Happy Thanksgiving everybody! To celebrate the carving of the bird, we here at Flixist decided to look into the recent past at box office failures (also called "turkeys") and list off some of our favorites. It's never fun to ...
It's that time again: the sun is up and both game and movie lovers go back into their caves to enjoy their respective hobbies. For gamers, Valve's Summer Sale is in full swing; for cinephiles, it's Barnes & Nobles' 50% Criterion Collection extravaganza. Last time the sale was in effect, we gave you a list of recommendations of what to buy. Everything we said in that list is true and they're all films well worth your money. But there are hundreds of films in the Criterion Collection, and more are added almost every week, so we're back to give more of our favorites. And yeah, next time the sale comes around, we'll probably be doing this again.
The Criterion Collection is great, you guys. Seriously.
The sale is running through August 5th, so there's plenty of time to take advantage of it, but don't let it pass just because you're waiting. Go go go!
In honor of Pacific Rim releasing July 12, I, Nick Valdez (Flixist's expert in Besteverology), have, through exhaustive labor and sleepless nights, compiled this list of the top ten movie robots. The rules of the list are simple: one robot per movie franchise, that robot has to be featured in a movie at some point (you'll see what I mean later), and the list is set in stone (which means no going back and changing my mind).
If you disagree with me in any fashion, feel free to discuss your wrongness in the comments below.
That title is a bit of a misnomer since I'm listing all of the Star Trek films here so really it's about ranking them from best to worst, but if we consider the fact that all Star Trek movies are awesome simply by being a Star Trek movie then it's entirely apt, right?
That might not be entirely true either. After watching through all 11 movies (again) I can say without a doubt that some of them are pretty bad, and yet even the bad ones have their redeeming values. As I ranked them I was often torn between loving a film for one reason and hating it for another. And while the franchise has had it's ups and downs in the theater if things continue getting better, as our review of Into Darkness suggests they are, I may just be adding a new number one to the top of the list.
With Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby adaptation releasing tomorrow in all of its big, loud, and (most likely) stupid glory. I figure it'd be a good time to go through a list of books that would benefit from the same Luhrmann treatment. Sure most of these have made the jump to the silver screen a few times, but as we've learned lately, Hollywood is reaching that cyclical point it always does.
What do I mean by the Luhrmann treatment? I want these beloved stories to be gaudy, full of showmanship, and slightly genius. I'm tired of reading these stories the same way. They are way overdue for their dose of grandiose stupidity.
Can you feel it? You can, can't you? If not just go to a release schedule of movies and start reading week by week. It's pretty amazing the glut of awesome that lands every summer, isn't it? This summer is no different and we're ready to tackle it, but are you? Of course not, because you haven't read our summer movie preview yet!
Like the summers before this one is looking pretty awesome with plenty of superheroes and comedy and a few smaller films creeping in (including one of the best horrors we've seen in a while). You'll notice we don't have every big film landing and are far from including all the small ones, but these are the movies that get our juices going. Hopefully by the end of summer we don't regret all the effort of getting excited for these films.
This is not a good idea. Nolan is a brilliant director and there's no denying that the man delivered at least two of the best superhero films ever made. No one is going to argue that DC's films need a jolt in the arm either, but there are some very concerning problems with Nolan overseeing and defining the DC universe on film. These are those problems. Problems I'd be happy to be entirely wrong about.
While we were stuck in Oscar mania, another set of awards took place a few nights beforehand. The 33rd Golden Raspberry Awards handed out "awards" to "winners" in ten categories ranging from Worst Actor to Worst Remake, Rip-O...
Last year we made the bold statement that our Oscar predictions were the best ever. Were we 100 percent right? No. But that doesn't mean we're going to back down from outlandish claims about our incredible ability to predict who is going to win. In fact we were actually never wrong. It was the academy that was making the mistakes!
So we're back this year once again with our rundown of all of the Oscar predictions. But we don't just stop with who is going to win. It's important to note that just because something is going to win doesn't mean it should win and that's why we lay out which movies should be the winners even if they aren't going to be. Then we go ahead and try to make ourselves angry by coming up with all the possible outcomes that will really piss us off.
Chairs were thrown through windows by the time we stopped writing this thing.
Warner Bros. has hit a big stumbling block with the Justice League movie. Yet again. (Just ask George Miller.) The latest problem for WB: the script by Will Beall is rumored to have been terrible, so they junked it. It seems like WB set themselves up for a fall with this. Beall is a young and generally untested writer whose only feature-length screenplay is Gangster Squad. Putting him on a big-budget, franchise-starting superhero movie that features major characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Green Lantern was a recipe for disaster.
