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 ...
So Ben Affleck is going to play Batman in a few years (in a Superman movie no less) and a lot of folks are angry about that for some reason. Despite his Academy Award win and not being terrible for the last ten or so years, some people just can't get over it, "He was Daredevil! He was Gigli! He was Matt Damon!" You do realize this could have been worse, don't you? In fact, we should consider ourselves lucky that Ben Affleck was even considered for the job.
To prove Ben Affleck is the best Batman for the job, here are ten possible Batman actors that would have been far worse.
As many of you already know, Barnes & Noble is doing their 50% off sale for the Criterion Collection. We offered some staff recommendations for available Criterion Collection titles earlier in the week. This is a time when many of us go on diets of rice and potatoes in order to satisfy our needs. It's also a time when I wind up thinking about movies that are missing from the Collection. And there are plenty.
Our own Alec Kubas-Meyer had a great list earlier today of films that should be added to the Criterion Collection. As he noted, I'm Flixist's resident snob, so I'd be remiss if I didn't add my own list of films that the Criterion people should get on. (I'd also have my snob privileges revoked if I didn't use the word "remiss" somewhere in this introduction.)
Check out my Criterion wish list after the cut, and feel free to suggest some of your own in the comments.
The Criterion Collection is amazing, but it could always be more amazing. The ever-expanding list of films (so much of which is worth buying) has some pretty big gaps. So that's why I'm here: to help coax the company into choosing some films that they might not be thinking of right now (or ever).
Originally this list featured more traditional picks, like Ingmar Bergman's Persona, films that, while excellent, really don't need another recommendation and that may very well be in the pipeline already. So I looked else, and came up with ten films (it's more than that, but ten sounds nice) that deserve proper Criterion treatment. Although few of them would ever play in an arthouse theater, they nonetheless have enough artistic merit to earn a place in the Collection's hallowed halls.
And be sure to check back later today for another list by resident snob Hubert Vigilla, who chooses a bunch of films you've never heard of but pretend to know so you don't seem dumb at parties.
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.
A bit of a hullabaloo was spread across the internet when word came out that Robert Downey, Jr. hinted at being done with portraying Iron Man. While salary negotiations haven't begun yet for The Avengers 2, in which Downey, Jr's Tony Stark will play a pivotal role, the actor has made it clear that, if he were to come back, he wouldn't take a pay cut. However, in saying that, he also believes that his Avengers co-stars, which include other A-list actors Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson, should receive more than what they've received.
While all of this could be resolved if RDJ took a pay cut to allow his co-stars to earn what he believes they should, there's a possibility that the Iron Man armor could be worn by another actor. The Avengers director himself, Joss Whedon, has shown his support in RDJ by stating, "I have no intention of making 'Avengers 2' without him, nor do I think I’ll be called upon to do that. I don't think it's in my interest, Marvel's interest, or his interest, and I think everything will be fine."
Fans of Marvel's films can agree that Robert Downey, Jr. truly embodied who Tony Stark was, and his performances helped solidify Marvel Studios' position in Hollywood. However, if RDJ were to indeed be replaced, who would replace him? Below are my Top 5 Actors to Play Iron Man... if RDJ were to leave Marvel.
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.
[From March 9th - 17th, Flixist will be providing coverage from South by Southwest 2013 in Austin, TX. Prepare yourselves for reviews, interviews, features, photos, videos, and all types of shenanigans!]
You ever watch a movie and got jealous of things you couldn't own? For example, how about the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo or one of the many incarnations of the Batmobile? I'm always jealous of settings. I'll watch a movie like Halloween, and while Micheal Myers is creeping up on someone I'll sit there thinking, "Oh, that's such a roomy closet" or "A nice love seat would look absolutely cute next to that bloodstain."
And since I'm not exactly made out of gold bling and diamond rings, I could never hope to own any kind of fancy house. But now that the house from Beethoven and A Nightmare on Elm Street went on sale for a boatload of money, I started thinking about other movie homes that I would give my left kidney (sometimes literally) to live in. Read on for my own parade of homes.
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.
Though this is only my third year, Sundance 2013 is by far the greatest one I attended yet. Even bolder, I'll say that it may be the greatest in the festival's history. Looking back on previous years, I don't think there is a stronger line-up of films displaying artistic integrity, transformation, or powerful imagery in Sundance's history. Even the films I didn't get to see will be talked about for some time to come, such as Escape from Tomorrow, a surreal drama shot at Disneyland without Disney's permission and thus bound to never reach retail in its current state.
I am happy with the films I did choose to see, as you can tell from the high praise given below.
Going through the catalog of Sundance films feels a bit like Christmas. Discovering the latest actor-turned-director debut, long awaited sophomore effort, and film description too bizarre to pass up almost makes scheduling this beast of a festival durable.
Due to an early flight back to Texas, I'll be missing Jobs, the Ashton Kutcher Steve Jobs biopic (which will likely be terrible). Other than that noticeable omission, I'm pretty content with the ten films you'll find below, each unique and full of promise. Check back throughout the week to discover how they, along with 20 other films, meet my expectations.
Let me know what films you are excited to hear about, in the comments.
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?
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.