To narrate a nature documentary requires a certain softness of touch. The key is to wrap the audience up in your smooth tones like an oversize cashmere blanket without allowing it to be so soothing you lull them to sleep. Morgan Freeman mastered the form in his era-defining narration on March of the Penguins, hitting each syllable with the gentle force of a butterfly’s beating wings. It’s an art, and who better to undertake this intricate dance of restraint and delicacy than that most velvety-voiced bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger?
Yesterday, Indiewire film critic David Ehrlich ran an illuminating essay on Netflix’s testy relationship with the original films it releases, explaining how their model of bypassing theatrical release and going straight to streaming ultimately degrades the viewing experience and makes the movies harder to find and appreciate. (This comes hot on the heels of an official denunciation from the Federation of French Cinemas against the Cannes Film Festival for allowing TV into their lineup for the first time ever.) Clearly, his words went straight to the top of Netflix’s corporate office, as the online video giant has issued a letter to their shareholders assuring them that everything’s going to be fine and movies aren’t dead, probably.
While the post-credits scene was once a surprise specially afforded to those superfans with the dedication to sit through the final frames of a film, it’s now become par for the course, a de facto advertisement for whatever a franchise might have up its sleeve next. Marvel Studios has turned this into standard operating procedure, to the point where viewers expect nothing less than another tasty morsel of footage, the cinematic equivalent of the delicious fries waiting for you at the bottom of your McDonald’s bag. How to continue taking audiences off-guard, then? Marvel could do no post-credit scene at all, that’d certainly throw people for a loop. Or... they could do five.
The sound of metal grinding against metal. The proud yelp of Mark Wahlberg’s serious-actor concerned voice. (“We’re not givin’ up on Prime, okay?!“) The rippling waves of incoherent computer-generated imagery glinting in the post-apocalyptic sun. It can all only mean one thing: there‘s a new trailer for the latest chapter in Michael Bay’s ongoing giant-fighting-alien-robot opera Transformers. Allow me to quickly assuage any concerns by confirming that yes, a whole bunch of crap blows up real big, yes, a huge CGI thing crashes into another CGI thing, and yes, Megan Fox is no longer with us. But let’s dig in anyway, shall we?
We know more about Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk today than we did when the first trailer debuted back in May. Our own Erin Whitney was present for the film’s world premiere at the New York Film Festival earlier this month, and relayed their full scoop back to us through their review: Ang Lee gets a lot of points for sheer chutzpah, having shot the first feature-length film using highly sophisticated 4K 120 frames-per-second technology, but his gambit ultimately fails. The realistic look of the film is almost too real, its crisp movements too unnaturally fluid for their own good.
It’s hardly a secret that the American military has no idea what to do with its veterans, often leaving the traumatized men to fall through the cracks due to a lack of support. As the newly released trailer for the upcoming action-drama Man Down amply shows, soldier Gabriel Drummer (Shia LaBeouf, mercifully free of his American Honey rat-tail) has more than his fair share of baggage when he returns home from an extended tour of duty in an unidentified conflict. But he’ll have to contend with more than poverty and the guilt over watching his brother-in-arms (Jai Courtney) die; turns out that while he was away fighting to protect it, America went right to hell anyway.
Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Batman vs. Supermanat the very least occupies an interesting space in the pop-cultural landscape: a polarizing film loathed by critics but fiercely defended by a cult fanbase while simultaneously achieving mainstream success, but now facing an unanticipated challenge...
Why do audiences turn out in droves for epically proportioned blockbusters every summer? Is it for the ten-stories-tall feeling of spectacle, that rush of pure cinematic thrill that every cinephile spends their whole life chasing...
Last week, we took note of a new business venture called Screening Room spearheaded by Napster founder Sean Parker. The proposed service would digitally stream the latest major-studio theatrical releases into the confines of private American homes for a hefty estimated fee of $50 on the same day as in-theater premieres, rendering a trip to the local cineplex less necessary than ever. Naturally, this radical new strategy would change the entire face of the industry, and has accordingly raised hackles on the production, distribution, and exhibition sides of Hollywood. As movie theaters struggle to stay relevant and profitable, Parker’s every press conference sounds like a death knell. And this weekend, both sides of this instantly contentious debate dug in their heels on their positions.
Leaving your house, driving to the nearest movie theater (or, if you want to find a film other than a wide-release studio picture, driving what could be very far away), dropping $13 on a ticket, spending $8 more on a soda and popcorn, watching fifteen minutes of commercials and trailers, and staring daggers at jagwagons using their cell phones in the theater is cool...
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