Tom Hanks

The 25 Best Sports Comedies Ever Made

These kinds of things are always hard to say definitively, due to rampant deterioration and poor documentation, but Harold Lloyd’s 1925 masterpiece The Freshman may well have been the cinema’s first sports comedy. It was certainly the first sports comedy to prove a monster hit, setting up nearly 90 years of athletics-related laughs at the movies. In celebration of The Freshman’s Blu-ray and DVD release today (thanks to our good friends over at the Criterion Collection), here’s a look at some of the finest and funniest sports comedies ever made. … Read More

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2014 Oscar Nominations: A Look at This Year’s (Few) Surprises

The West Coast entertainment media got up nice and early this morning (or stayed up all night, YOLO), put on their Thursday best, and turned out to watch Chris Hemsworth and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce this year’s nominees for the Academy Award. It’s all become a bit rote at this point: months of breathless speculation, relentless campaigning, and meta-narratives, followed by an announcement that honors a lot of the year’s best, while including a few surprises and shutouts. … Read More

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2013: The Year Prestige Cinema Reinvented Action Filmmaking

A quick glance at the box-office returns for 2013 confirms that this year, like pretty much every year since, oh, 1980, action was king: all but three of the top ten films could be considered, by at least some loose definition, action movies. (All but two of them are sequels or prequels, but that’s another, even more depressing conversation.) This year at the multiplex, we were treated to superheroes destroying cities in Man of Steel, zombies destroying cities in World War Z, aliens destroying cities in Star Trek: Into Darkness, and robot suits destroying, well, a pier in Iron Man 3. All that computer-generated carnage doesn’t create much in the way of human stakes or emotional resonance; you may have a rooting interest in the hero, but there’s never much doubt they’re going to come out on top, and by the end of the summer, action movie fatigue had set in. But, presumably through coincidence and/or parallel thinking, three films this fall took a decidedly different approach, and in doing so, turned the so-called “action movie” on its head. … Read More

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‘Saving Mr. Banks’: Walt Disney Pictures’ Nauseating Walt Disney Propaganda Film

Walt Disney was one of the most important figures in the history of motion pictures, a visionary storyteller, entertainer, and entrepreneur. He also allied himself with anti-Semitic organizations, extended a warm Hollywood welcome to Leni Riefenstahl, began a tradition of worker exploitation that persists in his organization today, and was a key instigator in the Communist witch hunts of the 1950s. In other words, he was a man of contradictions, and those contradictions could make for a juicy and rich biopic. Saving Mr. Banks is not that biopic. Instead, it is the story of a Magic Mogul who helped a sad woman overcome her Daddy Issues, and, while they’re at it, of how a multinational corporation crushed an idiosyncratic artist (for her own good!). It also may be the most self-congratulatory bit of hagiography Hollywood has ever produced, and that’s saying something. … Read More

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Bruce Dern-ology: 10 Must-See Movies by the ‘Nebraska’ Star

This Friday, moviegoers in select cities (and as Letterman likes to say, I certainly hope your city has been selected) will have the opportunity to see Nebraska, Alexander Payne’s wonderful comedy/drama about a father and a son and the moment when you decide to just let things go. But more than anything, it’s about the wonder that is Bruce Dern, the legendary character actor who worked his way out of the Roger Corman factory and became one of the key on-screen personnel in the “New Hollywood” movement of the 1970s. At 77, he gives the performance of a lifetime in Nebraska (he won the Best Actor prize at Cannes), and after seeing it, you may want to go back and check out some of the films that made him the legend he is (particularly if you live in New York, where BAM is hosting a retrospective of his work). Here’s a few starting points: … Read More

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The 50 Most Heart-Wrenching Movies of All Time

It’s fall, and there’s something in my eye. Or it’s allergy season. Or I’m newly sensitive to hyper-emotional filmmaking. Or maybe it isn’t just me; every year, when prestige movie season begins, we find ourselves sniffling and dabbing through moving, heartstring-tugging pictures, though this year seems to already have a surplus of big-time weepies. In the spirit of those pictures, here’s a rundown of the 50 most cry-worthy flicks in movie history — not just the saddest, mind you, but those most likely to move us to tears, be it through tragedy, triumph, or the sheer goodness of their… Read More

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12 Trailers That Give Away the Whole Movie

The new remake of Carrie came out Friday, and as we discussed last week, the genuine mystery of its need to exist is multiplied by its spoiler-iffic trailer — which basically reveals the entire film, beat by beat, up to and including its blood-soaked finale. That said, it’s far from the first movie to be marketed with a trailer that gives away the entire game; here are a few of the most notorious examples (and consider yourself warned, spoiler-wise). … Read More

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