Geek god Joss Whedon’s day has come. He’s trading TV slayage and vampires, for filmic mayhem with his horror writing endeavor The Cabin in the Woods, which hits theaters this Friday — the 13th, for added spooky cred. It’s a spoof of sorts on the horror genre, but not in the vein of goofy films like Scary Movie. Think Whedon’s clever brand of humor set in a remote cabin where friends gather for a getaway. The movie also has its share of scares — and hey, Ebert liked it, so that’s something. (Beware of spoilers.)
Whedon’s witticisms have always wooed us, and thanks to an early career as a television writer (Roseanne and Parenthood being his inaugural projects), the filmmaker was able to smoothly segue into a movie career — first with Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1992 and Toy Story in 1995 — both writing credits. From there, Whedon would flip back and forth from TV and film directing/writing/producing, bringing us gems like Firefly and Serenity, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along, the beloved Buffy television series, and most recently the highly anticipated Avengers movie — which hits theaters on May 4.
What other filmmakers have danced between TV and cinema, and vice versa? We look at a few multitasking creatives past the break. With increases in technology and more elaborate production values on display, TV no longer feels like a nasty two-letter word filmmakers see as beneath them. More and more accomplished moviemakers are spending time on the small screen, and many got their start there like Whedon. Check out our list below, and share any TV/film geniuses we missed in the comments. … Read More
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
Storied showrunner David Milch debuted his long-awaited follow-up to Deadwood last night. (Yes, that’s right, we’re doing him the courtesy of pretending John from Cincinnati never happened.) Although Luck won’t officially premiere until January 29th, HBO ran a sneak preview of the show’s first episode after Boardwalk Empire‘s season finale. And we wanted to like it. We could not, in fact, wait to get a peek at it. But, while we realize great shows can have shaky pilots, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t worried.
Luck takes place in the world of horse racing — a somewhat alien realm for those of us who ignore the Kentucky Derby and have never set foot in an OTB. This means that the distinguished trio behind the series — executive producers Milch and Michael Mann, plus producer/star Dustin Hoffman — needs to quickly find a way to make those of us with no interest in the sport care about the jockeys, managers, and gamblers who populate its world. So it’s confusing that they seem to have so purposely chosen to hold viewers at arm’s length. … Read More
1. A surprising new twist in the ever-continuing Netflix saga: Dreamworks has decided to ditch its current deal with HBO and offer the streaming service the exclusive rights to its output, at about $30 million per movie — a $10 million increase in revenue. [via NYT]
2. Goodnight, sweet prince: Arch West, the… Read More
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Or it may never have been at all. The “it,” of course, refers to Lars von Trier’s rumored remake of Taxi Driver, which had the media abuzz for nearly a spin around the sun. Often, the very mention of the word “remake” with a beloved title leads to a feisty chorus of “ohs” and “whys,” from The Seven Samurai to the more recent Let the Right One In. But with von Trier’s brilliant but checkered past (hit-miss-hit) and Martin Scorsese’s notorious “hero,” there was definitely promise for a must-see redo.
In that what-if spirit, here’s a list of other American classics and the directors we think could make them their own. Leave your own scenarios in the comments. … Read More
Production designer David Wasco and set decorator Sandy Reynolds-Wasco have worked on more than 30 films in the past 25 years. The husband-and-wife team has collaborated with some of the most talented filmmakers working today, including Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, David Mamet, and Michael Mann, to create seamless, life-like sets for their pictures. The duo’s design work on Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums was featured in the Smithsonian’s National Design Triennial in 2003 and Wasco has been nominated for Art Directors Guild’s award for excellence in production design three times, including a nod for his work on Mann’s Collateral. With Inglourious Basterds currently in theaters, the couple shared some of the behind the scenes action of working with… Read More
The movie critics are calling it the “worst film of the decade, yet simultaneously, the greatest allegory for the automobile industry.” Transformers 2, has tied Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs for the #1 spot making $42.5M over the holiday weekend. (This secures The Hangover as the only movie this year to hold the numero uno spot for two consecutive weekends.) Transformer 2‘s inability to come out on top comes as no surprise, since both sequels easily divide the ”me like big 3-D creatures break stuff” audience. … Read More