Believe it or not, it’s once again time to gear up for that contentious season when the Academy picks its best movies of 2011. And as “for your consideration” campaigns are launched, we figured we’d throw our hats into the ring in hopes of adding one critical category to the famed ceremony. There’s a group of hard-working unsung heroes that has yet to be recognized by the Oscars – they act in multiple languages, do their own stunts, play well with special effects teams and require minimal on-set pampering. Also: they’re adorable.
Ladies and gentleman of the Academy, for your consideration: Best Supporting Canine!
But, wait – hear us out! It was an incredible year for dogs in cinema – here, we plead the case with our ten favorite four-legged thespians of 2011 (in order of preference).
“Drive” hits theaters today (September 16), and director Nicolas Winding Refn’s stylized, synth-soundtracked action flick is one of the best things you’ll see this year – just trust us. We were blown away by the story of Driver (Ryan Gosling) – a stuntman by day and a getaway wheelman by night – who falls for a vulnerable neighbor in peril (Carey Mulligan), and finds himself embroiled in a twisted heist involving her husband (Oscar Isaac). Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman and Christina Hendricks deliver in top-notch supporting roles, and Albert Brooks is absolutely menacing as the villainous Bernie Rose.
The movie is chock full of elaborate stunts, which got us thinking – what was it like to coordinate the action of “Drive”? We sat down with Darrin Prescott, the film’s Stunt Coordinator and Second Unit Director, to find out. Darrin has been a member of the stunt crew on 95 films, including “Independence Day,” “Blade,” “The Matrix Reloaded,” “Spider-Man 2,” “The Bourne Supremacy,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.”
Prescott enlightened us with behind-the-scenes knowledge of his work with Refn and Gosling, the collaboration involved in pulling off many of "Drive’s" sequences, and various other tricks of the stunt industry trade.
We're more than a little obsessed with "Attack the Block," which crash-lands in theaters today. The film has been a massive hit with UK audiences, and it won the midnight feature award at SXSW this year, along with the best narrative audience award at the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival. We're also willing to bet that at least one of your friends (or favorite movie writers - ehem) nabbed an early ticket and has gone on to extoll the many virtues of this righteously rowdy action/sci-fi/horror flick. Dark horse contender for best summer blockbuster? Believe!
Sure, there are comparisons to be made regarding the vintage aspect of director Joe Cornish's narrative, which follows a young London-based street gang as they defend their housing complex from an infestation of the otherworldly sort. There's a smattering of Spielberg, a dash of Dante at play…but, truly, that just scratches the surface.
Lest you remain unconvinced about the awesome that is "Attack the Block," we'll acquiesce in that G.I. Joe sorta way: knowing is half the battle. So here's what you need to know to get your butt in a seat this weekend. 88 minutes later, you'll emerge an official Blockhead. Trust.
“Horrible Bosses” micromanages its way into theaters today, and – with a comedic lineup boasting Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis, it goes without saying that audiences will be punching tickets to witness their chemistry alone.
The black comedy centers upon three friends, Nick Hendricks (Bateman), Dale Arbus (Day), and Kurt Buckman (Sudeikis), whose overbearing bosses Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston) and Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell) push them to the point of postal. The pals hatch a plan to murder their evil paycheck-signing overlords, with disastrously hilarious results.
We got to wondering: are the film’s over-the-top antagonists – Farrell’s drug-addicted chemical company manager, Aniston’s sexually inappropriate dentist and Spacey’s weasely promotion-stealing executive – among good company in real life? So we talked to five formerly disgruntled victims of horrible bosses, and the answer is an enthusiastically resounding: yes!
Whether you’ve already seen “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” – the highly-anticipated third installment of Michael Bay’s epic action franchise – or you’re planning to check it out over the holiday weekend, you’re probably already aware of the film’s general premise.
No, we’re not talking about Autobots versus Decepticons versus Shia LaBeouf, with a hot chick thrown in the mix. Though it’s got that, too. We’re referring to the fact that the movie re-imagines the history of the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, presuming that – instead of a science-based plight – a highly secretive mission was forged to investigate a mysterious robot-laden spacecraft that crashed on the lunar surface one year prior to Neil Armstrong’s infamous “one small step.”
This got us thinking about moon landing conspiracy theories. So we contacted Roger Launius, Senior Curator of Space History at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Not only does Roger have a Ph.D. in history, but he’s been an aerospace historian since 1982, and he was a NASA chief historian between 1990 and 2002 before joining the Smithsonian in 2002. He’s also written or edited over 20 books about aerospace history.
