The Ten Best Korean Films Streaming on Hulu (2015 Edition)

Oct 06 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
SunnyDirector: Kang Hyeong-Cheol When people ask me what my favorite Korean film is, I usually tell them Sunny. It's not necessarily true (though it might be), but I say it to gain street cred. Most people (at least in America) haven't heard of Sunny, but every Korean person I've mentioned it to has known it. A couple of them have told me I couldn't get it because I'm not Korean. I don't think that's quite fair, though I sort of understand where they're coming from. There are politics that I don't understand, but I think it's ridiculous to say that me not quite getting the context means I can't love the film for how I see it. Because even if that plays around the backdrop (or a backdrop), what matters is the human drama that plays out in the foreground. It's often hilarious, occasionally heart-breaking, but always wonderful. Sadly, the Director's Cut, which adds two scenes (one of which is arguably the most impacting in the entire film), isn't available, but even so, Sunny is a spectacular film. I fell in love with Sunny long before I saw the Director's Cut. You will too. Watch it here! MossDirector: Kang Woo-Suk  Moss was among the first Korean films I reviewed for Flixist. I wasn't quite new to Korean cinema at the time, but it was one of the catalysts for what would end up being a reasonably deep dive. It was my first introduction to actor Park Hae-Il, though, who has become one of my favorite Korean actors. He's a pretty small guy, but he more than makes up for it with an abundance of presence and talent. What I particularly enjoy about Moss is the fact that it's a film where not only was I concerned about the main character in the general "Always care about the protagonist" sense but also the "Oh shit, this guy might actually get killed by these people" sense. The intensity of it (and a history of that kind of thing in other Korean thrillers) meant that his fate wasn't all that certain. It meant that the "thriller" was particularly thrilling, and though it's a bit on the long side, it never drags. It's got you, and it keeps you right up until the end.  Watch it here! Memories of MurderDirector: Bong Joon-Ho  Here's the thing: Memories of Murder is probably the biggest item on this list, but not because I think it's the best. Everyone else thinks it's the best. This was not just Bong Joon-Ho's breakout film, but for many it was Korean cinema's breakout film. This retelling of a tragic and senseless violent act and the ensuing investigation is disturbing and intense and important in ways that I will admit to not understanding (political things again). And on those grounds alone you should watch it, and the fact that it's here is awesome. On a personal level, I think this is a far less compelling film than Bong Joon-Ho's followup, The Host. I take particular issue with the comedic aspects of the film (including a particular transition that is overtly funny to the point of being parody), because they work against an otherwise deadly serious narrative. It's an issue that plagues Korean films in general, honestly, and Bong Joon-Ho's work in particular. To be clear: I like the film quite a bit, just not quite as much as everyone else. Perhaps since it's here, I'll give it another shot. Watch it here! SilencedDirector: Gong Ji-Young In my Netflix list, I lamented the loss of Silenced from Netflix's catalog. It's a soul-crushing movie, one of those bleak looks into the evils of humanity (it's based on a true story) and the horrific things that are allowed to happen (no one was charged). To make a film about something like this requires the utmost skill and ability to navigate horrors without succumbing to them. This film could have easily turned into something truly vile, but it doesn't. It's a film that makes you angry at society, indignant about the justice system, and depressed about the future of our species. But it's also an extremely compelling drama and one that is well worth your time. Just block off a few hours afterwards. Ya know, for the sobbing. Watch it here!   Joint Security AreaDirector: Park Chan-Wook  Speaking of debuts (sort of), Park Chan-Wook's Joint Security Area is the film that put the director on the map. It may have been his third film, but JSA was the breakout movie. He would follow this up with The Vengeance Trilogy, and even though it's a very different type of film, you could see that talent in full swing. It's a fascinating film about the relationship between North and South Korea, one that is all the more poignant as tensions heat up at the border of the countries again. It's also interesting as a film that crosses cultural boundaries. It's hard to really understand what goes into the constant standoff like this (particularly for someone who wasn't around for the height of the Cold War), but the movie isn't really about that, simply using it as a backdrop for more relatable drama. The message – we're not so different, you and I – isn't the most original, but the execution is more than enough to make up for that. Watch it here! Sex is ZeroDirector:  Yoon Je-kyoon  And while we're on the topic of obscure-ish films, Sex is Zero is a film I've yet to see on other services. For a while, its sequel was available on Netflix (no longer, but it's on Hulu), but I had trouble tracking down the original. I've always found Korean romantic comedies fascinating, but the number of them available to see is always fairly low. Perhaps it's an issue of the comedy not crossing cultures (or distributors not thinking they'd cross cultures) or maybe it's something else entirely, but I see less of that than I'd like. I heard of Sex Is Zero years ago when looking up the "Best of Korean Cinema" years ago (I'm the target audience for this list, by the way) and it showed up on multiple Best Comedy lists. Is it one of the best comedies? I dunno, but it's a whole lot of fun, and the kind of thing that you should definitely check out while it's available. Watch it here! Nameless GangsterDirector: Yoon Jong-Bin  Nameless Gangster is just a great gosh darn movie. An excellent one, even. One of my favorite mob films. That's a function of a lot of things, but as always, Choi Min-sik's performance is the key thing here. Following years of the ultra-corrupt civil servant-turned gangster's life, we get to see the seedy underbelly of 1980s Korea and the role that family plays in it. Most mob movies that head this way are about the Italian mob, and obviously we know that family is a big deal there, but it seems like the blood thing runs even deeper in Korea, and that makes it a particularly interesting film to watch. The violence is intense as well, and the distinct lack of shoot-outs due to the general difficulty of procuring weapons honestly makes for far more interesting and visceral confrontations. If you're familiar with (and perhaps tired of) American mob movies, this one will serve as a breath of fresh air. Watch it here! BedevilledDirector: Jang Cheol-Soo This film sits in an odd place for me. I wrote about it at the 2011 New York Asian Film Festival. It was one of the first reviews I ever wrote. I was also fairly new to Korean cinema at the time, only having spent a couple years prior getting into it, and certainly not getting into the country's deep cuts. I gave the film a 94, which at the time was an even more significant measure of quality than the currently very-difficult-to-reach level we have now. It meant that a film had to be effectively perfect and then some. I called the film better than the Vengeance Trilogy. I think I was a little caught up in everything.  Context matters when seeing a film. I saw Bedevilled with a crowd, and that crowd was rowdy and ugly and I didn't enjoy being there with them. I was so angry at their shouting and still liking the movie quite a bit that I think I over-compensated. I loved this movie, not because it was better than the Vengeance Trilogy, but because the people who actively attempted to get in the way of my investment in the story failed. This is one of those films that I find quintessentially Korean. You're subjected to horrors, maybe you receive some catharsis, but in the end it's all meaningless. There is no victory here. Nowadays, my score would have been lower, but I still think it's a film worth seeing. Watch it here! Bleak NightDirector: Yoon Sung-Hyun  I saw Bleak Night a couple years ago. I wanted to review it. Tried to. I wrote six different introductions to the review and bits of a body, but I hated every single one. It's a hard film to talk about, because suicide is a hard topic to discuss. The name is an apt one; this film is extremely bleak, and it doesn't leave you with a whole lot of hope. But that says nothing about its quality (and it's hardly the most depressing film on this list). Films should be challenging like this, making you consider your own actions and the way you treat people. It's a film about consequences and the chain of events that could lead someone to end their life. It begins with the suicide and works its way back. You know the ending, which makes it all the more crushing to see. But as long as you go in expecting the emotional impact, you will find it more than worth your while. Watch it here! The WhistleblowerDirector: Yim Soonrye Speaking of films I saw and wanted to write about but never did, The Whistleblower is a film that I saw at the most recent New York Asian Film Festival and really, really loved. Like, it was one of my favorites at the fest, but I didn't write about it. Why? Because I didn't feel like I could do my feelings justice. Due to time and other constraints, I was forced to write mostly capsule reviews, and I refused to condense my feelings on this film into a couple hundred words. And the reason is that this film affected me less because it's a great movie (though it is) but because of the context in which I saw it. Not long before , I was internet-attacked fairly viscously for reasons too stupid to get into here. But even though my life was never actually in danger (there were some threats or at least implications of threats in there, though), much of the public smearing that the lead character undergoes while just trying to do his job resonated in a very personal way. It was the film I wanted and needed to see at that point.  You will not have that context when you see it. You'll just get an interesting thriller about an interesting historical-ish event in modern Korean history. You'll see what pride and nationalism force people to do and the struggle to combat that in the face of absolute truth. It's fascinating, and I wish I'd had time to write about it. But I got that chance here, albeit briefly. Thanks, Hulu! Watch it here!
Best Korean Movies on Hul photo
That aren't available on Netflix
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 liter...

FlixList: The 8 Best Steven Universe Episodes

Sep 18 // Matt Liparota
Space Race (Episode 28) What makes this episode memorable to me—aside from its enticing premise, adorable montages, and chillingly sweet conclusion—is what it has to say about Pearl. Up to this point, most of the episodes (surprisingly) have been about Pearl, but this is the first one where we begin to understand who Pearl really is. She may seem stuck up and prissy, but she’s more nostalgic for her old home than her new life on Earth. We’ve all been Pearl in this situation before, where missing our old previous life brings us some comfort, but it’s in the small moments in the here and now that we find not only more comfort, but fulfillment too. In future episodes, Pearl’s anxieties are portrayed in a much more antagonistic light, but in "Space Race," for just a moment, Pearl feels more human than she ever has before or since. For Steven Universe to follow up one of its biggest high stakes episodes with one of its softer character pieces shows a strong restraint on the part of the writers and artists, as well as fundamental understanding of their own characters' needs. Plus this episode features some of the absolute best background music in the series to date. -- John-Charles Holmes [embed]219932:42620:0[/embed] Tiger Millionaire (Episode 9) Given how far the show has come in the past year, you'd be surprised to know that Steven Universe was off to a rough start. I was grabbed by the premise, and that cute "Cookie Cat" jam for sure, but SU took a few episodes to get its feet on the ground. About seven episodes in, with the introduction of his best friend Connie in "Bubble Buddies," the show really found its own voice. While I almost put that episode on this list, the show first combined sublime humor with deep storytelling in "Tiger Millionaire." You wouldn't think a wrestling pastiche, where Steven becomes the ultimate heel (the titular "Millionaire"), would be full of brilliant character work, but this is just an example of the many surprises the show is full of. Like its parent series Adventure Time, this episode proved that Steven Universe could too provide a thematically rich through line (as you realize Amethyst is wresting for a hidden, personable reason) while never forgetting it's a show for kids. It's also got everything the best SU episodes have: a killer soundtrack, the Beach City townspeople, and some great one liners. Now there's no sodas for anybody.   -- Nick Valdez [embed]219932:42617:0[/embed] Steven and the Stevens (Episode 22)  Time-travel is pretty well-worn territory for any kind of high-concept, vaguely sci-fi storytelling, so it’s no surprise that Steven Universe eventually went to that well. Leave it to Steven to put its own unique spin on the trope, though; after very briefly dabbling in trying to alter history, Steven decides to form a boy band…with himself. It falls apart within all of 30 seconds, as the “original” Steven quickly realizes how annoying he can be, which leads to a battle across time culminating in a scene in which literally dozens of Stevens disintegrate into nothing in probably the creepiest way possible (for a lighthearted kids’ show). “Steven and the Stevens” isn’t the most monumentally important episode of Steven Universe, not by a long shot, but it’s one of my favorites. It’s a prime example of the show firing on all cylinders, taking a core concept and playing it out in a way that feels both fresh and completely true to the characters involved (the scene where the four Stevens try and figure out their band personas cracks me up every single time). It’s also got one of the earliest instances of Steven Universe being just great at musical numbers (give or take a Giant Woman). -- Matt Liparota  [embed]219932:42618:0[/embed] Island Adventure (Episode 30) Man, this episode holds a lot of feelings for me. First of all, SU was so confident in its audience that it was willing to capitalize on Lars and Sadie's relationship and hoped you caught all the action happening on the sidelines. There's such a deft amount of work done between the characters through background interactions with Steven that they feel like real people. It all came to a head here as Lars, Sadie, and Steven are trapped on a mysterious island and Steven plays the tune "Be Wherever You Are." Not only is the montage great, but the song's lyrics and musicality are well crafted. A personal bit: I moved from Texas to New York a few months ago and this song was the first thing I listened to as song as I touched down.  I was a nervous wreck, and the song helped me calm down a little bit. It's such a beautiful message. Don't stress and just be wherever, whoever, and whatever you are. -- Nick Valdez [embed]219932:42624:0[/embed] Jail Break (Episode 52)  Okay, so let’s get the “big” stuff out of the way, the huge mythology stuff that puts this episode in any top 10 all on its own. First, you’ve got the gem-shattering reveal that Garnet is actually a fusion of two heretofore-unknown-gems, Ruby and Sapphire (something fans had long theorized and is blatantly obvious in retrospect) – in essence, she’s a living relationship. That’s immediately followed up by an incredible musical number-turned-fight sequence, “Stronger Than You,” which manages to feel climactic, expository and emotional all at once; the fact that it’s a legitimately great piece that you want to listen to over and over again certainly doesn’t hurt.  Ultimately, though, that’s not really what the episode is about. Like so much of Steven Universe, this episode touches on what makes Steven himself unique and indispensable, not just as a Crystal Gem but as a person. It’s only because of Steven’s unique status as a gem-human hybrid that he’s able to escape and set the entire episode in motion, as well as attack Peridot head-on when the time comes. Steven has all kinds of amazing abilities, but his real super-power is his big, human heart – something that the Crystal Gems have learned over the course of the series, and something that villainous Jasper can’t seem to fathom. Ultimately, that’s the heart of Steven Universe – one sensitive little boy who loves with all his heart and will do anything for his friends (and maybe even his enemies). -- Matt Liparota [embed]219932:42623:0[/embed] Winter Forecast (Episode 42)  Steven Universe, by its very nature of being a cartoon, is all about visual storytelling. The thing about getting this kind of storytelling just right is that you have to carefully nail all the little details. Not only does "Winter Forecast" do this, but the episode is all about the little details you can see. In this episode, Garnet bestows Steven with temporary “future vision” (the ability to see the future by seeing all possible outcomes before they happen) as an approaching snowstorm threatens to keep the Universe family from getting Steven’s best friend Connie home safely. What follows is a sequence of events of how things could go more and more horribly wrong with the more irresponsible decisions Steven could choose to make. What links these decisions together are small yet incredibly memorable details that makes for an episode full of subtle unforgettable moments—Greg’s cherry sweater (I’m the cherry man!), puddles freezing over into slick patches of ice, and even small unspoken glances between characters. The details come together to tell a cohesive story that makes even the viewers at home feel like they can really see the future. Top it off with one of the sweetest and by far quietest moments in all of Steven Universe, and you’ve got one of the best episodes of the entire show that reminds you that big moments are made from little details… as long as you’re always willing to give them a chance. -- John-Charles Holmes [embed]219932:42619:0[/embed] Alone Together (Episode 37)  My favorite character by far is Connie. I like to joke with my friends and say that someday I'd hope to have a friendship that's as great as Steven and Connie's, and that's because Connie's such a well realized character. She's not relgated to the romantic interest in Steven's hero's journey and he needs her just as much as she needs him. All of that comes to a head with "Alone Together." An experiment in SU's already established gender fluidity, sex metaphors (as the Steven half of their fused form constantly checks to make sure Connie is comfortable), and character relations, the two kids fuse together and it's as awkward as you'd think. It's such a natural trajectory for their relationship too as the two enjoy being "not one being, not two beings, but an experience" and only find fault with it when one of them is truly uncomfortable. The thing of it is, it's played straight. The fact that a boy and girl are the same person isn't mined for jokes and it's a serious discussion about identity. That's way more than any kids cartoon has done thus far. -- Nick Valdez Joy Ride (Episode 54) Much like its spiritual successor Adventure Time, one of the best things about Steven Universe is its extensive cast of colorful secondary characters, and the show has spent a lot of time developing and connecting them in unexpected ways. Beach City’s surly, rebellious teens are just a handful of those characters, and they also happen to be unexpectedly hilarious, going back to their first appearance in “Lars and the Cool Kids.” “Joy Ride” takes that development a step further, adding some real shading to characters who by this point had largely been rather broad. One of the best things about Steven Universe is the way that secondary characters’ initial impression of Steven is that he’s just a naive, goofy kid, but as they spend more time with him they realize just how infectious his enthusiasm for life is. This episode is perhaps the pinnacle of that – the Cool Kids all have semi-normal teen problems, but they pale in comparison to Steven’s burdens post-“Jail Break” – but as they note, his upbeat attitude almost never wavers. Despite first appearances, Steven’s not naive - he’s got real problems that put ours to shame - but he’s not going to get swallowed up by despair, either. “Joy Ride” is, if nothing else, a fun demonstration of how much depth the show’s secondary characters have gained since the show began. -- Matt Liparota
Best Steven Universe photo
Keep Beach City weird
In the nearly two years since it first debuted, Steven Universe has done something few kids' shows do. Created by Adventure Time alum Rebecca Sugar, Steven Universe is a show that manages to be fun, hilarious, exciting but al...

