Todd Haynes

The 25 Best Rock Movies Ever Made

Next Tuesday, the Criterion Collection will release an all-new, stunningly restored, and just plain wonderful Blu-ray version of A Hard Day’s Night, the classic Beatles musical comedy that, wouldn’t you know it, also turns 50 years old this summer. To mark the release of that acclaimed rocker (and the theatrical unveiling of the thus-far less-acclaimed Four Seasons biopic Jersey Boys), we decided to round up the best rock movies of all time — no concert films and no documentaries, but narrative films where popular music plays a vital… Read More

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25 More Dysfunctional Families on Film

Last week, we shared a list of some entertaining movies about dysfunctional families. But the closer we got to Thanksgiving, as we made plans to head home for turkey and awkward moments in which we avoid talking about politics with our extended family, the more we realized that we missed a few great films that feature families that make our own look pretty normal in comparison. Take a look at this second round of fights, tears, breakups, and breakdowns for some fun tips on how not to act at dinner next… Read More

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10 Supposedly Rare Movies You Can Watch on YouTube

Last week, fans of River Phoenix learned that Dark Blood, the unfinished film he was working on at the time of his tragic death, was available in its final form on YouTube. Here’s hoping they watched it quickly — the film has been pulled, ostensibly due to “a copyright claim by Harold Jalving” (the film’s credited sound designer and re-recording mixer), though the Phoenix family reportedly wasn’t wild about the film’s release, either. Whatever the reason, this isn’t the first time a seemingly rare, officially unavailable movie was disseminated via the world’s most ubiquitous video streaming service. After the jump, you’ll find several movies unavailable via legal channels, yet somehow streaming (for now, anyway) on YouTube. … Read More

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Great Movies With Embarrassingly Bad DVD Art

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

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The Best Dylan Cues in Movie History

So Bob Dyan’s got a new album out today, and while your film editor usually sticks to the movie beat, it’s not like Dylan is just a music figure, or even that vaguest of descriptions, a “pop culture icon.” He’s also an ever-present force in film and television, with his songs (as either writer or performer) appearing in nearly 400 movies and TV shows (according to IMDb). And while at least half of those are lazy filmmakers using the opening riff of Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” cover to convey the turbulence of the sixties, that’s still quite a lot of Zimmy on film — he’s been much more free with his licensing than, say, the Beatles, whose best cinematic cues we ran down a couple of months back. In honor of Dylan’s new record (always a cause for celebration), we do the same for him below — with the same rules, i.e., no covers, no straight-up performances, but scenes where the music of Mr. Dylan is spotlighted, and in turn furthers the action and mood. Our ten favorites are after the jump. … Read More

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A Survey of Obsessive Craftsmanship in Film

It’s no secret that filmmakers are an obsessive bunch. Just look at Stanley Kubrick, who kept over one thousand boxes filled with photos, clippings, notes, and other items that he referred to. The exhibition Persol Magnificent Obsessions: 30 Stories of Craftsmanship in Film at the Museum of the Moving Image — the second in their series of three exhibits — uncovers more stories behind the crafting of ten painstakingly detailed films. One of a kind artifacts, production notes and artwork, costumes, and more are currently on display through August 19 — providing a rarely seen view into the creative processes of some of the world’s greatest filmmakers. If you can’t make it to New York to visit this fascinating show, we’ve got a few items from the exhibit to whet your filmic appetite. … Read More

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10 Movies That Would Make Great Theme Parties

Project X premieres today, and despite the hype promising the teen party movie to end all teen party movies, it’s getting pretty dismal reviews. And while we probably could have predicted it would be a disappointment from the previews, we can’t say we’re not a little sad about it — after all, no one likes a good film about mindless revelry more than we do. Luckily, Project X did get us thinking about a better way to combine pictures and parties, and we’ve compiled a list of movies that would make for awesome theme bashes of all kinds. We’ve skipped some of the more obvious picks — Harry Potter, The Big Lebowski – but the brave hosts among you will find inspiration to recreate ’20s Paris, throw a lavish Italian dinner party, or bathe your guests in Lynchian neo-noir, after the jump. Add your own movie-inspired theme party ideas in the comments. … Read More

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10 Biopics That Actually Worked, and Why

Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar Hoover biopic J. Edgar is out on DVD today, following a fall theatrical run notable mostly for its lack of awards consideration; the film, and particularly Leonardo DiCaprio’s leading role in it, had been the object of much presumptive Oscar buzz (hitting, as it does, multiple circles in the Oscar Venn diagram: slightly villainous, based on a real person, wide range of aging, secretly gay). But the film underwhelmed, for one very simple reason: we’re just getting tired of biopics.

The biographical film portrait has been a venerable institution since the early days of cinema; Georges Méliès made a Joan of Arc biopic clear back in 1900. And while there have been scores of great ones, the tropes of the form (the birth-to-death chronology, the trials and triumphs, the romantic struggles, etc.) are so firmly established that the only biographical films that really make an impression any more, it seems, are those that buck the trends and experiment, or at least futz with the form a bit. After the jump, we’ll take a look at ten great biopics that made an impression, and float some theories as to why. … Read More

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A Selection of Musicians on Film That We Wish Were Real

Musicians have long had a place in films, whether rock stars, jazz sidemen, or tormented composers. What follows is a selection of memorable ones taken from ten films. They range from drug-addicted cult favorites to ambitious hip-hop stars, from showtune composers to sidemen now living in small-town obscurity. What they share is a certain quality: a lingering sense that, if these characters were real, we’d want to seek out more of their music. Sometimes that’s accomplished through a deft performance, and sometimes via a writer or director who brings an insider’s knowledge of a particular style of music. In all cases, there’s something utterly compelling, and something that endures past the last frames of film. … Read More

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

Today at Flavorpill, we decided that it might be worth schlepping all the way to the Iowa State Fair to sample a plate of red velvet funnel cake, but we’d never go all the way to the moon for the cheese. We watched a supercut of 25 of the… Read More

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