ENJOY THE SHOW
"We have no control of time. Except, of course, you're a filmmaker." There's an excellent new video essay made by Julian Palmer to check out, this one all about the use of slow motion. The video examines the slow motion work in films ranging from Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries (1957) to many of Scorsese's films including Mean Streets (1973) and Taxi Driver (1976) to recent films like Zack Snyder's Watchmen (2009), Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker (2008), Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive (2011) and Pete Travis' Dredd (2012), which had a crazy cool slo-mo storyline. Of course there's the scene in The Matrix, because it's so iconic. There's plenty to admire and plenty to learn in this video essay on slow motion, so check it out.
"This is a rebellion, isn't it? I rebel." Who would have thought that line, spoken by actress Felicity Jones' character Jyn Erso in the Rogue One teaser trailer, would have such great significance for the actual film itself? According to several unconfirmed sources, Rogue One might've rebelled a tad too much. That's the story that has been sweeping the internet this week with major rumors that the first film in the Star Wars Anthology series, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, will undergo significant reshoots after initial internal test screenings at Disney apparently failed to impress senior executives. Let's examine why I think that might not bode well for the spin-off and why the film should rebel against the famous Star Wars formula.
"Is film criticism still relevant?" That is a question I have been hearing a lot lately. Conversely, I think the more important question is, "Is film criticism relevant to you?" In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that I don't consider myself to be a film critic. I don't have a journalism degree. However, I don't hate film criticism. As a matter of fact, some of my favorite writers are critics. I grew up reading the reviews of Roger Ebert, Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott. When I was younger, I wanted to grow up and become a critic. As an adult, it feels like that dream has changed and the significance of film criticism isn't quite what it was. As of late, I have noticed a strange disparity among casual moviegoers and online film criticism when it comes to some major films this past year. This isn't some new trend that only started in 2016 (see this article or this one); it is something I believe has been happening for some time. If the rocky relationship between critics and audiences is a marriage, I think it's safe to say some audiences have filed for divorce.
I'll never forget seeing movies the summer of 2000. I was 11 years old and I was impatiently awaiting this one summer blockbuster that honestly looked unlike anything I had seen before. I remember seeing adverts for the movie in Circuit City. Does anyone remember the original teaser trailer for the film? The tagline teased "Change is coming". I don't think anyone had any idea what that could possibly mean sixteen years later. While Blade and the success of that film made a huge impact just two years earlier, Bryan Singer's X-Men and its sequel X2: X-Men United arguably jump-started and helped define the entire superhero genre as we know it. Let's take a look at how the genre has changed and evolved nearly two decades later.
I'm back again in the South of France for the Cannes Film Festival, and it feels so good. I had to skip last year as I just couldn't afford to make the trip, and I really missed it. So I told myself I'd be back again this year, and here I am. There's just something about this place, a magic in the Mediterranean air that is almost tangible. There's so much history here, but right now I'm here, I'm a part of it. When I was mirroring Roger Ebert's book a few years ago (see "Two Weeks in the South of France" posts from 2014) there is a section where he talks about going out to Francis Ford Coppola's boat after the Apocalypse Now premiere. That's the kind of history that hangs over this festival, but it's actually inspiring and exciting, not overwhelming.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? "You have operated with unlimited power and no supervision. That's something the world can no longer tolerate." Now in theaters is Marvel Studios' latest, Captain America: Civil War, directed by the Russo Brothers. This time they pit hero against hero, as the Avengers universe begins to go crazy as two sides are formed. On one side you have Captain America, Bucky, Falcon, Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye; on the other side there's Iron Man, Black Widow, War Machine, The Vision, Black Panther and yeah maybe Spidey. So how did this one turn out? Is it really one of their best yet? Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your own thoughts on Marvel's Captain America: Civil War.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America and Iron Man are currently at odds, fighting tooth and nail for their own respective ideologies. However, in the playing field that is the superhero genre, some are arguing that superhero movies are starting to become a tad predictable, their routine less super. They are familiar with Cap's shield and Iron Man's armor with some saying they just don't have the gleam they used to have. Marvel's greatest heroes might be facing a new battle altogether: fatigue. This isn't a battle just facing Marvel, but all superheroes alike. While Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, DC's own answer to that debate, might have proved a bit more polarizing than originally intended, Marvel's Captain America: Civil War proves that superheroes still have a bit more fight to them – and here's why.
