6 items from 2016
It’s hard to believe another Flashback Weekend is almost upon us, but in just a few days, Chicago’s longest-running horror convention will descend upon the Crowne Plaza O’Hare (5440 N. River Road, Rosemont, Il), where thousands of fans will gather to celebrate everything they love about the genre. Flashback Weekend kicks off on Friday, August 5th and runs through Sunday, August 7th, complete with a star-studded line-up, nightly screenings, Q&A panels, costume contests, and much more.
This writer is pleased to be returning to Flashback Weekend for my sixth year as co-host. Two personal highlights for me at this year’s convention have to be the Scream Reunion Screening and Q&A on Saturday evening, featuring Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, and Matthew Lillard, as well as seeing Don Coscarelli returning to Flashback, this time with Phantasm: Remastered in tow.
- Heather Wixson
Los Angeles is maybe known world-wide as an entertainment mecca, ground zero for all things that glitter, but it’s also the locale for thrillers and the “hard-boiled” mystery. Everybody from Bogie to Bob Mitchum threw on a trench coat, adjusted their fedoras, and strolled down those dark streets and alleys, looking for danger (and dangerous dames). This week’s new flick somewhat echoes those noir “programmers”. Being a big Summer release, we’ve got two “gumshoes” dodging bullets. And it’s not post WWII California, but rather post Vietnam War “la la land” circa 1977 (near Christmas-time). Now, with two bickering private eyes, you might consider this a variation of the standard “cop buddy” actioner. That’s appropriate since this movie is directed by the screenwriter who set the template for police team-up flicks back in 1987 with Lethal Weapon, Shane Black. It turns out that this movie’s heroes are »
- Jim Batts
Shockingly, this is not a Christmas movie. In every other way, though, it is a Shane Black movie, and that is reason enough to rejoice. I am more than willing to cop to the fact that part of what I like about Shane Black is that he evidently loves the exact same things I love, and for the exact same reasons. When someone’s making art that hews so closely to my ideal aesthetic, I start half-in-the-bag for the thing. I’ve written often about my love of La detective stories, especially when set in different eras of the city’s development. Walter Mosley, Raymond Chandler, Thomas Pynchon, Robert Towne, James Ellroy, Michael Connelly… lots of guys have mined this territory to terrific effect, and I have no doubt I’ll take my own shot at it someday. What Black does here is very different than what Paul Thomas Anderson did in Inherent Vice, »
- Drew McWeeny
While Hollywood’s summer kicks off this Friday with a certain superhero showdown, the first studio feature we’re genuinely excited for this season will arrive in two weeks. Shane Black‘s The Nice Guy marks his return to the world of crime comedy, his last foray coming over a decade ago with the excellent Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, the 1970s-set tale follows tough guy Jackson Healy and private detective Holland March, who are working on a missing-person case.
Ahead of its release on May 20th, and even before its Cannes premiere on May 15th, Warner Bros. held the first screening last night at Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Complete with a post-screening Q&A featuring Gosling, Crowe, Black, and producer Joel Silver, we now have the first reactions. These are overwhelmingly positive, so it looks like Black has once again hit it out of the park. »
- Jordan Raup
Who are the funniest, wackiest, cleverest, wittiest comic actors in the history of film and television? Take a look at our list and see who we came up with.
The top 25 laugh-getters…
#25…George Carlin: Probably the best stand-up comedian of all-time. He brilliantly satirized American culture, mixing his liberal social commentary with an often unapologetically coarse and dirty style of language. His penchant for obscenities was most evident in his trademark routine “Seven words you can never say on television”. No one was better at mocking the excesses of American culture than Carlin.
#24…Robin Williams: He had a manic energy and great improvisational skills. His hyper, free-form style inspired many comedians to follow, such as Jim Carrey. He shot to fame in the TV series Mork & Mindy, before breaking away to very successful movie career, appearing in films like Good Morning Vietnam, The World According to Garp, Mrs. Doubtfire and Popeye. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Young)
Need a good laugh, but only got an hour and a half? Might we recommend this little lot...
I’m of the firm belief that films work most effectively when their runtime is 90 minutes or less. It forces an economy of story and dialogue which propels the film into its best self. No bloated middle, extended ending, or wasted stories here. This goes double for comedies. They should never outstay their welcome. But they seem to be getting longer, as we recently pointed out here.
So to refresh your movie comedy palette, here are 25 films that are 90 minutes or under. I’ve tried to avoid the more obvious ones, and shine a light on those comedies which might have gone a bit unappreciated over the years, but are well worth a hour and a half of your time. This lean runtime isn’t a guarantee of greatness of course, »
6 items from 2016
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