Inside Out


Pixar’s Inside Out, coming from Up director Pete Docter in 2015, is all about emotion. In its first teaser trailer, it’s being called a “major emotion picture.” Get it? The tease plays out like a Pixar clip reel, showing off the many emotions we’ve felt over the years for movies like Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story, Up and the emotional powerhouse that was Wall-E. Pixar is very good at pulling on those heartstrings. Now they’ll take us into the mind of a teenage girl, where as we all know, emotions can be intense.

Watch the first trailer. Feel the emotion. Remember all the wonders of Pixar before they introduce their alien-like new characters.


Paramount Pictures / Warner Bros. Pictures

If you’re excited to see Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar on the big screen, you may be still more excited to learn that the latest film from the Dark Knight helmer and Matthew “Alright, Alright, Alright” McConaughey will hit theaters with a large number of viewing options, and not just of the “to IMAX or not to IMAX” variety. FirstShowing has been all over the Interstellar news beat, first breaking the news that the film would hit IMAX two days early and then passing along a bevy of cool screening information once Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures officially announced the news via press release.

Interstellar officially opens on November 7th, but a slew of large format screenings will kick off on Tuesday, November 4th, with still more options rolling out on November 5th (all told, about 225 locations will offer the pre-screenings). Basically, if you want to see Interstellar early, you can totally do that, while also getting the best theatrical viewing experience possible. Not too shabby. But if you’re still not sure how to see Interstellar and what format is best, the film’s official site has provided a pretty nifty guide (one that you can use for Interstellar and beyond). Take a look.

Interview with the Vampire

Geffen Pictures

We’re still over a month away from the 20th anniversary of Neil Jordan’s Interview with the Vampire, yet everything’s coming up bloodsucker. Years of griping about a certain sparkly vampire saga wasn’t enough to kill moviegoers’ bloodlust, as August brought news that Anne Rice’s popular series would be adapted for new adaptations of the pulp novels (adapted by her son, Christopher Rice), and this week brings the arrival of the new 20th anniversary Blu-ray of Jordan’s film.

The question, of course, is who will play Lestat. Rice thinks it should be Chris Hemsworth, while I’d fight to the death for Lee Pace to get the gig (his scene-stealing bits in the final Twilight film simply can’t be the only rakish Pace vampirism we see on-screen). But if Lestat’s cinematic legacy has taught us anything, it’s that Lestat thrives in the unexpected. In the early ‘90s, Tom Cruise seemed like the worst possible choice for Lestat. Even author/screenwriter Rice railed against the casting, until the film premiered and she saw the actor’s performance. Cruise was downright perfect in the role, and Rice ended up retracting her earlier complaints.

Rather than casting with another unexpected male actor, what if Lestat was genderbent? It wouldn’t be the first time it’s been considered. On top of the fact that Lestat is a bit of an extension of Rice herself, she actually experimented with genderbending her characters. Before Jordan’s take, Hollywood was iffy with the themes present in the novel, so Anne turned Louis into a woman, modeled on famous trans people of the era. As she’d later tell Movieline, most of the character would stay the same, except the transgender twist would work with women’s rights in Louis’ era, where you could own and run a plantation only if you were a man. She envisioned Cher as Louis, while an editor wanted her to genderbend Lestat too and cast Anjelica Huston.

The precedent is there, both in Lestat’s history and Hollywood’s recent character genderbending, and this idea is bolstered by the sheer number of talented blonde actresses (and others who could be artificially colored) who could thrive in the role. Here are seven great options for a female Lestat, ones that hew closer to Rice’s original work (and move far away from the uber-aging of Jordan’s film, most egregiously with a 34-year-old Antonio Banderas playing a 17-year-old Armand).

Anchor Bay/Scream Factory

Anchor Bay/Scream Factory

There are eight films in the original Halloween series, and while it’s a given that all of the ones from part four onward are pretty uneventful the sixth film — Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers — has more baggage than most. Director Joe Chappelle’s film was the unfortunate byproduct of too many cooks in the proverbial kitchen resulting in a troubled production and a high percentage of re-shoots done at the behest of the Weinsteins. An alternate cut — labeled the Producer’s Cut — featuring entirely new scenes and story turns found its way on to bootleg VHS tapes and online torrent sites over the years, but now thanks to Scream Factory and Anchor Bay’s Halloween: The Complete Collection box set that bootleg has been remastered into HD for our viewing pleasure.

I was surprised to discover that I had never seen part six in any version, and watching it for the first time I was highly entertained by just how bonkers it gets. And then I watched the Producer’s Cut where it gets even wonkier, and while it’s still not a good movie it quickly became my favorite of the sequels post-Season of the Witch. The newly remastered Blu-ray is loaded with extras including a commentary track featuring screenwriter David Farrands and composer Alan Howarth.

So no, there are no producers on the commentary track for the Halloween 6 Producer’s Cut.

Keep reading to see what I heard on the commentary track for the producer’s cut of Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers.

High Noon

Universal Pictures

Are you into horror movies? Well, good news for you, it’s October, which means that there’s going to be a horror moving playing on a screen in basically any direction you look for the whole month. But what of the people out there who are too anxious to be in the room as things are going bump in the night, or too squeamish to watch as gore erupts into geysers? There’s no need for them to worry, because plenty of other types of movies are always being added to Netflix, and here we have a list of 20 recent additions that will get them past Halloween and into November.

