Director Dan Gilroy re-teams with his Nightcrawler stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo for another twisted movie, this time mixing together horror with satire for a gory takedown of the art world. Velvet Buzzsaw, which arrives soon on Netflix, debuted this weekend at Sundance to mostly favorable reviews, which celebrate the camp performances and the execution of a wild premise involving deadly paintings.Here’s what the critics are saying about Velvet Buzzsaw:How would one describe Velvet Buzzsaw?A high-end Final Destination… best viewed as pure horror camp. Travis Hopson, Punch Drunk CriticsA slasher movie with something to say. Matt Goldberg, ColliderA tarted-up throwback to a certain kind of trashy ’70s horror movie — a la Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? or Theater of Blood. Peter Debruge, VarietyIt’s like Bret Easton Ellis meeting John Carpenter in the bathroom at Art Basel. Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment WeeklyA work of art in its own right. You’ve never seen anything quite like Velvet Buzzsaw. Chris Evangelista, SlashfilmNothing if not unique, it’s an utterly bizarre film that could only have ever been made for a streamer like Netflix. Chris Bumbray, JoBlo s Movie EmporiumVelvet Buzzsaw is certainly unlike anything else you’re going to see this year on Netflix or any other streaming service. Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.comThis is a film that can’t be described. It simply has to be experienced for all the senses. Karen M. Peterson, AwardsCircuit.com(Photo by Netflix)But is it any good?Velvet Buzzsaw is a blast from start to finish. Matt Goldberg, ColliderThis movie is so preposterous, so profoundly weird, just hilarious and merciless and black-hearted from beginning to end. Meredith Borders, Bloody DisgustingVelvet is fun and silly and enjoyably outrageous. Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment WeeklyThe sillier and bloodier it gets, the better. Travis Hopson, Punch Drunk CriticsThere’s some kind of poetry to [what] he’s made here: a trashy thriller set in the world of high art. Dan Mecca, The Film StageEvery element combines to make this a polished, glossy film that feels as expensive as the creations within it. Karen M. Peterson, AwardsCircuit.comEven if Velvet Buzzsaw starts to sputter slightly after it’s made its point, it’s plenty exciting to witness the incredibly specific madness they whip up together. Emily Yoshida, VultureIt’s all somewhat amusing but rather arch. Todd McCarthy, Hollywood ReporterGilroy’s film needed to be 60% better or 20% worse in order to transcend the forgettable silliness of its existence. Dave Ehrlich, IndieWireFor lack of a better descriptor, the whole thing is a mess. Gregory Ellwood, The Playlist(Photo by Netflix)How does it compare to Nightcrawler?[It’s] a fitting companion piece to Nightcrawler. Peter Debruge, VarietyIt’s missing the weight of Nightcrawler, but that feels right. Meredith Borders, Bloody DisgustingVelvet Buzzsaw, as gleaming and sun-drenched as Nightcrawler is dark, is even more of an invective, and even more operatically heightened. Emily Yoshida, VultureVelvet Buzzsaw is worlds removed from Nightcrawler. While Nightcrawler was going for cerebral thrills, Velvet Buzzsaw is trafficking in gore-soaked comedy. Chris Evangelista, SlashfilmHow is Jake Gyllenhaal s performance?There’s never a moment when he’s not chewing scenery, but it works for the vibe of the film. Chris Bumbray, JoBlo s Movie Emporium[He’s] relishing another of those cartoonishly camp performances he’s increasingly drawn to in his middle age. Peter Debruge, VarietyGyllenhaal, who continues his transformation into full-blown quirky character actor, is a hoot. Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm[It’s ] a performance so big that it might not be able to fit on the screen of your iPhone. Dave Ehrlich, IndieWireDoes anyone else stand out?Every single performance is hilarious and memorable. Meredith Borders, Bloody DisgustingJohn Malkovich also shows up in an enjoyable cameo. Anthony Kaufman, Screen International(Photo by Netflix)What else can we look forward to?Velvet Buzzsaw is a terrific-looking film, with striking interiors and city vistas. Meredith Borders, Bloody DisgustingThe costumes are delightful and come to life in Robert Elswit’s art pop light. Dave Ehrlich, IndieWireCostume designers Trish Summerville and Isis Mussenden provide some inspired ensembles. Gregory Ellwood, The PlaylistIsis Mussenden and Trish Summerville’s nouveau-fashion costumes and James D. Bissell’s elaborate production design also help to create a full-scale and highly detailed send-up of the film’s high-brow milieu. Anthony Kaufman, Screen InternationalIt’s also an ambitious piece of work with unforgettable imagery and an ace ensemble. Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.comGyllenhaal’s Morf enters some kind of pantheon of quotably absurd characters alongside, say, Christopher Guest in Waiting for Guffman and all the Heathers. Emily Yoshida, VultureIs the satire effective?I would ve preferred a much stronger take from Gilroy than what we get here. Travis Hopson, Punch Drunk CriticsVelvet Buzzsaw would have been more effective as pure satire, as Gilroy doesn’t seem to have an affinity for the [horror] genre. Chris Bumbray, JoBlo s Movie EmporiumIt’s all very low common denominator humor centered on art world cliches. Gregory Ellwood, The PlaylistThere’s nothing lampooned here that we haven’t already seen before. Anthony Kaufman, Screen InternationalIf this movie tried to carry itself as a highbrow critique, it would be far more difficult to appreciate Gilroy’s point of view. Matt Goldberg, ColliderSuch fangless satire suggests that Gilroy is either unfamiliar with the art world, or loves it too much to dig any deeper. Dave Ehrlich, IndieWireWould a smarter film with more of a message be better? Maybe, but it probably wouldn’t be this off-the-wall, and what a tragedy that would be. Chris Evangelista, SlashfilmIs it still a good horror movie?[There’s] insane gore and even supernatural horror… once his paintings start, well, literally killing people, it becomes a full-blown riot. Meredith Borders, Bloody DisgustingVelvet Buzzsaw is unabashedly supernatural in its horror, with mixed results. Emily Yoshida, VultureIt’s a horror show that lacks broader social commentary; a handful of bloody murders and occasional jump-scares, with the occasional astute one-liner. Anthony Kaufman, Screen InternationalVelvet Buzzsaw streams on Netflix beginning on February 1. 最后，国内手游盛行也只能说是国情，毕竟不是每个人都有自己独立的房间，以及每天4小时的连续娱乐时间。随着生产力的进步，以及大众生活水平的提高，这种情况将逐步改善。
