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Ahead of American Ultra’s release in UK cinemas, we look at the rise of the stoner in film, from the 30s to the present...
"The motion picture you are about to witness may startle you. It would not have been possible, otherwise, to sufficiently emphasize the frightful toll of the new drug menace which is destroying the youth of America in alarmingly increasing numbers. Marihuana is that drug - a violent narcotic - an unspeakable scourge - the Real Public Enemy Number One!
So reads the opening crawl to the now infamous film Reefer Madness. Originally released in 1936, it was designed as a hard-hitting expose of marijuana and its inherent dangers. The drug could cause "violent, uncontrollable laughter," the movie's introduction read. It could induce "dangerous hallucinations," "monstrous extravagances," all eventually leading to "shocking acts of physical violence... ending often in incurable insanity."
Reefer Madness was one of many »
Chicago – Actor Sam Eliott will make you smile. The distinctive voice, his famous mustache and his character presence in a film or TV show increases any potential in the production. He recently was in Chicago with director Paul Weitz, as they teamed up in the film “Grandma,” starring the incomparable Lily Tomlin.
“Grandma” has a very unique premise. Tomlin is the title character of Elle, who is visited by her granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner). The girl is seeking an abortion, and her feminist poet grandmother seems like the right fellow traveler on her way to the procedure. Sam Elliott portrays Karl, Elle’s ex-husband – she left him for a same sex partner – who harbors a resentment toward circumstances in their relationship. The two meet along the way to the clinic, and the resentment boils to the surface.
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Classics
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
“American Ultra” is this August’s attempt to reel in audiences still hungry for that last bit of relentless, momentous summer action and thirsty for an original story. It succeeds moderately well at delivering both. The film follows lost soul/American slacker yute Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg). A kind, but broken burnout who spends his days manning the register at a Cash ‘n’ Carry convenience store, getting high in the empty parking lot, and sketching out the various adventures of his unrealized comic creation “Apollo Ape.” His nights pass with his beloved Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) in their not quite rundown, but “lived in” stoner love shack. Mike is crippled by paralyzing panic attacks whenever he attempts to travel and is convinced that he’s hobbling Phoebe’s full potential. She does, in fact, seem all but saintly, initially. Phoebe functions as what one character describes as Mike’s “girlfriend, mother, »
- Roth Cornet
So we’re finally in the last stretch of Summer, the slow march to reach the (hopefully) cooler temps just past Labor Day. And along with those Fall breezes will come the more, somber award-worthy films. But there’s still time for a bit of mayhem to squeeze into those final August days. And mayhem seems to be the main purpose of this new release hitting the multiplex. Its main character is on a mission (not for a microchip or some, such macguffin, but to survive along with his gal) and many assassins are mowed down along with even more property damage (they blow up good). But unlike Ethan Hunt or Mad Max, he’s not aware of his “particular set of skills” at the movie’s beginning. Like Clark Kent, is he meek and “mild-mannered”? Well, more like meek and “mellow”, thanks to some tasty herbs. And he’s »
- Jim Batts
There's a new stoner comedy in town.
"American Ultra" (in theaters August 21) stars Kristen Stewart as Phoebe and Jesse Eisenberg as Mike, an unmotivated stoner/sleeper agent whose secret agent skills come to life when he's thrown into a dangerous government operation.
We're not accusing you of anything, (paranoid much?), but something tells us you'd enjoy this stoner tale, and perhaps a few other stoner-friendly films from movie history. Out of the goodness of our hearts we put together a list of movies suitable to watch with a little herbal refreshment. From the classic ("Friday," "The Big Lebowski") to the bizarre, ("Hell Comes to Frogtown," "Heavy Metal") we've got you covered.
Break out the Bagel Bites, get comfy, and click through this list of the best movies to watch while expanding your mind. And a word of caution to any stoners reading this while on the clock: Most of these videos are Nsfw. »
- Alexis Taylor
Shortly following the turn of the millennium came a transitional moment in Hollywood humour. Comedies featuring adolescents and comedies featuring adults had never been a rare sight, but following the Farrelly brothers’ There’s Something About Mary (1998), the maturation of the American Pie (1999) series, and particularly with the rise of the Frat Pack (a term coined in a Variety review of Old School (2003)), it became increasingly popular to combine the two, and to blur the line dividing maturity and immaturity that is supposed to magically appear during the progression into adulthood.
