12 items from 2009
After a run-up lasting 12 years, James Cameron has taken an almighty flying leap into the third dimension. His first new film for over a decade is in super-sleek new-tech 3D, and it is breathlessly reported to have taken the medium of cinema to the next level. And who knows? When Michelangelo completed his sculpture of David in 1504, he probably thought it made flat paintings look ever so slightly Betamax. Maybe he put a consoling arm round the shoulder of Sandro Botticelli as the two men looked ruefully at Primavera, and murmured caustically: "Little bit eight-track, isn't it darling? A touch Sinclair C5, a smidgen video top-loader – compared to, you know, sculpture?" That extra dimension makes the difference, »
- Peter Bradshaw
James Cameron, don’t leave us for this long again.
What’s encompassed in the 161 minutes that the King of the World has crafted shows us a seasoned veteran who knew what he had all along. The feeling called back to something I felt at the 1996 Olympics when I witnessed Michael Jordan and the Dream Team make their way to another gold medal. Jordan effortlessly handled the ball unlike anyone who had played the game before him and ever will, no matter how many Kobe’s or LeBron’s come our way. I couldn’t help but be breathless as I witnessed a legend show why he was a true master of the art.
Simply put; Cameron has done things in Avatar I have never seen before in a film.
Never before have I used that phrase to describe any movie these eyes have ever seen, and maybe it’s »
- Philip Barrett
The 1981 werewolf movie The Howling is getting a second shot to find an audience. A remake is in the planning stages and tentatively scheduled to go in front of cameras next February. It could even be out in theaters by Halloween 2010.
Two movie producers known for their indie films are responsible for shepherding this new Howling. They are Joel Kastelberg and Etchie Stroh and they've got a director by the name of Joe Nimziki who used to work as a marketing executive for studios. He's written a screenplay called The Howling: Reborn, which is very appropriate since the six Howling sequels that followed the original not only stunk up the franchise, I would dare say that an entirely new stinky odor was created.
- Patrick Sauriol
We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.
Somehow, the end of the world has become a form of entertainment. Instead of being scared out of our wits of apocalyptic thoughts, we enjoy plunking down $10 to watch them become realized by big budget blockbusters. Hollywood serves it up, however: whole cities are destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people die, the fate of mankind is brought into question, and sometimes, Randy Quaid becomes our savior.
Which brings us to a certain theme that has been continued through a legacy of doomsday movies – they’re funny as hell. More unintentional than not, these movies are loaded with goofy movie milestones that make the blockbusters seem like gargantuan scaled jokes, with their characters, dialogue, and special moments serving as a type of punch line. Many disaster movies seem to be plagued by an air of idiocy that moves from one big budget movie to the next, »
- Nick Allen
Funny movies make us laugh, that’s a no-brainer. But, what happens when you get a movie with Lots of funny people in it? Chances are, if it’s done well, you get an exponentially funnier movie. It’s like asking someone if they’d like a scoop of ice cream, or if they’d like three scoops of ice cream with hot fudge, caramel, whipped topping, nuts, sprinkles (gotta have sprinkles) and a cherry on top… it’s an easy decision. That’s sort of like asking someone if they want to see Mike Judge’s new comedy Extract, which opens nationwide in theaters this Friday. This should be an easy decision as well. So, we Movie Geeks decided to reflect on these movies and “extract” a list of our Top Ten Best Ensemble Comedies.
One of the most quotable, most intelligently ridiculous films of all time, »
- Movie Geeks
Photo: Universal Studios Home Entertainment Top 10 Great Movie Deaths Movies love to kill people, and actors love to die (preferably slowly and with a great close-up). Yet, more often than not, film fatalities are an accountant's errand. Just another tally mark in the body count. This isn't a list celebrating the art of ludicrous squibs and exploding craniums. The following movie deaths deliver more oomph than henchmen #4 getting steamrolled by the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. These are the death scenes we remember long after the actors have screamed, slobbered, cried, coughed, wheezed, or drawn out to William Shatner-esque lengths their final words. They are a perfect combination of acting, writing, filmmaking, image and idea. Some are shocking. Some are sad or bittersweet. Others funny. Some deaths you cheer on. All are memorable. Let's begin to experience ten (technically eleven) great ends, and considering the nature of this list, yes, there are spoilers, »
- David Frank
A half century has passed since the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union commenced, keeping the world under the constant threat of a nuclear holocaust. While Russia may no longer be the "Nuclear Boogeyman" it once was, the specter of someone using nuclear missiles, bombs and other weapons of mass destruction still looms large. This constant global threat is just one of the reasons why that after 45 years, Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb is still a film that dazzles, entertains and maintains its surprising degree of tension. Based on the novel Red Alert, Strangelove tells the tale of a nuclear war started by a rather delusional Brigadier General named Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden). Ripper believes that Communist Russia is planning an attack on America in order to drain its citizens of their precious bodily fluids (through fluoridated water, »
Chicago – Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Bomb” is nearly as important a film today as when it was released, over 45 years ago. The Anniversary Special Edition of the comedy classic is now available on Blu-Ray and it’s a must-own for any true film historian.
