Saturday, May 18, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Movie Moms

For the latest edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we decided to compose our lists around some of the most memorable Movie Moms! You might be saying to yourself, Gee, this sure would have been a great category to do last week, when we were all celebrating Mother's Day.. Well, you're absolutely right, you just forgot one thing - we're Slackers by name, so while we do usually get to anything applicable to the time, don't be surprised if we're a week or two late in doing so. We have a reputation to uphold, mind you. These things will happen from time to time.

Anyway, there's no film coming out this week that we centered this category around - though, surely there's a mother of some sort present in "Star Trek Into Darkness" (unfortunately most of them died in the first installment...). This is simply our late Mother's Day gift to all of you readers out there just dying for a more comprehensive list compiling some of the most notable moms in movie history.

Hit the jump to see which characters and films we each came up with!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Leonardo DiCaprio

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we take a look at some of our favorite films featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, star of this weekend's "The Great Gatsby". DiCaprio was born and raised in Los Angeles, son of a comic book artist (George DiCaprio). His parents signed him to a talent agency at a young age (at age 10 his agent suggested he change his name to a more "American friendly" Lenny Williams; thankfully for everyone, he chose not to), and he began work in commercials and television shows. After appearing in the final season of "Growing Pains", his career took a major upswing as he transitioned into film. Over the next few years, he'd go on to star in such films as "The Basketball Diaries" (1995), "Romeo + Juliet" (1996), and, the big one, "Titanic" (1997). (fun fact: the role of Dirk Diggler in "Boogie Nights" was offered to him at the same time as that of his role in "Titanic"; he had to choose between the two). As it was, James Cameron's epic made DiCaprio an instant A-list star, and one of the most notable teen heartthrobs of all time.

After "Titanic", DiCaprio became very selective with his roles. He's worked with a variety of great directors, including four times with his personal favorite, Martin Scorsese. One of the biggest efforts he makes when choosing his roles is not to fall into any typecast situations. He refuses to conform to any one type of character or genre, quietly becoming one of the most diverse actors working today.

There are few roles of note that DiCaprio has turned down over the years (aside from the aforementioned "Boogie Nights"), but a few of prominent ones are Neo in "The Matrix" (who in Hollywood didn't turn that role down?), Ed Norton's role in "Primal Fear", and River Phoenix/Christian Slater's role in "Interview with the Vampire". He's been nominated for three Oscars, but has some how managed to avoid a win to this point. He received nominations for his roles in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" (1993), "The Aviator" (2004), and "Blood Diamond" (2006).

Hit the jump to see which of his films we selected as some of our favorites!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Slackers' Top 5 Films to Look Forward to in May

If you're a regular reader of this site, then you know just how much we love lists. They're by no means a definitive perspective on anything, but they're a fun way to look at what an entire group of individuals comes to agreement on. At this point we've compiled a few special edition group lists, including our Greatest Movies of All-Time and Favorite Horror Films of All-Time, both of which turned out really well.

As you've already seen with previous installments of this post, these aren't anything overly technical - and in many cases, we're not able to base our opinions on much more than some trailers - but it's a fun way to preview the titles ahead and give you a brief look into what some of us over here, collectively, think are the best ahead.

There's no way in knowing what these films might hold, and we're not trying to say this grouping of films will necessarily be the best of the month, but these are the titles we're most looking forward to as a group.

Hit the jump for the ranking and a few details on the five films that this site sees as the most anticipated for the month of May!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Trailer Park: The Bling Ring, The East, Fast & Furious 6, Monsters University, Pacific Rim, Prince Avalanche


Welcome to The Trailer Park! - A weekly column rounding up new and newish trailers lurking around the internet.

As always, put on your John Nada sunglasses before the jump or... submit to the advertising.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

[Exclusive] Interview with Writer/Director David M. Evans ("Radio Flyer", "The Sandlot")

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a Q&A with writer/director David M. Evans. If you're a 90's kid, you might remember him for directing The Sandlot and First Kid (yup, Sinbad as a secret service agent), but you might not have known that he was responsible for writing and starting to direct Radio Flyer. The film stars future Frodo Baggins (Elija Wood) and is a unique story about two young brothers dealing with child abuse. It was to be his first directing gig, but due to Hollywood politics, he was replaced by Richard Donner. Radio Flyer is actually the reason he's doing this Q&A, as he's releasing a novel of the same story, The King  of Pacoima. But this year also marks the 20th anniversary of The Sandlot, so it seems like the perfect opportunity to pick his brain about that production as well.       

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Movie Review: "The Lords of Salem" by Ben Foutch

Director: Rob Zombie
Writer: Rob Zombie
Stars: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Dee Wallace, and Ken Foree
Rated: R
Run Time: 101 min

Aside from the unforgettable and brilliantly twisted The Devils Rejects, Rob Zombie hasn't really delivered anything of true value to the horror community besides a signature aesthetic and respect for the genre. This might change with his newest vision, The Lords of Salem. Surely to be misinterpreted or even considered a confusing waste of time, this surreal nightmare has the potential to pull a Prince of Darkness by becoming an underrated cult gem that slowly gains credibility with time. His most artistically ambitious offering to date is also the most challenging, much like the influences lurking within the frames.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Movie Review: "Oblivion" by Ben Foutch

Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writers: Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek
Stars: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, and Andrea Riseborough

Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 124 min

Oblivion (much like Joseph Kosinski's last effort, TRON: Legacy), is eye candy masquerading as a science fiction epic. Visually immersive and a gorgeous representation of a possible dystopian future, it quickly becomes tarnished by lack of character depth, contrived storytelling, and horrendous pacing. The only things holding this expensive product above water are the star power of Tom Cruise and surprisingly clean dystopian vistas.

