Watching Bridge of Spies, I realized almost immediately the difference between a beautiful film and a handsome film. Steven Spielberg's latest movie is handsome. It's cleanly shot, polished, glossy, with impeccable acting in almost every scene. Even the handheld shots have a kind of austerity about them that suggest prestige; a suit-tie-and-hat sort of movie, and not just because the majority of the characters wear suits, ties, and hats.
The screenplay for Bridge of Spies was written by Matt Charman and Joel & Ethan Coen. Every now and then in this handsome movie, a little bit of the Coens deadpan humor peeks through. Yet as the film jumps genres and locations, it ultimately feels more Spielberg than Coens, and, in fact, it feels more Frank Capra than Coens on multiple occasions.
Bridge of Spies is all about good old-fashioned decency in the thick of the Cold War. Spielberg trades in historical nuance for straightforward moral clarity about doing what is right no matter the circumstances. That's what Americans are supposed to do. Supposed to, at least.... read + comment
Last month, we posted our list of best Korean films available on Netflix. But I made the point there that Netflix's supply has been drying up lately. Over the course of this year, the number of available films has quite literally halved.
On the other hand, Hulu seems to be picking up some of that slack. Many people don't think of Hulu as a serious contender, and that's understandable, but if you're a film fan, there's really quite a bit to like. Being able to take full advantage of their partnership with the Criterion Collection in and of itself justifies the price of admission, as far as I'm concerned. Now knowing that this list of films that I already love and others that I'm looking forward to finally seeing (and, admittedly, others I can guarantee I will never see) is available, I feel even more secure in my subscription. (If you don't want to subscribe, though, Hulu allows anyone to watch films for free with commercial breaks. A Hulu Plus subscription allows you to see them ad-free.)
There is some overlap in the catalog – two-thirds of The Vengeance Trilogy is available, as are films like War of the Arrows, Moebius, and Hide and Seek (listed in our Netflix Top 13) – but each of the ten films on this list are, as of the press time, exclusive to Hulu. And every single one of them is absolutely worth watching. There are some other really enjoyable films on the service, such as Secret Reunion, Rough Cut, and The Attorney, but this list is being limited to ten entries, and some things had to give. The fact that films as good as those got cut speaks to just how great Hulu's catalog is, certainly by comparison.
So let's get to it!... read + comment
It has been a struggle to find a director for the fast approaching Furious 8. You'd think directors would be chomping at the bit to get their name on one of the biggest franchises in film. Paramount cast a wide net and has decided to enter into talks with F. Gary Gray.
Gray isn't exactly known for his action films -- his last movie was Straight Outta Compton and he came on the scene with Friday -- and when he has done them they haven't been on the scale of a Fast & Furious movie. Usually he works smaller with things like A Man Apart. Probably his closest thing to something as crazy as a Furious movie is The Italian Job remake, which was competently done. Still, I like the choice. The director can bring something slightly more grounded to the franchise, and maybe we'll get a new take from another fresh pair of eyes.... read + comment
Back to the Future II's future didn't quite happen. We still don't have ubiquitous working hoverboards and my drams of being eaten by a giant holographic shark are years away. However, we did get to see some of the stuff from the movie like the self tying shoes from Nike and now we will have future Pepsi.
Actually, it's present Pepsi since the Back to the Future II future is right now. God, time travel can get confusing. The point is what was the future then is now now and that means Pepsi is releasing a limited edition Pepsi Perfect that looks like the Pepsi Michael J. Fox gets in Back to the Future II for $50. Inflation hasn't been that great, though, so you can pick up the 16.9 oz. bottle will retail for $20.15.
It'll be a limited run of 6,500 bottles, available online while supplies last, and will come in a fancy case of some sort. If you choose to drink your rare Pepsi Perfect it'll be somewhat of a waste. The Pepsi inside is just Pepsi made with real sugar and can be picked up at any grocery store in America. This is one you're gonna want to put on the shelf so that in the future (that future that isn't now) your kids will find it in the attic and wonder why you saved a bottle of Pepsi for 60 years.
The DC cinematic universe has a job to do building up its on screen roster, but they're getting there. One of the next steps is a Flash movie, probably called The Flash. Seth Grahame-Smith is in talks to write and direct the movie. This comes after Phil Lord and Christopher Miller decided to leave the project thanks to jumping on board Star Wars for the Han Solo... solo film.