icked people into believing their authenticity, as well as those urban legend-like “cursed” films that earned sinister reputations because of the unfortunate, disturbing, and sometimes tragic events that were allegedly attributed to them.But they’re only movies, right?Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made (2018) 75%(Photo by Else Films)What better way to kick things off than with a movie that is a perfect Venn diagram of both concepts – “found footage” faux-real horror and supposedly cursed films. Antrum purports to be a documentary about a lost 1970s film that was only screened twice, because everyone who watches it dies. The movie opens with an 8-minute documentary detailing the curse around the film, then shows you the “film” itself, which is about two young kids who attempt to dig a hole to Hell to save their recently deceased dog. The filmmakers do their best to make the movie-within-a-movie look authentically 70s to help sell the whole façade. The fact that Antrum’s release was preceded by rumors and word of mouth among hardcore horror fans (much like the way the controversial 2011 A Serbian Film grew a reputation well before it was ever screened publicly) lent the movie an air of real mystery. Some eager horror buffs even tried to track the “original” Antrum down, believing it to be real.Plausibility Score: 2 out of 5Antrum is a nice try, but in the age of advanced search engines, it’s hard to fully convince people that a film with a supposed body count of 60 could truly have been “lost.”Snuff (1976) The concept of a “snuff” film – a movie depicting an actual murder – basically started in 1971 when Ed Sanders, the author of a book about the Manson Family, asserted that Charles Manson and his followers had filmed their killing spree (no footage was ever found). Then, just a few years later in 1976, husband-and-wife directors Michael and Roberta Findlay made a cheap exploitation film called Slaughter about an actress and her director who are murdered by a Manson Family-esque clan in South America. Grindhouse film distributor Allan Shackleton bought the film, changed the title to Snuff, and released it under the pretense that it depicted the real murder of the main actress (the tagline was “Filmed in South America…Where Life is Cheap!”). This kickstarted an obsession with snuff films, although none have ever been conclusively unearthed.Plausibility Score: 4 out of 5The Manson Family connection and the fact that people still believe in the existence of snuff films even today and really sell this one.Poltergeist (1982) 86%Perhaps the most famous “cursed” movie of all time, the original 1982 Poltergeist, about a suburban family terrorized by a supernatural presence, climaxed with a scene in which the mom (JoBeth Williams) is dragged into a partially dug-out pool and is surrounded by skeletons – the reveal being that the housing development in which they live was unscrupulously built on top of a graveyard. The rumor was that the film crew had not only used real skeletons, but had desecrated graves themselves to get them. Mysterious and untimely deaths of some of the actors in the trilogy, including young Heather O’Rourke (who played the abducted little girl Carol Anne), who died at the age of 12 due to a congenital intestinal issue, and Dominique Dunne (who played oldest sibling Dana), who was murdered by a jealous boyfriend at the age of 22, led to the urban legend that the ghosts of the unwitting skeletal “co-stars” had cursed the films and everyone who worked on them. It’s flimsy, because clearly major players like Williams, Craig T. Nelson, director Tobe Hooper, and producer Steven Spielberg walked away unscathed.Plausibility Score: 1 out of 5Although it’s the movie everyone cites when talking about curses, a lot of the supposed connections are pretty thin. Plus, more of the actors and crew survived unhurt than didn’t, and a lot of the “deaths” beyond the two young leads were simply age and explainable illness.The Blair Witch Project (1999) 86%Horror is a great way for young talents to break into the business because, often, what you don’t see is scarier than what you do, so it’s a godsend for indie filmmakers with more creativity than budget. The Blair Witch Project came about at exactly the right time – exploiting the still nascent “world wide web,” it managed to cultivate its own urban legend of supposedly lost cam footage that was recovered after a group of young filmmakers went missing. The conceit of it being filmed on the fly covered over the fact that you don’t really see much of anything, and the clever use of sound effects and the overall naturalistic performances by the lead actors made you think, just for a second, that maybe this was the real deal. Of course, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 came out around a year later to confirm that, yes, this was indeed just a cheesy horror franchise at its core.Plausibility Score: 3 out of 5It may have lost some luster since, but at the time? It really had people convinced. And the execution – from the early websites to the film itself – was nearly perfect.The Omen (1976) 86%Strap in for this one: Producer Harvey Bernhard claims that the initial idea for the seminal horror classic The Omen came from an advertising exec named Bob Munger. Munger suggested that a movie about the Antichrist would be cool, but that no one should actually make it because “the devil was at work and he didn’t want that film made.” He may have been right. Just a month before filming was to start, lead actor Gregory Peck’s son committed suicide. As he flew to the set, Peck’s plane was struck by lightning, and then executive producer Marc Neufeld’s plane was also struck by lightning on his way to the location. The hotel Neufeld and his wife were staying in then got bombed by the Irish Republican Army. The crew hired a small plane to do some aerial photography, but it was given to another client at the last minute; that plane crashed on takeoff and killed everyone on board. Filming a zoo sequence, the young boy playing the demonic Damien apparently upset the baboons so much they started freaking out, so an animal wrangler was called in to help; the next day, he was mauled by a tiger and killed. But perhaps the most chilling result of this “curse” was what happened to special effects supervisor John Richardson. One of his big FX sequences in The Omen was one in which a character is decapitated by a sheet of glass. While working on his next movie in the Netherlands, Richardson and his assistant were involved in a car accident, and his assistant was you guessed it decapitated. Legend has it the accident occurred near a street sign that read “Ommen, 66.6 km.” But it’s all coincidence, right?Plausibility Score: 4 out of 5It’s hard to write all of this off as coincidence. Even when people discount some of it – like the existence of the Dutch street sign – there’s a lot more that’s been verified.Cannibal Holocaust (1980) 65%(Photo by ©F.D. Cinematografica courtesy Everett Collection)Not long after