Good news for cinephiles: the kind folks at Criterion were kind enough to restore and release (on DVD and Blu-ray, along with the expected goody basket of bonus features) Terrence Malick’s Badlands, which is out this week. It’s mostly notable as Malick’s debut feature, but it was also a cornerstone picture of one of cinema’s most durable subgenres: the “lovers on the run” movie, in which an attractive young couple hits the road, fleeing their unfortunate crimes (and/or committing more), with the law in hot pursuit. If you’re in the mood for a marathon, we’ve got a few suggestions after the jump. … Read More
Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful is out this Friday, in case you haven’t looked at a magazine or a television or the side of a bus recently, and while we know it’s a big-budget would-be Mouse blockbuster, attempting to replicate the astonishing (and frankly inexplicable) success of Burton’s Alice in Wonderland three years back, we still had to pick our jaws up off the floor when we got a look at its monster budget: $325 million in production and marketing costs. Yes, you read that right: 325. No extra numbers in there. … Read More
Perhaps the most intriguing of today’s Blu-ray releases is Magical Mystery Tour, the Beatles’ 1967 television film that was famously roasted by critics, which cemented its reputation as some sort of epic folly by the lads from Liverpool. But here’s what’s interesting about watching Magical Mystery Tour now, with that common wisdom in mind: contrary to popular opinion, it’s kind of great. This sort of thing happens all the time: imperfect, odd, or merely unconventional films are released and get labeled as some sort of flop, and the reputation sticks. But some films haven’t earned their bad rep, and after the jump, we’ll take a look at Magical Mystery Tour and nine other movies that are better than you’ve heard. … Read More
In his 1996 review of Cop Land, Roger Ebert wrote that a reader once asked him “why they only remake the good movies, not bad ones. Good films don’t require remaking… but what about ‘promising concepts which were poorly executed for one reason or another?’” It’s a question we ask ourselves every time Hollywood decides to remake a perfectly good movie. This week, for example, we have the big-budget, Colin Farrell-fronted remake of Total Recall, a perfectly good Schwarzenegger/Verhoeven picture from 1990 that marries Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” to the boom-crash action aesthetic of the period, and which stands up just fine these days, thank you very much.
But Ebert and his reader might be on to something — if the suits are going to insist on spending all of their time and money developing remakes, why not remake some movies that didn’t turn out so well, and try to get them right this time? Or better yet, good movies that no one saw, so you’re not doing the original any damage by taking a chance on a copy? With those parameters in mind, we put together this list of movies we frankly wouldn’t mind seeing remade; check it out after the jump, and contribute yours in the comments. … Read More
Our favorite of this week’s new theatrical releases is Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Lorene Scafaria’s end-of-the-world comedy that deftly transcends what could have been a one-joke premise, turning instead unexpectedly poignant and moving. The key to that transition is the surprisingly effective romantic subplot between stars Steve Carell and Keira Knightley — and yes, we were as skeptical as you when that element of the picture began to reveal itself. But this is one of those cases where seemingly mismatched stars pair up well on-screen. Others haven’t been quite so lucky. After the jump, we remember a few of the cinema’s less believable movie couples. … Read More
Happy 70th birthday, Sir Paul McCartney! (Oh, he’s a big Flavorwire reader, you didn’t know? Comments a lot. Really bad about the “first!” thing. ) The Beatles have been on our mind a lot lately, after their song “Tomorrow Never Knows” was used so hauntingly in the “Lady Lazarus” episode of Mad Men. Much of the subsequent chatter about the song’s appearance on the show was centered on its hefty price tag ($250,000), and indeed, the high cost of using Beatles songs is part of the reason why you hear so few of their original recordings in movies and on television (at least compared to, say, The Beach Boys). Producers will more often go the cheaper route of using covers or even sound-alikes, but a few films have made the effort to use the original Fab Four tracks, and to great effect. After the jump, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite Beatle moments in modern movies. … Read More
Welcome to Flavorpill’s streaming movie guide, in which we help you sift through the scores of movies streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and other services to find the best of the recently available, freshly relevant, or soon to expire. This week, we’ve got the likes of Matt Damon, Clint Eastwood, Warren Beatty, Alec Baldwin, Mila Kunis, Jason Bateman, Edward Norton, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Jane Lynch, Paul Rudd, Kristen Stewart, Jessica Alba, and Jesse Eisenberg; check them all out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now. … Read More
When perusing today’s celebrity birthdays, one name jumped out at us: the great Gene Wilder, who turns 79 years old today. Happy birthday, Gene Wilder, if you have a Google alert for your own name! A quick peek at his bio, however, made us realize that although his face seems to appear every day in our Facebook feed, he’s actually quite out of the public eye — he hasn’t made a theatrical film in over two decades. He may not be the spring chicken of Young Frankenstein (that’s Fronk-un-STEEN) anymore, but there’s still plenty of good years left in Mr. Wilder; after the jump, we plead with him and nine other beloved film stars to come out of their self-imposed exiles. … Read More
The weekend’s big movie, as you well know, was The Hunger Games, while DVD and Blu-ray players have been firing up Fincher’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo since its release last week. The two films have a lot in common: powerful female protagonists, adaptations of bestsellers, probable franchise kick-offs. As such, they were also each objects of carefully considered casting. It’s become part of the pre-production process, the bandying about of potential name actors for high-profile roles; Fincher reportedly talked to Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman, Kristen Stewart, and Scarlett Johansson before settling on Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, while Hunger Games director Gary Ross’ alternate Katnisses included Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Emma Roberts, Chloe Moretz, and Saoirse Ronan.
Contemplating proxy casting choices is a fun parlor game for movie fans (perhaps second only to considering movies that never came to pass at all). After the jump, we’ll take a look at a dozen iconic movie roles, and the actors who almost, almost filled them. … Read More
When you have to keep an obsessive eye on film, music, books, visual art, television, the Internet, and all other manner of popular culture, something eventually has to give, and for us — well, for this author, anyway — it’s sports. An almost-complete disinterest in professional and collegiate sporting events can make one feel a bit of an outcast (and it certainly makes for a confusing Facebook feed; apparently some guy who’s really into Jesus won something important on Sunday?), but after faking it through high school and college, I can’t pretend to care anymore. Maybe it makes me a pencil-necked geek, but the idea of spending three hours watching a football going to and fro — particularly when there are still Hitchcock movies I haven’t seen — is simply unacceptable.
However, many of the same film fans who are patently disinterested in a Sunday afternoon of TV sports will gladly spend that same time planted in front of a sports-themed movie — basically the same thing, albeit with better camera angles and a scripted ending. (And the angles are the only difference in a wrestling movie, HA HA!) And that’s fine with this viewer; as I told a friend after its release, “I’d watch football every week if it looked like Any Given Sunday.” But cinephiles more sport-phobic than I (and they’re out there!) might prefer films that keep the game play squarely off-screen. In honor of today’s DVD release of Moneyball, one of the best of the bunch, we offer ten genuinely good movies about sports that are notable for their minimal sports action. Check them out after the jump, and add your own in the comments. … Read More