Smith is a bit of a risky choice. The guy is better known as an author (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and has never directed a feature film before. His screenwriting credentials aren't that great either when the movies aren't based on his books (Dark Shadows). WB seems to trust him, however, and are moving him up with a big tent pole.
Flash has already cast it's lead with Ezra Miller taking on the scarlet speedster and a release date of March 3, 2018 is already set. We'll get our first taste of the character in Batman v Superman and then some more in the first Justice League film before his solo outing even arrives.
I'm still miffed that the TV shows are set in a different universe than the movies, but what are you gonna do? DC doesn't have the planning or wherewithal it seems to make a cohesive cinematic universe like Marvel has.... read + comment
Just like with its parent series, Fear the Walking Dead has been experiencing some growing pains within its very short, six episode first season. As the biggest draw, the zombies, took a backseat to a more intimate story of family troubles, the show struggled to keep folks' attention to its slow burning take. But as the last episode proved, its focus on character (regardless on whether or not it succeeds in this regard) makes the rest of the stuff more worthwhile.
But unlike the parent series, Fear's got a new world to play around in. This first season has been building up to this finale, and to a further extent, season two. After seeing the world finally come crashing down, Fear the Walking Dead is shaping up to be the better of the two shows.... read + comment
Are you sick of superhero-movie-adjacent TV shows yet? Marvel sure hopes not, because they and ABC have announced their intentions to adapt on-again, off-again comic series Damage Control as a live-action comedy set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its ever-growing cache of television properties.
In Marvel comics, Damage Control is a comedy comic that follows what's essentially a cleanup crew that often gets called in to clear rubble and rebuild after heroes and villains clash; they're often a convenient way to explain why the entire planet (or at least New York City) isn't a huge pile of scrap. It sounds like the adaptation would follow in much the same vein, which makes a lot of sense considering that, you know, one of the most recent MCU movies blew up an entire Eastern European city. Assuming it comes to fruition, Damage Control would be the eighth series tying into Marvel's movie mega-franchise known to be airing or in development, joining Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter on ABC and Daredevil on Netflix, as well as upcoming series Most Wanted (ABC) and Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist (Netflix).
On its face, I'm of two minds about the whole thing. On the one hand, the MCU has proven that it's a versatile mega-franchise capable of branching into various genres; also, as good as Agents of SHIELD has gotten and as great as Daredevil and Agent Carter were in their debut seasons, they're largely serious (if fun) affairs and something specifically comedic would be a refreshing change of pace for Marvel's TV offerings. That said, if we're to believe the Most Wanted spinoff is still happening, that puts the MCU up to roughly six series a year (more as the Netflix series continue to debut), which is a lot of investment to ask for from viewers. Ultimately, though, the series will live and die on its quality, which hasn't always been Marvel's strong suit when it comes to its TV outings, at least not right out of the gate.... read + comment
I was texting a friend about Steve Jobs over the weekend, the new biopic written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle. Sorkin thankfully avoided the birth-to-death biopic that we've all seen and grown tired of by now. Instead Jobs' life story is constructed around three high-profile product launches done in real-time: the Macintosh in 1984, NeXT in 1988, and the iMac in 1998. (Slightly different than originally reported three years ago.)
"The A to Z biopic is dead, I think," he texted back.
Let's hope so. The screenplay for Steve Jobs shows us that there are better ways to approach a life story than adhering to chronology.
It also shows us that Steve Jobs was a total a**hole.... read + comment
Michael Moore and Donald Trump have something in common. No, seriously. They want to make America great again. In Where to Invade Next, Moore pretends he's been sent by the Pentagon to invade other countries. His mission: to steal their ideas about education, tuition, employee benefits, the prison system, drug policy, and gender equality in order to fix problems in the United States.
The US could use the help. As wages stagnate, the middle class shrinks, infrastructure crumbles, and American students fall behind the rest of the first world and developing world, there needs to be a serious reorientation of the direction of the country rather than staying the course.
