People have been meditating on the image of a nearly nude and bound Saint Sebastian for centuries. The martyr is usually depicted with arrows piercing his flesh, bearing a rapturous expression — the subtext of which has inspired numerous writings and artworks, depicting the saint as an icon of queer culture. Derek Jarman’s 1976 movie Sebastiane explored similar themes, focused on the sexual/spiritual agony and ecstasy between two Roman soldiers. Severus’ lustful obsession with Sebastiane provokes him to torture the unattainable man, and the intersection of longing, faith, and violence is lyrically captured by the director (translated in Vulgar Latin, even). The film’s homoeroticism and striking realism caused a controversy amongst religious groups. Since the film has arrived on Blu-ray, we wanted to explore other contentious studies of spirituality. Mention your favorites, below. … Read More
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve started some fierce conversations (and ruffled a few feathers) with our features on books and bands that send up red flags among the dating population of Flavorpill’s staff, writers, and readers. With movies, it can get a bit more complicated — after all, a movie is a short commitment, so we can all be forgiven for seeing (and liking) some dogs, or for taking in films that dabble in disturbing subject matter. Where it gets worrisome is when you’re at the potential someone-special’s place, glancing over their DVD shelf, and a title jumps out that you realize they not only paid good money for, but wanted to keep around for repeat viewings. Thus, with the help of readers and colleagues (names kept anonymous to protect, well, everyone), here are some of the movies that you might want to clear from your shelves and queues if you’re heading out into the dating pool. Check them out after the jump, and add your own horror stories in the comments. … Read More
In his 1996 review of Cop Land, Roger Ebert wrote that a reader once asked him “why they only remake the good movies, not bad ones. Good films don’t require remaking… but what about ‘promising concepts which were poorly executed for one reason or another?’” It’s a question we ask ourselves every time Hollywood decides to remake a perfectly good movie. This week, for example, we have the big-budget, Colin Farrell-fronted remake of Total Recall, a perfectly good Schwarzenegger/Verhoeven picture from 1990 that marries Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” to the boom-crash action aesthetic of the period, and which stands up just fine these days, thank you very much.
But Ebert and his reader might be on to something — if the suits are going to insist on spending all of their time and money developing remakes, why not remake some movies that didn’t turn out so well, and try to get them right this time? Or better yet, good movies that no one saw, so you’re not doing the original any damage by taking a chance on a copy? With those parameters in mind, we put together this list of movies we frankly wouldn’t mind seeing remade; check it out after the jump, and contribute yours in the comments. … Read More
Backlash is a funny thing. It’s always been present in popular culture, but it feels as though it’s become particularly prominent over the past few years, an unavoidable step in any celebrated film, band, book, or television show’s penetration into the cultural landscape: first comes critical acclaim, then financial success, then ubiquity, and then the inevitable backlash from those who object (or who have turned, perhaps because of said popularity and/or ubiquity). Sometimes, the pendulum swings back and the backlash fades — but often, the negative connotation is what sticks, and that’s what becomes the lasting perception.
This week’s 3D rerelease of Titanic got us thinking about backlash, and how often we find ourselves defending movies that were, at least in the beginning, critical and popular hits, but have since fallen out of public favor. Thus, we’ve collected ten movies that the worm turned on — but that we’re standing by, damnit, and we’ll tell you why. Check them out after the jump, and add your own in the comments. … Read More
Special effects wizard and blockbuster director James Cameron was busy getting in touch with his oceanographer side this weekend. The Avatar and Titanic filmmaker completed a record-breaking Mariana Trench dive — a place National Geographic describes as “Earth’s deepest, and perhaps most alien, realm.”
He’s the first person to take a solo dive into the ocean’s cavernous recesses — a section of Pacific waters known as “Challenger Deep” that extends 35,768 feet deep. In 1960, Navy Lt. Don Walsh and the late Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard made the journey with few instruments at their disposal and were unable to see much beyond the clouds of mud stirred up from the ocean floor when they made touchdown. Cameron, however, spent three hours in his Deepsea Challenger armed with multiple 3D cameras, a robotic claw, “slurp gun,” and an eight-foot LED tower for illuminating the murky depths — technology similar to the kind hinted at in his most popular films like Terminator and Avatar. Scientists will be reporting some of their findings from Cameron’s samples later today. National Geographic magazine will feature a story about the event, and a 3D feature film centered on the historic dive is also in the works. In total, Cameron has taken 70 deep submersible dives — even visiting the real-life Titanic shipwreck 33 different times.
Clearly Cameron’s passion for diving is as strong as his love of filmmaking. We felt inspired by his deep sea adventures to explore some of the other crazy and compelling things filmmakers have done in their everyday lives. Read on for more, and leave your votes below. … Read More
Jim Gaffigan recently announced that he will be producing his upcoming comedy special without the help of a studio, having been inspired by Louis CK’s similar venture from a couple months ago. While this is now considered unusual, at least outside the increasingly inventive world of music distribution, back in the day many creative types chose not to rely on industry backing to get their material out to the public — and sometimes it even worked out for the better. After the jump, we’ll show you some of the biggest self-produced works from the 18th century through the present, from books to comics and even feature films. … 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 ten new trailers for you this week; check ‘em all out after the jump. … Read More
Lars von Trier is a great filmmaker, but he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy you’d much like to hang out and have a drink with. Aside from all that Nazi stuff, his films tend to traffic in the grimmest possible subject matter: he’s tackled rape, slavery, the death penalty, paralysis, and genital mutilation, so it somehow seems logical that his latest picture, Melancholia (on demand now, in theaters Friday) is about nothing less than the end of the world.
Apocalypses are a popular topic for filmmakers — though most are more interested in the narrative possibilities of the post-apocalyptic world than the event itself. Melancholia distinguishes itself by being something of a pre-apocalyptic picture, delving into the anxiety and fear of those who are awaiting the earth’s possible collision with a foreign object (timely!). After the jump, we’ll take a look back at a few of our favorite cinematic apocalypses. … Read More
1. Adult Swim announced yesterday that it has picked up Loiter Squad, a 15-minute live-action show from Odd Future that’s described as a mix of “sketches, man on the street segments, pranks and, naturally, music.” It will premiere next year. [via LAT]
2. Strange but true: Mel Gibson is writing a movie about… Read More
Sean Penn, never the wallflower, has some opinions he’d like to share about his latest film, The Tree of Life. His thoughts may surprise you! (If you know absolutely nothing about Sean Penn, that is.) The actor told the French publication Le Figaro, “I didn’t at all find on the screen the emotion of the script, which is the most magnificent one that I’ve ever read. A clearer and more conventional narrative would have helped the film without, in my opinion, lessening its beauty and its impact. Frankly, I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing there and what I was supposed to add in that context! What’s more, Terry himself never managed to explain it to me clearly.”
While Penn’s complaints may have resonated with the refund-refused moviegoers of Connecticut, most have seen it as rather bad form—particularly for a critically-acclaimed picture that is still in general release. On the other hand, he’s certainly not the first actor to publicly diss his own work; we’ve collected some of our favorites after the jump. … Read More