Slackers Selection CinemaCast: Episode 51

Thanks for checking out this week's edition of the Slackers Selection CinemaCast!

For the first time in ages, all five of us contributed to this week's call. There wasn't a ton to talk about - none of us got around to "Oblivion" - but we still managed some decent discussions. The films we do talk about are the likes of "The ABCs of Death" and "The Company You Keep".

Next week, "Pain and Gain", "The Big Wedding", "Arthur Newman", "Mud", and "At Any Price" hit theaters. We run through each of those titles and detail which we're most interested in checking out.

The majority of this week's time, however, went to some recaps of the previous week's Ebertfest. Ben, Derek and Andy attended each day of the event, and provide further insight to what they detailed in their daily reports. It was another great year at the festival, and all three of them had a really great time.

Check out everything they had to say about the event and more below!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ebertfest 2013: Day 5

A beautiful sky marked the final day for Eberfest 2013

Critic's Picks: Roger Ebert -- An International Tribute (Surprise Short)

  • Kevin B. Lee (Producer) 
Not Yet Begun to Fight
  • Sabrina Lee (Producer/Director) 
  • Erik Goodge (Film Subject) 
  • Steve Platcow (Executive Producer) 

The culmination of the 15th annual Roger Ebert film festival was bittersweet in many ways. It was my first time at the festival and even at the Virginia Theater, and having missed seeing Roger in person will always be a regret of mine. Chaz Ebert had mentioned before that this festival was a comfort to her in her time of grief. Her whole family was there to support her and all 1,000+ people that filled the theater were there to support her too. I don’t know if I have ever been in a place with that many people sharing an experience of support and honesty along with a love for film and Roger. The fact that comforted me (and all of the other attendees, I’m sure) was that Roger chose these movies for us. He carefully selected these movies, he placed them in an order with great care to the feeling of the film and how the audience would feel after watching them. I actually spoke with fellow Slacker Andy on the phone before I left for the Virginia and I choked up and said, “I can’t believe it’s over. I’m devastated.” And I was. I am. It’s been a whirlwind of emotions and listening to people talk about their craft and passion was inspiring. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt quite so invigorated. I met some of these people just a few days ago and yet, I already feel like I know them so well. Movies brought us together and final hugs and handshakes were happening all around. But, without further ado, let’s hop into the final films.

Ebertfest 2013: Day 4

Just this full balcony at 11:00AM

  • Pablo Berger (Director) 
  • Vikram Gandhi (Director)
  • Stephen Feder (Producer)
Escape From Tomorrow
  • Randy Moore (Director)
  • Soojin Chung (Editor)
  • Roy Abramsohn (Actor)
  • Elena Schuber (Actress)
  • Annet Mahendru (Actress)
The Spectacular Now
  • James Ponsoldt (Director)
  • Shailene Woodley (Actress)

The somber tones of the previous days (at least the ones I attended) were thrown to the wind, as Tilda Swinton and Chaz started the day off with a little dance party. "Just think of this as a spiritual service", Tilda proclaimed before busting out some grooves to Barry White's My Everything. While I'm not really into audience participation group dance parties, it was hard to deny the positive vibes flowing through the theater. This set the tone for the rest of the day's events.

Box Office Report: "Oblivion" On Top; "42" Strong In Week Two

Welcome back for your weekly recap of all news and notes from this weekend's Box Office totals. To no surprise, it was Tom Cruise and "Oblivion" that led the box office this weekend, and by a rather large margin. This was the only new film opening in wide release, however, so there was little fresh competition.

Last week's big winner, "42", made another strong appearance this week, providing the only other stand-out total of the weekend. Outside of these two titles, the drop-off was significant, and overall, the box office hit its lowest point since mid-March. We can expect one more weekend mini-lull coming up ("The Big Wedding" and "Pain and Gain" open next week), but after that, we're into May, and there are exciting titles every week of the month.

For now, hit the jump to check out the specific totals for each film this weekend!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ebertfest 2013: Day 3


Oslo, August 31st (2011) 
  • Joachiam Trier (Director) 
The Ballad Of Narayama (1958) 
  • David Bordwell (Film Historian) 
Julia (2008) 
  • Tilda Swinton (Actor)

Due to the flash floods from the night before invading the countryside where Andy and I dwell, we were unable to attend the first screening of the day, Oslo, August 31st. Due to this unfortunate circumstance, I am unable to describe how those early moments of the day unfolded. Once Andy and I finally arrived we thought we'd change things up a bit and sit in the balcony of the Virginia Theatre this time around. While there's a little less leg room than the seats of the main floor, every seat in the balcony allows a perfect view. This is due to the heavy declined angle in the stadium style seating which allows your gaze to cast over the entire theater. We thought this might be a perfect way to experience the vast mountain village sets in The Ballad Of Narayama.

Top 5 Movie Guide: Witch Movies

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, in line with this weekend's release of "The Lords of Salem", we take a look at some of our favorite Witch Movies! "The Lords of Salem", from the mind of horror maestro Rob Zombie, is a chilling plunge into a nightmare world where evil runs in the blood. The film tells the tale of a radio station DJ living in Salem, Massachusetts, who receives a strange wooden box containing a record, a "gift from the Lords". She listens, and the bizarre sounds within the grooves immediately trigger flashbacks of the town's violent past. Is she going mad, or are the "Lords of Salem" returning for revenge on modern-day Salem?

