Best Movies Streaming

(Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.) 

Summer is over. Good riddance, I say! Bring on chilly weather, heavy jackets and pumpkins as far as the eye can see. I’m talking thousands of pumpkins here, people. As the warm weather subsides and the cooler weather prevails, it’s time to once again shun the outdoors, bundle up with your blankets and stream some movies. In this edition of Now Stream This, we have a classic from Akira Kurosawa, a spy thriller for people who have no interest in seeing the new Kingsman movie, Al Pacino hamming up, the best horror-comedy in film history, and more! Let’s get streaming

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The Morning Watch - David Fincher VFX

(The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.)

In this edition, a video essay takes a look at the seamless, invisible visual effects in the films of David Fincher. Plus, find out what happened when master filmmakers Akira Kurosawa and Hayao Miyazaki met in 1993, and witness every single “That’s what she said” joke across all nine seasons of NBC’s The Office. Read More »

spiderman homecoming

A couple weeks back, I was lucky to jump on the phone with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and Sony studio head turned producer Amy Pascal to talk about their new film Spider-Man: Homecoming. I ask the duo about the lessons they learned from the last Amazing Spider-Man franchise failure, the influence of Back to the Future, was the Trump campaign an influence on the film’s villain, why they watched an Akira Kurosawa movie in prep for the film, and we discuss what the end credits scene means. All this and more. Read the full Spider-Man: Homecoming Interview, after the jump.

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With Star Wars: A New Hope celebrating the 40th anniversary of its theatrical release this year, this is as good a time as any to dig into the film’s history.

Knowledgable film lovers often cite Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 film The Hidden Fortress as a key influence on the young George Lucas, as the plot of that film heavily informs the original Star Wars. In it, two squabbling peasants become involved in the rescue of a princess, similar to how C-3PO and R2-D2 would get caught up in the mission to free Leia and deliver the Death Star plans.

As Wookiepedia shows, the first script treatment for Star Wars — a 1973 story synopsis that Lucas shopped around Hollywood — hews even closer in plot to The Hidden Fortress, with Lucas having straight-up plagiarized a description of that movie from a book called The Films of Akira Kurosawa by the late film historian and Japanophile Donald Richie.

But the Japanese roots of Star Wars run deeper than one artist stealing/borrowing from another (as all artists do, to the degree that they are influenced by one another). Let’s explore some of those influences: some well-known, others less perhaps so.

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kevin tong's ran print variant header

We’ve been covering Kevin Tong‘s art for seven years now. You might remember his work on Gallery1988’s Lost show, or his amazing R2-D2 deconstructed poster for Mondo, his stunning Iron Giant print for MMM, his Breaking Bad infographic print which could be seen on the wall in Talking Bad, or more recently his work on Warcraft and Rocketeer. Hostly, there is just too much great artwork to mention. Our coverage of his pop culture work alone spans 4 pages worth of posts.

We’ve excited to exclusively premiere Kevin Tong’s latest poster print for Akira Kurosawa‘s RAN. See Kevin Tong’s RAN print, a variant, and learn where you can find this beauty, after the jump.

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Part of the reason Star Wars still resonates with audiences today, much like it did in 1977, is that it is simultaneously familiar and new. George Lucas created something wholly original while being inspired by a great many things that came before his work. From Akira Kurosawa, Flash Gordon, and Stanley Kubrick to Fritz Lang, the list of things Lucas channelled is long and distinguished.

That’s where this video comes in. Michael Heilemann, an interface director at Squarespace, edited clips and images into the original 1977 Star Wars to show Lucas’ influences. Check out the annotated Star Wars below. Read More »

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While we’re lucky to live in a time where so many legendary filmmakers make their work and process accessible, there will always be a mystery behind some of the masters. Filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, John Ford, Frank Capra and many others passed away long before the age of video blogs, Twitter and behind the scenes DVD featurettes, leaving film fans with a precious few chances to study them in action.

Another man who makes that list is Akira Kurosawa, director of such iconic films as Seven Samurai, Rashomon, The Hidden Fortress and Yojimbo. Kurosawa passed away in 1998, which means some of his process was documented on his later films. That includes 1985’s Ran, a Japanese epic inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear. Now, a huge wealth of footage has come online – five hours of it – featuring the master filmmaker working behind the scenes on Ran. Check it out below. Read More »

UPDATE: As expected, Zack Snyder’s representatives told The Hollywood Reporter the following information is untrue. The original story follows with the addendum. 

As Zack Snyder is busy finishing a film in the DC Universe, news has now been revealed he’ll move over to the Star Wars universe soon after. Though the director of 300 and Watchmen won’t be directing Star Wars Episode VII, Vulture reports he’s quietly developing a standalone Star Wars film inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. His film would featuring a group of Jedi warriors going on a mission. Read more after the jump. Read More »

This is a story I’d just like to ignore, in the hopes that pretending it isn’t happening will decrease the chances of any sale actually going down. But it is already all over the place, so might as well stare it right in the face. A new-ish company called Splendent Media is now repping the remake rights for dozens of Akira Kurosawa films. The company holds sixty-nine titles all told: 26 are films Kurosawa directed; 24 are films he wrote; and 19 are scripts he penned that were never produced.

That last point is somewhat tantalizing in the same way that unproduced Stanley Kubrick screenplays represent a vague sense of possibility. But who am I kidding? If we get… let’s be generous and say two films out of this that don’t suck, I think we’ll be beating the odds. Details below. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

I’m not going to say that remaking a stone-cold classic like Akira Kurosawa‘s Seven Samurai is a fool’s errand. After all, some guy named Sergio Leone remade another Kurosawa classic, Yojimbo, and produced a classic of his own, A Fistful of Dollars, in doing so. Still, does it seem like a good idea? Not so much.  The Weinstein Company has been mulling over a Seven Samurai remake for some time, and now the company has set a director: Scott Mann, who last directed the action/fight film The Tournament. Read More »