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George Miller Mad Max photo
George Miller Mad Max

Oscar-nominated director George Miller is NOT done with Mad Max


Says he was misquoted
Jan 14
// Hubert Vigilla
Remember how George Miller supposedly said he's done making Mad Max movies given the 17-year battle to make Mad Max: Fury Road? Turns out he was misquoted by The New York Post. (Such is the nature of reporting at The Post.) M...
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See Kung Fu Panda 3 early and free


Washington DC, Baltimore and Norfolk
Jan 14
// Matthew Razak
Has the shine worn off the Kung Fu Panda franchise yet? It's a long time between these sequels and I've just gotten less and less enthused about the series, but both 1 and 2 were enjoyable so maybe three will w...

Complete List of Nominees for the 2016 Academy Awards

Jan 14 // Hubert Vigilla
Best PictureThe Big ShortBridge of SpiesBrooklynMad Max: Fury RoadThe MartianThe RevenantRoomSpotlight Best DirectorAdam McKay, The Big ShortGeorge Miller, Mad Max: Fury RoadAlejandro Inarritu, The RevenantLenny Abrahamson, RoomTom McCarthy, Spotlight Best ActorBryan Cranston, TrumboMatt Damon, The MartianLeonardo DiCaprio, The RevenantMichael Fassbender, Steve JobsEddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl Best ActressCate Blanchett, CarolBrie Larson, RoomJennifer Lawrence, JoyCharlotte Rampling, 45 YearsSaoirse Ronan, Brooklyn Best Supporting ActorChristian Bale, The Big ShortTom Hardy, The RevenantMark Ruffalo, SpotlightMark Rylance, The Bridge of SpiesSylvester Stallone, Creed Best Supporting ActressJennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful EightRooney Mara, CarolRachel McAdams, SpotlightAlicia Vikander, The Danish GirlKate Winslet, Steve Jobs Best Adapted ScreenplayThe Big Short, Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKayBrooklyn, Screenplay by Nick HornbyCarol, Screenplay by Phyllis NagyThe Martian, Screenplay by Drew GoddardRoom, Screenplay by Emma DonoghueBest Original ScreenplayBridge of Spies, Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel CoenEx Machina, Written by Alex GarlandInside Out, Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del CarmenSpotlight, Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthyStraight Outta Compton, Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff Best Documentary FeatureAmy, Asif Kapadia and James Gay-ReesCartel Land, Matthew Heineman and Tom YellinThe Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge SørensenWhat Happened, Miss Simone?, Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin WilkesWinter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, Evgeny Afineevsky and Den TolmorBest Documentary Short SubjectBody Team 12, David Darg and Bryn MooserChau, beyond the Lines, Courtney Marsh and Jerry FranckClaude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah, Adam BenzineA Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Sharmeen Obaid-ChinoyLast Day of Freedom, Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi TalismanAchievement in Film EditingThe Big Short, Hank CorwinMad Max: Fury Road, Margaret SixelThe Revenant, Stephen MirrioneSpotlight, Tom McArdleStar Wars: The Force Awakens, Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey Best CinematographyCarol, Ed LachmanThe Hateful Eight, Robert RichardsonMad Max: Fury Road, John SealeThe Revenant, Emmanuel LubezkiSicarioi, Roger Deakins Best Foreign Language Film of the YearEmbrace of the Serpent, ColombiaMustang, FranceSon of Saul, HungaryTheeb, JordanA War, DenmarkAchievement in Makeup and HairstylingMad Max: Fury Road, Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian MartinThe 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared, Love Larson and Eva von BahrThe Revenant, Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert PandiniBest Original ScoreBridge of Spies, Thomas NewmanCarol, Carter BurwellThe Hateful Eight, Ennio MorriconeSicario, Jóhann JóhannssonStar Wars: The Force Awakens, John WilliamsBest Original Song“Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey, Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction, Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty“Simple Song #3” from Youth, Music and Lyric by David Lang“Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground, Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga“Writing’s On The Wall” from Spectre, Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam SmithAchievement in Production DesignBridge of Spies, Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard HenrichThe Danish Girl, Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Michael StandishMad Max: Fury Road, Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa ThompsonThe Martian, Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Celia BobakThe Revenant, Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy Achievement in Costume DesignCarol, Sandy PowellCinderella, Sandy PowellThe Danish Girl, Paco DelgadoMad Max: Fury Road, Jenny BeavanThe Revenant, Jacqueline West Best Animated Short Film“Bear Story” Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala“Prologue” Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton“Sanjay’s Super Team” Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle“We Can’t Live without Cosmos” Konstantin Bronzit“World of Tomorrow” Don HertzfeldtBest Live Action Short Film“Ave Maria” Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont“Day One” Henry Hughes“Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)” Patrick Vollrath“Shok” Jamie Donoughue“Stutterer” Benjamin Cleary and Serena ArmitageAchievement in Sound EditingMad Max: Fury Road, Mark Mangini and David WhiteThe Martian, Oliver TarneyThe Revenant, Martin Hernandez and Lon BenderSicario, Alan Robert MurrayStar Wars: The Force Awakens, Matthew Wood and David AcordAchievement in Sound MixingBridge of Spies, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew KuninMad Max: Fury Road, Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben OsmoThe Martian, Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac RuthThe Revenant, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris DuesterdiekStar Wars: The Force Awakens, Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart WilsonAchievement in Visual EffectsEx Machina, Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara BennettMad Max: Fury Road, Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy WilliamsThe Martian, Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven WarnerThe Revenant, Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron WaldbauerStar Wars: The Force Awakens, Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould
2016 Academy Awards photo
Mad Max: Fury Road goes big
The nominees for the 88th Academy Awards were just announced. Here is a full list based on the tweets sent out by The Academy and from The Hollywood Reporter. The Revenant leads the field with 12 nominations, including Best P...