We've kept some of our more recent Genre/Category lists pretty basic as of late, leading to little need for preface beforehand. If anyone filtered these out specifically, they'll say so before their picks, but otherwise, we generally accepted films into this category that contained witches, warlocks, wizards, and sorcerers. This list toed the line with another recent list, that on Magic, but most picks differentiated enough.

Hit the jump to see what we picked as some of our favorite films from this genre!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Ebertfest 2013: Day 2


To Music

  • Sophie Kohn (Co-Director)
  • Fieke Santbergen (Co-Director)
Vincent: The Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh
  • Paul Cox (Director)
In The Family
  • Patrick Wang (Director/Actor)
  • Richard Linklater (Director)
  • Jack Black (Actor) - Unfortunately his flight was canceled but he was kind enough to bless us with a phone call for the Q&A section of the night.

 As many of you know from yesterday's post and the title of this one here, we are jumping into Day 2 of the Ebertfest happenings, and happy to do so! Unfortunately, the weather caused a few problems for both getting any pictures outside and appearances of a few of the scheduled stars. It was more than slightly disheartening to hear that Jack Black wouldn't be making it but as per usual with the annual Ebertfest crowd, we just keep on keepin' on. I honestly don't think there is a single disaster that could keep our crowd away - short of a tornado landing immediately on top of the theater and not allowing us to get in at all...since it wouldn't be there. We will go whether it's rain or snow, wind or lightning. We push on for our love of film and our hope to grab just a sliver of insight to the late, great Roger Ebert. It's also, as much as any crowd I have ever had the pleasure of sitting in the middle of or standing in line with, an amazing social event where you can meet some amazing people who you might never have had the pleasure of meeting! Well here I am rambling on, you should have just interrupted me...

Special Edition Top 10 List: Roger Ebert's Great Movies

For as much as the contributors of this site enjoy making lists about movies, very infrequently do we venture outside of our regularly scheduled Top 5 Movie Guides. It generally takes something significant to warrant such divergence, but that's exactly what we're doing today. It's taken some time to get this post together, so at this point it's no secret that Roger Ebert tragically passed away earlier this month, leaving an entire community of film enthusiasts distraught. It goes without saying that everyone at this site sends our condolences to Mr. Ebert's family and friends, and his absence with be greatly missed.

Even though Mr. Ebert was an avid non-listmaker, creating exactly that is the best and only way that this site knows how to honor the late, great critic. So today, we take a look at Roger Ebert's extensive list of "Great Movies" - consisting of more than 300 titles - and each rank our ten favorites from that group. Mr. Ebert has compiled the list over the years, citing "considerations and appreciations of movies from the distant past to the recent past, all of movies that I consider worthy of being called 'great'."

The grouping spans almost the entire spectrum of film's existence, and covers every genre and category you could imagine. Picking out only ten films from this group - and then ranking them! - was incredibly tedious. Nonetheless, we hope that this exercise is a worthy final remembrance to Roger Ebert, and maybe you'll even find some value in our selections.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ebertfest 2013: Day 1


I Remember (short)
  • Grace Wange (writer/director)
  • June Kim (director of photography)
Days of Heaven
  • Haskell Wexler (director of photography)

The movie theater experience can be hit or miss depending on the crowd and venue. Is there anything worse than hearing other peoples' conversations while constantly shifting in an uncomfortable chair, only to come to the realization that the trip to the theater was the worst decision of your day? Thankfully, you won't have to worry about those kinds of problems when visiting The Virginia, especially during Ebertfest. From the quality films, candid celebrity Q & A, aesthetic environment, and respectful patrons, Ebertfest is one of the best movie-going experiences you will ever have. It is because of these factors that the possibility of getting caught in a downpour while standing in the massive line to enter the iconic theater didn't dampen my anticipation, or that of fellow slacker, Derek Clem.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: John Carpenter

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we take a look at some of our favorite films from director John Carpenter. Carpenter does not have a new film coming out this week (or this year, for that matter), so here's how we got to this selection: by chance we noticed that today is Roddy Piper's birthday. In the film world, Piper is most known for his performance in "They Live". And since Piper has done very little notable film work outside of that film, we thought we'd take a look at the other films its director, John Carpenter, has created over the years. It's a slightly different angle, but it was hard to pass up the chance of profiling one of the great sci-fi/horror directors around.

Carpenter was born in Carthage, New York, but moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky when his father became head of the music department at Western Kentucky University. He started making short films when he was only 14-years-old, and continued throughout college. He first attended Western Kentucky University, and later went on to study at USC's prestigious film school. While there, he wrote the short "The Resurrection of Broncho Billy" (1970). The film went on to win an Oscar for Best Live-Action Short.

Known as "The Master of Horror", John Carpenter is most notably remembered for many of his horror and sci-fi features, including early productions such as "Halloween" (1978), "The Fog" (1980), and "The Thing" (1982). He is credited for the invention of the "jump scare", something that is a horror cliche now, but was a powerful form of suspense originally. Carpenter achieved this by mixing intense musical cues with characters or objects moving quickly into frame, eliciting a shock reaction from audience members. And speaking of music, Carpenter also composes most of the scores in his own movies, using powerful yet simplistic synthesizer tones.

He has turned down directing a handful of notable projects over the years, including "Top Gun", "Fatal Attraction", and even "Zombieland". All of these would have surely helped with his popularity, but none really feel like Carpenter films. Knowing his preferred style, it doesn't feel like too much of a miss that he passed on any of them, unless they led to more opportunities to make what he actually wanted, of course.

Either way, John Carpenter has still provided a wide variety of films over the years, spanning multiple decades and genres. After the jump, check out which films made each of our lists!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In Preview: Ebertfest 2013

As of tomorrow afternoon, a few select Slackers will embark on yet another adventure to the great film festival known as Ebertfest.

