This is it guys ... the final episode of Flixistentialism as we know it. The gang plus some old (white) faces of Flixist past get together and reminisce on this long journey of a podcast we've all embarked on. There's fantasy...
We've all wanted to make a movie at some point. We've all thought it through in our minds, from story to characters to the final act that would shock audiences around the world. Our own personal dream movie. A movie we would ...
Isao Takahata is one of the directors out of Studio Ghibli that seems to be less discussed by fans in the west. Takahata is responsible for directing some of the most riveting and eerie films to come from the Japanese animation studio including Pom Poko and Grave of the Fireflies. His most recent directorial work is The Tale of Princess Kaguya, based on classic Japanese folklore, and it just might be one of the most expressive and chilling films from Studio Ghibli in years.
This post contains open discussion of depression, and spoilers for Super.
“The rules were set a long time ago. They don’t change.” ~Frank D’Arbo
When I was ten, a new student transferred into my school, and I made my first friend. In the second term, he beat me with a plastic tennis racket until I couldn’t breathe. I don’t know quite how long I laid in the shade of the portable classroom, the sound of the other children playing had long since blended into a peaceful, endless drone. When the bell rang, I dragged myself inside so I’d be present on the register, and told my teacher what happened.
“Don’t lie about your classmates,” she said. “If Jake had actually beat you with one of those, you wouldn’t be able to stand.”
A decade later, I sat in a small, grey office (are there any other kinds?), as a woman looked at me with an expression equal parts disappointed and confused. She’d just told me that I’d been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, and wanted to know why I didn’t seem to have any kind of reaction.
“Nothing’s wrong with me,” I said. And she smiled.
I thought this would make me feel better in some way. When you grow up lonely, the only thought ever on your mind is “Why?” Why don’t people want to talk to me? Why do I feel so disconnected from those around me? Why did the one person I trusted beat me til I felt the taste blood in my throat, and why did that make him more popular? Now I had an answer in front of me, and it wasn’t enough. The question remained.
It's hard to believe that Shaun The Sheep is only Aardman's fourth stop motion feature film. The studio initially made its name in the UK with short films in the 70s and 80s such as Creature Comforts, but it was with the release of the first Wallace and Gromit short in 1990 that they truly seared themselves into the fabric of British cultural identity. And in the 25 years since, they've embodied a kind of effortless ubiquity that easily overcomes their relatively sparse output. Aardman is the closest equivalent the UK has to Studio Ghibli, in many ways a remnant of times gone by, desperately carrying the torch for a style of animation that is beloved and resonant, whose flame should long since have flickered out.
Going in, the signs were not exactly pointing in the right direction. A spin-off of a spin-off, the movie is the big screen outing of the popular Kids TV show, for which the target audience skews far younger than Aardman’s earlier family efforts. Combined with a lackluster marketing push and the fact that the film hasn’t even been picked up for distribution in the USA, I went into the movie with a quiet apprehension that Aardman’s creative glory days had passed, and the studio was ready to go softly into that good night.
Much to my delight, I walked out of the cinema with a massive smile on my face and more than a single tear in my eye. The movie's target audience may skew young, but Shaun The Sheep is Aardman's most assured and most mature work yet.
Despite what some may say (and even more might want), the Academy Awards are a huge deal. It's a club for old white men, sure, but the choices they make absolutely affect what projects studios do and don't greenlight going forward. And for that reason, all we can do is hope that the old white men didn't mess it up too badly. My prediction? They definitely will.
(And now that it's over? Yeah, kinda.)
For the winners, head below. We've been updating it all night, and live reacting as well. It was a pretty good time, all things considered. Except for the whole Boyhood not winning thing. That's bullshit.
Hello everyone. With the Academy Awards just an hour away, we're finalizing our plans (which were thrown out of whack by the crazy news that someone on the Flixist staff is about to be a dad holy shit!). Check it out. Unlike in years past, I will be wearing a shirt, so you have that to look forward to.
So if you don't already have plans, join us, cause we're pretty cool. And so are movies. (And so are our opinions of movies.)
I love making lists. Love it. At the end of every year, I genuinely look forward to putting together lists of the best movies I saw, best video games I played, best roller coasters I rode and best potato balls I devoured (#1 IS ALWAYS PORTO'S POTATO BALLS!).
But I also love puppies. LOVE 'em.
So I thought: Why not combine the two this year? It's a logical pairing and one that I am very excited to share with you all. With the Oscars airing tonight, what better time to present to you my 10 favorite movies from last year … represented by pictures of puppies.