Where to Invade Next is my second favorite Michael Moore movie, and there are times that the film reminded me of Moore's work throughout the 80s and 90s (i.e., Roger and Me, TV Nation, The Awful Truth). But the movie's also got a lot of problems, even for a total lefty like me, and they're problems that demonstrate Moore's limitations as a filmmaker as well as a dime-store historian/political commentator.... read + comment
We're pretty excited about Spectre around these parts. We even wrote about it twice in our Winter movie preview because it's going to be so awesome. Want proof? The trailer is above.
Sure we're going to have to get through that terrible Sam Smith opening song at some point, but otherwise this movie looks so on point it hurts. That is very clearly a secret base they come to and the throwback to Goldfinger's iconic line is just too perfect.
Bond returns on October 26th in the UK and November 6th in the U.S.
[embed]219991:42651:0[/embed]... read + comment
If you haven't read The Martian you should because it's better than whatever you're reading now (most likely). It's one of the most enthralling pieces of science fiction to come along in ages and it's an incredibly quick and easy read. Go now. Read.
There is an xkcd comic about it in which they break down the fact that the book is just crammed full of science. It relates it to Apollo 13. The movie isn't quite as kind to science, but that's probably to be expected. Sacrifices have to be made when you're cutting a novel down to two hours and one of the major sacrifices for the film is the scientific explanations of everything.
Why do I bring this up? Because maybe people will be upset about that, but they really shouldn't be because The Martian is some of the best science fiction storytelling to come out this decade and Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is still frickin' awesome.... read + comment
2015 is a pretty big year for the Back to the Future movies. Not only is it the 30th anniversary of the first film, but its also the year Doc and Marty actually travel to the future, so maybe those damn hoaxes of the DeLorean's dashboard will finally stop.
Either way, Amazon has definitely jumped on board for the celebration by putting all three Back to the Future films up for streaming if you're an Amazon Prime customer-- but only for the month of October. Admittedly, Prime's film selection tends to be a little paltry compared to Netflix and Hulu, so it's definitely a treat to see them doing something cool like this to pay tribute to a great series of films.
So what are you waiting for? Open up another tab and start watching on Amazon now! I don't care if you're at work, your boss will probably understand.... read + comment
In the documentary Nintendo Quest, Jay Bartlett is on a mission. He has 30 days to collect all 678 North American NES titles.
The problem: Jay's not allowed to make any purchases on the internet.
Luckily it's just the cartridges he's after, not complete box-and-manual games. But still, that's a tough task to complete in such a limited amount of time, and if you're going brick-and-mortar all the way, that's a whole lot of browsing at games stores and hunting at thrift shops and garage sales. (If he wanted Clash at Demonhead or Battle of Olympus, I still have those somewhere. Same with Treasure Master, but who in their right mind wants that one?)
/Film posted the trailer for Nintendo Quest earlier today, which you can check out below.
Nintendo Quest comes out on Vimeo on Friday, October 2nd. Hey, that's tomorrow.
In addition to Jay's quest for all the North American carts, Nintendo Quest features an exploration of Nintendo in pop culture and why there's such an affinity for the NES over other consoles. It seems like a relatively well-timed release for the doc given the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. Maybe this Nintendo lovefest (which began on Kickstarter) can ride that wave a little.
For more information about Nintendo Quest, you can visit the film's official website.
And if anyone wants a copy of Treasure Master for some reason, please ask for it in the comments.
[via /Film]... read + comment
When Michel Gondry writes his own films, I've noticed that his protagonists have a tendency to act like quirky, whimsical teenagers. The misfit oddballs of The Science of Sleep and Be Kind Rewind probably found a Zoltar machine, made a wish, and wound up in a Michel Gondry script.
In retrospect, that makes Gondry's 2012 exercise The We and the I a more interesting experiment. The film was workshopped with students in The Bronx and shot as a kind of a tapestry of teenage life. Though I enjoyed The We and the I to a certain extent (I like it less now than I did then), it felt like a doodle or a sketch for something else (or, really, a workshop project).
So I wonder how much Microbe and Gasoline owes to Gondry's experiences making The We and the I. Gondry's newest might also owe something to films along the lines of Joe Dante's Explorers. It's a misfit teenage buddy movie, but maybe Gondry's been writing those kinds of movies all along.... read + comment
I may actually be getting more excited for Jessica Jones than I was for Daredevil. Netflix has done and awesome job at promoting this show and the new teaser is no different. We still haven't seen Kristen Ritter's face aside from some still shots so we're obviously building to a bigger reveal.