The Thirteen Best Korean Films Streaming on Netflix Instant (2015 Edition)

Sep 08 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
The Vengeance Trilogy (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Lady Vengeance)Director: Park Chan-Wook  When you're trying to get into Korean cinema, The Vengeance Trilogy is both the best and worst place you could possibly start. Best because it's one of the strongest trilogies in cinema history and each film is fascinating in and of itself. Worst because it's one of the strongest trilogies in cinema history, which means that it's pretty much all downhill from there.  I'm frequently asked which film in the trilogy is my favorite, and it's hard to choose. I love them all for different reasons. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is the most visceral, Oldboy is a narrative marvel, and Lady Vengeance (especially the fade-to-black-and-white version, sadly not available on Netflix) is simply gorgeous. Many people would just put Oldboy here and be done with it, possibly relegating the other two to separate entries, but that does a disservice to everyone involved. Absolutely watch Oldboy, but don't watch it in a vacuum. Watch Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance here, Oldboy here, and Lady Vengeance here! The Man From NowhereDirector: Lee Jeong-Beom  I like The Man From Nowhere quite of lot, and many people like it a whole lot more than me. It's definitely one of the more enjoyable Korean action/martial arts films, following a mysterious protagonist as he works his way through a criminal ring that takes children and forces them to drug-related labor. It's an intense film with some truly badass moments (the through-the-window shot is among my favorite in recent memory), and even if it sometimes feels a bit too... American (it often feels like the film pulls punches in a way that something like The Chaser does not), it's well worth a watch. Watch it here! Lee Jeong-Beom's follow, No Tears for the Dead, is also available, and it has some pretty awesome moments as well. There's a whole bunch of crazy shootouts, explosions, and a ridiculous amount of blood. I don't know if it's better than The Man From Nowhere, but it's definitely worth checking out. Watch it here! The HostDirector: Bong Joon-Ho  Snowpiercer (also on Netflix) may have done more to bring Bong Joon-Ho's films to a wider audience, but The Host is definitely the better film. (Memories of Murder, which cemented his status as an essential Korean director, is sadly no longer available for streaming.) I could go on and on about how great The Host is, but I think Scott Tobias said it best on Twitter a little while back: [embed]218531:41946:0[/embed] A monster movie set during the day? Freaking genius. And it works. Oh boy does it work. For people who are a fan of giant monsters wrecking things, this is an easy recommendation. But even people who aren't really into that sort of thing should see it, because it's a spectacular and unique take on a very familiar concept. Watch it here! The Good, the Bad, and the WeirdDirector: Kim Jee-Woon  Kim Jee-Woon is my favorite director. It's not just that The Good, The Bad, and The Weird is an amazing film (although it's certainly that); the way it fits into Kim's filmography is so appropriate and bizarre. Following up A Bittersweet Life (among my favorite gangster films of all time) and A Tale of Two Sisters (a fascinating horror film that goes on and off of Netflix with unfortunate regularity), a straight-up comedy Western seems like a hardcore turn away. But it goes back further, and it's more reminiscent of Kim's second film, The Foul King, which is a comedy about a wanna-be Luchador wrestler. While The Good, The Bad, and The Weird turns things up to 11, it serves as a reminder of just how versatile a director Kim is. Watch it here! I Saw the DevilDirector: Kim Jee-Woon  Remember that time when I said that Kim Jee-Woon is my favorite director? Yeah, this list could have turned into a Kim Jee-Woon-fest if there were any more of his films on Netflix. This is quite probably the most depressing Korean revenge thriller, which you may know is a particularly depressing subgenre. Sometimes it seems like the film is delighting in just how fucked up it is and just how soul-crushing it can be, but that does nothing to diminish the artistry of it all. You need to be in a particular frame of mind to watch I Saw the Devil, but if you go in prepared for serious emotional pain, you'll only have your night ruined and not your entire life. (And it's worth that much.) Watch it here! New WorldDirector: Park Hoon-Jung  When Choi Min-sik told me about New World at the New York Asian Film Festival in 2012 (damn, time flies), he compared it to The Departed. I found that fascinating and just a little bit offensive. Was he implying that, as a white person, I hadn't seen Infernal Affairs and had only seen Scorsese's American-ized version? Problem was: I hadn't seen Infernal Affairs yet. I'd had a copy waiting for me at home for at least a year by that point, but I never got around to seeing it. Now I've seen Infernal Affairs, and it's a great movie that I highly recommend to those of you who have also been putting it off for inexcusable reasons. You know what else is great? New World. Watch it here! A Company ManDirector: Lim Sang-Yoon I've said in the past that A Company Man is the kind of film I joke about when I joke about the ultra-violence of Korean cinema. Here is a film that goes all-freaking-out in service of a message that really doesn't justify the bloodshed. Yes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but even Jack Torrence didn't bring an M-16 to the office. So it's kind of problematic, and its message is hit-you-over-the-head-and-shoot-you-fifty-times blunt... but that didn't stop it from being enjoyable. It's certainly not on the level of Lesson of the Evil, which I still question my response to every so often, although it's also not quite as well-crafted as that film. Still, it's an interesting film and an enjoyable one. As long as you can handle bloodshed, you'll certainly be intrigued and most likely have a good time. Watch it here! PoetryDirector: Lee Chang-Dong  I knew that Poetry was going to be on this list from the moment I decided to write it. That moment was more than a year before I saw the film. For a long time, I simply neglected the works of Lee Chang-Dong. I don't have any good excuse for having done so, but he was the one big name in arthouse Korean cinema that I was aware of but seemed to be avoiding. I'm not avoiding him any longer. If you have neglected his works as well, I suggest fixing that immediately. But, like other films on this list, Poetry hits hard. It hits really, really hard. This is a film that will make you sad, and then it will just keep making you sad until the exceedingly sad ending. There is no catharsis, no hope, no redemption. There is simply life. Perhaps it's poetic, beautiful in some twisted way, but it goes straight for the heart, and once it latches onto you, it doesn't let go.  Watch it here! Hide and SeekDirector: Huh Jung  Hide and Seek is a movie that's terrifying in its plausibility. It's a creepy and tense thriller following a family that is being stalked by a helmeted murderer. They don't know why, and they don't seem to be able to stop it. The ultimate reveal is fascinating and also really freaking scary, and it gets at an interesting societal problem, one that may be Korea-focused but is certainly more broadly applicable. You can't sympathize with the murderer, but even understanding what might drive them to do this puts this a step above most films of its sort. I wish I could say more, but... it's best if you just see it for yourself. Watch it here! BreathlessDirector: Yang Ik-June  Breathless is like nothing else on this list, for a lot of reasons, but the biggest one you notice from the very first frame. Most films on this list are gorgeous. They've got high production value. They look and feel like cinema. Breathless... doesn't. It's ugly. It looks like a movie shot on tape in the late 1990s early 2000s. The audio isn't particularly well-mixed, high quality, or even apparently functional. There are weird bouts of silence throughout that seem like mistakes, though I don't think they were. It's also painfully slow... but none of that matters. This is a bleak and unrelenting look at a part of society that people try to ignore and/or forget, where bad people do bad things to innocents and everyone has to deal with the consequences. It takes a very long time to get into it, but commit and you'll be rewarded with something unique, fascinating, and depressing as hell. Watch it here!
Best Korean Netflix Films photo
This would be one hell of a marathon
For the past six or seven years, I've told people that my favorite type of international cinema is Korean. And even though I've been a little less in the loop recently than I was a few years ago, I still have a deep love for ...

FlixList: Wes Craven's Five Best Films

Sep 03 // Nick Valdez
My Soul to Take "Wake up and smell the Starbucks." I had a hard time narrowing Craven's films to five (I really could've just put everything here), and almost went with Red Eye or The Hills Have Eyes, but My Soul to Take is just so weird. It's Craven's take on small town myth horror, and it's got all sorts of weird sensibilities that make it stand out from the rest. It's got a guy who's probably a demon, teen archetypes who get zero development, a killer who talks to himself, and a supernatural thread tying it all together. Are the souls of the seven kids actually connected or is the main kid just crazy? Unlike his other films, Soul has a very deliberate tone and pace that sort of treads lightly and lets the tension build. It's quite a film.  Scream 4 "Forgot the first rule of remakes, Jill. Don't fuck with the original." Scream may have changed my life (and turned my crush on Neve Campbell into full blown love), but Scream 4 absolutely nails it. Starting with New Nightmare all those years ago, Scream 4 is a film that could've only existed after Craven spent a career honing his craft and paying attention to the route horror was going in. With Hollywood's fixation on reboots and sequels, Craven churned out one last sequel and capitalized on Scream's meta-contextual narrative with a reboot and sequel that works. Horror reboots hardly ever work, and sequels never truly live up to the standard of the original, but here's one that surpasses even the original idea. Setting a new status quo as it simultaneously enforces the old one all the while somehow bringing the series to an ultimate, satisfying conclusion? It's insane how well it works. Great cast, great writing, great editing, and even super heroics. Just greatness.  The People Under the Stairs "May they burn in hell." "Forever and ever in hell." This film is special to me for numerous reasons. First, it's the first horror film I saw with a non-white protagonist. Secondly, it's the first horror film I saw willingly acknowledging the wage disparity among classes. And finally, it's basically a twisted kid adventure film. Think of a slightly more dark and horrific Goonies, and you'll realize why a dude is wearing a gimp suit while trying to kill this kid as he makes friends with some monsters and discovers a hidden treasure. People Under the Stairs is tense, gruesome (Ving Rhames' body is used as a literal puppet distraction at one point), there are explosions, intrigue, and it's even a straight action movie leading toward raining money at film's end. It's non-traditional in the best way, and I'm so glad it exists.  The Last House on the Left "Are you sure we're not going to put you folks to any trouble?" "Oh nonsense, our home is yours." You can't talk about Craven's best work until you talk about his first. Bursting onto the scene with a twisted home invasion film, Last House is aggressive, disturbing, and it's full of such provocative imagery it sticks with you forever. Even way back then Craven was capable of masterful work with a film that had you rooting for the bad guys' end. It's his most demented piece of art and it'll forever be a staple which all other home invasion films compare to. It's like the whole BC/AD thing. There's Before Last House on the Left (BLHOTL) and after (ALHOTL).  A Nightmare on Elm Street "Whatever you do...don't fall asleep." It'd be impossible to write out a list like this and not include the big dog. The film that made something as pleasant as sleep seem like the worst thing in the world. Combing all sorts of primal fears like helplessness, death, and children, Elm Street pretty much started my addiction to caffeine. Through the years the fear has been alleviated thanks to The Simpsons, but Freddy's always coming. Nightmare changed the game completely. Rap songs, Mortal Kombat, tons of films, changing from horror to comedy and back to horror again without fail, and even had a crossover with another horror juggernaut and it wasn't the worst thing ever. Thanks to Wes, there'll always be a nightmare on our streets.  These may be his five best, but his other works were all just as good. We're gonna miss you. What are your favorite Wes Craven works? 
Wes Craven's Best photo
"What's your favorite scary movie?"
I've never been a big horror fan. I get squeamish with bloody action, jump scares always catch me, and I don't really like looking at disturbing images in general. But when a horror film is well crafted, I can't seem to look ...

12 films based on Nintendo games we need (right now)

Aug 25 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
What: Metroid Who: Duncan Jones  Why: In 2004, Nintendo teamed up with John Woo for a Metroid film, and I'm glad that fell through. As much as I enjoy Woo's films, the bombast and slow-motion doves don't really fit with what makes Metroid such an interesting franchise. It's about isolation. It's about being in an alien world and surviving. Duncan Jones made Moon, which is all the evidence you need that he could pull this film off. Plus, he was behind the underappreciated Source Code, which Jones himself likened to a video game. As far as I'm concerned, that's street cred enough to make this film happen. I think Darren Aranofsky would also be a solid choice, but he'll be a bit too busy working on: What: The Legend of Zelda  Who: Darren Aranofsky Why: The Legend of Zelda is a lot of things at once. It's about adventure and intrigue. It's about solving puzzles and fighting giant monsters. It's not really about the intensely introspective things you often see in Aranofsky's films... but so what? That doesn't mean it couldn't be. This is not the only Zelda film I'll list, but let's try something a little different. Link is the eternal blank slate, even in the entries where he has some amount of backstory. It would be like Noah. Hell, that film already had the rock people. Noah was a really interesting film, and it was proof that Aranofsky could do something on a larger scale. I don't think Zelda would never to be any bigger than that. I don't even know that it would have to be as big as that. Regardless, I think an Aranofsky Zelda film could be really special. What: Captain Rainbow Who: Sion Sono Why: I bet you forgot about this game, right? That would make sense, since it never came out in America and is among the stranger things Nintendo has put out. But, whenever I think, "Weird Japanese shit," I think immediately of Sion Sono. I think he could take the franchise and do something completely bonkers with it. It wouldn't even necessarily be good, but it would absolutely be unique and a little (or lot) bit crazy. With a franchise like Captain Rainbow, I think that's really the most important thing. What: Fire Emblem  Who: Peter Jackson  Why: We know that Peter Jackson can do fantasy epics, and perhaps giving him something of the sort outside of the Tolkein universe would do everyone some good. It would have to be more Lord of the Rings than The Hobbit, but if he can tap into his former self, then I don't know that there's anyone better to give an adaptation an appropriate focus on both the quiet intimate moments and also the intense, battle-driven ones. It could probably be argued that he would also be a good fit for Zelda (especially with regards to fights with giant boss-like creatures), but we've got more than enough Zelda entries on this list already. What: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time  Who: Steven Spielberg Why: Here's where the adventure comes in. Few people can do adventure like Spielberg can, and I think it would be all kinds of awesome to see him take on something like this. Think about all of those crazy dungeon puzzles. This is the man who made Indiana Jones. It would be a film that really focuses on those sequences and on the struggle to save Zelda. And Spielberg has already shown an interest in videogames (and Nintendo platforms in particular) with his role in creation of the extremely enjoyable Boom Blox. (I mean, nothing he could do with the series could be more ridiculous than the nuked fridge sequence in Indiana Jones 4.)  What: Super Smash Bros  Who: Gareth Evans Why: I mean, duh. Nobody does close quarters combat quite like Gareth Evans. And the only version of a Super Smash Bros. movie that could possibly work is one that takes full advantage of the physical capabilities of its characters. Realistically, the cute and cuddly Nintendo characters would need to have humanoid films and the variety of art styles would have to be toned down, which would be all kinds of weird... but if the action was good enough, I think we'd all forgive them. And if there's one thing you can guarantee with Gareth Evans, it's that the action will be great. What: Animal Crossing   Who: Richard Linklater Why: An Animal Crossing film would have to be a slice-of-life sort of film, one that makes seemingly mundane tasks interesting. Few directors can do that as well as Linklater. And sure, much of that comes from the brilliance of his characters, but an Animal Crossing film could be a spectacular ensemble. There is already a cast of cooky characters, and there's definitely more that could be done with that. It could take place over a year, with the film checking in on holidays much in the same way that the game does. What's the Halloween party? How's Christmas? Let's do some fishing or insect catching. Let's get more bells to pay back our debts. Done properly, this could be a really compelling, low-key film. If anyone could pull it off, it would be Richard Linklater. What: Mario Kart  Who: George Miller Why: This one's kind of obligatory. Cars, power ups, explosions, yada yada yada. It would be awesome. Maybe take some elements from F-Zero like Mario Kart 8 did and you'd have something pretty cool. But... we have Mad Max already, and it's not like that's done. What would we get from a hypothetical Mario Kart that we wouldn't get from Mad Max? I'm not sure. But if anyone was going to do it, I'd want it to be him.  What: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Who: George Miller Why: But, I mean... imagine this. Imagine a film that does for horse combat what Fury Road did for car combat. Imagine crazy stunts and epic action. This would be a radically different Zelda than Aranofsky's or Spielberg's, going full-on, balls-to-the-wall crazy. But it would be fitting. Much like Mad Max, each Zelda could be its own self-contained narrative. A chance for filmmakers to play with style and build a fascinating world. Imagine a badass (female!) Link that crashes her way through dungeons and crushes giant beasts on the way to become a hero. The setpieces would be epic, the stunts practical, and the end result a masterpiece (probably). What: Super Mario Bros.  Who: Brad Bird Why: Of all of these, coming up with this name was the hardest. We've seen how terribly a Mario film can go, and though I think many Nintendo franchises could work better as animated films, I think it would be a necessity for Mario. You can't turn bowser into a human. It doesn't work, and it doesn't make sense. But you know who can make some damn fine animated films? Brad Bird. Somewhere between The Incredibles and Ratatouille lies the perfect Mario film. It's probably a fair bit closer to the former than the latter, but regardless, the man has shown off plenty of versatility and could make up for the 1993 disaster. What: Pikmin Who: Guillermo del Toro Why: This might seem like an odd choice for what would almost certainly be a children's film. He's better known for horror and action, but del Toro is great at science fiction, which is what Pikmin is. The man knows how to tell a tale of adventure on a grand scale -- even if that grand scale is garden sized -- and in all honesty pikmin are kind of creepy. There's a certain level of horror to a swarm of living plants and the giant creatures that attack them that del Toro could deal with quite nicely. Pikmin would also have to be an odd mix of introspective character development following Captain Olimar's isolation on a strange planet and epic set pieces following the Pikmin's adventures trying to help him, and del Toro can handle both these things as Pan's Labyrinth and Pacific Rim showed us respectively.  What: The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker Who: Hayao Miyazaki Why: OK, maybe we're going a little over board on the Zelda adaptations, but that's what makes the franchise so wonderful: it's so malleable and adaptable to varying styles thanks to the fact that it, at its heart, is simply a reoccurring legend espousing themes of adventure, wonder, growth and exploration. Who better captures those themes on screen than the legendary Hayao Myazaki and Studio Ghibli? That sense of childish awe that Windwaker created as a new island crept up on horizon is what Miyazaki has been doing his entire career. We'd wager his work inspired the cel-shaded Zelda adventures. Maybe Nintendo can coax him out of retirement.
Top 12 Nintendo Films photo
And the filmmakers we need to make them
Video game movies are, nine times out of ten, not awesome. There have been exceptions, but generally speaking a movie is just a shade of the franchise it's supposed to represent. Why watch it when you can play it? But with Ni...

5 Other Cinematic Robots That Should Be In WWE 2K16

Jul 29 // Hubert Vigilla
RoboCop [embed]219700:42512:0[/embed] RoboCop vs. The Terminator. That's the WrestleMania main event that everyone's been waiting to see. Plus, RoboCop has some experience with wrestling. In the video clip above, watch as RoboCop makes World Championship Wrestling history and kills kayfabe more than any of Kevin Sullivan's hokey booking ideas. Signature Spot: I'll Buy That for a Dollar (Lariat Clothesline) Finishing Move: Murphy's Law (Top Rope Frog Splash that causes the ring to collapse)   Johnny Five (Short Circuit) After speed-reading Mick Foley's Have a Nice Day, Daniel Bryan's Yes!, and Bret Hart's Hitman, Johnny Five is convinced he has what it takes to win the WWE Heavyweight Championship. On his road to WrestleMania, he's managed by Fred Ritter from Short Circuit 2, who's trying to make a quick buck with merchandise--you know the name, now own the texting gloves. Signature Spot: Input/Output (Running Splash into the corner followed by a Running Bulldog) Finishing Move: Disassemble = Dead (shoots opponent with laser)   IG-88 (The Empire Strikes Back) IG-88 was really hoping to collect the bounty on Han Solo to pay off his student loan. ("Stupid Boba Fett!" "Friggin' Columbia MFA!"). Instead, he's decided his best route to a debt-free life is main eventing WrestleMania and winning the WWE Heavyweight Championship. Signature Spot: The Droid Revolution (Pele Kick) Finishing Move: IG 3:16 + Resistance Is Futile (Alabama Slam chained into a Sharpshooter)   Paulie's Robot Girlfriend (Rocky IV) After years in storage, Paule's Robot Girlfriend is back and better than ever, and she's looking to become the new WWE Divas Champion. Her entire life has been a training montage, and she's ready for the main event. Also, Paulie is her manager. Signature Spot: Fisto (basically a Superman Punch) Finishing Move: Happy Birthday, Paulie (Top Rope Moonsault while holding a birthday cake)   Mechagodzilla After Mechagodzilla destroyed all monsters, he has one more beast in his sights: Brock Lesnar. He's been miniaturized for the squared circle and intends to turn Suplex City into a smoldering mound of rubble. Signature Spot: Hyper Kiryu (Roundhouse Tail Strike followed by Enziguri when opponent is on the ring apron); German Suplex Finishing Move: The Shining Lizard (basically a Shining Wizard)   Bonus Tag Teams - Evil Bill & Ted and The Good Robot Us's (Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey) As Wyld Stallyns brings world peace through some most excellent music, their robot doubles decide to make their mark on history through most excellent in-ring action. Signature Spot: The Wyld Ryde (Double Powerbomb to the outside through a time-traveling phone booth and the circuits of time) Finishing Move: The Bogus Journey (Flapjack into Cutter tandem combination, basically the Dudley Boyz's 3D)
Robots in WWE 2K16 photo
Arnold Could Use a Robot Friend (or Foe)
Yesterday we had a list of five other Arnold Schwarzenegger characters who should be in WWE 2K16. (I apologize for leaving out Kindergarten Cop's Detective John Kimble.) With all that Arnie in one place, the game would basica...