Snuff, another film came under fire for allegedly depicting actual murders – and it was an early example of “found footage” horror, to boot. This Italian cult movie was built around the idea that it was footage discovered after an American film crew disappeared in the Amazon rainforest and were killed and eaten by indigenous cannibals. The gore was so intense and realistic that a few days after the movie’s premiere, Italian authorities confiscated the film, director Ruggero Deodato was charged with obscenity, and he was eventually slapped with a murder charge when it was suggested Cannibal Holocaust was, in fact, a snuff film. Although it was later proven that none of the actors were killed or harmed, the film does depict scenes of intense animal cruelty that were real. Fun fact: the fake documentary the crew was working on was called The Green Inferno, which would be the title adopted by director Eli Roth for his 2013 homage to Cannibal Holocaust.Plausibility Score: 3 out of 5The rough, grimy cheapness of the film and the addition of actual animal butchery make this feel almost like the real deal.The Crow (1994) 83%What’s unique about the “curse” of The Crow is that it isn’t so much about the film as it is an extension of a curse that is believed to have haunted martial arts icon Bruce Lee and his family for generations. Of course, the 1994 horror-tinged comic book adaptation is infamous due to the tragic death of star Brandon Lee, Bruce s son, who died after a prop gun misfired and a projectile struck him. The film was hampered by setbacks and accidents – the set was destroyed numerous times, most notably by a hurricane that struck its North Carolina filming location – but in general, the problems seem to have been caused mostly by the fact that it was low budget and behind schedule, and corners were cut a little too recklessly. Some even claim that the Chinese mafia assassinated Bruce and Brandon, which is eerie when you think about the fact that Bruce Lee’s last film, Game of Death, seems to predict this. In that movie, Bruce’s character is a martial arts actor who is shot by an assassin posing as one of the stunt crew. Also, the biopic Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story anthropomorphizes the supposed family curse as a physical demon that haunts Lee his whole life, and at one point in the film, the demon goes after a young Brandon. Dragon was released in 1993 – a year before The Crow.Plausibility Score: 2 out of 5The idea of a Lee Family Curse is compelling, and it fits in with the whole mystical aura surrounding Bruce. But dig deeper into the on-set events of The Crow, and it all appears to be more a case of negligence and unprofessionalism than a sinister hex.The Exorcist (1973) 83%If the Devil really does exist, he seems to spend an awful lot of time on film sets. Before The Omen tempted fate with each shooting day, William Friedkin’s The Exorcist experienced its own unnerving incidents. Telling the story of two priests battling a demonic presence that has taken hold of a young girl named Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), the film is an undisputed classic of the horror genre, and some of that may have to do with the notion that the film itself was actually possessed. Things got off to a rocky start when the MacNeil family home set – where much of the action takes place – was destroyed by fire. The only room that was untouched by the blaze…was Regan’s. In addition, almost all of the actors suffered injuries during the filming, and televangelist Billy Graham even claimed that “there is a power of evil in that film, in the fabric of the film itself” and suggested that simply projecting it was like opening a door for demons. The movie held its premiere in Rome, during a violent thunderstorm. One attendee even passed out and broke her jaw, later attempting to sue the production because she blamed subliminal messages for her tumble.Plausibility Score: 3 out of 5Some of the spookiness experienced on set and at early screenings was likely psychosomatic, but the movie still carries a heavy creep factor regardless.Rosemary's Baby (1968) 96%Why not complete Satan’s own personal trilogy with a supposedly cursed movie that pre-dates both The Omen and The Exorcist? Rosemary’s Baby is rightly credited with redefining the horror genre by taking it away from the campy cobwebs and castles of the old Vincent Price days and legitimizing it as a “real” grown-up art form. Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes star in the story of a young mother-to-be who moves into a New York apartment building that also happens to house a Satanic cult. Producer William Castle – who was infamous in the 1950s and 1960s for promoting all sorts of gimmicks like floating skeletons and rumbling theater seats in an effort to sell the “reality” of his horror movies – believed that real witches had cursed the set. The film’s composer suffered a nasty fall shortly after the movie wrapped and died after being comatose for several days. Castle himself fell ill with painful gallstones that required surgery. And, of course, director Roman Polanski’s wife at the time, actress Sharon Tate, and their unborn child would fall victim to the Manson Family a year after the film’s release.Plausibility Score: 1 out of 5It’s easy to think of anything Satan-related as tempting fate when it comes to curses or bad mojo, but most of these incidents seem loosely connected at best.Faces of Death (1978) 25%Just as The Blair Witch Project came along at the perfect time to take advantage of early internet, the legend of Faces of Death is largely a product of the early 1980s VHS boom. Before Blockbuster, video stores were small (often seedy) mom-and-pop stores, and Faces of Death was one of those creepy little oddities you’d find on one of the dust-covered shelves. Allegedly depicting “real” deaths, it served as a badge of honor for anyone who was actually able to get ahold of a copy and watch it. Although the film does contain some real footage – like newsreel clips from an accident where you can see paramedics cleaning up the remains of a cyclist who had been struck and killed by a truck – it was almost entirely faked by writer and director John Alan Schwartz. Yes, even the infamous scene where a table full of diners appear to kill a trapped monkey and then eat its brains.Plausibility Score: 1 out of 5If you don’t catch on immediately when you’re introduced to the movie’s “medical professional” host, “Francis B. Gross,” you’ll catch on during sequences like the “real” shark attack that somehow has footage from the shark’s POV as it eats a diver. Did it get a cinematography credit?Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) 58%(Photo by Courtesy Everett Collection)The film version of the classic horror and sci-fi television series let four different directors adapt a classic episode: “Kick the Can” by Steven Spielberg (Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark), “It’s a Good Life” by Joe Dante (Gremlins, Innerspace), “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” by George Miller (The Road Warrior, Mad Max: Fury Road), and “Time Out” by John Landis (Trading Places, Animal House). Although some claim the movie is cursed, it’s really just that there’s a sense of morbidity around it because veteran actor Vic Morrow (father of Jennifer Jason Leigh) and two young actors playing Vietnamese children were killed in an on-set accident during Landis’ segment when a helicopter that was part of a sequence recreating the Vietnam War crash-landed on them. None of the other directors experienced any bizarre or unexplained incidents, and all continued to have successful careers. But the tragedy hung a dark shadow over Landis and lends the movie a creepy, all-too-real feel.Plausibility Score: 1 out of 5Again, this was one horrible, tragic accident caused by director negligence. The rest of the film (and filmmakers) got on fine with no curse-related incidents.GUINEA PIG: FLOWER OF FLESH AND BLOOD (1985)None of the images from this film are acceptable to show you, so here is a guinea pig pushing a tiny shopping cart. (Photo by Newspix/Getty Images)Created by artist Hideshi Hino based on his own manga series, the Guinea Pig movies feature the same kind of faux documentary feel as something like Faces of Death or Cannibal Holocaust, and they re legendary among hardcore horror fans. Without any real plot to speak of beyond “psycho kidnaps women and dismembers them in gruesome fashion while dressed as a samurai,” the movies do feel less like a story and more like some forbidden home video. That said, two incidents lend it a particular air of menace. One is that a copy of Flower of Flesh and Blood was sent to the FBI by Charlie Sheen – yes, Charlie Sheen – because he was convinced it was an actual snuff film (it was not, and all of the deaths and butchery were faked). The other is that a copy of the film was found in the home of a man named Tsutomu Miyazaki, a cannibalistic serial killer known as the Otaku Murderer who was behind the kidnapping and murder of four young girls between 1988 and 1989 in Japan. The film was believed to have inspired him.Plausibility Score: 3 out of 5All Hino had to do was not put a title card over the opening “stalking” sequence and it might have worked. The scene really looks and feels like something a creep would record as he follows women down the street. But no real serial killer goes into AfterEffects and adds cool titles and music cues to their murder footage. At least, not that we know of.(Photo by Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox Film Corp., Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment)Rounding out or list of horror is… not a horror film, but a movie that is believed to be so cursed it will never be made. A comedy based on a 1963 satirical novel called The Incomparable Atuk by Canadian author Mordecai Richler, the story is about an Inuit poet who travels to Toronto and has a series of fish-out-of-water experiences in the big city (the film version Americanized it by making Atuk a native of Alaska who travels to New York). Sounds pretty basic, right? It might well be, if the movie didn’t seem to kill every actor associated with the lead role. The curse of Atuk is particularly weird because the novel itself isn’t about anything sinister or paranormal. The first man up for the role was comedy legend John Belushi; after his untimely death from a drug overdose, the producers approached comedian Sam Kinison… who then died in a drunk driving accident. So they decided to offer the part to John Candy, who would die from a heart attack a few months after getting the script. Undaunted, the part was then dangled in front of another SNL vet – Chris Farley. He, too, would succumb to a drug overdose. Even stranger, Farley allegedly gave a copy of the script to a friend who he thought might also be interested in the role, namely fellow SNL alum Phil Hartman. Five months after Farley’s death, Hartman was shot and killed by his wife, who committed suicide hours later.Plausibility Score: 5 out of 5If this movie doesn t scream cursed, we don t know what does.Thumbnail image by Else Films
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(Photo by New Line courtesy Everett Collection)On November 7, 2003, Buddy the Elf passed through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gumdrops, and then walked through the Lincoln Tunnel and right into our hearts.Written by David Berenbaum and directed by Jon Favreau, Elf was the holiday hit of the year, taking in more than 0 million worldwide, and earning equal praise from critics (it s Certified Fresh at 84%) and audiences (it sports a 74% Audience Score).Since then, Elf has become a holiday TV stalwart, spawned a hit Broadway musical and a stop-motion animated special, and turned into one of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time.Even now, at 15 years old (old enough to doubt the existence of Santa), Elf is still full of Christmas cheer. So, why has this film earned a place on the Nice List for life?It Turned Jon Favreau into a Director and May Have Kickstarted the MCU(Photo by New Line courtesy Everett Collection)Prior to Elf, Jon Favreau was recognizable actor, but a relative unknown as a director. Granted, true Favreau-heads (Favr-ites?) might look to his 2001 independent film Made (Fresh at 71%) as Favreau’s directorial coming out party, but he was better known as one of the money men from Swingers and Monica’s millionaire boyfriend from Friends. But that all changed when he stepped behind the camera for Elf.With his innovative and charming direction, Elf would go on to make nearly seven times its budget, and Favreau would go on to direct Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Jungle Book, and the upcoming The Lion King.But, if Favreau hadn’t taken on Elf (or if it hadn’t been quite a critical and commercial success), would he have been trusted to direct Iron Man? And if he hadn t directed Iron Man, would the movie still have had the same vibrancy that made it such a hit? And would it then even spawn a sequel and set the stage for Captain America, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the rest of the blockbuster behemoth that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe?Thankfully, Jon Favreau is so money, and Elf made sure we all knew it.It Made Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel into Stars(Photo by New Line Cinema)In 2003, Will Ferrell had already notched his name in TV lore with an impressive run on Saturday Night Live and stolen scenes in classic grown-up comedies like Old School, Austin Powers, and Zoolander, but it wasn’t known if the