This week marks the DVD and Blu-ray debut of Safe Haven, the critically drubbed Nicholas Sparks adaptation starring that girl from Dancing With the Stars and that dude from the Transformers movies. Normally, this would not be worth noting! But there’s something else that’s special about Safe Haven: it’s got one of the most utterly bananas crazy “twist” endings you’ve ever seen. Ever since The Usual Suspects blew everyone’s mind in ’95, and The Sixth Sense followed suit four years later, moviemakers have been trying their damnedest to create shocking third-act reveals that change everything we’ve seen before, and send us out of the theater reeling. Instead, most of them are befuddling, laughable, or just plain stupid. Here are a few examples (with a rather obvious spoiler alert). … Read More
You can’t judge a book by its cover, as we’ve recently discovered with not only books, but also music. That holds true with film as well — not just with movie posters, which have their own problematic elements, but when it comes time to sell you the movie in physical form. For years, DVD distributors have uglified some of our favorite movies — often even eschewing the classy and striking movie posters for Photoshopped, Frankensteined monstrosities of their own making, designed to move units at all costs. We’ve assembled some of the ugliest and most terrifying DVD images for movies we actually like — and provided their original posters as well, just so you can see how far they can fall. … Read More
Judd Apatow’s This is 40, out this Friday, is — as its ads carefully note — a “sort-of sequel” to his 2007 hit Knocked Up. It doesn’t concern that film’s leading characters; Seth Rogen’s Ben is only mentioned in passing, and Katherine Hiegl’s Alison is absent altogether. Instead, Apatow focuses on supporting couple Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) and their two kids — played by Apatow and Mann’s real-life offspring. The idea of making a spin-off instead of a sequel is a fairly rare one; there are a few examples, like U.S. Marshalls (from The Fugitive), Get Him to the Greek (from Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Beauty Shop (from Barbershop 2) and Puss in Boots (from Shrek 2), but overall, it’s not all that common. Which is funny, because we think it’s a more interesting way to continue a franchise than the standard sequel, so after the jump, we’ve got suggestions for supporting characters we’d like to see bumped up to leads. (Warning: Some spoilers follow.) … Read More
1. Here’s the new trailer for Admission, a quirky dramedy in which Paul Rudd plays a typical Paul Rudd character and Tina Fey is basically doing a slight variation on Liz Lemon — not that we’re complaining.
There was little reason to expect that a jukebox musical filled with so-bad-they’re-good ‘80s pop songs was going to be any good whatsoever, and true to prediction, Rock of Ages was one of the summer’s biggest dogs. It’s out tomorrow on DVD and Blu-ray, though, which exponentially increases the chances that one of your friends (the one who’s always wanting to go karaoke-ing, probably) is going to buy it and insist on having it on at some point in your friendship. Fear not: though Rock of Ages is an execrable film, it has (contrary to any and all expectations) a genuinely enjoyable and unexpectedly witty Tom Cruise performance buried underneath all the hairspray and Journey covers. Playing Stacee Jaxx, a rock star long removed from anything resembling reality, Cruise is totally credible and genuinely funny; there’s a good 20-minute stretch in the middle where they just turn the movie over to him, and it’s the only point in the entire running time where Rock of Ages actually works. As a thank-you to Mr. Cruise and all of those who make the unbearable ever-so-briefly watchable, we put together a list of a few of our favorite great performances in terrible movies; see if you agree with our picks after the jump. … Read More
September is kind of a peculiar month for movies. Summer blockbuster season has faded, and though the Oscar hopefuls are rolling out at the prestige fall festivals (Toronto, Venice, Telluride), most of them won’t hit theaters until at least October, to accommodate the notoriously short memories of Academy voters. So it’s a perfect month to check out some of the mid-level indies (many of them first seen at Sundance and other, earlier fests) that will hit arthouses this month; we’ve got some recommendations for you after the jump. … Read More