In a few days it will finally arrive: Furious 7, the latest and biggest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise. And while the death of series star Paul Walker does put a damper on some of the excitement, this is still a great time to celebrate one of Hollywood’s most reliable and inventive franchises. In 15 years, Fast & Furious has evolved from a simple B-movie about a couple of street racers to an international crime epic spanning multiple continents and dozens of characters.
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It’s a common complaint about modern movies: “They only made this to sell toys.” And sometimes, that’s actually true. But there was a time, not that long ago, when that concept didn’t even exist, and toys based on movies were barely an idea, much less a guarantee. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane (and by memory lane, I mean YouTube) and watch movie toys (and movie marketing) evolve through 40 years of vintage movie toy commercials, from Planet of the Apes to The Avengers.
In a couple hours, the ScreenCrush staff will head down to Austin, Texas for the annual celebration of movies, music, and smoked meats known as South by Southwest. The 2015 lineup is one of the strongest in years, and we’ll only be in town for a couple days, so we’ve spent way too many hours studying the lineup and trying to figure out the best way to maximize our time, see as many great films (and eat as much barbecue) as humanly possible. Our extensive research yielded the following list of ten movies we’re dying to see at SXSW 2015; click the link in each title to go to each’s page at SXSW.com, where you’ll find all the details on screening times and locations. In alphabetical order, here’s Screencrush’s 10 most anticipated movies at South by Southwest:
The late, great Leonard Nimoy, who died earlier today at the age of 83, will always be Mr. Spock, second-in-command of the USS Enterprise under Captain James T. Kirk. For a long time, Nimoy was not okay with this. And then, over the years, he embraced the character that defined his career and inspired an entire generation of fans (many of whom became scientists, engineers, and astronauts). But Nimoy didn't just sit back and rest on his Vulcan laurels. When he wasn't wearing those pointy ears, Nimoy was acting, directing, writing, singing, and lending his likeness and distinctive voice to commercials and TV specials. He was a real Hollywood renaissance man, dabbling in high art, low art, and everything in-between.
This Sunday’s Oscars will be the 87th annual Academy Awards. In nearly a century of honoring Hollywood’s best, the Academy has sometimes has made some bold choices, and some dumb choices. This gallery has them all; the complete history of nine decades of Best Picture winners in pictures. Some are classics, still watched to this day. A few are almost totally forgotten to history. (Cavalcade, anyone?) But they all won. Even Crash, somehow.
In a world before every movie trailer had a sad cover version of a popular song, one man with an impossibly deep voice changed the way films were advertised forever. That was Don LaFontaine, seen above; he and several other sandpaper-throated voiceover artists redefined movie advertising in the 1980s with their impossibly solemn readings of flowery copy spiked with phrases like “In a world...” The practice became so widespread it eventually turned into self-parody; LaFontaine poked fun at his own image in commercials, and the entire world of overly serious voiceover guys became the subject of Lake Bell’s very entertaining comedy In a World...
If you’ve been to the movie theater in the last couple years — and you like to show up early — then you’ve surely noticed one of the most pervasive and tired trends in modern Hollywood: The use of depressing cover versions of famous songs in movie trailers. It started with one brilliantly innovative coming attraction, but quickly became something of an industry standard; nearly every studio tentpole’s first teaser (and sometimes the full trailer that follows) is scored by some kind of gloomy cover of a tune everyone knows. To prove just how played out this gimmick is, ScreenCrush assembled a list of fifteen examples from the last five years. Watch ’em and weep (because these trailers are so very sad):
For most people, Valentine’s Day means flowers, chocolate, and romantic dinners. For cinephiles (or people too cheap or lazy to leave the house), Valentine’s Day means snuggling on the couch and watching a romantic movie. If you’re planning a Netflix night this weekend, picking the right film is key. There’s nothing worse than inviting that special someone over for a private screening, lighting a few candles, pouring a glass of wine, and then killing the mood by putting on In the Ream of the Senses.
Just the other day came word that Sony was developing an animated 'Spider-Man' movie with 'The LEGO Movie' directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Which would be great, and we would very much look forward to that movie! But, buried in that same piece of news was word that Sony still has no idea what to do with the live-action films. Do they make an 'Amazing Spider-Man 3' or just completely reboot (again)? High-level executives and 'Spider-Man' producers are set to meet at a "Spider-Man Summit" in January to decide the fate of the franchise. Since our invitation to this summit was strangely lost in the mail, Managing Editor Matt Singer and Editor-in-Chief Mike Sampson put their heads together and came up with a list of ten directors that Team Spidey should be considering.
In this week’s ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service,’ Samuel L. Jackson plays Richmond Valentine, a power-mad tech billionaire with dreams of world domination. Richmond Valentine’s a pretty cool character name, but according to our highly scientific and totally objective calculations, it’s just the 28th-coolest name of Jackson’s long career. Working from his IMDb page (and eliminating any character where he didn’t get at least a first name), we created this list, the definitive (again, totally mathematical and absolutely beyond reproach) ranking of all his character names. You’re welcome.