18 items from 2014
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
Even before you consider Rupert Wyatt's hit 2011 blockbuster Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its successor Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Franklin J Schaffner's 1968 adventure had spawned four sequels, an animated cartoon series, a live-action TV show, a deluge of marketing (bubblegum cards, plastic models, etc.) and Tim Burton's 2001 remake. And yet nobody wanted to touch Planet of the Apes when producer Arthur P Jacobs first touted it around Hollywood in the mid-'60s.
Adapted from Pierre Boulle's novel La Planète Des Singes, Jacobs saw it as the perfect follow-up to the animal magic movie he currently had in production, Doctor Dolittle. Approaching studios with a script by Rod Serling, the creator of The Twilight Zone, and concept images honed by no fewer than seven artists, Jacobs's passion project was nonetheless ridiculed: actors in monkey suits was the stuff of B-movies and cheap TV serials. »
Metropolis (entire movie, above), the 1927 silent film directed by Fritz Lang, is regarded as one of the most important and influential films of all time. The world’s first epic science fiction movie, it continues to serve as inspiration for countless films, and forced humanity to look critically at it’s increasingly complex relationship to industrial and technological growth. In cinematic terms, evidence of its influence can be seen everywhere from to Soylent Green to Snowpiercer.
Aesthetically, it's influence is still present in popular culture, with contemporary artists like Guy Maddin and Tim Burton liberally borrowing stylistic elements from Metropolis is also a film that contains serious cultural and political messages. For example, the dystopian society it portrays was direct commentary on the possible result of the industrial revolution. Metropolis has also proved itself to be prophetic, as many of the themes it explored almost a century ago are as relevant, »
- Brandon Engel
The Planet of The Apes movies occupy a curious netherworld of critical opinion. With each film, the budget was sawn in half, leading to a successive pattern of diminishing returns that led to a cheapening of its esteem. The spin-off TV show was quickly cancelled, further dulling the lustre and few people even remember the animated series that finally put the Apes to bed until a rude awakening in 2001.
However, for all their child-pleasing capers (the family-friendly G rating was a mandatory stipulation from the studios), the Apes movies deftly juggled important themes and arguments about slavery, free-will, nuclear war, vivisection, racism and oppression, and man’s innate capacity for cruelty. In pure storytelling terms, the circuitous plot links the first five movies (and the prequel Rise of The Planet of The Apes) into a pleasing, if relentlessly pessimistic, self-perpetuating full-circle.
Enormous box office successes in their early stages, they »
- Cai Ross
In film, we tend to focus on the underdogs and their struggles, but what about the big guys up at the top who make it so good to be bad? The largest, most evil corporations in film don’t give a damn about the little guys; they don’t really care about anything at all except money power, and staying successful no matter what it takes — or how many feet they need to trample. It’s time to celebrate that by featuring the best of the worst. Here are the most evil corporations in movies. 7. Weyland-Yutani Corporation - Alien series Known simply as “the Company” in the first Alien installment, the good ‘ol guys down at Weyland-Yutani hadn’t revealed themselves to be the worst bosses in the world yet. Ellen Ripley and crew were under the impression that you know, checking out an alien signal on a foreign planet while they repaired their ship would be »
- Samantha Wilson
Virtuoso devisers of works of science fiction envision a reality that is both fantastical and palpable. They mold metaphoric manifestations of the coming times that are inevitable considering the current carryings-on of their fellow man.
Nowadays, none of these visions are utopian. Dystopian nightmares are plaguing our literary works and cinemas, reflecting the inoperativeness besetting our governmental institutions, the greed swathing our unassailable international corporations, and the zealous indifference of our neighbors.
But has it ever been any different? Metropolis (1926), The Time Machine (1960), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Soylent Green (1973), Blade Runner (1982) and Dark City (1998) all were forerunners of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and even the Transformer series.
Now the Korean auteur Bong Joon Ho, who's never perused humanity through rose-colored glasses (e.g. The Host (2006); Mother (2009)), has adapted the French graphic novel, Le Transperceneige, and the result is gleefully entertaining and conceptually refreshing.
In the year 2014, the world's leaders, to combat »
- Brandon Judell
What true geek doesn't love a great science fiction film? Ever since I saw E.T. in the movie theater as a kid I was hooked on sci-fi. Over the years I've gone back and watched a ton of older films before my time, and continue to enjoy the awesomeness of this genre. Vimeo user 60fotogramas created a fantastic supercut that pays homage to the best sci-fi movies ever made. He calls it "Sci-Fi: Since 1902," and says:
This is a montage of some of the best science fiction films ever made. A total of 62 films ordered by release year, from 1902 to the present. Thanks for watching, enjoy.