rambunctious man-child actor could carry a movie as a leading man, let alone a family film. Until, that is, everyone saw Elf.The risk to cast Ferrell paid off, and launched him from recent SNL departee to Hollywood’s next great comedy star. In the following years, Ferrell continued to rack up hits with both adult-oriented comedies like Anchorman, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys and family-friendly fare, including Kicking Screaming, The Lego Movie, and Daddy’s Home.Elf also marked a coming-out party for Ferrell’s co-star Zooey Deschanel. After small yet memorable parts in Almost Famous and The New Guy, Deschanel was dangerously close to being known better as that girl than as Zooey Deschanel. But playing the role of reluctant mall elf and Buddy’s reticent love interest, Jovie, Deschanel delivered a star-making performance, showcasing the charm, singing talent, and adorkable-ness that would make her into a darling of the indie film world and a staple of the sitcom one.It Excels in Physical HumorWill Ferrell has always been a larger-than-life performer, but Elf took that quality and ran with it.As the only human in the North Pole (and a 6 3 one at that), Buddy the Elf stands out amongst the diminutive elves of Santa’s workshop, but Ferrell needed some movie magic to truly look like a fish out of water.Thanks to forced perspective, which manipulated the set to make the other actors appear smaller, Ferrell managed to tower over his elfin counterparts without having to resort to CGI or green screens. Favreau called this process painstaking, but the end result looks seamless and allowed the actors to appear as normal as possible.It s Super Quotable, All Year RoundWho can forget He s an angry elf, You stink. You smell like beef and cheese! You don t smell like Santa, or The best way to spread Christmas cheer is
(Photo by Courtesy of the Everett Collection)It s estimated that between 75 and 90 percent of films made before 1929 are either lost or only exist in incomplete form. As part of our RT Archives project, we are collecting contemporaneous reviews for those films – see a full list here and read what critics said about them at the time – and shining a spotlight on the stories and people behind them. Learn more about the RT Archives project here.The 1906 film The Story of the Kelly Gang achieved a number of “firsts” when it premiered at Melbourne s Athenaeum Hall in late December of that year. It was the first feature film about the Australian outlaw and pop culture hero Ned Kelly, who had died just 26 years before. It was also the first in the genre that would become known as “bushranger films,” stories of escaped convicts and bank- and coach-robbers who lived hidden in the Australian bush. Crucially, running more than an hour with a reel length of about 4,000 feet, The Story of the Kelly Gang was also the world’s first full-length feature film, according to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. Tragically, it is also the world’s first lost full-length feature.What we know about the film, for which writing and directing credits are often attributed to film and theatrical entrepreneur Charles Tait and his brothers, can be gleaned through a 17-minute restoration that pieced together bits of film discovered since the mid 1970s – including what could be salvaged from 400 feet of release print discovered by kids in a Melbourne rubbish dump in – and included still photographs to fill out scenes. We learn more, too, in theater programs from its initial exhibition in Australia, which outline the six-reel film’s six scenes, all depicting crucial moments in Ned Kelly and his gang’s criminal career, including the shootout that would eventually lead to Kelly’s arrest and for which he built his infamous metal bulletproof armor. (You might recall it from umpteenth Ned Kelly films – he’s been played by the likes of Heath Ledger, Mick Jagger, and, most recently, George Mackay in last year’s The True History of the Kelly Gang.)(Photo by Courtesy of the Everett Collection)What’s harder to draw from these sources is what it was like to sit there, in a packed Sydney or Melbourne theater, and see The Story of the Kelly Gang live – to bear witness to a thrilling story about a man who, by that point, was a national icon, told in a groundbreaking and never-before-seen fashion. Perhaps the closest we can get to understanding that is in reviews written by critics and cultural commentators at the time, who filled columns in Australian and New Zealand newspapers with their reactions to the storytelling, the incredible new technology of a full-length-feature film, descriptions of crowd reactions, notes on the movie’s presentation – the reading of interstitial descriptions, accompanying sounds like fake gun shots – and who grappled with the country’s canonization of a man with so much blood, some of it from law enforcement on, his hands.As part of our RT Archive project, we have been sourcing contemporaneous reviews for dozens of lost films, including The Story of the Kelly Gang, to help readers piece together in their minds these lost works of art. Below, we break down what writers thought of the film and its giant step forward in the evolution of this beguiling new moving-picture technology.Did critics think this groundbreaking feature film was any good?“[The pictures] illustrate with tolerable verisimilitude the most noteworthy events in the career of perhaps the most notorious gang of outlaws that ever infested the Australian bush.” – The Mercury (Tasmania), Monday, May 13, 1907“[Many scenes] with galloping horses and beautiful bush views, were admirably presented, and voices behind the scenes supplied the realistic dialogue needed to keep the audience in touch with the action of the story.” – Sydney Morning Herald, Monday, February 11, 1907“…the Kelly pictures were reeled off at a rate which kept the attention of the audience closely concentrated on the career of the famous outlaws… A conscientious and, on the whole, a creditable effort has been made to reproduce the tragedies as they occurred, and if there were any imperfections in detail probably few in the hall had memories long enough to detect them.” – The Age (Melbourne), Thursday, December 27, 1906 (day after December 26 world premiere)“… the attempted wrecking of the train sent from Melbourne with a posse of police to assist in the capture of the Glenrowan Hotel, with Rev. Father Gibney bravely rescuing and carrying away the wounded from the burning building. This scene was most vividly and realistically depicted, with some 50 police and the gang exchanging shots.” – Sunday Times (Sydney), Sunday, February 10, 1907“The films are clear and distinct, the chief actors concerned in the bush drama are fairly recognizable, the photographs are taken in ‘Kelly country,’ and after due allowance is made for certain acknowledged liberties taken, the illustrated record is probably as satisfactory as anything of the kind at this distant date.” – The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), Monday, February 11, 1907 (the one Rotten review)(Photo by Courtesy of the Everett Collection)What did the reviews reveal about the making of the film and how it was presented?