Watch A Brief History of Movie Title Designs

As part of the screening put together in relation to the SXSW Title Design Competition, Ian Albinson from the website The Art of the Title Sequence put together a nice two and a half minute compendium of excellent film titles. (That features an occasional piece of television, too.) For any long-time film lover, this little video will probably elicit quite a few responses simply on the strength of the title cards on display. I queued several films to re-watch after exposure to just a few seconds of their titles.

Check out the collection after the jump. Read More »

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/Filmcast Ep. 133 – Dogtooth

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This week, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley assess this year’s Superbowl film spots, praise the merits of Tarsem’s The Fall, and discuss how much truth a movie needs to have to be considered legitimate.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us for our next live broadcast on Sunday, February 13 at Slashfilm’s live page at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST, where we’ll be reviewing The Eagle.

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jason butler harner changeling

The Academy Awards for 2008 have been handed out, and the “popular kids” have Oscars on their mantles, but the dirty little secret about winning awards is that you’ve gotta campaign for them. Thousands of dollars were spent by the distributors and filmmakers behind Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), Milk (Focus Features), The Reader (Weinstein) and other assorted winners and nominees, but not all performances received that sort of big money backing.

I am an unabashed lover of the acting craft. I see virtually every movie, large and small, that passes through the US marketplace, and, taking nothing away from Sean Penn, Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz and Heath Ledger, not all of 2008’s best performances have been recognized. I’m not going to be obvious here. Clint Eastwood was snubbed for Gran Torino, but he received lots of acclaim for the role including being named Best Actor by the National Board of Review. My goal is to highlight 10 performances from last year that have received virtually no acclaim in the US. Many of these roles can be found in hardly-seen, under-appreciated movies that came and went without much notice. Each and every one of these movies deserve a spot in your Netflix (or Blockbuster) cue.

My list is by no means definitive. If you have a favorite performance from 2008 that sticks with you, this is a great place to tell the world. There were 20 actors nominated on Oscar night, but there is a lot of great work that hasn’t been recognized with a walk down the red carpet.

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This Week in DVD is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy, Circuit City, and Fry’s.

The Good

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADEPLHIA (SEASON 3)
This may just be one of the most profane, crass, disgusting, and downright twisted shows to ever air on television. Those are just a few of its praise-worthy traits. It’s also gut-achingly hilarious. A live action equivalent of an R-rated cartoon, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia follows five ignorant, self-centered, arrogant douchebags who own a bar but rarely work in it, opting instead to find tasteless new hijinks to engage in on a daily basis. At the start of the show, each episode would tackle a different hot button issue (like racism or teenage drinking), but now the creators have gotten into a rhythm of outright insanity regardless of if they’re playing with a taboo. Some people haven’t taken kindly to this change, claiming that the utter ridiculousness of Season 3 detracts from what made previous seasons entertaining. Personally, even though I believe Season 1 featured the series’ greatest episodes by far, I also think this is the bar the show needs to remain at for seasons to come. Season 3 features 15 episodes.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Two episode commentaries (with creators/stars Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glen Howerton), a behind-the-scenes featurette (‘Sunny Side Up: Volume 2′), a gag reel, and two comical featurettes (‘Meet the McPoyles’, ‘Dancing Guy’).

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$27.99 $29.99 $27.99
Amazon – $25.99

THE BIG LEBOWSKI (10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)
The Big Lebowski is one of my top ten favorite movies of all-time, but it wasn’t always that high on the list. This is a movie you come to appreciate the more times you watch it, as the subtle details of the characters/plot and instantly quotable dialogue make return visits that much sweeter. Instead of getting tiresome, the comedy only gets funnier and more rewarding, as does Jeff Bridge’s outstanding performance playing “The Dude” and of course John Goodman’s as Walter Sobchak. After a lackluster Collector’s Edition release, this 10th Anniversary Edition DVD should really tie the room together.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: A video introduction and a bunch of featurettes (‘The Dude’s Life’, ‘The Dude Abides: The Big Lebowski Ten Years Later’, ‘Making of The Big Lebowski’, ‘The Lebowski Fest: An Achiever’s Story’, ‘Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams: The Dream Sequences of the Dude’, ‘Jeff Bridges Photo Book’).

BEST PRICE*
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
N/A $14.99
Amazon – $13.99

*Does not include Limited Edition bowling ball set, which costs $23.99 at Amazon, $26.99 at Best Buy, and $29.99 at Circuit City and Fry’s.

Here’s the Limited Edition bowling ball set…

BABY MAMA
Despite my love of Tina Fey, the trailers for this movie didn’t do much for me so I passed on it in theaters. But according to the mostly positive critical and audience response, this lightweight and predictable comedy has a strong enough dynamic between Fey and Amy Poehler to make for an entertaining rental. So if you’re looking for something to watch with a certain significant other where you don’t have to pay much attention (hint, hint), Baby Mama seems like a solid choice.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: An audio commentary (with Fey and Poehler, among others), deleted scenes, an alternate ending, and a couple featurettes (‘Saturday Night Live: Legacy of Laughter’, ‘From Conception to Delivery: The Making of Baby Mama’).

