11 items from 2015
Think back to the science fiction cinema of the 1990s, and some of the decade's biggest box-office hits will immediately spring to mind: The Phantom Menace, Jurassic Park, Independence Day, Men In Black, Armageddon and Terminator 2 were all in the top 20 most lucrative films of the era.
But what about the sci-fi films of the 1990s that failed to make even close to the same cultural and financial impact of those big hitters? These are the films this list is devoted to - the flops, the straight-to-video releases, the low-budget and critically-derided. We've picked 50 live-action films that fit these criteria, and dug them up to see whether they're still worth watching in the 21st century.
So here's a mix of everything from hidden classics to forgettable dreck, »
It’s been a surprisingly interesting month of moving and shaking in terms of doc development. Just a month after making his first public funding pitch at Toronto’s Hot Docs Forum, legendary doc filmmaker Frederick Wiseman took to Kickstarter to help cover the remaining expenses for his 40th feature film In Jackson Heights (see the film’s first trailer below). Unrelentingly rigorous in his determination to capture the American institutional landscape on film, his latest continues down this thematic rabbit hole, taking on the immensely diverse New York City neighborhood of Jackson Heights as his latest subject. According to the Kickstarter page, Wiseman is currently editing the 120 hours of rushes he shot with hopes of having the film ready for a fall festival premiere (my guess would be Tiff, where both National Gallery and At Berkeley made their North American debut), though he’s currently quite a ways away from his $75,000 goal. »
- Jordan M. Smith
There’s a scene just before the third act climax in Michael Bay’s magnum opus Bad Boys II where Marcus and Mike are about to head out on a suicide mission, against strict orders, to rescue Marcus’s sister/Mike’s girlfriend Syd. Suddenly, some Swat members walk in and one says, “I don’t know you, but you look like you’re about to do something stupid.” The Swat members then help them on their ridiculous suicide mission.
My name is Dylan Moses Griffin. You don’t know me, but I’m about to do something stupid, and I’m hoping you’ll join me on this ridiculous suicide mission. I am here today to plead the case of Michael Bay as being great in his own totally unlikable way.
There’s hardly a director more disliked, it seems, than Michael Bay. It’s understandable, as the man »
- Dylan Griffin
Paramount Pictures has announced a release date and expanded title for director Michael Bay’s next film, which does not involve robots. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi will hit theaters on January 15, 2016, which is the same weekend that this year’s American Sniper went wide and subsequently became the highest grossing film of 2014 (it counts as a 2014 movie because it first opened in limited release on Christmas). It is currently unclear if Bay’s film will—gasp—get an Oscar-qualifying run in December, or if it’ll simply open everywhere in January. Regardless, it’ll be facing off against the comedy sequel Ride Along 2, the animation sequel The Nut Job 2 (this exists?!), and the Ya film The 5th Wave. As the subtitle suggests, 13 Hours tells the story of the six members of the security team that fought to defend the Americans stationed at the embassy in Benghazi when it came under attack. »
- Adam Chitwood
Like all superheroes (or anyone else who uses a secret identity), there came a moment when someone finally cracked the code and published my real name. To be fair, my identity was a pretty poorly-kept secret by that point. The first time I went to an actual press event, I used my real name, and anytime I met someone, I used my real name. "Moriarty" was a fun identity to slip into, and especially in the early days of the site, we played up the mythology of things. My friends all got their own spy names and would show up in the reports in the form of Henchman Mongo and Segue Zagnut and Harry Lime and more. From my end, it was silly and fun, and not something to be taken seriously. But when Film Threat ran a fairly vicious hit piece on Harry, I was also a target, and »
- Drew McWeeny
Somewhere, Optimus Prime is sighing in disappointment. Even as Paramount Pictures assembles a writer’s room teeming with Hollywood talent in order to come up with future Transformers installments for Michael Bay to direct, the helmer is lining up a separate sci-fi project for the studio. Bay, who’s currently shooting Benghazi drama 13 Hours, is attached to direct an adaptation of the upcoming Wesley Chu novel Time Salvager, with Transformers‘ Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian producing.
