Michael Caine

25 Famous Actors Ridiculing Their Profession

If you needed one more reason to love Jennifer Lawrence (and frankly, between her candid interviews and terrific performances in Winter’s Bone, The Hunger Games, and Silver Linings Playbook, we’ve been sold for a while), get a load of this quote from her new Vanity Fair interview: “Not to sound rude, but [acting] is stupid… Everybody’s like, ‘How can you remain with a level head?’ And I’m like, ‘Why would I ever get cocky? I’m not saving anybody’s life. There are doctors who save lives and firemen who run into burning buildings. I’m making movies. It’s stupid.'” That’s the kind of sound byte that helps cultivate the always sensible “down to earth” image, but there’s more to it than that; Lawrence’s comments fall within the grand tradition of no-nonsense actors not only refusing to romanticize what they do, but often coming right out and disparaging it. After the jump, we’ve assembled quotes from 25 of our favorite actors who, like Lawrence, refused to buy into their own hype. … Read More

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‘The Dark Knight Rises': Building the Ideal Summer Blockbuster

Big summer blockbusters don’t have to be terrible. The original ones — Jaws, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark — weren’t, and harnessing the considerable resources of Hollywood talent at the service of a large-budget, crowd-pleasing entertainment is something we do better than anyone; it’s one of the few things (like bombers and motorcycles) that America still builds well. The trouble is, so few filmmakers bother with matters like characterization and wit and intelligence, and those that do are often hamstrung by the creativity-by-committee that is the bane of studio “tentpoles,” and that’s why Christopher Nolan is so valuable. His Batman trilogy (and The Prestige and Inception, which he made between them) serve as a forceful reminder of the kind of quality that the marriage of art and commerce can birth — and the use of “art” here is a deliberate one, a word choice not made lightly. In the seven years since Warner Brothers handed the keys to their biggest franchise over to a British filmmaker best known for a twisty indie, Nolan has done nothing less than redefine blockbuster cinema: what it is, and what it can be. … Read More

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10 Film Characters Who Went Back to School

This Friday Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are heading back to high school in Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s adaptation of the late ’80s and early ’90s TV drama, 21 Jump Street. Hill and Tatum are taking over the roles that Johnny Depp and Richard Grieco made famous — two undercover agents busting drug baddies at a local high school. The Hill written and produced version (Tatum also has a producer credit) puts a comedic spin on things (obviously), as the duo ends up joining the secret Jump Street unit of the local police department. They also return to school on the DL, but find that their traumatic high school pasts often gets in the way of their investigation.

Whether film characters head back to class to reinvent themselves, chase lost dreams, or take on an entirely new identity, hitting the books for a second go-round always seems to inspire great hilarity and drama. We’ve revisited ten other back to school movies past the break. Tell us your favorites? … Read More

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Flavorpill’s Guide to Movies You Need to Stream This Week

Welcome to the first installment of Flavorpill’s streaming movie guide, a new feature in which we’ll 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 documentaries, a pair of spy spoofs from the star and director of The Artist, and a couple of titles we told (or showed) you about over the past couple of weeks. Check them all out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now. … Read More

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Video Essay: “How to Pull the Perfect Movie Heist”

Tower Heist, Brett Ratner’s late-fall heist picture, is out this week on DVD, so our latest video essay takes a look at this durable genre via a step-by-step examination of how to put a big heist together — according to the movies, anyway. We grabbed pieces from over two dozen heist movies, from here and abroad, from the 1950s to the present, and put them together to show, in seven easy steps, how to pull that one big score. (Bonus points if it’s your last big one before retiring somewhere warm.)

