This week marks the DVD and Blu-ray debut of Safe Haven, the critically drubbed Nicholas Sparks adaptation starring that girl from Dancing With the Stars and that dude from the Transformers movies. Normally, this would not be worth noting! But there’s something else that’s special about Safe Haven: it’s got one of the most utterly bananas crazy “twist” endings you’ve ever seen. Ever since The Usual Suspects blew everyone’s mind in ’95, and The Sixth Sense followed suit four years later, moviemakers have been trying their damnedest to create shocking third-act reveals that change everything we’ve seen before, and send us out of the theater reeling. Instead, most of them are befuddling, laughable, or just plain stupid. Here are a few examples (with a rather obvious spoiler alert). … Read More
Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful is out this Friday, in case you haven’t looked at a magazine or a television or the side of a bus recently, and while we know it’s a big-budget would-be Mouse blockbuster, attempting to replicate the astonishing (and frankly inexplicable) success of Burton’s Alice in Wonderland three years back, we still had to pick our jaws up off the floor when we got a look at its monster budget: $325 million in production and marketing costs. Yes, you read that right: 325. No extra numbers in there. … Read More
If you’ve ever wondered why there are so many (for the love of all that is holy, so damn many) Christmas movies, the answer is the same as for most of what happens in Hollywood: Money. Holiday movies are money lying on the ground, to be picked up every single December; a good Christmas movie that becomes a tradition can generate more continuing revenue than even the most beloved of catalogue releases. But there’s the rub — it also has to be a movie people actually want to revisit year after year. Making a good Christmas movie is harder than it looks; the delicate balance of humor, warmth, and schmaltz has to be just right, and for every Christmas Story or Christmas Vacation, we usually end up with three or four Santa Claus: The Movies. After the jump, a few would-be holiday “classics” to keep the hell off your Netflix queues and cable boxes; add your own cautionary tales in the comments. … Read More
You wouldn’t think that the cold-blooded murder of a defenseless old woman would make for big laughs, but that’s just one of the surprises found in Bernie, Richard Linklater’s wickedly enjoyable Texas comedy, out today on DVD and Blu-ray. And it’s all true — or, as the opening title card notes, “What you’re fixin’ to see is a true story.”
As the old saw goes, truth is stranger than fiction, and in ruminating about the pleasures of Bernie, we discovered that several of our favorite comedies were, in fact, based on real events. After the jump, a few thoughts on that film, and nine others based on (varying degrees of) true stories. … Read More
Last week, we took a look at a few of Hollywood’s stranger casting decisions for previous (and upcoming) biographical films. But with the Oscar-winning Iron Lady out today on DVD and Blu-ray, we thought we might also take a look at some of the more successful actor/biographical subject match-ups—with a particular eye on those that most convincingly embodied the figures they were playing.
Playing a well-known and well-documented actor, musician, or public figure can’t be easy, even for the best of actors — they not only have to assemble a serviceable performance in the conventional sense, but must also work up a convincing impersonation. They’re playing people that we’re used to seeing, whose look and speech have become familiar and distinctive, and must thus be replicated. The great performances in biographical movies must also then transcend the mere imitation, and create a compelling character beyond that. After the jump, we’ve assembled a dozen of the actors who memorably got into someone else’s skin; add your own in the comments. … Read More
Welcome to Flavorpill’s streaming movie guide, a new feature 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. This week, we’ve got some newly streaming indies, recent favorites soon to be remade and sequelized, and a couple of classics that have been on our minds as of late. Check them all out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now. … Read More
For those of you have been anxiously awaiting its arrival on Funny or Die since last week’s preview, it’s finally here: a very special Drunk History Christmas, which features appearances by Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, and Jim Carrey, who does a surprisingly convincing Santa Claus (especially if you’re old enough to remember this). Considering that we had to memorize “The Night Before Christmas” in its entirety back in elementary school, we can totally empathize with comedian Allan McLeod’s valiant struggle with certain lines — especially when it comes to the nearly impossible task of naming all of the reindeer. If you prefer your classic poems delivered with more than a hint of slurring, and the creative addition of a few swear words, click through to get in the holiday spirit now. … Read More
Everybody loves a good holiday movie. When we wrote last week about the beginning of the season, and our favorite annual Christmas movies (Die Hard and It’s A Wonderful Life), our readers threw in their favorites: A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, Bad Santa, Muppets Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street, etc. But, lest we forget, every film of the season ain’t White Christmas; there are plenty of rotten holiday movies. (And, in fact, one of them is coming out tomorrow: steer clear of New Year’s Eve as though your life depends on it.) As many great Christmas movies as there are, it’s also a very tricky style to get right, requiring the proper mix of holiday cheer, sentiment, laughs, and warmth. It is pretty easy to screw that elixir up, and end up with something sickly sweet and utterly unwatchable. After the jump, we’ll gather up a few lumps of coal from our previous Christmas stockings. … Read More
There are an abundance of reasons to put “see Moneyball” on your weekend to-do list: First film since Capote from director Bennett Miller; Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillan adapting a Michael Lewis book; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, and Chris Pratt (aka Andy Dwyer) in supporting roles; the baby blues of one William Bradley Pitt. And then there is our old friend Jonah Hill, who has taken the opportunity here to make the leap we’ve come to expect from any comedic performer of note: the transition to “serious acting.”
Now from the looks of the trailer, it doesn’t appear that Hill is exactly doing Hamlet — Moneyball is a fast, witty, seriocomic drama, allowing Hill some comedic opportunities within a larger and more serious context. That is one way to go; there are others. After the jump, join us for a look at the strategies that Hill’s predecessors adopted in making their move towards drama, and how they fared. … Read More
Granted, the man whose rise to fame had much to do with his ability to talk through his butt cheeks has never seemed like the sanest star in Hollywood, but his recent behavior is strange even by his standards. So, we have to ask: Is something going on with Jim Carrey?
Let’s look at the… Read More