James Bond’s golden anniversary moment in the spotlight hasn’t ended yet. The twenty-third film in the spy series, Skyfall, is still counting the cash, bringing home a total of $669 million so far (with a budget of $200 million). Website Pajiba recently surveyed 007′s place amongst the most expensive movies of all time, and the titles aren’t entirely surprising, but the numbers are indeed outrageous. The comprehensive list got us thinking about the opposite end of the spectrum: low-budget films that became unexpected hits. Success is subjective, and we’ve measured each movie by its cult likability and by the numbers (not adjusted for inflation). Click through for more movies made on the cheap that became big, and tell us your favorites. … Read More
In his thirty years as a feature filmmaker, Barry Levinson has never directed a horror film. The closest he’s come was 1998’s Sphere, a Michael Crichton adaptation with some supernatural elements, and that critically reviled effort certainly didn’t indicate any particular adeptness for the form. So when the initial trailers popped up for The Bay, a “found footage” horror effort that appears much closer to the work of producer Orin Peli (Paranormal Activity), there was cause for skepticism; Mr. Levinson’s last few narrative theatrical features (What Just Happened, Man of the Year, Envy) haven’t exactly set the world on fire, and the move to a low-budget genre effort seemed to smack of desperation. The joke’s on me: The Bay is the best movie he’s made in years, a tense and thoroughly disturbing little thriller. … Read More
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. This week, we’ve only got six new ones — perhaps due to last week’s trailer overload — but there are two very big superheroes among them. Check ‘em all out after the jump. … Read More
The release of a new film from the director of Saw isn’t necessarily cause for celebration; whatever your thoughts on that somewhat game-changing horror tentpole, its never-ending sequels have — to put it charitably — softened the brand. To his credit, director James Wan only helmed the first installment, but his follow-ups — the murderous-ventriloquist-dummy tale Dead Silence and the Kevin-Bacon-as-Charles-Bronson thriller Death Sentence — both crashed and burned.
However, his latest effort, Insidious, is a collaboration with producers Oren Peli, Jason Blum, and Steven Schneider —the team responsible for the surprisingly taut, genuinely scary Paranormal Activity. (We’ll not talk about Paranormal Activity 2 for now.) And we’ve gotta say, the trailer for this Poltergeist-style haunting chiller looks pretty decent. It’s got Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne in the leads, some solid character actors in supporting roles (hey there, Barbara Hershey!), and we’d be lying if we didn’t admit this two-minute teaser gave us a mild case of the creeps. Click through to check it out, and let us know if you agree in the comments. … Read More
The Sundance Film Festival kicks off tomorrow, with indie film blogs and glossy TV entertainment new shows alike converging in Park City to spotlight this year’s crop of would-be Tarantinos. The narrative, of course, is that you make your independent film, get into Sundance, and wow the potential distributors, prompting a fierce bidding war, theatrical release, and rock-star treatment now and forevermore. (Though, as we discussed last week, the translation of Sundance buzz to box-office dollars isn’t always as easy as it looks).
But what of the thousands — literally, thousands, every year — of filmmakers who don’t make that brutal Sundance cut? For the filmmaker, that Sundance rejection letter can feel like nothing less than a death certificate for their labor of love. And while a spin at the ‘dance can certainly help an unknown film’s chances of breakout success (see Reservoir Dogs, The Blair Witch Project, El Mariachi, sex, lies, and videotape, and many more), there are plenty of Sundance rejects who found success anyway. Here’s just a few of them. … Read More
The Men Who Stare at Goats, a new film which stars Ewan McGregor, George Clooney, Kevin Spacey, Robert Patrick, and Jeff Bridges, opens in theaters this Friday. It was inspired by Jon Ronson’s eponymous non-fiction bestseller, which explores the U.S. government’s “attempts to harness paranormal abilities to combat its enemies.” After the jump, a clever new ad for the film which spoofs Paranormal… Read More
1. Julian Casablancas is releasing a cover of “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” as a single. [via NME]
2. The Berenstain Bears are getting the film treatment courtesy of Shawn Levy, director of the Night at the Museum movies; it will be a mix of live action and animation. [via USA Today]
3. After watching Paranormal Activity, the Blair Witch filmmakers felt inspired to pitch a third film to Lionsgate. They were not involved with Blair Witch 2. [via Vulture]
4. Owen Wilson will voice Marmaduke in an upcoming film adaptation of the comic strip. [via Hollywood Reporter]
5. German people hate 30 Rock even more than middle Americans do. [via Hollywood… Read More
When news rolled out yesterday that Saw VI finally got the proverbial ass-whupping at the box office that the franchise deserves, we couldn’t help but feel a huge sigh of relief. Hollywood analysts will blame a lot of factors that could have contributed to Saw not being number one on the weekend before Halloween for the first time in what seems like forever: the recession, the age of Obama, global warming, who knows. But how about we just had something better to spend our hard-earned $12.50 on and it wasn’t torture porn. More on the seemingly endless number of movies better than Saw VI after the… Read More