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A Helpful Guide to How ‘The Simpsons’ Movie Parodies Have Changed Over 25 Years

1 hour ago

There’s another five days left in Fxx’s great rerunning of every episode of The Simpsons in recorded history. Now, we don’t want to distract you — there’s still at least 100 hours to go, and shifting your eyes away from the TV for any reason could ruin that perfect butt-shaped indent that’s this close to being a permanent part of the couch — but just in case you need a break (a break that still involves The Simpsons, of course, we’re not monsters), here’s a momentary distraction. We all know the myriad of reasons why The Simpsons remains so popular. Revolutionize this, landmark that, longest-running yadda yadda yadda and so forth. But an exemplary trait of The Simpsons that tends to get short shrift (or shorter shrift, anyway), is its relationship with cinema. The Simpsons overflows with a love for film. Little homages to the classics. Grand »

- Adam Bellotto

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‘The Congress’ Review: Eye-Popping Animation and a Crazy Heart

2 hours ago

When it comes to independent films and major releases, animation is fairly underutilized medium. There are exceptions, but for the most part, it’s generally used for kid-centric stories or to paint a lush, if slightly more adult, world. That’s why movies like A Scanner Darkly and The Congress are so special. They use animation for drama and to express ideas that go beyond a few pretty shots. Both films shouldn’t be compared past that point, but they are both emotional, visual, and mental exercises — rides that you either go along with from the start or don’t. If director Ari Folman‘s The Congress grabs you from its first frame, then expect a rich science-fiction film packed with commentary, ideas, laughs, tears, and beauty.  Speaking of beauty, Robin Wright (played conveniently by Robin Wright) has lost it, at least according to some slimy agist studio executive we meet working at Miramount. She »

- Jack Giroux

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‘Life of Crime’ Review: We’ve Seen These Ruthless People Before

2 hours ago

Ordell (Mos Def) and Louis (John Hawkes) have planned the perfect kidnapping. Their target is Mickey (Jennifer Aniston), wife to a sketchy businessman named Frank (Tim Robbins) who’s hiding a fortune in a secret bank account. The plan is simple. Kidnap Mickey, tell Frank to pay the ransom if he ever wants to see his wife again and then retire in style. But they never considered the possibility that Frank might not want his wife back. Chronology is a funny thing. The inclination will be (and has been if you check the IMDb page) to label Life of Crime a straight-up rip-off of 1986′s Ruthless People. In actuality though this is an adaptation of Elmore Leonard‘s 1978 novel, The Switch. Keep moving backward and you’ll find that all of these incarnations share an inspiration in O. Henry’s 1907 short story, “The Ransom of Red Chief.” The problem for this film then is how to stand »

- Rob Hunter

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Required Reading: Distracting Movie Extras and Pop Culture Sins

3 hours ago

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? “Will We Ever Forgive George Lucas?” — Rob Bricken at io9 opens up the mail bag and answers an excellent assortment of queries. At the top of the pile, a smart take on what the new Star Wars movies would have to be like in order for the hissing crowds to crawl back to Lucas. “7 Deadly Sins Of Talking About Pop Culture” — Also at io9, Charlie Jane Anders beats down a list of no-nos. Beyond non-consensual spoilers, there’s a few great reminders here, but every single person needs to read #7 and repeat it as a mantra. “How Getting Wild Saved a ‘Lost’ Reese Witherspoon” — Kyle Buchanan at Vulture interviews the actress on the kind of role we don’t normally get to see her in. “You have to understand, for »

- Scott Beggs

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Fantastic Fest 2014 Announces a 2nd Wave of Must-See Titles and Intriguing Unknowns

16 hours ago

Fantastic Fest may be a festival focused on off-the-radar genre films from here and abroad, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for recognizable Hollywood faces. They’ve just announced their second wave of titles playing this year, and while it’s heavy on unfamiliar foreign titles there are a few heavy hitters in there too. One of last year’s highlights was the presence of Keanu Reeves who there with his directorial debut, the surprisingly fun Man of Tai Chi, but also took time out to participate in the Fantastic Debates. He’s returning again this year, and while he didn’t direct John Wick it promises to be a rollicking action flick all the same thanks to Reeves’ clear love of the genre and the co-directors vast experience in the stunt game. Jake Gyllenhaal won’t be making an appearance, but his fantastically dark-looking new film, Nightcrawler »

- Rob Hunter

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James Ellroy is Writing a ‘Laura’ Remake, Which Would Be Terrific if It Wasn’t a Herald of the Apocalypse

18 hours ago

Here’s a remake idea that won’t have you doing a spit-take and attempting to burn Hollywood down to its sinful ashes: Otto Preminger‘s Laura. Yes, the film is an unabashed classic, one of those films noir that’s been vaulted up to mythical, God-like status amongst those who still watch movies from before 1970. The 1944 film follows a detective, Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews), investigating the murder of the rich, gorgeous and all-around enchanting Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney), who was blown away by an unfortunate shotgun blast to the face. Our dashing detective sinks himself into the case, but as he does he starts to fall madly in love with the deceased dame. Which would be fine (who among us hasn’t developed a little crush on a murder victim now and then?), except the case starts to turn in a seriously weird direction, leaving McPherson the only one to sort out its loop-de-looping plot twists »

- Adam Bellotto

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‘Medium Cool’ is Still the Most One-Of-a-Kind Movie Ever Made

19 hours ago

What if in the midst of the Ferguson protests, literally on the scene with actors intertwined with real demonstrators, someone was filming a fictional drama with a romantic plot? That would seem disrespectful, I’m sure, if only because those events have been centered around the death of an individual. It might be different if there was a Hollywood production filming in the middle of something less personal, like the Occupy Wall Street protests, as Warner Bros. had reportedly been considering doing for parts of The Dark Knight Rises. That didn’t happen, and maybe it never was supposed to, because that sounds like a logistical nightmare as far as release forms and such are concerned. Plus, in retrospect, it would have been an unfortunate cameo for the 99% given that the movie’s superhero comes off as anti-ows, even if Christopher Nolan doesn’t mean to be critical of the movement. In »

- Christopher Campbell

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Jamie Dornan Leaves His Whips Behind for Director Alexandre Aja’s ‘The Ninth Life of Louis Drax’

19 hours ago

Though Jamie Dornan will soon be seen taking care of business and (literally) cracking the whip as a young entrepreneur with an exceptionally active social life over at Fifty Shades of Grey, he’s signed up for a bit of a fictional career change as he joins the cast of Alexandre Aja‘s The Ninth Life of Louis Drax. The film, an adaptation of a best-selling novel by Liz Jensen, follows a nine-year-old boy named Louis Drax who is a little different than the other kids. Brilliant, but perceived as weird, Louis always seems to have something terrible happen to him — and his ninth birthday is no different. He suffers a massive fall that nearly takes his life, and there are no details to shed light on how or why the incident occurred. Dornan steps in as Dr. Allan Pascal, a physician who is drawn to Drax’s peculiar case. Drax »

- Samantha Wilson

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Alan Rickman is a Legendary Creep in This Short Film

20 hours ago

Why Watch? A disheveled man follows a little girl and her mother as they walk down the street, he breaks into their home, and soon he’s writhing around in the little girls’ bed. This man is Alan Rickman, in case you weren’t already completely creeped out. In the short film Dust from Ben Ockrent and Jake Russell, the concept of what millions of people knowingly allow into their child’s bedroom is explored with an unnerving sense of simplicity. It’s almost pure atmosphere, punctuated only by a singular goal that maintains mystery simply because we may refuse to believe that we’re about to see what the film is promising to show us. It’s all body language and intent, which makes Rickman perfect casting not only because his ease of appearing terrifying, but also because he’s committed to even small roles like this one. Granted, it »

- Scott Beggs

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6 Filmmaking Tips from Jim Jarmusch

22 hours ago

As many successful American filmmakers who get their start in independent filmmaking quickly find themselves comfortable in Hollywood studios, Jim Jarmusch feels like the anachronism that the economics of filmmaking rarely find room for but the culture of cinema certainly needs. After making the No Wave-era Permanent Vacation on the seemingly post-apocalyptic landscape of a crumbling late-70s New York, Jarmusch made waves at the then-young Sundance film festival with Stranger Than Paradise, a bare bones indie that exhibited the director’s penchant for deliberate pacing, wry humor, an insistent soundtrack and a canted examination of Americana. Jarmusch’s productions are few and far between, partly due to the fact that he is ever in want of funding and seeks final cut on all his films. The process may be difficult, but it’s worth it: thirty years after Paradise, Jarmusch crafted Only Lovers Left Alive (recently released on disc and digital), a film that surprised me »

- Landon Palmer

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5 Movie Sequels Everyone Hates (That A Lot of People Love)

23 hours ago

If you’ve been on the internet for more than a few minutes, then you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of the movies that everyone hates. They’re movies that are legendary in their awfulness, ruined people’s childhoods, whatever. And then those movies get sequels and people go bananas wondering who’s greenlighting these things. The answer, of course, is the same people complaining loudest about them. They’re doing it with their wallets. 5. Spider-Man III The first Spider-Man film was, shockingly, not a disaster and made Sam Raimi a household name. Then he followed it up with another one and it was good, too! Then he announced a third one! With Venom! What could go wrong? If you believe the internet, the whole thing was Emo Peter. (Really that sequence only lasted about ten minutes.) And then you had that skinny whitebread Venom and a shoe-horned Hobgoblin and the whole thing was just »

- Ashe Cantrell

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Lake Bell Will Direct Long-in-the-Making ‘Emperor’s Children’ Film, Which Is Awesome

27 August 2014 9:00 AM, PDT

This is dream team stuff, people. The Wrap reports that actress/writer/director Lake Bell has been tapped to direct the big screen adaptation of Claire Messud‘s Man Booker Prize listed bestselling novel “The Emperor’s Children.” Bell will direct from Noah Baumbach‘s script, which has basically just been sitting around for whole years waiting for someone to make it into a real movie. Set in New York City just before and after 9/11, the novel centers on a trio of Brown University pals (who maybe don’t like each other as much as they should) who are just trying to make their way (often, their very misguided way) around life in the big city. The events of 9/11 change that, of course, and the novel is an unsentimental look at how we experience tragedy, especially the wide-ranging and extremely unexpected kind (as the pages tick by and the days move forward and the inevitability of what »

- Kate Erbland

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David Lynch Offers a Surreal Ice Bucket Challenge as Only He Can

27 August 2014 8:04 AM, PDT

An iced coffee, a trumpeted rendition of a magical tune, and the man from the White Lodge. David Lynch has now transformed the ephemeral absurdity of the ice bucket challenge into physical absurdity. It’s enough to make you wonder why thousands of people have made videos of themselves being doused in freezing water. Think about how truly strange that is for a moment. Like we were all hypnotized, allowed by society to be socially bizarre for a good cause. The two funniest moments are when Lynch says, “I’m taking the challenge” so sweetly (we don’t even have to ask which challenge he’s talking about), and when he says, “The second bucket…” so casually after his mid-musical, caffeinated sloshing. Perfect comic timing. Of course, both laugh lines are due in large part to Lynch now being a fantastically adorable old man. Life just keeps staying weird. Source: The Film Stage

"David Lynch Offers a »

- Scott Beggs

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Where Is All the Buried Pirate Treasure?

27 August 2014 8:00 AM, PDT

As I tend to watch movies for a living, periodically I am faced with potential career choices that might be more lucrative for me. A stint aboard a space mining freighter for the Weyland-Yutani Corporation is a bit too futuristic for me, and I’ve missed the boat for enrolling in med school or law school. However, there seems to be one way to make money that doesn’t seem to take any formal schooling: treasure hunting. Of course, before I kiss my wife and kids good-bye and embark on a whirlwind global journey to get rich off of other people’s plundering, I had to look into this career choice a bit. I started by thinking: Where can I dig up a buried pirate’s treasure chest? The Answer: Only in the movies, unless you get creative or have unlimited funds. Pirate treasure has been the source of many entertaining films, including »

- Kevin Carr

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‘The November Man’ Review: The Spy Who Came In from the Old Folks’ Home

27 August 2014 7:00 AM, PDT

One of the absolute best spy thrillers of the past three decades is the Kevin Costner-led No Way Out. Seriously. If you haven’t seen it, or haven’t seen it in a while, go watch it again and marvel at its sharp script, fantastic action set-pieces and electric performances from all involved. Plus Iman! Director Roger Donaldson has returned to the genre on occasion since ’87, but while he’s yet to capture that same magic it hasn’t stopped him from trying. Which brings us to The November Man. Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan, himself no stranger to the cinematic spy game) is retired and living the peaceful life of a single parent and shopkeeper when an old friend visits to ask a favor. He needs help with an ex-filtration, and the woman in desperate need of escaping Moscow is someone very close to Peter’s heart and past. He »

- Rob Hunter

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Required Reading: Manipulating Movies and Why Women Can’t Be Funny

27 August 2014 6:27 AM, PDT

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

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‘Cam2Cam’ Review: Who Knew Meeting Strangers Online Could Lead to Murder?

