Posts

18 Best Sequels, According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 8 Stuck With 0%)

We live in an age where sequels are all the rage. Every major studio is chasing those franchises that can keep their cash flow healthy for years to come. Sometimes, they’re exhausting. Other times, they can be our most anticipated movies. Maybe we could do without more Transformers movies, but Marvel and Mission: Impossible sequels are event movies that drive us to the theater in droves.

Sequels are tricky and unpredictable, though. On one hand, they’re often necessary for expanding stories and the good ones continue sagas we want to see progress. On the other, some are soulless cash grabs that shouldn’t exist. In the worst cases, some of them completely derail promising franchises by failing to deliver the goods. Then again, in some instances, sequels can get a series back up and running after they’ve experienced setbacks.

This list will look at those rare sequels that are considered worthy — and even superior — follow-ups. Those rare beasts that make us grateful for multiple movies in a series. Furthermore, we’ll also be discussing the most maligned sequels that brought no critical good will to their respective franchises whatsoever. It’s more fun this way. In order to fully appreciate the best of the best, we also must acknowledge the worst of the worst. Without evil, we wouldn’t be able to understand all that’s good and pure. Without terrible movies, we wouldn’t be grateful for the good ones.

With this in mind, here are 18 Best Sequels According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 8 Stuck With 0%).

26 Best: Captain America: Civil War (91%)

The decision to keep the same team of writers for all three Captain America films paid off in the end. The trilogy just went from strength to strength with each passing entry, though some would argue that The Winter Soldier is equally as good — if not better — than Civil War. Either way, they’re both prime examples of how to do sequels right.

Civil War tackles the same themes you’d expect from a movie about a do-gooder like Cap, but where the film truly soars is during its wild third act. The airport showdown is the best action showdown in the MCU, and that’s saying something.

25 Worst: The Bad News Bears Go To Japan (0%)

If you didn’t know that sequels to The Bad News Bears exist then no one would think any less of you. While the first movie is a cult classic about an underdog baseball team, the sequels have faded from the collective memory with the passing of time, lost like tears in the rain. That’s for good reason.

None of the sequels are good, but The Bad News Bears Go To Japan is especially bad.

While the idea to relocate to Japan for a big game is good on paper, the sequel is just bland, forgettable, and was made to cash in on the brand name.

24 Best: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (93%)

Some fans argue that The Force Awakens is essentially a retread of A New Hope in many ways. However, clearly the critics and audiences didn’t necessarily agree, given its stellar Rotten Tomatoes score and its audience score of 87%, not to mention its impressive box office haul.

As far as Star Wars movies go, it hits the spot. The new characters are great, the return of some old faces is a trip down memory lane, and the story still made significant effort to push the franchise forward. In those regards, the film definitely succeeded.

23 Best: War for the Planet of the Apes (93%)

Anyone who has a problem with classics being rebooted needs to watch the most recent Planet of the Apes trilogy.  The finale pits the apes in a brutal battle against the humans, which leads to an epic confrontation between the Caesar the Ape and humanity’s ruthless colonel (played by an utterly wicked Woody Harrelson). As far as concluding trilogies goes, War for the Planet of the Apes has everything.

By no means is this a pleasant movie, but it is rewarding. And not only does it wrap up an epic story, but the film boasts some of the great CGI wizardry out there. The action is also ridiculously impressive and compelling, which is crazy considering it’s a movie about people versus monkeys.

22 Best: Logan (93%)

James Mangold’s Logan, the gloriously violent and heartbreaking farewell to Patrick Stewart’s Professor X and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, is an all-timer. Taking cues from the Old Man Logan comics, the movie has just as much in common with neo-westerns as it does with superhero yarns, which makes for a gritty, character-driven elegy to characters many of us grew up with.

Logan deserves praise for going R-rated and taking some stylistic risks.

The movie is proof that audiences will still flock to see superhero movies with some edge. If you’re going to send off some icons, this is the way to do it.

21 Worst: Return to the Blue Lagoon (0%)

Considering that no one liked The Blue Lagoon (it currently holds a 9% rating on RT), why anyone would want to return to the franchise is beyond comprehension. Of course, every sequel is a perfect opportunity to right some old wrongs if handled with care. Unfortunately, this was not. The story follows two children who are marooned on a tropical island as the grow up and fall in love, etc. The characters don’t wear enough clothes either, which makes for some weird, uncomfortable viewing.

There are some unintentional laughs to be had at the poor script and performances.

Otherwise the Blue Lagoon isn’t a scenic cinematic paradise worth spending time in unless you want to punish yourself for some reason.

20 Best: The Dark Knight (94%)

Few superhero movies are ever regarded as anything more than popcorn fare. However, if there were ever a superhero movie that proved the genre could be prestige cinema, it would be The Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman is an exploration of chaos and just how far people are willing to go to achieve their goal.

The Dark Knight — for better or worse when you consider how devoid of fun some DC movies have been since — also brought a gritty, realistic touch to the genre. The movie feels more like a Michael Mann crime saga than it does a story about superheroes versus their outlandishly evil counterparts.

19 Best: Finding Dory (94%)

In recent times, Pixar has been criticized for relying too heavily on sequels, but if it ain’t broke… Finding Dory was released 13 years after Finding Nemo, and it was a smash with critics and audiences alike.

Its 94% on Rotten Tomatoes is complemented by an 84% audience score.

Upon release Finding Dory was praised for being as funny and thought-provoking as the first movie, while also adding a new dimension to the story. As with any Pixar movie, Finding Dory can be appreciated by audiences of all ages. 

18 Worst: Staying Alive (0%)

No other actor on the planet has experienced a career of ups and downs like John Travolta has. When he broke out he had the world at his dancing feet. After that, his career experienced a downturn until it was resurrected briefly following Pulp Fiction until it ultimately plummeted when he started starring in movies like Battlefield Earth. Staying Alive was released in 1983 when Travolta was experiencing his first fall from grace. Following up a classic like Saturday Night Fever was never going to be easy, but it shouldn’t have been this difficult, either.

The sequel lacks the gritty realism of its predecessor, and instead tries to get by on dance sequences. What’s the point in dancing when we don’t care about who’s doing it?

17 Best: Creed (95%)

No franchise tends to remain compelling seven sequels in, but Creed is proof that the Rocky franchise is the rare exception. Granted, some Rocky movies aren’t exactly knockouts, but Creed got things back on track and showed that it’s game for a few more rounds.

By serving as both a sequel and a spin-off/soft reboot, Creed gave the franchise a breath of new life.

It passed the gloves on to Michael B. Jordan as the eponymous character.  Creed 2 is right around the corner. Let’s see if it can do what the original saga failed to do and deliver a second outing that’s as good as the inaugural entry.

16 Worst: Leprechaun 2 (0%)

The first Leprechaun movie doesn’t come close to being certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so it should come as no surprise that the sequels didn’t receive any critical acclaim. Especially not the second movie, which no critic seemed to enjoy at all.

Here, the infamous critter resurfaces in Los Angeles to find a bride, which leads to him abducting a young woman and trying to claim her as his own. This isn’t high art by any means, nor does it try to be.

15 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (96%)

The Harry Potter books were an emotional roller coaster that affected millions of readers worldwide. Reliving those adventures on the big screen was also a great time to be alive, and the grand finale lived up to expectations. In the final installment of the saga about the Boy Who Lived and his fight against the forces of darkness, the ultimate showdown finally happens as our hero and his pals face off against Voldemort in Hogwarts castle.

It’s a true epic in every sense of the word.

As far as wrapping up the story goes, Death Hallows: Part 2 delivered the goods and gave us cinematic closure in style.

14 Worst: Looking Who’s Talking Now (0%)

Look Who’s Talking is a perfectly serviceable comedy that should never have received any sequels. In a bid to end to the trilogy on a high following the disappointing previous sequel, Look Who’s Talking Too, someone thought it would be a good idea to introduce talking dogs to the mix for the series’ swan song. 

Needless to say, Look Who’s Talking Now wasn’t the glorious goodbye the series was looking for, but at least the film did cast some cute dogs.

13 Best: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (97%)

The third installment of Sergio Leone’s influential Dollars trilogy, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is the creme de la creme of spaghetti westerns. 

The story centers around two men who form an uneasy alliance following a scam.

This leads them on a quest as it turns out there’s money buried in the desert and they want to find it. However, they have to compete against another who won’t hesitate to put a bullet in them to claim the prize. On top of being one of the most acclaimed movies out there, the film has been hailed as a major influence on directors like Quentin Tarantino.

12 Best: The Godfather: Part II (97%)

The continuation of Francis Ford Coppola’s Best Picture-winning 1972 crime saga, The Godfather: Part II chronicles Michael Corleone’s further ascendency in organized crime while simultaneously taking us back to the past to explore his dad’s humble beginnings.

Like its predecessor, the sequel also won Best Picture and is hailed by many a critic and film buff as one of the best movies ever made. Whether it’s better than the original is up for debate, but they’re like two sides of the same coin. These movies set the bar for mob pictures, and to this day, other directors are still trying to recreate the formula.

11 Mad Max: Fury Road (97%)

Director George Miller was in his seventies when he unleashed Mad Max: Fury Road, but the energy and madness imbued in every frame of this extravaganza suggest a man half his age.

Maybe we’ll never see another Mad Max movie, but the world needs a Furiosa spin-off eventually.

Fury Road is essentially one non-stop chase that barely lets up from the get-go all the way to the climactic ending. Furthermore, it’s a movie that defied expectation by taking the focus away from the titular character and making Charlize Theron’s Furiosa the real hero of the adventure. 

10 Worst: Jaws: The Revenge (0%)

Is Jaws: the Revenge a good movie? Definitely not. Is it an entertaining movie, though? Definitely yes.

How many other movies have sharks that make a conscious decision to get revenge on the humans that wronged them? Not only that, but the shark here followed its target to the Bahamas from Massachusetts. And why would someone who wants to avoid sharks go to an island surrounded by ocean? The movie is illogical, silly, nonsense, but it does offer sheer entertainment value for bad movie buffs.

9 Best: Aliens (98%)

Alien and Aliens are quite different in some regards, but they complement each other perfectly. The first is an exercise in pure suspense and terror. The sequel, on the other hand, retains the horror elements but adds a lot more action to proceedings.

Aliens shows how to make a successful sequel: acknowledge what came before but don’t be afraid to bring some fresh ideas to the table.

James Cameron was on fire in the ’80s and he wasn’t afraid to make Ridley Scott’s baby his own.

8 Best: Mad Max 2: Road Warrior (98%)

While George Miller’s inaugural Mad Max caper is a cult classic, most film buffs would agree that a couple of the sequels are slightly superior. Taking nothing away from the first movie, Road Warrior is a vast improvement when it comes to world building and sheer action spectacle. The story follows the eponymous character as he helps a group of people steal oil from a tyrannical madman and his band of goons.

As far as cinematic thrill rides go, few movies are on par with Road Warrior. Here, Miller turned up the volume significantly by making the post-apocalyptic terrains feel more dangerous and the action sequences more gung-ho and grander in scale.

7 Best: Evil Dead 2 (98%)

Sam Raimi’s first Evil Dead movie was a huge achievement for independent filmmaking when it was released back in 1981. The movie still holds up to this day with its innovative camera work, effective scares, and excellent cast as well.

The sequel is a triumph in its own right.

While the first movie contained moments of dark comedy, the sequel amps up the zaniness to become what is essentially the splatter flick equivalent of a Laurel and Hardy flick. For 90 minutes, Bruce Campbell is tormented by laughing ornaments and his own severed hand. As silly as that sounds, Evil Dead 2 still manages to pack more punch than your average MMA fighter.

6 Worst: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (0%)

In the third installment of the Police Academy franchise, the cops are understaffed and in need of some help. Naturally, the force turns to America’s civilians to help aid in their mission. Things don’t go smoothly, for the characters in the film and the movie itself.

Rotten Tomatoes describes Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol as “Utterly, completely, thoroughly and astonishingly unfunny” and  a movie which sent “a once-innocuous franchise plummeting to agonizing new depths.” That sounds about right.

5 Toy Story 3 (99%)

Few franchises manage to strike three home runs in a row. Even The Godfather stuttered when it came to the third outing. Toy Story, on the other hand, never ceases to replicate the magic time and time again.

This emotional installment sees Andy get ready to leave for college and neglect his old toys.

He’s all grown up and has no use for them anymore, and what ensues is what is by far the most heartfelt movie in the series.

4 Worst: Highlander II: The Quickening (0%)

As far as pure entertaining action-fantasy goes, the first Highlander movie is a fun slice of popcorn entertainment that aficionados of cult cinema lose their head over. The sequel, meanwhile, is an incomprehensible mess.

Highlander II is too overplotted to explain, but the cusp of the story revolves around the hero from the first movie taking on a corporation after being led to believe that they don’t have the world’s best interests in mind. In this one, our hero is a defender of the ozone as well. What makes Highlander II so awful is that it completely retcons everything good about the original film and the mythology it introduced.

3 Best: The Bride of Frankenstein (100%)

We all desire to be loved by someone special– even bolt-head monsters made up of the remains of other people. But to find them a mate, one must dig up some more corpses and create a suitable partner that’s similar in genetic make-up. This is also the storyline behind James Whale’s 1935 masterpiece, Bride of Frankenstein.

There are too many Frankenstein movies to keep track of at this point, but this sequel remains the pinnacle of the original series.

The movie is a masterpiece that successfully blends campy fun with Gothic beauty and genuine chills that’s stood the test of time as a result.

2 Paddington 2 (100%)

No one expected the the first Paddington to be as good as it is. That movie is a bona fide classic in the making in its own right, but the sequel is some next-next level brilliance.

Paddington 2 sees the lovable bear go to prison and, unsurprisingly, all the mean criminals fall in love with him as well. Critics, like the fictional convicts, were also full of praise for the titular bear and his second big onscreen adventure as well. At one point, Paddington 2 was even the best reviewed movie in history.

1 Best: Toy Story 2 (100%)

Following up a movie like Toy Story was never going to be easy, but that didn’t stop Pixar from trying and succeeding. In this one, we find out that Woody is a collectible when he’s discovered and stolen by a greedy museum owner. Naturally this prompts Buzz Lightyear, Mr. Potato, and the rest of the gang into action and they set out to save their friend.

General consensus on Rotten Tomatoes states that Toy Story 2 is that rare sequel that improves upon its predecessor.

The sequel raises the stakes and ups the element of adventure while retaining the humor and heart that made audiences fall in love with the franchise in the first place.

What’s your favorite sequel? Let us know in the comments!



Source link
2018-10-10 04:10:39 – Kieran Fisher

22 July Review: Paul Greengrass Delivers Another Intense Docudrama

Despite some general storytelling issues, Greengrass succeeds in delivering another well-crafted and intelligent docudrama-thriller with 22 July.

In-between his efforts on the Bourne movies, journalist-turned filmmaker Paul Greengrass has spent much of his career making docudrama-thrillers about real-world events, ranging from the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. (United 93) to the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama in 2009 (Captain Phillips). While there’s an inherent risk of exploiting a real-world tragedy that comes with any such project, Greengrass has long been celebrated for his ability to dramatize terrible events on the big screen in a manner that’s intense, yet sensitive and ultimately insightful in its presentation. Thankfully, that remains the case with his Netflix Original 22 July, even if it doesn’t necessarily represent the writer/director at his finest. Despite some general storytelling issues, Greengrass succeeds in delivering another well-crafted and intelligent docudrama-thriller with 22 July.

22 July picks up on July 21, 2011 in Oslo, Norway, as Anders Behring Breivik (Anders Danielsen Lie) – a self-declared right wing extremist – prepares to carry out a terrorist attack on the city the next day. He begins his assault by setting off a bomb in a van near the main office of the then-current Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (Ola G. Furuseth), killing eight people in the process. Breivik then proceeds to continue his attack by gunning down 69 members of a summer camp organized by the AUF – the youth division of the Norwegian Labour Party – on the island of Utøya, before he is ultimately apprehended by the police and taken into custody.

Among the members of the summer camp is one Viljar Hanssen (Jonas Strand Gravli), who manages to survive Breivik’s attack despite being shot multiple times and left permanently maimed. As Viljar struggles to recover both physically and psychologically from what happened to him (along with everyone else who survived the Utøya shootings and their loved ones), Breivik works with his chosen lawyer Geir Lippestad (Jon Øigarden) to mount a defense and use his trial as a platform to publicly announce his political agenda (which calls for the immediate deportation of all Muslims and heavier restrictions on immigration to Norway, among other things). When it becomes clear to Viljar what Breivik intends to do, he grows increasingly determined to continue his rehabilitation and testify against him in court for not only himself, but also every other person whose lives were affected by what took place on July 22.

Adapted from the book One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway — and Its Aftermath by Åsne Seierstad, Greengrass’ script for 22 July has a very clear-cut three act structure – with the first act focused on the July 22 attack, the second part set during its immediate aftermath, and the final third centered on Breivik’s trial. The film is strongest during its first and third acts in particular, as those chapters (respectively) play to Greengrass’ strengths as a suspense-thriller storyteller and provide the emotional payoff to Viljar and, thus, Norway’s overarching journey of recovery and survival. It’s the second act where things start to drag and get a little muddled, especially as 22 July splits its focus between not only Viljar’s story thread, but also Lippestad and Breivik’s trial preparation, and the investigation into Stoltenberg’s administration and its failure to prevent a terrorist attack. While there’s nothing in the second act that feels inessential, 22 July struggles to divide its attention evenly between its three plotlines and the film’s pacing suffers for it.

On the whole, however, 22 July does a nice job covering a fair amount of narrative ground, even when taking its pretty substantial runtime into consideration. It helps that Greengrass (as he’s known now for doing, as a director) never fully lifts his foot off the gas pedal and keeps the film’s proceedings feeling on-edge throughout, even during its more purely dramatic portions. The filmmaker, working this time around with DP Pål Ulvik Rokseth (The Snowman) and Oscar-winning Argo editor William Goldenberg, uses essentially the same vérité cinematography and restless editing style that he has on his previous movies, in order to fully immerse viewers in the film’s setting and action. At the same time, Greengrass slows things down a bit here and, in turn, delivers a movie that’s more visually cohesive than some of his weaker efforts in the past (see the last Bourne sequel, in particular). This serves 22 July well, allowing it to effectively work as both a grounded drama and thriller.

Given the sheer amount of information that 22 July strives to cover, though, there’s not a lot of room for the film’s actors to really shine – not in the way that Barkhad Abdi and Tom Hanks did in Captain Phillips, for example. Even so, the 22 July cast is uniformly strong across the board, with Gravli especially doing an excellent job of portraying Viljar’s struggles with his physical injuries, PTSD, and the sheer amount of emotional baggage that he’s saddled with after barely managing to escape the attack on Utøya with his own life. Actors like Thorbjørn Harr and Isak Bakli Aglen are similarly moving in their smaller roles as members of Viljar’s family, as is Seda Witt as Lara Rashid, a young woman who starts to make a romantic connection with Viljar before both of their lives are shattered by Breivik’s attack. As for Breivik himself: Lie is quite compelling in the role and portrays the terrorist as a fully-developed person – one whose rationalization of his behavior makes him chilling and pathetic in equal measure.

As with his previous films, Greengrass uses 22 July as a means for delivering larger sociopolitical commentary about the state of things in the world, specifically where it concerns the rise of xenophobic and nationalist ideologies in various countries (the U.S. included). While his scripted dialogue can start to become a bit on the nose as its strives to get these points across (especially in the third act), Greengrass largely succeeds in allowing the story here to shine a light on these issues organically, without getting up on his figurative soapbox to drive the point home. If there’s a downside to the filmmaker’s approach, though, it’s that July 22 winds up handling its subject matter in a way that’s more engaging intellectually than emotionally and, thus, lacks the emotional resonance of Greengrass’ best work to date.

All things considered, however, Greengrass does a very good job of bringing the true story behind 22 July to cinematic life. The final result is a film that makes for an enlightening and otherwise respectful documentation of a horrifying real-world event, rather than one that comes off as exploitative or manipulative. 22 July is showing in select theaters now – in order to qualify for next year’s major film awards shows – and it certainly benefits from being seen on the big screen, but can still be appreciated just as much as a Netflix Original on your home TV. While it’s obviously not a light-hearted viewing experience, 22 July is very much worth checking out if you’ve enjoyed Greengrass’ previous non-Bourne efforts and/or would like to know more about Norway’s own infamous modern terrorist attack.

TRAILER

22 July is now available for streaming on Netflix and is playing in select U.S. theaters. It is 143 minutes long and is rated R for disturbing violence, graphic images, and language.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments section!



Source link
2018-10-10 01:10:22 – Sandy Schaefer

20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Roger Ebert once wrote that The Rocky Horror Picture Show was less a movie and more of a “social phenomenon.” This is probably the most accurate way to describe the 1975 rock musical, as it just isn’t an ordinary film. First released to a less-than-stellar reception, Rocky Horror eventually found long-lasting fame from an unlikely source: audience participation. Its original theatrical run didn’t garner much praise, but the film came into its own when theaters began showing it at midnight screenings, now infamous for the almost ritualistic ways the audience dresses, shouts, and flings objects at the screen.

Rocky Horror is a legend of cult cinema– one of the few movies that has earned that title again and again. The film follows what appears to be a whole married couple, Brad and Janet (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon), as they stay the night at a spooky old mansion owned by Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry, in the performance that rocketed him to stardom). What ensues is a celebration of kitsch, camp, horror, and science fiction cinema, a musical that makes very little logical sense but is a ton of fun.

Naturally, a film like that has to have a riveting story behind the scenes. Written by Richard O’Brien and directed by Jim Sharman, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has just as many crazy details behind the camera as in front of it. Those details will be counted down here, and we’ll get straight to it, as we can see you tremble with antici…

Pation. This is 20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

20 It originally had a different title

The original stage version of the movie had a whirlwind creative process, with Richard O’Brien whipping up the show with his artist and actor friends fairly quickly. As it happens, they were originally rehearsing the show under a different title.

It was called They Came From Denton High due to the story being set somewhere near Denton, Texas.

Obviously, that didn’t last, but O’Brien and director Jim Sharman didn’t change it until the very last minute. Sharman suggested the name change just before previews of the stage show, based on the genres they were spoofing. Thus was “The Rocky Horror Show” born (only the movie had the extra “Picture” in the title, naturally).

19 Brad and Janet were replaced

The cast of Rocky Horror is mostly unchanged from the stage show to the movie. Richard O’Brien and Jim Sharman kept their creative team mostly intact, too, so when you’re watching the movie it should really feel like you’re just seeing a filmed version of the stage show. Well, except for a few roles.

Aside from the high-profile cameo from Meat Loaf and a few other replacements, the protagonists were also switched out.

The original actors for Brad and Janet wanted to reprise their roles, but studio executives at Fox felt they needed two US actors in those parts to help sell the movie. Rocky Horror fans can’t complain, as Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon did a great job as Brad and Janet, but we feel for those two original actors whose roles were taken from them.

18 The story behind the lips

Everyone who has seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show– not to mention plenty of people who have only seen the poster– are familiar with the lips that open the film. This iconic image is actually the product of several people working together, rather than just one actress.

The lips that appear in the film are Patricia Quinn’s (who also played Magenta), but she’s only lip-syncing the song “Science Fiction/Double Feature” even though she did in the stage show. The singer is actually creator Richard O’Brien. And the lips on that famous poster are those of somebody else entirely, former model Lorelei Shark.

17 The costume designer didn’t want to do it

Costume designer Sue Blane is credited with much of The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s lasting appeal thanks to her designs that spoofed the traditions of cinema and leaned heavily into camp. The movie wouldn’t be the same without her, but it almost had to do just that, as she wasn’t interested in the project at first.

In fact, Blane herself says that it took director Jim Sharman meeting with her personally and getting her tipsy before she saw the light. Blane didn’t like the idea of doing a silly project for very little money, but when she found out Tim Curry and a bunch of her other favorite colleagues and friends were already committed to the show, she relented. Thank goodness for that.

16 Tim Curry wasn’t new to corsets

Tim Curry has a long and storied career on the stage and screen, and his rise to prominence came largely thanks to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Given that it was his first hit movie role, people tend to forget that Curry wasn’t a complete rookie. Case in point: Curry had actually starred in a similar stage show before originating the role of Frank N. Furter in Rocky Horror’s stage incarnation.

Curry had also worn a corset in a production of The Maids.

Costume designer Sue Blane had worked that same production. For Rocky Horror, Blane says she simply asked the theater for the same corset for Curry to wear. Naturally, Blane remarked that Curry took to the corset “like a duck to water.”

15 Susan Sarandon’s sickness

Cinema can be a fickle thing– while you’d expect film sets to be glamorous affairs, with every possible amenity available to the actors, you would occasionally be very wrong. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was no picnic to make, as the cast and crew had to endure unheated sets while filming scenes in pools.

This might not sound like a big deal, but it was for Susan Sarandon, who fell ill during production. The filmmakers had nothing but kind words for her after her gritty effort to push through with the work, as they mentioned that she was literally “shaking with fever” on set but kept on going in spite of that.

14 Rocky was supposed to talk

Sometimes you’ve just gotta improvise when you’re making a film. While the creative team behind The Rocky Horror Picture Show might have thought they had the perfect casting when they got Peter Hinwood to play the character of Rocky Horror, they changed their minds when they found out he was a model who had zero acting experience. Rocky Horror originally had dialogue in the film, but after watching Hinwood act, Sharman and O’Brien elected to remove all his speaking parts.

Another singer dubbed over the character’s singing parts, so Hinwood’s voice never actually shows up in the film.

Clearly, they were in love with his looks, but not the way he sounded.

13 You can book a room where it was filmed

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was filmed at Oakley Court in England, a castle that had been host to several horror films in its past. While it may not have been the most welcoming place for the film crew in 1975 (at the time, it had no heating and few bathrooms), it’s doing a better job of that nowadays.

Oakley Court is now a ritzy hotel, allowing guests to stay in the location that was the home to many of their favorite spooky movies from days gone by. Nowadays, of course, the hotel advertises its proximity to LEGOLAND more than it does its connection to film history, but we’d like to think there are still a few Rocky Horror fans who make the trip.

12 The David Bowie connection

This might seem unrelated to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but it isn’t.

Pierre LaRoche was one of the creative forces behind David Bowie’s now-iconic Ziggy Stardust look, but that wasn’t the only influential job the makeup artist held.

LaRoche was also the person film producers turned to when they wanted a makeup redesign for the characters in Rocky Horror. While Sue Blane gets the lion’s share of the credit for the character designs in the film, we shouldn’t forget that it was Pierre LaRoche who actually came up with the makeup designs. Though the make-up is a touch more subtle than costumes, it’s still one of the main reasons the visuals of the film are so fun to watch.

11 Meat Loaf didn’t actually drive the motorcycle

Singer and occasional actor Meat Loaf has a memorable turn in Rocky Horror as Eddie, the delivery boy and partial brain donor to Rocky, who is tragically stabbed by Frank N. Furter. Eddie gets a fun entrance, bursting out of a freezer on a motorcycle, but the problem is that Meat Loaf didn’t actually ride that motorcycle. Aside from a few less dangerous wide shots, Meat Loaf left the actual driving to a stunt man as he says he didn’t feel comfortable doing anything risky on it.

For the close-up shots that needed to look like Eddie was on the motorcycle, the crew rigged up a wheelchair for Meat Loaf to ride.

That way, safety didn’t need to be sacrificed. Or that was the theory, anyway, as the wheelchair didn’t turn out to be that safe anyway.

10 The on-set injuries

Though it wasn’t Jim Sharman’s debut feature, The Rocky Horror Picture Show was not a film staffed by the most experienced team. This is perhaps reflected best by the apparently high number of on-set injuries that occurred– even ignoring the on-set illnesses, including Sarandon’s.

In the same interview, Meat Loaf describes an incident that happened while he was sitting in his wheelchair, where it fell off a ramp on the set, shattered a camera, caused a few cuts on Meat Loaf’s face and arm, and snapped a stand-in’s leg in two. While some efforts were made for safety, injuries ran rampant even with the wheelchair.

9 The skeleton inside the clock was real

One of the single most famous props in all of Rocky Horror is the skeleton clock; a coffin that has a clock face set on the front. The reveal that there is a skeleton inside the coffin is a fun moment in the movie, but the filmmakers dropped another bombshell in later years: the skeleton inside was real.

The skeleton clock actually lived on past the film.

In 2002, Sotheby’s auction house in London sold the clock for an exorbitant sum, 35,000 pounds. Adjusting for inflation, that would be approximately $63,000 today. Even true Rocky Horror fans might balk at that price, if the real human remains inside weren’t a turn-off.

8 Steve Martin auditioned for Brad

Whatever you think of Barry Bostwick’s performance as Brad in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, have you ever considered how different it might have been if another actor had taken on the role? Well, according to rumors and stories even repeated by the likes of Newsday, the role almost went to Steve Martin.

Given that Martin went on to star in a fairly similar movie musical, Little Shop of Horrors, this shouldn’t be too big a surprise.

Martin apparently auditioned for the role of Brad, but lost out to Bostwick. Maybe he played the antagonist in Little Shop of Horrors as a way to soothe the hurt of rejection.

7 It got terrible reviews when it first came out

Nowadays, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is viewed as one of the greatest classics of midnight cult cinema, as its popularity has only grown amongst its fans since its release. But to become a cult hit, you usually have to be a theatrical flop, and Rocky Horror was exactly that, both critically and commercially.

Some critics straight-up hated the film when it was first released, and others simply ignored it. Partially because of the counter-culture the film represented and the lack of a conventional plot structure, some seemed offended it even existed. Even today, many critics view the film more as an audience experience than a genuinely good movie.

6 Frank N. Furter’s villainous inspiration

The unquestionable star of The Rocky Horror Picture Show is Dr. Frank N. Furter, the role Tim Curry originated on the London stage and reprised in the film. Even critics who didn’t like the film enjoyed Curry’s assured and magnetic performance. That makes sense, given all the larger-than-life figures Curry took inspiration from to create the character.

Writer Richard O’Brien describes Frank as a combination of Vlad the Impaler and Cruella De Vil, which makes a lot of sense, but Curry didn’t stop there. On top of those villainous ancestors, he added a posh accent, said to be modeled on both Elizabeth II and Curry’s own mother. That’s one doozy of a mixture for the role, and obviously it worked to perfection.

5 It was a stage show first

When Richard O’Brien first set out to tell his story, it was a work of theater, as that was his primary area of expertise. Thus, The Rocky Horror Picture Show started out as The Rocky Horror Show– the “Picture” part was added for the film. O’Brien wrote the play in his spare time, then gathered some of his friends in London to help him make it.

The play premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1973, and it was an immediate hit, moving to larger venues soon after. The show ran for weeks and weeks and eventually attracted the notice of producers, even Hollywood. This is the origin story for Rocky Horror— we wouldn’t have the film is the London stage show hadn’t been so popular.

4 The writer is Riff Raff

Given its reputation as one of the true classics of cult cinema, viewers today may not know that the original writer– playwright of the stage show, co-screenwriter of the movie, and Riff Raff in both, Richard O’Brien had never professionally written anything before the script for The Rocky Horror Show and its film adaptation The Rocky Horror Picture Show. That’s right, Rocky Horror is a debut work, by a person who never even wanted to be a writer.

O’Brien was living in London as an actor, struggling to make ends meet, and mostly wrote it just to keep himself occupied.

Luckily for him, the project resonated with his artistic friends, and they helped him turn it into the phenomenon it became.

3 O’Brien never thought it would be a big deal

Even when The Rocky Horror Show was making waves on the London theater circuit, it never registered with Richard O’Brien that he might have created a real hit. In an interview, O’Brien recalls when producer Michael White told him he thought this would be something big. “I said, ‘Oh, that’s nice,’ and walked away. It just didn’t register.”

For a while, it seemed like O’Brien was right to think it wouldn’t be a big deal. The film didn’t do well commercially when it came out, despite the popularity of the play, and it looked like that would be the end of the Rocky Horror story. But midnight viewers began to flock to the showings known for audience participation, and the film’s long-lasting appeal proved to be its greatest strength.

2 The writer thinks it was successful because it’s childish

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was originally written by a young actor with no writing experience, who just wanted something fun to occupy his time. Richard O’Brien, the writer in question, thinks that this process lent the show a quality of childlike naïveté, which contributed to its eventual popularity. In an interview, O’Brien said the show’s innocence is “very endearing and not threatening.” Continuing, he mentioned that every character in the show may appear to be intelligent or “sophisticated, but they’re really not.”

This quality allows young viewers to identify with the energy of the film, making it appeal to adolescent viewers.

O’Brien think this might be the key behind the social phenomenon that is Rocky Horror.

1 Originally, it started in black and white

The writing and directing team of Richard O’Brien and Jim Sharman had a lot of grand ideas for the film adaption of Rocky Horror, but not all of them were allowed to come to pass. Chief among these was the plan to film the opening section of the movie in black and white.

The film would have burst into color when Frank N. Furter made his entrance.

Everyone who has seen the movie remembers that scene– now imagine if it had this added bit of pizzaz, with the first frame of color coming on a shot of Tim Curry’s lips. Susan Sarandon lamented that they weren’t allowed to make this vision a reality, as studio executives rejected the idea due to budgetary concerns.

Do you have any The Rocky Horror Picture Show trivia to share? Let us know in the comments!



Source link
2018-10-08 05:10:06 – Eric McAdams

All The Spider-Villain Movies Coming After Venom

Venom is the first Sony-Marvel film in a planned Spider-Man villain universe – and there’s a lot more on the way. If all goes well for Sony then Venom, in theaters this weekend, will set the ball rolling for a darker version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Once The Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox is complete, the world of Peter Parker and friends will be the only major segment of the Marvel canon not exclusively under their control. And, although Spider-Man is already part of the MCU, Sony has high hopes for creating their own franchise that can both stand on its own two feet (albeit with the possibility of tying it into the MCU down the line). Spider-Man remains one of the most iconic characters in comic book lore, and his most infamous foes are equally as popular with audiences thanks to the cartoon series and Sam Raimi trilogy.

Related: Is Venom In The MCU? Marvel/Spider-Man Movie Rights & Shared Universes Explained

Their current plans, which are reportedly being referred to internally as Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters, or SUMC for short, involve expanding the world of the Spidey villains into their own saga. Venom, the human-symbiote who has become one of the series’ most beloved anti-heroes, is only the starting point in these plans. Sony has a whole host of other Spider-villain movies planned. Here are the titles that are either in pre-production or are currently part of the studio’s Spider-verse strategy.

  • This Page: Sony’s Confirmed Spider-Man Villain Films
  • Page 2: Spider-Man Villain Films Sony Has In Early Development

Morbius, the Living Vampire Is The Next Spider-Man Villain Movie

In an unexpected step, Sony has confirmed that the first film to follow Venom would be one centered on Morbius, the Living Vampire, and that the lead role would be played by Jared Leto. The character was created in the 1970s when the Comics Code Authority, the industry’s censorship board, lifted its ban on depictions of vampires and the supernatural. His true identity is that of Michael Morbius, a biochemist whose experiment to cure his rare blood disorder goes awry and gifts him with vampiric abilities.

The Morbius film will be directed by Life‘s Daniel Espinosa, based on a script by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (writers of Gods of Egypt). on screenwriting duties. Morbius is also one of the favorite comic book characters of Avi Arad, who told Screen Rant at a Venom press junket:

We are excited about Morbius. Morbius was always one of my favorite characters. I love the story about the healer that becomes a killer, and how do you deal with it.

Audiences may get Morbius sooner than expected; Sony was last said to be eyeing a November start to production, making a 2019 release possible.

Read More: Morbius the Living Vampire: Who Is He, and What Are His Powers?

Venom 2 Is Likely Going To Happen

WARNING: Spoilers for Venom in this entry.

While we still have to wait for news of Venom’s success before sequel talk begins at Sony for real, it’s clear from the film itself that the studio is eager to establish follow-up films. In one of the two end-credit scenes, Eddie goes to San Quentin prison to interview a prisoner and comes face to face with serial killer Cletus Kasady, a.k.a. Carnage. The part is played by Woody Harrelson, who had previously worked with director Ruben Fleischer on Zombieland.

Like Eddie and Venom, Kasady becomes a host for the Carnage symbiote and proves to be far more powerful and deadly than Venom; in the comics, Carnage leads to Venom teaming up with Spider-Man to take on his uncontrollable rage. Introducing Carnage to their Spider-Man universe would be a strong way for Sony to bring Peter Parker together with Eddie Brock, or otherwise make him more of a hero in his own right.

Silver Sable & Black Cat Are Getting Individual Movies

Originally, Sony had announced plans for a Silver Sable and Black Cat team-up movie, to be titled Silver and Black and released in February 2019. Gina Prince-Bythewood, director of Love and Basketball as well as the pilot for Cloak and Dagger, was attached to helm the project. Now, the two characters will be given their own films and Prince-Bythewood is no longer directing, although she will still receive a producer credit.

Silver Sable (real name Silver Sablinova) is a mercenary and leader of the Wild Pack, a title she inherited from her father, who ran a Nazi-hunting team. Given the character’s roots as a Nazi hunter, it would be difficult for Sony to overlook this crucial part of her backstory. However, it could also open up many storytelling possibilities. Sony are hoping to bring on another female director for the project, but other than that, little else is known about production.

Felicia Hardy, the infamous cat burglar with the ability to produce bad luck in her enemies, is one of Spider-Man’s most popular adversaries as well as a collaborator and on-again, off-again romantic interest. Felicia was previously played by Felicity Jones in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, where she served as Harry Osborn’s assistant, but none of her extra-curricular activities fit into the stuffed movie. Black Cat will reportedly be a re-worked version of the Silver & Black script and Prince-Bythewood will remain a producer.

Page 2: Spider-Man Villain Films Sony Has In Early Development

Spike Lee Was Reportedly In Talks For Nightwatch

While no other films have gone as far in development, Sony has several other Spider-Man villain films in the works. Earlier this year, it was reported that Spike Lee had been in talks to direct a Nightwatch film, with a potential script from Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker, although both Sony and Lee declined to comment.

Doctor Kevin Trench watched a costumed man die while battling terrorists armed with invisibility devices. When he unmasked the dead men, he was shocked to realize that it was an older version of himself. Afraid for what this meant for his future, he stole the costume and fled to a deserted island in the hopes that, if he just never wore the suit, he could avoid his own death. In more recent comics, including She-Hulk, Trench is portrayed as a wealthy philanthropist who secretly spent most of his career as a supervillain and retconned everyone’s memories of his nefarious past.

Kraven The Hunter Has A Script From The Equalizer’s Writer

One character who’s long been eyed for a solo movie is Kraven the Hunter. A Spider-Man villain who’s been rumored for inclusion in movies for years – including the MCU side – it now looks like he could be getting a solo movie at Sony. In August, it was reported that a Kraven script was being written by The Equalizer‘s Richard Wenk, although there’s been no talk of the project since then.

Kraven is one of Spider-Man’s well-known villains, remembered best for the Kraven’s Last Hunt arc which saw him travel to New York in a bid to hunt down and kill Spider-Man, then taking over as a more brutalized version. An involving story, it’s one that would definitely lend itself well to a big screen adaptation.

Read More: Who Kraven Can Hunt In His Movie Instead Of Spider-Man

Jackpot & Silk Have Movies In Development

A couple of other movies have been reported recently. First there’s Jackpot, a more recent addition to the Spider-verse, created by Dan Slott and Phil Jimenez, who only got her own mini-series in 2010. The character also has two aliases: Sara Ehret, a scientist who accidentally gives herself superhuman strength; and Alana Jacobson, who uses performance-enhancing drugs like Mutant Growth Hormone to mimic Jackpot’s powers. A Jackpot movie could open new ground for Sony and the superhero genre: Sara is a 40-something woman with a daughter while Alana is a lesbian, which could bring some much-needed diversity to the field.

There’s also Korean-American superhero Cindy Moon, a.k.a. Silk. Cindy first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #1 in April 2014. Her own powers, similar to Spider-Man’s, manifested when the same radioactive spider bit her after biting Peter Parker. Unlike Peter, Silk has the ability to create organic webbing, something she has trouble controlling. She is later approached by businessman Ezekiel Sims, who offers to guide her in her newfound abilities. Cindy briefly appears in Spider-Man: Homecoming as a classmate of Peters and is portrayed by Tiffany Espensen, although the in-development Silk movie is more likely to recast.

Next: Sony’s Marvel Universe May Already Have A Spider-Man Replacement



Source link
2018-10-08 03:10:27 – Kayleigh Donaldson

A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad (And Always Has Been)

WARNING: Major spoilers for A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born‘s ending undoes what could have been a Hollywood classic – but that’s not exactly Bradley Cooper’s fault. From its first version in 1937, A Star Is Born has always had a problematic resolution to its story, one that’s only got worse over the past century, and this latest version is no different.

A Star Is Born is a classic story that Hollywood loves so much it’s told it four times (with a suspiciously-similar earlier version, several failed attempts and many, many imitators). A top-of-his-game star (in 2018, Bradley Cooper’s rock star Jackson Maine) is suffering from alcoholism and in a stupor discovers a struggling artist (Lady Gaga as Ally, a waitress moonlighting in a drag bar), falling in love with both her and her talent. He provides her with a big break, sending her fame into the stratosphere just as his addictions begin to derail his career. The pair marry, but despite their love things begin to fray.

Related: Read Our A Star Is Born Review

It’s a tale of rags to riches, of falls from grace, of the power of love, and personal identity within all of that. And, for much of the runtime, A Star Is Born 2018 is genuinely a great version of all those stories. Gaga’s first major concert leaves you floating, Cooper shows mental affliction with grace, both perform their songs incredibly (to actual live crowds, no less), and are utterly believable as troubled lovers. It is, for much of its runtime, a very good film worthy of that deafening hype.

However, everything implodes into a black hole of pretentiousness as what could have been a great film its own right has to follow through on being called A Star Is Born

  • This Page: The Problem With A Star Is Born’s Ending
  • Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad
  • Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

What Happens In A Star Is Born’s Ending

We’ll stick with Cooper’s take for now before going deeper into the past. A Star Is Born‘s third act is kicked off by Ally winning the Grammy for Best New Artist – a major step for her career, undercut entirely by Jack drunkenly taking to the stage with her and relieving himself on live TV. He goes into rehab and she wrestles with where her focus should lie, eventually deciding to try and protect her recovering husband. She cancels her European tour when her agent, Rez, blocks the duo playing together.

As a result, Jack kills himself. He’s confronted by a seething Rez who has no sympathies or expectations of sobriety and states outright Jack’s ruining his wife’s career. When she matter-of-fact states the tour cancellation, he sees the impact of his actions and, while she plays a concert, he hangs himself in their garage.

Related: Every Song On A Star Is Born’s Soundtrack

This breaks Ally at first, leaving her emotionally distraught, before her understanding the meaning of Jack’s sacrifice – to enable her to truly become the star he always saw – helps her pull through. The film ends at a tribute concert in Jack’s memory. “My name is Ally Maine.” she declares before singing “I’ll Never Love Again”, a song based on their relationship they wrote together while he was recovering. A flashback shows the pair singing, she looks through the camera at the audience, the end.

Why A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad

Removing the ending of all presentation and self-imposed importance (a character looking into the camera at the end is an overused trope that Cooper simply doesn’t earn), in just writing down the events of A Star Is Born its problems should be obvious.