Roger’s insights about the nature of historical conspiracy theories, the psyche behind them, and the way that Hollywood gets it right (and wrong) are completely fascinating.
The raunchy comedy “Bad Teacher” opens today in theaters, reuniting former Hollywood power couple Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake. Unlike their first meeting at the 2003 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards (the two began dating shortly thereafter), sparks decidedly aren’t flying between Diaz and Timberlake in the film – at least as far as we can tell from the red band trailer.
Diaz plays Elizabeth Halsey – an unorthodox junior high teacher who clearly cares less about the education of her students than she does about wooing Scott Delacort (Timberlake), the wealthy new substitute at her school. She takes a new interest in academic achievement, though, when she finds out there’s a cash prize in it for her if her class outperforms that of a rival teacher (played by the hilarious Lucy Punch), all the while spurning the advances of lovable gym teacher Russell Gettis (Jason Segel).
Halsey’s abysmal practices – which include pummeling her students with dodgeballs and smoking pot in the school parking lot – got us thinking: have real-life teachers worked with similarly inappropriate colleagues? As it turns out: there are plenty of bad teachers among us – check out what they had to say!
The wait is finally over – after all the casting news, teaser trailers and mysterious hints, "Super 8" arrives in theaters today. The action vehicle delivers all the heart, tension and explosive-laden sequences you’d expect from a J.J. Abrams-helmed, Steven Spielberg-produced flick, but the most potent takeaway is the group of misfit kids at the center of the narrative.
In the vein of "The Goonies," "E.T." and "Stand By Me," "Super 8" catapults us into the lives of small-town youngsters in 1979. All the archetypes are accounted for: the overachieving (overweight) aspiring director, the braces-clad pyromaniac, the vomit-prone worrywart, the awkward-yet-sweet-natured protagonist, the unattainable and alluring popular girl.
Picking up the pieces from familial upheaval and one epic train wreck, the kids will charm their way into your nostalgia-swelled heart – heck, even the movie’s much-mused-about monster can’t overshadow their chemistry. Which is why we’re willing to bet that you’ll find yourself pining for a piece of the clan’s know-how long after the credits roll. So, without further ado, a handy link-laden guide to eight lessons revealed in "Super 8."
Scientifically proven fact: a heaping dose of Kristen Wiig heals all wounds. And, as evidenced by “Bridesmaids” – in theaters today (May 13) – Wiig’s performance seems especially therapeutic to counteract the residual traumas of our “always a bridesmaid” contingent.
“Bridesmaids” promises to fill an as-yet-unworn set o’ uncomfortably tight stilettos, bringing a much-needed female perspective to the “bro comedy” genre. The story follows the pitfall-laden plight of maid of honor Annie (Wiig) as she attempts to wrangle plans for the revelry surrounding her best friend Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding. Along with suffering a slew of personal problems, Annie must contend with the rest of the bridal party – disgruntled mom Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), naïve newlywed Becca (Ellie Kemper), aggressive and tomboyish Megan (Melissa McCarthy) and privileged, wanna-be BFF Helen (Rose Byrne).
The misadventures of this motley crew prove stomach-ache-inducing hilarious, but also touch upon some very current struggles for all those “of age” ladies out there. Which got us thinking – does real life imitate art? According to some former brides and bridesmaids, the answer is a resounding YES. Check out some real life wedding horror stories after the jump!
What, you thought we’d let you off the hook without jumping on the (gilded) Royal Wedding bandwagon? Silly commoners!
If you’ve been up since the wee hours of the morning watching Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton get hitched in epic style and you can’t quite kick the buzz now that it’s all over, fret not – that’s what we’re here for!
Behold: our five favorite cinematic royal couplings, to help you keep the dream of happily ever after alive. Go forth and Netflix, our loyal subjects!
The fifth installment of the torque and testosterone-fueled “Fast and Furious” franchise – “Fast Five” – throttles into theaters this Friday, and the Vin Diesel-fronted vehicle promises to be the most fun you’ve had at the movies so far this year, as evidenced by the clip we teased you with last week.
Though it’s thoroughly badass, we couldn’t help but wonder if the bank vault heist we showcased is physically feasible under any circumstances, so we sent the video along to Phil Schewe, Chief Science Writer and spokesman for the American Institute of Physics. His thoughts about the Plausibility Factor of Vin and Paul Walker’s vault-toting plight? In a word: impossible. But does the suspension of disbelief make for massively fun cinema? Absolutely!
Phil’s play-by-play of the science behind the sequence is pretty entertaining stuff – so geek out with us, if you’re so inclined, and check what he had to say!