5 Other Arnold Schwarzenegger Characters Who Should Be In WWE 2K16

Jul 28 // Hubert Vigilla
Conan the Barbarian Between the time when Vince McMahon subsumed the old territories and the rise of John Cena, there was an age undreamed of. And unto this, Conan, destined to wear the WWE Heavyweight Championship around a troubled waist (or over his troubled shoulder). It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his path to WrestleMania. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure! Signature Spot: Hyborian Rage (flurry of punches, with flourishes similar to an unarmed version of the Atlantean Sword Kata) Finishing Move: Riddle of Steel (basically an Alabama Slam)   Howard Langston/Turbo Man (Jingle All the Way) In order to get a Turbo Man doll for his son, Howard Langston must dress up like Turbo Man and win the WWE Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. (It makes about as much sense as The Terminator being there, really, Also, Sinbad is his manager.) Signature Spots: Deck the Balls (low blow when referee isn't looking) Finishing Move: It's Turbo Time! (basically a Spear)   John Matrix (Commando) I went back and forth between John Matrix from Commando and Dutch from Predator here. While I went with John Matrix, let's just pretend there's a mud-covered skin for the character that you can use to play Dutch. Signature Spot: I'll Kill You Last (flurry of chops in the corner of the ring) [Note: As Dutch, this move is called "The Choppa"] Finishing Move: I Lied (shoots opponent with rocket launcher) [Note: As Dutch, this move is called "Do It Now!"]   Mr. Freeze (Batman and Robin) In order to find a cure for his wife's strange condition, Mr. Freeze must win the WWE Heavyweight Championship. The road to WrestleMania is paved in cold! Signature Spot: Chillax (jumping double axe handle from the second rope) Finishing Move: The Iceman Cometh (basically the Stone Cold Stunner)   Quaid (Total Recall) Quaid's fantasy is to become a pro-wrestler, so he goes into Rekall to live it out. Of course, things go wrong, and somehow he winds up hallucinating that he is a wrestler and winds up in the squared circle. He main events WrestleMania on Mars, but it's all just part of the simulation... or was it? Signature Spot: The Nose Job (submission maneuver that involves shoving his thumb up the opponent's nose) Finishing Move: Two Week Notice (throws an exploding head at opponent, all matches end in disqualification... or do they?)   Bonus Tag Team - The Benedict Twins (Julius and Vincent from Twins) Yes they'd wrestle in matching suits. Best. Tag team. Ever. Signature Spot: Twin Science (switching places without a tag, sort of like The Bella Twins) Finishing Move: Brotherly Love (Julius throws Vincent from top rope, sort of like when Colossus and Wolverine do a Fastball Special in X-Men comics)   [embed]219699:42510:0[/embed]
Arnold Schwarzenegger WWE photo
The Terminator needs company in the ring
As reported on Destructoid yesterday, if you pre-order WWE 2K16, you get to play as the T-800 from The Terminator. The promo video showed Arnold Schwarzenegger recreating the bar scene from Terminator 2: Judgment Day alongsid...

5 dinosaur movies you should watch instead of Jurassic World

Jun 12 // Nick Valdez
We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story Ah, We're Back. Truth be told, I had no idea this films existed for a long time. My only run in with it was seeing the awesome looking poster art on the cover of its VHS. It was a little bit after that where I finally watched it and I wasn't disappointed. So I'm guessing the same will happen for you. Instead of watching terrifying super monsters chase a bunch of dumb people around a park for the fourth time in a row, watch some dinos hang out in the Natural History museum.  Besides it was produced under Steven Spielberg's Amblimation line and stars John Goodman, so you know that's a good sign. Clearly it's better than Jurassic World.  The Land Before Time Ugh, this movie is so saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. Why would I recommend thiiiiiis? At the very least, I can argue that a young group of dinos that want to find their families will make you cry because it's well written and not because it's badly animated like Jurassic World. In fact, just cry this weekend and cut out the middle man.  Theodore Rex Remember this? Whoopi Goldberg wishes you didn't. Why not rub this terrible decision in her face while you pretend she's actually stuck in that one manga, Gantz. Or you can just keep crying since you're so alone and would rather write about a movie than go see one yourself. it's not like you have friends to go with you anyway.  Dinosaurs I remember when I had a family once. I used to watch movies with them all the time. I actually saw the first Jurassic Park with my dad. He didn't like it much, so it pretty much changed how I felt about it too. But you know what I had a good time with? ABC's Dinosaurs. If I remember correctly, it was part of the early TGIF block and had a lot of good puppet work. But they always get to be a happy family by episode's end. That's more than I ever got. God, I'm so lonely. My family. Where have you gone? I miss you so much.  Jurassic Park But the best choice is to deny the future and head back into the past. I was much happier back then. With my family, with my loving home, with my friends. Maybe if I watch Jurassic Park instead of Jurassic World, the future will never happen? I can trap time within this little capsule and repeat it for as long as I want! Everything new is old and everything old is new again!  Birth, life, death, rebirth, relife, redeath, rerebirth, rerelife, reredeath, rererebirth, rererelife, rereredeath, rerererebirth, rerererelife, rerereredeath, rererererebirth, rererererelife, rererereredeath Those are my suggestions for five things you can watch that aren't Jurassic World! Are you going to see it? 
Dinosaurs  photo
More than the world
While Jurassic World takes the *ahem* world by storm, I never really connected with the idea. I don't have as big of a connection with Jurassic Park as a lot of folks do, but at the same time, I love me some dinosaurs. Good t...

Seven movies that need a black and white re-release

Jun 03 // Flixist Staff
Grand Budapest Hotel is arguably the most compelling film in a particularly compelling filmography. One of the things that makes it so fascinating is its use of aspect ratios, using visual cues to define different periods within the timeline of the narrative. It's also gorgeous and full of vibrant colors, as are all Wes Anderson films. But I would love to see The Grand Budapest Hotel in black and white for exactly the same reason that Stephen Soderbergh released a version of Raiders of the Lost Ark in black and white: Because without the color, you're forced to focus on everything else. Everyone knows how fantastic the compositions are in Wes Anderson films, but without color, you can get a whole different appreciation for the man's artistry. This is more academic, perhaps, because you would unquestionably lose something in the translation, but I think you could learn a whole heck of a lot from seeing those colors completetly desaturated. But on another level: rather than having an ultra-vibrant past, going black and white would have a very different feel to it. It would fit with the 4:3 aesthetic, which is most commonly associated with (at least in film) black and white movies. By using it as a specific choice for certain sequences rather than across the entire film, Wes Anderson would subvert audience expectations in a massive way. Color is such a fundamental part of his craft. But that's not all he has to offer. A black and white release of The Grand Budapest Hotel would prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. - Alec Kubas-Meyer The Coen brothers have a knack for visual style that emphasizes contrast and sharp distinctions between light and dark. (They even did the black and white The Man Who Wasn't There in 2001.) So many of their films are candidates for black and white viewing, from noir/noirish fare like Blood Simple (1984), Miller's Crossing (1990), and Fargo (1996) to the screwball homage The Hudscuker Proxy (1994). My vote, though, is 1991's Barton Fink, which is somewhere in my Coen brothers top three. While there'd be something lost when the color is absent, the costuming, textures, and performances might help get that color across. Fink himself, played by John Turturro, cuts such a striking silhouette whenever he's on screen, like some pretentious ancestor of Henry from David Lynch's black and white masterpiece Eraserhead. - Hubert Vigilla Would anyone even notice? - Alec Kubas-Meyer The Wachowskis' first film, and arguably the one that's aged the best, Bound (1996) is a stylish noir thriller and lesbian romance shot on a shoestring budget. The financial limitations made the Wachowskis focus on the craft of their camera and their visual storytelling. After a string of ambitious, big-budget boondoggles (most recently Jupiter Ascending), going back to Bound-territory might be the best idea for the Wachowskis' next film. There's such stark contrast in so many shots of Bound, and a loving attention to the way that hard shadows and defined lines can enhance a scene and its mood. The leads Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon have this multi-era femme fatale look about them, as if they could exist alongside classic female leads like Barbara Stanwyck on the one hand and 90s-it-girls like Sharon Stone on the other. On top of its style, Bound is also noteworthy for being a sex-positive lesbian movie at a time when this was mostly unheard and taboo. - Hubert Vigilla Alex Proyas' Dark City (1998) was one of the least appreciated movies of the 90s and one of my favorite movies in high school. (I am so old.) A mix of hard-boiled noir, science fiction, and fantasy, the movie was made with light and shadow in mind. So much of the imagery goes back to masters of German expressionism like Fritz Lang, with plenty of nods to Metropolis (1927) and Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). The casting and the costumes help keep the world of the film in this noir-like state that would be perfect for black and white viewing. Dark City would look gorgeous in black and white, like some peculiar noir film from another dimension. The Strangers, the pale-faced subterranean villains of the film, would be particularly chilling in stark contrast, and the occasional bright spots in the nocturnal film would seem like sunlight on a big screen. Later tonight, I may give the film a watch in black and white just to see what it's like. - Hubert Vigilla What makes black and white look good is contrast. The difference between the light and the shadows is everything in making a compelling black and white image. Honestly, that's true in any image, but particularly when there's no color to distract you. The film noir "look" is black and white not just because it was cheaper to shoot black and white and they wanted to save a few bucks; it's because the high contrast, colorless look fits the atmosphere they created. Cigarette smoke (smoke in general, really) also looks particularly compelling in black and white. They create an intense, dramatic mood. Blade Runner is a noir. I'm certainly not the first person to say that (I'm not even the first person on this website to say that), but that doesn't make it any less true. You look at those images, and they have exactly that kind of gorgeous high contrast look that you get from an old classic. But it's in color. And while it's a spectacular use of color, a black and white version of the film would heighten that noir style. It certainly couldn't replace the particular (and particularly gorgeous) color palette of the original, but as a companion piece? It'd be fascinating and beautiful. And hell, it's been eight years since the Final Cut was released. I think Blade Runner is due for some new alterations. - Alec Kubas-Meyer I love the films of Kelly Reichardt. She has a unique ability to force the best performances out of her actors, but the reason her movies should get a black and white treatment is her distinct way to tell a story through the environment the characters inhabit, be it how it is captured through the lens or how the actors and props interact with it.  The is especially true in Meek's Cutoff, which follows Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano and others on a track through the dangerous Oregon desert. Meek's Cutoff, like The Grand Budapest Hotel, is shot in an untraditional aspect ratio (1. 33: 1) and these portrait movies lend themselves especially well to the simple beauty of black and white photography (see last years Ida for proof). I would love to see every Reichardt movie in black and white, but Meek's Cutoff is a no-brainer in my eyes. It needs to happen. - Per Morten Mjolkeraaen  The Godfather Part III is easily the weakest of Coppola's masterpieces. That's not to say it isn't great, but it has it's issues. One of the main ones is Gordon Willis' cinematography, which goes way overboard on the shadows and lighting. It's clear to see why, as this is the most somber and dark of the the three films, but maybe an all or nothing attitude wasn't the best call in this case. Just check out the image above and they heavy shadow crossing over Al Pacino's face. But wait, it actually looks pretty good. That's because it's in black and white. Ditching the color for the film would allow it's darkness to shift from overbearing to dramatic. The negative space created in black and white is perfect for a film where shadows creep out of every corner of every shot. It also fits the tone of the film fantastically, which is nihilistic and focuses heavily on Michael Corleone's gilt. Finally, it would be a great nod to the classic gangster films that inspired Coppola. As the film comes full circle with Michael holding an orange and dying so too would the black and white of this, the third film in the franchise, bring the genre back to its beginnings. - Matthew Razak
B&W For Everyone! photo
It ain't just for arthouse
When director George Miller mentioned that his preferred version of Mad Max: Fury Road (aka The Best) is in black and white, there was a resounding, "Um, what?" followed by a unanimous "OH HELL YES!" When he announced th...

Five movies you love that aren't as good as Mad Max: Fury Road

May 22 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
Why it's beloved: Gravity is a technical marvel. It's the kind of film you have to see in theaters, because the scope of it is literally infinite. It's about swirling alone in the blackness of space, where the slightest mistake can kill you at any moment. We gave it a 100. I wouldn't have given it a 100, but I understand why Matt did. It's a technical marvel, and you spend much of the film wondering how the heck they did it. (Short answer: Computers. Long answer: Extremely complicated technical rigs and setups and choreography. Also, computers.) Seen on the biggest possible screen in 3D, there's nothing quite like it.  Why Mad Max is better: But the issues arise as soon as you decide to think less about the impeccable technique on display and more about what it is they're displaying. Mad Max may not have the same quality of CG or 3D that Gravity has, but it's the same sort of spectacle. For every moment Gravity had that made me gasp, Mad Max had ten. But it's not just about the look of it. Gravity's fundamental failing is its inability to let viewers figure things out for themselves. Everyone just keeps talking, even when it literally threatens their lives. They should be conserving breath. But instead, the audience needs to be told everything, or else... I mean, how could we possibly figure it out? Gravity assumes we're dumb.  Mad Max doesn't.  Mad Max knows that we can figure things out. Only a handful of things are ever explicitly stated, and it never feels like dialogue for the sake of dialogue. They don't sound like they're speaking to the audience. They sound like they're speaking to each other. Like people. We're shown things rather than told them. You learn everything you need to know from damn good filmmaking, not an overlong screenplay. Why It's Beloved: In my review of The Raid 2, I hailed it as the best action film ever made. I had a lot of reasons for that. You're welcome to read about them. But now, just over a year later, I'm at a crossroads. I say that The Raid 2 is the best action movie of all time, but... Why Mad Max Is Better: This has been eating at me since about halfway through my first viewing of the film. If The Raid 2 is the best action movie, but Mad Max is a better movie, and Mad Max is an action movie... does that make it the best action movie of all time? I still don't know the answer, but I do know this: Mad Max is, on the whole, a superior viewing experience. The action in The Raid is beyond incredible, and the "fights" are undoubtedly better than the ones in Mad Max, but after the first viewing, those long sequences of political blather start to grate. By the third time I saw The Raid 2, I was rolling my eyes. (Worth noting: The original The Raid doesn't have this problem. It is also not as good as Mad Max, but it is fundamentally closer to Mad Max than its sequel is.) It's fine, but it's definitely not as good as what Mad Max has to offer. The few moments of downtime in Mad Max are all excellent. They drive forward the characters and/or the narrative in interesting ways. There isn't a single wasted frame in the entire goddamn movie. You could cut half the political bullshit in The Raid 2 and the film would be better for it. But every last second of Mad Max is essential. Given a choice, I would probably rewatch individual action sequences from The Raid 2 over those from Mad Max. But if I had to choose one film to watch all the way through over and over and over again? No contest. Mad Max is is. Why It's Beloved: Joss Whedon took a group of superheroes and made an ultimately fascinating and extremely enjoyable team film. With the added charm that is so uniquely Whedon, I mean, what's not to love? It's big, it's funny, and it's got people wearing silly costumes. Why It's Not As Good As Mad Max: The second time I saw Mad Max, I went with my friend Brian. He doesn't really like Joss Whedon. After Guardians of the Galaxy (also not as good as Mad Max: Fury Road) came out, he said, "That's the movie that proves Joss Whedon is a hack." After we got out of Mad Max, he said it again. "This movie clinches it." He called the movie "life-changing." He would definitely give it a 95 or higher on the Flixist review scale. He would not be wrong to do so. I didn't name The Avengers 2 here intentionally. Not just because the critical response has been much more muted, but because the film's treatment of women has come more under fire than the original The Avengers (not that it was the best there either). Point is: Joss Whedon is known for writing strong female characters. That's his claim to fame. But none are as strong and as badass as the team in Fury Road. Let's be clear: A 78 year old woman does her own stunts. But here's the thing: A 78 year old woman has stunts to do. You know what that is? The. Best. Suck it, Whedon. Why It's Beloved: Last year's Academy Award Winner should not have won the Academy Award, but that didn't stop it from being an incredible film. But what really makes it so freaking amazing is the way it uses its technical prowess to create something uniquely cinematic. When most films are so same-y, it takes something like Birdman to kick you awake and remind you that movies can be and are magical things. Film is a magical medium. It takes reality and can bend it almost to the breaking point without you even noticing it's happened. You think you're looking at a straight path but it's curving you around. And suddenly you realize that you had no idea what was happening and now you're on a different path entirely. Birdman's one-take conceit does all of that and more. Why It's Not As Good As Mad Max: But it doesn't do it as well as Mad Max. Mad Max isn't a two hour take; it's a two hour car chase. But here's the thing: That car chase feels so much more real than anything in Birdman. Even ignoring the way Birdman breaks the rules in order to bring you into Riggan Thompson's head, it shatters illusions in order to wear its point on its sleeve. Birdman hits you over the head with its message because the characters monologue about it constantly. It's all very nihilistic, and though it's (extremely) compelling, it's less compelling than watching people develop during a car chase. The characters in Mad Max develop subtly but poignantly. No one in Birdman really develops at all. And while that may work with the narrative that's being told, watching Michael Keaton be sad after monologuing about things is far less momentous than watching Tom Hardy give a tiny thumbs up to a woman who he had been pointing a gun at minutes before. Why It's Beloved: Drive was the best movie of 2011. It was the first film that I saw at a press screening that I would later pay to see. And... I'm not actually sure there has ever been another example of that. I love the film. The nearly silent but completely deadly driving protagonist was pretty darn compelling. And though it has ultra-violent action in it, it's the journey of a Real Human Being that made everyone love it. (I mean, that soundtrack, though.) Why It's Not As Good As Mad Max: You may have guessed that I intentionally reduced the character of Driver to "nearly silent but completely deadly driving protagonist" in order to make the comparison between him and Max even easier, but the reality is that they both fit into the same mold. But the difference is that Driver spends the film trying to keep a woman safe because she can't fend for herself. What Max is doing is far more interesting. He's helping Furiosa and the others, not saving them. He doesn't have to be the one to get revenge, because at any given moment, he's not the biggest badass in the truck. The focus on cooperation between two equals without any need for a romance makes Mad Max an ultimately more meaningful film. 
Mad Max Is Better photo
#6: Literally everything else
I've seen Mad Max: Fury Road twice in the past week. Crucially, I paid New York City movie ticket prices to see Mad Max twice in the past week. Next week, I will all-but-definitely pay to see it a third time. I don'...

