Morgan Freeman

‘Lucy,’ ‘Nikita,’ and the State of the Female Action Movie

There’s a scene about halfway into Luc Besson’s Lucy, which finds Scarlett Johansson’s title character striding down a luxury hotel hallway in slow-motion, a gun in each hand, as the operatic music favored by the film’s supervillian swells on the soundtrack. It’s a scene you’ve seen in a million other disposable action movies, but it packs a giddy, sneaky punch here, and not just because it’s well directed by Besson (though it is), or because Johansson is so exuberantly sexy (though she is). The scene works, jumps from the screen and bounces around the auditorium, because the sight of a tough female action hero is still rare enough to give the audience an extra jolt. Say what you will about Lucy, which is an absurdly silly and sometimes aggressively stupid movie, but it’s at least interested in showing us something new. … Read More

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Morgan Freeman on Helium

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Why Do Cinematographers Make Such Lousy Directors?

Wally Pfister has been in it for a minute. He started out in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, first as a camera operator and then cinematographer for straight-to-VHS erotic thrillers and horror films with titles like Animal Instincts II, Secret Games 3, and Amityville: A New Generation. But in 2000, he hooked up with director Christopher Nolan for Momento, and he’s shot every Nolan film since (along with Moneyball, The Italian Job, and a few others). Now he moves into the director’s chair, orchestrating a high-caliber cast in the big-budget sci-fi thriller Transcendence (out today). But even if you view it without this thumbnail bio in the back of your head, you might guess the pedigree, because it’s a terrible movie that looks amazing. … Read More

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‘Captain America’ Star Anthony Mackie Is Right: Kids Deserve More Diverse Superhero Movies

Anthony Mackie is one of those underrated and substantially gifted actors who livens up just about any movie he shows up in, and his unique fusion of genuine warmth and unflappable cool is particularly welcome in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But his most important contribution to the comic-book movie universe may well have occurred off-screen, at a recent promotional roundtable, when he said this about playing a black superhero: “When I first got this role I just cried like a baby because I was like, ‘Wow, next Halloween, I’m gonna open the door and there’s gonna be a little kid dressed as the Falcon.’ That’s the thing that always gets me. I feel like everybody deserves that. I feel like there should be a Latino superhero. Scarlett does great representation for all the other girls, but there should be a Wonder Woman movie. I don’t care if they make 20 bucks, if there’s a movie you’re gonna lose money on, make it Wonder Woman. You know what I mean, ’cause little girls deserve that.” Or, to put a more cynical spin on his comment: why are all the comic book superhero movies about white guys? … Read More

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25 Great ’80s Movies Time Has Forgotten

Buried among the also-rans within this week’s Blu-ray releases, you’ll find the HD debut of Tequila Sunrise, Robert Towne’s 1988 mystery/love triangle thriller starring Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Kurt Russell. It’s the kind of movie studios don’t make that much anymore — an entertaining and reasonably intelligent picture for grown-ups, done on a medium budget with the expectation of a medium return. There’s nosurplus of love out there for mainstream American moviemaking in the 1980s — and for good reason. But there are also a handful of films from that much-maligned era that have stood the test of time, and deserve more retroactive attention than they… Read More

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‘The Lego Movie’ Might Actually Be Good

When The Lego Movie was announced, it was greeted with either shrugs or groans, sounding like a befuddling movie… Read More

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12 Famous Actors and the Films You Forgot They Directed

As you may have heard, Scarlett Johansson is going to make the leap from actress to feature filmmaker, helming an adaptation of Truman Capote’s first, posthumously published novel Summer Crossing. The path from one side of the camera to the other is a well-trod one, so here’s hoping that Ms. Johansson follows in the footsteps of distinguished actors-turned-directors like Charles Laughton, Orson Welles, and Clint Eastwood. But don’t forget, not all actors find the transition so easy; some try it once and never again, the job of director a strange and forgotten footnote on otherwise stellar careers. … Read More

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How ‘Star Wars’ Killed Smart Sci-Fi Cinema

In the opening sequence of Oblivion, the voice of Tom Cruise (playing the film’s protagonist, Commander Jack Harper) creeps onto the soundtrack and painstakingly explains the precise details of the film’s backstory. The year is 2077. The Earth is all but abandoned. An alien population known as Scavengers (Scavs for short) invaded the moon, which in turn nearly destroyed the earth. Most humans have moved to a space station. Drones and technicians like Harper roam the earth, and so on and son on. A metric ton of exposition is slammed into that opening sequence, but here’s what’s peculiar: at the beginning of the second act, after Jack discovers a hibernating astronaut (Olga Kurylekno) and saves her, he sits her down and gives her the whole spiel again. Why? Is this a safeguard in case people showed up late? Do they think we didn’t get it the first time? … Read More

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Your Favorite Actors on Their Favorite Actors

The Ryan Gosling fan club is getting even more crowded. Recently, James Franco took to the Huffington Post to do what countless fans and stalkers have spent the past several years doing: writing on the Internet about Ryan Gosling. “I want to make love to this section,” Franco writes of the first, Gosling-heavy hour of The Place Beyond the Pines. “He played the role to a T. Look at the funny glasses he wears when he robs banks, green on the sides; look at the writing on the bike before he paints it black; Gosling touches, all, I’m sure of it.” Actors obsessing over actors — they’re just like us! And let’s be honest: there’s something kind of wonderful about actors and actresses who genuinely love each other’s work, and who can articulate what makes it great. So we went on the hunt for the favorite actors of some of our favorite actors, to find out who they love, who inspires them, and… Read More

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Will These 10 Films Be Next Year’s Oscar Nominees?

After months of hype, after hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaigning, after endless precursor award ceremonies leading to the big night, the Oscars are over. So, what’s next? We took a look at the films slated thus far for release this fall — traditionally the time when Serious Oscar Movies are unleashed — and inventoried their Academy-friendly elements to come up with our picks for next year’s most likely… Read More

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