12 items from 2011
Billed in the Upper East Side world of “Gossip Girl” as the most enticing book to document the lives of New Yorkers since Tom Wolfe’s 1987 “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” it’s no secret that Dan Humphrey’s “Inside” is based on his friends. It’s also the most recent novel to arise from a fictional character in a television show.
Heading down the literary road of authorship and »
- Alexandra Cheney
Melancholia begins with a wedding and ends with a funeral. Actually, the new film from Danish provocateur Lars von Trier ends with the apocalypse – a funeral for everyone, as a vast planet rears up on the near horizon, lighting up the lawn and setting the birds chattering. Watching the movie at this year's Cannes film festival, Kirsten Dunst was surprised to find herself giggling, as if this was some sort of happy ending. "That's one thing you can say for the end of the world," she says. "It solves a lot of problems."
We're drinking coffee in the basement of a London hotel, with embroidered snowflakes on the wallpaper and an Indian summer raging outside. The actor is attired as though »
- Xan Brooks
Hollywood loves stories of failure almost more than it loves success. The tales of flops such as Heaven's Gate, Ishtar and The Bonfire of the Vanities have spawned endless conversations, magazine articles and no few books. But the story of a flop is often distilled down into over-simplified factoids and circumstances. In the broad public view, all most people tend to know is that a movie was over-ambitious or poorly conceived, and that it tanked, possibly taking companies and careers with it. One of the legendary flops is Renny Harlin's Cutthroat Island, a 1995 pirate film that starred his then-wife Geena Davis and actor Matthew Modine. The film cost almost a hundred million to make, and raked in only about one-tenth that amount. Stories have flown that the movie's failure was responsible for the demise of production company Carolco. That company previously made Basic Instinct, Cliffhanger, Terminator 2, and other successful films, »
- Russ Fischer
The best of your comments on the latest films and music
When Bands Attack Bands sounds like such a natural TV show for the outer edges of the cableverse that it's a miracle no one has yet made it. If any programmers are reading, might I suggest you take a look at the thread beneath Bob Stanley's article last week, in which he mulled over musicians rowing over who owns the band's name. Honestly, you'll find enough material for a whole series.
An award for conspicuous devotion to duty in the face of multiple groups all claiming to be the real thing (not the Real Thing) goes to Kalyr: "There are currently two Wishbone Ashes and two Barclay James Harvests on the live circuit, each with one surviving original member. Having seen all four live, I would say the better live bands are versions that aren't the legal owners »
- Michael Hann
Hollywood's classic murders, stalkings and deceptions would never have been possible had today's technology been around. Joe Queenan rewrites the script for the digital age
In the harrowing film 127 Hours, an outdoorsy type played by James Franco finds himself trapped in a mountain ravine with his arm wedged beneath a boulder. A few years from now, with Google Earth tracking everybody everywhere, the Franco character wouldn't have much of a problem; after he's gone missing for a day or so his friends or family would simply contact his cell phone provider, and they would instantaneously track his phone to the ravine and dispatch a search party to rescue him from his predicament. All he would need to do is sit tight, ration his water supply, and hope the rats and rattlers don't get him first.
But because 127 Hours is set in an era where a person without mobile phone service »
- Joe Queenan
If you are to believe the hype, Men in Black III is a dead man walking, disaster in production. Its The Bonfire of the Vanities for the Aughts generation. But seriously, after the ending of the hour and eleven minutes long Men In Black II, in which they fail to even attempt to explain what happened, or where Johnny Knoxville disappeared off too, how bad could this be? The pictures from the set look fun, even if Will Smith's face looks locked in agony. And poor Josh Brolin is experiencing the same "no script" problems that he faced on the Howard the Duck of the Tens, Jonah Hex. New set photos have arrives from Queens, New York, which show Will Smith and Josh Brolin interacting with two Doctor Who-like future pods. Should they pull the plug and get out while they still can? Or do you want to see Men in Black III? »
Not every movie can be a hit, and some blockbusters offer far more than their big budget and failure to dominate the box office might suggest. Here's our look at ten fascinating failures...
