17 items from 2014
The movie equivalent of a mean girls’ game whose only goal is the humiliation of its protagonist, for your entertainment. Also: a failed parable of the twistedness of the 1 percent. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
So I was at this party one time in high school, and a bunch of mean girls thought they could trick me into embarrassing myself. The game was: I put a blanket over my head, and then I had to hand them stuff that was on my person until I hit on the one secret item that they had it in their heads that they wanted me to give them. I can’t remember what the first thing I gave them was — something innocuous, like my watch or a shoe, neither of which was the secret thing, of course. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
How great is it that we live in an age where the adorable young girl from Ghost World and The Horse Whisperer has matured into this confident, credible ass-beater? It didn.t happen overnight. Scarlett Johansson has been taking names for years now. But we.ve gotten to the point where seeing her doing her best Jason Bourne impersonation in a Luc Besson thriller isn.t shocking. It.s invigorating. The above trailer, shared via The Playlist, is for Besson.s upcoming Lucy, a hard-hitting thriller that carries this amazing logline: A drug mule accidentally swallows her cargo and finds she now has superpowers." Uh, yeah. Sign me up for that movie. Especially since, after detours into more serious genre fare with The Family and The Lady, Lucy looks like a return to action for Besson to his days filming features like La Femme Nikita and Leon: The Professional. And »
This upcoming month, there are two interesting genre titles playing on Fearnet that you should take note of; 'Eden Lake' and 'Dahmer.' Why? Because they both represent early movies for actors that have proved to be outstanding performers in the arts long before they honed their craft. In the case of 'Eden Lake,' the film is fronted by Michael Fassbender, long before he played Magneto in the 'X-Men' films, stole the show in Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds' & played the android David from 'Prometheus' with such cold, calculated perfection. Also, you can catch 'Dahmer,' the bio pic from director David Jacobson, which stars Jeremy Renner in one of his first cinematic lead roles. Now he's an Avenger in the Marvel Universe! So it got me thinking about other examples of successful stars you may have totally forgotten were in genre films. »
- Rob Galluzzo
Comic book movies are often seen as the domain of spandex-clad demigods who battle moustache-twirling villains, but if 300 and Sin City - which both originated on the pages of Frank Miller works - are anything to go by they're not essential to telling a great story.
With sequels to 300 and Sin City incoming, we take a look at 8 great examples of comic book-inspired films with no superheroes in sight.
Sin City (2005)
Co-directed by comic creator Miller and digital filmmaking pioneer Robert Rodriguez, this adaptation stayed faithful to the source material, with the filmmakers shooting actors on green screen and rendering the locations - almost exactly how they appeared on the page - in post-production.
Ghost World (2001)
Long before he was jousting with Shia Labeouf, comics »
The Bag Man is a taut crime thriller that follows the story of Jack (John Cusack), a tough guy with chronic bad luck. Hired by legendary crime boss Dragna (Robert De Niro) to complete a simple but unusual task, the plot centers on Jack and a host of shady characters that have been summoned to a remote location for unknown reasons. Over the course of a long and violently eventful night awaiting this crime boss's arrival, Jack crosses paths with Rivka (Rebecca Da Costa), a stunningly beautiful woman whose life becomes physically and emotionally entangled with his own. When Dragna finally arrives on the scene there are sudden and extreme consequences for all.
Appearing in the film is one of our personal favorite actors, Crispin Glover. He plays the innkeeper at this mysterious location where a number of unsavory characters have gathered. The actor has been suspiciously absent from the »
In this directorial debut from E.L. Katz, Healy plays a freshly fired family man named Craig who, together with an old acquaintance portrayed by Ethan Embry, is convinced to undertake ever crazier challenges for money by a rich couple (David Koechner and Sara Paxton). We don’t want to say too much more but we can confirm that Healy’s character undergoes all manner of mental and physical trials, including getting a »
- Clark Collis
Trevor Hogg chats with Ales Kot about comics and the creation of Edward Zero...
