The Coen Brothers

‘Unbroken,’ ‘Still Alice,’ and the Desperate Pursuit of Oscar Gold

One of the many ingenious running gags in Ben Stiller’s scathing 2009 Hollywood satire Tropic Thunder is Simple Jack, a widely derided, financially disastrous attempt by Cruise-style action star Tugg Speedman (Stiller) to be taken seriously as an actor by making a film that panders, with comic desperation, for Academy Award recognition. We see clips from Simple Jack, and the parody is dead-on: the faux-inspirational music, the sepia-tinged photography, the “tear-jerking” storytelling. We laugh, because the intentions are so transparent — and because we’ve seen films that clamor for that Oscar with no less sophistication. Now, I’m not saying that the inspirational drama Unbroken is a 137-minute version of Simple Jack, or that the Julianne Moore vehicle Still Alice is Moore’s Tugg Speedman moment. But let’s just say I’ve been thinking of the spoof movie a lot lately. … Read More

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Gorgeous Cult Movie Posters Spotlight Unforgettable Characters and Scenes

The collage-style movie poster can be a cliché, a Photoshop nightmare, or both, but Polish designer Grzegorz Domaradzki manages to make it beautiful and new again in a series of lovely illustrated posters. From Mulholland Drive to True Romance to Fargo, the images below (spotted via BOOOOOOOM!) are sure to remind you of your favorite characters and moments from cinema’s most beloved cult classics. … Read More

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The Stories Behind 10 Iconic Movie Scenes

Sixty years ago today, Marilyn Monroe stepped on a subway grate and made movie history. She was shooting a film called The Seven-Year Itch in New York City, and the image of her on the grate, the train passing underneath blowing up her skirt, would become one of the most iconic in all of cinema. To commemorate that magic movie moment, we’ve gathered behind-the-scenes tales of that and nine other classic movie scenes. (We didn’t include Raiders. Harrison Ford shot the guy with the sword instead of fighting him because he had the trots. We’re assuming you knew that one.) … Read More

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Wickedly Inventive Happy Meal Tie-Ins for Cult Movies

The movie tie-in McDonald’s Happy Meal is one of our most venerable cultural barometers, a big “get” for family movies hoping to market directly to their most vocal consumers. Starting with Star Trek: The Motion Picture back in 1979 (the same year the Happy Meal rolled out), Disney hits, superhero smashes, and other family favorites have used the cardboard panels of the Happy Meal and the toy inside to hawk their cinematic wares. But what if Happy Meals were used to market slightly more adult fare? This is the question asked by Pinterest artist Newt Clements, who’s made an extensive collection of imaginary Happy Meals that we really, really wish existed. … Read More

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25 Must-See Movies For the Fall

Hey there reader, been to the movies lately? If the box office reports are any indication, I’m guessing not — and who can blame you? We’re currently in the weird dead zone between the tentpole blockbusters of the summer and the prestige, Oscar-friendly pictures (and, increasingly, tentpole blockbusters) of the fall. But relief will be here soon enough, so in the interest of helping you mark up your movie-going calendar, we’re looking ahead to the fall films we’re anticipating most. … Read More

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10 Great Directors and the Composers They Couldn’t Live Without

The Criterion Collection’s must-have box set of the month is The Essential Jacques Demy, but that title may not be entirely accurate — it’s also, in many ways, the Essential Michel Legrand, since all but one of the set’s six films (the weakest one, natch) were made by the French filmmaker in partnership with musical legend Legrand. And Demy and Legrand’s frequent collaborations are far from unusual; throughout Hollywood’s history, distinctive filmmakers have paired with composers who were well matched to their style, and been loathe to work without them. Here are a few of cinema’s most memorable director/composer partnerships: … Read More

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