20 items from 2014
Summer movie season is a magic time of year when Hollywood traditionally rolls out its most appealing merchandise. It’s true that some summer movie seasons are better than others. This is our ranking of all the summer movie seasons since 1980 from worst to best.
On January 20th, 1975, Steven Spielberg and Universal Studios released Jaws. The movie landscape would be forever changed from that date. Jaws is widely credited as being the first blockbuster film because it was the first movie to make over $100 million (non-adjusted). The fact that the film had a meager $8 million budget meant that it was a huge cash cow for the studio and rocketed Spielberg to the the forefront of a new generation of filmmakers for a new era of movie mass-consumption. George Lucas and Spielberg followed up in 1977 with Star Wars, which became a sensational and very profitable hit. It helped to convince production »
- email@example.com (G.S. Perno)
[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.] Show: "The Whispers" (ABC - Midseason) The Pitch: "Scary Kids Are Scary." Quick Response: A couple people who watched this one early indicated that "The Whispers" was really scary. It's not. At all. It fulfills the mandate that preternaturally mature and solemn children are creepy. No question about that. Particular credit to Abby Ryder Fortson, who expertly plays the creepiest of several creepy kids in the pilot. But this is too much of a slow-burn to actually be scary in the slightest. It's a bit like BBC America's "Intruders" in that respect. But really, it's a lot like a lot of things you've seen before and it's like so many of those things that nothing feels fresh enough to be shocking. There's a lot of "Invasion" and "V" in the DNA here. And because it comes courtesy of Amblin TV, it's impossible not to think of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind »
- Daniel Fienberg
M. Night Shyamalan delivered some solid cinema with (arguably) his first three films, and quickly turned into a joke afterwards. Lady In The Water underperformed, The Happening was one of the most unintentionally funny films I've ever seen, and then there's the crown jewel; The Last Airbender. While I was excited for Shyamalan to work on something he hadn't written, the end result was his biggest transgression thus far. However, it seems that the director was not completely to blame. Someone »
- Sean Wist
We know. Mark Wahlberg playing an inventor in the new Transformers movie feels … off, at least at first glance, and maybe even at second and third glance. As our own David Edelstein put it so well, “I’m sure there are people less suited to being cast as an egghead than Wahlberg, with his swollen pecs and biceps and streetwise Boston diction. Let me think … don’t rush me … Sylvester Stallone? Justin Bieber?” (Apparently, Michael Bay never saw The Happening, which attempted to sell us on the notion of Mark Wahlberg, high-school science teacher.) At the same time, though, don’t let Wahlberg’s odd miscasting in the occasional blockbuster trick you into believing that the man has no range. He does. A physically gifted star who also happens to have one of the most expressive brows of any actor working today, Wahlberg has explored quite a wide variety of »
- Bilge Ebiri
So maybe we all can just agree to disagree about Transformers. The critical establishment collectively agreed to give Michael Bay the benefit of the doubt with 2011′s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which earned semi-decent reviews mainly because it was less obnoxiously worse than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. But Trans4mers led that same critical establishment into hilarious paroxysms of scathing invective. (EW’s own Chris Nashawaty called it “numbing, exhausting, and migraine-inducing.”) Predictably, the movie made $100 million over the weekend.