“Messrs. J and N Tait, in the result, presented an ingeniously realistic succession of pictures taken at Glenrowan, the Strathbogie and Wombat Ranges, and other Victorian spots at one time haunted by the robbers in question.” – Sydney Morning Herald, Monday, February 11, 1907“The films are the product of carefully rehearsed posing by men, women and children, who have copied characteristics of the principals, their accomplices and their victims.” – The Age (Melbourne), Thursday, December 27, 1906 (day after December 26 world premiere)“In order to have the scenes of various incidents portrayed it was necessary sometimes to keep employed as many as 50 people at a time, and it even necessitated the co-operation of the railways and the engagement of special trains.” – The New Zealand Herald, Tuesday, June 18, 1907“For the guidance of those unacquainted with the Kelly saga the operator introduces each series of pictures with a few lines of legible print, epitomizing the chapter next to be presented.” – The Mercury (Tasmania), Monday, May 13, 1907Did the technology impress?“The biograph picture has now come to be recognized as quite a necessary adjunct to civilization, and the wonder of its creation has vanished with the mystery of the telephone and the first motor-car…. To such a stage of perfection has the moving picture been brought, that audiences at this end of the world may have repeated for their benefit almost every detail, in actual spectacular panorama, events that have happened thousands of miles away, and no country is sacred form the enterprising picture-taker.” – The New Zealand Herald, Tuesday, June 18, 1907“The cinematograph views of the murder of the constables in the Wombat Ranges, and baffled efforts to wreck the police special by tearing up the railway track, the storming of the Glenrowan Inn and the capture of Ned Kelly were life-like, and, of course, highly sensational.” – The Age (Melbourne), Thursday, December 27, 1906 (day after December 26 world premiere)Ned Kelly has been played through the years by Mick Jagger, George Mackay, Heath Ledger, and others. (Photo by Courtesy of the Everett Collection, © IFC Films, © Focus Features)What was it like to be in the theater for these historic screenings?“The Town-hall was filled to overflowing, and scores were turned away on Saturday night, when the biograph pictures of the adventures of the Kelly gang were exhibited for the first time. Growing boys formed a not inconsiderable portion of the spectators, and from the undertone of comment and the occasional outburst of applause, it was clear with what enthusiastic interest they followed the story as it was unfolded in the successive series of films.” – The Mercury (Tasmania), Monday, May 13, 1907How did critics grapple with the portrayal of the criminal Ned Kelly as a heroic figure?“The exploits of the Kelly gang, away back in the early eighties, were admittedly sufficiently daring in their character and tragic in their sequence to provide a sensational page of Australian history, but it is not the class of history to which a nation points with pride, nor is it a sort of thing the youth of a country will be asked to admire or to emulate…. Pasts of this description, one would suppose, were better buried deeply and the incidents associated with them kept in the background. Such, however, did not appear to be the view of the hundreds who scrambled wildly for seats at the Palace Theater on Saturday evening, in response to the announcement that there would be there presented ‘Australia’s greatest drama: The story of the Kelly gang, by the biograph–the most thrilling moving-picture series ever seen.’” – The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), Monday, February 11, 1907 (the one Rotten review)“[The Kellys] are described on the program as ‘the last of the bushrangers,’ and it is to be hoped that may prove so, and that these vivid pictures may not ‘rear the tender thought, and teach the young idea how to shoot’–policemen.” – Sydney Morning Herald, Monday, February 11, 1907“To the Australian youth Ned Kelly and his associates are more real heroes than the whole catalogue of mythical champions from Hector and Achilles to Robin Hood, whilst the same youth may not be unjustly suspected of entertaining a sneaking prejudice against the police and other minions of the powers that be. These points have not been overlooked in the preparation of a biograph version of the Kelly gang; the outlaws are the heroes, the police cut a rather poor figure.” – The Mercury (Tasmania), Monday, May 13, 1907On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.
Jumanji: The Next Level arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on March 17 after tearing up the global box office this winter, giving those who missed the movie in theaters a chance to spend a night at home with one of the best buddy-comedy duos in the business, Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson. (Those who did see it on the big screen can now go back for seconds.) To celebrate the reuniting of Hart and Johnson, and to pay tribute to an epic and jibe-filled bromance that has leapt from the big screen to Instagram and beyond, we devoted this episode of Vs. to the co-stars of Central Intelligence, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and – small spoiler alert – Fast Furious Presents: Hobbs Shaw. Who will come out on top when we pit mammoth dose of “franchise Viagra” Dwayne Johnson against the motor-mouthed pocket rocket Kevin Hart? Find out as host Mark “French Tuck” Ellis breaks down the battle by Tomatometer, box office, acting versatility, and a special wildcard category. And as always, if you disagree with the ref’s call, have at us in the comments.Jumanji: The Next Level is available on digital now and on Blu-ray and DVD March 17, 2020.