For those unfamiliar, Ebertfest is the annual film festival notoriously helmed by film critic Roger Ebert, featuring a variety of "over-looked" films. The event takes place in the great city of Champaign, Illinois, home, in part, to the University of Illinois, Ebert's Alma mater. It's a wonderful experience for the community to indulge in some fantastic films in a setting that otherwise is unfamiliar to most. The films featured have always been specifically selected to give us, as audience members, one more chance to invite them into our personal canons before losing them to time. Each film is hand-selected by Mr. Ebert and, on little more than his reputation and his respect in the industry, he's also able to get many of the filmmakers involved with each feature to trek down to our humble city in presentation of the films.

This year, much more than the basic viewings of films will be in play. There are a variety of new beginnings and ends that everyone in attendance will be experiencing. The biggest news for the event, of course, is the tragic passing of Mr. Ebert himself just a few weeks ago. After years of winning his battle against cancer, it finally got the best of him. He lived a full life, and did many great things for the film industry. It goes without saying that his presence will be sorely missed at this year's event. I'm unsure of the full mood that will carry throughout the event, but somber tones will surely be present. He was an icon to both our city and cinema itself, and his absence will be tough to stomach.

Another much less significant detail that will be different this year will be the complete remodel of the Virginia Theatre. After the conclusion of last year's Ebertfest, the theatre was closed for extensive renovations. And only now, a full year later and at the start of the next installment of Ebertfest, will the doors finally re-open. The transformation is astounding, and the theatre's return to its original 1920's state should be quite the spectacle for patrons who have frequented the theatre in the past.

You can expect to see detailed recaps from Ben Foutch, Derek Clem and Andy Schopp as the days go by (we will have at least two of them in attendance every day of the event), along with a variety of exclusive happenings throughout the event.

Films start tomorrow evening and will run through Sunday afternoon. Full event passes are already long sold out, but a few tickets for individual screenings are still available. Hit the jump for a full rundown on all of the films, guests, and events expected throughout the rest of the week.

I'm going to leave this part pretty basic, with a listing of each film and the time it is showing, along with which filmmakers from its production are expected to be in attendance. Among the notable attendees this year are Jack Black, Tilda Swinton, Richard Linklater, and Shailene Woodley. As is typically done, most screenings feature brief Q&A sessions after the films, where great details are provided on the productions.


7:00 pm Days Of Heaven (PG; 95 min)
  • Haskell Wexler - Cinematographer, DP
9:00 pm I Remember (Short Subject)
  • Grace Wang - Writer, Director
  • June Kim - Director of Photography
  • Lily Huang - Actor


1:00 pm Vincent: The Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh (99 min)
  • Paul Cox - Director
3:00 pm To Music (Short Subject)
  • Sophie Kohn - Co-Director
  • Feike Santbergen - Co-Director 4:00 pm
4:00 pm In The Family (169 min)
  • Patrick Wang - Director, Actor
  • Trevor St John - Actor 9:00 pm
9:00 pm Bernie (PG-13; 98 min)
  • Richard Linklater - Director
  • Jack Black - Actor


1:00 pm Oslo, August 31st (87 min)
  • Joachim Trier - Director
4:00 pm The Ballad of Narayama (PG: 80 min)
  • David Bordwell 8:30 pm
8:30 pm Julia (R; 140 min)
  • Tilda Swinton - Actor 


11:00 am Blancanieves (PG-13; 104 min)
  • Pablo Berger - Director
2:00 pm Kumaré (86 min)
  • Vikram Gandhi - Director
  • Stephen Feder - Producer
5:00 pm Escape From Tomorrow (103 min)
  • Randy Moore - Director
  • Soojin Chung - Editor 
  • Roy Abramsohn - Actor 9:00 pm
9:00 pm The Spectacular Now (95 min)
  • James Ponsoldt - Director
  • Shailene Woodley - Actor


12:00 pm Not Yet Begun To Fight (60 min)
  • Sabrina Lee - Producer, Co-Director
  • Shasta Grenier - Co-Director, Editor
  • Elliott Miller & Erik Goodge - Subjects

We're excited to check out each of these films, and our hope is that we'll be able to get some good content from each of these filmmakers on their projects.

Be sure to check back to this site daily for all of our latest coverage!

The Trailer Park: Campus Life, Elysium, Filth, The Hangover Part III, Now You See Me, Romeo and Juliet, Star Trek Into Darkness, Man Of Steel, The Way, Way Back


Welcome to The Trailer Park! - A weekly column rounding up new and newish trailers lurking around the internet.

As always, put on your John Nada sunglasses before the jump or... submit to the advertising.

Slackers Selection CinemaCast: Episode 50

Thanks for checking out this week's edition of the Slackers Selection CinemaCast!

It's been a while for most of us here - due to a mixture of busy schedules and a general lack of interest for the films hitting theaters over the past month or so - but we're back in (nearly) full force to provide our thoughts on a variety of films that have recently released! This week saw new films "42" and "Scary Movie 5" hit theaters, though we only got around to one of those gems - I'll let you listen to find out which one for yourself.

Other films we discuss on this edition include "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone", "Evil Dead", "G.I. Joe: Retaliation", "The Host", "Olympus Has Fallen", and more.

Also, and you'll get more details on this later this afternoon, we preview some of what we'll be expecting later this week with Ebertfest. The Slackers will be in attendance again this year, now for (officially) the second year in a row.