RIP Alan Rickman (1946-2016)

Jan 14 // Hubert Vigilla
RIP Alan Rickman photo
One of the greats
UK stage and screen actor Alan Rickman has passed away after a fight against cancer. He was 69 years old. Rickman was one of the most admired actors working today, and not just for playing Professor Snape in the Harry Potter ...

Rush Hour TV trailer photo
Rush Hour TV trailer

Rush Hour TV series trailer reminds me how much I liked Martial Law with Sammo Hung


What's Cantonese for "shark sandwich"?
Jan 13
// Hubert Vigilla
The three Rush Hour films starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker earned more than $849 million worldwide. The trilogy combined some pretty solid action and the odd couple/buddy cop formula. So why not try to turn that into TV ...
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The King wants to go undercover in the first trailer for Elvis & Nixon


Don't eat the M&Ms
Jan 13
// Matt Liparota
Remember the time rock 'n' roll superstar Elvis Presley petitioned then-President Richard Nixon for a badge to become a federal narcotics agent? You don't hear about it in history class, but it happened – and thanks to ...
George Miller Mad Max photo
George Miller Mad Max

George Miller says he's done making Mad Max movies


At least he goes out on top
Jan 13
// Hubert Vigilla
Mad Max: Fury Road was one of the best films of 2015. An excellent addition to the loose continuity of the Mad Max series, George Miller essentially gave us a masterclass on the art of the action movie and how you can use vis...
Industry photo
Industry

Legendary is bought by China's Wanda for $3.5 billion


Prepare for a lot more China in movies
Jan 12
// Matthew Razak
It's a good time to be Legendary Entertainment. The studio is known for its genre films that started out small, but eventually led to things like the Dark Knight trilogy and Godzilla, but thanks to a spate of wise invest...
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Avengers: Infinity War will supposedly feature nearly 70 characters


Better start clearing room in the tower
Jan 12
// Matt Liparota
It's no secret to anyone following the Marvel Cinematic Universe that the two-part Avengers: Infinity War is going to be a massive blowout to cap off the shared franchise as it currently exists, the likes of which we've never...
House of Cards photo
House of Cards

House of Cards trailer makes me want to watch


So this show is good, huh?
Jan 11
// Matthew Razak
Please don't kill me, but I haven't watched a single episode of House of Cards. It's not that I don't want to, it's just that I haven't. Yes, I've probably been watching a bunch of other shows that aren't as good, and I keep ...
Ridley Scott/The Prisoner photo
Ridley Scott/The Prisoner

Ridley Scott wants to adapt The Prisoner for the big screen


Plus Hubert's preferred episode order
Jan 11
// Hubert Vigilla
Originally aired in 1967 and 1968, The Prisoner is one of the best TV shows of all time. Many directors have tried to bring it to the big screen, including Simon West and Christopher Nolan, and the show had a poorly received ...
Force Awakens/New Hope photo
Force Awakens/New Hope

J.J. Abrams talks Star Wars: The Force Awakens and similarities to A New Hope


In short: I meant to do that!
Jan 11
// Hubert Vigilla
Whether you liked The Force Awakens or not, there's one thing everyone can agree on: Episode VII is very similar to A New Hope and The Original Trilogy. As director J.J. Abrams recently explained, that was by design. "It was ...

RIP David Bowie (1947-2016)

Jan 11 // Hubert Vigilla
RIP David Bowie photo
There's a starman waiting in the sky
David Bowie passed away yesterday after an 18-month battle with cancer. He was 69 years old. It's unreal to write those sentences, and it's enough to bring tears to my eyes, but David Bowie is dead. This is just days after th...

