France’s Cannes Film Festival has seen its share of controversies since it started in 1946. Blame the Riviera sun or the filmmaking iconoclasts that gather on the red carpet each year, but various high jinks and bizarre publicity stunts have often dominated the festivities. Bold action isn’t always required to shake things up, however. Often times it’s just the movies themselves that cause a scene with audiences and the Cannes jury. With the current 66th annual festival underway, we wanted to take a look at ten of Cannes most controversial moments. … Read More
Who’s ready to watch Seth MacFarlane host the Oscars? Well, no matter how wrong the Family Guy creator may be for the job, he can take solace in the fact that there’s a long, rich history of terrible Oscar moments. We’ve assembled ten of the most awkward and cringe-worthy to prime you for what lies… Read More
From Food, Inc. to The Age of Stupid, we’ve rounded up 10 great documentaries that make powerful, life-changing statements about social, environmental, and economic… Read More
With the Obama campaign devoting so much attention to the youth vote, it’s easy to write off our grandparents’ generation as hopelessly conservative Romney supporters. But they aren’t all that way (especially the ones who don’t want their Medicare messed with), as a new video produced and co-written by Michael Moore reminds us. “A Message from the Greatest Generation” takes us to a nursing home, where 97-year-old Marie tells us what she really thinks about the GOP’s attempts at voter suppression. Other seniors are equally spirited in their defense of democracy, and they’re not afraid to get feisty about it; the term “cock-punch” may or may not come up. Watch the video below, and if the elderly people in your life have open minds and good senses of humor, feel free to show it to them, too. … Read More
This weekend, your film editor was invited to cover the tenth annual Tallgrass Film Festival; it’s an invitation I was inclined to accept, since it’s held in my hometown. But the fabulous time that I had there got me thinking about film festival culture — there are, after all, literally hundreds of film festivals held in America now, several a week, but casual observers and even true-believer film fans only hear about a handful of them. Sundance, Toronto, SXSW, NYFF, Telluride, and other “name brand” festivals boast big premieres, red carpets, and marquee names. The smaller, under-the-radar fests may not have all of that attention-grabbing stuff, but they’ve got as much (if not more) love for the cinema. So we asked some of our Flavorpill folks across the country to recommend some of their favorite film fests; check out their must-sees after the jump. … Read More
Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master opens Friday in limited release — his first film in five years, though we certainly could have been waiting longer. Anderson’s oh-so-thinly-veiled portrait of a cult leader who seems an awful lot like L. Ron Hubbard knocked around Hollywood for a good long while before the writer/director finally found outside financing (more on that later); it’s one of several films — most of them related to religion, the movie industry’s primary hot button — that had to go the indie route when the major studios were afraid to touch them. After the jump, a brief history of movies Hollywood was too scared to make. … Read More
Happy 70th birthday, Sir Paul McCartney! (Oh, he’s a big Flavorwire reader, you didn’t know? Comments a lot. Really bad about the “first!” thing. ) The Beatles have been on our mind a lot lately, after their song “Tomorrow Never Knows” was used so hauntingly in the “Lady Lazarus” episode of Mad Men. Much of the subsequent chatter about the song’s appearance on the show was centered on its hefty price tag ($250,000), and indeed, the high cost of using Beatles songs is part of the reason why you hear so few of their original recordings in movies and on television (at least compared to, say, The Beach Boys). Producers will more often go the cheaper route of using covers or even sound-alikes, but a few films have made the effort to use the original Fab Four tracks, and to great effect. After the jump, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite Beatle moments in modern movies. … Read More
Special effects wizard and blockbuster director James Cameron was busy getting in touch with his oceanographer side this weekend. The Avatar and Titanic filmmaker completed a record-breaking Mariana Trench dive — a place National Geographic describes as “Earth’s deepest, and perhaps most alien, realm.”
He’s the first person to take a solo dive into the ocean’s cavernous recesses — a section of Pacific waters known as “Challenger Deep” that extends 35,768 feet deep. In 1960, Navy Lt. Don Walsh and the late Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard made the journey with few instruments at their disposal and were unable to see much beyond the clouds of mud stirred up from the ocean floor when they made touchdown. Cameron, however, spent three hours in his Deepsea Challenger armed with multiple 3D cameras, a robotic claw, “slurp gun,” and an eight-foot LED tower for illuminating the murky depths — technology similar to the kind hinted at in his most popular films like Terminator and Avatar. Scientists will be reporting some of their findings from Cameron’s samples later today. National Geographic magazine will feature a story about the event, and a 3D feature film centered on the historic dive is also in the works. In total, Cameron has taken 70 deep submersible dives — even visiting the real-life Titanic shipwreck 33 different times.
Clearly Cameron’s passion for diving is as strong as his love of filmmaking. We felt inspired by his deep sea adventures to explore some of the other crazy and compelling things filmmakers have done in their everyday lives. Read on for more, and leave your votes below. … Read More
The Academy Award for Best Documentary has always been, let’s face it, problematic. For decades the Documentary branch was notorious for snubbing, on an almost yearly basis, any doc that’d had the good fortune of actually accomplishing box office success; some of the most acclaimed nonfiction feature films of recent years (including Grey Gardens, The Thin Blue Line, Roger & Me, and Sherman’s March) weren’t even nominated for the award. In 1994, amidst charges of unfair rules and cronyism, the critical outcry following the snubs of Hoop Dreams and Crumb prompted the Academy to change, at long last, the way it nominated and voted on documentary films. The new rules certainly improved matters, and well-regarded, deserving pics like The Fog of War, Man on Wire, and Inside Job won the award.
But it’s still an imperfect system, and this year’s 15-film “short list” had several puzzling exclusions: Werner Herzog’s masterful Cave of Forgotten Dreams and powerful Into the Abyss, Errol Morris’ Tabloid, and the sharp and moving The Interrupters (from Hoop Dreams director Steve James). It’s hard to say if the louder-than-normal response to those snubs caused the new round of just-announced changes to the documentary nominating and voting procedure; what we can say is that they are a decidedly mixed bag. … Read More
The ever-cheerful Jean-Luc Godard gave a rare interview to The Guardian this week, wherein, among other things, he held forth on the state of the film industry. “Film is over,” he proclaimed. “It’s sad nobody is really exploring it. But what to do? And anyway, with mobile phones and everything, everyone is now an auteur.” It’s certainly an interesting time for film — while Hollywood is trying to keep people in cinemas by (re-)embracing 3D and avoiding anything that looks remotely like a new idea, indie filmmakers are exploring the possibilities of web-based distribution and new methods of filmmaking. And it’s not just indie directors doing so, either. Join us as we have a brief look at five prominent directors who’ve been pushing the technological envelope in direction, marketing, and/or distribution. … Read More