1-20 of 55 items from 2014 « Prev | Next »
There’s a palpable degree of anticipation in the air, and it’s not for great Black Friday deals on vacuum cleaners. No, tomorrow marks a different holiday of sorts, as Disney and Lucasfilm will unveil the very first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Episode VII in the sci-fi saga marks the first new Star Wars film in nine years and the first entry in the franchise without George Lucas’ official involvement as a director, writer, or producer. Indeed, The Force Awakens is the beginning of a new era kicked off by director J.J. Abrams, producer Kathleen Kennedy, and a stellar cast led by John Boyega and Daisy Ridley. In preparation for our introduction to the film tomorrow, now feels like an opportune time to look back at how all of the previous Star Wars films were introduced with their first trailers. After the jump, watch the »
- Adam Chitwood
Jon M. Chu, the director of the Step Up films and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, is set to develop a new movie project called Can’t Touch This. As most of you know, that is the name of a popular song written by M.C. Hammer. The film is a high school dance comedy that will be set in the 1990s. Having grown up as a teenager in the '90s, the thought of a dance movie called Can’t Touch This made me laugh. I’m glad to hear that it’s going to be a comedy because hard to imagine a movie with a title like that could be taken seriously, unless they tackle it like films such as Dazed and Confused or American Graffiti. Those both had a good balance of drama and comedy.
Chu is definitely the best man for the job. This seems to fit in with »
- Joey Paur
Erik Peter Carlson's The Toy Soldiers is a pitch-black spin on American Graffiti, set in a brightly colored place during what's remembered as a brightly colored decade. The movie tells five interwoven, individually titled stories about a group of 1980s teenagers and some of their parents, all experiencing varying degrees of interpersonal emotional trauma on the night their favorite roller rink is shutting down for good. Though it comments on how movies about teenagers seldom convey how much being that age sucks — the character of Angel (Najarra Townsend) states as much — the picture still plays by certain rules of commercial filmmaking: While a major theme is that teenage boys are often cruel and asshole-ish (true enough), the conceit that the »
Everybody has to start somewhere.
The best and most successful Hollywood directors might find themselves marshalling $200 million epics, but in their formative years big budgets weren't at their disposal and they had to make do only with a good idea and the drive to make it happen. Many filmmakers use shorts to test-run ideas and explore themes they'd circle back to down the line.
Doodlebug - led by Nolan's Following star Jeremy Theobald - played out an intriguing narrative loop over a brisk three minutes as a man chased a 'bug' around his flat with a shoe. A year after he made this film, Nolan took his feature debut Following »
Now that George Lucas is no longer part of the movie-making business, he shared some of his thoughts on Hollywood Studios and why he believes they cannot produce good movies. "You're selling creativity. Raw creativity from talented people," he started. "Now, the problem has always been the studios. Although the beginning of the studios, the entrepreneurs who ran the studios were sort of creative guys. They would just take books and turn them into movies and do things like that. Suddenly all these corporations were coming in. They didn't know anything about the movie business." He continued: "The studios went back to saying, Well we don't trust you people and we think we know how to make movies.' The studios change everything all the time. And, unfortunately, they don't have any imagination and they don't have any talent." Lucas went on to explain that the only reason he was »
The Post-1960S, Pre-Digital Age: Real-time One-offs, 1975-1998
British filmmaker John Byrum is responsible for the first (and in some ways only) real-time period film. Inserts (1975), set in the early 1930s, is about a Boy Wonder movie director (called Boy Wonder, played by Richard Dreyfuss fresh from American Graffiti (1973) and Jaws (1975)) now washed up before the age of 30, resigned to making porn because of Hollywood’s conversion to sound. Not only is Inserts scrupulously real-time (with the exception of the opening credits sequence, which offers glimpses of the stag film we’re about to see made) and period, but it’s rather long for such a film, just shy of two hours. To tell the entire story would be spoiling the fun, but the Boy Wonder deals with recalcitrant actresses, the problem of his own potency, career problems, death, sex, after-death and after-sex…and in the end, as »
- Daniel Smith-Rowsey
In his book Teenage, Jon Savage pinpoints the exact era when the idea of mopey, angry, hormone-filled adolescents finally took root in popular culture. Before 1945, there was no such thing as a teenager, no hinterland between childhood and adulthood. You finished school, then you were a grown up. No time to tread water or get used to things, just thrown in at the deep end. It’s only in the 20th century that the “liminal state of development that is temporally finite, cut short by the onslaught of responsibility and exhilaration of adulthood” reared its ugly head. Which coincides, rather handily, with the invention of the teen movie.
The fifties saw the rise of the rebellious biker picture, all rebels without causes and wild ones. The seventies was the time for George Lucas’ nostalgic American Graffiti to take the young folks’ minds off the draft. The eighties was presided over by John Hughes, »
- Tom Baker
“That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age!”
Dazed And Confused plays this weekend (August 19th and 20th) at the Tivoli as part of their Reel Late at the Tivoli Midnight series.