We at Flixist are here to help. The editors here have compiled a short list of screenwriters and writing teams that should get a crack at the Justice League movie. We've even proposed directors who can bring these screenplays to life. Head after the cut to check out our picks, and leave some suggestions of your own in the comments.
With Yoda rumored for the (now confirmed) solo film Star Wars spin-offs I think it's incredibly fitting to start discussing who else deserves a solo venture. We've already got leaked information on Boba Fett and Han Solo grabbing their own chance in the spotlight, so who else deserves a solo film of their own?
I'll talk about which three characters deserve a solo outing more than any other and perhaps try to match actors, directors and possible talent to make these outings something special.
As we come to the end of January it's time for Flixist to get its act together and look ahead at the year to come in movies. We didn't really miss that much in January and that's where movies go to shrivel up and die. However, the rest of the year looks pretty damn amazing.
There's of course all the action and big budget films coming along including phase 2 of Marvel's superhero awesomeness and a Michael Bay film that looks so Michael Bay it may implode in on itself. But there's also plenty of interesting indy stuff we're excited for and the return of some of our favorite directors.
Read on to find out what the first half of 2013 has in store.
When it came time for the Flixist staff to do end-of-year lists, we obviously wanted to have things that reflected us as a site, but we also wanted lists that reflected the individual writers. When you boil it down, the real difference between a blog and a more typical site is the existence of personalities in every facet of the content. If you're a regular reader (and you should be), you should have a pretty good sense of who we are. If you see something by Nick Valdez, you know it will be like reading a 13-year old girl's diary; posts by Hubert Vigilla will make obscure references to things you don't understand but will laugh at anyway; and if you see my name in the byline... well, it probably deals with Korean cinema.
It shouldn't be shocking, then, that I am counting down the best Korean films that came to Netflix in 2012. I see a lot of Korean films at festivals, but many don't get proper releases. I can tell people how great a movie is, and they can say, "Sounds great!" but it ends there. That's no fun. Thanks to Netflix, though some of these amazing movies do get to reach a huge audience. An audience that, unfortunately, doesn't realize they are there. This list, which is by no means comprehensive, is meant to point you to some of those films. Specifically ones that hit Netflix in the past 12 months.
I should note that not all of these entries will focus on what makes the movies great (although most of them will), because a couple of entries on this list have made significant impacts on me as a writer and as a film viewer. So in those cases, I will be writing about my own experiences rather than just the film's. If you don't care about that, you should still check the list out. Read the titles, maybe watch a few trailers, read the reviews (which are generally less personal), and then go watch the movies on Netflix. If you do care, on the other hand, you're great. Let's be friends.
In addition to all of the big budget, big theater releases I saw in 2012, a large portion of my time was spent covering festivals in both Chicago and Austin. On a personal level, SXSW had a huge effect on me, both in terms of film coverage and in other, non-film-related fields. CIFF, as well, was full of high quality foreign films that I probably would never have had a chance to watch. Because of how festival films are distributed (or rather aren't distributed), I figured I would compile a list of my top limited release films.
The reason I'm using the term "limited release" is because my top five have, luckily, found distribution through various means, whether through TV broadcasts, limited theatrical release, or VOD/home release. Much like my top five wide release films list, these films are listed in alphabetical order because I love all of my babies equally. I encourage each and every one of you to check these films if you haven't already.
2012 was a huge year for the film industry. The year followed 2011's trend of having the top three films grossing more than $1b worldwide, with Marvel/Disney's The Avengers grossing more than $1.5b alone. In fact, nine out of the top ten grossing films of 2012 were all sequels or prequels. Could this be chalked up to laziness on Hollywood's part, or audiences eating up more of what they like?
Whatever the case may be, I struggled to break the year down into a list that consists of my personal top five favorite wide release films of the year. While there may or may not be other films I saw that I loved more, I've decided to focus on the films that had wide releases so I wouldn't be ranting on about a film not many people saw. However, as much as I may like lists, I'm not a total fan of putting importance or numbers to them. Instead, I'll just be listing them in alphabetical order. Are you ready, true believers?
In recent years, a lot of animated movies have been formulaic and underwhelming, but 2012 brought us the variety and quality that has been missing in the genre for a while. Sure, Disney brought back Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc. in 3D, and things like Madagascar 3 still exist, but there were enough new releases that the obvious money-grabs were not so odious. Plus, Finding Nemo in 3D was gorgeous, so shut up.