The Golden Globes have their winners

Jan 11 // Matthew Razak
Best Motion Picture – Drama“The Revenant” (WINNER)“Carol”“Mad Max: Fury Road”“Room”“Spotlight” Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical“The Martian” (WINNER)“The Big Short”“Joy”“Spy”“Trainwreck” Best TV Series – Drama “Mr. Robot” (WINNER)“Empire”“Game of Thrones”“Narcos”“Outlander” Best TV Series – Comedy“Mozart in the Jungle” (WINNER)“Casual”“Orange Is the New Black”“Silicon Valley”“Transparent”“Veep” Best Animated Feature Film“Inside Out” (WINNER)“Anomalisa”“The Good Dinosaur”“The Peanuts Movie”“Shaun the Sheep Movie” Best TV Movie or Limited-Series“Wolf Hall” (WINNER)“American Crime”“American Horror Story: Hotel”“Fargo”“Flesh and Bone” Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language “Son of Saul” (WINNER)“The Brand New Testament”“The Club”“The Fencer”“Mustang” Best Director – Motion PictureAlejandro G. Iñárritu (“The Revenant”) (WINNER)Todd Haynes (“Carol”)Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”)George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”)Ridley Scott (“The Martian”) Best Screenplay – Motion PictureAaron Sorkin (“Steve Jobs”) (WINNER)Emma Donoghue (“Room”)Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer (“Spotlight”)Charles Randolph, Adam McKay (“The Big Short”)Quentin Tarantino (“The Hateful Eight”) Best Actress in a Motion Picture – DramaBrie Larson (“Room”) (WINNER)Cate Blanchett (“Carol”)Rooney Mara (“Carol”)Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”) Best Actor in a Motion Picture – DramaLeonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”) (WINNER)Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”)Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”)Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”)Will Smith (“Concussion”) Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”) (WINNER)Melissa McCarthy (“Spy”)Amy Schumer (“Trainwreck”)Maggie Smith (“The Lady in the Van”)Lily Tomlin (“Grandma”) Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or MusicalMatt Damon (“The Martian”) (WINNER)Christian Bale (“The Big Short”)Steve Carell (“The Big Short”)Al Pacino (“Danny Collins”)Mark Ruffalo (“Infinitely Polar Bear”) Best Supporting Actor in a Motion PictureSylvester Stallone (“Creed”) (WINNER)Paul Dano (“Love & Mercy”)Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”)Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”)Michael Shannon (“99 Homes”) Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) (WINNER)Caitriona Balfe (“Outlander”)Viola Davis (“How to Get Away With Murder”)Eva Green (“Penny Dreadful”)Robin Wright (“House of Cards”) Best Actor in a TV Series – DramaJon Hamm (“Mad Men”) (WINNER)Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”)Wagner Moura (“Narcos”)Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”) Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy Gael Garcia Bernal (“Mozart in the Jungle”) (WINNER)Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”)Rob Lowe (“The Grinder”)Patrick Stewart (“Blunt Talk”)Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”) Best Actress in a TV Series – ComedyRachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex Girlfriend”) (WINNER)Jamie Lee Curtis (“Scream Queens”)Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”)Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”)Lily Tomlin (“Grace & Frankie”) Best Supporting Actress in a Motion PictureKate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”) (WINNER)Jane Fonda (“Youth”)Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”)Helen Mirren (“Trumbo”)Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina”) Best Actress in a Limited-Series or TV MovieLady Gaga (“American Horror Story: Hotel”) (WINNER)Kirsten Dunst (“Fargo”)Sarah Hay (“Flesh & Bone”)Felicity Huffman (“American Crime”)Queen Latifah (“Bessie”) Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited-Series, or TV MovieMaura Tierney (“The Affair”) (WINNER)Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black”)Joanne Froggatt (“Downton Abbey”)Regina King (“American Crime”)Judith Light (“Transparent”) Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited-Series or TV MovieChristian Slater (“Mr. Robot”) (WINNER)Alan Cumming (“The Good Wife”)Damian Lewis (“Wolf Hall”)Ben Mendelsohn (“Bloodline”)Tobias Menzies (“Outlander”) Best Actor in a Limited-Series or TV MovieOscar Isaac (“Show Me a Hero”) (WINNER)Idris Elba (“Luther”)David Oyelowo (“Nightingale”)Mark Rylance (“Wolf Hall”)Patrick Wilson (“Fargo”) Best Original ScoreEnnio Morricone (“The Hateful Eight”) (WINNER)Carter Burwell (“Carol”)Alexandre Desplat (“The Danish Girl”)Daniel Pemberton (“Steve Jobs”)Ryuichi Sakamoto Alva Noto (“The Revenant”) Best Original Song“Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre” (WINNER)“Love Me Like You Do” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”“One Kind of Love” from “Love & Mercy”“See You Again” from “Furious 7”“Simple Song No. 3” from “Youth”  
Golden Globes photo
Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!
The Hollywood Foreign Press is a strange group that really shouldn't have the second biggest award show around, but through marketing and a willingness to get famous people drunk they do. And so we once again bring you the wi...

RIP Angus Scrimm (1926-2016)

Jan 10 // Hubert Vigilla
Phantasm's Tall Man has p photo
Phantasm's Tall Man has passed away
Angus Scrimm, the actor best know for portraying The Tall Man in the Phantasm films, died yesterday in Los Angeles. He was 89 years old. Phantasm director Don Coscarelli emailed the following statement to Entertainment Weekly...