You'd never really think of Ritter as an ass kicker so it'll be very interesting to see her take on a role where she's doing so. So far it's looking good.
For those not fluent in Japanese Google Translate gives us: First round ends. That may be some poor translation going on, but I think it actually comes out pretty bad ass.
[embed]219987:42648:0[/embed]... read + comment
We already felt that Age of Ultron was a bit overcrowded with heroes, but it could have been even more so. According to Marvel exec Jeremy Latcham the original idea was to have a whole host of new characters just sort of show up at the end of the film.
“In really early development there was a notion of there’d be a ton of new people. And then it was like, ‘Well we haven’t really introduced them, we don’t know where they’re gonna come from,’ and Joss kind of did not love that idea. It was an early discussion, and then that kind of became just Captain Marvel, and then that felt weird just to have one new person.”
The right decision was made, though and they eventually dropped everyone, including Captain Marvel. Kevin Feige, guy in control of everything Marvel movies, spoke to losing that as well as he pointed out that they decided to tell Marvel's origin in her own movie so cramming her into the end of Ultron didn't work for a host of reason.
“And also the subtext was, what does Cap say, ‘They’re not the ’27 Yankees’—well if Captain Marvel is there, what are we saying about her? It needed to be [that] certainly Wanda and Vision, I think to a lesser extent Falcon and Rhodey need to learn what it means to be a team, even the most dysfunctional team in history.”
All in all just be glad that they trimmed things back and decided instead to hold plenty off for Phase 3.... read + comment
I still haven't gotten around to seeing Yorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth, though I intend to. The blackly surreal 2009 film was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar and drew favorable comparisons to the work of Luis Bunuel and Michael Haneke. And yet most of my friends hate it (the ratio is roughly four out of five). There is no in-between for their opinions.
And yet this might have been ideal conditions to jump into The Lobster, the latest Lanthimos film and his first English-language production. I could see the Bunuel and Haneke, sure, though I was also reminded of the stories of Donald Barthelme, which take a bizarre conceit and bring it to a strangely logical conclusion.
I also noticed that The Lobster is built around black and white distinctions rooted in the ideological heart of the film: you're either in a relationship (or you die) or you're single (or you die).... read + comment
For fans of The X-Files it's been a long hard wait for our first looks at the return of Mulder and Scully, but we've got it now and it's full of all the glorious fan service you wanted. There's two teasers below showing off the newly reborn show.
The first looks great and couldn't be more jam packed with Easter eggs and name drops. A certain cigarette appears and a certain poster and certain theme. Basically it's just a giant wad of fan service. The second isn't as high quality, but features a few more hints at what we'll be getting on January 24.
My only complaint? Mulder's clothes fit him way too well. Where's the schluby suits!?
[embed]219984:42646:0[/embed]... read + comment
If the stories are true the shoot for Alejandro G. Iñárritu's The Revenant was particularly brutal and I think it shows. The first trailer was ballsy, but this one is just visceral as all hell. It's hard to believe, but I'm looking forward to this western more than Tarantino's The Hateful Eight. Tarantino honors the classics, but Iñárritu looks like he's setting a new standard for the genre.
It will be especially interesting to see if the two films go head to head for awards. Both are obviously trying for Oscar contention and DiCaprio looks like he'll be in top contention for Best Actor here. Exciting times for western fans.
[embed]219983:42645:0[/embed]... read + comment
Trevor Noah had one of the least enviable jobs in comedy last night. Jon Stewart transformed The Daily Show into a bastion of media criticism and political analysis. It wasn't just a comedy program anymore. Some considered The Daily Show and its host an important part of the nation's conscience, a role Stewart always seemed reluctant to accept. During his infamous appearance on Crossfire in 2004, Stewart said, "I didn't realize--and maybe this explains quite a bit--that news organizations looked to Comedy Central for their cues on integrity." *
I was an avid watcher of The Daily Show in the Craig Kilborn days. (It's how I learned about The Story of Ricky, one of the greatest cult movies ever made.) I'd also been watching Jon Stewart since the early 90s because he was on MTV and Comedy Central. It would take Stewart years to turn The Daily Show into what it became, and the transition from Kilborn to Stewart was low-stakes and little-scrutinized. For most of the public, Trevor Noah had just one episode to make his transition work, and it was apparently simulcast on Comedy Central, MTV, MTV2, MTVU, Spike, BET, VH1, Nick at Nite, and other Paramount cable channels.
And you know what? The Daily Show will be okay. Stop worrying.
* Can you believe that CNN has somehow gotten even crappier in the last 10 years?... read + comment
I've been a big supporter of The Simpsons for as long as I can remember. Literally, one of my first memories was asking to watch the show. And if you ask my mother, she'd tell you I'd move around in my high chair in order to catch The Simpsons on TV. It started a year before I was born, and I've been hooked ever since. Lots of hours have gone in to memorizing bits and pieces no one else would bother to.
So now that we're entering the monumental 27th season of the series, I'm finally feeling fatigue. It's honestly something I'd never thought I'd have to utter, but for once I finally understand what people have been saying for years. Maybe it's time for The Simpsons to pack it up.
I blame Flanders. Screw Flanders.... read + comment
We still have no idea what Netflix and Marvel's Jessica Jones is going to be like. The first teaser gave us almost nothing but a hint at the style. This second one actual delivers a bit more info. It looks like they'll be hitting on the funny a bit more than Daredevil, which was darkly serious for most of its run.
That's a good thing. For one it's what lead actress Krysten Ritter is great at. Secondly it plays more strongly into the procedural nature of the show, which is going to follow Jessica Jones as she tackles superhero related mysteries. Third it just looks cool.
We should have a true, full trailer coming relatively soon, but we won't get our true taste of the show until it debuts on November 20th.
[embed]219980:42643:0[/embed]... read + comment
The show's been very confident in its long game. After immediately getting picked up for a second season, I'm sure the showrunners knew they'd have time to build up to a satisfying story. It may have been rough before the Labor Day weekend, but around episode three and four, Fear the Walking Dead has been sprinkling little bits here and there that are finally starting to show themselves.
And the results are promising. "Cobalt" is the show's most direct episode to date, and that tenacity is leading to something unlike its predecessor series and unlike anything we've seen yet.... read + comment
We may not have dug The Walk all that much when Hubert got a chance to see it at NYFF, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be seen on the big screen. The movie was made specifically for 3D IMAX so that the harrowing effect of walking across the World Trade Center towers would truly impact. Your only chance to do that is in theaters.
So grab your passes now. Click the links below and you'll have them. Find out if you like it more than Hubert did and come back and tell us all about it.... read + comment
The Fall/Winter movie season is probably the best of the year. We get horror with October and then roll on into big blockbusters, holiday greatness and awards season. It's the best time to watch movies, even though it can be overwhelming at times. To correct this we've got a list below of the films you should definitely check out. Why? Because we think they're going to be awesome.
This winter is proving to be especially awesome. We get a Bond movie, a Star Wars movie, a Hunger Games movie and a Tarantino film all in the span of a few weeks. Movie lovers can't as for much more. There's a bit more, though, that you might not have thought about. Read on to check all the greatness out.... read + comment
It's impossible to watch The Walk without thinking about James Marsh's 2008 film Man on Wire. The Academy Award-winning documentary chronicled French tightrope walker Philippe Petit's high-wire act between the towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. Through interviews, archival footage, dramatizations, and clever editing, Marsh allows the events to play out in thrilling fashion, as if Petit's whimsical art crime was a jewel heist.
It's also difficult for me to watch The Walk without thinking about Colum McCann's gorgeous 2009 novel Let the Great World Spin, a panoramic view of New York City featuring multiple protagonists and taking place on the same day as Petit's WTC high-wire act.
To Robert Zemeckis's credit, he'd been developing The Walk on his own for the last decade, well before Marsh and McCann's works came out; Zemeckis had envisioned his film to be a 3D spectacle that captured the dizzying experience of Petit's impossible walk.
But even if Man on Wire and Let the Great World Spin didn't exist, The Walk would still be a schmaltzy disappointment.... read + comment
If you haven't read The Martian go do that. Even if you don't like books or reading it will grab you, pull you in and then push you in every direction you have. Go now.