FlixList: The Top 10 Movie Robots

Mar 06 // Nick Valdez
10. Wall-E (from Wall-E) I didn't like Wall-E, but even I'll admit how important of a robot Wall-E is. Although its nostalgic design and lack of speech was a shameless pull at cuteness, Wall-E is still a robot that lives in a future that reminds of of Mike Judge's Idiocracy. And anything that reminds me of Idiocracy automatically deserves a place on any list.  9. T-1000 (from Terminator 2: Judgment Day)  Although the T-1000 spent most of its time resembling the dance sequence from TLC's "Waterfalls" music video, it is the best machine in the Terminator franchise. Even more so than Schwarzenegger's T-800 and especially greater than whatever the hell the T-X (I assume the X stood for boobs) was. The only reason the T-1000 lost because it was the villain and was cheated. I imagine if there was a rematch now between the T-1000 and the current Schwarzenegger, things would end a lot differently.  8. Astro Boy (from Astro Boy)  Astro Boy is one of Osamu Tezuka's best works, and should be heralded as one of the best robot fictions overall, but since I can only count movies (and not the awesome manga or anime) it's only at number eight. The 2009 film adaptation of the series looked good, but just lacked the spark of the originals. Also, the kid has friggin' rocket boots man. Every kid wants rocket boots.  7. Robot (from Robot & Frank) Robot & Frank is a deliciously charming film. It's about a retired burglar named Frank who's slowly receding into dementia as his son buys him a robot companion, named Robot, who helps him steal an antique copy of Don Quixote (in one of the hilariously inspired moments of the film). As the film goes on, Robot somehow develops a personality (as one is projected onto him) and becomes just as endearing as Frank. And when the ending hits, I challenge you to keep your eyes dry.  6. 80s Robot (from The Muppets) 80s Robot seemed like a throwaway gag, but quickly became one of the funnier (and self-referential) inclusions in 2011's The Muppets. Its simple R.O.B. like design, its Dial-Up modem, and its offerings of Tab and New Coke make a perfect additions to this list. Sure Robocop may be cool at stomping down crime, but has he offered anyone a cool beverage? NO.  5. MechaGodzilla (from Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla) Since Pacific Rim is essentially a reboot of Godzilla Vs MechaGodzilla, it only feels right to add MechaGodzilla to the list. How is it not the fifth best robot ever? It's everything Godzilla wishes it could be but with robot parts, it was built by a planet of apes who lived in a black hole or something, and Godzilla can only defeat it by ripping its head off! I mean, come on!  4. SICO (from Rocky IV) "Happy Birthday, Paulie"  3. SAINT Number 5/Johnny 5 (from Short Circuit) When a robot develops feelings, normally that's when you dismantle the thing. Yet Short Circuit's Johnny 5 gets away with it for being so damn adorable. What other robot immediately makes you think of Lou Bega? What other robot could smooth talk a woman and win her over with "More Than a Woman"? Does Robocop care whether or not a woman is more than a woman? Do the evil cowboy robots from Westworld have enough of a heart and will to get into a woman's underclothes? Does A.I.'s Gigolo Joe- wait, yeah he'd probably care. Whatever, Johnny 5 is super cool and is the reason Wall-E was so well received.  2. Good/Bad Robot Bill and Ted (from Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey) Bad Robot Bill and Ted were rude, crude, and totally removed. They killed Bill and Ted, were rude to the Princesses, and even try to take over Battle of the Bands. Then Station (an alien recommended by God who can split himself into two) builds the Good Robot Bill and Ted and the then they all fight and holy maloney this was all this the same movie. It was one of the greatest climaxes in movie history. Can't wait to see what Bill and Ted 3 brings, so I hope Good/Bad Robot Bill and Ted could make a comeback.  1. Iron Giant (from The Iron Giant) Vin Diesel stars as a giant robot that teaches an entire town the true meaning of #FAMILY and not-Communism. Which means The Iron Giant is secretly Fast and Furious Part 10 (Fasten Your Seatbelts), a sequel in which Dominic Toretto has passed on and now lives as an alien artificial intelligence. As he grows closer to a child (which brings flashbacks of his time as a Pacifier), he remembers that life is really all about fast cars and then throws himself at meteor as redemption for forgetting that life lesson.  Did I forget your favorite movie robot? Did I just forget Robocop on purpose? What are robots anyway? Feel free to talk it out below! 
Top 10 Movie Robots photo
Domo arigato, Mister Roboto.
[This feature originally ran with the release of Pacific Rim two years ago, but with the new robot movie Chappie now hitting theaters, I figured it'd be a fun revisit!]  In honor of Pacific Rim releasing July 12, I,...

FlixList: Ten NEW Cartoons that Deserve Movies

Mar 05 // John-Charles Holmes
  10. Over the Garden Wall Cartoon Network’s first foray into the world of mini-series was with the hauntingly beautiful Over the Garden Wall, a tale of two brothers, Wirt and Greg, lost in a harsh and mysterious forest. As they press onward, they encounter a number of oddities that bring up imagery of classic tales like Peter Rabbit and Alice in Wonderland. If this one were a movie, imagine this one playing out like a really dark Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. But why is this modern classic so low on the list? Easy—it exists already as a miniseries about an hour and a half in length. You could go ahead and watch this one in a single sitting and you’d be getting the movie experience already. I just wouldn’t mind actually seeing this one fleshed out a little bit more story and adapted to the big screen.   9. The Legend of Korra The Legend of Korra started off by offering quite the grand promise—It’s Avatar: The Last Airbender but with adults and robots and kissing! What could possibly go wrong? Well, turns out a lot actually.  The quality of the show seemed to fluctuate back and forth during its stilted run, but I’m willing to chalk a lot of that up to having to fill four whole seasons with stories to tell. I think a little bit of restraint could do a lot of good for Korra, and perhaps boiling it down to an essential two hours might just be the way to get the story audiences want to see from a new Avatar without any of the extra fluff.   8. Superf*ckers James Kochalka’s rude ‘n’ crude teenage superhero comic melodrama was recently adapted into a series of shorts by Frederator that was criminally underrated. Essentially imagine Watchmen if all the superheroes were teenagers, but instead of being filled with drama and angst, it’s all the dumb shit that teenagers really do—like constantly thinking with their genitalia and getting high all day. The setup is already perfect for the typical R-rated comedy, but there was actually a lot of material from the original comics that could additionally be adapted into a full length story. It’d definitely make for one gut-bustingly gross-out look back on the internet generation and the recent explosion of superhero obsession fueled by it.   7. Lakewood Plaza Turbo Video games are starting to make a huge comeback in movies lately. Wreck-It Ralph and Adam Sandler’s upcoming Pixels have made good on bringing some of those nerd fantasies to life, but why not try and make something that feels like a video game without using Pac-Man or Donkey Kong? Lakewood Plaza Turbo could be just that thing. Only existing right now as a pilot for an upcoming Cartoon Network series, the premise of a mall where video game characters work and socialize could make for an awesome animated “hang-out” movie in the vein of Kevin Smith films, but with the added angle of actually feeling like a video game and not like an advertisement.   6. Bee and Puppycat Bee and Puppycat is the magical girl fantasy for a new generation, except with all the action-packed superhero parts downplayed to a minimum. What you're left with is a post-post-modern slice of life with a fantasy twist that would probably feel at home with the French New Wave. What would a movie adaption of a superhero temp and her weird cat/dog/thing look like? Well, if it’s anything like the animated series thus far, it’d be a lot of gorgeous imagery and then loafing around on the coach eating snacks and watching reality television. So basically a good version of Garfield: The Movie without the hideous GCI cat. Puppycat could still be voiced by Bill Murray, though. 5. Regular Show Fan favorite Regular Show owes a lot its charm and success to its appreciation and constant homages to pop-culture and films of the 80’s and 90’s. It’s not too unusual for an episode to just flat out be an 11-minute version of some of the kitschiest of these nostalgic films like Over the Top and Big Trouble in Little China, so why not go all out and make the ultimate feature length homage to everything generation-X with a Regular Show movie? Mordecai and Rigby are already the classic slackers incarnate, so imagining this one up on the silver screen isn’t too hard to do already, regardless of if they go the pure parody route or with something more original. 4. Homestar Runner Starting off as highly shared internet vignettes, characters Homestar, Strong Bad and others became immortalized amongst millennials in the past decade. Even today, the two brothers who created Homestar Runner are doing very well as hotshot television writers. So now, with Homestar Runner slowly making a comeback on YouTube, the time is ripe for movie studios to get the Brothers Chaps in for some studio meetings. What kind of movie could you even get out of Homestar Runner as source material? Why, the only option that short-form gag-heavy comedies have to rely on when adapted for film—the road trip movie. Sure, generic as hell, but you just know that in the hands of the Chapmans, it would be the funniest damn road trip movie you’d ever seen. Even if it’s just about Strong Bad driving a bus from end of Town to the other. 3. The Venture Bros. With every passing season of the quintessential Adult Swim show, fans have had to wait longer and longer for increasingly grandiose episodes of this twisted Johnny Quest parody. The show’s epic and convoluted structure already lends itself to a 3-hour seat warmer and would actually serve as the perfect way to conclude the show, once that ending is reached.  It’s clear that Venture Bros. has been getting more cinematic over the years all while pushing the envelope for animated (yet tasteful!) sex and violence. By trading the TV-MA rating for an R, the show could finally tell the ultimate blood-drenched tale of the manic depressive Venture family the way it was always meant to be told. 2. Gravity Falls The recent Disney Channel sleeper hit about a brother and sister discovering the mysteries of their uncle’s hometown has gained the reputation of being the Twin Peaks for a new generation, and that title is well earned. A full length mystery adventure would definitely deliver on the same offbeat adventures as the show and would be a great opportunity to up the stakes for a sleepy Oregon town on the edge of the supernatural with Disney level production. So much so that even the show’s creator, Alex Hirsch, has even gone on record saying that he could imagine the show running for three seasons and ending with a movie. And if we learned anything from Community, the second you give your fans this kind of promise to latch on to, they’ll never let go of it. Speaking of Dan Harmon… 1. Rick and Morty Rick and Morty is one of the most unexpected surprises to come out of recent cartoons with its simple premise-- the adventures of a drunk Doc Brown and his oblivious grandson. What starts as a great setup for some crass humor eventually yields way to some truly great sci-fi tales and nihilistic musings on the chaos and uncertainty of the universe at large. It comes as no surprise that this is partly due to the legendary Dan Harmon acting as co-creator and writer to the show. Much like the other mature entries on this list, a Rick and Morty feature would allow the darkly hilarious duo to pull absolutely no punches, but would also give us a true full fledged Back to the Future adventure. Rick and Morty is just as refreshingly hilarious as it is ingenious, and for that reason, it gets my vote for the new cartoon that needs a movie more than any other. It would be sure to make you laugh, make you cry, and even make you vomit in your mouth. Just a little. And honestly, isn’t that what good animated movies are all about in the end?
Top 10 New Toons photo
These ain't your grandad's cartoons
Did you hear the recent news? They’re going to make an Adventure Time movie, and honestly, that’s pretty darn rad. I love a good cartoon to movie adaption—and not just a live action adaption or remake, we ho...

My 10 favorite movies of the year ... as told by pictures of puppies

Feb 22 // Chad Concelmo
10. Life Itself 9. The Raid 2 8. Gone Girl 7. A Most Violent Year 6. Force Majeure 5. Birdman 4. Snowpiercer 3. Nightcrawler 2. Boyhood 1. Whiplash
Chad, puppies, movies photo
The Grand BARKapest Hotel or WhipLEASH?
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 ...

FlixList: Six abandoned movies that Kickstarter could have saved

Feb 20 // Flixist Staff
Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon Stanley Kubrick's meticulousness was (is?) legendary. He was one of few truly genius directors, and he threw himself into his projects. If you see it in a Kubrick film, it almost definitely means something. (Though what things may mean is undoubtedly up for debate.) But the project that consumed him most was one that never saw the light of day. Though he had numerous failed projects, the one that stung the most was a failed biopic of Napoleon Bonaparte. Kubrick essentially became a Napoleon scholar in the process of setting this film up, learning everything he could about the man in order to make what would probably have been the best epic biopic ever made. It may have been his magnum opus... but alas. Not everyone was an enamored of the idea as Kubrick, and he was unable to convince financiers to give him what he needed to pull off his (ludicrously) grand vision. (Looking for a cast of tens of thousands in order to pull off an accurate and realistic portrayal of battles will do that.) And of course, the same things that kept it from happening back then would keep Kickstarter from being able to fund it. No, the film would never be able to make enough to actually front the costs of a production like this, but few to no Kickstarter film projects are funded solely by backers. But the world has changed since Kubrick died, and it's possible that a Kickstarter campaign could have built a groundswell of support to convince some big spender(s) to pick up some of the slack. -- Alec Kubas-Meyer Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Sons of El Topo/Abel Cain and King Shot Alejandro Jodorowsky has undergone a semi-resurgence in the last few years now that his seminal works--El Topo, The Holy Mountain, and Santa Sangre--are easy to get in the United States. But Jodorowsky had a 20-year drought as a filmmaker beginning in 1990, unable to get any projects off the ground. Two notable Jodorowsky films that never got made are a sequel to El Topo and a gangster film called King Shot. The El Topo sequel (variously titled The Sons of El Topo and Abel Cain) would have starred Marylin Manson and Johnny Depp as brothers in search of the island on which their father, El Topo, is buried. King Shot, a metaphysical gangster picture, was going to be produced by David Lynch and star Nick Nolte, Manson, Asia Argento, and Udo Kier. It's unclear if actual scripts existed for either of the two projects, though there is some concept art and vague notions of a plot that can be found online. Jodorowsky's no stranger to projects that got away (see the documentary Jodorowsky's Dune, which, come to think of it, I would pay money to see produced). Yet given his klout as the father of midnight movies, it seems like these two Jodorowsky projects would have come about if crowdfunding were a thing in the 1990's and early-to-mid 2000's. Instead, it's crowdfunding that gives us The Dance of Reality and the forthcoming Endless Poetry. -- Hubert Vigilla David Lynch's Ronnie Rocket It's easy to think David Lynch has done it all. From his brilliant surrealist directorial debut, Eraserhead, to his return to Twin Peaks in 2016 - 25 years post its original run. However, there is one movie he's always wanted to make, but never could; Ronnie Rocket.  Ronnie Rocket was to star Michael J. Anderson as a three-foot tall man who could control electricity, as long as he was plugged into an electrical supply from time to time to charge his batteries. Oh, also, there was to be a detective who sought to enter a second dimension, which was made possible by his ability to stand on one leg (no wonder it didn't get the funds it needed, I mean, I can't even imagine the special effects costs to make this happen...)  It's sound incredibly bizarre, and therefore, incredibly Lynchian. Sadly, he will most likely never make this today, as the industrialism that's synonymous with everything he creates is ruined. Untouched and sacred industrialism has been killed by the damned youths and their spray-cans, or just simple architectural modernisation. -- Per Morten Mjolkeraaen  Shane Carruth's A Topiary Shane Carruth's second film, Upstream Color, was a daring and idiosyncratic work of art and a fitting follow-up to his mind-bending debut Primer. Upstream Color is easily one of my favorite movies of this decade. The movie obsessed me so much, I wrote an 8,000-word analysis. But before Carruth made his misfit love story about mind-control worms and personal narratives, he spent years developing a movie that fell apart. That movie was A Topiary, the plot of which sounds just as slippery as Upstream Color and Primer, if not more so. Split in two parts, A Topiary would follow an informal gathering of strangers who are convinced there's a recurring and meaningful starburst pattern that can be found wherever they go, and a group of pre-teen boys who find a machine that creates strange robotic animal creatures (featured briefly in the beginning of Upstream Color). Somehow the two are linked. Both David Fincher and Steven Soderbergh were excited by the project and wanted to executive produce the film. Carruth spent years learning to do CG so he could create the creatures and do the visual effects for A Topiary on his own. Unfortunately the proposed price tag was $14-$20 million, and with only Primer under his belt at the time (budget $7,000), the project fizzled. Carruth wouldn't be able to get seven or eight figures through crowdfunding, but if the campaign showed genuine enthusiasm from an audience, it might have prodded some money-people to fork over the dough. (Maybe Carruth should consider crowdfunding for his next movie, The Modern Ocean.) -- Hubert Vigilla Guillermo del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness Guillermo del Toro and screenwriter Matthew Robbins wrote a screenplay adaptation of HP Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness back in 2006, and have been fighting to get it made ever since. A combination of the high budget required (the story was long considered unfilmable) and studio discomfort with the bleakness of the material have thus far prevented it from happening. Del Toro has occasionally come close to getting it made, most recently with Universal Studios in 2011. However the studio, uncomfortable with del Toro's refusal to pare down the R rated material to a more family-friendly PG-13, opted instead to pull of the project before filming began. Lovecraft's work has been adapted to film a number of times, most notably (and often) by Stuart Gordon. Those films are fun, but I would argue they convey little of the cosmic existential horror that makes Lovecraft's work what it is. On the other hand del Toro's films, even the more mainstream English language ones, contain traces of that darkness, though usually to a more positive end. We've never seen him go for the hopelessnes he would need for At the Mountains of Madness, but for his fans, and old-school horror fans in general, the prospect is mouth-watering. Del Toro hasn't given up on getting it made through the studio system, and raising the kind of budget necessary through something like Kickstarter would be a tall order. That said, if every true-blue Lovecraft fan still waiting to see his work done justice on the big screen were to give just a dollar, I reckon it could happen. -- Ciaran McGarry Neil Blomkamp's Alien OK, this one may be newer and Kickstarter is around, but there's no way it's ever going to happen. Blomkamp revealed some amazing concept art for a made up Alien film he was randomly thinking about, but with Prometheus hogging up the franchise they'll never, ever, ever green light this. Fox has no idea what it's doing and there is no way in hell they'd jump on such a cool idea from such a stand out director in the world of science fiction. This is basically impossible to occur and even if a Kickstarter was started for it Fox would have to give permission and they wouldn't in a million years. I don't say things are impossible much, but this is impossible. I will eat a shoe if it ever happens. The level of this not happening is so great that God is coming down and confusing our language in punishment. This will not... Wait? It is? Oh... better find a shoe. -- Matthew Razak
Kickstarter, Our Savior photo
Well... maybe.
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...

5 Reasons Spider-Man joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a bad idea

Feb 12 // Nick Valdez
Marvel's Films are Kind of Bland  As much as folks disliked The Amazing Spider-Man 2, I really enjoyed how many risks it took. It was messy and chocked full of half baked ideas, but it was all full of the humor and cheese that I've been wanting out of the Spider-Man movies for years (To be fair, the Raimi movies were full of this awesomeness too). Marvel's films don't really have that same charm. Having the films relate to one another is a blessing and a curse. It's great to have the connectivity, but it's at the expense of each film's uniqueness. Even their weirdest film, Guardians of the Galaxy, still has to reign in its eccentricity with a by-the-numbers plot and generic framework in order to align itself with the other films. It's like there's a sense of restraint on everything, and the loss of creativity is leading to the "Marvel fatigue" a lot of moviegoers are succumbing too.  When Spider-Man joins up, there's a good chance we won't get the crazy Spider-Man that shoots a mini web hand to save his girlfriend, speaks through a megaphone for some reason, and is full of the quips and quirks that Tony Stark already does for the Marvel films.  It's Hard Imagining a Better Peter Parker than Andrew Garfield Casting Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone was the best decision Sony will ever make. Their natural chemistry (and great direction from Marc Webb) helped anchor the two films. And while I agree that he may have been "too cool" of a Peter Parker, Garfield nailed everything else. His awkward, stuttering delivery as Parker was great especially when he shed it under the mask. He may not have written those Spidey quips himself, but a lot of them wouldn't have worked without his great delivery. A sarcastic tone couple with a Spider-Mouth only a mother could love, he was kind of perfect. Shame he's getting the boot.  We're Getting Another Origin Story As much as I want a different kind of origin story, it's still another origin story. Since reboots usually have to start from the beginning, I would've been fine had we at least been given a different character (which is why I'm pushing for Miles Morales so much), but looking at Sony's current prospects (who are both young and white), we're getting another Peter Parker who's in high school. As we can tell from The Amazing Spider-Man's overall box office performance, audiences are getting tired of being told the same story over and over. They're getting smarter, too. Another Spider-Man? Then again, none of this could matter since there's a possibility he's getting shoved into the worst story ever.  The Civil War Storyline is Pretty Dumb Multiple sources have confirmed (or at least what the Internet considers as confirmed) that Spider-Man's first Marvel movie appearance will be in Captain America: Civil War. But that story itself is kind of the worst. I think folks are more in love with the core concept (Captain America and Iron Man fight each other) than the actual story. Sure Spider-Man is a major part of the event, but his involvement in the story is also what sent Marvel fans into a huge, years long huff and eventually led to Marvel's version of the devil taking away his long time marriage to Mary Jane. You see Spider-Man reveals his identity as a way of showing support for Superhero Registration, but it's also at the expense of his own intelligence. The law only pushed for regulation and not full blown identity reveals. Also in the Civil War comic, a robot Thor kills a giant Black man.  What I mean to say is, Civil War just better be in name only. We don't need a huge film where characters just make decisions based on what the companies want rather than have them feel organic. Just because the films are acting like comic books, doesn't mean they should succumb to the same pitfalls. These movies are hard to follow enough as it is, so they shouldn't lump Spider-Man in that mess. His franchise has its own problems.  Sony is Still Pulling the Strings At the end of the day, it's still Sony making the final decision. Rather than a full on partnership, it's like Sony is lending out its characters in exchange for some of Marvel's stuff and a unified plan. Sony still has plans to release its Sinister Six and all female Spider team film, but is nixing Amazing Spider-Man 3. But do you realize how weird that is? If they're going to start with a fresh new take on the universe, why not just axe all of those things completely? And that's one of the many weird predicaments Sony has already put itself in just days after the deal was announced. Marvel may get to use the character sometimes (although we won't know in what capacity until much, much later), but the Spider-Man films are still in the same hands. Let's hope they're capable ones.  But hey this is, once again, a guy just yelling in the dark. It's far too early to see the true effects/ramifications of this business deal. And Marvel and Sony will always make decisions based on what's good for business instead of what some Spider-Nerd like me says. I will admit this, however. This news has me more interested in Marvel's 20 year plan than anything they've ever announced. I was growing tired of superhero films and now look what's happened! I'm writing about comic books on the internet! Look ma! Look at your boy and be proud!  What do you think Flixist Community? Spider-Man or Spider-Meh?
5 Bad Reasons photo
Wherever there's a hang up, you'll find the Spider-Man
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 acc...

