For a Michael Bay movie, Pain & Gain is getting remarkably good reviews and positive buzz — even its negative notices are full of phrases like “the most charming Michael Bay movie in a long while.” The primary question that the film’s pro and con critics seem to be arguing over is whether Bay is satirizing the flashy excesses and over-the-top elements of the narrative or reveling in them; it’s a story about the quest for conspicuous consumption, from a filmmaker as obsessed with the idea as his characters. Complicating that question is Pain & Gain’s roots as a true story; it happened in Miami in 1994 and 1995, in the world of bodybuilding and fitness clubs. And how accurate is it to that world? I decided to find out by seeing the movie with a bodybuilder and personal trainer. … Read More
Earlier this week, we told you about Xavier Macafee, the New Mexico man who was arrested on suspicion of burglary after allegedly breaking into Bryan Cranston’s car and stealing, among other things, the script to one of Breaking Bad’s final episodes. While we still don’t know if it was a coincidental act or the work of a brilliant BB superfan, this isn’t the first time a swiped script has created havoc in Hollywood. Here are ten tales of leaked screenplays, and what happened to the films… Read More
This week, since the big sweep of the Independent Spirit Awards by the sure-doesn’t-feel-like-much-of-an-independent-movie Silver Linings Playbook, several film observers (including us) have raised the perennial question of what “independent film” even is, aside from a useful marketing designation that indicates the film you’re about to see will probably not include robots that transform into cars. This ongoing controversy got us thinking: if “independent film” is just a label to begin with, then why not expand it, and get a little more specific? Every film isn’t either indie or studio — let’s break it down, so we know exactly what we’re getting when we go to the cinema. Our suggestions for new, ultra-descriptive movie classifications, from lowest to highest profile, are after the jump. … Read More
Paramount’s upcoming film adaptation of Max Brooks’ novel World War Z was already smelling like a stinker — the $125 million production was originally slated for release this Christmas, only to be pushed back until next summer to accommodate an additional seven weeks of shooting and a third act rewrite by Damon Lindelof (because that’s what that guy’s best at, wrapping things up). That rewrite was eventually done not by Lindelof but by Cabin in the Woods co-writer/director Drew Goddard, and with the reshoots complete, the studio released its first trailer for the film last week. And the Internet went apeshit.
Responses on Twitter and film blogs were swift, damning, and nearly universal. The crux of them was that, simply, the film being advertised appeared to bear little to no resemblance whatsoever to the book it was ostensibly based on. “It’s not always wise to judge a movie by its trailer,” writes Film School Rejects’ Robert Fure, “but from our first look it seems Hollywood has screwed the pooch in the most Hollywood way imaginable.” The book’s multi-narrative structure and elements of social commentary are, it seems, gone; the film’s story of a single protagonist taking on an army of fast-moving zombies looks less like World War Z than I Am Legend.
We’ll have to wait until next June to find out if this controversial trailer reflects the entirety of the film — and if the already poison buzz surrounding World War Z will crash its box office chances. But what has become clear over the past two decades is that the explosion of online film culture can hurt a film’s build-up as much as it can help it; though movie geek sites, Twitter, and even Wikipedia can help amass an audience, they can also keep one away. After the jump, we’ll take a look at ten movies that the Internet may well have smothered in their sleep. … Read More
In his commentary on Armageddon, that ultimate epicure of explosions, Michael Bay notes that the cardinal rule of disaster filmmaking is to “never kill a dog.” Maybe it has to do with their loyalty, or their innocence, but there’s a longstanding cinematic tradition of using dogs in emotionally manipulative ways (anyone else feel betrayed by Turner & Hooch’s family-friendly façade?). And when it’s a real-life canine disaster story, we’re all the more prone to sobbing uncontrollably. Though plenty of movies go the route of driving home an already bleak tragedy with a heartrending finish of caninicide, most of our favorite mass-appeal, special-effects-saturated disaster/action movies opt for the audience pleasing cliché of dogs that, against all odds, miraculously survive. Here’s a list of some of the more implausible canine survival stories in disaster movie history. … Read More
A couple of weeks back, we spotlighted a few of the most fruitful and (presumably) harmonious filmmaker/actor collaborations in moviedom. But as we all know, filmmakers can also be a prickly lot, and the recent (mostly tabloid) coverage of director Kevin Smith’s recent swipes at his Cop Out star Bruce Willis (more on that below) got us thinking about some of the less cordial actor/director relationships. We’ve assembled some of the more contentious ones for your reading pleasure after the jump. … Read More
1. Today’s colorful Google Doodle marks what would have been Keith Haring’s 54th birthday. We approve. [via Pop Culture Brain]
2. If you were as bummed as we were about missing out on that celebrity-filled March reading of Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black’s Prop 8 play 8, then you’ll be happy to hear… Read More
1. Apparently Michael Bay feels like Transformers already needs a reboot; the fourth film in the $2.6 billion franchise, which is set to be released on June 29, 2014, will provide “a new take” on the story. Before that, he’s working on Pain And Gain, a small budget action movie about “a group of bodybuilders… Read More
[Editor's note: While your Flavorwire editors take a much-needed holiday break, we're revisiting some of our most popular features of the year. This post was originally published August 10, 2011.] Earlier this summer, a shocking number of our readers flocked to read (and amend) our list of the harshest author-on-author insults in history. But you know who is even more childish, trifling, vindictive, and nasty than your favorite scribes? Your favorite filmmakers. These directors may not have quite the same precision with the written word as those rancorous authors, but when it comes to pettiness, they can’t be beat. After the jump, we’ll run down 30 of our favorite slights, slanders, and cheap shots from filmmakers both classic and contemporary; we’d love to hear yours in the comments. … Read More
The holiday season means one thing for many kids across the globe (of all ages — yes, that means you): toys. Film’s finest offerings have inspired the money-grubbing marketing gods to create some truly terrible and infinitely weird tie-ins that left many people shaking their heads and wondering, “Why?” Before you race to the toy store to make merry, take note of the bizarre movie-related toys that we’ve shared past the break. Twilight, an Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, and even a Michael Bay movie have inspired some of the strangest playthings in history. Check in with our picks for the most peculiar, and leave us your own below. … Read More