I graduated from Kirkwood High School in 1979 and Dazed And Confused, which I saw at the Shady Oak Theater in Clayton 14 years later, is so spot-on it’s scary. Writer-Director Richard Linklater is one year older than me and his film debut was a nostalgic look back at the final day of school, when the soon-to-be-seniors get drunk and stoned waiting for their first year at the top of the food chain while the incoming freshmen get prepared for a year of getting picked on. A wide range of character drink, smoke pot and have fun talking about what life is about to offer them. I think »
- Tom Stockman
It's like Star Wars, but refracted through a strange lens. Here's Han Solo, but he's green, like the Toxic Avenger, and has gills. Here's Luke Skywalker, but he's a powerful general with a white beard and a flinty look in his eye.
All this can be found in what is now commonly called The Rough Draft of The Star Wars, originally written by George Lucas back in 1974. A kind of mid-point between the somewhat vague ideas Lucas first had for his space fantasy movie earlier in the decade, and the fourth draft - which was used as the shooting script for the 1977 film - The Star Wars is a jarring document from the franchise's early history.
The career trajectory of Charles Martin Smith has been a fascinating one to watch. The perennial character actor (supporting roles in American Graffiti, Starman & The Untouchables) slowly transitioned behind the camera, helming such genre fare as Trick or Treat and Fifty/Fifty. Since then, Smith has transitioned to directing more topical dramas: The Snow Walker & Stone of Destiny – before finding commercial success with the family-friendly Dolphin Tale. The surprise success of Dolphin Tale, the film grossed more than 70 million domestically, has not only spawned a sequel opening this weekend but also helped to establish an aquarium (The Clearwater Marine Aquarium) that houses Winter and Hope, the titular aquatic stars of both Dolphin Tale films. In the following interview with Charles Martin Smith, the writer/director discusses the darker adult themes of Dolphin Tale 2, the writing process behind the sequel and his approach to working with child-actors. In addition, Smith »
- Tommy Cook
Blu-ray Release Date: Oct. 14, 2014
Price: Blu-ray $29.95
Studio: Twilight Time
Beware the glob that is The Blob!
The new version of the movie follows the same general plot of the original: A deadly mucilaginous ( a Google thesaurus function word) creature from another planet (possibly…) makes its way to Earth, where it makes its way into a small town, envelops everything in its path and grows at a startling rate. A pair of teenagers (Entourage’s Kevin Dillon and the Saw franchise’s Shawnee Smith) try in vain to warn the townsfolk, who refuse to take them seriously.
Co-written by Frank Darabont in one of his earliest projects prior to The Shawshank Redemption and Walking Dead fame, the movie also stars Donovan Leitch, Jeffrey DeMunn (another Walking Deader), Bill Moseley, »
Bill Hader has come a long way since his stint on Saturday Night Live, creating many popular characters and impersonations such as Stefon, Vincent Price and CNN’s Jack Cafferty. He is one of the highlights in such films as Adventureland, Knocked Up, Superbad and Pineapple Express, and so it is easy to see why author Mike Sacks interviewed him for his new book Poking A Dead Frog. In it, Hader talks about his career and he also lists 200 essential movies every comedy writer should see. Xo Jane recently published the list for those of us who haven’t had a chance to read the book yet. There are a ton of great recommendations and plenty I haven’t yet seen, but sadly my favourite comedy of all time isn’t mentioned. That would be Some Like It Hot. Still, it really is a great list with a mix of old and new. »
Now you don't have to be a comedy writer to appreciate great comedic filmmaking, but "Saturday Night Live" veteran Bill Hader has an impressive list of 200 Essential Movies Every Comedy Writer Should See. Thankfully, this is also just a great list of comedies that any cinephile with a penchant for good comedy should check out. The list comes from Mike Sacks' book Poking A Dead Frog: Conversations With Today’s Top Comedy Writers, which sounds like a great read for anyone with more than a passing interest in the art of comedy. But we know you came here for the movie list, so keep reading for the goods. Read on! Bill Hader's (alphabetical) 200 Essential Movies Every Comedy Writer Should See from Xo Jane: 1. 9 to 5 (1980) 2. 1941 (1979) 3. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) 4. Ace in the Hole (1951) 5. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) 6. After Hours (1985) 7. Airplane! (1980) 8. Amarcord (1973) 9. American Graffiti (1973) 10. An American in Paris »
- Ethan Anderton
(Cbr) If you’re excited for Josh Trank’s "Star Wars" spinoff, there’s someone you should thank: Simon Kinberg. Kinberg and Trank are collaborators on Fox’s upcoming "Fantastic Four" reboot. Furthermore, Kinberg is part of Lucasfilm’s "Star Wars" brain trust, helping to write some of the films, as well as the "Star Wars Rebels" animated series. Speaking with Slash Film, Kinberg revealed that he was the one who connected Trank and Lucasfilm. “I spoke very highly of Josh to the Lucasfilm guys. They were interested in him because he, like Rian [Johnson, director of "Episode VIII"] and like Gareth [Edwards, director of a 2016 spin-off], is very much that next generation filmmaker,” Kinberg said. “He comes from a background of making a big movie without a big budget. Which I think is also, not that these movies … they’ll have huge budgets, but the sort of the tradition that George [Lucas] started was somebody that came from making "American Graffiti »
- Josh Wigler, Comic Book Resources
Dana Delany loves talking movies! You can see her next in "Hand of God" on Amazon PrimeYou've read the Supporting Actress Smackdown of 1973. Now hear its companion Podcast
On this special episode of the podcast -- meant to enhance and extend the current Supporting Actress Smackdown conversation to include the films themselves -- Nathaniel welcomes two time Emmy winner Dana Delany (China Beach, Desperate Housewives, Body of Proof), as well as EW editor at large and "Five Came Back" author Mark Harris, "You Must Remember This" podcast goddess Karina Longworth, Bill Chambers from Film Freak Central, and Kyle Turner from The Movie Scene.