We all know that Kickstarter is pretty cool. (Heck, one of our writers used it to fund his last short film.) And film projects tend to be pretty safe bets; while video game Kickstarters routinely fail in a spectacular fashion, film projects are usually seen to completion. Probably because filmmakers are more dedicated and better at their jobs. (Suck it, game developers. (Just kidding, you're pretty cool. (Sometimes.))
It's hard to believe that Kickstarter is still a new thing and that crowdfunding is finding it's niche, but what if Kickstarter had been around back in the day? What kind of films would have been made during the golden age of Hollywood by indies? What could have gotten on their radar and become the Next Big Thing?
Here, we're looking at a few film projects abandoned, either recently or back in the day, by directors who poured their heart and souls into them. Money issues stopped them all, but what if they could have been crowdfunded? Here are six projects we wish would have turned to Kickstarter to drum up interest. And if you can think of any we missed, let us know in the comments.
When you write your list of perfect directors for the Alien franchise, where does Neill Blomkamp (director of District 9, Elysium and the upcoming Chappie) fall in? Hope it's close to the top because after what seems like months, Fox and Blomkamp have finally closed the deal.
After Blomkamp posted some concept art to Instagram a few weeks back, he posited that he'd like to make an Alien film after his work on Chappie as a sort of reboot to the series. But he was the problem. It was just a matter of wanting to do it rather than being told not to. But I guess it's all straightened out now! According to Variety, Blomkamp's Alien is separated from the Prometheus films (so we're still getting Prometheus 2 for some reason) and will apparently take place years after the first Prometheus.
If this can be anywhere as near as cool as that artwork he drew for the series, I'm game. I'm dropping the best one in the gallery below.
[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]
James Gunn's path to Guardians of the Galaxy was an unlikely one, similar to Sam Raimi's path from Evil Dead to Spider-Man and Peter Jackson's path from Bad Taste to Lord of the Rings. Apart from the two other films Gunn directed--2010's violent pitch-black comedy Super and 2006's sci-fi gross-out Slither--his writing credits include the live-action Scooby-Doo films, the remake of Dawn of the Dead, and The Supers, which looks like Mystery Men but with Rob Lowe.
Go all the way back to Gunn's first writing credit, and the idea he'd be at the helm of a major Marvel movie seems even odder. In the mid-90s, Troma paid Gunn $150 for his revised screenplay of Tromeo and Juliet, a grimy, mutated retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Maybe the most surprising thing about Tromeo and Juliet is its sweetness underlying all the goo. Yes, the small and strange human heartbeat is more surprising in this film than the infamous penis monster scene.
Tromeo and Juliet is one of Troma's best films and easily its most romantic. It's a great date movie for the cult aficionados out there, because trash cinema is for lovers and misfits.
A return to horror for Guillermo Del Toro is probably some of the most exciting stuff going on this year and with this first trailer for Crimson Peak we can see he's back in form with stunningly creepy visuals. If the director and genre didn't grab you the cast alone should, with Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston doing their utmost to creep us out and Mia Wasikowska nailing the fragile waif.
The real questions is if the film will actually be his ultimate masterpiece. That's some especially strong hyperbole for a film no one has seen and that took some haggling to get off the ground. Not only did this guy give us the likes of Pan's Labyrinth, but he's still got a lengthy career in front of him to construct an "ultimate masterpiece." I realize it's just marketing jargon, but come on.
Now, one can presume that most if not all of Spidey's supporting cast and villains come along with this deal. He has some great villains, but for every Green Goblin (and there's like five), there's a Cardiac. There's plenty of Z-list bad guys in Spider-Man's rogues' galley, but in a world where Blizzard of all people appears not once but twice on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., maybe some of these goons will get their time in the sun.
That being said, let's take a look at four characters that are probably too ridiculous to make the cut.
I should start this review by being as frank as possible. I'm not really sure who this review is for. With Fifty Shades of Grey, you'll fall into either one of two camps. You're either planning to see it (or have already seen it) regardless of what I'm going to say for the next couple of paragraphs, or you're going to avoid the film altogether thanks to the esoteric nature of its erotic subject matter.
But for those of you who have fallen to the wayside and are a bit curious thanks to the shape this pop culture juggernaut has taken, don't follow up on that feeling. Because if you're willing to sit through this two hour slog without heeding my warning, you're also "fifty shades of f**ked up."
Yesterday I wrote up a list of five reasons why Spider-Man joining the MCU was a good idea, and while I stand by my points, I couldn't shake the feeling in the back of my head. Cold and cynical as I am, it felt weird just accepting this hype train head on. You see, for as many reasons thinking it'd be a good idea, there are a strangely equal amount of reasons why it'd be a bad one.
