Welcome to Flavorpill’s streaming movie guide, in which we help you sift through the scores of movies streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and other services to find the best of the recently available, freshly relevant, or soon to expire. Netflix is losing some awfully good films at the end of July, so we’re heavy on titles with an expiration date, but we’ve got some new streamers as well — featuring Al Pacino, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Hilary Swank, Woody Harrelson, Miranda July, and Bruce Campbell, plus a couple of great documentaries and (cheating a bit) one of our favorite TV shows. Check them all out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now. … Read More
Editor’s note: Welcome to The Fug Report! Each week our fashion blogger friends Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, the sartorial geniuses behind Go Fug Yourself, will feature some of the most memorable looks of the week in this space. We hope you enjoy it!
As you’ve surely noticed from the lines of ecstatic moviegoers camped out on the sidewalks of your local cineplex (/sarcasm), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is out tomorrow. Try to contain your excitement. Yes, in their infinite wisdom, Hollywood has spent $75 million to grind out a sequel to Ghost Rider, a film that nobody liked and nobody wanted to see more of. So why on earth does Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance exist? Ah, here we go: because beloved or no, the first film grossed $115 million, and while that may be a meager profit on a reported $110 million budget (seriously? SERIOUSLY?), it pretty much doubled that gross overseas. As they say, it’s show business, kids, and if there are that many ticket buyers who’ll pony up once to see Nicolas Cage flambé motorcycling around for justice, maybe they’ll do so twice. (Not to worry, though: the sequel is directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who did Crank and, um, Crank 2. And, oh dear, Jonah Hex. Enjoy, moviegoers!)
GR:SOV (as the kids are calling it) is just the latest in Hollywood’s long, long, long history of churning out utterly inexplicable sequels. Look, let’s be clear, we’re not cinema snobs, railing against sequels on general principle: movies from Godfather II to Aliens to The Dark Knight to Harry Potter 3-7.5 have proven that you can follow up a film with equal (or even advancing) returns. But there has to be a compelling reason for it to exist: a story worth returning to, say, or even a general positive opinion of the initial outing. After the jump, we’ll take a look at a few occasions where we got a sequel, whether we wanted one or not. … 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
1. Rachel Weisz and director Darren Aronofsky — one of our favorite Hollywood power couples — are separating after nine years together. She has recently been linked with Daniel Craig, who has way less indie cred. [via Jezebel]
2. Good news: Thanks to great ratings out of the gate, AMC’s new zombie… Read More