We’ll show you how it’s done with the help of some of our favorite directors, including Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Michael Mann, John Frankenheimer, Bryan Singer, John Huston, David Mamet, Peter Yates, Jean-Pierre Melville, Jules Dassin, Sidney Lumet, John McTiernan, Jim Henson, and Frank Oz. And check out our all-star cast: Robert DeNiro, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Gene Hackman, Robert Redford, Marlon Brando, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Edward Norton, Julia Roberts, Michael Caine, Charlize Theron, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Keitel, Val Kilmer, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Steve Buscemi, Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Spacey, Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Liotta, Danny DeVito, Michael Madsen, Stellan Skarsgård, Tom Sizemore, Vincent Cassel, Owen Wilson, Joe Pesci, Luke Wilson, Sean Connery, Guy Pearce, George Segal, Sam Rockwell, Delroy Lindo, Seth Green, Sterling Hayden, Chris Penn, Mos Def, Lawrence Tierney, Jason Statham, Jean Reno, the Muppets, and many, many more. Find out “How to Pull the Perfect Movie Heist” after the jump. … Read More

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The Weekend Box Office: Explain Yourself, America

The pre-Valentine’s Day weekend was an unexpectedly big one at the box office, with four new movies bringing in over $20 million in receipts — only the second time in history that such an event has occurred, and the first time, as some outlets are reporting, that it’s happened on a non-holiday weekend. (We’ll let you decide whether a few days before Valentine’s Day counts as a “holiday weekend” or not. I’ll refrain from comment, in the interest of not upsetting anyone on the eve of said maybe-holiday.) What’s even more remarkable about this considerable fiscal accomplishment is that it was achieved with four movies that no one here at Flavorpill can actually imagine going to see. Neat trick, Hollywood! … Read More

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The Ten Best Sherlocks (That You’ve Probably Never Seen)

Basil Rathbone, in the 40s; Peter Cushing, in the 50s and 60s, plus a last gasp in the 80s; Jeremy Brett, in the 80s and 90s; and now Benedict Cumberbatch, edging out Robert Downey Jr in the 21st century. Everyone’s favourite Sherlock Holmes is surely one of the above – at the expense of so many other of their deer-stalking, pipe-puffing, violin-scraping kin, who almost always get overlooked. To attempt to fix that terrible problem, Alan Barnes, author of Sherlock Holmes On Screen, which comes out this week, presents, in chronological order, ten criminally under-rated Great Detectives for your reconsideration. Click through to check out his picks, and let us know your own favorite incarnation of the famous sleuth in the comments! … Read More

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Trailer Park: Cops, Corman, and Our Old Friend Eddie

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 six new trailers this week, including new vehicles for The Rock, Kristen Stewart, and Jonah Hill (and an old one for Eddie Murphy); check ‘em out after the jump. … Read More

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10 of the Best Drunken Movie Performances

“The best research for playing a drunk is being a British actor for 20 years,” says Michael Caine. That hasn’t stopped plenty of American actors from giving it a shot. This week, Johnny Depp appears in The Rum Diary, based on a typically boozy (not to mention druggy) book by Hunter Thompson. Even if you try to ignore the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Depp has had years of experience to hone his on-screen stagger. But he’s not the first – and definitely not the craziest – actor to bring the party to work. Below, we revisit some of the best drunken performances committed to film. … Read More

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Smart Actors, Dumb Movies: 10 Questionable Career Choices

A 2011 Oscar winner, another nominee, an acclaimed director, and the writer/star of one of TV’s most delightfully subversive comedies couldn’t convince audiences to see Your Highness, which opened last weekend to odious reviews and bad box office. What went wrong? Well, it is certainly possible that the target audience for a stoner parody of sword-and-sorcery movies was a little too narrow to justify a $50 million budget. Or it could just be the execution; “Like members of some post-Dadaist collective,” Time’s Richard Corliss notes, “the filmmakers have dedicated themselves to memorializing every first, wrong impulse that popped into their heads, while ruthlessly excising any vestige of wit or narrative niceties as being too linear, dude.” Whatever the reason, it certainly seems like yet another strange choice for Natalie Portman, whose first release after her Oscar nomination was a dopey, formulaic “friends with benefits” sex comedy. (As for James Franco, we’ve given up on guessing his motives for doing anything.)

Putting together a filmography is always a crap shoot for actors; the process of assembling a major studio production involves so many variables, from studio interference to directorial whims to budgetary concerns to a million other little things that sometimes you just can’t know what the final product will be. But in some cases, you just can’t imagine what a seemingly intelligent, acclaimed actor saw on the page, and how he ever imagined it could be a good movie — and we’re not talking about early on, when a hungry actor takes any role available. We’re talking post-fame, sometimes post-Oscar. After the jump, we’ll take a look at some of our favorite actors, and some of their most absolutely inexplicable choices. … Read More

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