1-20 of 166 items from 2014 « Prev | Next »
You won't find many comedies in the Academy Awards' Best Foreign Language Film category (2003's "The Barbarian Invasions" and last year's "The Great Beauty" stand out as recent, funny-ish winners). But that's not stopping Sweden from backing Ruben Östlund's incisive, family dramedy, "Force Majeure," as its 2015 contender. The film's first trailer should help skeptics understand the decision. Picking up an Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Östlund's "Curb Your Enthusiasm"-esque film chronicles a Swedish family's week-long vacation at a ski resort in the French Alps. Everything's swimming along nicely, until a controlled avalanche cascading towards the resort's breakfast patio (the "great force" in question) scares the family into a retreating frenzy. With their lives appearing to be on the line, the father (Johannes Kuhnke) beelines away from the snow to save his own skin. The mother (Lisa Loven Kongsli), on the other hand, instinctually grabs and protects the kids. »
- Matt Patches
"The Judge" is back in court for another trailer. Oscar vets Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall star in this family drama about a slick, big city lawyer returning to his hometown to defend his father -- a renowned local judge -- in a murder case. The latest trailer doesn't do much to dispel the idea that "The Judge" is Grade A Hollywood cheese, pairing uplifting, soft-lit images with an inspirational pop anthem cranked up to 11. It also gives viewers a better look at co-stars Vera Farmiga (as the small town beauty) and Billy Bob Thornton, who looks to be enjoying his turn as a sharp-tongued prosecutor. So far, the critical reception has been somewhat mixed to say the least; HitFix's own Drew McWeeny calls it "risible Hollywood dreck" that "goes from pedestrian to painful to unintentionally funny before finally petering out somewhere around interminable." However, it may just be »
- Dave Lewis
"The Hunger Games" co-star Josh Hutcherson is taking a left turn in his career with the lead role in the upcoming drug drama 'Escobar: Paradise Lost." HitFix's Drew McWeeny recently caught up with the actor at the Toronto Film Festival, where Hutcherson discussed the benefits of "The Hunger Games'" popularity and how it can affect a smaller film like "Paradise Lost." In the film, Hutcherson plays an American vacationing in Colombia who discovers that his girlfriend is the niece of the ruthless drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (Benicio Del Toro), drawing him into a dangerous world. For Hutcherson, both big and small projects can be a labor of love. "I don't think I'm very career-minded," he explained. "I think I'm project-minded and character-minded. And so for me I want to do the stories that I want to tell and things that I want to do. But the good thing »
- Dave Lewis
The network TV season doesn't officially start until September 22, but fall TV is already here. "Boardwalk Empire" and "Sons of Anarchy" came back earlier this week, Fox is doing a few premieres next week, and all but a handful of notable summer series are either over or (in the case of a few Sunday night dramas) will be over by the end of the month. This is, as you may have gathered from skimming Fienberg's annual Take Me to the Pilots series of not-reviews, not the most exciting fall for new series — or, at least, for new pilots. (As I discussed a few years back, TV criticism at this time of year is as much voodoo as it is actual analysis, as you have to guess which pilots are representative of what's to come, which shows might get better, and which shows might get worse.) There aren't a ton of genuinely awful shows, »
- Alan Sepinwall
I came away from Dan Gilroy's "Nightcrawler" with a new level of respect for Jake Gyllenhaal. He's been taking a lot of interesting chances lately, having already decorated his career with a string of notable filmmaker collaborations, but now he seems to really be pushing himself by exploring unique characters that might scare off most stars. The physical specificity of his "End of Watch" cop, the obsession of his "Prisoners" detective, and now, the blind ambition of his "Nightcrawler" psycho. But he doesn't play this guy as "psychotic." A driven creep looking for work and unsettlingly quick to learn and absorb, Lou Bloom finds his way into the world of freelance journalism on the night streets of Los Angeles in the film. He's never really given a big, broad outburst moment, but the drawn coil of the narrative leaves you expecting it, and that plays to the film's advantage. »
- Kristopher Tapley
Toronto — The 39th annual Toronto International Film Festival kicked off Thursday night and its opening night film, "The Judge," brought some major star power. Tiff is known as being a red carpet festival (they seem to even be openly hyping it up this year) and nothing is better than Robert Downey Jr., one of the biggest stars in the world, posing for the paparazzi outside the massive Roy Thomson Hall. Downey was joined by his wife and "Judge" producer Susan Downey, director David Dobkin and co-stars Vincent D'Onofrio (very big and very bald for Netflix and Marvel TV's "Daredevil"), Vera Ferminga (paycheck!), Dax Shepard (soon to be staring in and directing "CHiPs") and the legendary Robert Duvall. The latter is so revered by everyone associated with the production that Downey came on stage during the pre-screening introductions second-to-last, to make sure the "Godfather" star got the biggest ovation. Following the premiere, »
- Gregory Ellwood
Kevin Costner has a lot of skin in "Black and White," the Mike Binder drama set for a premiere at the Toronto Film Festival this weekend. He was so passionate about the race-themed project that he financed it himself. I had heard Lionsgate was on board to distribute, but then I heard Costner was unhappy with the handling of "Draft Day" by the distributor, so I can't get a bead on whether it's looking for distribution at Toronto or not. Either way, he's obviously calling the shots given that he's writing the checks. I've heard good things about the film and certainly Binder drew out a fantastic performance from Costner in 2005's "The Upside of Anger" that deserved awards consideration. If indeed the film is still for sale, and if any studio is looking for something to play with in the season, this could be the answer. Check out a »
- Kristopher Tapley
Telluride — It's impossible to see every movie at a film festival, but you can certainly come close if you're able to catch a few of the main centerpieces beforehand. At Telluride, the benefit of having viewed "Foxcatcher," "Mr. Turner," "Mommy" and "The Homesman" at Cannes allowed this pundit to catch a few of the lower profile titles that are still worthy of your attention. Here are a few short capsule reviews for some films that will also screen at the Toronto and New York film festivals and that should most definitely be on your radar. "Madame Bovary" Grade: C+ Reaction: Sophie Barthes' adaptation of the classic Gustave Flauber novel is a sight to behold. The cinematography from Andrij Parekh ("Blue Valentine") and the costumes from Christian Gasc and Valérie Ranchoux are Oscar-worthy, and the score by Evgueni and Sacha Galperine memorably adds to the atmosphere. Unfortunately, Barthes wants to »
- Gregory Ellwood
We can debate all day which comic book hero is cooler: DC or Marvel? Superman or Spiderman? Justice League or The Avengers? Batman or anyone who isn’t cool enough to be Batman? But it’s no question that Marvel has a serious leg-up on DC in the movie business.
Outside of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, DC has had a harder time making their characters stick and is even behind the ball in planning their lineup of films. Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was one of the highest grossing films of last year, but it was forgotten as a dour, colorless, over-important mess as soon as it arrived. And yet this model may be the template DC is pursuing with all their future projects.
- Brian Welk
You may have heard that Warner Bros. has introduced a new policy to their future DC Comics universe, summed up in two simple words (that, we assumed, were delivered while yelling and slamming one’s hand on a table): “No Jokes.” That’s what Drew McWeeny says, over at Hitfix. Warner and DC are looking at the success of stuff like The Dark Knight and Man of Steel, and the abysmal failure of Ryan Reynolds’ goofy Green Lantern, and making an executive decision. Two rights + one wrong = stop that laughing. From now on, all future DC Comics movies will be grim and dark and gritty and gritty and serious and dark: watching any future DC film will be like chewing a mouthful of gravel while your dad says you were an accident that he never loved. You may have then heard a few other sources call foul on this report. Forbes »
- Adam Bellotto
If you thought "Man of Steel" was a bit dour and lacking a sense of humor, it turns out there may have been a reason for that.
Hitfix has reported that according to multiple sources, there is a mandate at Warner Bros. regarding any of the DC superhero films in development. That mandate is just two simple, direct words: "No jokes."
Wrtier Drew McWeeny says: "Last week was about the fifth time I've heard that there is a mandate at Warner Bros. regarding any of the DC superhero films in development, and it's very simple and direct and to the point. 'No Jokes'." Others have since weighed in and claim their sources have heard the same.
In comics form, DC has generally been seen as the serious, grim brother to Marvel's more unabashedly fun personality - a trait that has carried over to the movies with films like "The Dark Knight »
- Garth Franklin
Yesterday my co-worker Drew McWeeny dropped a piece of breaking news about the DC Cinematic Universe. Somewhere from high on the chain of command, the ruling has been handed down: no joking around. The news was met with consternation at best and flat out nerd rage at worst. Why!? Why no jokes? Does this mean no humor at all? If "Man Of Steel" is the mold from which all DC properties are to be created from, then yes. Fans can look forward to a dire, nihilistic cinematic universe where primary colors and child fans need not apply. But it doesn't have to be this way! Warner Bros. I beseech you. Take a page from the DC Animated Universe. Humor is so intertwined in the TV shows and straight-to-dvd movies without sacrificing the integrity of the characters. Don't give us a movie franchise fit only for melancholy college philosophers and downtrodden »
- Donna Dickens
Welcome To Issue 60!
If This Is Your First Time Here: Welcome! This is my weekly column where I talk about superhero movie news, rumors and speculation to the detriment of no one. It usually has spoilers. Also it has jokes, sorry Warner Bros.
This Week: Donald Glover finally gets to be Spider-Man, then I don’t know who at DC to talk to about setting “no joke” policies. But I want to make two things clear right from the start: I want the Dcu to succeed because I want to see these movies, and I’m easily excitable when it comes to these things.
Thanks for being so patient while I uprooted my Brooklyn life of 11 years and hauled all my crap back to Colorado last week. There’s something about paying to ship all your Spider-Man toys to another state while you’re throwing away baby pictures of yourself »
Drew McWeeny at HitFix is reporting that no fewer than five sources have told him that Warner Bros. has a strict “No jokes” rule for all DC superhero movies in development. McWeeny posits that the rule is likely a reaction to the failure of Green Lantern, a terrible movie that was chock-full of jokes. It seems likely that the huge success of the very, very serious Dark Knight Trilogy also played a role in the formulation of the No Jokes rule, but I think they have learned the wrong lesson from their failures and successes.
Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy took itself very seriously, exploring fear and pain and chaos. Batman Begins was an exciting departure from the lighter, brighter superhero movies we were used to, and the sequels plunged us even deeper into the darkness. The Dark Knight was probably the best, most important superhero movie that has ever been made, »
- Mily Dunbar
There have been some commenters saying that we don't talk about DC Comics films enough, so here's a provocative rumor that should get the masses talking. HitFix has heard from several different sources that Warner Bros. is making a big push to keep humor out of their forthcoming DC Comics adaptations that have been scheduled to hit theaters through 2020. Drew McWeeney (who isn't prone to just posting any ole rumor) says he keeps hearing a "no jokes" kind of mandate for these films in the DC Comics cinematic universe, and Badass Digest has also echoed those sentiments. But that seems more than a little extreme. HitFix hypothesizes this attitude might have something to do with the failure of Green Lantern, a superhero film that tried to incorporate a decent amount of humor into the mix. But that train of thought seems too basic, mostly because the balance of humor and »
- Ethan Anderton
Marvel movies rely on their humor, and their cavalier attitude. Man of Steel, as a counterbalance, did not. Star-Lord, Chris Pratt's Guardians of the Galaxy hero, cracks jokes. In Christopher Nolan.s world, Bane cracked Batman.s spine. It.s not an easy divide between Marvel and DC movies to say that one side drifts toward light while the other embraces the shadows. Step back and look at the big picture, though, and this appears to be one crucial way to categorize the cinematic universes that are developing on screen between the rival studios. Now, one interesting report says that this is by design. Drew McWeeny at HitFix writes an engaging column about the alleged "No jokes" policy that is in place at Warner Bros. as the studio builds its DC universe off of the success of Zack Snyder.s Man of Steel. This is an important time for »
Guess Batman doesn't have a sense of humor.
HitFix's Drew McWeeny writes, "Last week was about the fifth time I've heard that there is a mandate at Warner Bros. regarding any of the DC superhero films in development, and it's very simple and direct and to the point. 'No jokes.'"
Devin Faraci at Badass Digest has heard the same thing from his Warner Bros. sources. " I don't think we'll never get a joke in a DC movie, but I do think the tone of 'Man of Steel' is probably the tone of the rest of the films," he writes. "Serious, convinced it's deep, allowed to contain elements that are perhaps chuckle-worthy at best."
Certainly, DC-based movies have been much more somber in tone than Marvel ones. There's no DC equivalent to Robert Downey, »
- Kelly Woo
Considering how dark and gritty Warner Bros. have been steering the DC Comics movies as of late, the latest rumour to come out of their growing DC Cinematic universe proves to be quite believable. According to Drew McWeeny of HitFix, there is a mandate doing the rounds at Warner Bros. concerning their DC characters: "No jokes". It seems after Green Lantern fell flat, a darker and edgier approach is what is needed moving forward. Well, there was quite a few problems with Green Lantern, editing, pacing, script, but the lighter tone wasn't one of them. But if a more realistic and darker tone is where this universe is heading, as evidenced by Man of Steel, we can't really argue. Warner Bros. have their plan set in concrete it would seem, but if this all proves to be true, is a superhero universe devoid of humour the way to go? Sure, »
- email@example.com (Tom White)
The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya? “How Movies Manipulate Your Brain to Keep You Entertained” — Greg Miller at Wired looks at vision science and the randomness of car crashes that you can’t fake. “Interview: Harvard Business School Professor Anita Elberse on What Hollywood’s Love of Blockbusters Means for the Rest of Us” — Erika Olsen at RogerEbert.com presents great news for people who love semi-bad news. “I think it’s hard to deny that it creates significant challenges for independent studios and others who seek to produce and market films that are truly original. In an industry in which studios seek to make big bets on the most likely winners, and those titles are picked for having some resemblance to past winners (be it that they are based on a book that was once successful, or »
- Scott Beggs
According to HitFix’s Drew McWeeney, and a few other writers around the web, the studio implemented a rule that's to set the tone for all of their superhero movies: “No Jokes.” (What?!)
In an in-depth (and very enlightening) article, McWeeney suggests that Warner Bros. wants Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and so on to be taken super seriously. While no one linked to the productions have admitted any of this, anyone who's seen Man of Steel can surely say that it's not much of a comedy. And this isn't exactly Warner Bros. fault because as McWeeney writes, "DC treats their superhero characters more like gods," whereas Marvel, the opposition, has characters that are more human-like and flawed. »
- Laura Frances
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