Animation is always a gamble, since impressive technique can go unnoticed due to a terrible story, and great writing is often watered down to appeal to more to a young audience than to the parents that accompany them. 2012 seemed to understand the dearth of high-quality animated films out there, and it really delivered. In a year that brought us a black-and-white movie about a dead dog, a princess movie without a prince, and three full-length stop motion films, which ones rose above the rest?
Look there are good movies every year, and there are bad movies every year. That's just a fact of life so why try to list good and bad when there are far more important things to point out in a year. Important things like manliness and being manly. You know, things like hunting and football and shootn' whiskey. Manly stuff that manly men do.
It's important to get your dose of manly films each year, whether you're man or woman. They help you understand things like explosions, bromances and fast cars without actually having to be involved with any of those things. Without manly movies informing us about what it is to be manly how would we ever know!? With that in mind here are the nine manliest movies of 2012 that you should instantly rent and watch in order to be manlier.
The monomyth, or hero’s journey, is an accepted archetype of storytelling in which a character responds to the call of adventure and transforms as a result of overcoming adversity. Most of the films released last year centered around this. Several films stood out, for better or worse, as having a central hero transform in order to defy his/her weaknesses and overcome hardships.
But you should know that the word "hero" goes beyond guys in masks and capes. Even if 2012 looked like it was the year of the superheroes (thanks to releases such as Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance andThe Dark Knight Rises), this list is all about the films that told the story of their heroes in a unique and entertaining fashion.
I should also admit that I've missed a few of the year's "big films" like Life of Pi, The Master, Cloud Atlas, or Argo, so you won't be seeing them here (although Life of Pi seems like it would have been perfect for this list). Let's just call this list a friendly catalog of last's year great hero stories and is not finalized in the slightest.
With that said, please read on for what I thought were the nine best hero films of 2012.
If you watch a lot of documentaries, you begin to admire the craft and diligence that goes into a great non-fiction film. There's just as much skill required as making a narrative film, sometimes more if you're dealing with complicated or dense material.
When I started thinking about my favorite documentaries from 2012, I noticed how much my feelings about certain films at the end of the year differed from my feelings after the initial viewing. I still liked the films I liked, obviously, but certain movies really lingered and got better in my mind with time. Something similar happened toward the end of 2011, when I realized one of my three favorite movies that year was Richard Press's documentary Bill Cunningham New York.
Before getting to the list, I should admit that this feels like a work in progress. There are a couple acclaimed documentaries I wasn't able to catch last year that might have made it into this top 10, like How to Survive a Plague, The Central Park Five, The Ambassador, The Gatekeepers, and Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God. I hope to check those films out soon.
That said, head after the cut for my 10 favorite docs of 2012.
Roughly one year ago following the release of a promo video for Chinese Zodiac (CZ12), I did a list of the 12 best Jackie Chan fight scenes. The list ended at 1999's Gorgeous. Now, with the premiere of Chinese Zodiac and the full release in China next week, I figure I'd use this coincidence of numbers to continue looking at Jackie Chan fights, this time from 2000 to the present date. The same restrictions from the previous list apply: only one fight per movie, and it all gets laid out chronologically.
This was a little tougher than I expected since Chan's output over the last 12 years has included some real lows (e.g., The Tuxedo, The Medallion, The Spy Next Door) and a few departures from his usual action output (e.g., Shinjuku Incident, 1911). There's very little in the last 12 years that would crack into Jackie's career top 10, but that's just a consequence of aging. If I remember right, Ric Meyers said something true about Jackie's career in a DVD commentary for the first Drunken Master: no one can beat Jackie Chan but himself.
And yet I think there are interesting signs of what Chan can still do without the impact and danger of his classic fights. A lot of it has to do with something more fundamental to Jackie Chan's fighting that pure power: style.
It took a long time for Yen to become a leading man. He's only a few months younger than Jet Li, and they entered the industry at about the same time. But maybe it needed to take a while because Yen, like good wine or whiskey, got better with age. He toughed it out as the Hong Kong film industry imploded during the 90's, and his star finally took off with Kill Zone (SPL: Sha Po Lang) in 2005. It was Ip Man in 2008 that catapulted him to superstardom. Looking at his career, Yen's strength has been his natural poise -- he looks totally at ease whether he's doing wushu, mixed martial arts (MMA), or wing chun.
As with the Jackie Chan and Jet Li lists, I've selected 12 fights chronologically instead of ranking them, and only one fight per movie. Note: I didn't include the fights from Once Upon a Time in China II and Hero since those are on the Jet Li list already, but I do think they are some of Donnie Yen's best work.