Category Archives: Film Features

Exclusively for film related features and op-ed pieces.

Bleecker Street Looks to Succeed Where Other Indie Distributors Failed

bleecker street excerptAs we march inexorably toward both the end of the Studio Series, we come to one of the most interesting entries of the entire enterprise. Bleecker Street is a new and exciting operation in the indie world that has designs on much bigger and more impressive prey, and ultimately succeeding where Broad Green recently failed.

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Everything I Know About Surviving the Apocalypse I Learned From Hollywood

mad max excerptWe live in troubled times. It’s on the news every day, we read about it, it keeps us up at night. Maybe it’s time to start thinking of survival plans, and who better to guide us than Hollywood?

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Sony’s 2018 Slate Could Yield Nice Returns From Relatively Low Risk

hoteltrans2excerptSony took Bad Boys 3 off its calendar and bumped Michelle MacLaren’s directorial debut The Nightingale to 2019 as it puts faith in several titles from its genre label Screen Gems.

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Career Therapist: What’s Going on with Naomi Watts?

naomi-wattsThis week’s The Glass Castle is Naomi Watts’ fourth movie of 2017, but did you see any of them, and has she been using her considerable talents to pick the best roles that show off said talents?

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Under the Radar: Bertrand Bonello’s “Nocturama”

nocturamaexcerptThe new film from French filmmaker Bertrand Bonello (Saint Laurent) features an amazing group of young actors and an intriguing story that may not immediately be obvious from watching its gorgeous trailer.

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Glen Campbell’s Other, Equally Important Legacy as One of the Faces of Alzheimer’s

glen campbell excerptIn remembrance of country music legend Glen Campbell, Neil Turitz takes a look back at the documentary that depicted the star’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, bringing awareness to the disease and showing the power of filmmaking.

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The 25 Best Movies From 25 Years Ago: “Reservoir Dogs” Highlights the Underrated Class of 1992

1992SmallThey just don’t make movies like they used to. Seriously. 1992 isn’t generally regarded as a landmark year for cinema but you’d be wrong to dismiss it. The films are still very much part of the culture, starting with Quentin Tarantino’s directorial debut and A Few Good Men.

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Annapurna and Studio 8 Are Just Getting Started, But Can They Make It?

annapurna excerptIt’s one thing to take an existing company and examine its ups and downs based on a concrete history. It’s a whole other kettle of fish to utilize the same set of standards and apply them to a pair of companies that have no real track record at all, but which have declared themselves as major players in the arena moving forward.

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“Wet Hot American Summer”: Has One Cast Ever Produced So Many Directors?

WHASexcerptWith the debut of Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later on Netflix this week, one can look back at the cast of the series so far and how many of them have gone on to become successful directors.

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Going to War Over Christopher Nolan

christopher nolanChristopher Nolan is regularly praised for his work, but not everyone is in love. Neil Turitz is ready to go to battle with Nolan fans as he gives some critical words to the acclaimed director.

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Does the DCEU Really Have a Problem Holding On to Directors, Or Is It a Victim of Circumstance?

DCEU Directors“Those who maintained faith in Wonder Woman were rewarded for trusting the process. After that movie, doesn’t the DCEU deserve the benefit of the doubt,” writes John Steven Rocha.

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The Weinstein Company’s Struggles Continue, But Is There a Way Out?

the weinstein coExactly a year ago, when we took a look at The Weinstein Company during this Studio Series, we talked about the fact that the company was in the midst of a terrible year, and was strapped for cash. Three hundred and sixty-five days later, little has changed.

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Why Arnold Schwarzenegger Still Endures at Age 70

Arnold Schwarzenegger Turns 70“Arnie always found a way to transcend his often mindless material, which made us appreciate and adore him that much more. So while snobby movie critics rolled their eyes at his corny catchphrases as the ’80s came to an end, for us Arnold fans, each film felt like you were catching up with an old friend,” writes John Steven Rocha.

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Big Budgets, Television, and the New Indie Paradigm

valerian excerptIn a landscape where big names rule what was once a way to “break in”, Neil Turitz ponders what it means to be an independent film these days.

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The Must-Stream Movies and Shows Coming to Netflix in August

unnamedHeading into the second half of the summer, Netflix is set to release some classics alongside their original projects that many have been waiting anxiously for.

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Critics May Disagree, But Tom Rothman Is Leading a Strong Charge in Sony’s Franchise Hunt

sony excerptThe master plan Rothman has put in motion to set Sony up for future success might not be working so well at the moment, but the strategy behind it is sound, explains Neil Turitz.

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Are We as Inclusive As We Believe We Are in Fan Culture?