Of Oz the Wizard photo
Of Oz the Wizard

Watch: The Wizard of Oz re-edited alphabetically (Of Oz the Wizard)


Home Like No Place There's
Jan 08
// Hubert Vigilla
If you are a person of a certain age who has tried certain substances, you've probably synced The Wizard of Oz to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. It lent the movie an added air of weirdness and otherworldliness in the pop...
Screenings photo
Screenings

See 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi early and free


Washington DC screening
Jan 08
// Matthew Razak
Michael Bay has gotten into the habit of doing "smaller" films while he isn't making progressively worse Transformers movies. The last one was the surprisingly adept Pain & Gain and now he's returning the "true ...
Star Wars petition photo
Star Wars petition

Star Wars nerds petition George Lucas to direct Episode IX instead of Colin Trevorrow


Yousa gotta be kidding me
Jan 08
// Hubert Vigilla
Star Wars nerds (nerds in general, really) can be pretty irrational at times. Don't get me wrong, a lot of them are fun people, but some of them are total drags. I mean, you get calls for boycotts due to "white genocide" and ...
The Get Down photo
The Get Down

Watch the trailer for The Get Down, Baz Luhrmann's Netflix series on disco and the birth of hip-hop


Recreating New York City in the 1970s
Jan 08
// Hubert Vigilla
There's a lot of romance surrounding New York in the 1970s even though it wasn't necessarily the place you'd want to live. Crime, poverty, economic collapse, garbage strikes, tenement arson to collect insurance money. Then ag...

Review: The Forest

Jan 08 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]220259:42746:0[/embed] The ForestDirector: Jason Zada Release Date: January 8, 2016Rating: PG-13  I knew I was going to dislike The Forest from the moment I was reminded of its premise. It’s about the Aokigahara Forest, one of two films about that in the works (the other is directed by Gus Van Sant, and by default I expect it will be the best Aokigahara-focused film of 2016). Aokigahara is a forest in Japan, the most popular suicide spot there and one of the most popular in the world. There are demons there, too, at least as far as the film is concerned. But none of that bothers me. I mean, who doesn’t love a good Japanese horror film? Problem is, it’s not a Japanese horror film. It’s a film about a white girl, a blonde white girl named Sarawho doesn’t speak Japanese going to find her not-blonde white girl twin sister, Jess, who may or may not speak Japanese. Jess went into the Suicide Forest (it’s actually called that, by the way), presumably to commit suicide. Sara goes to find her, because her twin sense continued to tingle. If something was really going to go wrong, she’d know because the twin sense would go silent. It’s a thing that twins have. (So they say.) It’s somewhere between familial bonding, quantum entanglement, and supernatural garbage. My instinct is that it falls towards that latter one, because that’s really the best way to explain the film. It makes me legitimately angry that I spent a fair portion of The Forest looking away from the screen. The easiest example to point to takes place… at some point, I don’t even remember when. Sarah is walking down a hallway, and the lights are flickering on and off. As she goes down, ON, flicker, OFF, pause. ON, flicker, OFF, pause. It’s quiet. You know and have known since she got into the hallway that at some point it’s going to flicker on and something is going to jump out at the screen. You know it because that’s how these things work, when they have nothing else to show. And The Forest does it. And I jumped a bit. I was looking just offscreen, but the sound and the sudden movement got me up a bit. And I was infuriated. Years ago, I reviewed a film called Replicas (later retitled In Their Skin). A commenter chastised me for being "defeated by that mediocre film." I stand by my glowing assessment of that film, but that comment has stuck with me ever since. It’s basically how I feel about my reaction to The Forest. In the climactic scenes, the ones where things are supposedly “scary,” I was able to watch the film just fine, because it wasn’t jumpy any more. It was just “atmospheric” or whatever. But, of course, it wasn’t. I stared at it, almost feeling bad for what didn’t even seem like an honest attempt at horror. I have trouble imagining anyone feeling the slightest twinge of fear while watching that final sequence. (The only legitimately unsettling sequence was in a cave with an overly happy Japanese girl. Her performance made me rather tense, though the ultimate place that encounter went didn’t even make sense with the narrative, so that one moment of potential good was ruined.) In those jump moments, I braced myself for the impact. I tensed my body, looked away from the screen, and hated everything about it. Every single scare was so obviously telegraphed literally minutes before it happened. And other people in the theater jumped each time as well. It felt so clinical, so scientific. Like they had focus tested exactly how many times the light should flicker before the elderly woman popped out. They knew how to get a rise out of people, and they knew that there was nothing else to get people into the theater. They could put out a trailer of just people jumping, like they did for Paranormal Activity all those years ago, and maybe a few people would go see it. But it’s a cheat. You take a forest. You take an issue like suicide. You tell people that the forest doesn’t kill you, it makes you kill yourself – which is a fascinating concept, by the way, and I would like to see it play out in a better film. At some point, it threatens to deliver on that concept, but the actual execution is so shoddy that it’s barely worth considering (and, like so much else, it can’t stick the landing). When I got out of the theater, I had these grand visions of writing a multi-thousand word essay on the nature of fear, but as I look back on it, The Forest doesn’t deserve that. It doesn’t really even deserve the thought that I’ve already given it. Don’t see The Forest. If it doesn’t make you angry, then you’ll just be bored, wishing you’d seen The Revenant instead. That’s sort of a horror movie, and it also takes place in the woods. And it’s awesome. Go see The Revenant. Forget The Forest exists. By the time this has posted, I know I will have.
The Forest Review photo
Nope
I’ve written before about how wimpy I am at horror movies. I don’t know that I’m “scared” easily, but I’m exceedingly jumpy. A loud sound, sudden movement, or anything of that sort will lau...