5 Reasons Spider-Man joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a good idea

Feb 11 // Nick Valdez
[embed]218932:42204:0[/embed] Marvel Probably Knows What to do With Spider-Man I may be one of the few Spider-Fans who actually enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but even I'll admit it was a bit messy. Clouded with all sorts of open threads and ideas, it really reeked of Sony's desperation to turn a singular property into a massive set of films like Marvel has. And even after the film, Sony's plans were completely up in the air. Rumors of an Aunt May origin story, an all female Spider character team up (which is something I hope still happens regardless) with the best title (Glass Ceiling), and all sorts of complete shots in the dark. But compare that to Marvel's extensive "Phase" plans, Marvel obviously knows what it *wants* to do.  Given that they've bumped their own schedule to work his adventures into the universe, there's a good chance that there's a plan in place. But Marvel's not exactly the end all, be all either. There's no guarantee that their plan to work Spider-Man into a few films will work either, but at least it's more concrete than say an all villain team up movie featuring Paul Giamatti. But it's still up to Sony in the end.  Miles Morales, Miles Morales, Miles Morales If you're scrounging through the internet for more on this deal, then there's a good chance you've heard of Miles Morales. Morales is the Spider-Man in the Ultimate Spider-Man line of comics, an alternate comic universe featuring more streamlined origins for newer readers which Marvel is planning to integrate into the mainline series' later this year with their Secret Wars event. Why is he great? Taking over for Peter Parker after his death, Miles is a half Black/Latino youth who gains powers in basically the same way Peter does. But he's a lot more conflicted about it, and his guilt/anxiety makes for some great reads.  If they absolutely need a new Spider-Man, this could be the hugest step forward for everyone. First of all, Spider-Man would be in an Avengers film (which is what most kids and half of Google's photoshops have dreamed up anyway) and secondly, it'd be nice for more kids to have someone onscreen to relate to. We already have Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, and  Chadwick Boseman (who's going to be the film's Black Panther), but what harm could come from even more diversity?  We Won't Get The Same Origin Story If we absolutely need to get another origin story (let's face it, it's gonna happen), if it's a brand new character then we won't get the same one. Besides there are quite a few interesting ways Sony/Marvel can go about this. They could either establish a new origin in a solo movie, set Spider-Man up as an already existing thing in whatever cameo role he gets in the Marvel films (so Sony has time to break down what they want to keep from The Amazing Spider-Man films rather than get rid of it all), or just hilariously keep Amazing Spider-Man stuff anyway.  At least we'll be introduced to a new Spider-Man in a new way. But I hope they go The Hulk route and just put the entire origin in the opening credits. Everyone already knows how Peter Parker (or whoever) became Spider-Man, but we need to know why we should care about Marvel Cinematic Universe's Spider-Man. New origin, new focus, same Uncle Ben death probably (but hopefully not). Or keep his identity a secret until the solo film or something.  People Will Stop Asking For It I've never been fond of the comment "Give Spidey to Marvel" when talking about The Amazing Spider-Man, so I'm glad it'll be a thing of the past. But in all seriousness, it'll mean far less confusion for the general audience. Which most likely isn't helped by the Marvel credit tag on Sony's films, most people probably wonder why Spider-Man hasn't shown up in say, Iron Man 3 or something. At least now, it'll be easier to explain to folks. I'll admit this isn't best reason to root for Spidey in the Marvel Universe, but hey I'll take any little step forward I can get at this point.   Marvel and Sony's Characters Mixing Will Make the Universe Better Overall With as big and convoluted Marvel's films are going to become, and with as many superhero films we're getting, the less confusion the better. With a bigger universe where anyone could show up in anything (Maybe Venom fights The Hulk or something), the smaller heroes will shine. I'm super excited for Spider-Man characters like The Kingpin, who could potentially make trouble in the Netflix series (like Daredevil) and then seamlessly pop up in the main Spider-Man films.  Sony also won't have to strain themselves to create a Spider-Man universe from one character. With license to use Marvel's smaller characters (I'm not sure if the bigwigs will come to play every time), there's room to breathe and it'll be easier to digest. But I'm hoping that's part of the plan. Don't forget the Netflix series' are a viable option, Sony!   At the end of the day, I'm just a guy yelling into the air. I'm glad Sony and Marvel both like money, and they'll be getting more from me pretty soon. As someone who's interest in Marvel's films has waned, this is the most excited I've been in a long time. What about you all, Flixist community? Yay or nay? 
5 Good Reasons photo
To him, life is a great big bang up
I don't know about you all, but I'm still shocked at the news that Sony and Marvel are finally getting along and Spider-Man will officially join the Marvel movies. The finer details of the deal are still shrouded in mystery w...

Megan's Top 15 Movies of 2014

Jan 22 // Megan Porch
15. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 I totally love Suzanne Collins' dystopian trilogy, and even though Mockingjay is my favorite of the books I'll admit the book has a ton of faults. When it was first announced the final book would be split into two movies, I was concerned. Mockingjay isn't a long book and it didn't feel like there was enough material for two movies. But then I went to see the film and it was worlds better than I was expecting. While the novel felt rushed, the movie takes its time to let the story unfold and the audience finally gets to really see all the devastation District 13's rebellion is causing. The actors' performances are great, and it's nice to see the final chapter of the trilogy getting the attention it deserves. Read the review here! 14. The Lego Movie In 2013, my friend and I went to a movie for Valentine's Day. That movie was Dredd. In 2014, the same friend and I wanted to see a movie again for the same holiday, so we ended up at The Lego Movie. Despite sitting through the panel for this movie at San Diego Comic Con in 2013, I knew virtually nothing about it. I just knew it involved Legos and Batman was in it. In the end, I can easily say everything about The Lego Movie was awesome. Read the review here! 13. Edge of Tomorrow Any movie that lets me see Tom Cruise die over and over again is amazing and wonderful. I was skeptical of this film because I really can't stand him, but I ended up seeing it since my friends wanted to go. Edge of Tomorrow ended up being a really fun movie that I didn't totally hate Tom Cruise in, and it goes without saying Emily Blunt was a total badass. It was definitely a very pleasant surprise but I do wish the movie had been a bigger hit than it was. Read the review here! 12. Godzilla My only complaint about Godzilla is that Bryan Cranston should've been in way more of it. Now that I've got that out of the way, let me say that this movie was awesome. I like Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and I especially liked how his character was just trying to get home the whole time, but kept getting swept up in all the kaiju insanity. Maybe Godzilla himself should've been in more of it, too, but the moments that he was on screen were incredible. I know a lot of fans were wanting an old school monster for Godzilla to fight, but I thought the Mutos were unique and still managed to fit nicely into the big fighting monster genre. Read the review here! 11. John Wick The biggest surprise movie of 2014 for me was John Wick. I didn't have any interest in seeing it until my friend told me that the story involved a dog. Being the dog-crazy person I am, after that I decided I had to see it... and I'm definitely glad I did. Keanu Reeves may not be the most versatile actor, but I liked him as Wick and the rest of the cast was full of a lot of unexpected, but awesome actors. The fight scenes were fun and the soundtrack was the perfect icing on this revenge filled cake. Check out the sweet doggy! 10. The Raid 2 - Berandal I'll admit I haven't seen The Raid Redemption, but it's on my to-watch list. I ended up seeing The Raid 2 - Berandal with my friend to kill time on the day of Captain America: The Winter Soldier's theatrical release. The only thing I expected was that there would be martial arts. That was literally all I knew about the first movie, so when this one revealed that it had a pretty good plot AND tons of the best fight choreography I've ever seen, I was sold. Read the review here! 9. The Boxtrolls As the third feature film from Laika Studios, The Boxtrolls may not be the strongest story-wise, but it's got a ton of heart and it's a fun movie for kids and adults. What really impresses me about this studio, though, is the amount of sheer creativity that goes into making their movies. With practically every animated movie coming out now being nothing but computer graphics, it's so refreshing to see stop animation still being used so masterfully. Read the review here! 8. Birdman I think the last movie I saw Michael Keaton in was one where he was Batman. I knew the basic premise of Birdman, and since I love superhero movies I was curious about what seemed like a critique of that genre. Birdman is a great character piece with an incredible cast. Emma Stone is easily one of my favorite leading ladies, and I've always liked Ed Norton, but Michael Keaton shined the brightest in this film. Read the review here! 7. Guardians of the Galaxy I'm a diehard fan of Marvel's movies and comics, but even I was puzzled by their choice to make Guardians of the Galaxy into a film. It seemed like something that was too comic book-ish for general movie audiences to enjoy. Luckily, Guardians turned out to be a smash hit and it was also a much needed break from all the dark and serious superhero movies we've gotten over the past decade. There was nothing about this movie I didn't like, but I think my favorite thing about it was how colorful it was. With bright pink and blue people, a talking raccoon and a loveable tree, Guardians of the Galaxy came out of left field and now is one of my top favorite superhero movies. Read the review here! 6. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night I used to live in a town that barely ever got foreign films. Now that I live in Los Angeles there's so many that I don't have time or money to see them all, but when I heard about this movie, I was intrigued. Ana Lily Amirpour's directorial debut, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a must-see for anyone who considers him/herself a movie buff. It's a quiet, simple film, but it also packs a lot of heavy punches in the form of great acting and beautiful storytelling. Read the review here! 5. The Grand Budapest Hotel I can't say enough how much I love Wes Anderson movies, and The Grand Budapest Hotel seems like a love letter to all his fans. It still doesn't beat The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou as my favorite, but it's a close second. Everything about this movie is beautiful, charming, and a little bit disturbing (the cat's fate still makes me cringe). Also, if anyone thinks Ralph Fiennes didn't do his best performance of his career in this movie, I will fight you. Read the review here! 4. Song of the Sea Technically I saw Song of the Sea this year, but its official release date was in December of 2014, so I'm counting it. Cartoon Saloon already made me a fan of their work with their first feature, Secret of Kells, but this movie was something truly special. Maybe I'm a little biased because I think seals are the best animals in the world, but the story of Song of the Sea is truly touching and the craftsmanship that went into creating it is just extraordinary. Read the review here! 3. Under the Skin I read Michel Faber's novel this movie is based on a few weeks before I went to see it in the theater. The novel was weird and cool, but I couldn't imagine how it'd translate into a film. It turns out that Jonathan Glazer was not trying to make a literal adaptation of the book, and that's okay with me. Under the Skin doesn't improve on the novel because it's a completely separate entity. Yeah, there are similarities, but overall the movie is a bizarre journey into femininity and the search for companionship. It's also apparent after watching it that Jonathan Glazer is the closest we are to a modern day Stanley Kubrick. 2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier There won't be any Best Picture nomination for Captain America, but in my mind, it's a masterpiece. The Winter Soldier was my most anticipated movie since the second it was announced at San Diego Comic Con in 2012. As an interpretation of my favorite comic story ever, this movie could not have been more perfect. It wasn't exactly the same, but it didn't matter. All that mattered to me was that I was seeing my favorite characters come to life in a way that was interesting unlike any other superhero movie. I hope Marvel continues with these genre films, since it gives superheroes a cool twist they didn't have before. Read the review here! 1. Interstellar I get pretty emotional during movies, especially the ones that are as emotionally charged as Interstellar was. Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite directors, so I'm always eager to see what he's up to. This movie felt different from all his others. It certainly had a lot of big ideas, but when it boiled down to its core, Interstellar was about family. So I pretty much spent the entire movie sobbing because it was just so darn beautiful. The story, the cinematography, the special effects... everything was perfect. I wasn't sure anything could top how much I loved The Winter Soldier (because I'm horribly biased), but Interstellar went above and beyond anything I saw last year. Read the review here! So here's hoping 2015 is full of awesome movies, too! What were some of your favorites from last year?
Megan's Top 15 photo
Lots of these movies involve adorable animals. Others are gratuitiously violent. One has both!
2014 was a pretty great year for movies, so coming up with a year end list was pretty tough for me. Originally I thought I'd just do top 5, and then top 10... but no. It had to be top 15 because I saw so many awesome films last year, and it just wouldn't be fair to ignore the movies in the 11 through 15 slots.  So let's get the ball rolling...  

Nick's Top 10 Movie Music Moments of 2014

Jan 14 // Nick Valdez
Honorable Mentions: Birdman - Flight scene, Snowpiercer - "What happens if the engine stops?," The Skeleton Twins - "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now," 22 Jump Street - "Ass-n-Titties," Into the Woods - "Agony" [embed]218773:42129:0[/embed] 10. The Hunger Games Mockingjay - Part 1 - "The Hanging Tree" as performed by Jennifer Lawrence Every year there seems to be a song that's meant to break into mainstream pop. Usually by happenstance, or some kind of weird popularity spike, and "The Hanging Tree" is 2014's single. Written by the Lumineers (with influence from the original text), and given an odd dance backing so it can be played on the radio, this moment may have been forced but it did show off the first actual rebellion against the Capitol. Like other parts of Mockingjay - Part 1, the scene finally opens up the world beyond Katniss and her compatriots.  [embed]218773:42130:0[/embed] 9. The Lego Movie - "Everything is Awesome/(Untitled) Self Portrait"  "Everything is awesome, everything is cool when your part of a team" was 2014's "Let It Go." There's a dollar theater in my town next to the local grocery, and when I first heard a little girl singing that song, I knew we had a winner. The scene it's used in doesn't hit perfect status until the "12 Hours Later" bit but it's still very good. Even better? Batman's demo tape, "DARKNESS! NO PARENTS!" [embed]218773:42132:0[/embed] 8. Guardians of the Galaxy - "Come And Get Your Love"  As critics like myself (although I'd like to think I'm as far from that definition as possible) continue to worry over the staleness of Marvel's films, the intro to Guardians of the Galaxy, featuring a nonchalantly groovin Chris Pratt dancing to a once forgotten Redbone tune, helps alleviate some of that worry. Starting off on the right foot, this scene helped set the tone for Marvel's future. It's going to be a lot more fun.  [embed]218773:42134:0[/embed] 7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - "Elevator Beatbox"  You won't see the TMNT movie on many Best of 2014 lists, but I've got to credit where it's due. It may have be clouded by a bunch of odd decisions, but the Turtles themselves were great. Although they looked like giant steroid hulks, the few times they got to act like their "Teenage" namesake truly stood out. This came to a head in the elevator ride before the final battle with Shredder. It's the most fun scene in this film, and it's completely unnecessary when you think about it. But it's full of so much personality it's hard to care. I want the sequel to basically be this scene x 100.  [embed]218773:42133:0[/embed] 6. The Guest - "Anthonio" The Guest has one of the best soundtracks of 2014. Fusing synth pop and trance together with little known European Pop remixes, and coupling them with a nostalgic run through the horror genre lead to one of the best musically inclined films of the year. The Guest owes most of its successes to its soundtrack and it's never better than the final scene. A stare down, a remix of Annie's "Anthonio," and a sinister Dan Stevens are a match made in heaven.  [embed]218773:42135:0[/embed] 5. The Book of Life - "Just A Friend/The Apology Song/I Will Wait" as performed by Diego Luna, Cheech Marin, and Gabriel Iglesias I think The Book of Life'll be the only time I hear Tejano-inspired music in film and that's a bit sad. Like me, it takes influences from classic pop tunes and unapologetically puts a little Mexican flair into each one. There's too many awesome songs to name (but the one touted as the "big" one, where Diego Luna performs a cover of "Creep," is kind of lame) with the too brief "Just a Friend," and the great "Apology Song" sung to a flaming skeletal bull in the Land of the Forgotten, but my favorite is definitely the montage set to "I Will Wait." It's hilarious, critiques Mexican culture, and it just sounds so pleasant.  [embed]218773:42137:0[/embed] 4. The Interview - "Firework" as performed by Jenny Lane Although the clip above doesn't refer to the scene on this list (as it's much better to experience it without being spoiled), trust me when I say that it's truly a great movie music moment. The scene that launched a thousand emails, and was most likely toned down in retrospect, but it's a damn fun scene. Much like the rest of The Interview, it makes sense in the most absurd way. Hope you get to see it for yourself.  [embed]218773:42138:0[/embed] 3. X-Men: Days of Future Past - "Time in a Bottle" With as many comic book films I see now, they all start to blend in together after awhile. What woke me up from my haze, however, was Days of Future Past. While the rest of the film followed the same beats, and Quicksilver himself wasn't the most interesting addition, I've never seen a better demonstration of super speed. Sure we've seen this type of slowdown in films like The Matrix, but I can't recall seeing it used so humorously. It's the little touches that made everything work.  [embed]218773:42136:0[/embed] 2. Frank - "Secure the Galactic Perimeter/I Love You All" as performed by Michael Fassbender Frank is a film about twelve people saw, and that's a damn shame. It's got some of the best music from 2014. The songs were notably assembled by the cast (and not even available in full on the soundtrack) and they're just so weird. Good weird. While the final song "I Love You All" gets the full bump on this list, it doesn't really mesh as well as it should until you've seen the film. Once you've seen the film, learned of all of Frank's quibbles, then it truly comes together.  [embed]218773:42139:0[/embed] 1. Whiplash - "Caravan" as performed by Miles Teller God, Whiplash has the best f**king music. That finale? So gooooooooooooooood. What are your favorite music moments of 2014? Agree or disagree? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter! Stay tuned through the rest of the week for more "Best Of" lists! 
Nick's Top 10 Music photo
Music to my eyes
Music plays an integral role in film. Easily ignored, easily forgotten, a film's soundtrack is the little celebrated framework of cinema. But when sound and sight marry into a great scene, you get some of the best moments. Li...