26 August 2014 10:16 PM, PDT

Lucy has settled in for the night in her Bangkok apartment with a bottle of wine and a desire to chat up hot babes online, but she’s interrupted by a knock at the door before she even gets to virtual first base. A new neighbor, a creepy Brit named Russell (Russell Geoffrey Banks), invites her to his upstairs soiree, but she declines the offer and returns to the half-naked girl on her computer screen. She eventually notices that the girl, whose head is cropped out of the frame, is visibly several feet away from the keyboard even as new messages are being sent. (Viewers with eyeballs have been wondering about this for several minutes already.) Things get creepy, and Lucy ends up losing her head too. Some time later another young American woman moves into the same apartment. Like Lucy, Allie (Tammin Sursock) enjoys ogling the ladies online, and soon she finds herself waist deep in »

- Rob Hunter

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Mike Epps Recieves Tweet of a Lifetime, Has Finally Been Cast as Richard Pryor

26 August 2014 3:45 PM, PDT

Okay, this isn’t normally the way we do things. An actor gets cast in a role, and we hear about it from some trade magazine of glamorous and shining repute. But not this time. Lee DanielsRichard Pryor biopic looks to have just cast its lead, and we’re hearing the first news…on Twitter. But it’s Lee Daniels’ Twitter, so we’ll take that as slightly more legitimate than most. Here’s the fateful tweet in question: Get ready y’all- #MikeEpps as #RichardPryorpic.twitter.com/0sothu7yVB — lee daniels (@leedanielsent) August 24, 2014 I think it’s safe to assume that, were Stephen Spielberg to tweet “Get ready y’all- #Ryan Reynolds, #RyanGosling and #RyanSeacrest in #SavingPrivateRyan2,” we’d be inclined to believe him. If Saving Private Ryan 2 was real. And probably if he didn’t use the words “Get ready y’all,” which probably mean Lee Daniels has gotten a hold of Spielberg’s »

- Adam Bellotto

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It’s Okay, Dudes, Kimmy Gibbler Will Be Back for New ‘Full House’

26 August 2014 3:15 PM, PDT

If you’ve already exhausted your syndicated TV options — heavy on the Friends, light on the Family Matters, some Seinfeld thrown in for good measure – we’ve got the throwback news you’re apparently pretty hungry for. New Full House. No, really. And, no, it’s not suddenly 1997, so stop shaking your calendar (and making that joke). TV Guide reports that “Warner Bros. TV is mulling a new take on Full House, with some of the original cast intact.” What. Well, it turns out that Full House continues to perform exceptionally well on the syndicated market (it does seem to be on all the time) and that measurable audience interest, combined with the actual cast’s apparent desire to come back from some more family-friendly hijinks, means that little dollar signs are positively dancing in the heads of the Warner Bros. brass. Honestly, who could possibly blame them? The outlet also shares that John Stamos (Uncle Jesse »

- Kate Erbland

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The Movies Tell Us: Don’t Trust Your Protege

26 August 2014 2:00 PM, PDT

Being a mentor is tough. You’re putting time into showing a kid the ropes, and what do you get out of it? According to the movies, maybe death. Or at least some non-lethal backstabbing will come about if you’re not lucky. It’s a wonder any of us bother to recruit interns, employees, apprentices, proteges and sidekicks when we know from watching a lot of movies that it’s not a good idea. We’re much better off just doing whatever work they’d have helped with alone and living a longer and more fruitful life. Never mind if we deserve the comeuppance. None of us believe we’re the bad guys, especially when we thought we were actually out for our disciple’s best interest. In the new movie The November Man, it’s Pierce Brosnan who winds up targeted by his former pupil, played by Luke Bracey. The »

- Christopher Campbell

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