at s happening, with one of the first film s screenwriters now working on the sequel. Aquaman director James Wan is on board as producer, but it s unclear as to whether he will also direct the sequel. Warner Bros didn t stop there, though, as they also hired two newbie screenwriters to work on a horror movie spinoff for The Trench, about the deadly amphibious creatures seen attacking the hero and his love, Mera in Aquaman. The main characters from Aquaman are not expected to appear in The Trench, which suggests that the horror movie may instead focus on surface dwellers who come into contact with the monsters separate from any involvement with Atlantis.MARCH: CAST ANNOUNCED FOR CHRISTOPHER NOLAN S AMBITIOUS ACTION MOVIE TENET(Photo by JA, Dee Cercone/Everett Collection)Although we obviously knew what Dunkirk was about way before release (the title gives it away), director Christopher Nolan also has a history of starting his movies with mystery premises (we re thinking here of Inception and Interstellar in particular). In March, pretty much the only thing we knew about Nolan s next film (revealed in May to be called Tenet) was that Warner Bros had scheduled it for release on July 17, 2020 (up against Bob s Burgers: The Movie). In March, we learned that Nolan had cast John David Washington (Denzel s son and the star of Spike Lee s BlacKkKlansman) as the film s lead, as well as Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). Since then, the cast has expanded to include Kenneth Branagh, Clémence Poésy (In Bruges), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron), and frequent Nolan collaborator Michael Caine. Most recently, the first trailer for Tenet debuted online just last week in a surprise move from Warner Bros., and it included a six-minute prologue preview attached to IMAX screenings of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.APRIL: SHAZAM! 2 TAKES OFF, AND DWAYNE JOHNSON GETS BLACK ADAM GREENLIGHT TOO(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)After this year s Shazam! had only been in theaters for a week, Warner Bros. went ahead and announced that they were moving forward with plans for a sequel, even despite the film opening much lower ( million domestically) than similar movies like Captain Marvel (3 million) and Aquaman (.8 million). We don t know the premise of the sequel yet, but the mid-credits tease give a clue about the possible villain. A few weeks ago, we learned that Shazam! 2 is now scheduled for release on April 1st, 2022. This news came after Dwayne Johnson s long-in-development Black Adam movie (based on the popular Shazam! villain) will start filming soon and is scheduled for release on December 22, 2021. The timing suggests that the Black Adam movie might directly lead to Dwayne Johnson also reprising the role in Shazam! 2. Warner Bros. is also directly positioning Shazam! 2 against Marvel movies, as Sony s Spider-Verse sequel comes out a week later (4/8/2022) and Black Panther II comes out a month later (5/6/2022), followed by DC Super Pets on 5/20/2022.MAY: ROBERT PATTINSON TAKES OVER THE BATMAN (Photo by Dee Cercone/Everett Collection)Although some superhero movies are slow burns when it comes to news, others, especially the biggest movies (Avengers, or in this case, Batman) can happen in what feels like a relatively brief amount of time. Specifically, just eight months ago, we knew nothing about who would be in the 2021 reboot The Batman (6/25/2021). That all started to change in mid-May, beginning with the news that the shortlist included Nicholas Hoult and Robert Pattinson, the latter of whom secured the role two weeks later. In the meantime, details started to trickle forth about who the villains in The Batman would be. In September, as the Joker hype express was well under way, it was confirmed that there were no plans for Joaquin Phoenix s Joker to crossover with Robert Pattinson s Batman (which is not to say that the Joker won t be in Batman movies, just not Phoenix s specific version). Two weeks later, there was talk about Jonah Hill possibly taking on a villain role, which ultimately didn t work out, as both the Penguin and Riddler went to other actors. In October, Paul Dano (Love and Mercy) landed the role of the Riddler and Zoe Kravitz became the next actress to portray Selina Kyle, A.K.A. Catwoman. Last month, The Batman found two more of its ensemble cast members as Colin Farrell (who also played the villain Bullseye in Daredevil) was cast as the Penguin, and Andy Serkis was cast as Bruce Wayne s butler, Alfred Pennyworth. And lastly, there was also news last month suggesting that Warner Bros. might give villains like Catwoman, The Penguin, and The Riddler their own Joker-style spinoff movies.JUNE: DISNEY BEGINS CASTING LIVE-ACTION THE LITTLE MERMAID (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)Walt Disney Pictures has yet to announce a release date (or even a release year) for its live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, but we can be fairly certain that it s actually happening, because the studio made lots of splashes about it this year. Going into July, we had already known for a while that The Little Mermaid will be directed by Rob Marshall as his next Disney project after last year s Mary Poppins Returns. The casting news started in late June with word that Melissa McCarthy was in early talks to play the evil, tentacled sea witch Ursula. (It s not yet known if Ursula will be fully CGI, or possibly part live action with animated tentacles.) This was soon followed by the casting of Awkwafina (Ocean s Eight) and Jacob Tremblay (Room) as the voices of the animated animal characters Scuttle the seagull and Flounder (who s not a flounder), respectively. Next up and again, this was all basically in the same week was the casting of Ariel herself, who will be played by R B singer Halle Bailey, who, with her sister Chloe, makes up the singing group Chloe x Bailey. For a while, Harry Styles of One Direction was also in talks to play the romantic lead Prince Eric, but that role ultimately went to relatively unknown actor Jonah Hauer-King.JULY: MARVEL MAKES MASSIVE PHASE FOUR ANNOUNCEMENT AT COMIC-CON(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)In recent years, Marvel Studios has sometimes stayed relatively quiet at San Diego Comic-Con, but that was definitely not the case in 2019, when they had arguably the biggest superhero movie news event of all time. Part of the reason for that has to do with the way that Phase Four will involve not just movies, but also various shows on the Disney+ streaming service as well. Without getting into every detail (since doing so would involve a column as long as this one for the entire year), we ll just mention that the (movie) announcements included: Black Widow (5/1/2020), The Eternals (11/6/2020), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2/12/2021), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (5/7/2021), Thor: Love and Thunder (11/5/2021), Blade (presumably Phase Five), Fantastic Four (Phase 5), and X-Men (Phase 5). In August, we also found out that Kit Harrington will be joining The Eternals as long-time Avengers member Black Knight, and that Black Panther II is scheduled for May 6, 2022.AUGUST: GUILLERMO DEL TORO S STAR-STUDDED NIGHTMARE ALLEY CASTS UP(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)After years and years of attempts to get several different projects off the ground, director Guillermo del Toro is ultimately using his post-Shape of Water clout to