Welcome to Flavorwire’s streaming movie guide, in which we help you sift through the scores of movies streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other services to find the best of the recently available, freshly relevant, or soon to expire. This week, there’s good stuff from James Gandolfini, Robert Downey Jr., Brad Pitt, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Walken, Scarlett Johansson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Catherine Keener, Channing Tatum, Chris Hemsworth, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Ellen Page, Rainn Wilson, Anna Chlumsky, John Hawkes, Joss Whedon, Steven Soderbergh, Pedro Almodovar, and more. Check them out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now. … Read More
Happy Father’s Day! We’re celebrating the holiday by taking a look at our favorite cult film fathers. These movie dads are flawed as can be, but their dysfunctional parenting, bizarre personality quirks, and quotable lines are meant to entertain us. Let’s just ignore the fact that their kids don’t stand a chance. Head past the break for a look at 10 loving, but demented dads from cult cinema. Feel free to add your own favorites in the comments section. … Read More
Last month, this site took a look at the entirety of cinematic history and cooked up a ranking of the 50 best villains of all time. In honor of this week’s release of Man of Steel, the natural follow-up would seem to be a list of the best heroes — except, ugh, how boring are heroes? They can’t hold a candle to the villains, the supporting goons, or (especially) the antiheroes. The latter is usually defined as a protagonist with no heroic virtues or qualities, but that definition can get a little blurry; some would consider characters that are treated as heroes but have a few unlikable or unpopular qualities (like Han Solo, Dirty Harry Callahan, or Snake Plissken). But a true antihero is made of darker stuff than that. Here are a few examples — well, 50, to be… Read More
“Too much of a good thing is wonderful,” announces Michael Douglas as Liberace as the entertainer, recently deceased, is lifted from a Las Vegas stage, surrounded by feathers, rhinestones, and shimmering lights. It’d be a believable line if Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra, which premieres on HBO this Sunday, were actually any good. Unfortunately, the director’s self-described final film is a standard run-of-the-mill TV biopic: schlocky, formulaic, and cheap. The tackiness could be seen as fitting for a film about Liberace, but the performer would much rather go for diamonds than plastic and glass. … Read More
If you haven’t been paying attention to the political pundit class lately (and really, seriously, who on earth couldn’t blame you if you haven’t), you might not have heard about the weird jihad against Nate Silver, the math whiz behind the FiveThirtyEight blog, who has been predicting a better than 60% probability of an Obama win since early summer. (He currently has Obama’s chances of reelection at 85%.) Over the past couple of weeks, many pundits — most of them, unsurprisingly, Republican — have insisted that Mr. Silver is biased, that his model is skewed, that his projection of a big Obama win runs contrary to their impression that the race is a “toss-up.” (Some actually point to the 50-50 national polls as proof, as though the popular vote and the electoral college aren’t different beasts entirely, but I digress.)
