Thirty years ago this month, John Milius’ Cold War wet dream Red Dawn rolled into theaters, helping launch the careers of Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, and Jennifer Grey. But it also launched a significant chapter in movie history: it was the first film released to theaters carrying the new PG-13 rating, a Goldlocks-ish “just right” nestled between the PG and the R. But as with all things MPAA-related, the PG-13 became a giant clusterfuck in the three decades hence, as its desirability led studios and filmmakers to push the rating to its absolute breaking point — loading up their PG-13 blockbusters with dead bodies while the ratings agency’s bean counters tallied “F-words” and bare butts. So to celebrate this dubious anniversary, let’s take a look back at ten cases where the 30-year-old rating was woefully… Read More
World War Z
The 369th Infantry Regiment should be a legend: known as the Harlem Hellfighters, they saw action in World War I and never lost a a trench, a man through capture, or a foot of ground to the enemy. An all-black regiment, the Hellfighters were extraordinary soldiers in a bigoted time — sent to train in South Carolina with broomsticks, relegated to menial labor overseas, embedded with the French Army because the US wouldn’t let them fight side by side with white soldiers. The Hellfighters didn’t give up, volunteered for the most dangerous assignments, and left an incredible record on the battlefield, only to return home to a still-racist America.
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We go to the movies to see a polished facsimile of ourselves, to see our collective fears and anxieties play out at an air-conditioned, melodramatic remove from reality. If the top-grossing movies of 2013 are any indication of who we are, then we must be starved for sameness, for the comfort of recurring characters — because for the most part, the top-grossing films of this year were sequels, prequels, and franchise reboots. Our yearning for the same characters has been mercilessly monetized, but this should hardly surprise us.
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This Friday, Paramount unleashes World War Z, the Brad Pitt-fronted zombie apocalypse tale that has been on the receiving end of an inordinate amount of pre-release bad buzz. Stories of third-act rewrites, tension between star and director, shifting release dates, and massive budget and schedule overruns have dominated WWZ’s advance publicity, far more than anything of note about the film itself (which is unfortunate, as it’s a frequently gripping and reasonably intelligent disaster flick). But that’s nothing new in Hollywood; for decades we’ve been fascinated by stories of high-profile productions run amok, and by guessing whether those on-set woes would actually impact the final product.
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Paramount’s upcoming film adaptation of Max Brooks’ novel World War Z was already smelling like a stinker — the $125 million production was originally slated for release this Christmas, only to be pushed back until next summer to accommodate an additional seven weeks of shooting and a third act rewrite by Damon Lindelof (because that’s what that guy’s best at, wrapping things up). That rewrite was eventually done not by Lindelof but by Cabin in the Woods co-writer/director Drew Goddard, and with the reshoots complete, the studio released its first trailer for the film last week. And the Internet went apeshit.
Responses on Twitter and film blogs were swift, damning, and nearly universal. The crux of them was that, simply, the film being advertised appeared to bear little to no resemblance whatsoever to the book it was ostensibly based on. “It’s not always wise to judge a movie by its trailer,” writes Film School Rejects’ Robert Fure, “but from our first look it seems Hollywood has screwed the pooch in the most Hollywood way imaginable.” The book’s multi-narrative structure and elements of social commentary are, it seems, gone; the film’s story of a single protagonist taking on an army of fast-moving zombies looks less like World War Z than I Am Legend.
We’ll have to wait until next June to find out if this controversial trailer reflects the entirety of the film — and if the already poison buzz surrounding World War Z will crash its box office chances. But what has become clear over the past two decades is that the explosion of online film culture can hurt a film’s build-up as much as it can help it; though movie geek sites, Twitter, and even Wikipedia can help amass an audience, they can also keep one away. After the jump, we’ll take a look at ten movies that the Internet may well have smothered in their sleep.
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Earlier this week, we weren’t fond of the glimpse Paramount gave us of zombie apocalypse tale, World War Z. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that the full trailer, which we first caught sight of on Hollywood.com, is much better. As we said earlier, it’s definitely overblown and looks like it could be any random disaster porn flick — like Roland Emmerich’s 2012. The adaptation of Max Brooks’ zombie opus has seen its share of ups and downs. Brad Pitt’s attachment was an exciting announcement, but the good news was quickly made sour by reports of reshoots, drama on set, script issues, and more. Head past the break to let us know what you make of it. Do those zombies really act like the walking dead? Discuss. World War Z hits theaters June 21, 2013.
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We’re big fans of Max Brooks’s oral history-style zombie apocalypse novel World War Z, so we’ve been waiting for the upcoming film adaptation for a while now. This morning, we got a first look at the trailer, which will air in its entirety on Thursday, and well, it looks sort of terrible. We’re crossing our fingers that they just picked the worst footage to air in this little teaser, or that the choppy presentation is clouding our view, but from what we can tell, the film looks overblown and stylistically boring, already a complete cliché (unlike the book, we should point out). Heck, even the woman doing the voice-over sounds like she’s barely restraining herself from making fun of it. Never a good sign. Click through to watch the, ahem, trailer for the trailer, and let us know your first impressions in the comments.
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1. Here’s your first look at the teaser trailer for Joss Whedon’s highly-anticipated adaptation of The Avengers. Unfortunately for fans, it doesn’t contain any new footage that we haven’t already seen before.
2. “At it’s core, it is the most expensive and creative Film History 101 course of all time.” – … Read More
1. The first photos of Brad Pitt on the set of the Marc Forster-directed film adaptation of the zombie thriller World War Z have surfaced. What do you think?
2. The Beastie Boys have reteamed with director Spike Jonze for the music video for “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win,” their… Read More