On March 6th in 2009, Zack Snyder's Watchmen opened in theaters. The movie ended up being a modest success – earning nearly $200 million worldwide on a $130 million budget, with 65% on Rotten Tomatoes – but it would later develop more of a cult following on home video, with a "Director's Cut" and eventually an "Ultimate Cut" with a run-time of 215 minutes. Watchmen was released a year after Marvel Studios' Iron Man and several years before The Avengers and the big boom of superhero movies as we know it. As the film celebrates the 7th anniversary of its release, let's take a look back at how Watchmen paved the way for Snyder's upcoming Batman v Superman movie, and perhaps the entire DC Extended Universe itself.
The 88th Academy Awards are upon us and it's time to watch the show and discover the winners of the most prestigious award in Hollywood. The Oscar ceremony is being broadcast live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood with the esteemed Chris Rock as our host of the show this year. With eight worthy Best Picture nominees, it should be exciting to find out which one is the big winner. It has been a very interesting year - no one knows for sure what will win, it could be anyone. Will Mad Max reign supreme or will Iñárritu top again? It's finally time to find out who is taking home an Oscar, and who isn't, at the Academy Awards. The full list below will be updated with winners marked once announced live tonight - refresh for updates.
Read on for a complete list of #Oscars2016 nominees & winners. Let us know what you think of the results!
This will be updated throughout the night to reflect the winners as revealed. Additionally, I might be adding a small bit of editorial commentary beneath each category. Winners are highlighted in BOLD below.
Finally, the truth comes out. No, 10 Cloverfield Lane is not a Cloverfield sequel. In fact, it has nothing to do with Cloverfield (the original 2008 monster movie), producer J.J. Abrams finally admits: "This movie is very purposefully not called Cloverfield 2, because it's not Cloverfield 2." However, what he's getting at here is the "bigger picture" concept behind why Cloverfield is in the title and what they're going for: "there is a bigger idea at play for us with these movies and this connection." Essentially, movies made by Bad Robot that end up with "Cloverfield" in the title or synopsis are part of a series of "monster movies" that deal with a big sci-fi threat - not specifically the same monster. Abrams finally cleared the air about what to expect.
The box office totals are in. The reviews have been read and audiences have spoken with a mouth as loud as a merc - Tim Miller's Deadpool is a huge success, and not just financially or even critically. It has been universally well received, which is a tremendous accomplishment for a third tier superhero character that (according to 20th Century Fox) had minimal mainstream appeal that languished in development hell for years. It was the vulgar, graphic and unadulterated version of Thomas the Tank Engine, the little irreverent train that could. However, with the success of Deadpool, major movie studios everywhere might not take the best lessons from the film's astronomical success – as James Gunn illustrated so brilliantly last weekend. So let's take a look at what Hollywood can glean from the outrageous success of the Merc with a Mouth.
Leave the real world behind. Even though it's barely a week into February, I'm impressed by the amount of high quality marketing material we've seen this year so far. While I must acknowledge that the marketing for Deadpool has been brilliant across the board, and this new poster for Allegiant is worth pointing out, the best poster art released this year so far is for Ben Wheatley's High-Rise. The film already premiered last year and played at a few festivals (read Jeremy's review or Amanda's review) but has yet to be given a US release date, even though it opens in the UK in a few months. These posters are promoting the UK release, which is perhaps the explanation behind why they're so unique. View both High-Rise posters in full below.