Forgive the perhaps unwarranted level of enthusiasm, but Joy Ride is out on Blu-ray today, and YIPEE. It’s a crackerjack little thriller from eternally underrated director John Dahl, co-written by a young J.J. Abrams, starring Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski, and, yes, Paul Walker. Though second-billed behind Zahn, this is indisputably a vehicle for the handsome and unaccountably dull future star of the Fast and Furious franchise — and believe it or not, he’s not distractingly terrible in it. Make whatever stopped-clock, blind-squirrel analogies you’d like, but occasionally even the worst of actors stumbles into a decent performance. Here’s a few… Read More
Break out your blood-smeared undershirt and go crawl around in an air duct: this month marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Die Hard, John McTiernan’s seminal action movie that made Bruce Willis a star, Alan Rickman a go-to villain, and the simple formula of a lone hero, a contained location, and a brilliant supervillian into one of Hollywood’s most durable. And though Fox paid its own dubious tribute to the franchise with its most recent sequel, the true testament to the film’s influence is the sheer volume of Die Hard imitators unleashed in the quarter-century since its release. … Read More
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
Welcome to Flavorwire’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. This week, we’ve got new films starring Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Matthew McConaughey, Olivia Wilde, Adam Scott, Richard Pryor, Megan Fox, Eric Bana, Harvey Keitel, Charlie Hunnam, Kate Mara, Richard Dreyfuss, Bette Midler, Keanu Reeves, and Nick Nolte, plus a pair of our favorite recent documentaries. Check them all out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now. … Read More
1. David Rakoff, a frequent This American Life contributor and the author of the Thurber Prize for American Humor-winning essay collection Half Empty, has died at only 47 years old. Read a brief but touching obituary at The Awl.
2. Your daily Olympics Closing Ceremony gossip update: In addition to yesterday’s … Read More
Even among the mindless carnage and endless superheroes of summer, August tends to be a bit of a drag; studios put the blockbusters they’re less certain of in the late-summer slots, so for every Bourne Legacy, there’s sure to be two or three Premium Rushes. But that just means it’s an even better time to go off the grid and see what’s playing in the art houses, and indie distributors have stocked several gems into the upcoming months; check out our recommendations after the jump. … Read More
The 11th Tribeca Film Festival opened last night with a screening of the Judd Apatow-produced Jason Segel comedy The Five Year Engagement, and will close next Saturday with the summer’s most anticipated movie The Avengers — neither of them the kind of flick that leaps to mind when contemplating independent film. But in between those two big-budget, big studio summer movies, the festival will unspool 89 independent features (and 60 shorts) from all over the world. That’s a smaller and more focused group of entries than in years past at Tribeca, one of the changes made by a new programming team, and speaking as a bit of a veteran of the festival (this is my fourth year attending), it has resulted in the strongest slate I’ve seen there. After the jump, we’ve assembled ten of the best films playing at Tribeca — and information about how you can see some of them too, whether or not you’re in New York. … Read More
The weekend’s big movie, as you well know, was The Hunger Games, while DVD and Blu-ray players have been firing up Fincher’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo since its release last week. The two films have a lot in common: powerful female protagonists, adaptations of bestsellers, probable franchise kick-offs. As such, they were also each objects of carefully considered casting. It’s become part of the pre-production process, the bandying about of potential name actors for high-profile roles; Fincher reportedly talked to Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman, Kristen Stewart, and Scarlett Johansson before settling on Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, while Hunger Games director Gary Ross’ alternate Katnisses included Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Emma Roberts, Chloe Moretz, and Saoirse Ronan.
Contemplating proxy casting choices is a fun parlor game for movie fans (perhaps second only to considering movies that never came to pass at all). After the jump, we’ll take a look at a dozen iconic movie roles, and the actors who almost, almost filled them. … 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 eight new trailers for you this week from all-star directors and former child stars; check ‘em all out after the jump. … Read More