Check all of it out and more below!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: April 16, 2013

Not going to lie to you today. I'm feeling both uninspired and underwhelmed with the selection of titles this week, aside from Django Unchained and the Blu-ray criterion release of a cult classic. So, I took a chance with a couple of movies I've never heard of and added them to the list on the hope that they might entertain. Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino's latest film and is about a slave (Jamie Foxx) turned bounty hunter on a quest to save his wife (Kerry Washington) from a despicable plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). This comes with pretty much universal praise within our blog, as it made our top 15 of 2012 and many of our individual lists for the year; I can't remember the specifics, but feel free to peruse our post history.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Sports Dramas

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, with this weekend's release of "42", we decided to compile our lists around some of our favorite Sports Dramas! "42" tells the story of two men - the great Jackie Robinson and legendary Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey - whose brave stand against prejudice forever changed the world by changing the game of baseball. In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) put himself at the forefront of history when he signed Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the team, breaking Major League Baseball's infamous color line. But the deal also put both Robinson and Rickey in the firing line of the public, the press and even other players. Facing unabashed racism from every side, Robinson was forced to demonstrate tremendous courage and restraint by not reacting in kind, knowing that any incident could destroy his and Rickey's hopes. Instead, Number 42 let his talent on the field do the talking, ultimately winning over fans and his teammates, silencing his critics, and paving the way for others to follow.

It seems like this list requires some of the lease descriptors of any we've done before. This is a well-known category, and it's pretty easy to tell which movies fit into this category and which don't. Films that toe the line between comedies and dramas, "Dramedies", were left to each writer in determining their eligibility. For the most part though, if there was a sport in the movie and there were moments of drama, it seems safe to say it qualified.

This is a deep category with plenty of great titles to choose from. Hit the jump to see which films made each of our lists!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Harrison Ford

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we take a look at some of our favorite filme from one of the stars of this weekend's "42"Harrison Ford. Ford, who was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, did not get interested in acting until college. He took some acting classes while attending Ripon College in Wisconsin, and eventually dropped out to sign a Hollywood contract with Columbia. However, his first roles, mainly in television, were uninteresting and discouraging to him, so he decided to quit the business. He opted instead to become a professional carpenter, and even became known as one of the best cabinet makers in Los Angeles. But after four years (and this time frame will become a theme below), his friend George Lucas persuaded him to return to acting and appear in his upcoming film, "American Graffiti" (1973).

Four years later, Ford appeared as Han Solo in George Lucas' next feature, "Star Wars" (1977). What's interesting about this role is that Lucas originally wanted all new actors for the film's lead roles. Ford was helping out as a friend, reading with actors who would audition for the part. But after hundreds of applicants, Lucas found no one who embodied the character more so than Ford, and he convinced him to be in the film. Four years later, it was another iconic picture that wasn't first meant for Ford, this time "Raiders of the Lost Ark". As many know by now, Tom Selleck was the first choice to play the archaeologist, but he had to pass due to scheduling conflicts. Ford again jumped in, and his Indiana Jones is now one of the most known movie characters across the world. We jump ahead four more years, this time to 1985, where Ford earned his first and only Oscar nomination for his performance in "Witness". He's also been nominated for four Golden Globe awards, but has never won.

Ford has appeared in dozens of other notable films over the years, but it's no doubt that his roles in two of the most iconic franchises in film history stand out here. Thank mostly due to the seven total films he's appeared in as either Han Solo or Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford's films have earned more than $6 billion worldwide at the box office, making him far and away the highest-grossing actor in history.

Another interesting facet of Ford's history are the films he did not appear in. As his career basically started with two of the most successful franchises in film history, it's no surprise that he was offered plenty of great roles in future years. There are more out there if you're interested, but among the most notable he passed up are Mel Gibson's role in "The Patriot", George Clooney's roles in "The Perfect Storm" and "Syriana", Tom Skerritt's role in "Alien", Sam Neill's role in "Jurassic Park", Kevin Costner's roles in "JFK" and "The Untouchables", Dustin Hoffman's roles in "The Graduate" and "Outbreak", Liam Neeson's role in "Schindler's List", Nick Nolte's role in "Cape Fear", and Viggo Mortensen's role in "A History of Violence". And keep in mind, those aren't just roles that Ford was considered for, but roles that were personally offered to him (some even specifically written for him) that he turned down. It's a good thing that both Star Wars and Indiana Jones became so popular because, as much as we love this actor, it seems he's made poor decisions with just about every other film since.

For now though, hit the jump to see which films from Ford's actual filmography made each of our lists!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Trailer Park: Behind The Candelabra, Dead Man's Burden, The Great Gatsby, Grown Ups 2, Kick-Ass 2, Man Of Steel, Only God Forgives, Ragnarok, Rush, A Single Shot


Welcome to The Trailer Park! - A weekly column rounding up new and newish trailers lurking around the internet.

As always, put on your John Nada sunglasses before the jump or... submit to the advertising.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Box Office Report: "Evil Dead" On Top; Previous Holdovers Strong As Well

Looking at the numbers this weekend, you wouldn't expect that we've seen higher total dollars roll through the box office four of the last five weeks. Three films amassed more than $20MM this weekend, and six total films managed $10MM+. But scrolling down the list we can see that things drop off quickly - this may be the first post I've seen where a film in the Top 15 didn't even make $500K.

Nonetheless, "Evil Dead" and "Jurassic Park 3D" were both very strong in their debuts, and last week's "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" kept up with the crowd as well.