get something completely different going, namely a remake of the 1947 carnival thriller Nightmare Alley (Fresh at 100%). By the time August rolled around, seven-time Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper had already been attached for the role originally played by Tyrone Power for some time, but that month, we finally saw the casting of two of his female co-stars. Cate Blanchett, who s a seven time Academy Award nominee and two time winner (for Blue Jasmine and The Aviator) ultimately landed a key supporting role, while Toni Collette, who received an Academy Award nomination herself for The Sixth Sense, secured the female lead role of the psychiatrist and hypnotist who teams up with Cooper s carnival con man. Later, in September, a key role also went to Rooney Mara. Fox Searchlight is expected to schedule Nightmare Alley sometime in prime awards season in late 2020.SEPTEMBER: SONY AND MARVEL COME TO TERMS ON SPIDER-MAN DEAL(Photo by Sony Pictures)You may remember that last summer, there was a big uproar about the fact that talks between Sony Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures (and their Marvel Studios) had fallen apart over future Spider-Man movies starring Tom Holland within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Reportedly, Disney and Marvel had wanted a 50% cut of future Spider-Man movies in exchange for Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios working on the movies for Sony. After all of the attention and feedback from the fans, the relevant parties started up talks again, resulting in the big news in September that Sony and Marvel would indeed work together on a third solo Spider-Man film starring Tom Holland, to be released on July 16, 2021 and directed by Jon Watts, who directed the first two. The financial compromise calls for Disney to receive 25% of the film s profits (leaving 75% for Sony), down from their original request of 50%. As part of the new deal, Tom Holland will also appear as Spider-Man in one more MCU movie, the title and premise of which hasn t been revealed yet.OCTOBER: JOHN WICK IS GETTING HIS OWN CINEMATIC UNIVERSE(Photo by @ Lionsgate)When John Wick was first released in 2014, it became something of a pop culture phenomenon that helped Keanu Reeves stage a mid-career comeback and led to two sequels (thus far) and continuing box office success. Lionsgate scheduled John Wick: Chapter 4 for release on May 21, 2021 a while ago, and in October, we learned that Lionsgate is not limiting their John Wick plans to just Keanu Reeves movies. Instead, the studio is moving forward with plans for a female-centric John Wick spinoff called Ballerina about a young female assassin who seeks revenge against the people who killed her family. Although the premise doesn t specify a nationality for the Ballerina, there is something of a trope involving Russian ballerinas who become super spies or assassins (mainly we re thinking here of both Red Sparrow and Marvel s Black Widow). The Ballerina character was briefly seen in John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum, played by newcomer Unity Phelan, but it s possible/likely that another actress will star in Ballerina. And then, earlier this month, Warner Bros. effectively did something huge that raised the profile of John Wick: Chapter 4 at the same time as it directly competed with it, announcing that they had scheduled their own Keanu Reeves sequel, The Matrix 4, for May 21, 2021, the same release date as John Wick: Chapter 4. Both Carrie-Anne Moss and Reeves are attached to return in their roles as Trinity and Neo in that film.NOVEMBER: SPIDER-VERSE 2 AND BLACK PANTHER II ANNOUNCED FOR 2022(Photo by Sony Pictures)As mentioned above, Marvel Studios put on a big, big panel at San Diego Comic-Con this past summer, but the dates were only specific for 2020 and 2021. Since then, Marvel has also announced a release date of May 6, 2022 for Black Panther II, but November s biggest news story painted an image of 2022 that promises an ambitious slate comparable to that of 2019. Sony Pictures has confirmed plans for a second animated movie starring the Miles Morales version of the web-crawler as seen in last year s Academy Award-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The Spider-Verse sequel is now scheduled for April 8, 2022, just shy of a month before Black Panther II on May 6, 2022. Although they re not yet dated, two other Marvel movies that might be scheduled for 2022 are the Blade reboot starring Mahershala Ali and the Fantastic Four movie mentioned at Comic-Con that would finally bring Stan Lee s original Marvel super team into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As for what we might see in Spider-Verse 2, the final scenes of the first movie did hint at both Spider-Man 2099 and the finger-pointing Spider-Man 67.DECEMBER: KUMAIL NANJIANI S ETERNALS BODY BLOWS UP THE INTERNET LIKE BABY YODA(Photo by @kumailn/Instagram)Like any Marvel Cinematic Universe movie with pretty much an entirely new cast, next year s The Eternals (11/6/2020) has been the focus of multiple casting news stories this year. Individually, we re not sure any of them would have been enough to make our list of top stories for the year. And then, Kumail Nanjiani posted the images you can see on his Instagram account. When Nanjiani was first cast in The Eternals, it was probably safe to assume that he would basically look like the Kumail Nanjiani we ve grown accustomed to seeing in other projects like The Big Sick, Stuber, and HBO s Silicon Valley, so it was something of a shock to see him looking absolutely shredded. His co-stars in The Eternals include Angelina Jolie (Thena), Salma Hayek (Ajak), Gemma Chan (Sersi), and Game of Thrones stars Richard Madden (Ikaris) and Kit Harrington (The Black Knight), but we haven t heard yet about whether they re that buff yet. Also, yeah, this December has been kind of a slow news month.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.
Join us weekly as Rotten Tomatoes reports on what s indie features are streaming. From promising releases by new voices to experimental efforts from storied filmmakers – or perhaps the next indie darling to go the distance for end-of-year accolades – we will break it all down for you here each week.For the foreseeable future, the specialty box office and all theatrical releases will be on hold as we all make efforts to socially distance ourselves and reduce the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. With that in mind, we have reshaped our Indie Fresh List. This week for our fresh picks we have an atmospheric biopic about the author behind The Haunting of Hill House, a gory home invasion horror flick, and a dancer romance. In our Spotlight section, we call back to the recent Certified Fresh first feature from director Tayarisha Poe.Streaming This Weekend