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$16.99 $14.99
Amazon – $17.99

UGLY BETTY (SEASON 2)
Ugly Betty revolves around the life of a sweet, not-so-gorgeous, not-so-thin girl named Betty Suarez, working as best she can amongst the beautiful models that surround her at the offices of the high-fashion magazine Mode. I still haven’t gotten around to watching Ugly Betty, unfortunately, but I’ve heard nothing but positive things about it. If you watch it, how about offering me some incentive to check it out in the comments?
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Deleted scenes, a blooper reel, and a bunch of featurettes (‘On Set with the Besties’, ‘The Suarez Tour’, ‘Wilhemina Slater: Love to Hate Her’, ‘Las Pasiones de Telenovelas’, ‘I Heart Betty’).

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$36.99 $39.99 $37.99 $35.99
Amazon – $37.49

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free $10 Target GiftCard with purchase of both Grey’s Anatomy (Season 4) ($36.99) and Ugly Betty (Season 2).
Where? Target.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Buy both Grey’s Anatomy (Season 4) ($36.99) and Ugly Betty (Season 2) and save $10.
Where? Best Buy, Circuit City.

THE FALL
Directed and written by Tarsem Singh (making his first movie since The Cell came out eight years ago), The Fall has been accused of suffering similar problems to his previous film, focusing more on visuals than on story and oftentimes feeling self-indulgent because of it. But even if it doesn’t succeed as a movie, it does succeed as a work of art, offering a “visually sumptuous fantasy world of exotic bandits, evil tyrants, dream-like palaces and breathtaking landscapes.” [Rotten Tomatoes] The film currently holds an 8.2 out of 10 on IMDB.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Two commentary tracks (one with the co-writer/director Tarsem Singh, one with star Lee Pace, co-writer/producer Nico Soultanakis and co-writer Dan Gilroy), deleted scenes, and 2 featurettes that take an artistic look at the film’s production.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$18.99 $19.99
Amazon – $18.99

The Bad

THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM
(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Special Editions + Digital Copy)
I’m normally sympathetic to audience/critic responses to movies when placing DVDs in The Good or The Bad sections, but regardless of this film’s 64% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.0 rating on IMDB, I cannot in good conscious label The Forbidden Kingdom as good. This is a bad movie, no question about it. Entertaining? Maybe… For some. But between the godawful dialogue, clichéd and predictable storyline, frustratingly artificial style, and overall raping of the Asian culture, it was hard for me to feel anything other than a combination of boredom and pain while watching it. As the first Hollywood pairing of martial arts legends Jackie Chan and Jet Li, this movie could not have been more disappointing.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Extras on the 2-disc include a commentary (with director Rob Minkoff and writer John Fusco), deleted scenes, a bunch of featurettes (‘The Kung Fu Dream Team’, ‘Dangerous Beauty’, ‘Discovering China’, ‘Filming in Chinawood’, ‘Monkey King and the Eight Immortals’), a Previsualization featurette with commentary by Rob Minkoff, and a blooper reel.

BEST PRICE*
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$16.99 $14.99
Amazon – $17.99

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $22.99 at each of the listed stores (including Amazon).

Other noteworthy DVDs available this week…
How the West Was Won (Ultimate Collector’s Edition)Cool Hand Luke (Deluxe Edition)Smallville (Season 7)Grey’s Anatomy (Season 4)Child’s Play (Chucky’s 20th Birthday Edition)Pumpkinhead (Collector’s Edition)Pet Sematary (Special Collector’s Edition)HecklerC.S.I. Miami (Season 6)Medium (Season 4)Wings (Season 7)

Discuss: What are you planning to rent or buy this week?

The Specials
NOTE: Some deals may be in-store only.


Exclusive: Free $5 Target GiftCard with purchase of Smallville (Season 7) ($39.99).

$7.50 – The Princess Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Remember the Titans, and We Are Marshall.


Exclusive: Free exclusive Visions comic book included with purchase of Smallville (Season 7) ($37.99).

$19.99 – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Seasons 1 & 2), Arrested Development (Seasons 1 – 3), My Name is Earl (Seasons 1 – 2), How I Met Your Mother (Seasons 1 – 2), American Dad (Seasons 1 – 3), and The Riches (Season 1).

$29.99 – The Simpsons (Seasons 1 – 10).

$7.50 – Hot Fuzz, Eastern Promises, Borat, Fracture, The Number 23, Legend (Ultimate Edition), Crank, O Brother Where Are Thou?, Invincible, Talladega Nights, and more…


$6.99 – Snatch, The Mask of Zorro, Hitch, Spanglish, A Knight’s Tale, Click, Tears of the Sun, Stranger than Fiction, Desperado, Marie Antoinette, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Silent Hill, Ali, Rudy, Meatballs (Special Edition), and more…

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