There are blockbuster movies that fail for good reason. Jonah Hex, Town & Country, Catwoman - they deserved their fate, really. In fact, there are films that made bucketloads of cash that didn't deserve their success, too. You can probably name a few of them quite easily.
But what we're interested in here are the blockbuster movies that struggled to make an impact, yet have something about them that makes them worthy of discussion many, many years later. Some of the films we're about to discuss are outright box office flops. Some simply didn't meet commercial expectations. All of them, to some degree, disappointed the studios that backed them.
Some of these aren't, all in honesty, particularly good. »
A banished Norse god! Apocalyptic vampires! A vigilant yeg! A cute scene-stealing Capuchin monkey! Mutant teenagers! A bunch of drunk and horny bridesmaids! Big Foot! A Green Ring! Pirates, Zombies, and Mermaids! Karate kicking zoo animals! A couple of forest dwelling trolls! And one smokin' hot teacher! That's what awaits us at the Cineplex over the course of May and June, and it promises to be a scorcher!
It doesn't really matter how fast and furious things get on the big screen, the summer movie season doesn't officially kick off until May 6th. And this year Thor opens things with a lighting bolt blast of Marvel excitement. It doesn't come to an end until August 31st, when Sam Worthington sends us all back to school with The Debt. Between then and now, we will see some of the biggest movies of the year hit hard. Some will win, some will lose, »
When he was asked to be guest director for a festival dedicated to films based on books, Jonathan Coe set out to disprove the adage that great literature makes terrible movies
In the course of their famous book-length interview, François Truffaut once asked Alfred Hitchcock about his approach to literary adaptation, and Hitch's response was as magisterial, worldly and mischievous as one would expect: "What I do is to read a story only once, and if I like the basic idea, I just forget all about the book and start to create cinema. Today I would be unable to tell you the story of Daphne du Maurier's The Birds. I read it only once, and very quickly at that."
Hitchcock's comment was the first thing that occurred to me when, towards the end of last year, I was approached with an interesting proposition. "From Page to Screen" is the »
Trevor Hogg profiles the career of legendary American filmmaker Martin Scorsese in the fourth of a five part feature... read parts one, two and three.
“The first newspaper article Nick Pileggi showed me was about the police covering a domestic fight on a Las Vegas lawn one Sunday morning,” explained American filmmaker Martin Scorsese regarding the origins of Casino (1995). “In the article it slowly began to unravel, this incredible ten-year adventure that all these people were having, culminating in this husband and wife arguing on their lawn, with her smashing his car, the police arriving, and the FBI taking pictures.” Pileggi served as the co-screenwriter for the cinematic adaptation of his book about Sam “Ace” Rothstein (Robert De Niro), a top gambling handicapper, who is sent by the Mob to manage the day-to-day operations of a Las Vegas casino. “The Tangiers is fictional but there were four – the Stardust, the Fremont, »
Debutant director Jc Chandor attempts to inject a little humanity into Hollywood's latest Wall Street crash thriller
A not-unentertaining excavation of the recent stock market crash on Wall Street, as seen from the point of view of an investment bank that sees which way the wind is blowing and decides to trigger the whole meltdown. "It's not called panic if you're first out the door," as one character crisply observes.
Margin Call is constructed like a thriller but is one that plays out on an abstract, technical level – there's no drama of cover-up or corruption here.
A junior risk-management bod (Zachary Quinto) figures out that the firm is overexposed and may go belly up; cue a shuffling upwards of responsibility as ever more august company men try to get their heads around the situation. It is only when the most senior of all, Tuld – played by Jeremy Irons as a »
- Andrew Pulver
"Did you enjoy it?"
That's the question I asked Kevin Smith, back when I had the pleasure of interviewing him back in October 2009. I was referring to him directing the film that became known as Cop Out (but was then still known as A Couple Of Dicks), a picture that saw him work with a full-on movie star for the first time. Thing is about his answer, and it had been a terrific, flowing conversation, was that he paused for just a short moment before his answer.
"You know, when all was said and done, I did," he replied.
There's no reason to disbelieve that, but it'd also clearly been a production with some quite pronounced challenges. And now, we might just »
12 items from 2011
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