Thirty years ago this month, John Milius’ Cold War wet dream Red Dawn rolled into theaters, helping launch the careers of Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, and Jennifer Grey. But it also launched a significant chapter in movie history: it was the first film released to theaters carrying the new PG-13 rating, a Goldlocks-ish “just right” nestled between the PG and the R. But as with all things MPAA-related, the PG-13 became a giant clusterfuck in the three decades hence, as its desirability led studios and filmmakers to push the rating to its absolute breaking point — loading up their PG-13 blockbusters with dead bodies while the ratings agency’s bean counters tallied “F-words” and bare butts. So to celebrate this dubious anniversary, let’s take a look back at ten cases where the 30-year-old rating was woefully… Read More
The King’s Speech
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
1. Here is the full music video for “Countdown.” As expected, Beyoncé‘s baby bump totally steals the show — which is really saying something.
2. Johnny Depp has plans to produce a film about Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, and word is that he’d like to play the beloved writer as well. Given… Read More
1. Exciting news for those of us who didn’t score tickets: Pitchfork has announced that it will stream LCD Soundsystem’s final show ever at Madison Square Garden on April 2nd. It will be a one-time only broadcast and will not be replayed.
2. Word is that Oscar winning-director Tom Hooper is close to… Read More
And it’s entitled The King’s Piece and kind of looks hilarious. The trailer (which is totally SFW by the way, as long as you have your headphones on), actually seems like a real attempt at parody rather than a sad vehicle for naked ladies – in this version, the King is a porn star suffering from performance problems, and after seeing all the pros, must enlist help from an unconventional coach. There’s some rather hilarious word play (“Some have greatness thrust upon them” indeed) and they used the same set that the actual movie was filmed on, so you know it’s a classy production. We probably won’t get past watching the trailer, but hey, if stuttering Brits are your thing, have at. Check out the trailer after the jump.
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Movie geeks and horror fans across the internet are up in arms over news that director Guillermo del Toro’s dream project, a film adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft novella At the Mountains of Madness, has been canned by Universal Pictures. Harry Knowles at Ain’t It Cool News fired off one of his barely readable screeds, calling Universal “chickenshit” for cancelling the picture; Hitfix’s Drew McWeeny responded with a reasoned and reasonable essay, noting that Universal has taken on plenty of chancey movies.
So why were they so afraid of this one? “Concerns over the film’s budget and likely R rating,” explains The New Yorker. Basically, the studio feared that the film’s high production costs ($150 million) would require a box office gross that said R rating would preclude it from generating. Commentators like Knowles and McWeeny have taken this news as an opportunity to fire up this year’s model of the art vs. commerce debate. But here’s a more pressing question: why have we allowed an organization as clearly corrupt and incompetent as the MPAA to play such a pivotal role in determining what films get made?
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Consider this a consumer’s warning: If, in the coming weeks, you and yours decide to finally see what all the fuss is about and go check out that British movie with the stuttering dude, you may not be seeing the movie that won the Oscar for Best Picture two nights ago. Wait, what?
When rumors first started to leak in late January that the Weinstein Company was considering re-releasing The King’s Speech in a PG-13 version that would scrub the film’s instances of the dreaded “F-word,” our response was pretty much the common one: WTF? It seemed an odd move, and a rather greedy attempt to squeeze a few more dollars out of an already insanely profitable movie ($130 million in worldwide box office, and that was before Oscar night), but whatevs — it would probably just amount to one of those curio footnote releases, like Mel Gibson’s sanitized flop The Passion Recut or that post-DVD expanded re-release of Avatar. What we didn’t realize at the time was that the Weinstein Company was so anxious to take advantage of the millions of tweens clamoring to see The King’s Speech (seriously, why else would they be spending so much money on that Justin Bieber movie?) that they would straight-up replace the movie that’s still in theaters with this bowdlerized cut.
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1. Hollywood actress and legendary pinup girl Jane Russell — who managed to make sprawling on a bale of hay look sexy in her 1943 film debut, The Outlaws — died yesterday at the age of 89. She was a favorite of Howard Hughes, who infamously designed a special “cantilever” bra that would expose… Read More
With its surprise wins at the Producer’s Guild awards and the Director’s Guild awards, The King’s Speech has inched ahead of previous favorite The Social Network to become the new frontrunner for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards. But there’s one chink in Speech’s strong armor: Christopher Hitchens. The renowned author and raconteur’s strongly-worded rebuke of the film’s historical accuracy (“it perpetrates a gross falisification of history”) has been a pretty hot read in Hollywood circles since it first appeared on Slate a couple of weeks back. Now, since The King’s Speech is no longer the underdog, Hitchens’s takedown could be a problem for the filmmakers.
Or maybe not. The Academy’s motives for their choices are sometimes inexplicable, but Oscar voters have never worried too much about flaws in their history. Here’s just a few of the questionably-accurate movies that have won major awards over the past few decades.
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According to our friends at Vulture, Harvey Weinstein is playing around with the not-so-brilliant idea of releasing a PG-13 version of The King’s Speech. Now that it’s everyone’s favorite to win Best Picture at the Oscars, we understand that a more kid-friendly rating makes financial sense in theory — but how many teens… Read More