The Karate Kid
Well kids, Halloween is right around the corner, and the pressure is on, year after year, to find the absolute greatest costume of all time. I think we can blame much of this pressure on teevee and movies, which dramatize million-dollar Halloween parties with elaborate, ornate costumes — designed, of course, by well-paid professionals with sky’s-the-limit budgets. But even pop culture characters occasionally wear a dud costume; here are a few of the least imaginative, with the hope that they’ll adjust your self-imposed expectations just a bit. … Read More
The screen test is one of the first chances an actor has to make a strong impression on camera. We’ve explored classic Hollywood screen tests before, and after seeing several new videos pop up online — Kate Winslet’s Titanic and Audrey Tautou’s international smash Amélie amongst them — we wanted to explore the origins of our favorite films that broke box office records and stretched the limits of epic moviemaking experiences. We feature Winslet’s video and a variety of other screen tests for blockbuster movies past the break. It’s a chance to see popular stars, who always appear so glamorously surefooted, build the framework for the movies that made them famous in a smaller, bare-bones setting. Click through for a peek at the casts of Star Wars, The Karate Kid, and other blockbuster greats as they flaunt their stuff in these early test footage tapes. … Read More
The London 2012 Summer Olympics kick off tonight with Danny Boyle’s highly-anticipated opening ceremony, and like most people around the world right now, we can’t wait to curl up on the couch for the next 17 days and be blown away by the crazy athletic prowess on display. Watching competitors put their all into winning a medal can be pretty darn inspiring, but of course we’re seeing the results of weeks, months, and even years of training. Luckily, there are a ton of films to help us imagine those moments that we didn’t see using one of the best cinematic devices created: the training montage. Check out ten classic sequences below, and let us know what we may have missed in the comments! … Read More
Welcome to Flavorpill’s streaming movie guide, in which we help you sift through the scores of movies streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and other services to find the best of the recently available, freshly relevant, or soon to expire. This week, we’ve got films from Ryan Gosling, Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, Mel Brooks, Bill Murray, Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Robin Williams, plus new documentaries and an ‘80s classic. Check them all out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now. … Read More
In his Bigger Little Movie Glossary, Roger Ebert defines the “Semi-Obligatory Lyrical Interlude” (or “Semi-OLI,” for short) thus: “Scene in which soft focus and slow motion are used while a would-be hit song is performed on the soundtrack and the lovers run through a pastoral setting.” He notes that the Semi-OLI first came into prominence in the late 1960s, and though it eventually fell out of favor, it soon mutated into the “Semi-Obligatory Music Video” from the 1980s forward; the Semi-OLI or Semi-OMV remained prominent in romantic movies, though usually to show a particularly successful first date, or to compress the process of a couple falling deeply in love.
The Semi-OLI became such a cliché that it seemed had finally disappeared, which is why your correspondent was horrified to see at least three examples of it at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival — and these were in (otherwise good) independent films, mind you, not insipid Katherine Heigl rom-coms or something. Is the Semi-Obligatory Lyrical Interlude making a comeback? We hope not. For this week’s video essay, we’ve smashed together over a dozen egregious examples of this device, along with a couple of parodies for the sake of levity. Check out our latest video essay after the jump. … 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
The ruthless bully character has been a movie staple for decades, but the limited theatrical release of the new documentary Bully on March 30 ushered in a new kind of example – the heinous, reprehensible real-life bully. While we certainly don’t advocate bullying in real life situations, we’ve got to admit that we don’t mind seeing a little fictional bullying take place on the big screen. So here’s our breakdown of ten of the biggest, and baddest, movie bullies of all time, from nightmare-inducing teen thugs like Scut Farkus and Biff Tannen to more recent (but equally vicious!) additions to the canon, like Regina George. … Read More
As you’ve surely noticed from the lines of ecstatic moviegoers camped out on the sidewalks of your local cineplex (/sarcasm), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is out tomorrow. Try to contain your excitement. Yes, in their infinite wisdom, Hollywood has spent $75 million to grind out a sequel to Ghost Rider, a film that nobody liked and nobody wanted to see more of. So why on earth does Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance exist? Ah, here we go: because beloved or no, the first film grossed $115 million, and while that may be a meager profit on a reported $110 million budget (seriously? SERIOUSLY?), it pretty much doubled that gross overseas. As they say, it’s show business, kids, and if there are that many ticket buyers who’ll pony up once to see Nicolas Cage flambé motorcycling around for justice, maybe they’ll do so twice. (Not to worry, though: the sequel is directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who did Crank and, um, Crank 2. And, oh dear, Jonah Hex. Enjoy, moviegoers!)
GR:SOV (as the kids are calling it) is just the latest in Hollywood’s long, long, long history of churning out utterly inexplicable sequels. Look, let’s be clear, we’re not cinema snobs, railing against sequels on general principle: movies from Godfather II to Aliens to The Dark Knight to Harry Potter 3-7.5 have proven that you can follow up a film with equal (or even advancing) returns. But there has to be a compelling reason for it to exist: a story worth returning to, say, or even a general positive opinion of the initial outing. After the jump, we’ll take a look at a few occasions where we got a sequel, whether we wanted one or not. … Read More
We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsay’s critically acclaimed indie drama, expands into a (somewhat) wider release this weekend, and if you live in one of those ever-elusive “select cities,” it’s worth checking out; it’s a tough, frightening picture that gets into your head, and it features not only the by-now-expected brilliant (if overlooked by the Academy) performance by Tilda Swinton, but a bravura turn by Ezra Miller as the title character. He plays Swinton’s son, a teen boy with, um, some problems. We’ll leave at that, in case you haven’t yet had the exact nature of his wickedness spoiled for you yet; suffice it to say, he’s a bad kid, which got us wondering how he’d stack up in the rich history of evil cinematic teenagers (and pre-teens). After the jump, we’ll take a look (with some spoilers of years-old movies, so consider yourself warned). … Read More