Mel Gibson

Aronofsky’s Embattled ‘Noah’ and the Impossibility of Making Great Religious Films

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Well, here’s a filmmaker/studio clash we’d never have seen coming: according to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount and director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream) are butting heads over Noah, the forthcoming $125 million biblical adaptation starring Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly, and Emma Watson. THR reports that test screenings for a mostly Jewish audience in New York, a Christian audience in Arizona, and a general audience in California have produced vague-sounding “troubling reactions” and “worrisome results,” and it’s “not clear” whether the filmmaker has retained his right to final cut. Why, it’s almost like an idiosyncratic filmmaker tackling a Bible story with a massive budget was a tricky proposition to begin with, eh?
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10 of Hollywood’s Most Surprising and Heartening Success Stories

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Examining the weekly box office reports can be a depressing business, watching every week as terrible movies top the charts and great ones disappear into the wind. But this summer, as we’ve discussed, things have been a little different. Turkeys like The Lone Ranger and R.I.P.D. have taken deserved belly flops; low-budget efforts like The Purge and The Conjuring were surprise hits. And the news got better this weekend: Woody Allen’s wonderful Blue Jasmine expanded to 50 screens and landed in the top 15 with a robust $40K per-screen average — second only to The Spectacular Now, which earned a healthy $50K on each of its four screens. In this money-driven business, it’s always a relief when the bad movies tank, and the good movies make money. Here’s ten more examples of small movies that earned both the acclaim and the box office they deserved:
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The 10 Best “Credit Cookies” in Movie History

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Iron Man 3 is out in theaters tomorrow, and it should come as no surprise that those who are willing to sit through the end credits — and seriously, they run something like ten minutes and include more names than a small-town phone book — will be rewarded with an extra (and very funny) bonus scene. Some call these little bonuses “credit cookies,” others call them “stingers.” In Roger Ebert’s Little Movie Glossary, Serdor Yegulalp dubs them the “Monk’s Reward,” defined thus: “A surprising final line or image, tagged on after the credits have finished rolling… so named because it usually takes monk-like devotion to sit through the credits to get to it.” The previous Marvel movies made a regular habit of including credit cookies, mostly as preparation for The Avengers, but they’re not the only movies to throw in a little something extra for those who stick around to find out who the unit accountant was. (Warning: minor spoilers ahead, but all for movies that have been out for a year or more.)
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10 Great Movies Based on Poems

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We’re all pretty comfortable with the idea of movies based on books — fiction, nonfiction, and even self-help books — but what about books of poetry? Last week, Open Culture posted a fascinating film based on the poetry of Sylvia Plath. While it might seem surprising to see a film based on a poem, it’s actually probably a lot more common than you think. To prove it, find ten great films based on poetry after the jump. Don’t see your favorite? Add it to the list in the comments.
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10 Movies We Can’t Believe Have Merchandise Tie-Ins

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In its first weekend of wide release, Harmony Korine’s hedonistic morality play Spring Breakers did a respectable $5 million and landed in the top ten — certainly a first for Korine, and an indication that newbie distributor A24 may have an indie hit on their hands. And when a movie is big, you know what comes next: merchandising! You wouldn’t think that Korine’s feverish vision of gun-toting, bikini-wearing babes would be a natural for tie-in products, but you’d be wrong; after the jump, we’ll take a look at your must-have Breakers merch, and nine other unlikely movies you won’t believe were merchandised.
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Hilarious Notes on Modern Classics From Clueless Studio Executives

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The image of non-creative types mucking about with (and screwing up) movies and television shows is nothing new — we’ve seen it in everything from Barton Fink to The Player to The Larry Sanders Show — but we got a rare opportunity to observe a real-life example of it recently, when a memorandum of notes from the suits at Tandem Productions to the makers of Blade Runner started popping up online. Those hilarious criticisms and suggestions got us wondering about other classic movies that came close to ruin thanks to studio interference. We’ll take a look at Blade Runner and several other examples after the jump.
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Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Oscar-Winning Directors at Work

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The Oscars are just around the corner, and we’re very much looking forward to sitting down this Sunday night and watching them unfold. (Much more excited than we were about the Grammys, anyway.) The point of interest, as ever, will be who walks away the Best Director award — even with the golden age of the auteur long behind us, the director’s chair continues to hold a certain mystique, as do the people who occupy it. It’s intriguing to watch directors at work, to see how differently they translate their ideas into reality, and in this vein, we’ve collected some fascinating behind-the-scenes photos of the most distinguished directors to receive the Best Director award over the years. And Mel Gibson.
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The All-Time Weirdest Guest Appearances on ‘The Simpsons’

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So if you haven’t heard, Tom Waits was on The Simpsons last night, voicing “a gravelly voiced paranoiac” prepper and joining the long list of illustrious and not-so-illustrious guest stars who’ve graced the show since it started screening way back in 1989. His appearance got us thinking about some of the more unlikely guest stars and/or performances the show has seen over the years — and so we’ve amused ourselves after the jump selecting some of our favorites, from Johnny Cash playing a psychedelic coyote to Thomas Pynchon breaking a 40-year TV silence. Did we miss any of your favorites? Go ahead and let us know. (And advance apologies for the quality of a couple of the clips — Simpsons videos are like hen’s teeth on YouTube.)
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