The Avengers

Joss Whedon’s Guide to Life

As you may have heard, everyone’s favorite vampire slayer-creating, Avengers-assembling writer/director, Joss Whedon, gave the commencement speech at his alma mater Wesleyan University, and unsurprisingly, it was kind of great. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise; throughout his career, both in the dialogue he’s written and the many good interviews he’s given, Whedon always comes across as an old soul filled with great wisdom. So with that in mind, here’s a couple dozen nuggets of advice from your self-appointed “Uncle Joss.” … Read More

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‘Iron Man 3,’ ‘The Avengers,’ And the Thrill of Authorial Voice in Blockbusters

Iron Man 3 opens with an arresting image — the destruction of three Iron Man suits, right in a row, bang bang bang — and a voice over from Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, a bit of business about facing your demons that quickly degenerates into gibberish. “Never mind, I’m gonna start over,” he says, and the screen fades to black, thus concluding the first of the film’s many assurances that, while it is a mega-budgeted summer tent-pole movie, it is also the work of devilishly clever writer/director Shane Black — whose previous collaboration with Downey, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, included one of the most blissfully self-aware narration tracks in all of moviedom (“Don’t worry, I saw Lord of the Rings, I’m not gonna end this like 17 times”). And that’s the key to the movie’s success: beyond all the explosions and action set pieces and 3D wizardry, you can still hear a writer with a distinctive, entertaining voice. And that’s what separates films like this from their blockbuster brethren, which too often were clearly created by a committee. … Read More

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The 10 Best “Credit Cookies” in Movie History

Iron Man 3 is out in theaters tomorrow, and it should come as no surprise that those who are willing to sit through the end credits — and seriously, they run something like ten minutes and include more names than a small-town phone book — will be rewarded with an extra (and very funny) bonus scene. Some call these little bonuses “credit cookies,” others call them “stingers.” In Roger Ebert’s Little Movie Glossary, Serdor Yegulalp dubs them the “Monk’s Reward,” defined thus: “A surprising final line or image, tagged on after the credits have finished rolling… so named because it usually takes monk-like devotion to sit through the credits to get to it.” The previous Marvel movies made a regular habit of including credit cookies, mostly as preparation for The Avengers, but they’re not the only movies to throw in a little something extra for those who stick around to find out who the unit accountant was. (Warning: minor spoilers ahead, but all for movies that have been out for a year or more.) … Read More

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10 Notorious Leaked Screenplay Scandals

Earlier this week, we told you about Xavier Macafee, the New Mexico man who was arrested on suspicion of burglary after allegedly breaking into Bryan Cranston’s car and stealing, among other things, the script to one of Breaking Bad’s final episodes. While we still don’t know if it was a coincidental act or the work of a brilliant BB superfan, this isn’t the first time a swiped script has created havoc in Hollywood. Here are ten tales of leaked screenplays, and what happened to the films… Read More

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SXSW 2013: Joss Whedon on Spinning from Marvel to Shakespeare

AUSTIN, TX: Director Joss Whedon and most of the large ensemble cast for his new film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing turned up at the SXSW Film Festival for the picture’s first screening Saturday afternoon, participating in a panel discussion and Q&A that ran a full hour and touched on everything from the film’s sexiness to drinking on set to its director’s previous, sharply different gig directing a certain superhero blockbuster. … Read More

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Why Netflix Thinks ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Is a “Guilty Pleasure” — And Why It Isn’t

For all of its virtues, Netflix isn’t always so hot at classifying movies and television shows; it tends to either go comically super-specific (“Based on your interest in Girl Walk // All Day: All-dance New York movies with strong female leads and hip-hop mash-up soundtracks”) or utterly inaccurate. For example: As a member of the fan site Whedonesque has pointed out, the streaming service’s first annual “Flixie Awards” (“honoring the ways you really watch Netflix”) has nominated Buffy the Vampire Slayer for “Best Guilty Pleasure,” alongside such fare as Gossip Girl, Toddlers & Tiaras, the revamped 90210, and the sequels to Transformers and Bad Boys. To be clear, we’re talking about the (long-running, critically acclaimed, widely celebrated) television show, not the (important because it led to the show, but for no other reason and not terribly good in and of itself) movie. Buffy is a “guilty pleasure”? Say what now? … Read More

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How to Classify Movies Now That “Independent Film” Is Dead

This week, since the big sweep of the Independent Spirit Awards by the sure-doesn’t-feel-like-much-of-an-independent-movie Silver Linings Playbook, several film observers (including us) have raised the perennial question of what “independent film” even is, aside from a useful marketing designation that indicates the film you’re about to see will probably not include robots that transform into cars. This ongoing controversy got us thinking: if “independent film” is just a label to begin with, then why not expand it, and get a little more specific? Every film isn’t either indie or studio — let’s break it down, so we know exactly what we’re getting when we go to the cinema. Our suggestions for new, ultra-descriptive movie classifications, from lowest to highest profile, are after the jump. … Read More

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New Oscar Categories We’d Like to See — And Who We’d Nominate to Win Them

The Academy hasn’t added any new Oscar categories since Best Animated Film was established back in 2001; that was the first in 30 years. Every winter we discuss ways to spice up the ceremony, whether it’s new hosts or new production ideas or streamlining the handing out of the statues — but maybe it’s time to rethink the categories… Read More

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The Year In Film: 2012's Best Movie Moments

As the inevitable “Year’s Best Films” lists pour forth (and ours will join them soon enough) — that while a great movie is an accumulation of first-rate writing, directing, and performance, plenty of films that didn’t make that final cut did offer us the pleasure of a perfect scene. Here, we present our carefully cultivated picks for ten of the best moments from this year’s… Read More

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What’s On at Flavorpill: The Links That Made the Rounds In Our Office

Today at Flavorpill, we watched the best music videos of 2012. We made a list of 12 things to do before the world ends. We saw everything wrong with The Avengers in three minutes. We discovered that HBO’s corporate website is in desperate need of a design update. We wanted to buy this nail polish that helps support a sanctuary for bats. We looked back on Christina Aguilera’s biggest fashion fails on The Voice. … Read More

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