Need a reason to watch American Horror Story? Want to relive its many warped highs and sordid lows? Baffled that it has an audience at all?

Wherever you stand on Ryan Murphy‘s dopey, perverse slice of camp horror bliss, here’s another chance to experience the staggering amount of insane plot turns its second season shamelessly exposed the world to in every episode.

In 60 seconds.

Watch the video after the jump. Read More »

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VIDEO: You Don’t Understand ‘Sucker Punch’

Editor’s Note: You likely know Adam Quigley thanks to his contributions to the /Filmcast, and for his occasionally argumentative stance on popular films. His most famously contrarian opinion may be the defense of Zack Snyder’s 2011 film Sucker Punch. So what better subject could there be for Adam’s first foray into breaking down a topic on video? We’ll have more video dissections from Adam in the future, but let’s begin with an examination of¬†Snyder’s movie — one that is occasionally as vitriolic as the film itself.¬†

You think Sucker Punch doesn’t have thematic substance. You think it doesn’t have character depth. You think it doesn’t have a single sensible thought in its pretty, dumb superficial body.

You’re wrong.

Find out why after the jump. Read More »

Some projects sound too good to be true. Lucky for us, we live in an age where they don’t have to be.

Of course, such optimism does little to counter the realities of the modern film industry model, which is currently taking its toll on Charlie Kaufman‘s sophomore directorial effort Frank or Francis (currently stuck in development limbo), just as it did At the Mountains of Madness before it, and hundreds of other please-let-this-happen endeavors that failed to scrounge up the financing necessary to be brought to fruition.

But what of more budget-conscious efforts? With marketing and director Guillermo del Toro‘s proposed $150 million price tag, At the Mountains of Madness was looking at a cost of well over $200 million. Comparatively, getting Charlie Kaufman‘s latest screenplay produced requires a paltry 200 grand investment. And thanks to Kickstarter, you can contribute however much or little as you deem appropriate in order to help make this dream project a reality. Read More »

For another perspective on Magic Mike, check out Angie’s review.

There is no need to see Magic Mike for its plot. The moment things start to spiral out of control, it becomes quickly apparent that you already know how this cautionary tale of glitz and glamour ends. Boy meets world. World enraptures boy. Boy loses himself to world.

But Boogie Nights this is not. This is a Steven Soderbergh film, which means it lacks the sort of seedy sensationalism that characterized that film’s porn underworld. Magic Mike is a more observational, subtle affair, joyfully capturing the narcissistic pleasure of flaunting your body to a room full of howling women and then softly exposing the limitations of that pleasure.

Read More »

Ranking the Best & Worst Pixar Movies

How is it that a movie studio that produces kid’s films can be responsible for so many of the best films in cinema?

Twenty years ago, that question would be directed at Disney. Now it’s more likely to refer to Pixar, Studio Ghibli, or even Dreamworks of late. What is it about children’s entertainment that has, time and time again, managed to capture the hearts and minds of adults as much as it has their offspring?

Perhaps it’s a result of these films rekindling our lost sense of childlike wonder and naively adventurous spirit. Perhaps it’s their universally accessible narrative simplicity, always ready to charm away our worries with the awe-inspiring visual splendor through which these tales are so often told.

Whatever the case may be, with thirteen films under their belt, the Pixar formula is one that’s proven itself to leave a lasting impression, transporting us to spectacular, gorgeously rendered and thoughtfully defined worlds — second only to the passionately heartfelt and funny stories of family and friendship embedded within.

What’s more, Pixar is able to achieve this mixture while emboldening children to think for themselves; to challenge the status quo; to recognize their true potential, as well as their limitations. As fun and charming and pretty as Pixar’s films are, it’s the complex ideas and emotions they explore that makes them truly special, affording youths the opportunity to confront the realities of the world around them in a way they can understand and cope with. While everyone else is content to pander to kids, Pixar knows that the best way to communicate with children is to treat them as equals.

