Sunday, May 13, 2012
Sunday Night Links
Set to Fail: A History of Movies That Debuted Against Blockbusters
The problem is, a movie like The Avengers defies counter-programming: It's a movie that cuts across demos and marketing quadrants. Everybody wants to see that movie. What you often end up with instead are kamikaze movies—films whose release opposite a major, hype-driven blockbuster indicates a competing studio is just giving up and burning off a movie that they have to release sometime (maybe even for contractual reasons), so this is as good a time as any. There's a long, strange history to be found in tracking the movies that opened against the sure bets. Take a look at a few prime examples below.
Beautiful Photographs of Decaying and Repurposed Movie Palaces
From the 1920s through the 1950s, thousands of ornate movie palaces were built across America, seating hundreds of patrons in lavish settings for films and live shows. But the introduction of television, the rise of the multiplex, and the dissolution of city centers caused the movie palace to go the way of the dinosaur. In the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, many were destroyed (usually for parking lots). Some were converted, into multiplexes, performing arts centers, or adult theaters. Others were repurposed into different (and somewhat incongruent) businesses entirely; others were simply left to fall apart. In 2005, photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre (whose photographs of Detroit in ruins captivated us last year) began documenting theaters that had either fallen into decay or been transformed entirely. The results of the ongoing project can be viewed on their website; we’ve collected the most haunting and fascinating of those pictures after the jump.
Our All-Time Favorite Actor/Director Movie Teams
Dark Shadows opens this week, whether we like it or not, but it does give us cause to pause for numerical consideration. No, we’re not talking about the amount of time since Tim Burton’s last film that was based on an original idea — that would be seven years, since Corpse Bride. Before that, you have to go clear back to 1990′s Edward Scissorhands, which was also (coincidentally enough) his first time working with Dark Shadows star Johnny Depp. Dark Shadows marks their eighth collaboration, which got us thinking about some of our favorite (and most productive, with a minimum of four pairings) actor/director teams. After the jump, we’ve compiled a dozen of the best from movie history; add your own in the comments, won’t you?
Video Essay: “The Semi-Obligatory Lyrical Interlude (A Case Study)”
In his Bigger Little Movie Glossary, Roger Ebert defines the “Semi-Obligatory Lyrical Interlude” (or “Semi-OLI,” for short) thus: “Scene in which soft focus and slow motion are used while a would-be hit song is performed on the soundtrack and the lovers run through a pastoral setting.” He notes that the Semi-OLI first came into prominence in the late 1960s, and though it eventually fell out of favor, it soon mutated into the “Semi-Obligatory Music Video” from the 1980s forward; the Semi-OLI or Semi-OMV remained prominent in romantic movies, though usually to show a particularly successful first date, or to compress the process of a couple falling deeply in love. The Semi-OLI became such a cliché that it seemed had finally disappeared, which is why your correspondent was horrified to see at least three examples of it at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival — and these were in (otherwise good) independent films, mind you, not insipid Katherine Heigl rom-coms or something. Is the Semi-Obligatory Lyrical Interlude making a comeback? We hope not. For this week’s video essay, we’ve smashed together over a dozen egregious examples of this device, along with a couple of parodies for the sake of levity. Check out our latest video essay after the jump.
Writer/Director Bobcat Goldthwait on ‘God Bless America,’ the Year’s Ballsiest Movie
You remember Bobcat Goldthwait. He became a comedy star in the 1980s thanks to what amounted to a gimmick: the persona of a sweaty, wired, Tab-swilling punk dude who screeched like a banshee. That character got him plenty of TV and movie work (he still seems, unfortunately enough, best known for his supporting roles in three Police Academy movies), but as with his contemporary Sam Kinison — with whom he was often compared — there was more to his comedy than volume. Behind the bellowing mad man was a wry and perceptive social commentator, which is why his new film, the bold and brilliant pitch-black comedy God Bless America, is, as he notes, “closest to the style of how I did stand-up.” It’s a scathing satire and plea for harmony, dressed up as a hyper-violent revenge thriller.
Hypotheticals: Kevin Smith and/or Tim Burton’s ‘Superman Lives’
Here at Flavorwire, we love to engage in what Marcellus Wallace called “contemplating the ifs” — imagining a pop culture landscape filled with movies that never happened, adaptations that never came to pass, and performances that were not to be. In “Hypotheticals,” we hone in on a single project that never was (a film, a television show, an album, a book, anything really) and explain why it went away, and what we might’ve missed. Today: the ill-fated Kevin Smith/Tim Burton attempt to reboot the Superman cinematic franchise.
Flavorpill’s Guide to Movies You Need to Stream This Week
Welcome to Flavorpill’s streaming movie guide, in which we help you sift through the scores of movies streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and other services to find the best of the recently available, freshly relevant, or soon to expire. This week, we’ve got Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Walter Matthau, Orson Welles, Dustin Hoffman, a Gus Van Sant classic, a serious turn by Will Ferrell, documentaries on sheepherding and gay politicians, and some much-needed levity from the MST3K crew. Check them all out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now.
This Week in Trailers: ‘This is 40,’ ‘Spider-Man,’ ‘Dark Knight,’ and More!
Every Friday here at Flavorwire, we like to gather up the week’s new movie trailers, give them a look-see, and rank them from worst to best — while taking a guess or two about what they might tell us (or hide from us) about the movies they’re promoting. This week we’ve got the latest from Judd Apatow, the big buzz object at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and the final trailers for Nolan’s new Batman film and Marc Webb’s Spidey reboot. Check ‘em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments.