Francis Ford Coppola

30 Criminally Underrated Movie Sequels

Next week brings the Blu-ray debut of Psycho IIand Psycho III, two 1980s horror films that had the gall, the downright temerity, to follow up Hitchcock’s groundbreaking horror classic. But here’s the thing about these movies: they’re not half bad. There’s no denying that the vast majority of sequels are both unnecessary and terrible, less continuations of stories or honest entertainments than filmed deals. But it’s also unfair to paint all follow-ups with that broad brush; there are a fair number of sequels that are far better than their reputations would have you… Read More

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Wild Vintage Posters from Classic Roger Corman Drive-In Movies

Chris Nashawaty’s wonderful new book Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, and Candy Stripe Nurses is an homage to the “King of the B Movie”: Roger Corman, whose cheapo productions for American International Pictures and his own New World outfit, aimed squarely at drive-in and grindhouses, provided not only thrills for movie-goers but opportunities for countless young filmmakers looking for their first break. Nashawaty’s book (out now) is an affectionate tribute to the producer/director, an oral history with contributions by Corman and the many actors, directors, and technicians he employed. But it’s also a handsome coffee-table volume showcasing the distinctive art of these textbook exploitation movies, in which the marketing campaign was often devised before the script was even written. After the jump, we’ve selected ten of our favorite vintage Corman posters, accompanied by explanatory captions from the book. … Read More

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10 of Hollywood’s Most Surprising and Heartening Success Stories

Examining the weekly box office reports can be a depressing business, watching every week as terrible movies top the charts and great ones disappear into the wind. But this summer, as we’ve discussed, things have been a little different. Turkeys like The Lone Ranger and R.I.P.D. have taken deserved belly flops; low-budget efforts like The Purge and The Conjuring were surprise hits. And the news got better this weekend: Woody Allen’s wonderful Blue Jasmine expanded to 50 screens and landed in the top 15 with a robust $40K per-screen average — second only to The Spectacular Now, which earned a healthy $50K on each of its four screens. In this money-driven business, it’s always a relief when the bad movies tank, and the good movies make money. Here’s ten more examples of small movies that earned both the acclaim and the box office they deserved: … Read More

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10 Great Filmmakers’ Top 10 Favorite Movies

It’s a big week for finding out the movies that your favorite moviemakers love. First, the fine folks at the BFI unearthed the only known list Stanley Kubrick ever made of his favorite films; it dates to 1963, so it was by no means definitive, but it’s still fascinating. Meanwhile, to help boost interest in his Kickstarter project, Spike Lee released his list of the 25 films he considers essential for young filmmakers. And on top of all that, the Criterion Collection put out its latest list of film fans’ favorite Criterion titles — this time from the notorious Roger Corman. Between Criterion’s lists and the BFI’s Sight & Sound polls, it’s not hard to find out what films are most prized by both the revered masters of films and the most exciting up and comers; check out some of their recommendations after the jump. … Read More

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10 of Hollywood’s Most Legendary “Troubled Productions”

This Friday, Paramount unleashes World War Z, the Brad Pitt-fronted zombie apocalypse tale that has been on the receiving end of an inordinate amount of pre-release bad buzz. Stories of third-act rewrites, tension between star and director, shifting release dates, and massive budget and schedule overruns have dominated WWZ’s advance publicity, far more than anything of note about the film itself (which is unfortunate, as it’s a frequently gripping and reasonably intelligent disaster flick). But that’s nothing new in Hollywood; for decades we’ve been fascinated by stories of high-profile productions run amok, and by guessing whether those on-set woes would actually impact the final product. … Read More

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10 Authors Who Loved the Film Adaptations of Their Books

Last week, we had a good laugh at the recently uncovered notes from the producers of Blade Runner, who seemed united in their hatred for the “deadly dull” sci-fi noir that would prove one of the most influential movies of the ‘80s. But it’s important to remember that some of those casually involved in the production actually liked it quite a bit — particularly Philip K. Dick, whose book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was the basis of Ridley Scott’s film. And while there’s a long (and enjoyable) history of authors loathing what Hollywood does to their books, there are a few examples of writers who are utterly delighted with their page-to-film adaptations. We’ve collected them for you after the jump. … Read More

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Exclusive Supercut: Gary Oldman Loses His Shit

The great Gary Oldman, one of our very favorite actors, turns 55 years old today, and while there’s much to celebrate about the actor — his tremendous range, his chameleonic physical versatility, the ease with which he juggles small and large films, the flawlessness of his American accent — we have to say that our favorite thing about him is the skill and intensity with which he goes insane onscreen. It happens fairly reliably across his filmography, and it’s always worth waiting for, so in celebration of Mr. Oldman’s birthday, we assembled a few of our favorite instances of the actor going bananas. Check it out after the jump. … Read More

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The Favorite Poets of Pop Culture Characters

We’re suckers for a great cameo — as our review of last night’s celeb-heavy episode of Saturday Night Live proves — but our favorite surprise appearance belongs to literature. You may have noticed that we’re on a bit of a poetry kick lately, exploring beautiful verses about books, the favorite love poems of great poets, and more. To those who say poetry is dead, we offer ten pop culture characters and the poets they turned to for inspiration — which revealed the internal dialogue running rampant through their minds. … Read More

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The Embarrassing Early Films of Oscar-Winning Directors

Argo, Ben Affleck’s third feature film, is looking more and more like a lock for the Best Picture prize at Sunday’s Oscars, and even if the man himself didn’t get a Best Director nomination, it’s still a remarkable culmination of one of the most fascinating second acts in Hollywood. The actor-turned-director seemed shockingly confident and assured in his first feature, 2007’s marvelous Gone Baby Gone, but as The Playlist reminded us this week, his first film (pre-Good Will Hunting, even) was a 1993 short inventively titled I Killed My Lesbian Wife, Ηung Ηer on a Μeathook & Νow I Have a Three-Picture Deal with Disney. It is, as is often the case with these things, not very good, and (to his credit) Affleck is the first one to admit it: “It’s horrible. It’s atrocious. I knew I wanted to be a director, and I did a couple of short films, and this is the only one that haunts me. I’m not proud of it. It looks like it was made by someone who has no prospects, no promise.” But Affleck can take comfort in the fact that he’s not the only filmmaker with a cinematic skeleton in his closet: we found eight auteurs who rose to the Best Director Oscar from rather humble cinematic beginnings. … Read More

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The Quintessential American Movie of Every Decade, 1920s-Present

BAMcinématek’s A Pryor Engagement retrospective, which we told you about a couple of weeks back, is unfortunately coming to an end this week — but not before tonight’s screening of a film that most consider not only lesser Pryor, but a fairly middling and forgettable effort in general. Your film editor disagrees. The picture is called Brewster’s Millions, a 1985 comedy that pairs up Richard Pryor and John Candy, and it’s not just a funny kick of a buddy movie (though it is that); it is, we contend, nothing less than the quintessential American 1980s motion picture. We’ll explain why in due course. In the meantime, inspired by this particular take on Millions, we decided to comb through the annals of cinema history and determine which films were most specifically of their decades. We’re not saying that these are the very best films of their time (though some were); rather, we feel that each is specific to their time, and summed it up in a unique way. We’ll go from the 1920s to the 2000s, and explain our choices along the way. … Read More

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