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0 Personally, I think All Kubrick films are “must-owns for any true film historian”. He is one of the most influential and important voices in the history of the medium. But “Dr. Strangelove” has always been one of my personal favorites for a simple reason that’s perfect for Blu-Ray - it doesn’t age. If “Strangelove” came out today, it would be just as resonant, hilarious, and brilliant. Do you know how few films from the early ’60s that you can accurately write that about?
Dr. Strangelove was released on Blu-Ray on June 16th, »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
This weekend we get to find out exactly what happened in “Year One.” Or at least what Hollywood thinks happened. As you know, they tend to fudge the historical facts for a better story and… wait. This a comedy? Not a serious Biblical epic? My bad.
In honor of “Year One,” I’ve decided to dig up five movies that tell just what happened in the years after. If IMDb is to be trusted, “year movies” will be a trend in the next few years. There’s Roland Emmerich’s latest vision of the apocalypse, “2012,” along with “1066″ (the Norman Invasion of England), “1777″ (A pretty big year for the American colonies) and “1906″ (The San Fransisco Earthquake). Date titles aren’t just the new hotness however. Just look at these, all of which came out long before 6/17/09…
“10,000 B.C.” (2008)
If you want to get really technical about history, “10,000 B.C.” actually occurs before — long before — “Year One. »
- Elisabeth Rappe
Reed's Bargain Bin  is a recurring column where Reed Farrington tells us about a movie he bought for under $5, and whether or not he regrets the purchase. On a recent foray to a local video store for bargain bin videos, I picked up a movie called The Good Night, written and directed by Jake Paltrow, Gwyneth’s brother. I’m not sure how obscure this movie is (Sean had heard of it and correctly named one of the stars, Martin Freeman), but it had a limited theatrical release in 2007 after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. Besides Freeman, it also stars Penelope Cruz, Gwyneth, Simon Pegg, and Danny DeVito. (One of the photos on the DVD cover is of Martin Freeman, but I initially thought the photo was of Ewan McGregor.) Now if you know your actors and also that I have an unusual penchant for collecting anything obscurely related to Star Trek, »
This weekend, audiences will be perched on the edges of their seats as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) works to save Vatican City from the destructive potential of a single gram of antimatter in “Angels & Demons.” Unless Hollywood’s power players lose their collective minds, it likely won’t be the last time the human race is threatened by a fictional destructive device either. It certainly isn’t the first. Just take a look at these other Hollywood-spawned weapons of mass destruction. Look at them and take heart in the fact that most of them won’t ever exist. Probably.
“Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”
“That’s no moon. It’s a space station.”
Sorry Obi-Wan, but things are a little bit worse than that. The not-moon you’re referring to is actually the fearsome Death Star, which contains within it enough destructive firepower to »
- Adam Rosenberg
This week's "Race to Witch Mountain," starring Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino, is the latest remake-- ahem, modern reimagining from Walt Disney Studios. Though the Mouse House's animated classics remain sacrosanct (if the jumping-off point of direct-to-dvd sequels), the live-action library has been pillaged for endless redos intended for theaters or the Disney Channel, which is where a previous remake of "Escape to Witch Mountain" starring Robert Vaughn and Brad Dourif premiered in 1995. Nothing is safe from the remake button over at Disney, so here are four more properties we fully expect to receive the same treatment in the near future, and proposals on how best to bring the projects into the 21st century. The only reason the immortally cheesy "Tron" didn't make the list is because they're already shooting a sequel.
"The Black Hole" (1979)
Directed by Gary Nelson
One of the least kid-friendly casts in Disney history (including hep cats Robert Forster, »
- Matt Singer
12 items from 2009
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