But equality is not a trait shared by the current roster of Pixar films. Despite the technical virtuosity on full display with every production, it takes a lot more than stunning animation to make a film great, and that’s not a balance that Pixar always strikes — at least not recently. At one point it may have seemed like the studio could do no wrong, but that was a short-lived romantic notion, and hardly one that merits much deliberation. No, far more instructive would be to scrutinize their missteps in conjunction with their successes, and try to determine what exactly it is that makes any one of their works richer than the other. After all, what better way to understand what makes a story great than to study the best? Read More »

“Nothin’ But a Good Time” promises the tagline of Rock of Ages, referencing one of the two dozen or so classic ’80s rock songs its cast energetically deflates into innocuously pleasing sing-a-longs. It’s an admirably honest proclamation of the film’s limited aspirations, one which it fulfills with all the grace of a monkey hurling its own feces at the screen.

Credit where credit is due, Rock of Ages stops just shy of having literal monkey shit flung at its audience; although monkey sight gags are in fact a primary source of the film’s humor, should we choose to accept that the innumerable moments in which a trained monkey behaves contrary to that of an untrained monkey qualify as humor. Said hilarity includes but is not limited to: monkey wearing a dictator outfit, monkey throwing stuff, monkey not throwing stuff, monkey grinning, monkey screeching loudly, monkey having a silly name, monkey serving drinks, monkey not serving drinks, monkey doing other things that resemble what humans do, and homosexuality. That last one has nothing to do with any monkey related shenanigans, but apparently it’s just as noteworthy, as was evident from the fits of hysterical laughter that surrounded me when two male characters share an out-of-nowhere romantic musical number together — complete with obligatory make-out session. (A gay guy directed the film, so it’s okay to laugh!)

If all that, and Tom Cruise in assless chaps, sounds like a promising night of fun and laughs to you, Rock of Ages should prove more than serviceable. Granted, of course, that you’re also an advocate of the recent surge of jukebox musicals, none of which lend themselves very well to things like “story” and “character development”, but all of which feature songs you already know and enjoy and can sing the lyrics to, so who gives a fuck, right? Read More »

The reviews thus far:

This review contains mild spoilers. Major spoilers have been saved for the end, and cannot be seen unless highlighted.

There just has to be something meaningful under the surface. Right?

When the spectacle is this detailed and carefully composed, and the mythology this intriguing, and the caliber of the cast this impressive, how disappointing would it be to find out that Prometheus indulges mindless escapism no more rewarding than that of a Michael Bay film?

If only. I could forgive “disappointing”, so long as the mindless escapism on offer were willing to commit to the part (see: Aliens). But there’s a key difference between a silly sci-fi affair like Prometheus and that of the Transformers variety: Michael Bay knows exactly what he wants his films to be, and doesn’t insult viewers by pretending that they’re anything more. He doesn’t allude to a higher purpose when presenting his particular brand of sensory assault, and then refuse to pull back the curtain when it comes time to reveal what that higher purpose is.

Prometheus may seem like more sophisticated fare, with a promise of greater significance deeply entrenched in the oft-mentioned subject matter (i.e., uncovering the origin of human life), but the movie utterly fails at tying its ideas and its monstrous happenings together. Despite feigning interest in probing life’s most pertinent mysteries, the film has nothing to say. It asks — literally asks, aloud — weighty questions without any interest in exploring the answers. The film expects you to do the heavy lifting, as though it should be rewarded for even daring to ask the questions to begin with. What is the meaning of life? Where do we come from? Why do we believe what we believe? What makes us human? What drives us to find the answers to these questions? Read More »

No, that’s not a mistake in the headline. During the WonderCon panel for The Amazing Spider-Man, Emma Stone revealed that, prior to the film’s script being written and Gwen Stacy being made the central love interest in Sony’s Spidey reboot, she was originally brought in to meet to play Mary Jane (originally played by Kirsten Dunst in Sam Raimi’s trilogy).

Find out what else we learned from the panel below!

Read More »

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