“What is an artist?” asks Ales Kot. “If anything done sufficiently well is art, then I certainly come from a family of artists. My mother was a social worker and became an interior designer; her mother worked at the post office most of her life and her father worked as a steel worker, an army specialist, and a truck driver. My father worked as a miner, then sold steel and then built up a soccer club; his father worked on a high position in a steel factory and taught physics and mathematics while his mother worked in a store selling food most of her life. Thankfully, I was always encouraged to read and write and think on my own, at least by certain members of the family.” Kot believes, “Any merger of visuals and text is comics. »
Despite two remarkable new films, attention has shifted away from the actress's luminous career to her political beliefs as she becomes embroiled in a controversy over the boycott of Israeli goods
It is usually the case that studios, agents and distributors will co-ordinate release dates to capitalise on a star's popularity, but it is rare that an A-list actress will be headlining two remarkable new films and an international political controversy all at the same time. That's not your run-of-the-mill Hollywood career, but then Scarlett Johansson is no common-or-garden star.
The nature of her latest movies tells you as much. In Her, which has just opened in the UK, she plays Samantha, a computer operating system that evolves in response to the user's needs and personality. She is as present as any of her flesh-and-blood co-stars despite appearing in voice only. Her is complimented by Under the Skin, in which »
- Ryan Gilbey
Douglas Wolk“My grandmother was an incredible painter, and my father sculpted on the weekends for many years and recently took it up again,” states Douglas Wolk who is a Portland, Oregon-based author and critic. “Sadly, I didn't inherit their aptitude for visual art.” Comic books were initially a childhood fascination. “I started reading them in earnest when I was 9, although I'd probably read a bunch before that and never stopped.” Blockbuster success at the box office has had an impact on the comic book industry. “I've certainly seen a lot of comics in the past 10 years or so that are clearly movie or TV pitches, which tends to make for mediocre-at-best comics. I've heard that some comics publishers tend to reserve at least some chunk of other-media rights even for ostensibly creator-owned work. »
Trevor Hogg chats with Chris Dingess about his fateful encounter with the world of comic books...
“One of my brothers used to paint as a hobby, but that’s about it,” states Chris Dingess when discussing whether or not he comes from an artist family. “However, my parents took in and became guardians to this kid who went to high school with my brother; he had a talent for drawing and painting, and was great at copying comics and mimicking different artists. I was already into comics before he moved into the house, but he really kicked my interest up to the next level. Plus he was way into Conan and Frazetta artwork and got me into that stuff.” The love for comics started early on in life for Dingess who grew up in Accokeek, Maryland. “My folks owned a small market in my town. I’d go there, sit in the back room, »
Feature James Hunt 30 Jan 2014 - 06:25
Comic book movies are solid blockbuster fare now, but there are plenty of adaptations that didn't get the love they deserved...
You might argue that fans of comic book adaptations have had a pretty good decade or so. Between The Avengers movies, the Dark Knight trilogy, and multiple Spider-Man and X-Men films, some of the biggest-grossing action movies of all time have been based on comics. Not bad when you consider that only recently, the medium was considered the preserve of dateless man-children alone.
But here's the thing: not every comic book adaptation lends itself to being a summer tentpole CGI-fest, and just as many get overlooked or forgotten completely by the time the next one comes out. Comic adaptations are coming out thick and fast, and with so much forward momentum it's sometimes worth taking a moment to look back on what's come before. »
Cult movie director Crispin Glover has released the first three images promoting his latest directorial effort, which as of this writing remains nameless. All three images can be viewed in the gallery below.
In addition, Glover will be previewing 10 minutes from the film in Chicago, Illinois on January 31 at the Music Box Theater at a screening of his second directorial effort, It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine.
This latest movie will complete Glover’s “It” trilogy of films that began with What Is It?, which was completed around 2005. The film will also mark the first time that Crispin has ever acted on-screen with his father Bruce Glover, an actor who has appeared in diverse films such as Chinatown, Diamonds Are Forever and Ghost World.
