It’s tricky to talk to Derek Cianfrance about his new film The Place Beyond the Pines, due to a series of bold narrative turnabouts that would fall squarely into the realm of “spoilers.” I explained my hesitancy to him in a recent telephone interview. “It’s challenging for reviewers,” he grants. “You can’t just go and spend two-thirds of your review describing plot – unless you hate the movie. The reviewers that hate the movie have no problem… they’re excited to go out there and crush it for people.” I don’t hate the movie, and I don’t want to crush it for people. Suffice it to say that it starts as one thing, and then unexpectedly becomes another, and then something else entirely. That seems a safe way to put it — and for Cianfrance to explain how he arrived at the picture’s unique “triptych” structure. … Read More
‘Tis the season for adapting movies into television shows: A&E made a big splash with its Psycho prequel series Bates Motel, NBC has its Hannibal Lecter series Hannibal on deck for an April 4 debut, and Amazon has just announced its order for a pilot episode of Zombieland, based on the 2009 Jesse Eisenberg/Woody Harrelson movie. With all this activity stewing in the movie-to-TV pipeline, let’s not forget one important fact: with only a few exceptions, most TV shows based on motion pictures sink without a trace. Don’t believe us? Here are ten movie-to-TV adaptations that you probably didn’t know… Read More
It’s a very big fall for fans of Alfred Hitchcock. First and foremost, Universal has released Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection, a fabulous 15-disc limited edition Blu-ray set featuring several of Hitch’s masterpieces (including Vertigo, Rear Window, Psycho, and North by Northwest) in gorgeous HD transfers, with copious bonus features. And while his work is available for fresh consumption, there are a pair of new biography treatments as well — on the small screen, we have HBO’s The Girl (with Toby Jones as a rather skeevy Hitch and Sienna Miller as ‘Tippi’ Hedrin), while next week brings the theatrical release of a marvelous new big-screen biopic, Hitchcock (focusing on the production of Psycho, with Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock, Helen Mirren as wife Alma, and Scarlett Johannson as Janet Leigh).
That’s a lot of Mr. Hitchcock to take in at once, but we’re here to help. If your knowledge of Hitch is confined to a shower scene and a flock of diving seagulls, you’re in luck; we’ve put together a Beginner’s Guide to Hitchcock, earmarking his major motifs, significant films, and relevant facts. Check it out after the jump. … Read More
If you’re like us, you’ve probably spent a good (possibly unhealthy!) chunk of your October watching lots and lots of horror movies. But if you watch too many, you’ll start to notice a pattern. Horror movies seem to be the genre most prone to sequelizing and rebootinating — there are five Wrong Turns and six Leprechauns, for Chrissakes — and the results are seldom worth a damn. The logic is easy to understand; with horror, the genre itself (rather than big-name stars or mind-blowing special effects) is the marketable element, so once the connection has been made, it’s easy to go back for seconds. And horror movies are constructed accordingly, with doors left open for sequels and series. Most are just awful. But some aren’t; occasionally, the ingenuity and inventiveness of a good chiller will return in its follow-up. So, as you’re putting together your Halloween DVD stacks, allow us to help you separate the pop from the pap; our dozen horror sequels that (contrary to expectation) are not terrible are after the jump. … Read More
With the reboot of Total Recall hitting theaters this week, and Cloud Atlas on the horizon we’ve been thinking a lot about the way films are adapted from books, and how often people totally miss the books in favor of the movies that spring from them — including us. With film adaptations of Philip K. Dick stories like Total Recall, which tend to veer so wildly that you might not recognize even if you had read the source material, we understand. But as it turns out, there are a lot more movies that we didn’t realize were based on books — until now. Click through to see our list, and let us know which movies surprised you (or which ones you totally knew about, smarty pantses) in the comments. … Read More
Think Alamo Drafthouse is strict about movie theater etiquette? Well, their anti-texting policy is nothing compared to Alfred Hitchcock’s response to latecomers. As you’ll see in the “press book on film” below, when Psycho premiered on Broadway, a sign hung over the cinema entrance that read, “No one.. BUT NO ONE… will be admitted to the theater after the start of each performance of Psycho.” According to Hitchcock, this was for the audience’s own good. But it was also part of a beautifully orchestrated marketing campaign that created excitement for the movie by driving home the importance of seeing it from the very beginning and featured cardboard cutouts of the filmmaker himself that explained the policy — which were guarded by real, live Pinkertons. In addition to these revelations, the video features plenty of exhortations from Hitchcock, delivered in his signature slow, creepy drawl. “I insist that you do not tell your friends the little, tiny, horrifying secrets of Psycho after you see it,” he tells us. And with a voice like that, how could we dare disobey? … Read More
We recently came across an old list compiled by the British Film Institute, naming 50 films that every teenager should see by the age of 14. We can’t argue with many of their picks — classics like E.T., The Wizard of Oz, and others feel like true essentials. Still, we couldn’t help but notice a number of movies we have a hard time imagining most young teenagers watching of their own free will. We wanted to come up with a few alternatives to BFI’s picks and include some films we were surprised didn’t make the final cut, and others that weren’t around in 2005 (with the 14-year age in the back of our minds). Some of our choices are classics, others act as a gateway to other selections in that genre, and the rest are just damn good. These types of lists are all subjective, so we want to hear your picks as well. What would you add to our essential teen watch list? Share below in the comments section. … Read More
Although he won critical acclaim for several award-winning performances — including a role in Civil War movie Friendly Persuasion as a young man drawn to battle to protect his family and a part in May-December romantic drama Goodbye Again — multifaceted talent Anthony Perkins will forever and always be known as Norman Bates in Hitchcock’s Psycho. Immortalized on celluloid as the meek and deeply troubled murderer, Perkins’ — who would have been 80-years-old today — played Bates with a boyish vulnerability, quiet charm, and repressed anxiety that Hitchcock skillfully helped mold into one of the greatest screen villains of all time.
Many have said that Bates’ most unfortunate victim was Anthony Perkins, and that the character eventually consumed him — at least through three other sequels that spanned into the ’90s. “Without Pyscho, who’s to say if I would have endured?” Perkins once told the New York Times.
What other actors never escaped their biggest roles? We explored the careers of a few stars past the jump. Sometimes the deal of a lifetime can haunt you, making you wonder who is playing whom in the end. (And sometimes it’s not always a bad thing.) Check out our picks, and drop your faves in the comments section. … Read More
Gallery 1988 — purveyors of all things pop culture — is hosting a gathering full of gallows humor and shadowy mayhem. The Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, is the subject of the California gallery’s latest exhibit, which features over 100 artists paying tribute to one of cinema’s most iconic directors. Suspense & Gallows Humor: A Tribute to the All-Time Greatest focuses on the pioneering filmmaker’s psychological thrillers and twisted tales of terror — including Psycho, North by Northwest, The Birds, and more.
Appropriately, the exhibit opens at Gallery 1988 Venice in Santa Monica on Friday, April 13 (from 7-10pm). If you survive the evening (this is Hitchcock we’re talking about) you can revisit the show, which remains on display until May 5. … Read More
Even though Murphy Brown never trusted Girl Scouts, because they “wear paramilitary uniforms while reciting oaths and starting fires,” we’re still celebrating Girl Scout Cookie Week (an event that should be year-long, really). With sugar on the brain and woefully empty pockets, we’re looking at pop culture characters in film and television that are addicted to sweets. Yes, these on-screen personalities would be thrilled if you intravenously fed them confections day and night — and we can’t say we blame them. Sweet crystalline substance abusers await you past the break. Tell us if we missed your favorites in the comments below. … Read More