Hit the jump for a full breakdown on this week's total numbers, including a few notes on the top grossing films!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Mindbenders

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, with the release of this weekend's "Trance", we decided to compile a list of some of our favorite Mind-Bending Movies! "Trance" is the latest film from director Danny Boyle ("Trainspotting", "28 Days Later"), and stars James McAvoy as a fine art auctioneer who teams up with a criminal gang to steal a painting worth millions of dollars. But after suffering a blow to the head during the heist he awakens to discover he has no memory of where he hid the painting. When physical threats and torture fail to produce answers, the gang's leader hires a hypnotherapist to delve into the darkest recesses of his psyche. As she begins to unravel his broken subconscious, the lines between truth, suggestion, and deceit begin to blur.

That last line really sums up the entire philosophy of this genre: blurring the line between truth and reality. The films we took a look at below are ones that are generally a bit different that your usual, mindless Hollywood fare. While we'll all admit to a certain love for a summer blockbuster that forces us to do nothing more than have our faces melted with the amazing special effects and action displays, every now and then, we look for something that's a bit more stimulating. While many of the films in this category leave some scratching their heads, they also invite others to soak in repeat viewings, desperate to crack their hard-to-decipher codes. The films featured below are movies that don’t just make you think, they change the way you think; movies that hit you on a visceral and intellectual level.

So without further ado, hit the jump to see which titles made each of our lists!

Movie Review: "Evil Dead" by Ben Foutch

Director: Fede Alvarez
Writers: Fede Alvarez, Diablo Cody,
Rodo Sayagues, Sam Raimi (original)
Stars: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas, Lou Tayolr Pucci
Rated: R
Run Time: 91 min

Director Fede Alvarez set out to make a hard R modern version of a beloved cult classic and that's exactly what he delivers in Evil Dead. His blood splattered vision is easily a top tier remake among the growing number that have been flooding movie screens as of late and should cater to most fans of the classic franchise. In most ways it benefits from a modern production, but at the end of the day, it's just more of the same in a prettier (probably not the best word choice) package.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Jeff Goldblum

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we turn our attentions to Jeff Goldblum, star of this weekend's 3D re-release of 1993's "Jurassic Park". Goldblum was raised in Pittsburgh, PA, but moved to New York City when he was 17 to pursue an acting career. He trained at the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse, and soon after began his career on the stage. His first film roles came in the late-1970's in films like "Annie Hall" (1977) and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1978). While his roles were extremely limited, his unique delivery of dialogue made a notable impression with critics. His big breakout came in 1983, however, when he appeared in Lawrence Kasdan's (writer, "Raiders of the Lost Ark", "Return of the Jedi") "The Big Chill".

With the success of "The Big Chill" both financially and critically (13th-highest grossing film of 1983; nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Picture), Goldblum became an 80's mainstay. He continued his success throughout the decade with such films as "Into the Night" (1985), "The Fly" (1986), and "Earth Girls Are Easy" (1988) - the latter two of which he co-starred along with former wife, Geena Davis.

Goldblum ventured more into mainstream stardom in the 90's appearing in two of the highest grossing films of the decade, "Jurassic Park" (1993) and "Independence Day" (1996). He later went on to star in Steven Spielberg's sequel, "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" (1997), this time taking the solo lead in the franchise installment. By the end of the decade, Goldblum's star had faded. Still a known and respected Hollywood actor, he's struggled to find the same success he saw earlier in his career. He now appears mostly in television productions.

While Goldblum has never received an Academy Award nomination for his acting, he does actually have a nomination to his name. In 1996, he was nominated for his live-action short film, "Little Surprises" (the award went to "Lieberman in Love").

For our generation, Goldblum has to be one of the more recognizable actors out there; for younger people today, many might not even know who he is (which is unfortunate). Whichever group you might fall into, check out our picks below, detailing some of our favorite films he's appeared in over his career!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Trailer Park: Arthur Newman, Before Midnight, Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans Of My Little Pony, Greetings From Tim Buckley, Kick-Ass 2, The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, Pain and Gain, Percy Jackson And The Sea Of Monsters, This Is The End, Vehicle 19, White House Down, Wish You Were Here, The Wolverine, You're Next


Welcome to The Trailer Park! - A weekly column rounding up new and newish trailers lurking around the internet. Specifically this week, we feature some of the longest titles ever put to film.

As always, put on your John Nada sunglasses before the jump or... submit to the advertising.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Slackers' Top 5 Films to Look Forward to in April

If you're a regular reader of this site, then you know just how much we love lists. They're by no means a definitive perspective on anything, but they're a fun way to look at what an entire group of individuals comes to agreement on. At this point we've compiled a few special edition group lists, including our Greatest Movies of All-Time and Favorite Horror Films of All-Time, both of which turned out really well.

As you've already seen with previous installments of this post, these aren't anything overly technical - and in many cases, we're not able to base our opinions on much more than some trailers - but it's a fun way to preview the titles ahead and give you a brief look into what some of us over here, collectively, think is the best ahead.

There's no way in knowing what these films might hold, and we're not trying to say this grouping of films will necessarily be the best of the month, but these are the titles we're most looking forward to as a group.

Hit the jump for the ranking and a few details on the five films that this site sees as the most anticipated for the month of April!

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: April 2, 2013

This week is rather uninspiring, except for the release of future cult classic John Dies at the End, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One box-set. Don Coscarelli adapted the sci-fi/horror/comedy from a web-serial turned novel by editor, Jason Pargin (David Wong). I was lucky enough to have caught a screening a while back, and it is a rather unique film. Definitely a must see, if you're looking for a change of pace. Head inside for more details on these releases.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Motorcycle Films

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, with this weekend's release of "The Place Beyond the Pines", we decided to take a look at some of our favorite Motorcycle Films! "The Place Beyond the Pines", which is directed by Derek Cianfrance, re-teaming with Ryan Gosling ("Blue Valentine"), tells the story of a mysterious motorcycle racer traveling with a carnival, desperately trying to connect with a former lover who recently and secretly gave birth to the stunt rider's son. In an attempt to provide for his new family, he quits the carnival life and commits a series of bank robberies aided by his superior riding ability. The stakes rise as he's put on a collision course with an ambitious police officer looking to quickly move up the ranks in a police department riddled with corruption.

So, not much deeper than that this week: the lead character rides a motorcycle, so we'll look at some other films that have a noticeable motorcycle presence in them. We will note that how we defined the presence differs for every writer. Some tried to stick closer to films that really centered around the bike presence, while others focused more on certain scenes that stuck out from certain films - but all in all, everyone found kind of a mix of each.

Also, while the title of the category this week is Motorcycle Movies, we generally took it to mean any type of motorized vehicle on two wheels. So scooters, mopeds, motor bikes, supercross bikes, anything like that, it all fits into this category.

But without further ado, hit the jump to check out all of our picks!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: William Hurt

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, and with this weekend's release of "The Host", we take a look at some of our favorite films from one of its stars, William Hurt. Hurt, who was born and raised in Washington, D.C., was the Vice President of his high school Drama Club. But that wasn't his original career path. After high school he went on to attend Tuft University, where he studied Theology. But after a few years, he realized his passion for the theatrical arts was too strong, and he dropped out to attend The Juilliard School of Drama.

He began his professional career on stage, appearing in more than 50 productions - and earning a variety of award nominations, including a Tony Award for his work in "Hurlyburly", along the way. By the late-1970's he had transitioned into television, and by the early-1980's, into film. He was an instant success on screen, appearing in five Best Picture nominated films in the decade. He's been nominated for six total Golden Globe Awards (though never won), and four Oscars. His only win came in 1985 for "Kiss of the Spider Woman", a film in which he waived his entire salary so that production could be completed.

Not many films of note pop up on this actor's retrospective regret list, but a couple do stand out. In the early 1990's he turned down lead roles in both "Misery" and "Jurassic Park". While neither ended up being particularly esteemed roles, both pictures are still notable today, and we can only wonder what a couple of broader fan favorite appearances could have done to help propel Hurt's career in that decade.

Hurt has still appeared in a wide variety of critical and audience favorites alike, however, so hit the jump to see which titles made our lists!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Trailer Park: Epic, The Kings of Summer, Riddick, Trance, Turbo, We Steal Secrets: The Story Of WikiLeaks, Welcome To The Punch, The Wolverine, World War Z

Welcome to The Trailer Park! - A weekly column rounding up new and newish trailers lurking around the internet.

As always, put on your John Nada sunglasses before the jump or... submit to the advertising.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: March 26, 2013

Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" leads the pack this week in an overall dreary set of films. The presidential biopic has garnered many accolades since it's release, and even made both Top 15 of 2012 lists for Alex and Andy.  While it's probably not the most exciting way to spend some downtime, it's sure to be a quality film worthy of your attention. If that doesn't interest you, there are other new titles to choose from, and two of my favorite cult classics are finally getting the Blu treatment (it's a shame I'm not in the buying mode right now).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Box Office Report: "The Croods" and "Olympus Has Fallen" Shine; "Admission" Stumbles

I apologize to everyone for not getting this post up last week. I know how hard it is to find information like this anywhere else on the internet, so it must have made for an unpleasant Sunday. I'll try not to let it happen again.

This weekend, the total numbers were up, with a few new releases performing quite well. "The Croods" grabbed the top overall spot (not to anyone's surprise), while "Olympus Has Fallen", which was maybe the biggest surprise this weekend, comfortably settled into the second spot. The now three-week old "Oz the Great and Powerful" also continued to shine, claiming third place. The drop-off after the top three was significant, but the top films of the weekend still managed the highest overall gross of any weekend so far in March.

Hit the jump for a full rundown on this weekend's numbers!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Prehistoric Cultures & Creatures

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, in light of this weekend's "The Croods", we decided to compile our lists below on some of our favorite films centering around prehistoric cultures and creatures! "The Croods" is the latest animated feature from DreamWorks that tells the story of the world's first family road trip. When their cave is destroyed, the Crood family must embark on a comedy adventure into strange and spectacular territory in search of a new home. With a voice cast featuring the likes of Nic Cage, Ryan Reynolds, and Emma Stone, the Croods conquer their fear of the outside world and discover that they have exactly what it takes to survive - each other.

So the movie above is ultimately about cavemen, dinosaurs, and the earliest humanoid civilizations. Those are basically the themes we went for below; let's not dig too much into the technical wording of "prehistoric". We began our research of this category by first only focusing on films taking place before advanced civilizations - something more in line with this week's film. But to give everyone a bit more range with their picks, we opened it up to include simply elements from those times that maybe take place is other times. This provided quite a few more options, and allowed us to really dig into some different themes for our own lists.

All in all, we ended up with a pretty great variety below. So hit the jump to see which films made each of our lists!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

In Theaters This Weekend: March 22, 2013

Sorry for the mix up last week, but it was my birth week - thus, I was too busy partying my face right off! We are back on track and ready to rock, so without further ado I'll give you the rundown for this weekend's upcoming wide releases. We're looking at a trio of options this week that includes "Admission", "The Croods", and "Olympus has Fallen". What more could you ask for on this fine spring weekend other than a family movie about cavemen and a movie about the president being held hostage but saved by the guy he fired? And also some funny Paul Rudd and Tina Fey movie...I just couldn't think of anything clever to put there is all. Honestly it will probably be a fine film if the two of them have anything to do with it...which they do....because they are starring in it.