Crispin is notoriously protective of the films he has directed, choosing to show them publicly only at screenings at which he can make a personal appearance. »
- Mike Everleth
Hollywood has never been kind to its young. It is an industry that famously venerates youth and, infamously, has casually destroyed so many young people, used them up then discarded them, that to list them all would fill this entire article. The film business loves to look at young people, but has less than zero interest in looking after them. Some are destroyed over a long period, such as Judy Garland, some barely have time to draw breath, such as River Phoenix. And then are the other less sensational but no less instructive stories of the young people whose hopes were raised by the industry, but find themselves whimsically discarded.
At the start of this century, Thora Birch was one of Hollywood's most credible young actors. »
- Hadley Freeman
After months of waiting and speculating, the long hiatus is finally over: "The Vampire Diaries" 100th episode airs on Thursday (Jan. 23).
The milestone episode is practically bursting with huge reveals, shocking twists, Omg moments and heartbreakingly nostalgic throwbacks, making it one of the best episodes of the series so far. It may not be a perfect episode, but with all the moments packed in for the fans, it comes pretty close.
After watching the episode, "500 Years of Solitude," we got to thinking ... if we had to pick our Top 10 favorite episodes of The CW's supernatural drama, which ones would make the list?
It was a tough undertaking, but we finally culled down our list of favorites to 10 (in chronological order of when they aired):
Season 1 episode 6 - "Lost Girls"
Every new series suffers through some growing pains as it finds its footing, and this was the episode that really »
It doesn’t seem like that long ago when Shia Labeouf was on a fast track to be the next big male movie star. After emerging from the Disney Channel series Even Stevens to become a likeable screen presence on the Project Greenlight TV reality series about the making of the pic The Battle Of Shaker Heights, Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg chose Labeouf to star in the original Transformers films. He did Disturbia, Oliver Stone’s Wall Street sequel and Spielberg made him heir apparent in the Indiana Jones franchise. I’d read his early interviews in Playboy and other outlets and while Labeouf was refreshingly honest, you could see he had some rough edges, anger and maybe a self-destructive streak. I always give slack for any child star trying to transition to adulthood, because the landscape is littered with casualties. But Labeouf’s latest episodes, coupled with an »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
Not enough has been said about the title of Spike Jonze’s “Her” — not its e.e.-cutesy tendency not to capitalize (which fits right in line with the film’s benign hipster aesthetic), but rather, the choice of a female pronoun to describe the object of Joaquin Phoenix’s affections in the film.
Meanwhile, much has been said about said object: Samantha, a self-aware, rapidly evolving computer operating system fashioned in the image of Siri — the love-or-hate, hard-of-hearing personal assistant that pops up whenever you accidentally punch the iPhone home button — or those coolly elegant female Gps personalities who threaten the male tendency to reject directions with their yard-by-yard updates on when and where to turn. I don’t know about you, but my experience with both has brought nothing but frustration (I dare you to ask Siri about “Her”).
In its own hypothetical, ever-so-slightly-sci-fi way, “Her” appears to be asking the question, »
- Peter Debruge
“I am sorry Daniel Clowes,” read a message in the Los Angeles sky on New Year’s day that was apparently commissioned by Shia Labeouf, who posted a photo of the writing on his @thecampaignbook Twitter feed.
The actor has been tweeting for several days to express his remorse for closely copying the comic “Justin M. Damiano,” by graphic novelist Daniel Clowes, in his short film “Howard Cantour.” “Ghost World” author Clowes lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
The skywriting was visible across several parts of Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon, including Hollywood, Glendale and Studio City. A company called Worldwide Sky Ads tweeted that their team the Skywriters was responsible for the message.
Mr. Clowes, I can only ask that you view my apology as a stepping stone toward repairing this misunderstanding between us. I'm sorry.—
Shia Labeouf (@thecampaignbook) December 31, 2013
On New Year’s Eve, La Beouf tweeted that »
- Variety Staff
17 items from 2014
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