I've included a list of all the movies in the video below:
1902- Voyage dans la lune
1929- Fraud in Mond
1933-The invisible Man
1936-The Devil Doll
1953- The War of the worlds »
- Joey Paur
A dystopian future is a well-worn setting for many science fiction films, simply because there’s a tremendous amount of potential to be explored. It’s a way to warn audiences about the ramifications of our current behavior, and what a slippery slope the progression of human history can be. You don’t normally see too many utopian futures in science fiction films — we’re too cynical for that. There’s something intrinsically frightening about the future, that we can’t help but be drawn to the type of films that depict the worst possible future for humanity.
But despite the potential government interference and/or alien overlords, it’s only natural that some dystopian futures would be better or worse than others for the average person. In some, maybe if you’re a big hero of the rebellion your life might be a little difficult, but the »
- Audrey Fox
Writer: Sadayuki Mirai
Director: Kobun Shizuno
Release date: April 2014 (Japan)
Production Company: Polygon Pictures
Creator: Tsutomu Nihei
During a viewing of the first five episodes of Knights Of Sidonia, one of my friends exclaimed, “It’s like Attack On Titan… in space!” Which, for all its simplicity, is not an untrue statement: both boast a broad, futuristic, fantastical setting, mysterious monsters that seem to want to annihilate humanity, and young people who must step up to the plate and acquire skills to defeat them. What’s interesting is that Tsutomu Nihei, creator of the manga Sidonia is based on, has been at the game much longer than many of his peers (including Titan creator Hajime Isayama, who listed Nihei as a mangaka he “admires”), and Nihei is an expert at science fiction world-building—as evidenced in his previous series Biomega and Blame!. So, although the surface structure of Sidonia is »
- Holly Interlandi
Pop culture is home to some of the greatest conspiracy theories of our time. What’s Soylent Green really made of? Who is the Manchurian Candidate? What is Shield up to? What happened in the X-Files again? What was that film Conspiracy Theory about? Potent though the adventures of Mulder and Scully and the films of Alan J Pakula were, though, they’re nothing compared to the tangled webs and shady powers-that-be that exist in the real world – and are controlling us through using the very pop culture we enjoy.
That’s what a bunch of wackos on the internet believe, anyway. The advent of the internet has been like the invention of the printing press for conspiracy theorists, only instead of Johannes Gutenberg allowing literacy, philosophy and religion to spread with ease, Tim Berners-Lee has instead made it simpler for people to make a website full of animated gifs, »
- Tom Baker
One of the most irritating things in life has to be hearing a spoiler about a movie or TV show. Even just finding out there's a twist in a film can be the worst, just ask Roy Trenneman.
Bearing that in mind, you may want to avoid the following video, which collects some of cinema's most iconic movie endings, including The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects. To be fair, if you haven't seen or at least heard about these endings by now, you've only got yourself to blame. If you're unsure whether to click play, a full list of films is also below.
Films featured: Citizen Kane, Fight Club, Primal Fear, Signs, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chinatown, The Empire Strikes Back, Psycho (1960), Carrie (1976), Scream, The Sixth Sense, The Departed, The Shawshank Redemption, The Crying Game, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Planet of the Apes (1968), Planet of the Apes (2001), The Mist, »
Welcome to the third and concluding portion of the long interview I did with Dan Harmon a couple of weeks ago in Los Angeles. In part 1, Harmon discussed the initial process of his return to “Community” and the beginning and end of his feud with Chevy Chase. In part 2, he talked about some of the specific goals of “Community” season 5 and the non-impossibility of a season 6 (and a movie). In part 3, our focus mostly shifts away from “Community” to deal with Harmon’s other show of the moment, the Adult Swim animated sci-fi comedy “Rick and Morty,” a kind of dark, twisted spin on the Doc Brown/Marty McFly relationship from “Back to the Future,” only where Rick is an alcoholic sociopath and Morty is the learning disabled grandson he takes horrific advantage of. (I reviewed it earlier this year.) We talk at times about the differences and similarities between the two shows, »
- Alan Sepinwall
Feature James Clayton 14 Mar 2014 - 06:37
In The Zero Theorem, Christoph Waltz plays Qohen Leth - a hairless and reclusive computer programmer who lives in his pyjamas in a cavernous ancient cathedral in a dystopian future. This sounds a bit like a midlife crisis. In fact it is a whole life crisis and, for Qohen, that existential despair isn't just a pastime - it's his job. The main protagonists search for the meaning of life forms the narrative core of Terry Gilliam's new film.
