry Nilsson and Groucho’s final film performance; let’s face it, even bad movies deserve to at least make it to the marketplace. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a wish list of some other titles that have never made it to DVD — some never even to VHS. Take a look after the jump, and add your own in the comments. … Read More
Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth, examines the failings of the US education system in his controversial and poignant documentary Waiting for “Superman.”
Interweaving the narratives of five children with statistics and interviews with education reformers, the film illustrates the more nimble nature of charter schools that can hire non-union teachers and design their own curriculum. But good charter schools, like KIPP, are difficult to get into, and in the interest of fairness, acceptance rests on a cruel lottery system. … Read More
It’s tough to be a cinephile in the digital age. Make no mistake — there’s certainly something to be said for the rise in sheer availability these days; it’s hard to even remember a time when your film viewing choices were limited to the lousy stock at your local Blockbuster, to say nothing of our forefathers, who could only take in film classics at revival screenings and on the local TV stations’ “Late Show.” The rise of DVD, the takeover of Netflix, and the influx of streaming options amount to a film fanatic’s dream: just about every movie, available either right now or within a couple of days. … Read More
Now out on DVD, director Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void is a visually arresting psychosexual acid trip through the Tokyo underworld.
New to the neon jungle, Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) gets caught up with drugs, while his sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta) finds refuge working at a local strip club. After a bust goes awry, Oscar’s spirit sets sail — but helplessly hovers over the city as his friends and loved ones deal with the aftermath of his indiscretions. Loosely based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead and scored by Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter, the film presents a mind-bending, candy-coated nightmare. … Read More