Tom Cruise

Promotional art for "Jaws"

Every Steven Spielberg Movie, Ranked

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Forty years ago this week, Universal Pictures released the film adaptation of a pulpy bestseller and watched as it became a hit beyond their wildest dreams — breaking box office records, changing the movie business forever, and turning its director from a promising young hotshot into one of the most bankable filmmakers in the business. The film, as you’ve probably guessed, was Jaws, and the director was Steven Spielberg, who used that film as a launching pad into one of the most lauded (and profitable) careers in movie history. So on this anniversary of Spielberg’s ascension into the stratosphere, we look back at that career, stacking up all of his feature films to… Read More

Tom Hardy in "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Flavorwire’s Guide to 2015 Summer Movies

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This Friday, just like the first weekend of every May since 2007, a new movie based on a Marvel comic book will open in thousands of theaters across the country, will make all the money, and will serve as the official starter pistol for summer movie season. And for many a seasoned moviegoer, that’s a cue for despair; after all, summer has become synonymous with big, bloated, stupid blockbusters of the Transformers school. And make no mistake, there’s plenty of those on the runway this season (how ya doin’, Terminator Genisys, it’s pretty funny that you’re actually going with that spelling). But don’t go into cinematic hibernation just yet; there’s also a steady stream of first-rate indie-flick counterprogramming on the runway, and some of the big movies actually sound pretty good. So, as a public service to you, the discerning moviegoer, we’ve assembled a month-by-month look at what might actually be worth your time and… Read More

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Staff Picks: Janelle Monae, The Rock, and Cheese Cleanses

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Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments.
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Still image from "Going Clear"

What We — and the Church of Scientology — Learned From the ‘Going Clear’ Controversy

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After two-plus months of sponsored tweets, film-critic pushback, Google ad buys, and an often desperate attempt at spin control that ultimately did nothing to disprove characterizations of utter control freakery, the Church of Scientology’s worst nightmare came true last night: Alex Gibney’s incendiary and excellent adaptation of Lawrence Wright’s scorching CoS exposé, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, aired on HBO. It proved, true to prediction, a bit of a bombshell, with viewers taking to social media to express shock over the film’s allegations of physical abuse, blackmail, kidnapping, wiretapping, celebrity control and more.
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Tom Cruise in "Going Clear"

10 Groundbreaking Documentary Exposés of Closed, Secret Worlds

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Sunday night, HBO will present the television debut of Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney’s excellent (and controversial) documentary exposé of the history and practices of the Church of Scientology. The film is a barn-burner — not just because it’s compelling and well done (though it is), but because it gives such prominent exposure to an organization whose inner workings have largely remained behind closed, locked doors. This is one of the most valuable services nonfiction film can provide; some movies share history, some solve crimes, and some tell secrets. Here are some of the best docs in the latter category.
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Exclusive: Alex Gibney on the Church of Scientology’s War on… Film Critics

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When the Church of Scientology took out full-page ads in The New York Times and other outlets slamming Alex Gibney’s Scientology exposé Going Clear in advance of its Sundance Film Festival premiere last week, many wondered if the church might send members to protest the premiere, or stir things up at the customary post-screening Q&A. But at that screening, and in the week of festival showings that followed, no protestors were seen and no scenes were caused. Instead, the Church is taking a less obvious (and perhaps more 21st-century) approach: social media outrage and emails to film critics, a campaign that director Gibney tells Flavorwire is “so ham-fisted and so predictable.”
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Still image from "Going Clear"

Sundance Docs ‘Going Clear’ and ‘Prophet’s Prey’ Ask: Religion or Cult?

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PARK CITY, UT: Late in Prophet’s Prey, Amy Berg’s provocative
and powerful documentary case against FLDS church head Warren Jeffs, author Jon Krakauer says this about the church’s continued dedication to a man who is clearly a monster: “It speaks to something disturbing about human nature. Once you believe something, it’s very, very difficult to give that up completely.” That simple yet undeniable truth lies at the center of not only Prophet’s Prey but Going Clear, Alex Gibney’s already controversial look at the history and methodology of the Church of Scientology. Both films use extensive documentation, buried tapes, and testimony from departed members to paint portraits of organizations that would call themselves one thing (church), while most sensible people would call them another (cult).
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