Rocha Column“Certain casting decisions will always be met with derision, but racist and misogynistic banter should be unacceptable, same as bullying actors and creators on social media or in person at panels,” writes John Steven Rocha.

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“James Bond 25” Director Search: Yann Demange Eyed for Job, But Isn’t It Time for a Woman to Pilot This Franchise?

Bond PilotWe’re not going to throw names out there, but we can’t really see Kathryn Bigelow stooping to direct a Bond movie, so hold that hot take this week as Detroit hits theaters.

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Focus Features Still Suffering Growing Pains at 15 (Studio Series)

atomic blondeIt’s tough to have one’s cake and eat it, too, but Focus is certainly trying. If you doubt it, look at the success of 2016 and, though the first seven months of 2017 have been the company’s worst since 2010, the list of upcoming releases is as impressive as anyone’s. In the 15 years since its creation, Focus it is responsible for some of the very best examples of what independent film is and can be.

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Has San Diego Become the Con of Diminishing Returns?

SDCC“When you add it all up and factor in the role the internet plays in all of this, it means the exclusivity and uniqueness that used to be the main attraction of San Diego Comic-Con since 1970 is over,” writes John Steven Rocha.

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Batfleck, We Hardly Knew Ye

ben affleck excerptIn the midst of a mostly humdrum news weekend that was focused primarily on Comic-Con, a story suggested that Ben Affleck’s days are numbered as Batman in the DCEU. Everyone involved denied it, of course, when the question came up at the Justice League panel and presentation in Hall H on Saturday, but the writing has been on the wall for a while now.

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Isn’t It Fun to Be Shakespeare?

Will ExcerptRight now, William Shakespeare is as in vogue as he’s been in quite some time. There are two current TV shows about him, a plethora of stage productions (garnering attention for a variety of reasons), and several film adaptations in the works. Want a quality IP? Look no further than this dead English guy.

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“Wonder Woman’s” Success Puts Myth of Female-Led Superhero Films to Rest as It Paves the Way for More

Wonder Woman Excerpt“To paraphrase Queen Hippolyta, “we do deserve her,” and every great female-led superhero movie that Hollywood now makes because of Wonder Woman. If that’s not heroic, I don’t know what is,” writes John Steven Rocha.

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Open Road’s Interesting Strategy Needs to Start Working Better — Now (Studio Series)

Open Road ExcerptWhat’s interesting about Open Road’s history is how much of an outlier a film like Spotlight was, and whether or not anything like it will come from them again anytime soon. Regardless, what is very evident is that the soft grosses of the last couple years can’t persist for too much longer, or else we could see Open Road fall to the second division of indie distributors.

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“Apes” Star Andy Serkis Proves Motion-Capture Actors Deserve Awards Love Too

Andy Serkis Apes OscarMo-cap work demands more of actors emotionally, physically and mentally, because they are using their imagination to create the environment, establish relationships and set the scene. The visual effects exist to serve the physical performance, not “enhance” it, writes John Rocha.

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As “Scarface” Loses Another Director, Here Are Our Picks to Replace David Ayer, Including Nate Parker

Scarface RemakeVeteran directors Michael Mann and Danny Boyle are two of the best in the business if you catch them on the right day.

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Roadside Has Become More than Just Another Indie Attraction (Studio Series)

Roadside Attractions ExcerptA big part of success is finding the right plan and sticking with it to fruition. If we judge Roadside by that measure, and by the quality of the projects they put on screens, then we also have to acknowledge that Roadside Attractions is one of the better examples out there of just what an independent film distributor should be.

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How In the World Is the Best High School Movie In Years a Superhero Movie?

Spiderman Homecoming ExcerptWhat’s amazing about Spider-Man: Homecoming is just how brilliantly the film captures the feeling, the spirit, the tone, the essence of high school, in a way that none of the other five movies featuring the character ever have. It’s at least partly, for this reason, that the movie was such a box office sensation over the weekend, because it was putting a new spin on an old character.

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Summer Movie Season Mid-Term Report: Franchise Fatigue — It’s Real, and It’s Spectacular

The Mummy ExcerptIf this is the midterms section of the summer movie season, we’re looking at a D, and that grade is right on the precipice of a D-minus. Because we’re bored. We are bored to tears of the same old, same old. It’s possible that the second half of the summer could surprise us and come up with enough hits to balance things out, but don’t count on it. Truth be told, it’s just too late to save 2017.

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Fox Searchlight Needs a Hit, But Luckily, There Might Be a Few On the Way (Studio Series)

fox searchlight excerptFox Searchlight is not in any trouble, but they need to make sure their miserable 2016 doesn’t become a habit. However, both the company’s history and its upcoming slate suggests the future is far more promising than the past.

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