Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar Hoover biopic J. Edgar is out on DVD today, following a fall theatrical run notable mostly for its lack of awards consideration; the film, and particularly Leonardo DiCaprio’s leading role in it, had been the object of much presumptive Oscar buzz (hitting, as it does, multiple circles in the Oscar Venn diagram: slightly villainous, based on a real person, wide range of aging, secretly gay). But the film underwhelmed, for one very simple reason: we’re just getting tired of biopics.
The biographical film portrait has been a venerable institution since the early days of cinema; Georges Méliès made a Joan of Arc biopic clear back in 1900. And while there have been scores of great ones, the tropes of the form (the birth-to-death chronology, the trials and triumphs, the romantic struggles, etc.) are so firmly established that the only biographical films that really make an impression any more, it seems, are those that buck the trends and experiment, or at least futz with the form a bit. After the jump, we’ll take a look at ten great biopics that made an impression, and float some theories as to why.
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Given the vast array of imaginative things that Hollywood is capable of crafting, it seems strange that moviemakers still struggle with some of the basics. Traditional makeup techniques that age actors stands as one of the biggest culprits and has often ruined entire films thanks to sloppy, weird, or unbelievable results. As many movies have proven, donning wrinkles and age spots doesn’t automatically equal a successful makeover. In the digital age, it’s easier for filmmakers to get a little help so that grandpa and grandma look more like live, actual people than a Halloween prop — but that’s what makes those who transform actors into senior stars old school-style so impressive. It’s an art form.
Leonardo DiCaprio underwent a dramatic transformation for the upcoming J. Edgar Hoover, and we definitely feel like it’s not one of his best-looking moments. The FBI’s first director didn’t win any beauty contests in his day, but DiCaprio appears to be drowning in his prosthetics, and the whole thing just seems awkward. This got us thinking about other cruddy elderly makeovers. Click past the break to see who made the leap to long in the tooth, in order from most convincing to least. Leave us your list in the comments.
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1. That 6-minute prologue from The Dark Knight Rises that we told you about last week will only be screening before Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol on the higher resolution (and much rarer) 70mm IMAX screens, not digital IMAX ones. If you’re confused as to what this means, ask one of your film geek friends.… Read More
Martin Scorsese has been all over the news lately, for both his well-received HBO documentary on George Harrison and his first 3D movie, Hugo, debuting at the New York Film Festival. So it makes sense that Harper’s Bazaar has dedicated some space to celebrating “The Age of Scorsese,” with a set of fascinating reminiscences of Marty from Jodie Foster, Tom Cruise, Steve Buscemi, and a slew of other boldface names. The article is accompanied by a set of uncannily accurate recreations of the most memorable scenes from Scorsese’s biggest films, with new actors taking over legendary roles. See Chloë Moretz (who stars in Hugo) and Keanu Reeves take over for Foster and Robert De Niro, and other great surprises, after the jump, and watch behind-the-scenes video from the shoot at the Harper’s Bazaar website.
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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 ten new trailers this week, from biopics to historical epics to documentaries to thrillers; check ‘em out after the jump.
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1. Nas is working on an autobiography called It Ain’t Hard to Tell that is scheduled to come out next fall. Says music journalist Touré, who is collaborating with him on the project: “I’ve been talking to Nas about writing his autobiography for 15 years. This is hip hop history. We’ll tell his life &… Read More
1. Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and The Backstreet Boys are among the many pop artists whose songs have recently been banned by China’s Ministry of Culture for containing “vulgar content.” The offending tracks must be removed from Chinese websites by September 15, or their owners will face prosecution. [via Guardian]
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Today at Flavorpill, our eyes played tricks on us thanks to this crazy street art installation in Stockholm by illusionist artist Erik Johansson. We decided after some internal debate that we’d be happy to see Leonardo DiCaprio play a villain in a Quentin Tarantino movie. We were surprised to read that… Read More
1. The new Liam Neeson action thriller Unknown took the top spot at the weekend box office, making $21.7 million. I Am Number Four came in number two with $19.5 million, and was closely followed by Gnomeo and Juliet 3D, which made $19.4 million. [via Deadline]
2. Remember when New York Times classical… Read More
Like our friends at Big Other, we are literally obsessed with watching videos of celebrities doing the same things over and over and over again. Somehow, even though it’s based in repetition, it never gets old, so as long as people keep making them and putting them on the internet, people will keep watching. But, further than the mere fleeting pleasure we get from the montages, we think they say something about each actor as a person — after all, if you get cast in a million movies where you cry, kill yourself, or have a panic attack, those directors must see something in your personality to support that. Or they’re just really, really uncreative. After all, as Albert Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Check out some of our favorite (and most insane) montages and see if you agree with our character judgements after the jump.
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