13:15 Summer Wishes »
- NATHANIEL R
Previously on "Introducing": Tatum, Sylvia & Madeline
It's just 3 days until the Supporting Actress Smackdown of 1973. Bless StinkyLulu for dreaming up this event years ago because it's still so fun. But first some unfinished introductions: how do Candy Clark and Linda Blair enter their movies. If you hadn't yet seen the movie would you be expecting an Oscar nomination from these first scenes? What do the scenes telegraph for first time viewing?
Sure do love you.
11½ minutes in. Meet "Regan" (Linda Blair in The Exorcist)
How fitting that she first appears in bed, since she'll spend the bulk of the movie in one albeit it under far more horrific circumstances than a good night's sleep. As the scene begins her mother Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) has heard noises in her Georgetown rental and checks on her daughter first. Sound asleep. But there's a telling pan left to the open window, »
- NATHANIEL R
To give the impending Smackdown some context we're looking at the year 1973. Here's Glenn on tickets sold...
1973 was like the end of a box-office era. While year-end charts weren’t suffocated with superheroes, CGI natural disasters, and dystopian visions of futuristic societies for a little while yet, but 1973 was as far as I can tell the last year to not have a single now-traditional effects-driven film in the top ten hits of the year. Just one year later in 1974 the end-of-year charts would include the one-two punch The Towering Inferno and Earthquake (plus Airport '75), and 1975 essentially ushered in the modern era of the blockbuster with Jaws and since then it's been a steady increase.
Here is what the top ten films of 1973 looked like.
01 The Sting $156m
02 The Exorcist $128m
03 American Graffiti $96.3m
04 Papillon $53.3
05 The Way We Were $45m
06 Magnum Force $39.7
07 Last Tango In Paris $36.1
08 Live And Let Die »
- Glenn Dunks
The Supporting Actress Smackdown of '73 arrives on July 31st, just over two weeks from now. You need to get your votes in too if you want to participate (instructions at the bottom of this post). If you've wandered in from elsewhere and are like, "What's a Smackdown?," here's how it started.
The Smackdown Panel for July
Without further ado let's meet our panel who will be discussing popular classics Paper Moon, The Exorcist, and American Graffiti as well as the more obscure title Summer Wishes Winter Dreams. All of the Supporting Actress nominees this Oscar vintage were first timers and so are our Smackdown panelists.
Dana Delany is an actress working on stage, screen, television and now internet. She was last seen starring in "Body of Proof" on ABC. In August you can rate and review the pilot "Hand of God" in which she co-stars with Ron Perlman on Amazon. »
- NATHANIEL R
To celebrate the man who created so many characters we all desperate wished we could be growing up – and honestly still kind of wish we could be – we take a celebratory look at Harrison's seven greatest roles.
#7. Dr. Richard Kimble – The Fugitive
Ford plays a man wrongly convicted of his wife's murder who – due to random circumstance – escapes from custody in a frantic effort to find the real killer and clear his name. All the while, he's hunted down by Us Marshall Tommy Lee Jones, which would be terrifying for anyone.
Best Quote: "When I came home, there was a man in my house. I fought with this man. He had a mechanical arm. You find this man. You find this man."
#6. Bob Falfa – American Graffiti »
I can't remember if I saw Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused when Universal unceremoniously dumped it into only 183 theaters on September 24, 1993, but seeing how it topped out at 191 theaters I have to assume I was among the masses that caught it on video shortly thereafter. No matter when I first saw it, I do remember when I fell in love with it. It was 1995, my freshman year in college and while I wasn't a teen of the '70s, it didn't take much to find a connection. My college roommate and I would damn near have this film playing on a loop, and while I can't speak for him, for me it hit home because while the film is centering on a junior high student's initiation into high school, I had a similar experience transitioning from high school to college. While many aspects of Dazed and Confused are teenage dreamworld scenarios, »
- Brad Brevet
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