Jack decides to kill himself to save his wife, committing suicide because it’s the only way to set her free. This comes about two hours into a film which has slowly built up its numerous interpersonal relationships, and so comes as a drastic and rather unearned turn. Now, there is an argument to be made about accuracy to the unpredictability of mental illness, but given the intimacy audiences had with both Jack and Ally up until this moment, that doesn’t fit with the rest of the film. A Star Is Born, plainly, presents suicide as the only way out. It’s meant to come across as a selfless act but still values success as a true route to happiness, meaning anything emotional about the “gesture” is laced with hypocrisy.

But it’s what comes after and Ally’s coming to terms with her loss that’s so disquieting. For all her innate talent being the drive of the story and her freely made decision to step back what motivated Jack to kill himself, the final scene makes everything about Jack; the mononymous singer for the first time takes on her husband’s surname at his concert, where she performs a song that he helped her write in her original singer style. The suggestion is meant to be that Jack was holding her back, but in the shadow of the previous two hours the strange implication is that the act of a true star being born came from the adversity of Jack’s sacrifice. Making Ally’s success symbiotic to her dead husband is already heavily in the text of the film, but the final scene makes her final ascension even more indebted to his drastic act.

It’s hard to not read A Star Is Born‘s ending as trivializing suicide down to a plot point to give the fundamentally broken male lead the defining role in its female protagonist’s arc. It’s a weird move to make in 2018, although don’t believe this is just the product of an 80-year-old movie being remade. There’s something flawed at the heart of A Star Is Born.

Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad

The True Story Behind A Star Is Born’s Ending Explains The Problem

There have been four versions of A Star Is Born: the 1937 Hollywood-skewering original starring Janet Gaynor and Frederick March, the 1954 musical starring Judy Garland and James Mason, the 1976 shift to the music industry with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and the latest Cooper/Gaga release. Each one has its own quirks, but all endeavor to tell the same story of love and fame intertwined, and all have the same basic ending. But the 1937 version isn’t the start. While A Star Is Born‘s narrative is a fiction, it’s very much based on truth; each movie is rooted heavily in the entertainment industry of the time – Hollywood for the 1937 and 1954 versions, music for 1976 and 2018 – and aims to tell an encapsulating story. There are some real-life events that inspired it.

The established star falling for an unknown as she climbs to the top was seen in actors Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Fay’s relationship, with the pair marrying in 1928 when the former was an unknown after starring in a Broadway show together. Their marriage fell apart after she rose above him and he fell into alcoholism. They separated in 1935 after seven years of marriage, two years before A Star Is Born was released. This appears to have been composited with the death of silent film actor John Bowers, who died at sea in 1936 after failing to win a part (whether it was a suicide or not is unclear). There are others (as we’ll see) but these are regarded as the ones who powered the 1937 version.

Related: Lady Gaga Fans Are Trolling Venom With Fake Bad Reviews

Of course, there’s one key distinction between inspiration and movie: in real life, it was two unrelated stories. There are the famous lovers who piggyback success and the past-it star who takes his own life, but in all cases these two aspects are entirely independent; the woman goes on to greater success by cutting the man out, while elsewhere another man falls from grace. Both stories epitomize Hollywood together, and taken alongside each other rather than melded have an ingrained believability. A Star Is Born trades that for something more streamlined in having the suicide be the culmination of the romance, but it’s also idealistic and wistful, losing the real moral of either.

This is reflected in what is regarded as a proto-Star Is Born, the 1932 film What Price Hollywood? Released five years before the 1937 version and produced also by David O. Selznick (and directed by George Cukor, who was approached for the first A Star Is Born and directed the first remake), this is regarded as something of a dry run at the story. Obviously from the release year it can’t share the same real-life inspirations (although, because this is the Golden Age of Hollywood, there are others pointed to), but the core concept and even smaller story beats are there, albeit with one massive difference: the leads are not romantically involved. Lowell Sherman’s Max drunkenly finds Constance Bennett’s Mary and helps make her a star, eventually killing himself after he sees realizes how far he’s fallen and is hurting his friend, while Mary’s suffers an ill-fated marriage that breaks down due to her absences filming and is reconciled at the end.

Watched today, What Price Hollywood? has a cynicism about the film industry ahead of its time despite ultimately being a movie romanticizing Hollywood – and at the core of this is the tragic story of Max and its impact on Mary’s life. The title question is apt.

How The Remakes Have Tried To “Fix” The Ending

In contrast to What Price Hollywood?, A Star Is Born 1937 carries a self-awareness and charm, but in bridging the romantic and the career side of protagonist Esther creates the problematic suicide reading. It’s not helped by dated elements, including the defining part of Esther’s ascension being the actress known as Vicki Lester taking on her husband’s name with a declaration “This is Mrs. Norman Maine“. It works given the time period, but even 16 years later needed an update.

Related: Watch the Trailer For A Star Is Born

The 1954 version is, for the most part, a beat-for-beat remake, just with dance number expansion to make it a musical, but it does make some strides to justifying the ending. The toll that caring for a drunk has on Judy Garland’s Vicki Lester is shown gradually, most upsettingly in an off-stage breakdown she immediately returns to filming from: an unavoidable presentation of the line between art and performer. But, ultimately, it ends in the same way: Norman Maine overhears Vicki’s plans to quit acting to care for her husband, so he feigns going for a swim and drowns himself; after a traumatic period and being unmasked at her funeral (the invasion of the press), Vicki returns to the public eye where she declares herself “Mrs. Norman Maine“. Every issue discussed is here.

The 1976’s A Star Is Born is overall incredibly melodramatic, nowhere less than its handling of the ending. What it should be praised for is its attempts at giving the female lead a greater sense of autonomy: throughout Streisand’s Esther makes decisions that power the narrative, not just being led along by Kristoffersen as those who came before her, but that’s lost thuddingly in the finale. After his meltdown, John Howard has imposed isolation – not rehab – and when returning home immediately sleeps with a reporter wanting an interview for Esther. The couple tries to power past this, but John figures he’s still broken and crashes his car at high speeds. Again, Esther is sad before taking his name (and singing at a tribute event).

Like we’ve already explored with A Star Is Born 2018, all versions have tried to provide their own contemporary spin on the tale to iron out its kinks, yet all wind up having to repeat the same suicide-anger-name triple-tap that doesn’t belong. A degree can be accounted to the changing times, but that ignores that the original trio of movies released over nearly 40 years, and that Cooper wasn’t able to address it either.

Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

Why Bradley Cooper Can’t Fix A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper certainly tries to bring a modern slant to the worn tale of A Star Is Born. He invests heavily in making Jack and Ally’s opposite trajectories operate independently – Jack is suffering from tinnitus before he’s heard a note of “La Vie En Rose”, while Ally’s SNL appearance is deemed to contradict his advice – while making the love story more immediate. It’s a bigger story, more personal and considerably more consummately paced.

But, like all the others, the ending hits a snag. And some of his decisions make it worse. The method of final descent is different, with the awards show upset and rehab undone not by Maine going off the rails again as in every other take, but rather by Ally’s agent calling his supposed bluff. It’s implied from the British Rez knowing when exactly Jackson first toured across the pond that he was once a fan, now disillusioned with his hero, making him a millennial scapegoat to any affronting reading.

