This Friday, just like the first weekend of every May since 2007, a new movie based on a Marvel comic book will open in thousands of theaters across the country, will make all the money, and will serve as the official starter pistol for summer movie season. And for many a seasoned moviegoer, that’s a cue for despair; after all, summer has become synonymous with big, bloated, stupid blockbusters of the Transformers school. And make no mistake, there’s plenty of those on the runway this season (how ya doin’, Terminator Genisys, it’s pretty funny that you’re actually going with that spelling). But don’t go into cinematic hibernation just yet; there’s also a steady stream of first-rate indie-flick counterprogramming on the runway, and some of the big movies actually sound pretty good. So, as a public service to you, the discerning moviegoer, we’ve assembled a month-by-month look at what might actually be worth your time and …Read More
Sunday night, NBC will celebrate 40 years of Saturday Night Live with the SNL 40th Anniversary Special, a three-hour event featuring appearances from past cast members, hosts, and musical guests. SNL has a rich history that is certainly worthy of tribute — and there has been no shortage of them on the Internet this week. But, as everyone knows, it’s also a show that has run out of steam in recent years. While the episodes are never exactly bad, the comedy has a tendency to rehash one trite and tired joke: men kissing men. It’s the show’s laziest “punchline,” and one that is never very funny. Here are ten SNL sketches that rely on this boring joke.
Come Sunday, the screens will go dark, the volunteers will turn in their vests, the tents will fall, and the 2015 Sundance Film Festival will come to a close. But as it winds down, we’re taking a look at some of our favorite and not-so-favorite films of this year’s fest. Yesterday, we ran down and ranked this year’s documentaries; now, to the narrative films, spinning fiction while still (hopefully) telling …Read More
PARK CITY, UT: We may not see a film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival that gets its key casting as right as James Ponsoldt’s The End of the Tour does. Based on Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, David Lipsky’s chronicle of five days spent with David Foster Wallace as he was becoming a literary superstar, the picture stars Jesse Eisenberg as Lipsky and Jason Segel as Wallace. Both are working familiar grooves: Segel is the shambling, likable, aw-shucks guy plagued with uncertainty, Eisenberg the seemingly cocky yet clearly brittle smart guy with the chip on his shoulder. To say that they’re working within familiar types is not to diminish their work here; if anything, they push their screen personas into new territory, while Ponsoldt tries (and mostly succeeds) to capture something of the Wallace mythos.
There’s always a feeling of tense anticipation heading into the Sundance Film Festival — after all, this is the starter pistol for the year in independent film, introducing film fans, critics, and the industry to the movies they may well be talking about all year. But this year’s festival (which kicks off tonight) falls squarely in the middle of an awards season dominated by last year’s biggest ticket, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, reminding us of exactly how far a splash at Sundance can take you. Will any of this year’s high-profile indies and docs take that kind of hold in 2015? Here are a dozen movies we’re keeping our eyes on in Park City — and beyond.
So, how odd is it that a Disney-produced Muppet movie has turned out to be the best cinematic vehicle to date for the considerable talents and charms of one Elizabeth Stamatina Fey? As Nadya, the stern head of a Russian gulag in Muppets Most Wanted, Tina Fey is funny and charming as hell, looks amazing, rocks an amusingly Boris-and-Natasha-esque accent, and shows off a surprisingly lovely singing voice in one of the picture’s best production numbers. That’s the good news for Fey fans; the bad is that she’s also woefully underutilized by the film, where she doesn’t turn up until the 30-minute mark and ends up with far less screen time than Ricky Gervais and even Ty Burrell. But that kind of mixed-bag assessment is typical of Most Wanted, though at least the film owns it, kicking off by lyrically acknowledging, “everyone knows the sequel’s never quite as good.”