Review: The Revenant

Jan 08 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]219682:42494:0[/embed] The RevenantDirector: Alejandro González IñárrituRelease Date: January 9th, 2016Rating: R  At least 30 times during The Revenant's 156 minute runtime, I thought the word "weird." It was the only word to describe what I was watching. "This is really weird... This is weird, right? ... It's weird AF that a studio funded this... This is the weirdest prestige drama in more than a decade, right? ... What kind of weird Oscar bait is this? ... Dude, this is so weird." When the credits rolled, I turned to our own Hubert Vigilla (his thoughts below), who sat beside me, and said, "That was really fucking weird, right?" He nodded. I belabor this point because I want to make it exceedingly clear that The Revenant is a constant surprise. I only saw that first, spoiler-free trailer, so I knew exactly three things going in: - Production was hell- It was shot in natural light on the Alexa 65- Leonardo DiCaprio sleeps in a dead animal carcass Had I waited another day or two, I would have known that some people believe the film features an extended scene where DiCaprio is raped by a bear. That would have made for a weirder film than this one... but perhaps less than you'd think. Instead, we're left with what is inarguably the most horrific animal attack ever put on screen. Five to eight minutes, a single take.  Earlier this year, I saw a film called Backcountry. I never wrote about it, but I was interested in something that the press notes said, paraphrased to "We want Backcountry to do for hiking what Jaws did for swimming." They wanted the bear attack to be so intense, visceral, and real that anyone who saw it would have nightmares about grizzly bears and be simply incapable of hiking again. The film failed in its quest; the scene was a mess of quick cuts and not-amazing effects. At the end of it, the mutilated corpse was rather unsettling, but the journey wasn't so impressive. The Revenant does what Backcountry wanted to do. The scene is horrific, mostly because of how freaking long it is. In one of many long takes in the film, we follow Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) as he goes out into the woods. We see young bears. We see a big bear. The big bear runs towards Glass. At this point, I thought, "No way. This guy's the protagonist, and we're like 40 minutes into this movie. He's not going to get—Oh shit." It's hardly a flawless sequence. The bear doesn't actually look "real" most of the time, and the bites and scratches felt a little off. I don't know what actually happened on set (and director Alejandro Iñárritu refused to explain it in the following Q&A), so I don't know entirely whose fault it is that the seams are there, but you know what? I'm nitpicking. That scene is incredible. It's shocking, possibly even revolting, and absolutely brilliant. It took guts to make that scene look like that. But they committed. It paid off. That's the film in a nutshell. It took guts. They committed. It paid off. It takes guts to make a movie that essentially begins with the biggest battle of the entire film. In fact, it's the only real battle in the film. In the first twenty or so minutes, you see more "action" (bear attack aside) than you'll see in the rest of the movie. To set up expectations like that and then completely ignore them in favor of a film that is actually rather slow is gutsy. Actually, no, it's crazy. This is a film that periodically cuts to beautiful shots of the wilderness or the skies or bugs or whatever, because art. It does it to evoke thoughts and emotions. This is a studio-funded film that actually requires you to think about what it's doing and why. There's only one moment in the entire film that could arguably be considered "hitting you over the head with The Point," and I take some issue with that moment for a few reasons, but ultimately it doesn't detract from the overall feeling that the film wanted me to think about what it was trying to say and not just say it. And again, this is a Hollywood movie that cost $135 million to make. This is the antithesis to the Superhero tentpole movie. You cannot sell this to the ADD generation, because as soon as they realize that this is a slow, gorgeous exploration of a man's suffering and not much more, they'll pull out their phones and start tweeting about how bullshit everything is. That scares me. It scares me that people will go into this movie expecting something totally different, something traditional, and not get it. But rather than appreciating the art, they'll be furious that they weren't given entertainment. They'll say it's the worst movie ever, because movies are supposed to be fast & furious. And then people will be scared off. Though the film is technically inspired by a book inspired by a true story, the only thing that was really taken from the real Hugh Glass's life was the fact that he was attacked by a bear and survived. The journey that follows, and probably the journey that got him there, was the brainchild of Iñárritu and Mark Smith, who co-wrote the film. This is, for all intents and purposes, and original work. I still can't believe it exists. Some years ago, I remember hearing someone talk about how we're no longer in the age of Torture Porn; rather, we're in the age of Suffering Porn. It probably had a different name, and that's why I can't find an actual source, but the point was this: It's not about seeing people get tortured anymore, enjoying the blood and viscera and all of that. It's about the suffering now. The Revenant is suffering porn. Glass is mauled by a bear in an excruciating, extended sequence, and perhaps that's torture porn. But, then he can't move. He can't speak. All he can do is suffer. And then when he finally builds up strength to move, it's belabored. It's pained. Every single movement and every single breath hurts this man, and you can feel it and hear it and see it. DiCaprio gives one hell of a performance, though it won't win him the Oscar. As spectacular as he is, this simply isn't an "Academy" performance.  