The plot takes place in a dystopian future where humans have left Earth to settle among the stars. It focuses on a convicted criminal fingered as a suitable candidate for non-disruptive time-travel missions designed to slow down humanity’s inevitable annihilation. Though he’s tasked with simply gathering resources and certainly not with stepping on any butterflies, the criminal discovers a scientist slated to die and saves her life. When they return to the future together, »
- Isaac Feldberg
While a writer’s room may be readying another Transformers sequel for Michael Bay to direct in the near future, the filmmaker is attaching himself to a different property altogether for sci-fi project of another sort. The Wrap reports that Bay is attached to helm an adaptation of the upcoming Wesley Chu novel Time Salvager for Paramount Pictures, with Bay’s Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian producing. The story takes place in a future where the humans have abandoned Earth and colonized the stars, and revolves around a convicted criminal who is identified as someone ideally suited for time-travel missions that could potentially delay humanity’s demise (hmm, sounds familiar). The character is sent into the past in order to recover resources without altering the timeline, but on his final mission he ends up rescuing a scientist doomed to die, thus changing the future and turning them both into fugitives. »
- Adam Chitwood
Well folks, after a rather long and brutal winter (at least for me here in Buffalo), we are finally heading into the wonderful warmth of summer, but with that blast of sunshine and steamy humidity comes the mid-year drought of major film fests. After the Sheffield Doc/Fest concludes on June 10th and AFI Docs wraps on June 21st, we likely won’t see any major influx in our charts until Locarno, Venice, Telluride and Tiff announce their line-ups in rapid succession. In the meantime, we can look forward to the intriguing onslaught of films making their debut in Sheffield, including Brian Hill’s intriguing examination of Sweden’s most notorious serial killer, The Confessions of Thomas Quick, and Sean McAllister’s film for which he himself was jailed in the process of making, A Syrian Love Story, the only two films world premiering in the festival’s main competition. »
- Jordan M. Smith
With The Hobbit trilogy now concluded and Peter Jackson having theoretically said goodbye to Middle-earth forever, Monaghan's post got us thinking about the rest of the Fellowship. Below, we take a look at all nine members of the Fellowship and what they're up to today.
Elijah Wood (Frodo)
After Frodo said his goodbyes and departed for the Undying Lands (don't pretend you're not tearing up at the mere memory), Elijah Wood veered away from blockbuster lead roles in favour of an eclectic mix of indie movies comprising the great (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), the good (Everything Is Illuminated) and the ugly (Green Street).
His most memorable post-Frodo role has to be mute, cannibalistic serial killer Kevin in Frank Miller's Sin City, »
It should come as no surprise that Cannes Film Festival will play host to Kent Jones’s doc on the touchstone of filmmaking interview tomes, Hitchcock/Truffaut (see photo above). The film has been floating near the top of this list since it was announced last year as in development, while Jones himself has a history with the festival, having co-written both Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy P. and Martin Scorsese’s My Voyage To Italy, both of which premiered in Cannes. The film is scheduled to screen as part of the Cannes Classics sidebar alongside the likes of Stig Björkman’s Ingrid Bergman, in Her Own Words, which will play as part of the festival’s tribute to the late starlet, and Gabriel Clarke and John McKenna’s Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans (see trailer below). As someone who grew up watching road races with my dad in Watkins Glen, »
- Jordan M. Smith
The man who has died on screen more than twenty times (around an astonishing one third of all his film credits) has had a career spanning a diverse selection of roles in vastly different worlds.
His unfortunate label of ‘spoiler on legs’ has slightly overshadowed the acclaimed roles Sean Bean has undertaken and he will forever be associated with some of the best on screen deaths of all time. Not the worst legacy to leave behind but it perhaps doesn’t do justice to his acting ability.
Hailing from Sheffield in Yorkshire, the son of a welder and a passionate supporter of Sheffield United football club, he is a true man’s man. His roles could tell you that much; Richard Sharpe made him a British heartthrob, while his performances as Odysseus and Zeus affirmed his ability to take on powerful, masculine roles.
However, his career certainly hasn’t been plain sailing. »
- Fred Humphries
11 items from 2015
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