Thursday, April 12, 2012

In Theaters: "The Cabin in the Woods"

There is a sense of giddiness that pervades every frame of Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods—a feeling not only of someone getting away with something, but having an absolutely great time doing it. The picture, which Goddard co-wrote with producer Joss Whedon, is a gloriously daft horror-comedy in the truest sense of the phrase: it is both explosively funny and genuinely scary. And it is also hyper-knowing, a big meta-wink, but it doesn’t make the mistake of some of the Scream movies (and their imitators), which use that self-awareness as a substitute for either wit or thrills. It makes you laugh and it makes you jump first. Then it serves as a surprisingly sly commentary on how we watch horror movies, and why—one so piercing and direct that it seemed, in some scenes, an outright jab at the braying idiots in the seats around me.

In Theaters: "Lockout"

Look, I like a big, dumb action movie as much as the next big, dumb action movie lover, but a man must have his limits. Lockout violates those limits, and then laughs at them. This is one astonishingly insipid film, a crude, unimaginative piece of ugly claptrap, consisting entirely of spare parts assembled with a minimum of style or enjoyment. It’s a tacky, tinny, dopey mess.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

On DVD: "The Iron Lady"

We first meet Margaret Thatcher in the new biopic The Iron Lady in her twilight years—long after her time as British prime minister, just another old lady buying milk. Confused and delusional, she sees (and converses with) her deceased husband, Dennis (Jim Broadbent); though still smart and perceptive, her sense of reality is a little hazy, and she finds her mind wandering into the past. “You can rewind it, but you can’t change it,” Dennis tells her.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

This Week in Links

From The Atlantic:
10 Best Uses of 3D in Movie History, From Hitchcock to 'Hugo'

Most of the time, 3D a gimmick—an irritating distraction that muddies up the frame, darkens the image, and gives you a headache, yet allows theaters to charge you a couple more bucks a ticket. And over the past few months, it’s started to seem that audiences agree; revenues from 3D movies dropped 20% between 2010 and 2011, and when the Clash of the Titans sequel Wrath of the Titans failed to deliver big box office last weekend (its $35 million opening weekend was far short of its predecessor’s $61 million), many commentators blamed lingering resentment over the original film’s shoddy, retro-fitted 3D presentation. The unfortunate thing, if we may be just a touch contrarian, is that just as audiences are beginning to (slowly) back away from 3D, it’s starting to get into the hands of filmmakers who are actually doing interesting things with it, rather than merely slap in a few “look out!” gags and call it a day. And to clarify the position: it’s not that 3D can never work—just that it’s not a catch-all solution, and is more of than not ill-used. After the jump, we’ve collected ten films (in chronological order) from 3D’s 50-plus year history that were actually good films—and that put the technology to worthwhile use.

From Flavorwire:
An Open Letter (and Nostalgia Intervention) to Pop Culture

Dear Popular Culture,

Look, I realize this kind of thing is usually done face-to-face, and the “open letter” is, by definition, a rather impersonal medium for communication. Whenever you dramatize this kind of thing, it’s always in a small room, a select group of friends and family, all present to insist that we’re only doing this because we care. But there’s a lot of you to track down at once, and the written words is our medium of choice here at Flavorwire, so this is just going to have to do. We’re staging an intervention, popular culture. We’re worried about your addiction to the past.

10 Viciously Backlashed Movies We Still Like (and Why)

Backlash is a funny thing. It’s always been present in popular culture, but it feels as though it’s become particularly prominent over the past few years, an unavoidable step in any celebrated film, band, book, or television show’s penetration into the cultural landscape: first comes critical acclaim, then financial success, then ubiquity, and then the inevitable backlash from those who object (or who have turned, perhaps because of said popularity and/or ubiquity). Sometimes, the pendulum swings back and the backlash fades—but often, the negative connotation is what sticks, and that’s what becomes the lasting perception.

This week’s 3D rerelease of Titanic got us thinking about backlash, and how often we find ourselves defending movies that were, at least in the beginning, critical and popular hits, but have since fallen out of public favor. Thus, we’ve collected ten movies that the worm turned on—but that we’re standing by, damnit, and we’ll tell you why. Check them out after the jump, and add your own in the comments.

Flavorpill’s Guide to Movies You Need to Stream This Week

Welcome to Flavorpill's streaming movie guide, a new feature 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 some newly streaming indies, recent favorites soon to be remade and sequelized, and a couple of classics that have been on our minds as of late. Check them all out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now.

This Week in Trailers: ‘Ted,’ ‘Total Recall,’ ‘To Rome with Love,’ 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. We’ve got eleven trailers for you this week, including new films from Woody Allen, Oliver Stone, and Seth McFarlane, plus Whitney Huston’s final role and Katy Perry in 3D. (Seriously.) Check ‘em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments.

Sunday Matinee: "Being Elmo"

Forgot to post a streaming movie (again) last night, but no worries--this is probably a better Sunday afternoon movie anyway.

Criticisms and nitpicks crumble at the feet of a documentary like Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, a flawed documentary that has, at its center, the most unquestionably likable protagonist this side of Marge Gunderson. His name is Kevin Clash, and he is the fiftysomething Sesame Street performer who operates and voices the character of Elmo. Kevin started building puppets in his home as a child; he idolized Jim Henson and never missed a Sesame Street or Muppet Show. Those shows and those creatures brought him joy, and now he brings that joy to others. “When a puppet is true and good and meaningful,” Frank Oz explains, “it’s the soul of the puppeteer that you’re seeing.” Clash is all soul, it seems, all heart, and that’s the kind of thing you can’t fake—which is why we buy Elmo’s sweetness and love.