And the same part of me that says that also thinks this isn't an Academy movie. It will be nominated, I think, because Birdman won Best Picture and Iñárritu won Best Director. These are also, I suspect, the reasons that The Revenant was made. Iñárritu built clout with that last film, and so he was able to go and do something crazy and keep people by his side as it got crazier and crazier. I believe it will be nominated, but I also believe that it has absolutely no chance at winning. It's too different, too weird, too brilliant. Birman won, but as much as I loved Birdman, it also hit the Academy notes. It was a movie about an actor who wants to do something Important. It lashes out at critics and audiences. It says the right things and bashes everyone over the head with its message over and over again. That message resonated with people in the Academy. There's no other way that script won Best Screenplay. There's no other way that film won Best Picture. What's the message of The Revenant? Well... that's a complicated question. And the fact that it's complicated means that this film will not win. But maybe it should. It's not my favorite film of the year, but I want this film to receive prestige because I want films like this to exist again. The Revenant is a ray of light in the black void of superhero movies. If it succeeds, it's evidence that not only can expensive and original ideas gain traction (something Christopher Nolan has proved) but so can expensive movies that make you think (something Christopher Nolan has not proved). If The Revenant fails, that's it. I don't think we'll see another film like it for a decade or more. And I hope beyond hope that that doesn't happen. I hope it becomes a massive success, in America and elsewhere. I hope it proves every single assumption that people (myself included) have about what sells nowadays wrong. I hope it proves that weird movies can succeed again. Please see The Revenant. If not because you want to (though you should, because it's excellent), then because you want it to set a precedent. You want to change things and show the studios that this was not a mistake. After the chaos of the production, I imagine there are at least a couple of people waiting for this film to fail. They'll write it off as a failure and use it as evidence that audiences just can't handle truly interesting big-budget movies. That can't happen.  I have the utmost respect for the people who allowed  The Revenant to be made. And I hope that it makes them all filthy stinking rich.   Hubert Vigilla: The Revenant feels like a strange, singular, director-driven project that could have only been made in the 1970s. After the screening, Alec and I kept asking each other, "How the hell did this thing get made?" The question was half bafflement, half admiration. There is so much to admire about The Revenant given its difficult production history. That it even exists is a kind of accomplishment. It's a visceral art movie, one that might in time be named alongside films such as Apocalypse Now or Aguirre, the Wrath of God for audacity and craft. Seriously, who is the studio person that gave a madman the keys to the car? I need to thank them. The cliché is that they don't make movies like this anymore, and they really don't make them like The Revenant, especially not end-of-the-year prestige pictures distributed by a major studio. The Revenant is full of hardship and grunting; heavy on slobber and scalps and hypermasculinity, light on dialogue and monologues and audience hand-holding. The film is uncompromising when it comes to its depictions of violence and its deeper spiritual concerns. Both are treated with equal measures of importance. Sure, it's self-indulgent, and the film takes itself extremely seriously, but it's this level of risk that makes Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest such a memorable, engrossing picture. Emmanuel Lubezki's imagery and meticulously choreographed long-takes are a wonder to behold. The look and feel is a mash-up of Terrence Malick, Werner Herzog, and even Alejandro Jodorowsky. (I spotted two potential Jodorowsky homages, possibly three.) Both Tom Hardy and Leonardo Di Caprio act their asses off, with Di Caprio turning in his least glamorous performance and maybe most unconventionally award-worthy. When not a raspy Sisyphisean hero driven to avenge a murder, he's Wile E. Coyote waving to the audience before gravity sends him crashing to the canyon floor. It's absurd, it's glorious, and there's no other movie like it this year. 86 - Great
The Revenant Review photo
Hope for the future
I follow twelve people on Instagram. I don't really use it much, but it's something I check every so often. Of those twelve, only one is a person I don't know personally: Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki. And honestly, how could I no...