Suddenly, it was common to see films reversing the coming-of-age narrative of many teen comedies, continuing the natural progression of slacker films such as Clerks (1994), and intensifying the feckless nature of adults from examples such as The Big Lebowski (1998) and Office Space (1999). The Frat Pack were at the forefront of that change, and their movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) was its harbinger, »
- Liam Ball
John Flood #1
Written by Justin Jordan
Illustrated by Jorge Coelho
Colours by Tamra Bonvillain
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Published by Boom! Studios
John Flood is another entry in the supernatural detective genre that focuses less on the odd factor and more on its characters in this introductory issue. The premise and exposition is handled quickly within the very first page. John Flood is a detective that was once an employee for the government, or “someone”, as he puts it. These employers found a way to remove the need for sleep that has caused Flood to be in a perpetual in-between state where the real world and dream reality blends together. This unique way of seeing causes Flood to question the validity of many of the things he views and experiences. There is a brief point of view frame showing Flood’s perspective from the inside of a police interrogation room, »
- Anthony Spataro
Jennifer Lawrence isn't going to let a little case of nothing-to-wear get in her way. The actress stepped out for a live reading of The Big Lebowski on July 24 (ah, the nostalgia) sporting an easy, striped Ulla Johnson shirt-dress from the brand's spring 2014 collection that's cleverly cinched at the waist—and we can't blame her for the outfit repeat. Lawrence first wore the look, which virtually epitomizes her effortless style motif, to a Good Morning America appearance in November 2014. She resurfaced the dress for the Lebowski-centric event (held in Montreal, Canada), where she palled around with actors Michael Fassbender (dressed fittingly as "The Dude") and Olivia »
With production on X-Men: Apocalypse still going strong in Montreal, director Bryan Singer has shared yet another photo through his Instagram account, showcasing one of the massive practical sets. The filmmaker is seen being dwarfed by an Egyptian statue. But he wouldn't offer any details about the set itself or how it fits into the X-Men: Apocalypse story. He did say on his social media account that, "This takes me back to #raidersofthelostark #notallgreenscreen #xmen #xmenapocalypse."
This photo comes just a few days after Bryan Singer posted a photo with Sir Patrick Stewart on the set, which fueled speculation that he would return in a cameo role as Charles Xavier. The actor wasn't seen in costume, but he was watching footage with the director and another filmmaker, Jason Reitman, who was putting together a live read of The Big Lebowski at Montreal's Just For Laughs Comedy Festival. It was never »
X-Men: Apocalypse has been billed as a new direction for the series without any appearance by 20th Century Fox's original cast - but if so, what was Sir Patrick Stewart doing on the set of Bryan Singer's next film?
The director posted an image of himself sitting with the Professor Xavier actor and filmmaker Jason Reitman on Instagram.
Trying to look intensely thoughtful, @sirpatstew and #jasonreitman visiting #xmen #apocalypse #xmenapocalypse set and reminiscing about our own #daysoffuturepast. Looking forward to "jasonreitmanlivereading tonight of #biglebowski with #michaelfassbender as "The Dude!"
A photo posted by Bryan Singer (@bryanjaysinger) on Jul 24, 2015 at 11:17am Pdt
Stewart is apparently in town to host a gala at the Just for Laughs comedy festival, but a cameo surely isn't beyond the realms of possibility.
"The enjoyment of a work of art, the acceptance of an irresistible illusion, constituting, to my sense, our highest experience of "luxury," the luxury is not greatest, by my consequent measure, when the work asks for as little attention as possible. It is greatest, it is delightfully, divinely great, when we feel the surface, like the thick ice of the skater's pond, bear without cracking the strongest pressure we throw on it. The sound of the crack one may recognise, but never surely to call it a luxury." —Henry James, from The Preface to The Wings of the Dove (1909) "[The critic’s] choice of best salami is a picture backed by studio build-up, agreement amongst his colleagues, a layout in Life mag (which makes it officially reasonable for an American award), and a list of ingredients that anyone’s unsophisticated aunt in Oakland can spot as comprising a distinguished film. This prize picture, »
- Greg Gerke
So you've probably heard that "X-Men: Apocalypse" stars Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Olivia Munn and friends did a Live Read of "The Big Lebowski" on Friday night during the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal. But have you actually heard any of it? The photos online are great, but the audio really ties the room together.
Thankfully, someone posted a portion of the event online -- you can't see a blessed thing, but you can hear the portion of the reading right after Olivia Munn, who was meant to voice Tara Reid's Bunny, steps on Jennifer Lawrence's lines. Apparently Olivia's script was highlighted with the Maude lines, even though that's the part Jennifer was meant to read on stage. (It was Julianne Moore's role in the movie.) In this 6-minute video, you can hear Jennifer mock-complain, "I've been waiting for three hours to get to my part, and now it's happening, »
- Gina Carbone
Michael Fassbender is truly dedicated to his craft. On Friday night, during the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, Fassbender took up the shaggy mantle of the Dude, portrayed by Jeff Bridges in the Coen brothers’ classic The Big Lebowski, as part of Jason Reitman’s live script-reading series. To get into character, Fassbender donned a pair of roughed-up shorts and a slouchy sweater and toked three J. Law–rolled cigarettes — the kind that may or may not have been packed with the Devil's lettuce — during the read. “I think Fassbender went a little too Method on this one,” said Patton Oswalt, who played John Goodman’s bombastic Vietnam vet Walter. “I hope TMZ isn’t here.” Because Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse is filming in Montreal, Fassbender and co-star Jennifer Lawrence were tapped for Reitman’s live-read. Lawrence portrayed Julianne Moore’s Maude. Dennis Quaid played the wheelchair-bound Lebowski, »
- Greg Cwik
Yes, Patrick Stewart is confirmed to have arrived on the Montreal set of X-Men: Apocalypse this weekend. But don't get too excited. It doesn't look like he'll be appearing as Charles Xavier (aka Professor X) in any capacity. Instead, it simply looks like he is visiting his old director Bryan Singer. And it sounds like the pair are joining director Jason Reitman for one of his legendary live script reads. No, it's not a rendition of 2000's X-Men. The trio will be enjoying a live reading of the Coen Brothers' classic The Big Lebowski.
