Babadook Christmas

We’ve praised The Babadook since Sundance. It landed on Angie’s “Best Performances of 2014” list and our “50 Great Movies From 2014” list, and (spoiler) it’ll be on my ranked top ten of 2014, too. In short: see it! (Even Stephen King and The Exorcist director William Friedkin would tell you that.)

The film is on VOD now and in some theaters, too, so you can see it for yourself. If you haven’t seen it yet and are still on the fence, however, maybe a little friendly greeting will get you to give it a shot. This is just like the Charlie Brown Christmas special, only a lot darker. (OK, maybe not quite like that, but it’s still fun.)  Read More »

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Live Action Fire and Ice Remake

Ralph Bakshi, the animator who did films like Wizards and the first adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, used an early rotoscope animation technique to create the fantasy story Fire and Ice, which adopted character designs by artist Frank Frazetta. Now Robert Rodriguez is going to make his first foray into full-on fantasy epics with a live-action Fire and Ice remake, in an attempt to launch a new fantasy franchise. Read More »

Obama Says Sony Made a Mistake

The irony of social and political tension is that it can be created not just by large and important actions, but by anything at all. And so, today, we heard President Barack Obama deadpanning “I think it says something about North Korea” that the country would “mount an all-out attack over a satirical film… starring Seth Rogen.”

This is the world we’re in now, where entertainment news and geopolitics are the same thing, where the leader of the United States devotes time in a press conference to a comedy movie.

In the wake of Sony scrapping the release of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg‘s film The Interview, arguments have erupted over the wisdom behind the move. The Sony hackers — now identified by the FBI as elements of the North Korean government — responded with a new message saying that retaliation would follow if Sony released The Interview in any form, ever. Responding to a question about the hack and the decision to pull the film, Obama says Sony made a mistake pulling the movie, and that retaliation will follow.

UPDATE: Sony responded to the President’s claims later in the afternoon. In the statement, they say “It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.” Unfortunately, every VOD outlet has turned them down. Read the full statement below.
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Get Hard trailer

In Get Hard, Will Ferrell plays a rich hedge fund manager/douchebag who is convicted of fraud and embezzlement, and sentenced to ten years in a maximum security prison. (Which marks the movie as an outlandish comedy — in real list that guy almost never has to go to prison.) Scared of the big house, Ferrell tries to prep for his ordeal by turning to the only black guy he has any passing contact with, just assuming that he’s been to prison. But not only is Kevin Hart‘s character not an ex-con; he’s a squeaky-clean guy who is probably the furthest thing from a criminal. See how they work together in the Get Hard trailer below.

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best foreign film shortlist 2015

The shortlist for potential Best Foreign Film Oscar nominees is out. As usual, the list is going to generate as much talk about what didn’t make the cut as it does about what ended up on the list. Many of the year’s most significant films were left off: Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep, which was this year’s Palme d’Or winner at Cannes, didn’t make the cut. Nor did Mommy by Xavier Dolan, also a Cannes prize winner, taking the Jury Prize; or Kornel Mundruczo’s White God; or the Dardenne brothers’ Two Days One Night.

But the Best Foreign Film shortlist for 2015 does feature some great films, including Ida, from Pawel Pawlikowski and Force Majeure (above), from director Ruben Östlund. The full list is below. Read More »

kubrick-blu-box

There isn’t a thing that hasn’t been written about the films of Stanley Kubrick. His films have been celebrated and reviled; some originally reviled have been reassessed as masterpieces; reams of copy have been written on even his least-appreciated movies. And yet they pull us in time and again. His films feature richly developed concepts that we can appreciate differently as our own lives progress and change.

Kubrick is the most visible representation of a sort of filmmaking that has largely vanished. He was likely the last director to enjoy total creative freedom with the backing of a major movie studio; his deal with Warner Bros. let him do what he wanted, on his own time. His 1999 passing happens to coincide with the transition into a fully digital filmmaking era and into a time when studio films are ever-more focused on sequels and familiar concepts.

The idea of ranking Kubrick films is somewhat absurd; there’s really only one that can be at #1. But there’s a lot of room for discussion about what his other twelve features offer. Warner Bros. recently issued a new box set (Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection) with a gorgeous outer shell (above), a fine array of behind the scenes material, and disc packaging that is an improvement over the last blu-ray set from the studio. That box of eight films had us going back through all of Kubrick’s movies, and we’ve laid them out in order below.   Read More »

HBO Music Video show

Hot on the heels of the confirmation that David Fincher and James Ellroy are working together on an HBO show comes the news of another project that Fincher will do for the big cable network. Fincher will direct the pilot for an HBO music video show called Living on Noise, described as a “half-hour HBO project about music videos in the 1980s.” Read More »

The Fly comic book

There was a movie sequel to David Cronenberg’s incredible 1986 reinvention of The Fly, and now a comic book seeks to another sequel storyline. The Fly: Outbreak is from IDW, and writer Brandon Seifert (writer of BOOM! Studios’ Hellraiser comics) and artist menton3. The comic series is an original story, seemingly not based on Fly sequel ideas Cronenberg was toying with a couple years ago, but possibly related to the film The Fly IIRead More »

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