Once you're back you should grab some passes to the movie because you're going to want to desperately see it now. This is looking to be one of the best bits of science fiction in years and you don't want to miss it.
Head below, click the link and grab your passes.... read + comment
Despite the two hour confusing slog it was, Prometheus was divisive here at Flixist. We even pulled in Jim Sterling at one point to talk about it because it was so crazy. I'm sure Ridley Scott was interested in pursuing a sequel because it brought on so much discussion, but also sure the guy likes money. Speaking of money, the Alien franchise makes a lot of it. What better way to brush off Prometheus' nonsense and remind people Alien is a thing than to rope it in?
So Prometheus 2 is now Alien: Paradise Lost, as Scott confirms in an interview with HeyUGuys. Sooooo yeah. No word on whether or not this will somehow interfere with Blomkamp's Alien film, but since Scott is working on this next, we'll find out more about the giant white bodybuilder aliens soon enough.
[via HeyUGuys]... read + comment
It's now official: Netflix has ordered 12 new episodes of Black Mirror for Season 3. As we reported last time, Charlie Brooker is currently writing the new series, and the show will be produced in collaboration with House of Tomorrow.
Netflix released a brief official teaser:
Twelve episodes is double the entire run of Black Mirror during its original two-season run in the UK. (There was also a Christmas special with Jon Hamm that was spiffy.) The Mary Sue points out that the release date is to be determined, as is Netflix's release strategy. There's speculation that Netflix will release Black Mirror Season 3 on a week-to-week basis rather than in a single binge-watchable batch.
On a related note, Black Mirror also wound up in the news this week following David Cameron's #PigGate controversy. In a nutshell: David Cameron (seen below) may have once stuck his todger in the mouth of a dead pig. Seriously. In the infamous first episode of Black Mirror, "The National Anthem," the Prime Minister is asked to have sexual intercourse with a pig in order to save the life of a beloved UK royal. Seriously.
Flixist prides itself on dignified film and television coverage, which is why we take no delight in reminding people that the Prime Minister of a major country may have engaged in a debauched sexual act with a dead animal. I mean, a current head of state possibly raw dogging a dead hog is such tawdry news to cover here--ditto the fact David Cameron's office neither confirmed nor denied the allegation that he nested his tallywacker in a dead pig's face.
We'll continue to cover the new season of Black Mirror as info develops.
However, we will not continue to mention the rumors that Prime Minister David Cameron, a major world leader, may have placed his private parts inside of a deceased pig's mouth. (But seriously, David Cameron may have stuck his dick in a dead pig's mouth!)
[via The Mary Sue]... read + comment
Remember the Nicktoons channel? It was this channel dedicated to past Nickelodeon cartoons like Rugrats or As Told By Ginger that was phased out in favor another outlet for their live programming. But with the 90s nostalgia boom, Nickelodeon realized their mistake and brought some of them back with a short "The 90s are All That" weekend stint. Since that's worked out so well, and to coincide with their upcoming plans to somehow bring all of these cartoon characters into a movie, Nickelodeon has announced "The Splat," a nightly block running from 10PM to 6PM EST on TeenNick.
But what's different this time around is Nickelodeon is pulling out all the stops for this return. Along with returning programs (both live action and animated), we'll be getting old interstitials (like Stick Stickly) and big promos like Super Toy Run and Nick or Treat (where people would call in and guess numbers to try and collect prizes before being scared). The block will rotate nightly so we'll have all sorts of old shows back again. Here's just a sampling.
The Splat premieres on TeenNick Monday, October 6th at 10PM EST. Probably explains that Kenan and Kel reunion a few days back.
- First Time for Everything (week of Oct. 5) – first two episodes of fan-favorite animated and live-action series and game shows;
- Rugrats Reptar Takeover (week of Oct. 12) – best of Rugrats episodes featuring Reptar;
- Hey Arnold! Live from the Stoop (week of Oct. 19) – Stoop Kid-centric episodes;
- Nick or Treat (week of Oct. 26) – call-in event where lucky callers get 40 seconds to choose from six doors, collecting tricks and treats along the way, plus scary and spooky themed animation episodes