Related: 2018 Fall Movie Preview: The 30 Films to See

This generational push and pull could have been what sent A Star Is Born to greatness. Sam Elliott’s speech about there only being twelve notes played over and over, with the majesty coming from how the artist uses them is a beautiful sentiment that sees Cooper self-justifying another remake and appears like a zen view on the entertainment business that birthed it. Except it isn’t, because this idea is also trying to explain the ending, claiming that the music industry is cyclical and that stars are born and then new stars are born later; Jack’s death is enabling that. What the film seems to miss is that for one state to ever enter another, a star must always die. Ally will fall too. The raw textual argument is that the failures are as eternal as the successes, raising the question of worth, yet the film provides no further exploration and presents it as somehow immediately uplifting.

And that’s the hump that A Star Is Born 2018, like its predecessors, can’t get over. The story thinks it’s a biting, self-aware take on itself, but it’s too close to the subject to see that it’s really just propagating a harsh cycle. This isn’t helped by the film being weighted by so much – the casting of Lady Gaga, his writer-director-producer-actor whammy, even Sam Elliott as the Sam Elliott-type – although those concerns are also the key explanation for what’s really going on.

A Star Is Born Only Exists Because Of Ego

Throughout this article, there’s been one question dangling unspoken. Why are there four versions of A Star Is Born anyway? It’s a story that is flawed and dated, on a topic which has been tackled in more films than any other. Yes, each movie got serious Oscar nominations and wins, but that alone isn’t enough to justify going back. The true answer is enlightening.

1954’s A Star Is Born was conceived as a bid to restart Judy Garland’s career after it stalled over the 1940s. 1976’s A Star Is Born was Barbra Streisand’s attempt (along with then-husband Jon Peters) to boost her standing in Hollywood. And 2018’s A Star Is Born is Bradley Cooper’s grand attempt to win the Oscar that he believes he deserves (his entire post-Hangover career is a carefully played game of chess with a Golden Baldie the King). There are studio concerns too (before Cooper, Warner Bros had been attempting to get a remake off the ground since the early 2010s, although as a Beyonce vehicle has the same career expansion goals), but those are the primary purposes of each version. A Star Is Born is a vanity project on repeat.

Related: A Star Is Born Is An Oscar Favorite – But Could An Infamous Producer Hurt Its Chances?

Now, vanity projects needn’t be bad, and indeed a lot of good comes from each of these attempts. Indeed, each was ultimately successful in both their primary and commercial goals: Garland’s career was rejuvenated; Streisand won her second Oscar; and Cooper’s currently the front-runner in multiple categories for next year’s Academy Awards.

But this aspect appears to be why each version of A Star Is Born struggles to understand the real meaning of its ending. Each powering force believes this movie will be what takes them being a Norman/Jack Maine to a new Esther/Ally while missing that it’s built into the story to be impossible. They believe so much in the two contradictory Hollywood legends wholesale, so don’t see that the story is almost warning against such a thing.

A Star Is Born Is No Longer Needed

In recent years, we’ve seen Hollywood’s reliable rotation of movies about itself take a genuinely incisive slant. 2015’s Best Picture Winner Birdman was an ostentatious exploration of ego that too ended with the protagonist committing suicide, but there it was with the wry critique that fame and adoration are fleeting and that such a bold act was the only way for the self-involved hero to reach the heights he dreamed of. Then there’s 2017’s almost-Best Picture Winner La La Land, which was a celebration of Hollywood-gone-by looking at love in a city of stars, eventually concluding that success required the sacrifice of the central relationship.

Together, these take on all the ideas that A Star Is Born is playing with and apply them in a more thoughtful way. The messages are more widely applicable and their endnotes have considerably less of the hypocrisy. Birdman and La La Land may find joy in the arts, but they also uncover the trials of creativity and fame, keeping the brutal truths in earshot while presenting from a position of success.

A Star Is Born 2018 is a good movie, an undeniable achievement for both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. But there is a flaw at the heart of the tale that just doesn’t ring true. Unless it’s made with a completely revisionist, ego-less eye, in twenty years we do not need another one.

More: Every Version Of A Star Is Born Ranked, From Garland To Gaga



Source link
2018-10-06 01:10:52 – Alex Leadbeater

A Star Is Born Is An Oscar Favorite – But Could An Infamous Producer Hurt Its Chances?

UPDATE: Warner Bros. has clarified that Peters’ involvement in A Star is Born is entirely legacy and he’s not a PGA producer of the film.

Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star is Born might be an early Oscars favorite, but infamous producer Jon Peters may ruin its chances altogether. Given Hollywood’s recent zero-tolerance policy following last year’s inception of the #MeToo movement, his mere association with the movie might hurt its shot at winning Best Picture given sexual harassment allegations made against the producer just over a decade ago.

Having produced a number of successful movies like Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns, Clue, Flashdance, and An American Werewolf in London, Peters ultimately lost his professional credibility after serving as producer on Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns in 2006. Several sexual harassment claims made against him following production affected his career significantly, temporarily blacklisting him from Hollywood for nearly twelve years (he’s credited as executive producer on Man of Steel, but Peters revealed that Christopher Nolan had banned him from set, according to an interview with THR). Now, returning to his roots with this year’s A Star is Born remake (his very first producing credit was on the 1976 production of A Star is Born with Barbara Streisand) may well negatively affect the movie’s chance come Oscar night.

Related: Biggest & Most Important Films Showing At TIFF 2018

According to The LA Times, Peters was accused of sexual misconduct by his then-personal assistant, Shelly Morita. He reportedly exposed himself to both Morita and her two-year-old daughter, touched her inappropriately, and crawled into bed with her. This resulted in a Los Angeles jury ordering him to pay nearly a million dollars in damages to Morita. So, assuming A Star is Born maintains its awards-friendly status come Oscar night on February 24 – going so far as to nab a Best Picture nomination in the process – will the fact that Peters himself will be a recipient of the honor affects its chances? And, given the fact that studios are wasting no time distancing themselves from alleged offenders (see: Harvey Weinstein’s blacklisting, Kevin Spacey being fired from House of Cards, an entire scene being cut out of The Predator on account of featuring a registered sex offender), is it too late for Warner Bros. to distance itself from Peters altogether?

Assuming there is no legal way to remove Peters from A Star is Born’s credits, and the film’s chances at being nominated for/winning Best Picture are affected by his association alone, its Oscar chances aren’t completely destroyed. The bulk of the praise stemming out of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is aimed at Bradley Cooper (for acting and directing) and Lady Gaga, specifically. So, at the very least, in the event that voters don’t feel comfortable handing over a trophy to someone who’s been accused of the very thing Hollywood’s dedicated itself against just this past year, it’s unlikely that anyone else associated with the movie will be affected. That said, it’s a fair argument that associating with Peters at all could stir up some questionable reactions – which could then potentially affect A Star is Born getting any recognition whatsoever.

Hollywood, as a whole, hasn’t abandoned their #MeToo post. Given the sort of individuals they’ve collectively blacklisted in the past year, any sort of favoritism or biases haven’t really affected the treatment aimed at anyone accused of sexual misconduct. However, given that Peters’ association with the movie has hardly been a hot topic following the movie’s awards buzz, could A Star is Born be the exception? Is this the movie that ultimately reintroduces leniency in La La Land?

More: Harvey Weinstein Scandal: 22 Actresses Who Have Broken Their Silence

Source: THR, The LA Times



Source link
2018-09-11 07:09:14 – Danny Salemme