MRA anger over Mad Max and Star Wars reveals the dark side of male geek identity

Jan 06 // Hubert Vigilla
When I wrote about the #BoycottStarWarsVII campaign last year, I mentioned that "the ethnic, cultural, religious, or gendered 'other' is a threat to white male hegemony and homogeneity." I didn't get into it much deeper in that piece, but I've always noticed this ugly sense of gatekeeping in geekdom. By that I mean people acting geekier than thou or passing judgement on who's a real geek and who's a poseur/fake geek, as if there's only a few set ways to be authentic when it comes to geek culture. I've been guilty of that behavior multiple times in the past, but you know what I eventually realized? It's a sign of immaturity and selfishness, and it's just plain stupid. Why not share the stuff you love, or at least appreciate another person's enthusiasm for it? Because here's the thing: that movie, that book, that comic, that game you love isn't yours alone. For insecure male geeks, these outside groups (i.e., women, people of color, newcomers to a medium or genre, etc.) are invaders storming the walls looking to pollute the wells of familiar geekdom with their alien influence. Oooh, scary! They'll bring new perspectives, new ideas, new conversations, and new modes of engagement with them. And if these scary noobs enjoy these works so much that they're driven to create their own work, that means they'll add new characters and new stories and new contexts for the discussion of geekdom. What this means is that geekdom gets to evolve and reflect the actual multitude of experiences of the 21st century. Yet you have these calls for boycotts, you have online harassment, you have violent threats, you have efforts to silence or marginalize different voices, you have these immediate calls to discount a point of view without hearing it out and considering its potential merits. There's no self-reflection, there's just self-preservation. There can be no conversation beyond the prevailing conversation. The echo chamber must be maintained. The "No Girls Allowed" sign must stay by the ladder to the treehouse. Boys will be boys. My friend Michael Carlisle had a great metacultural read on Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens following the film's release, one shared by Damien Walter at The Independent. As a villain, Kylo Ren embodies all the worst male geek tendencies. Heck, Kylo Ren's main adversaries are a woman and a person of color--it's a little too perfect, so much so that it had to be just a little bit intentional. Since The Force Awakens is, as AA Dowd said, essentially like watching Star Wars nerds in a Star Wars movie, Kylo Ren is the worst kind of Star Wars nerd. This is the sort of guy who'd overreact and make claims about white genocide, or spend an evening harassing SJWs on Twitter. All Kylo Ren's missing is an ill-fitting fedora. (Was discussing this with fellow Flixist writer Matt Liparota, and truly MRAs ruin everything, even stylish headwear.) Walter writes, "Kylo Ren impotently thrashing a computer with his big red sword is the perfect portrait of Gamergate." He adds, "If Kylo Ren's buddies in the First Order have a manifesto, don't be surprised if point one is 'actually it's about ethics in galactic domination'." The villains in both The Force Awakens and Fury Road embody aspects of toxic masculinity, and it's telling that MRAs would be against both films. If Kylo Ren is a frustrated neckbeard, Immortan Joe is this patriarchal force of control and subjugation. He controls access to water and doles it out only when he sees fits, playing a kind of gatekeeper. Women are either for pleasure/breeding (his sexual slaves) or used as a tool to maintain power (the milk mothers, Furiosa), but they're never equals. And all he wants is to breed a healthy, pure boy to inherit the ugly world he maintains. Hegemony and homogeneity, all shiny and chrome. But remember, it's feminist/SJW propaganda to say that a petulant Space Nazi and a ruthless post-apocalyptic dictator are villains and that the ideological motivations for their actions are poisonous. The thing is, there are models for better male geekdom in each of these films. Walter's piece in The Independent is all about trying to find a better kind of geek masculinity in 2016, one that's less like Kylo Ren (or Emo Kylo Ren) or his PUA and MRA ilk. Poe and Finn seem like good guys, so maybe that's a potential place to start the conversation of a healthier male geekdom. Angie Han at /Film had a great piece about heroic masculinity in Mad Max: Fury Road, and how Max and Nux embody better ways for men to be. Again, another place to start that conversation. This isn't to say that you can't disagree with a feminist read or SJW interpretation of something you enjoy. I don't agree with Anita Sarkeesian's read of Mad Max: Fury Road, for instance, in which she says the movie glorifies violence and engages in the type of objectification it's trying to critique. Violence is the only viable mode of discourse in Fury Road, and as in many great action movies, there winds up being a disjunction between the violence being aesthetically and viscerally awesome and the violence also having emotional stakes and tragic consequences. (The "heroic bloodshed" genre is called that for a reason.) Similarly, I think a disjunction necessarily has to exist with regard to Immortan Joe's sexual slaves. Since they are on the one hand objectified while also asserting they are not things, the film plays with this tension of images and how they're interpreted, and how competing and even paradoxical interpretations can exist simultaneously in the same image. Ceci n'est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe) = We are not things. While I disagree with Sarkeesian in this regard, that doesn't mean I want her to stop engaging with culture. It's the opposite, in fact. She's got insight, she's got opinions, and she should keep engaging with culture and the way culture manifests ideologies the way she does. Everyone should, and we should have this ongoing cultural conversation with as many voices as possible. And just because I don't agree doesn't mean an opinion has no merit or value. Sarkeesian made me rethink some of my assessments of Fury Road and realize what else might be going on visually, and also made me think about how violence functions as rhetoric and discourse in different kinds of action movies. The point is that rather than trying to shutdown discussion or threatening someone because of matter of taste or opinion, we should get into discussions. Male geeks shouldn't be so frightened of new ideas, and we shouldn't be so insecure about our opinions changing or being malleable either. The other person is not a thing. It's part of being an adult. I've been re-reading Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's Preacher for a project I'm working on, and it's got some good models for all kinds of geekdom. It's such a 90s comic but also forward-thinking in so many ways. One of the most striking aspects of Preacher is how it deals with the changing gender roles of the decade. You've got Tulip O'Hare, who's one of the best badass women in comics breaking down old paradigms about how a lady ought to act. "So you're a girl," Tulip's dad says to her as a newborn. "That needn't be so bad." In other words, she's not getting hemmed in as a damsel in distress--Tulip is her own woman, and she'll bury a bullet in your face if you question that, and she'd probably be into Neko Case's song "Man." Jesse Custer also learns more about what it means to be a man, and that you (male or female) can make your own way and define yourself. Maybe the biggest takeaway of Preacher is that the pre-existing roles the world has assigned to you don't have to be the way they are. Ideological orthodoxy is a kind of inbreeding, and if you keep that sort of insularity going long enough, you wind up like the Habsburgs. There's a better way to be. So c'mon, fellas. I know a lot of you male geeks are better than this insecure MRA bullshit. Remember what Jesse's daddy told him about being a man: "You judge a person by what's in 'em, not how they look. An' you do the right thing. You gotta be one of the good guys, son, 'cause there's way too many of the bad." Man up.
MRAs, Mad Max, Star Wars photo
It's actually about male insecurity
The other day we reported about Return of Kings' limp boycott of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, an attempt to combat the movie's supposed feminist and SJW propaganda. (This is unrelated to #BoycottStarWarsVII, another call to ...