Back in January, Patrick Stewart confirmed that neither he nor Ian McKellen would be reprising their roles as Professor X and Magneto in X-Men: Apocalypse. The entirety of the film takes place in 1983, the same weekend Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi opened in theaters. There is no reason for the older versions »
While Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender are in Montreal shooting “X-Men: Apocalypse,” the duo shed their mutant skin for a different collaboration on Friday night. The stars participated in a pop-up of director Jason Reitman’s Live Read series. Normally held in Los Angeles, the “Up In the Air” helmer staged the Coen Brothers classic “The Big Lebowski.” Fassbender played Jeff Bridges’ iconic part of The Dude, complete with a tattered bathrobe, while Lawrence took on Julianne Moore’s Maude. Their “X-Men” costar Olivia Munn joined in (recreating Tara Reid’s Bunny) as did Patton Oswalt, T.J. Miller, “Silicon Valley” creator Mike Judge and. »
- Matt Donnelly
Michael Fassbender put his magnetic superpowers aside Friday night to play stoner icon “the Dude” in a reading of “The Big Lebowski” in Montreal, but it was Patton Oswalt’s performance as Walter Sobchak (the role originated by John Goodman) that stole the show.
Organized by the Just for Laughs comedy festival, the sold-out Live Read — at which a cast of nine read the Coen brothers’ cult-favorite screenplay for an audience of 1,300 — took clever advantage of the fact that “X-Men: Apocalypse” is shooting in the same city where North America’s biggest comedy festival is headquartered. As such, the fest managed to lure X-women Jennifer Lawrence (who performed Julianne Moore’s Maude) and Olivia Munn (stepping in as Tara Reid’s Bunny) to join Oswalt and a handful of “Silicon Valley” players — T.J. Miller as Brandt, Martin Starr as Jesus and showrunner Mike Judge doing a dead-on Sam Elliott as »
- Peter Debruge
I have a confession — “The Big Lebowski” isn’t my favorite Coen Brothers movie. In fact, if I had to make a list of my top five films from the directors, it wouldn’t make the cut. That’s not to say the picture isn’t uniquely entertaining and laugh out loud hilarious, but I’d argue “The Big Lebowski” is one of the more unshapely films from the Coens. While I get the structure and pace is made to move at The Dude’s ambling speed, I find the film just a touch too long, with a few too many detours, and not all of them are worth taking. These criticisms about the stoner flick were underscored by Jason Reitman’s Live Read of the script at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal last night. However, the event also made crystal clear the genius of the Coens script, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Way back in January, people were already asking Patrick Stewart is there were plans to revise his role as the older and wiser incarnation of Professor Xavier in “X-Men Apocalypse.” And by people, I mean Larry King. During an interview with King, Stewart demurred on the topic: [I]t is going to be looking very much at the earlier lives of all our characters. [S]o I don’t think we’ll (Stewart and Magneto actor Ian McKellen) be making an appearance. That seemed to be that. “Apocalypse” would focus on the younger mutants set up by the “Days of Future Past” universe, leaving Stewart and McKellen to ride off into the Bff Shakespearean sunset together. But then This happened: A photo posted by Bryan Singer (@bryanjaysinger) on Jul 24, 2015 at 11:17am Pdt Oh sure Bryan Singer says Sir Patrick Stewart just stopped by the set to reminisce about his previous X-Men »
- Donna Dickens
First off, let's make one thing clear. We're not scratching our heads at Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing" making the BBC's 100 greatest American films. That movie, of which an image accompanies this post, not only made the list, but ranked appropriately at no. 25. It's the rest of the selections that have us scratching and, yes, shaking our heads in disbelief. A wonderful page view driver, these sorts of lists make great fodder for passionate movie fans no matter what their age or part of the world they hail from. There is nothing more entertaining than watching two critics from opposite ends of the globe try to debate whether "The Dark Knight" should have been nominated for best picture or make a list like this. Even in this age of short form content where Vines, Shapchats and Instagram videos have captured viewers attention, movies will continue to inspire because »
- Gregory Ellwood
Last week Rob Zombie unveiled a still of Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs wielding a chainsaw in the upcoming film 31. Today, Zombie revealed another photo from 31, this time giving fans the first look at Lew Temple as Psycho-Head.
Zombie revealed the new 31 image via Facebook:
"Here's your first look at Lew Temple as Psycho-head from my next film 31!
Psycho-Head is a real mean piece of shit best described in his own words... "count yourself lucky you got fucked by the best!""
In April, Zombie's 31 was acquired for North American distribution by Alchemy. No release date has been revealed at this time, but we'll keep Daily Dead readers updated on Zombie's latest movie.
"Welcome to my next film. It is called 31. It is the story of five random people kidnapped on the five days leading up to Halloween and held hostage in a place called Murder World. While trapped inside this man-made Hell they »
- Derek Anderson
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