Sandra Bullock

Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon in "Hot Pursuit"

What’s a Smart Actor Like Reese Witherspoon Doing in a Disaster Like ‘Hot Pursuit’?

By

When the first trailer hit for the Reese Witherspoon/Sofia Vergara vehicle Hot Pursuit a couple months back, the universal reaction seemed a widespread, “But… why?” For Vergara, it’s almost understandable — an above-title studio starring role for a charismatic performer who’s usually stuck in supporting roles. But why on earth was Reese Witherspoon — an Oscar winner and recent nominee, one of our savviest and smartest actor/producers — wasting her time with an aggressively stupid buddy-cop throwaway? Did she owe somebody a favor? (Like, a serious, fine-you-saved-my-life-so-I’ll-star-in-your-terrible-movie favor?)
… Read More

Chris Hemsworth in "Blackhat"

A Brief History of Hollywood Being Totally Terrified of Computers

By

“Our world interconnected. Our systems interconnected. Our identities vulnerable.” So goes the on-screen tagline in the trailer for Michael Mann’s new cyber-thriller Blackhat, and as the word “identities” is replaced by “security,” “homes,” “secrets,” “money,” “privacy,” “safety,” and the like — along with a giant close-up of a cable plugging in — it’s easy to chuckle along with Hollywood doing one more fear-mongering thriller about hackers taking down sacred cows and exposing private information, as if such a thing were actually plausible. (Oh, wait.) Yes, the Sony hack suddenly made Blackhat’s potentially worrisome January release suddenly timely and relevant, but it’s part of a long tradition of films that looked at the capabilities of computers, artificial intelligence, and the Internet — and shit their collective pants over it.
… Read More

Sandra Bullock and Kiefer Sutherland in "The Vanishing"

10 Terrible American Remakes of Great Foreign Films

By

This week, the Criterion Collection unveiled a new Blu-ray edition of The Vanishing, George Sluizer’s critically acclaimed and bluntly effective 1988 Dutch thriller. But it’s also a film with a tainted legacy, as most American moviegoers are far more familiar with the inferior and ill-conceived 1993 remake, starring Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland, and Sandra Bullock. Yes, it was another case of the disastrous American remake, and rest assured, for every Departed or Birdcage, there are three or four stinkers like these.
… Read More

mailer_magic-banner

The 10 Ugliest Movie Posters of All Time

By

Woody Allen’s latest, Magic in the Moonlight, is out this weekend, and all of the discussion surrounding its release is good news for at least one group of people: the marketing folks who designed and approved its comically inept poster. It’s yet another example of godawful Photoshop work in movie marketing, an area already tainted by a stunning lack of originality. Click through for a closer look at Magic and a few other egregious movie poster… Read More

cate_blanchett

Contrary to Sexist Oscar Blogger Opinion, Movies About Women Make Money

By

You’ve gotta feel bad for Oscar bloggers. First of all, they’re Oscar bloggers. (Hahaha, I kid.) Second, due to the very definition of their job description, they have to spend something like the next six months basically twiddling their thumbs, waiting for awards season to begin anew at Toronto and Telluride. Some are coping by writing desperate “Wait, wait — what about next year” Oscar 2015 prediction posts. (Only a schmuck would attempt such a fool’s errand.) But at least one, Gold Derby’s Marcus James Dixon, decided the way to keep getting post-Oscar clicks was to pat Cate Blanchett on the head and assure her that no, sweetheart, people don’t want to see movies about ladies.
… Read More

gravity01

2013: The Year Prestige Cinema Reinvented Action Filmmaking

By

A quick glance at the box-office returns for 2013 confirms that this year, like pretty much every year since, oh, 1980, action was king: all but three of the top ten films could be considered, by at least some loose definition, action movies. (All but two of them are sequels or prequels, but that’s another, even more depressing conversation.) This year at the multiplex, we were treated to superheroes destroying cities in Man of Steel, zombies destroying cities in World War Z, aliens destroying cities in Star Trek: Into Darkness, and robot suits destroying, well, a pier in Iron Man 3. All that computer-generated carnage doesn’t create much in the way of human stakes or emotional resonance; you may have a rooting interest in the hero, but there’s never much doubt they’re going to come out on top, and by the end of the summer, action movie fatigue had set in. But, presumably through coincidence and/or parallel thinking, three films this fall took a decidedly different approach, and in doing so, turned the so-called “action movie” on its head.
… Read More