Nick's Top 5 Sequels of 2014

Jan 13 // Nick Valdez
Honorable Mentions: How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Raid 2: Berandal, Captain America: The Winter Soldier [embed]218787:42123:0[/embed] 5.  X-Men: Days of Future Past The X-Men series was in quite the pickle. As the seventh film in the ailing series, it had quite a bit to prove. Doing something I've never seen before, DoFP went and actively rebooted (as in, made "rebooting" a key plot to the newest film) the series in order to fix all of the issues fans have had with it. Not only pleasing comic book fans, but even casual moviegoers as it brought back all of the headliners and never once felt like the confusing mess it could have been. An interesting, and most importantly, successful experiment that showed off what comic book movies could truly be capable of.  Read our review of X-Men: Days of Future Past here. [embed]218787:42124:0[/embed] 4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 The Hunger Games films have been steadily getting better at handling their themes, and it came to fruition with Part 1. Finally capitalizing on the promise of the series, Part 1 introduced many teenage movie fans to conflicting political ideologies, smaller facets of yellow journalism, and all while having the confidence to talk about things a bit. There hasn't been any room in the series for conversation thus far, and that's weird considering the books are nothing but Katniss talking to herself. This was a sequel that was willing to breathe for a bit and wallow in the messed up situation they're in. It's definitely the first film in which the Capitol seemed like an actual threat.  Read our review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 here. [embed]218787:42125:0[/embed] 3. 22 Jump Street Comedy sequels are a dime or dozen. For every 22 Jump Street we got in 2014, we also got Dumb and Dumber To, Horrible Bosses 2, and A Haunted House 2. While those lesser films tried to recreate the film that got them there, 22 Jump Street did that and made fun of themselves while doing it. Not once did they lie to their audience and say that the sequel was made for something other than money, or that it should exist at all. It was like saying "Hey we're doing this, so let's all just have some fun!" and that's all I could ever want from a sequel, really.  And those title cards during the credits? Perfection.  Read our review of 22 Jump Street here. [embed]218787:42126:0[/embed] 2. The Purge: Anarchy You know what makes a good sequel? Take a film that I wasn't interested in before and completely reinvent the wheel to make it far more entertaining. By changing the direction of the series, from house invader horror to cheesy action thriller, adding Frank Grillo, and throwing a fine layer of hamfisted sociopolitical messages, you've got the best Grillo'd Cheese sandwich. For the first time in a long time, I find myself a lot more interested in annual sequels. Give me one every year this interesting, and I'll never speak ill will toward #CrimeDay again.  Read our review of The Purge: Anarchy here. [embed]218787:42127:0[/embed] 1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes "Apes. Together. Awesome" was the subtitle I used for my Dawn of the Planet of the Apes review, and it's still one of my favorite things I've ever written. Dawn also happens to be my favorite movie of the Summer. It was thrilling, had several nice action bits, and looked amazing. Fixed most of the issues I had with Rise, and brought more Ape on Ape action. I ended up shouting "APEEEEEEEES" for several days after. I do not hate every ape I see, from chimpan-a to chimpanzee.  Hope the next film has Dr. Zaius. Read our review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes here.  What are your favorite sequels of 2014? Agree or disagree? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter! Stay tuned through the rest of the week for more "Best Of" lists! 
Nick's Top 5 Sequels photo
Sequelitis schmequelitis
We've seen more sequels released the last few years than we have in a long time. While 2015 seems to continue that trend, last year showed that we shouldn't automatically write off a film just because it's a sequel. I've seen...

Nick's Top 5 Animated Movies of 2014

Jan 12 // Nick Valdez
Honorable Mentions: The Boxtrolls, Batman: Assault on Arkham, Penguins of Madagascar [embed]218732:42108:0[/embed] 5. Big Hero 6 When Disney bought out Marvel a few years ago, one of the more interesting projects to come out of that was Big Hero 6. A Disney animated take on a Marvel comic only two or three people have heard of? I was sold from day one. Streamlining some of the original comic's funkier aspects, rightfully making Baymax adorable, and providing some great animation, Disney Animated Studios proved once again that they could provide another hit after Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen. I can't wait to see what they churn out next.  Read our review of Big Hero 6 here. [embed]218732:42109:0[/embed] 4. The Lego Movie Although Lego Movie was on the top of my list throughout most of the year, the more I thought about it, the more I didn't like it as much. Everything was indeed awesome with its great cast, stunning mix of stop motion and CG, and pretty funny jokes. But the ending ended up rubbing me the wrong way. It's one of those endings in which the ramifications of its message didn't hit home until a few weeks ago. It's got kind of a mean message, but it still deserves a place on my list. I still enjoyed the rest of it quite a bit. I hope the sequel can fix those problems.  Read our review of The Lego Movie here. [embed]218732:42110:0[/embed] 3. The Book of Life The Book of Life was truly a light in the dark. A different, Spanish language voice that stood out from other homogeneous offerings. Bringing both negative and positive aspects of Mexican culture to the public forefront (although never truly doing anything with them, sadly), Book of Life is a savvy, entertaining, wonderfully musical good time. In fact, its tejano inspired arrangements of well known pop songs are some of my favorites from last year. I hope this is just the beginning of Latino voices breaking into the mainstream.  Read our review of The Book of Life here. [embed]218732:42112:0[/embed] 2. How to Train Your Dragon 2 How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a sequel done right. Expanding on the themes of the original without pandering to anyone, Dragon 2 was entirely confident in itself. It was amazing to see it unfold onscreen. Providing some of the best looking scenes in film last year, and with a great musical score to boot, Dragon 2 was one of the few films that made 3D viewing necessary. Its darker tone may have turned kids away, but those kids that stuck around realized there was a film here that captured all of the oddness that comes with becoming an adult and staking a claim in life. And this is a sequel! Based off a book! See, they're not all terrible!  Read our review of How to Train Your Dragon 2 here. [embed]218732:42111:0[/embed] 1. Mr. Peabody & Sherman Speaking of terrible sounding ideas, Mr. Peabody seemed doomed to fail. When Dreamworks bought the rights to Classic Media (which included classic cartoon properties like Rocky & Bullwinkle, Waldo, and Casper the Friendly Ghost) as part of an initiative to reboot all of these properties and make money, I was worried for the already in progress Peabody. Reboots already have the worst reputation, and Peabody is really special to me so the last thing I wanted was for the poor dog to be dragged through the mud. But thankfully that didn't happen.  Smarter than most films without belittling children's intelligence, Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a surprisingly emotional tale of father and son who've both felt the sting of loneliness. In a year of boy's club films, it was so great to see one that wasn't all about men doing men things. Mr. Peabody & Sherman is an ode to love, family, and trust. Also, it's full of genuinely good edutainment.  Read our review of Mr. Peabody & Sherman here. What are your favorite animated films of 2014? Agree or disagree? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter! Stay tuned through the rest of the week for more "Best Of" lists! 
Nick's Top 5 Animated photo
No girls allowed I guess
2014 was a pretty good year for animated films. But unlike the year before, which featured a huge Disney film with headlining women and lots of family friendly features, 2014 was a complete boy's club. While there were a few ...

FlixList: The Ten Best Trailers of 2014

Dec 30 // Nick Valdez
Honorable Mentions: Interstellar, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Foxcatcher, Knight of Cups, Godzilla, Tomorrowland, Big Hero 6, Godzilla [embed]218742:42095:0[/embed] 10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens This may have gotten on the list just for being a trailer for a new Star Wars movie, but it barely squeaked by. Being the definition of "tease," this is the trailer that sent a million fans flocking to their keyboards. Haha, we weren't any different.  [embed]218742:42096:0[/embed] 9. The Interview Before all that hullaballoo, The Interview was a small movie about killing a dictator with a really good trailer. Using a semi-popular viral video of young korean boys playing guitar, I had to see this trailer a few times. Good music, it's cut particularly well, and the final joke is pretty good.  [embed]218742:42097:0[/embed] 8. American Sniper Now THIS is how you advertise a military film. The final film may not fulfill all the promise of the first trailer, but there's still much to chew on. Excellently shot military action, emotional turmoil, and humans instead of soldiers. It's all delivered in a succinct, gripping fashion and there hasn't been a quieter trailer this year.  [embed]218742:42098:0[/embed] 7. Furious 7 While new fans will flock to theater for Paul Walker's last outing, this first trailer for Furious 7 shows the rest of the world what we've known for awhile. Fast & Furious is f**king awesome. #FAMILY [embed]218742:42099:0[/embed] 6. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 Mockingjay - Part 1 had such great advertising. Before revealing the conventional trailers, we got a steady stream of propaganda like teaser videos and images. Knowing that it's a big property folks would've seen regardless, it was good to see all the effort when it really wasn't necessary. Good thing the film itself also capitalized on all of the fervor.  [embed]218742:42100:0[/embed] 5. Guardians of the Galaxy To this day I still hear "Hooked on a Feeling" jokes. [embed]218742:42103:0[/embed] 4. Fifty Shades of Grey Fifty Shades of Grey went from being that really bad sounding movie based off of an even worse sounding book to kind of interesting with its first teaser. All it took was a cut that made it seem like a sexually charged horror film and Queen Bey covering own of her own songs in an awesome way. Then the second trailer completely went and undermined all of that goodwill. So much for that, I guess.  [embed]218742:42102:0[/embed] 3. Nightcrawler Want to get folks interested in your film? This is how you do it. First releasing as a viral teaser, Nightcrawler went on to be one of my favorite films of 2014 as it utilized all the creepiness found in this short video. A slim Gyllenhaal with sinister eyes and a well written speech does a good trailer make.  [embed]218742:42101:0[/embed] 2. Mad Max: Fury Road Coming out of practically nowhere with a boom, Fury Road instantly became my most anticipated film of 2015 with its trailer released over San Diego Comic Con. Gritty, cartoonish, explosive, and stylish as f**k. And this was all done with practical effects! You don't even need to see any of the other trailers for this film from here on out.  [embed]218742:42104:0[/embed] 1. Birdman Maybe I'm crazy? Maybe you're crazy? Maybe we're crazy?  Probably What are your favorite trailers from 2014? Do you have a "best" trailer that I didn't feature here? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter! 
Best Trailers of 2014 photo
The trailers of 2014 got me lookin' so crazy right now
Around this time last year, I wrote a list of the Best and Worst Trailers of 2013. While there won't be a "worst" list this year, that just means the trailers of 2014 have been all around much better than before. As studios f...

The Ten Best Christmas Movies on Netflix Instant (2014 Edition)

Dec 22 // Nick Valdez
Honorable Mentions: The Preacher's Wife, Santa Paws, Santa Paws 2, Codename Kids Next Door (S5, E5) - Operation: N.A.U.G.H.T.Y.,  [embed]218693:42057:0[/embed] Planes, Trains, and Automobiles This movie's such a great comedy in its own right, you could watch it outside of the holiday and not feel weird. A film that set the stage for the "Road Trip" comedy, Planes, Trains and Automobiles features a memorable performance from John Candy (which means it's an automatic winner already), and lots of awesome anti-Christmas spirit.  [embed]218693:42070:0[/embed] The Muppet Christmas Carol There are tons of different versions of A Christmas Carol out there, but The Muppet Christmas Carol is one of my favorites. Maybe it's because the Muppets themselves are great, or maybe it's the musical numbers, or maybe it's the fact it's one of the few stories that features a timeline in which Kermit and Miss Piggy actually get married and conceive children. It's just got lots of cute moments that are really hard to pass up. The two Marley ghosts are still my favorite bit.  [embed]218693:42071:0[/embed] Love, Actually I actually have no idea why Love, Actually works as well as it does. What should be shmaltzy holiday fodder clicks due to its well selected cast, hidden darkness (Rick Grimes straight up stalks a girl), and snappy dialogue.  [embed]218693:42072:0[/embed] Bad Santa I don't have fond memories of Bad Santa mostly because I saw the second cut, Badder Santa first. Turns out the slightly cleaner cut was much better. It's not a holiday classic for most, but it should be. If you can get passed all of the jackassery and gross kids, it's got a lot of heart. Takes the poop out of the Christmas myth.  [embed]218693:42073:0[/embed] Scrooged This may be yet another version of A Christmas Carol, but it's far darker than most things on this list. With a skewed vision of pop culture and advertisement of the time (and thus dissecting the commercialism of the holiday season), Scrooged is a mix of cartoonish and bleak. It's like a holiday film your cranky old dad would enjoy. Both of you can watch and go "dern TV today." [embed]218693:42074:0[/embed] The Nightmare Before Christmas What's this? What's this? It's a movie everyone's seen.  [embed]218693:42075:0[/embed] Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas This pick is a little more personal. The first non-Rankin/Bass Christmas film I got was Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. It's pretty special as it introduced me to stories like Gift of the Magi and Groundhog Day. It's a perfectly harmless, imperfect Disney direct to home video film. You should at least check out the first segment where Huey, Dewey, and Louie wish it were Christmas everyday. It's fun, depressing, and full of laughs.  [embed]218693:42076:0[/embed] The Prince of Egypt The Prince of Egypt might be more of an Easter film, but it's the only pure religious film I'll ever acknowledge. When Dreamworks Animation was focused on challenging Disney, they churned out their best work during a golden era: The Prince of Egypt, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, The Road to El Dorado, and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas. It was hit after hit after hit as they put so much money into turning out the best products. The Prince of Egypt is one of the best retellings of Exodus I've ever seen. Concise but full of information, stupendous musical numbers, stellar voice cast, and gorgeous animation. If you're thinking about the "Christ" part of Christmas, check this one out. It's religious without being super in your face about it.  [embed]218693:42077:0[/embed] American Dad S5, E9: Rapture's Delight So this one's a bit of a cheat, but I've made it a tradition to watch every American Dad Christmas special each year. The later ones (featuring Krampus and Damien) aren't that great, but the first four or so are true gems. The highlight of all these for sure is "Rapture's Delight." A Christmas special that suddenly turns into a send up of every great 80s action film with Mad Max-style visuals, Andy Samberg with his most annoyingly great voiceover work, and "Later world, smell my ass!" can't be beat.  [embed]218693:42078:0[/embed] Fireplace for Your Home  What do you think Flixist community? What are your favorite holiday films on Netflix Instant? 
Netflixmas photo
Merry Flixmas!
In December of 2013, I wrote about a Christmas movie a day for twenty five days. It was both the best and worst project I had ever attempted. I tested the limit of how many words I could actually come up with for each one. I ...

FlixList: The Ten Best Horror Films on Netflix Instant (2014 Edition)

Oct 29 // Nick Valdez
Honorable Mentions: Let the Right One In, The Ninth Gate, Maniac, Surf Nazis Must Die, American Mary, Event Horizon, V/H/S, House on Haunted Hill, The Stuff, The Fly, The House of the Devil, Children of the Corn  [embed]218490:41925:0[/embed] Tucker and Dale vs. Evil Although Tucker and Dale is more of a parody of the horror genre (as teens find themselves in precarious violent situations while the two try to save them), that doesn't mean it isn't full of the same suspense or gore you'd expect. If gruesome deaths are your horror bag, then this film's for you. If not, there are quite a lot of laughs mined from those gross moments.  [embed]218490:41935:0[/embed] My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Who is this for?  [embed]218490:41928:0[/embed] All Cheerleaders Die With a name like All Cheerleaders Die, you'd be forgiven for writting off this neat little flick. It's not as overtly sexual as the name implies, and is fact a nice twist on that pulpy horror "sexy beast" gimmick. It's not until the finale kicks in that you really see what kind of horror film it is, but it's worth it.  [embed]218490:41926:0[/embed] The Cabin in the Woods Cabin in the Woods is a must see for any horror fan. A true send up of the genre that goes batsh*t insane in the second half. It's one of those movies where if I explain why it's really good I'd ruin it, so please just take my word for it.  [embed]218490:41927:0[/embed] The Craft Maybe this is because I originally saw this as a prepubescent and it's filled with some of the most attractive women of the time (oh my god, Neve Campbell marry me), but The Craft is scary in that "teenagers are just the worst" way. It's basically a film version of that My Chemical Romance song "Teenagers," but like ten million times better. Seriously though, you can't get a better teenage angst film. [embed]218490:41929:0[/embed] The Frighteners Before Peter Jackson made six Lord of the Rings movies, he directed a film that deserves five more entries. Starring Michael J Fox and a host of legitimately frightening ghosts (that worm tunnel to hell still weird me out after all of this time), The Frighteners is always my go to for a good time.  [embed]218490:41930:0[/embed] Scream Out of all the slasher films on Netflix Instant, I'd have to pick Scream as my favorite. Maybe it's because this one stars Neve Campbell too, but it's the first film I remember utilizing the meta narrative that's exploited so much today. It was a hipster horror film before hipster horror was even a thing. A film you can ironically and un-ironically enjoy. Also let me just mention Neve Campbell one more time. So good. [embed]218490:41933:0[/embed] Battle Royale In Battle Royale, a group of Japanese schoolmates are randomly chosen each year to kill each other in order to appease the adults. Although I'm no longer at the age where this premise has a direct effect on me, it's still chilling. I guess if you're not into foreign films, just watch The Hunger Games for a lighter take on this idea. As long as the horrific themes sink in, you're golden.  [embed]218490:41931:0[/embed] Rosemary's Baby This film continues to give me nightmares to this day. Whether it's a fear of children, of women, of punishment for sexual desires, a paranoia of those around me, or the Devil itself, Baby taps into all of them and cripples me each time I see it. In fact, I'm getting goosebumps right now just thinking about it. And it's not just the horror aspects, Baby is just a damn good film. With an outstanding performance from Mia Farrow, excellent set design, and pulsing score, it's a film I'd recommend to everyone above all else.  [embed]218490:41934:0[/embed] Anaconda But sometimes...My anaconda do.  What do you think Flixist community? Are you mad I forgot about Evil Dead 2 until right now? What are your favorite horror films on Netflix Instant? 
Horror Films on Netflix photo
Do you like scary movies?
The tradition of watching scary movies during the Halloween season is now easier to keep up with than ever thanks to Netflix Instant. But with all the content available on the service, how do you know which ones are truly wor...