Transformers photo
Transformers

Michael Bay confirms he is back for Transformers 5


Rumors of 50 dump trucks full of money
Jan 05
// Matthew Razak
Michael Bay has made progressively worse Transfomers  movies since the original film was released and they have made progressively more money. Despite the fact that he's constantly talking about leaving the franchise he ...
MRAs vs. Star Wars photo
MRAs vs. Star Wars

Men's Rights Activists claim tiny victory over Star Wars: The Force Awakens, feminists, SJWs


A very small victory is still a victory
Jan 04
// Hubert Vigilla
Star Wars: The Force Awakens continues to dominate the box office. As of this writing, the film has earned more than $740 million in the US alone. When you add the international box office to that, the film has made a stagger...
Screenings photo
Screenings

See The Revenant early and free


Washington DC and Baltimore
Jan 04
// Matthew Razak
Most people this year were probably excited for The Hateful 8 to land, but if you've been paying attention The Revenant is really the western you want to see. It's a bold, artistic landmark of a film according to us...
 photo

Doctor Strange: First images of Benedict in the costume, film's main villain is cast


He's a real KILLER, ha ha ha
Dec 29
// Matt Liparota
For months, fans have been clamoring for their first real look at Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character of Marvel's upcoming Doctor Strange. Entertainment Weekly answered the prayers of nerds everywhere this week, wit...
Deadpool Trailer photo
Deadpool Trailer

Newest Deadpool trailer is more Deadpool than we can handle


Dec 28
// Nick Valdez
Over the holiday, Fox released the second full Deadpool trailer. There're both red and green band versions and like before, the red band version is the superior one. I'm still excited for this nonetheless since it's a Deadpoo...
Ass Creed photo
Ass Creed

Here's another Assassin's Creed image with hoods and stuff


Dec 28
// Nick Valdez
Videogame films have been struggling for a bit. They're not as bad as they used to be with studios putting in more effort than they used to, but they've yet to be taken seriously. So far Fox has been making the right moves wi...
Star Wars: Episode VII photo
Star Wars: Episode VII

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has already made a billion dollars


S.W.R.E.A.M.
Dec 28
// Nick Valdez
To no one's surprise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens still dominated the box office over the holiday weekend. Some saw it for the first time, others their third or fourth outing, it's certainly made bank as it broke all sorts o...
Radiohead Bond theme photo
Radiohead Bond theme

Listen to Radiohead's unused James Bond theme song for Spectre


A Christmas gift to you from Radiohead
Dec 26
// Hubert Vigilla
Spectre was sort of wonky as recent Bond movies go. The film was full of Bond callbacks, particularly to the Roger Moore era, which was nice for a cheap nostalgia pop but a big step backwards after the strengths of Skyfall. O...

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