Bad movies have made a lot of money since forever. There’s a generation of young-dude moviegoers who »
- Darren Franich
Mark Wahlberg has many talents: Acting, producing, rapping and, of course, staring. Blankly. And looking very confused. Wahlberg never leaves home without his signature stare, which will almost certainly find its way into his latest movie, “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” so TheWrap wanted to honor the actor's greatest flashes of concern, confusion and bewilderment with a 60-second tribute (above) to his furrowed brow. See photos: The Evolution of Mark Wahlberg: From Calvin Klein Pants Dropper to Mega Box-Office Topper Watch as Wahlberg wonder's what's happening in “The Happening,” and pretty much every other movie he's ever been in. Also »
- Michael Rich
A government agent who appears without warning in a small, sleepy woodsy town in the middle of nowhere that’s hiding much more than it seems? A town that’s full of weirdos — both the harmless and the probably insane? And all of the action seems to take place around him hanging out in the local diner getting his next batch of information? It sounds familiar because it’s Twin Peaks. But Wayward Pines, a new show from executive producer M. Night Shyamalan, is certainly trying its damndest to convince us that it’s something completely different. Adapted from “Pines,” the novel by Blake Crouch, the series will arrive on Fox in 2015 to hopefully cleanse the taste of After Earth. And The Last Airbender. And The Happening. And Lady in the Water. And from our mouths as Shyamalan’s assurance that he can still produce something legitimately creepy and bizarre. Is »
- Samantha Wilson
A new slasher movie is on it's way from Caliber Media and Revek Entertainment. 'Some Kind of Hate' is the bringing together of revenge and the supernatural as a bullied kid summons a spirit to deal with his tormentors. It's good to see writer/director Adam Egypt Mortimer trying something a little bit different with the genre but it does sound like a familiar amalgamation of past horror features that have already treaded similar ground - such as Brit horror 'Tormented' amongst others. But still our hopes are high. 'Some Kind of Hate' stars Ronen Rubinstein, the gorgeous Grace Phipps ('Fright Night'), Sierra McCormick, Michael Polish, Noah Segan ('Looper'), Spencer Breslin ('The Happening'), Maestro Harrell ('Suburgatory'), Jasper Polish ('The Astronaut Farmer'), Jeremy Hawkins, Brando Eaton and the sexy Lexi Atkins -below ('Zombeavers'). »
• Will Ferrell (The Lego Movie) will play a guy who works in insurance and finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy to steal England’s Crown Jewels in The Yank. No director has been attached to the film, written by Steve Pink (High Fidelity) and John Morris (Hot Tub Time Machine). [Deadline]
• Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) is the 10,000th person rumored for a role in Star Wars: Episode VII. Per usual, no character was revealed but with principal photography approaching at light speed, it seems like we might be soon getting a look at the new population of that far, »
- Jake Perlman
Around these parts we love a good slasher movie. The only problem is finding a good slasher movie. Will the killer in the recently announced Some Kind of Hate be able to bring the right kind of disturbing to the old chopping block? Read on for details.
The flick centers on a tightly wound kid who is a favorite target for the local high school bullies. He is sent away to a remote reform school, where the teen accidentally summons a vengeful spirit -- herself a victim of bullying -- to exact retribution on his tormentors.
- Steve Barton
In the post-Lady in the Water era, it’s tough to remember how bonkers people once went for The Sixth Sense. But a mere millennium ago, M. Night Shyamalan’s atmospheric thriller was the toast of audiences and critics alike — a box office smash, a cultural touchstone, a freakin’ Best Picture nominee. Not only at the MTV Movie Awards, but also at the Oscars!
How did a simple, potentially gimmicky ghost story capture our hearts and minds so fully? Easy: because despite the shadow hindsight casts upon it, The Sixth Sense is a great movie. Its brief 107-minute run »
- Hillary Busis
A couple of new posters have landed online for Transformers: Age Of Extinction and Into The Storm. We'll start with the new poster for Michael Bay's latest robot flick, featuring Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz running away from a massive spacecraft. Photoshop the alien ship out, and the poster would look almost just like that scene from The Happening where Marky Mark is trying to escape from the deadly wind. "There's a uh, big machine in the »
- Jesse Giroux
After a promising early career, director M. Night Shyamalan’s reputation has taken a hit in recent years after he released a trio of duds: The Happening, The Last Airbender and After Earth. The latter two also represent the biggest budgets that Shyamalan has ever handled as director, and despite each scraping by with a profit at the box office it’s unlikely that we’ll see sequels any time soon.
Instead, Shyamalan has turned his attention to a low-budget thriller called Sundowning, which he has been filming in Philadelphia for the past few weeks. Shyamalan also wrote the script and is co-producing alongside Ashwin ...
- H. Shaw-Williams
M. Night Shyamalan is a historic filmmaker. He is, at once, the man that pulled off perhaps the biggest cinematic trick of modern times with The Sixth Sense, while also being the man that managed to make the first real Will Smith box office failure, After Earth. Neither of these things are easy to achieve, but Shyamalan boasts both those feathers in his cap. While fans of his tremendous early work have been patiently waiting, he has yet to deliver a movie of sufficient high quality to de-odorise the stench of his 2008 film, The Happening. M. Night Shyamalan – and his audience – needs his groove back, and that’s exactly what we’re all hoping for with his new horror film, Sundowning.