FlixList: Ten Cartoons that Deserve Big Movies

Aug 19 // Nick Valdez
Honorable Mentions: Dog City, King Arthur & the Knights of Justice, 2 Stupid Dogs, Biker Mice From Mars, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, Mighty Max, SWAT Kats, Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, Arthur, Dexter's Laboratory, Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys, Pepper Ann, Darkwing Duck, Swamp Thing, M.A.S.K., Reboot, Most Disney cartoons, Teen Titans [embed]218176:41751:0[/embed] 10. Street Sharks Sure Street Sharks is essentially the same show as TMNT if the turtles were trash talking punks, but man it was JAWSOME. With all of the current shark hype, now's the best time for a Street Sharks reboot. Let Michael Bay produce this one, give it the worst best screenwriter, and then watch the cash roll in.  [embed]218176:41753:0[/embed] 9. The Mysterious Cities of Gold I know this one's been given a face lift thanks to a recent mobile game, but I really want this on the big screen. This is one of the rare occasions where I'd prefer live action for the property. Full of gorgeous backdrops, education, mystery, and non-White protagonists (with Spanish, Incan, and Egyptian influences), and childlike wonder. It's a show that didn't get the following it deserved. Come back, Esteban.  [embed]218176:41754:0[/embed] 8. Ed, Edd & Eddy A cool cartoon about three con men working over marks during Summer vacation. I really don't need to explain why this should be a movie, do I?  [embed]218176:41752:0[/embed] 7. Mummies Alive HE HAS THE MUMMIES! PROTECTING 25 B.C.  HE HAS THE MUMMIES! SOMETHING SOMETHING RAMSES [embed]218176:41756:0[/embed] 6. Gargoyles I remember having a tough time following Gargoyles. Being one of the first "dark" cartoons with a through plot line, I couldn't miss an episode because I'd come back super lost. And since I had missed so many, I think I singlehandedly canceled this show. I just really want to see a film version of this out of cold, hard guilt. Also for the possibility of seeing Keith David don giant grey wings and a mullet. [embed]218176:41755:0[/embed] 5. Bravestarr Bravestarr should really be more popular. A Native American sheriff fighting space aliens and robots in a version of Texas on the moon (or something)? And you're saying he has an ass kicking, wisecracking horse that transforms into a man horse? Why hasn't this been adapted for film yet? Do studios not want my life savings?  [embed]218176:41758:0[/embed] 4. Thundercats Remember when Thundercats nearly got a motion picture? Something happened during production that saved us from what was most likely a disaster. Then we got that neat, but short lived reboot on Cartoon Network a few years ago. We're overdue for a full fledged Thundercats film. I'd probably see it twice. Hell, just give actors cat noses and save money if that's the issue.  Sight beyond sight, badass beyond badass. [embed]218176:41759:0[/embed] 3. Captain Planet and the Planeteers Although it'll never be as good as the Funny or Die shorts with Don Cheadle, I really do think a Captain Planet film could work. Take out some of the 80-90s fluff like mullets, Indian children with monkeys, and "love" and you'd have a current Hollywood blockbuster. I mean if LeVar Burton can bring back Reading Rainbow, we can at least get a 90 minute film. Or a fan film. Anything. The power is yours, Internet. Make it happen.   [embed]218176:41760:0[/embed] 2. Kim Possible Call me, beep me, if you want to reach me when Kim Possible finally gets her big screen debut. I know the show has gotten some movie length TV specials on Disney Channel, but if there's any Disney cartoon worth adapting, it's this one. Featuring a teenage cheerleader (who also happened to be a really great super spy), and her goofy best friend as they take on all sorts of colorful bad guys. Literally colorful with a blue guy, a green lady, and I believe there was a red one at one point. Slick action, great comedy, and featuring one of Christina Milian's few hit singles.  [embed]218176:41761:0[/embed] 1. Samurai Jack  This one hurts more than any other cancellation. Getting cut short after just one awesome season, we never got the final battle between Jack (a samurai wielding a mystical sword) and Aku (a demon who sent Jack years forward into the future). Although talks for a movie began shortly after the series ended, it was never meant to be. Although this list is about shows I want to see on the big screen, it's really just a thinly veiled list of shows I'd like to see again. Jack never made it back home.  AKUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU What did you think Flixist community? Am I wrong about these decisions? Are you made I forgot about Young Justice until right now? Leave a comment below or write a c-blog telling me why! 
FlixList: Cartoons! photo
Grab that bowl of cereal
Cartoons are great. Growing up, I loved to get up early weekend mornings (Fox Kids on Saturday, WB Kids on Sunday) and rush home from school during the week to catch all the best cartoons. Before the advent of DVR, piracy, an...

Six filmmakers who should direct Star Wars spin-offs

May 27 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
When I first read that Gareth Edwards was making the first spin-off, I misread it. I thought, “Seriously? The guy who did The Raid 2? Heck freaking yeah!” And then I was disappointed to find out that, no, it was some other guy who didn’t make the best action movie ever. But what if it was? The Star Wars of the 21st century has tended towards the big and bombastic, and doing so made the action a whole lot less intense. Say what you want about his films, Evans knows how to make small-scale action intense. Imagine a bounty hunter spinoff (back-in-the day Boba Fett?), something like a martial arts Blade Runner. Given his not-excellent track record as a writer, he’d definitely need at least one other person to help out with the story, but if he got that, the Star Wars universe could be home to the coolest sci-fi action film ever. Han Solo is a slick fella. Suave and sarcastic almost to a fault, it’s hard to imagine a Han Solo prequel film without the steady hand of one Edgar Wright; especially now that Wright is off Ant-Man. Wright's trademark snappy direction would gel perfectly with Solo’s whip-smart brand of humor. Can you imagine the car chase scenes from Hot Fuzz...but with the Millennium Falcon? An Edgar Wright movie mixes wit and a surprising amount of heart, usually to great effect. And you know who else is hiding a heart of gold behind a wall of snark? Han Solo. Plus, it would be a major PR boon for Disney, especially after the whole Ant-Man debacle. Nerds love Edgar Wright, but they love Han Solo even more. -- Mike Cosimano Disclaimer: I’ve never seen the Clone Wars series, so I don’t know if that delves into the lives of the same-faced soldiers who are at the bidding of the real Star Wars baddies, but I think it would be absolutely fascinating to have a film that focuses on the military itself and the people within. Honestly, I think it’s such a potential goldmine of interesting stories that it could be its own subseries, with a film about each military faction. Kathryn Bigelow has proven that she is extremely adept at evoking the feeling (if not necessarily the reality) of a small-scale warzone (think Hurt Locker, not Saving Private Ryan), and could make for a really compelling drama. Snowpiercer isn’t out in the states yet, so you’re going to have to trust me on this one: Bong Joon-Ho is a brilliant world builder. Whatever its failings, his latest film serves to create a fascinating world that just feels right. More importantly, its multilingual cast shows that he has a unique grasp on the melding of different cultures. I’d trust him to pull off a Star Wars drama with a cast of aliens and humans alike more than any other filmmaker on the planet. He’s also got a good grasp of action. If we have to attach it to existing characters, I’d say that he would be perfectly suited to create the Han Solo origin, though I’d rather he do something completely different. Speaking of completely different: The man who made Primer and Upstream Color has one of the most distinctive, singular visions in all of movie-making. While his movies may not look the same in the way a Wes Anderson might (let’s pause to consider and immediately reject a Wes Anderson-directed spinoff), his complete control over nearly every aspect of production means he’s as close to a true film auteur as a person could get. His intensely cerebral, low-budget sensibilities likely wouldn’t translate to the type of narrative people associate with Star Wars, but his sci-fi background means that he could make something absolutely compelling within that universe. It would be small, intimate, and like nothing else out there. For these spinoffs to really make an impact, they need to do something weird. Shane Carruth would help them do that. No, seriously. George Lucas may have completely destroyed his credibility as a filmmaker with the Star Wars prequels, but it would be fascinating to give him an unrelated side-story to (probably) mess up as well. Without any expectations or preconceived notions, the man (especially if he had a team to reign him in) could possibly make some reasonably interesting, if not necessarily good. I don’t have the faintest idea what that thing might be, but if we’re part of this new Expanded Universe, why not? I mean, it really couldn’t be any worse than Episode I.
Star Wars Wish List photo
It's time for a different kind of EU
When Disney killed the Star Wars Expanded Universe last month, they negated decades of side stories that fleshed out the galaxy far, far away. But they left open the door for a new Expanded Universe, one filled with cano...

2014 Razzies photo
2014 Razzies

Here are your 2014 Razzie winners and losers

Yup, because these matter too.
Mar 04
// Nick Valdez
The Academy Awards have come and gone, and while they were full of pleasant moments (the super selfie, the pizza, Lupita Nyong'o and Matthew McConaughey's speeches), the Razzies also happened but were full of not so pleasant ...

Alec's Top 15 Movies of 2013

Jan 17 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
Movie that makes me sad about the state of film criticism (because people loved it so much despite it being the worst thing ever): Leviathan Movies I missed that would probably be on this list: Frozen, The Hunt, The Spectacular Now, Spring Breakers, The Place Beyond the Pines, Juvenile Offender, Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis Honorable Mentions (in no particular order): Tim's Vermeer, Beyond the Hills, No, American Hustle, The Great Gatsby, The World's End, The Act of Killing, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Now You See Me, Stoker, V/H/S/2, Zero Charisma, the first two hours of Man of Steel I'm not usually a fan of stoner comedies, but This is the End is freaking hilarious. That's all there really is to it. The decision to have each actor play themselves was an inspired one that could have crashed and burned but instead turned into something great. I'd be interested to know if any of the tensions between Seth Rogen and co. are actually based in reality, but even if the whole thing is fictionalized it tells a pretty compelling human story amidst all of the chaos. Also, it has the best ending to a movie ever. Bar none. Seriously. Read our review here. The Wolf of Wall Street is too long. You could argue that that's kind of the point, that the excess of it is thematically linked to the narrative, but that doesn't change the fact that a half hour could have been cut from it without much thought. But even at three hours, it's still a wild ride that rarely drags (I checked my watch at the two hour mark and then not again until the credits rolled). Everything is as over the top as it could be while still feeling uncomfortably realistic. (Perhaps because it's based, at least in part, on reality.) This is what people believe Wall Street is like and Wall Streeters are like, and your feelings about the New York elite going into the film are going to radically influence the way you feel coming out. Read our review here. What makes You're Next interesting is the fact that it's not really a home invasion film (though detailing why would involve a pretty serious spoiler). I wouldn't even call it a horror film. Instead, it's basically an ultra-violent dark-comedy/thriller, and a great one at that. It is also extremely quotable and has one of the most badass protagonists (male or female) of any film in the past several years. Read our review here. My Chemical Romance said it best: So give them blood, blood, gallons of the stuff!Give them all that they can drink and it will never be enough.So give them blood, blood, blood.Grab a glass because there's going to be a flood! Read our review here. The sole documentary on this list, The Square is easily one of the most important films of last year. It details the 2011 demonstrations in Tahrir Square, which is significant enough, but it also documents the follow up demonstrations that took place last year. Those latter demonstrations, by the way, took place after the film had premiered at Sundance and won the Audience Award. Instead of letting the film stay as it was, the team went back to Egypt to make sure that the new story was being told. (And they did this all at great personal risk.) This is documentary filmmaking at its finest. Read our review here. If any film's placement on this list is abritary, it's this one. I am exceedingly glad that I didn't have to review Upstream Color, because I truly couldn't score it. The blurb that I wrote is basically non-commital trash and ends with no score attached. It's a film that defies description, and any number I could have given it would have been completely meaningless. Is it good? Probably. But what if it's terrible? It may very well be. I couldn't even give a 20 point range of where that score could be. But the fact that Upstream Color exists says something wonderful about movies, about what they can do and the growth of a new, truly independent voice in filmmaking. I don't understand Upstream Color, but I love that it's real. And whatever number it may be, it deserves to be on this list. Read our review here. Read Hubert's in-depth analysis here, here, and here. The trailers looked cool and everything, but I didn't expect a whole lot from Captain Phillips. It wasn't until the morning of the world premiere that I thought it might be worth seeing. I missed the press premiere, but those who went told me it was awesome. "Really?" I thought. "Guess I've gotta see it." I was told to see it big, and I have to agree that the big screen definitely adds to the experience (although unlike #7 on this list, it's not required). But even if you missed it in theaters, you definitely have to check it out. It. Is. Intense. Plus, the (mostly improvised) final five minutes features some of the best acting of Tom Hanks's entire career. (He deservedly beat out Chiwetel Ejiofor and Joaquin Phoenix in our NYFF awards.) The fact that he wasn't even nominated for an Oscar is quite literally the worst thing to ever happen in the history of America.  Read our review here. Dallas Buyers Club is not really a great movie. It's just a really good one, and would not by itself earn a spot on this list. But within that movie are two best-in-career performances from actors with some pretty-damn-good performances in their careers. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto disappear into their characters, and it's freaking incredible. Seriously, two of the best performances of the past few years are on display here (suck it, Daniel Day Lewis), and they take something really good and just turn it into something else entirely. The physical transformation that McConaughey underwent is especially amazing (Leto did something physically similar for Requiem for a Dream, so it is less shocking, though no less impressive). This one hits hard. Gravity is back in theaters this weekend. Go see it now or not at all. The movie is an audiovisual masterpiece but is good at best in any other category. Dialogue? Fine, but way too much of it. Performances? Fine, but too much talking got in the way. Overall narrative? Kinda dumb. But the spectacle of the whole thing is completely unmatched. When I say that it is the most technically accomplished film I've ever seen, I'm not kidding. There's nothing like it in existence. And it single handedly justifies the existence of 3D filmmaking. It remains to be seen whether or not it will have any sort of lasting impact, but I can unequivocally say that it is a film that needs to be seen big. Without the size or the visual depth, its narrative seams go from mildly annoying to downright irritating.  But oh my god does it look good. Read our review here. No film invigorated me like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Walter Mitty made me want to go and do things. It made me want to travel and see the world. Hell, it made a friend of mine who had never had interest in traveling want to go travel. Where Gravity revels in digital spectacle, Walter Mitty celebrates the physical. Obviously, not everything that happens is real, but the Icelandic and Greenlandic vistas are beautiful in a way few other things are. It doesn't hurt that the movie is just really gosh darn funny, but that's not why it's here. It's here for its optimism, something sorely lacking in films these days. I loved it for that, for the belief that things can and will be okay, that people can be and do great things. Many films on this list are about humanity's failings. Walter Mitty is about humanity's successes. Read our review here. The film with the highest review score I've ever given is only number five on this list. Every film going forward is a film I will never forget. Every film from here on down is one of the best films I've ever seen. (It was a seriously good year.) At Flixist, a 95 changes the way you look at film. Wrong changed the way I look at film. After Quentin Dupieux's Rubber, I didn't really think that absurdism could be done in film form. I thought that perhaps it required the physical presence of the actors. I was wrong. (Ha!) Absurdism can be done. Wrong is essentially a perfect film, doing exactly what it set out to do, and I have exactly zero bad things to say about it. From beginning to end, it shocked and amazed me, and when the credits rolled something had changed.  The next four films affected me in different ways, but all of them were extensions of what I knew cinema was capable of. Wrong was the only film I saw this year that truly broadened my horizons. And for that, it should be commended. Read our review here. My one rule of these lists is to stick to films that could potentially be nominated for an Oscar (my number four of last year was actually Amour). I do this in part because it keeps me from just putting together a list made exclusively of Korean films, but also because I like to believe that a country will put forth its best film to represent itself at the Oscars. Obviously, that doesn't happen, and you need look no further than France's snubbing of Blue is the Warmest Color to see that. (It's not actually that simple, and their hands were tied by the Academy's bullshit rules, but whatever.) I'm not going to let that stop me from singing Blue's praises. I was thinking about Blue is the Warmest Color the other day, and I don't mean just in passing. I mean really thinking about it. It's been months since I saw it, but the emotions that that thing brought out in me are still there. I don't do that very often. Blue hit me harder than any movie has in a long time, and I get chills thinking about the fight between Adèle and Emma. It's such a powerful scene that I would remember it even if I developed amnesia. I wouldn't be able to tell you who I was, where I was from, or why I would know this, but I'd be able to tell you that Blue is the Warmest Color is an incredible film. Read our review here. I almost missed Her. I am extremely glad I didn't. A couple of weeks before the New York opening of the film, I was sitting in a classroom and the conversation for whatever reason turned to the film. Without even thinking about it (I wasn't even really paying attention), I shouted, "Oh my god that movie is so good!" Fortunately, it wasn't actually interrupting anything, but I then felt kind of weird telling everyone that no, it wasn't out yet, and I saw it because I was at the world premiere at the New York Film Festival. (I did not mention that it was at the press screening that happened before the actual premiere.) But that is the sort of reaction the film got from me. It's such a brilliant story that is about as relevant to our time as any modern love story could be. Its utopian near-future is beautifully portrayed, and everything feels real and possible. The relationship between Theodore and Samantha is perfectly rendered, and even though Samantha has no physical form, I believed in the two of them and what they had. Absolutely wonderful. Read our review here. I saw this one back in March and I was convinced right through September that it would be the best film I saw all year. I was wrong (obviously), but that does nothing to diminish what Linklater and co. have made here. The Before trilogy is undoubtedly the best trilogy cinema has ever produced. Before Sunrise is a thing of beauty and Before Sunset even more so. Each of these films took the idea of a feature-length conversation and made it into something incredible. So expectations were high for Before Midnight, and the team delivered on all counts. The scale of the film is so much grander, as the couple is married and seams in their relationship have begun to show. But the comfort that Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have together is just kind of mind blowing. They are Jesse and Celeste. I saw the films essentially in sequence, and there isn't a hiccup in any performance, despite the 18 year gap. It's truly mesmerizing, and a basically perfect effort on all fronts. Read our review here. It kinda had to be. I knew from the second that it was announced that 12 Years a Slave would be amazing. Steve McQueen is easily one of the best directors working today, and Shame was my number 2 film of 2011. As the cast list grew and grew, there was no way that the film wasn't going to blow everybody out of the water. And just when people thought that maybe the hype was too much... it came out. And... wow. Seriously, wow. From start to finish, 12 Years a Slave is a film that hurts. It is the anti-Walter Mitty. It is a stunning portrayal of humanity's evils and even though Solomon Northrup was eventually freed, the reality that his story was not so unique is almost unbearable. Everybody knows slavery was bad, but it's hard to comprehend just what it was like. 12 Years a Slave may still be a sanitization of that era, but it comes as close to a vicious, horrific portrayal as anything cinema has ever produced. It's a film that everybody should see, and it was best film of 2013.  Read our review here.
Alec's Top 15 of 2013 photo
It was a damn good year for film
As our unofficial two weeks of arbitrary best of 2013 lists comes to a close, it seemed fitting to cap the whole thing off with a couple of actual Best Of lists. Nick posted his picks earlier in the day, and now I'm doing min...