Hit the jump for a quick rundown on each film opening this weekend!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Morgan Freeman

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we take a look at some of our favorite films featuring Morgan Freeman, star of this weekend's "Olympus Has Fallen". Known for his authoritative voice yet calm demeanor, Freeman's first love wasn't actually acting, but aviation. After attending Los Angeles Community College after high school, he served for several years in the U.S. Air Force as a mechanic. He developed a passion for the theatre while there, and eventually had to weigh a career as a pilot or that of an actor. Luckily for us, he chose acting.

He began the first decade of his career on stage, refining his craft - and picking up a bevvy of awards along the way. He appeared in various television shows and TV movies throughout the late-1970's and early-1980's, eventually earning his big break in 1987 (and more commercially, a few years later in 1989). He earned Oscar nominations for his performances in "Street Smart" (1987) and "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989). These roles established Freeman as a go-to actor of the 1990's. He continued his rise over the decade, picking up another personal Oscar nomination for his work in "The Shawshank Redemption" (1997), and also appearing in another Best Picture winner, "Unforgiven" (1992).

Cited by many circles as the "greatest living actor in film", Freeman is the only African American actor to appear in three different Best Picture Winners (the third being "Million Dollar Baby" in 2004, a film which also provided him his first personal Oscar win). In his 35+ year film career, he's never went more than ten years between Oscar nominations. And while now in the latter stages of his career, at age 65, he continues to be a force on screen.

A quick note of reference before we get started: If you recall, "The Shawshank Redemption" was enshrined on our Prison Movies list in April of last year. While all of us would have surely loved to include it below, as is customary, we removed it from consideration to make way for new titles. So when you don't see it anywhere below, it's not because it was forgotten, instead because we collectively loved it too much.

Still, plenty of variety to choose from this week; hit the jump to see which films made our lists!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Trailer Park: Kick Ass 2, Penthouse North, Scary Movie 5, Something In The Air

Welcome to The Trailer Park! - A weekly column rounding up new and newish trailers lurking around the internet.

As always, put on your John Nada sunglasses before the jump or... submit to the advertising.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: March 19, 2013

I'm confident in saying we have a pretty strong week ahead us - it might be hard to single out which one of these will be your choice for movie night (I could be wrong, though it is unlikely). And for what it's worth, The Hobbit and Zero Dark Thirty gain the prestige for being my top picks of the week, so if you missed them in theaters or just want to relive that movie magic, now is the perfect time to take these home while the anticipation is high. Les Miserables also comes soaring into home video, though it will be released in a few different editions; only one of them is covered here.

Those aren't the only titles that were worthy enough to gain a spot in this post; hit the jump to find out what else made the cut!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Magic

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we turn to this weekend's "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" for inspiration and compile some of our favorite films about Magic! Superstar magicians Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) have ruled the Las Vegas strip for years, raking in millions with illusions as big as Burt's growing ego. But lately the duo's greatest deception is their public friendship, while secretly they've grown to loathe each other. Facing cutthroat competition from guerrilla street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), whose cult following surges with each outrageous stunt, even their show looks stale. But there's still time to salvage their act - and their friendship - by staging their own daring stunt.

So obviously the main focus this week is stage magicians and illusionists. And while many of the writers below did stick almost strictly to films revolving around such, we left the category open to simply "Magic" to allow for a bit more expansion and broadness. We all generally tried to avoid much inclusion of things like witches and wizards - as there's more than enough there to eventually warrant there own category - but it wasn't an official restriction. Overall, any specific parameters were left up completely to each individual writer.

Hit the jump to check out all of our picks!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Jim Carrey

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we take a look at some of our favorite films featuring actor Jim Carrey, co-star of this weekend's "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone". Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, Carrey was always a natural performer, even doing regular stand-up routines for his junior high classmates. A few years later, still determined to make it as a comedian, Carrey dropped out of high school at the age of 16 (he was a straight-A student). He spent the first years of his career mostly performing in comedy clubs and appearing in bit film and television roles. In 1988, while on the set of "Earth Girls Are Easy", Carrey hit it off with co-star Damon Wayans. Wayans and his brother, Keenen Ivory Wayans, were in the process of putting together a sketch comedy show and wanted Carrey to be a part of it. He agreed, and quickly became of of the biggest stand-outs on "In Living Color".

Only a few years later, Carrey was a box office monster. His first starring roles, all in 1994, came in the films "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective", "The Mask", and "Dumb & Dumber". Only two years later, with only a small handful of films under his belt, Carrey became the first actor to ever command a $20MM salary for a film (Julia Roberts would become the second four years later). He was the fifth-highest grossing star of the 1990's, picking up a slew of award nominations along the way. He's been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, winning two ("The Truman Show", 1998, and "Man on the Moon", 1999). Many felt he deserved an Academy Award nomination for his work in "The Truman Show", but unfortunately it did not come. At the time, Carrey lashed out at the Academy, stating that the organization was narrow-minded. He has, however, been nominated for a total of 23 MTV Movie Awards and won 11, both records for an individual.

Not many film roles have truly eluded him, though he did lose out on two separate roles to Johnny Depp, both "The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" and "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". Also, Carrey was the original choice to play the lead role is "Meet the Parents" (2000). While Ben Stiller would eventually replace him, Carrey still assisted with some of the jokes in the script (we can thank him for the idea to name the title character "Focker").

There's no doubt that Jim Carrey has and will always be seen as an icon of the comedy genre. His extremely outgoing persona and physical style is unmatched by his peers. While his star has faded some in recent years, he still continues to be a popular face on the comedy scene.