As more of the Sony/Marvel deal has been clarified with Sony indeed retaining majority creative control, and the two companies deciding to recast the titular character, I figured I should also go through five reasons why Spider-Man joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a bad idea.
But exactly how awesome is this move? After thinking about it for a bit (taking time in between to remind myself that this is real), I've come up with five reasons why Spider-Man joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe is an Amazing, Astonishing, Spectacular, Ultimate, and Superior idea.
Wow, so, uh, yeah. I'm at a loss for words. Because both Sony and Marvel like money, and Sony has been wondering what to do with the The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, the two companies are now working together. According to the deal, Marvel's "new" Spider-Man (which most likely will recast Andrew Garfield and start a new line of films) will first appear in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film and Sony will then release the next Spider-Man film in 2017.
The two studios will collaborate with Sony remaining in control of future Spider-Man solo projects, but will allow Spider-Man to presumably join films like The Avengers and Marvel working to get its characters into future Spider films.
Holy bologna. Time to speculate! I'm hoping for Miles Morales actually since the press release emphasizes "new Spider-Man" and Marvel will most likely want a clean slate. Plus, it's the best way to get a new Spider-Man without the same origin story. Holy moley, you guys. Here's the press release.
Boy Meets Girl is an antique magic mirror. The kind of thing you'd see in a movie.
In an old, cobweb-filled antique shop, the camera slowly pans up an old, cracked and unpolished mirror. It's not really much to look at, but you're inexplicably drawn to it. And in that broken, worn out mirror, you see a true reflection of yourself, of who you are and what you hold dear. Of your beliefs and feelings about your fellow humans. Of what you believe and what matters to you.
You might not like what you see. I still don't know if I did.
Many moons ago, at San Diego Comic Con 2013, my friend and I were sitting through all the panels in the infamous Hall H waiting to get to the Marvel movie panel. One of the panels we sat through showed some footage and brought out the cast for a silly looking fantasy movie called Seventh Son. By the end of that day, I was so tired that all I remembered about it was that Kit Harington seemed really embarrassed to be on the panel talking about it.
Fast forward to two years later, the same friend and I saw Seventh Son over this past weekend.
Jupiter Ascending hit theaters this week, and what better excuse is there than that to write about the beautiful, talented Mila Kunis, amirite? From the 70's to the post-apocalypse to outer space, Mila Kunis has been all over, and damn if she doesn't look great in any time period.
Join me, won't you, as I take a closer look into what exactly makes Ms. Kunis Some Like It Hot material! Alternatively, just circumvent the whole "reading" thing (how gauche) and hop along right into the gallery full of sexy pictures and figure it out for yourself.
[Some Like It Hot shines a light on the men and women of film who have captured our hearts, and oftentimes, our libidos. It celebrates the cinematic sirens and strongmen of the silver screen that give us the vapors, tug on our heartstrings, and leave us hungry for more. Also, they're really effing hot.]
I am a Wachowski defender. I have enjoyed if not down right liked every film they've made. Yes, even the second two Matrix films. If you insult Speed Racer I'll flip some tables. That movie was a kinetic and frantic masterpiece that got trashed for no good reason. Cloud Atlas was a challenging work to tackle and they did a commendable job putting it all together. Read the book and watch the film and you'll be blown away. They are very skilled directors.
All right, calm down, Matt.
So despite Jupiter Ascending getting bumped from a major summer blockbuster to a lowly February release, and despite the terrible word-of-mouth it was receiving I was wildly hopeful for the film. It looks visually stunning and other than Channing Tatum's eyeliner I was all in for some more Wachowski greatness.
This may come as a surprise to you, but Spongebob Squarepants is still the juggernaut of a cartoon it was when it first debuted back in 1999. Never ceasing to keep kids' attention thanks to its unique characters and ever evolving comedy. Most importantly, it just has a lot of fun.
I've been excited for Sponge Out of Water for some time. A sequel to a ten year old film, Water looked ambitious, full of crazy art styles, and once again had all of the fun that the series is known for. Good thing the film mostly lives up to that even if the humor has changed from what I remember.
Did you know that the beginning of February is the perfect time to look ahead at the new year? Why is that, you ask. Because now we've gotten rid of all the crap and Oscar leftovers that January is full of and we can actually talk about the films of 2015.
We're doing something a bit different this year. Instead of hammering out a list of big releases and such we're delivering our curated favorites. Two or three films that we're all desperately dying to see. It may not include everything, but it's what we're most excited about. Dive in and let us know what you're looking forward to in the comments.