Nick's Top 15 Movies of 2013

Jan 17 // Nick Valdez
30-16: Man of Tai Chi, American Hustle, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Enough Said, The Great Gatsby, Evil Dead, Don Jon, Monsters University, Wolf Children, The History of Future Folk, Zero Charisma, Mud, Stoker,  The World's End, Drinking Buddies 15. About Time Richard Curtis doesn't exactly have the best track record with notable hits and misses (Hit: Love, Actually. Miss: Bridget Jones' Diarrhea), but when he gets it, he gets it. In a year filled with a good amount of romantic films (there's about five listed here that you should read), About Time is something special. In skews the genre in favor of a light sci-fi twist and uses that twist to instead focus on the relationship between father and son. Instead of becoming a film that makes you ponder the mysteries of love, you're instead left with thoughts of what you'd change in your life if you had the power to go back in time. It earns a spot on this list for that introspection alone.  Read our review of About Time here. 14. Pain & Gain Michael Bay made an art film last year. If you would've told me a few months ago that a Michael Bay film would end up on my Top List, I would've laughed in your face. Sure Pain & Gain is arthouse only in theory (it's like someone described to Bay what an arthouse film was, and he sort of winged it), but it's just so damn fun. Everything wraps up into a neat, but grungy package. It's based on a true story, it criticizes the darker aspects of the American dream, and it finds humor in the most unexpected places. Dwayne Johnson has never been more entertaining as a conflicted post-prison Christian convert who's now suddenly hit with a perverted vision of the world. Not everything worked, but I have to give Bay credit where it's due. It was a fantastic first try.  Read our review of Pain & Gain here. 13. Spring Breakers Spring Breakers set the tone of 2013. After Spring Breakers, whether or not the trend was coincidental, most films began deconstructing whatever genre they're a part of. SB had the party movie and it was fabulous. From James Franco's Riff Raff rip off, to the zealous use of neon and bright color juxtaposed with the gritty action, to how fantastically many scenes were shot. The reason the film is on this list is mainly for the reaction it brought out in me. A mix of disdain, shock, and general enjoyment. Sprang Breeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaak. Sprang Break fo evaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.  Read our review of Spring Breakers here. 12. Dallas Buyers Club Matthew McConuaghey has been on a steady rise since 2012 and it comes to its apex in Dallas Buyers Club. In what amounts to far more than a shock transformation type casting, McConaughey truly brings a physical and emotional pain to Ron Woodroof. And Jared Leto? I'm glad he's come back to acting. Rayon might not be the central focus in DBC, but her arc is the most splendid. Her final scene is something which still emotionally shakes me every time I reflect on it. It's a good film, not perfect, but damn good.  11. The Spectacular Now The Spectacular Now is a gem, plain and simple. From its well cast protagonist (Miles Teller, who's milking his typecasting as the drunk goof with wonderful results), to the remarkably subdued Shailene Woodley, to its broken relationships. It's more than your standard teenage wasteland film. Rarely do the characters in Now do anything without purpose. Every decision made, every conversation, is there to grow and change the budding relationship between Aimee and Sutter. It redefines "puppy love," and is now the new standard for teenage romance films going forward. Loving, hopeful, and excruciatingly sad at the same time.  10. You're Next Rare I'll love a horror film this much. I'm not a huge fan of the genre (as I'm a big ole' pansy and scare stupidly easy. Remember that Goosebumps TV show? I don't. Too scary), so I don't usually go out of my way to see them. I had completely missed out on You're Next's initial theatrical release, and was fine until the hype started building. Matt really enjoyed it, my Twitter friend @Xzyliac championed it, so I was a little more inclined to buy it on VOD. I'm so glad I did. It's inventive, gruesome (but not overtly as to gross you out), and just pure fun. Once You're Next really gets going, you'll actually find yourself laughing and be happily confused as to why. It's just that much fun. Try seeing it with friends.  Read our review of You're Next here. 9. The Act of Killing  The Act of Killing is also something I didn't get to see in theaters because it had a limited release (you can find it on Netflix Instant as of this writing), and instead hunted down a VOD copy. The Act of Killing was something I was instantly attracted to since I had seen its first trailer. It's a documentary that peers behind the emotional curtain of one of the scariest men in Indonesia, Anwar Congo, and never lets you go. It's oddly humorous at times, the content of the documentary (as Congo acts out murders) is captivating, and I felt emotionally drained right after watching it. So perfect movie, right?  Read our review of The Act of Killing here. 8. Inside Llewyn Davis  Inside Llewyn Davis is definitely a film you should at least see once. Although my appreciation of it will most likely grow with each viewing, Davis is an interesting perception of the struggling artist. Rather than glorify the implied freedom that comes with the career, Davis instead focuses on the angst brought on by constant failure. I don't know whether or not I like Llewyn as a protagonist, and that's sort of the point. You see a guy tear through what life has thrown at him and he's only met with negativity. But that angst also begs the question of whether or not to move forward. Even if Davis follows the hero's journey model, it's successfully hidden from plain sight. Oh and the music? OH MAN SO GOOD YEAH.  Read our review of Inside Llewyn Davis here.  7. 12 Years A Slave 12 Years A Slave is the only film this year that made me cry actual tears from my manly, muscley eyes. Solomon Northrup (finely portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who I hope gets to be in more things from now on) is dragged through hell and back again only to witness dark and repulsive things. Rather than rest on white guilt, 12 Years A Slave is a powerful disfigurement of the antebellum south. It's also one of the best character films I saw last year. To see Solomon's will decay, then reinvigorate, just to decay all over again sucked me into the experience. There are these extended shots in the film (most of them close ups on Solomon's face) which toy with emotional tension in such nuanced ways. I'm starting to tear up right now just thinking about them.  Read our review of 12 Years A Slave here. 6. Short Term 12 I actually didn't see Short Term 12 until it released on home video a few days ago, and I'm glad I squeezed it into the week. I'm sad no one had told me about it before because Short Term 12 is nothing short of an intimate masterpiece. It runs through a dazzling bevy of emotions with swift, tight script work. Every huge moment is subdued, and is grounded because of that restraint. I've never seen Brie Larson better. It's almost as if she bided her time until she got a role which allowed her to show her full range. And it's such a quiet range. Larson says more with her eyes than most can say in entire speeches. Fantastic work.  5. Frozen I had completely expected to only like Frozen because I had to. With Tangled, Brave, or The Princess and the Frog, I was mildly entertained while forgiving a serviceable plot for the winning Disney charm. I fully expected to walk out of my screening with "eh, at least one song was good." To this day I thank my lucky stars I was so very wrong. Frozen packs a hearty wallop and deserves all the recognition and praise it's getting. Rather than ride on Disney's coattails, Frozen is the bravest and most cutting film in their line up.  It looks at the Princess movies of the past, and says "I can do better" in a non-cynical or derogatory way. It destroys Disney's tropes for women, sets a new standard for their CG animation, and also has one of the best Disney songs in recent memory (Idina Menzel has the voice of a goddess). Don't let the Disney moniker fool you, Frozen is the most Disney yet anti-Disney film you'll see in years.  Read our review of Frozen here. 4. Fast & Furious 6 While the latter half of 2013 will try to convince you otherwise, 2013 started off as a year of big, stupidly fun movies. And nothing said "Big and Stupid Fun" better than Furious 6. Cashing in on Fast Five's promise of high octane, obscene superhero action, Furious 6 was its very own Avengers movie as it assembled past stars and pit them against an evil mirror group. With its practical car stunts (A plane driving out of a car shouldn't seem feasible, but F6 delightfully proves it can happen and look damn good while doing it), deluge of beautiful yet strong women (I mean it features Tanktop Jesus and the next Wonder Woman, after all), and overall positive message of family togetherness (Birthing the fabulous #FAMILY). Paul Walker's untimely demise might be overshadowing the future of the franchise, but I want more of this. Rare a film celebrates its own existence in such a loving and fitting fashion.  Read our review of Fast & Furious 6 here. 2 (TIE). Her I want to start this off by saying Her made me want to love again. Laugh all you want, Her is genuinely romantic. Joaquin Phoenix's Theodore Twombley is me, damn it. Although I'm not as attractively awkward, and hate his pants because they make him look like an old man with cameltoe, I completely related to Theodore's troubles. I can't say I've been in a divorce or dated anyone like Rooney Mara, but I'm an emotional wreck who just wants someone to love me back. I'm cuddly, right?  Anyway, Her is surprisingly grounded despite its fantastical futuristic setting and that's because the emotion comes from a real place. It never once phoned it in and, thanks to Phoenix's phenomenal performance (and ability to hold it together in all of those close ups), you sink right into the romantic roller coaster. Her is a brilliant ride.  Read our review of Her here. 2 (TIE). This is the End WHOA. Who saw this coming? I sure didn't. Back when the first few trailers for This is the End began cropping up, I was notably uninterested. I'm a fan of Rogen's comedies, but I never loved them as much as I love this movie. Call it what you want (shallow, disgusting, immature) but it's more than meets the eye. This is The End is, at its core, a story about a friendship surviving the worst odds. It's about facing change and accepting it in order to become a better, happier person. It's not exactly a novel concept to have famous people playing themselves, but TiTE uses this to its advantage. Rather than date itself and fall into stoner comedy pitfalls, TiTE uses a tight script and nuanced adlib performances (watch the "Line-O-Rama" special feature on the home video release to see how much work is really put into the dialogue and you'll be floored) to deliver the best comedy of the year. This is the End completely delivers on what its title promises and gives you the best finale of 2013. You won't find a happier, believable celebration of the end.  Read our review of This is the End here. 1. The Wolf of Wall Street Her and This is The End may have brought their "A" Game, but The Wolf of Wall Street is so good, it created a new game altogether. With Scorsese and DiCaprio aging as pretenders challenge the throne (*cough* American Hustle *cough*), we had no idea they were waiting to release this juggernaut of a movie on the world. The longest film of 2013 ironically feels the shortest as every scene is as entertaining as possible.  Watching The Wolf of Wall Street is like going to a restaurant and ordering an entire cake. At first you think it'd be crazy to digest it all, but then it tastes sweeter and sweeter with every bite. You then consume more, and more, and then more until you realize you've eaten the whole thing.  And you don't even feel guilty about it.  Read our review of The Wolf of Wall Street here.   What are your favorite movies of 2013? Did I miss any of your favorites? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter! While you're at it, why not check out my Top 5 Animated Movies of 2013 and 10 Best Movie Music Moments lists too!
Nick's Top 15 of 2013 photo
I have seen 80 films released in 2013. Here are 15 of the best ones
You're probably thinking, "Who's this Nick guy and why should I care about what movies he liked the most?" Let me introduce myself. I'm Nick Valdez, News Editor of Flixist. I'm the guy who wrote about 25 Christmas flicks last...

The Top 6 Korean Films Released on Netflix in 2013

Jan 17 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
A Company Man [embed]217085:41127:0[/embed] When I joke about how violent Korean films are, I usually conjure up an image of something that resembles A Company Man, a film that features a man walk into his old office with an M-16. Then there's a firefight (because everyone else is packing), and a whole lot of people die. Like, a ridiculous number of people. The message of A Company Man is that there is more to life than your work, and I know that because soon after this massacre, the protagonist sits down with a young man and fucking says it. I mean, how heavy handed can you get? That's even more bash-your-head-in-blatant than The Shining's "All work and no play" scene. It's completely ridiculous, and it sounds more like a bizarre figment of my imagination than a real thing. But it is a real thing, and it's on Netflix, and you should go watch it. Assuming you can handle bloodshed. If you can't, though, why are you interested in Korean movies? Watch it here. My Girlfriend is an Agent [embed]217085:41126:0[/embed] Whereas most of the films on this list are dark, violent, and depressing, My Girlfriend is an Agent is bright, violent, and delightful. It simultaneously revives the spy-themed romantic comedy and then brutally murders it, because it's just so good there's no way to follow it up (so people may as well not try). It's a silly movie that's constantly doing new and surprising things, and the less you know about it the better. But it'll put a big, dumb grin on your face and have you in hysterics at least once or twice.  Read our review here. Watch it here. Rough Cut [embed]217085:41125:0[/embed] The movie that's being made within Rough Cut is a movie that I would want to make: get some people who know how to fight to fight. No stunt men, no pulled punches. They just beat each other until someone says "Cut." It's also how I envision the higher-quality action scenes in so many Korean films are made. So while I understand that this film is not actually representative of the average film set, I have chosen to view it as something of a docudrama. But real or imagined, Rough Cut tells a compelling story and has some great action scenes to cap it all off. They may not the best fights I've seen (somewhat unfortunate given the basic premise of the film), but each punch really means something and matters to the story. That sort of narrative weight to these physical blows is something missing from so many action movies these days, and that helps Rough Cut stand out from the pack. Read our review here. Watch it here. New World [embed]217085:41123:0[/embed] Did you know that Choi Min-sik doesn't really like violence? Could've fooled me. New World is yet another super-violent entrant in his filmography (although his part is relatively tame). When I spoke with him in 2012, he likened it to The Departed (I'm still slightly offended he didn't compare it to Infernal Affairs, but whatever), and I don't know that that's a particularly helpful comparison. Like that film, there is an undercover agent... and that's basically where the similarities end. But it's a good thing, because we've already got The Departed (and Infernal Affairs). It's good to have a different sort of undercover story, and there are some pretty great twists along the way. Also, the opening shot of the movie is of a dude covered in his own blood. Seriously, Korea? You need some counseling. Watch it here. The Thieves [embed]217085:41124:0[/embed] I really don't watch enough heist movies. I honestly couldn't tell you why I don't, but I could count probably count the number of heist films I've seen on two hands. But I have seen The Thieves, and it's pretty awesome. It's not an amazing movie, really, but it's a lot of fun, and there's nothing wrong with a little fun once in a while. The film's epic scale and international rivalry adds a really fascinating tension, especially for someone without a whole lot of context for racial divides in other areas of the world. I really enjoy seeing the racism in other cultures, and while I've probably got a relatively skewed vision from Korean blockbusters, it's interesting to see what does and does not get said about vast swaths of people.  But what really matters is that The Thieves shows off a great heist. I do wish I had more to compare it to, though, because heists are awesome. Maybe that should be my resolution for 2014: see more freaking heist movies. Watch it here. Pieta [embed]217085:41122:0[/embed] Until Amour came along and screwed everything up, Pieta was my favorite foreign film of 2012. Kim Ki-Duk is a very... unique director, and his films are compelling and sickening in equal part. I think the easiest moment to point to is the one when the protagonist forces this new woman in his life to prove she is his mother. Immediately following the film I had a 45 minute discussion with people who had not watched it attempting to justify the actions in that scene to them, and they were having none of it. They couldn't get beyond the face value of it, and I will be the first to admit that it's pretty disturbed stuff, but there's logic here, deranged as it may be. Watching this man go through what could have been the best time of his life is absolutely heartbreaking. It's a cruel film, and it's tough to watch, but it's brilliant nonetheless. Watch it here.  
Best Korean Netflix Films photo
Korean movies are still pretty freaking great
Nearly every time I tell people that I'm a fan of Korean films, I point them to the Korean subgenre on Netflix. It's easy, and even though many people won't ever check them out, I'm happy that the option is there. I understan...

Nick's 10 Best Movie Music Moments of 2013

Jan 14 // Nick Valdez
Honorable Mentions: Turbo - "That Snail is Fast!,"  American Hustle - "Live and Let Die," Despicable Me 2 - "Happy," We're the Millers - "Waterfalls," Only God Forgives - "Leum mai long," Stoker - Piano Duet, The History of Future Folk - "Moons of Hondo" [embed]217090:41102:0[/embed] 10. "I Swear," as performed by The Minions - Despicable Me 2 Despicable Me 2 had one particularly interesting thing going for it: its Pharell produced score. And while "Happy" nearly made this list because it's damn excellent, nothing beats how the Minions are at peak adorable capacity when they sing All-4-One's "I Swear" (roughly translated as "Underwear"). It's not the fact they're singing it, it's the commitment to the bit that hits home. The white suits, their music video movement, and that final talk to a flower. It's exquisitely cute in a film filled with that same cuteness.  [embed]217090:41103:0[/embed] 9. "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" - The Great Gatsby  While F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is a great text, one of its major problems is how it treats the non-White races. Baz Luhrmann's adaptation solves most of the those issues in one scene, and in fact, the greatest scene in the movie. African Americans are only showed twice in the film, once as workers, and once as an elite group of party goers ordering around a White gentleman. It's nice considering they never show up again (and it's using the one song that wasn't originally composed for the film). Gatsby has a very good soundtrack, but nothing tops the marriage of music and visuals in this one moment.  Read our review of The Great Gatsby here. [embed]217090:41104:0[/embed] 8. "Doby," as performed by Will Ferrell - Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Anchorman 2 may not have been anywhere near as funny as the first film, but it has got some classic moments of its own. One of them involves the baby shark, Doby. It's not really the song itself that places it on the list, but the montage that accompanies it. It's been done before, sure, but seeing that crying kid also made it one of the funniest things I saw last year. Swim Doby, you majestic bastard.  Read our review of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues here.   [embed]217090:41135:0[/embed] 7. "The Moon Song," as performed by Scarlett Johansson -  Her Her is the best romantic film that only features one person talking to the screen. At one point, it gets terribly cliche (Theo and Sam go to a cabin), yet it's not cliche and it's wonderfully gorgeous. Mostly because of Scarlett Johansson and Joaquin Phoenix's duet on "The Moon Song." It's light, heartbreakingly beautiful, and Johansson's cracking voice gives it an especially lovely charm. It's truly a romantic theme that'll last for a long, long time.  Read our review of Her here. [embed]217090:41109:0[/embed] 6. Hum Chant, as performed by Matthew McConaughey and Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street This may not count entirely as a music moment per say, but it's got a beat and it's damn catchy. More so than most of this list. At the end of the first trailer, you catch a glimpse of this chant when Matthew McConaughey sings it for a bit. But there's so much more to the scene. There's also a bit toward the end where it's repeated and it's the most guttural, animalistic sound I had heard last year. Every time I want to inspire myself, I'm going to use the exact same chant. It just hits home and makes you believe "F**k yeah! I can do this!" For a song I can use in every day life, there are few better.  Read our review of The Wolf of Wall Street here. [embed]217090:41110:0[/embed] 5. "I'm Free" - The World's End  But why just use a song when you can adapt to your very mantra? That's where "I'm Free" comes into The World's End. In a film that seems to ultimately be about resisting forced change, sometimes you just want to be free to do what you want at any old time. It's not higher on this list because it's more of a thematic overtone rather than a single moment (although I'd love to point out how well it's used in The World's End pub finale), but it's still a wonderfully chosen song. It's a weird nostalgic trip about living out your dreams in the 90s that's being transformed into a theme for any day, any year. Just do what you want.  Read our review of The World's End here. [embed]217090:41111:0[/embed] 4. "Let It Go," as performed by Idina Menzel - Frozen Now if you're talking about a song that says you should do what you want, look no further than Frozen's "Let It Go." Becoming an instantly gratifying addition to Disney's musical repertoire, Idina Menzel finally delivers on her sadly songless performance in Enchanted. This one scene becomes not only the best part of Frozen, but the best animated moment of the year. Elsa singing about finally releasing her worry, creating the ice castle, and changing into that oddly sultry dress is something I ended up replaying multiple times. Although every song in Frozen's catalog is wonderful (the "First Time in Forever" Reprise being a close second), "Let It Go" is going to end up on every fan's "Top Ten Disney Songs" list alongside "Kiss the Girl," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Circle of Life" for many, many years to come.  Read our review of Frozen here. [embed]217090:41112:0[/embed] 3. "Run N*gger Run/Roll Jordan Roll," as performed by Paul Dano/Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years A Slave Now I couldn't decide between two of 12 Years A Slave's standouts because they're both used so well. Both songs are used to capture moments of extreme dread and help drive home what kind of hopeless situation Solomon's in. Paul Dano mockingly singing "Run N*gger Run" is Dano at his career slimiest, but nothing is more heartbreaking that "Roll Jordan Roll." The extended close up, the realization of Ejiofor's face, until Solomon finally gives in and joins the hymn. It's that moment where your heart tears in two. He's stuck and finally releasing some emotion and it's incredibly unsettling.  Read our review of 12 Years A Slave here. [embed]217090:41113:0[/embed] 2. "Everytime,"  as performed by James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine - Spring Breakers Want to talk about incredibly unsettling? Spring Breakers set the stage early on in 2013. After this movie, I knew we were in for a fantastic year of crazy movies. Who knew that it set the trend that each film would defy expectations of its genre moving forward? If the intro or gun fellatio scenes didn't scare you away, you eventually got to the best scene in the film. As Alien (James Franco really turns it out) serenades his lovely trio of bandits with Britney Spears, one of the best montages of the year helps establish hammer the film's exuberant tone if you hadn't figured it out by then. It's just so, so visually captivating. And hilarious. Captilarious.  Read our review of Spring Breakers here. [embed]217090:41114:0[/embed] 1.  "Take Yo Panties Off/When the Shit Goes Down/Paper Planes/Gangnam Style/I Will Always Love You/Backstreet's Back" - This is the End Now This is the End won't be every person's favorite movie (some unfortunately think it's shallow, and they're wrong), but it uses music incredibly well. TiTE has a ton of montages in it, and it's never once terrible. Each song choice is poignant, and most importantly, hilarious. It's also completely ignorable too. When Danny McBride first enters to Cypress Hill's "When the Shit Goes Down" it really doesn't hit home until later why that song was chosen. "Take Yo Panties Off" is Craig Robinson's best song, "Gangnam Style" might be the most dated choice but it only lasts a few seconds, and the final two songs lead to the most sincerely happy and riotous finale of last year. If anything makes me as delighted as TiTE's finale did in 2014, I can die and go to heaven myself.  Read our review of This is the End here.   What are your favorite movie music moments of 2013? Did I miss any of your favorites? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter! While you're at it, why not check out my Top 5 Animated Movies of 2013 list too!
10 Best Musical Moments photo
Music to my ears
I'm a sucker for a good soundtrack. Your film could be the worst thing since sliced bread and I'd still love it if the songs were nice. But the best movies take their song choices (or original works) and use them in spectacul...

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