Unsurprisingly, for a movie written and directed by the master of the epic film twist, plot details are closely guarded. The title gives us a clue, however, as it »
- Sarah Myles
M. Night Shyamalan never really left the horror/thriller genre since leaving it behind to films like The Last Airbender and After Earth. After The Happening, he produced Devil and he had intended to shepherd more horror films, but they never took off. He's been at work on a new thriller (possibly straight-forward horror) called Sundowning and, today, we're learning a bit about the cast.
- Ryan Turek
Glamour! Elegance! The sweet smell of self-congratulation! None will be present at the 34th annual Razzie Awards, a proudly low-budget event dedicated to dishonoring the previous year’s worst movies. (Actually, make that “no-budget”; have you seen the Razzies’ website? It looks like a Geocities page from 1996.)
There are several strong contenders in this year’s Razzies race, from father-and-son team Will and Jaden Smith to perennial “winner” Adam Sandler and Golden Raspberry Award Foundation favorite Sylvester Stallone, who snagged a record-breaking 31st nomination for his work in three 2013 films. (Note: It is not hard to become a member of the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. »
- Hillary Busis
Cue the loud, simultaneous groans of Shyamalan haters across the globe, similar to the cries of laughter that rang out once Mark Wahlberg discovered the evil menace plaguing The Happening. Yes, the news is true – M. Night Shyamalan has been directing a secret microbudget horror film right under our noses, as today the director teased Twitter followers with a production picture to prove his newest project. Of course, someone could have uncovered this news weeks ago and just didn’t care enough to report it, but hey, it’s a new movie by M. Night Shyamalama-ding-dong – there has to be some kind of, um, excitement?
Titled Sundowning, sites are beginning to speculate that M. Night’s most recent film will be a vampire thriller of sorts, but after some Sherlock Holmes detective work (Google), I uncovered the true meaning of yet another strange title by the mysterious director. As per the interwebs, »
- Matt Donato
The past decade hasn’t been too kind to filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, who broke out back in 1999 with psychological thriller The Sixth Sense and has been on a pretty consistent downward spiral since then. Unbreakable and Signs aside, Shyamalan has turned out some pretty awful movies. Moviegoers really didn’t take to the “the trees are attacking” twist in his horror-thriller The Happening, Nickelodeon viewers certainly have him on their hit-list after the horrific, can’t-look-away train-wreck that was The Last Airbender, and his latest film, After Earth, just earned the director six Razzie nominations, including ones for Worst Picture, Worst Director and Worst Screenplay. And so, going back to a simpler time for his next project likely sounds pretty good to Shyamalan right now.
- Isaac Feldberg
The fun of writing film columns is when an article generates a discussion about a movie and you come out the other side with a completely different perspective from when you started.
Like all comic book adaptations, the recent speculation about who will play Doctor Strange got the internet discussions a stirring. I had some thoughts on the subject and thought I'd take a moment to analyze some of the more unique actor/director pairings that have stemmed from a series of discussions on a number of popular online websites before revealing my one and final choice for the role of Dr. Stephen Strange.
Directed by Ridley Scott
Never in an thousand years would this pairing have crossed my mind. It's inspired, and certainly out of left field (something I always appreciate). Ridley Scott has »
- Gary Collinson
In his latest twist, writer/director M. Night Shyamalan – a man once touted as “the new Spielberg” – is working on a television mini-series titled Wayward Pines. Although critics and audiences panned his newest films (After Earth, The Last Airbender), the small screen offers Shyamalan a chance to retrieve some artistic credibility. For those already weary of the show’s quality, the Sixth Sense director is only helming the pilot episode of the 10-episode Fox mini-series (his main job is as the executive producer), and he did not write the episode’s screenplay, so you can rest easy.
Entertainment Weekly got an early look at the thriller starring Matt Dillon, Melissa Leo, Terrence Howard and Juliette Lewis, and in an interview with the magazine, Shyamalan revealed a passion to try something new and move to television.
”Everyone’s been telling me that I’d like the way the medium is going, »
- Jordan Adler
20 items from 2014
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