Anyone who's ever searched for the meaning of life will be able to tell you that it's a terrible, soul-destroying business unless it's turned into a Monty Python movie. It's therefore a huge relief to know that Gilliam is handling this headspinning sci-fi feature. The quest for »
File this one under "casual cannibalism," kids, as we have just come one step closer to Soylent Green as meat maker Bite Labs has found a way to combine celebrity tissue samples and animal products to create some fine salamis. Yep, didn't think I'd be writing about this today. Or even this year.
From the Bite Labs website:
"We start with top-quality ingredients and time-honored recipes for the creation of fine cured meats. We mix celebrity and animal meats, grown inhouse through a proprietary culturing process, into curated salami blends. Starting with biopsied myoblast cells, we grow our healthy, rich meats in Bite Labs’ own bioreactors. Our process yields high-quality, luxury protein, in a sustainable manner that eliminates the environmental and ethical concerns associated with traditional livestock production.”
Yep... we're all doomed. Enjoy the ride while it lasts. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go check if they have »
- Uncle Creepy
We return with another edition of the Indie Spotlight, highlighting recent independent horror news sent our way. Today’s feature includes an exclusive clip from the film, The Case of Mary Ford, first details on The Three starring Lew Temple from The Walking Dead, a new candle line from Horror Decor, a review of The Poisoning and The Returned, a Q&A with artist Naisa Gomez, and much more:
Exclusive Clip from The Case of Mary Ford: “Greece, 1910. Maria (Tamar Karabetyan) is a young Greek girl in a fishing village on the Black Sea. The village match maker betroths her to a young fisherman Adonis (Branko Tomovic), who is in partnership with the true object of Maria’s affection, Giorgos (Yannis Stankoglou). One stormy night Giorgos and Adonis’s boat capsizes and Adonis is lost at sea. With no source of income Giorgos sets of for America promising Maria he will return for her. »
- Tamika Jones
If you're anything like us, then you have watched the gooey 1985 Larry Cohen classic The Stuff and wondered to yourselves... "Hmmm. I wonder what that tastes or smell like." Now Horror Decor is ready to answer at least one of those questions.
From the Press Release
We here at Horror Decor are very excited to announce the release of a new scented candle line! We neglected our candle line in 2013 so we wanted to give it some special attention by doing what we did for our pillows: infuse them with some of our favorite horror flicks!
How exactly did we do that? Not only is there a visual representation with glossy full color labels, but the scents themselves have been directly inspired by the films we love so much. We are kicking off the new line with five options:
The Stuff - A sweet scent reminiscent of ice cream that will get you saying, »
- Uncle Creepy
Though primarily known for their pillows, Horror Decor also specializes in unique home decor of all kinds, including clocks, lampshades, placemats and pot holders. They've also got a line of horrific candles, ranging from the grotesque urine sample candle to the macabre bloody eyeball candle. Next week, they're launching a brand new line of scented candles, which are set to bring delightful horror movie-inspired scents into your home.
Five candles comprise the new line, ranging from the marshmallow-scented Ghostbusters candle to the Street Trash-inspired Tenafly Viper candle, which fittingly releases an intoxicating scent of booze. Also included in the line are candles inspired by The Shining, The Stuff and Soylent Green, with the latter one coming equipped with a unique beef jerky scent. Soylent Green is people, after all.
The candles are available for pre-order on February 24th, and you can learn more about each individual one over on Horror Decor! »
- John Squires
If you thought the future of law enforcement was PC Plod on a hoverjet or Dixon Of Soylent Green - and, in fairness, you probably didn't - think again. It's the man / 'bot hybrid making his psychologically painful transition from Alex Murphy into RoboCop in this new clip from the movie. brightcove.createExperiences(); RoboCop (and his human alter ego) is played by Joel Kinnaman, with Abbie Cornish playing his wife, Clara Murphy, and Gary Oldman is Dr. Dennett Norton, the brainiac behind his technologically advanced super-lawman. Frank Sinatra plays himself. The new-look RoboCop finds us in the year 2028, with multinational conglomerate OmniCorp (look out for Michael Keaton as CEO Raymond Sellar in the movie's trailer) at the centre of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years, and it’s meant billions for OmniCorp’s bottom line. Now OmniCorp wants to bring their controversial technology to the home front, »
18 items from 2014
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