The whole thing is mighty silly; as David Roher so eloquently puts it over at Deadspin, “[W]e’ve reached the point in our screwed-up political media culture where the polling companies and forecasters — not the pundits, not the spokespeople, and certainly not the candidates — are the only people being evaluated rigorously on the substance of their arguments.” But here’s what we’ll do for you anti-Silverites: let’s throw out all that complicated averaging and math and science and stuff. That’s for four-eyed eggheads like Nate Silver, amIright? We’re gonna predict the outcome of the election based on something a lot easier to wrap your big meat heads around: movies! Political elections have been a popular film topic for years, so we decided to take a look at what these fictional elections could tell us about how things are going to go tomorrow. The answers may surprise you! (Warning: spoilers after the jump.) … Read More
So Bob Dyan’s got a new album out today, and while your film editor usually sticks to the movie beat, it’s not like Dylan is just a music figure, or even that vaguest of descriptions, a “pop culture icon.” He’s also an ever-present force in film and television, with his songs (as either writer or performer) appearing in nearly 400 movies and TV shows (according to IMDb). And while at least half of those are lazy filmmakers using the opening riff of Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” cover to convey the turbulence of the sixties, that’s still quite a lot of Zimmy on film — he’s been much more free with his licensing than, say, the Beatles, whose best cinematic cues we ran down a couple of months back. In honor of Dylan’s new record (always a cause for celebration), we do the same for him below — with the same rules, i.e., no covers, no straight-up performances, but scenes where the music of Mr. Dylan is spotlighted, and in turn furthers the action and mood. Our ten favorites are after the jump. … Read More
The new Ben Stiller/Vince Vaughn/Jonah Hill comedy The Watch is out tomorrow, though that’s not the title it was written, shot, and originally marketed under. Somewhere between page and premiere, it lost its original title and saw its marketing focus shift; as has been known to happen, the events of the world off-screen either changed events on-screen, or colored our response to them. After the jump, we’ve assembled ten films that unexpectedly intersected with real life, and what happened to them as a result. … Read More
Welcome to Flavorpill’s streaming movie guide, in which we 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 find Netflix purging a bunch of good titles for a giant batch of new ones in early June (must be some sort of mid-year end-of-contract period or something), so our list is mostly — but not entirely — comprised of stuff you’ll have to get on quick, featuring stars like Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Douglas, Billy Bob Thornton, Parker Posey, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey, Woody Harrelson, Tom Cruise, Winona Ryder, and Sylvester Stallone. Check them all out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now. … Read More
Well, kids, it’s Valentine’s Day, and those of you who aren’t looking to go out and spend a fortune at a swanky restaurant (read: those of you who are married or in relationships that have been going long enough that you’re not trying to impress each other anymore) may very well choose to stay in for the holiday, cuddling up on the couch and enjoying a nice romantic comedy. Except, ugh, they’re all terrible.
Or so it seems, in this Heigl/Hudson/Hugh/Sarah-Jessica saturated cinematic marketplace. But believe it or not, there are some genuinely great romantic comedies out there — smart, tender, funny movies that make you laugh and warm your heart. No, seriously! We’ve not only managed to collect ten of them, but even an alternate choice or two for each. Snuggle up and enjoy after the jump. … Read More
Shame, a candid and powerful look at sexual addiction from director Steve McQueen (no, another Steve McQueen) is out in limited release tomorrow, and as we reported last month, it’s going out with the NC-17 rating—no children under 17 admitted, under any circumstances. The rating, many have surmised, is due to the film’s copious male nudity, and that’s how the American ratings system works: all the naked ladies you want, but the erect male member= automatic NC-17.
The rating was initiated by the MPAA back in 1990, and was intended to be an alternative to the porn-stained (if you’ll pardon the pun) X rating; NC-17 movies, like Henry & June (the inaugural film to carry the rating), Bad Lieutenant, The Dreamers, and Lust, Caution would be for adults, by adults. But it quickly became the kiss of death for filmmakers and distributors. Just as with the X rating before it, newspapers and television outlets wouldn’t carry ads for NC-17 films, while larger theatrical chains and home video outlets refused to carry them. Smaller films would take the mark or (as Kids and Happiness did) go out unrated, while the editing process for big releases became something of a con game: if a film was rated NC-17, the distributor would make the trims necessary for an R-rating, enjoy the publicity, and then restore the cut material for the inevitable “unrated” DVD release (frequently carried by the very chains that refused to stock NC-17 films). By the late 1990s, studios wouldn’t even bother with the first step, cranking out unrated versions of raunchy comedies and adult thrillers as a standard step in their home video release plans.
While the politics of who gets an R and who doesn’t are shady at best (check out the terrific documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated), we can’t help but wonder about what would have happened if the NC-17 could have been what its creators wanted it to be. Fox Searchlight’s decision to release Shame with the scarlet letters/numbers has prompted another round of “will the NC-17 finally become respectable?” questions (answer: dubious), but what if that question weren’t necessary, because the NC-17 had never been stigmatized? Had that been the case, we might have seen the uncut movies we’ve assembled after the jump. … Read More