Paramount’s upcoming film adaptation of Max Brooks’ novel World War Z was already smelling like a stinker — the $125 million production was originally slated for release this Christmas, only to be pushed back until next summer to accommodate an additional seven weeks of shooting and a third act rewrite by Damon Lindelof (because that’s what that guy’s best at, wrapping things up). That rewrite was eventually done not by Lindelof but by Cabin in the Woods co-writer/director Drew Goddard, and with the reshoots complete, the studio released its first trailer for the film last week. And the Internet went apeshit.
Responses on Twitter and film blogs were swift, damning, and nearly universal. The crux of them was that, simply, the film being advertised appeared to bear little to no resemblance whatsoever to the book it was ostensibly based on. “It’s not always wise to judge a movie by its trailer,” writes Film School Rejects’ Robert Fure, “but from our first look it seems Hollywood has screwed the pooch in the most Hollywood way imaginable.” The book’s multi-narrative structure and elements of social commentary are, it seems, gone; the film’s story of a single protagonist taking on an army of fast-moving zombies looks less like World War Z than I Am Legend.
We’ll have to wait until next June to find out if this controversial trailer reflects the entirety of the film — and if the already poison buzz surrounding World War Z will crash its box office chances. But what has become clear over the past two decades is that the explosion of online film culture can hurt a film’s build-up as much as it can help it; though movie geek sites, Twitter, and even Wikipedia can help amass an audience, they can also keep one away. After the jump, we’ll take a look at ten movies that the Internet may well have smothered in their sleep. … Read More
It is easy to go in to Cloud Atlas intimidated. It’s a sprawling, nearly three-hour adaptation of a novel many thought unfilmable, stitching together six seemingly unrelated narratives simultaneously; it’s been preceded by both positive and negative buzz that it’s too ambitious and potentially confusing for the average Saturday night moviegoer. Let’s put those fears to rest right off the bat: this is not a film to fear. It is, in fact, a film that’s easy to approach and even easier to engage. No, the greater danger — what is, in some quarters, already happening — is a resistance to its audacity, a refusal to turn oneself over to this grandly sincere, and occasionally overwrought, cavalcade. It is, make no mistake, a film filled with flaws. Try as I might, I cannot force myself to give a damn about them. … Read More
Tomorrow, Lee Daniels’ Precious follow-up The Paperboy hits theaters; it’s a film that’s received a lot of attention since its Cannes premiere last May, not all of it positive. And make no mistake, the movie is a mess, but Kidman goes all out in her portrayal of a bleach-blonde sexpot who gets hot and bothered for dangerous men. In honor of Kidman’s risky performance, we took a look back at some of our favorite instances of terrific actors indulging their trashy side on film. Our top ten are after the jump. … Read More
Every Friday here at Flavorwire, we like to gather up the week’s new movie trailers, give them a look-see, and rank them from worst to best — while taking a guess or two about what they might tell us (or hide from us) about the movies they’re promoting. This week’s nine new trailers include new films from Ang Lee, Tom Tykwer, and the Wachowskis, and feature the likes of Tom Hanks, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Halle Berry, Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener, Isla Fisher, Allison Janney, Oliver Platt, Gerald Butler, and Juno Temple. Check ‘em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments. … Read More
1. The first full trailer for Ang Lee’s film adaptation of Yann Martel’s Booker Prize-winning novel The Life of Pi has arrived online, and while it doesn’t reveal much about the plot, boy oh boy is it pretty.
Our favorite of this week’s new theatrical releases is Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Lorene Scafaria’s end-of-the-world comedy that deftly transcends what could have been a one-joke premise, turning instead unexpectedly poignant and moving. The key to that transition is the surprisingly effective romantic subplot between stars Steve Carell and Keira Knightley — and yes, we were as skeptical as you when that element of the picture began to reveal itself. But this is one of those cases where seemingly mismatched stars pair up well on-screen. Others haven’t been quite so lucky. After the jump, we remember a few of the cinema’s less believable movie couples. … Read More
This week’s must-see DVD for film fans is Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, Alex Stapleton’s wickedly enjoyable documentary profile of Roger Corman, the B-movie master whose exploitation movies launched half the moviemakers and movie stars of the ’70s. One of the film’s highlights is Jack Nicholson’s remembrances of his first movie roles, including his debut performance in The Little Shop of Horrors (which Corman shot in all of two days). Nicholson’s story got us thinking about other stars and their first movie roles, so we put together this quick video essay with a peek at some other famous film debuts. Check out our latest video essay after the jump. … 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 for your Friday viewing enjoyment; check ‘em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments. … Read More
Shame, a candid and powerful look at sexual addiction from director Steve McQueen (no, another Steve McQueen) is out in limited release tomorrow, and as we reported last month, it’s going out with the NC-17 rating—no children under 17 admitted, under any circumstances. The rating, many have surmised, is due to the film’s copious male nudity, and that’s how the American ratings system works: all the naked ladies you want, but the erect male member= automatic NC-17.
The rating was initiated by the MPAA back in 1990, and was intended to be an alternative to the porn-stained (if you’ll pardon the pun) X rating; NC-17 movies, like Henry & June (the inaugural film to carry the rating), Bad Lieutenant, The Dreamers, and Lust, Caution would be for adults, by adults. But it quickly became the kiss of death for filmmakers and distributors. Just as with the X rating before it, newspapers and television outlets wouldn’t carry ads for NC-17 films, while larger theatrical chains and home video outlets refused to carry them. Smaller films would take the mark or (as Kids and Happiness did) go out unrated, while the editing process for big releases became something of a con game: if a film was rated NC-17, the distributor would make the trims necessary for an R-rating, enjoy the publicity, and then restore the cut material for the inevitable “unrated” DVD release (frequently carried by the very chains that refused to stock NC-17 films). By the late 1990s, studios wouldn’t even bother with the first step, cranking out unrated versions of raunchy comedies and adult thrillers as a standard step in their home video release plans.
While the politics of who gets an R and who doesn’t are shady at best (check out the terrific documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated), we can’t help but wonder about what would have happened if the NC-17 could have been what its creators wanted it to be. Fox Searchlight’s decision to release Shame with the scarlet letters/numbers has prompted another round of “will the NC-17 finally become respectable?” questions (answer: dubious), but what if that question weren’t necessary, because the NC-17 had never been stigmatized? Had that been the case, we might have seen the uncut movies we’ve assembled after the jump. … Read More