As always, click on the films’ titles to be taken to their Netflix pages.

Pick of the Month: High Noon (1952)

Old cowboy movies are fun. Generally they’ve got dusty frontier towns, a handful of good guys trying to uphold the law, a handful of bad guys trying to break the law, and eventually a big shootout where someone falls off the roof of a building and into a horse trough. High Noon has all of that stuff, and it even features a lead performance from Gary Cooper that raises it up a notch above the other old cowboy movies out there. That doesn’t really paint the whole picture of what this movie is though. This is truly one of the greats—the sort of thing that rightly gets studied in film classes—and that’s because it’s just such a goddamned marvel of structure.

High Noon is one of those movies that just moves. It has no wasted moments, and it’s absolutely optimized to pack as much entertainment into a brief 85 minute run time as possible. It accomplishes this feat by picking its climax, making sure everything that happens before the climax builds to it in some way, and then ending the second the action is over. The first third of the movie is all about setting up a shootout and establishing the severity of its potential danger, the rest of it is a ticking clock tension-builder where our protagonist races to get ready for his life or death ordeal, then the thrilling confrontation occurs, and then the credits roll. Quick, to the point, and perfect. So many modern movies could and should study and learn from it.

Belle and Book in Beauty and the Beast

Walt Disney Productions

If you were a teenager or adjacent to a teenager anytime since 1999, you are likely familiar with writer Stephen Chbosky and his tear-stained book found in the back of many a geometry classroom, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” It’s the epitome of teen angst, the coming-of-age story about an introverted boy named Charlie and the events that he goes through — some normally adolescent, some traumatic — during his freshman year of high school. You know, just a great time. The book was adapted into a film by Chbosky in 2012, so if you heard any wailing in the theater next door or saw some disheveled 15 year olds grasping each other by the concession stand, you know what’s up.

Now Chbosky (who also wrote Rent) is heading to Disney, where he’ll pen Bill Condon‘s live-action Beauty and the Beast. Sure, it’s a tale as old as time, but in that moment, didn’t you swear that girl from the poor provincial town and the monster prince holding her captive in a mansion full of sentient objects were infinite? The studio’s new vision sees their 1991 Oscar-nominated animated classic directly adapted with music from the Broadway show added. Evan Spiliotopoulos, who penned the recent Hercules (the one with Dwayne Johnson) as well as a number of Disney direct-to-video animated movies, already wrote a draft of the remake, but it’s now up to Chbosky to complete a rewrite.


The Tetris Company

It’s official: we’ve reached the final frontier of video game adaptations. A Tetris movie is in the works!

Threshold Entertainment, the studio behind the two late ’90s Mortal Kombat movies, are teaming with The Tetris Company (a gaming company that deals exclusively in Tetris) to bring us a feature film based on little blocks that fall into a neatly-stacked rectangular pile. Why? Because branding.

“Brands are the new stars of Hollywood,” Threshold CEO Larry Kasanoff, told the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog. He’s right, of course. If he wasn’t, we wouldn’t be getting a Marshmallow Peeps movie. Or a View-Master movie (although that one didn’t last song). Or any other toy/game/sumptuous marshmallowy snack treat that has no discernible film-like properties but is being made because people recognize the name.

Same goes for Tetris. Kasanoff is quick to assure us that there’s already a story in place that will cleverly take the few recognizable concepts from Tetris — I’m assuming this comes down to three factors, the shapes, the act of sorting the shapes as they fall and the song — and weave them into “a very big, epic sci-fi movie.” With an emphasis on creativity, as Kasanoff argues: “We’re not giving feet to the geometric shapes.” Although there’s something to be said for the “shapes with feet” idea. Think about a low-budget horror pic with giant Tetris pieces sporting obvious guy-in-a-suit legs, crushing horny teenagers to death as they foolishly get stuck in a slow-moving Tetris block pileup. Could be brilliant.

But with Tetris, filmmakers have pushed past an important boundary. No longer do we need to make adaptations from properties with some modicum of movie material — stories, characters, settings or any kind of recognizable conflict (well, conflict beyond the need for that one straight line block that just won’t come). All we need is a name. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at a few other games with just as much movie in them as Tetris (that is, none), and speculate what their adaptations might be like.

Chris Elliott Get a Life

Shout! Factory

Sometimes I think Hollywood is directly screwing with me, personally. Recently I compiled a list of the comedies from the 1980s that couldn’t be made today. Big was one of the 10, and the feature itself was inspired by a commemorative piece for its 25th anniversary from a year earlier. At that time I’d written, “We can’t be sure that this movie won’t be remade anytime soon, but we can be sure it won’t mean as much after the careers of Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Will Ferrell and others of their ilk.” Well, now suddenly there are plans to remake Big, albeit as a TV sitcom on Fox rather than a movie.

My point about the premise of Big‘s lack of relevance today still stands, especially in the wake of A.O. Scott’s much-discussed New York Times Magazine article on “The Death of Adulthood in American Culture.” The people developing the Big show seem to be aware of the issue they face, however, with the pitch communicated via Deadline being that it will “explore what it means to be an adult, what it means to be a kid, and how in today’s world those two things are more confused than ever.” The problem then, I think, is that the source of comedy — seeing a grown man act like a 12 year old — is gone, and this is sounds more like a drama with social commentary regarding the modern prevalence of grown men who at like 12 year olds.

Either way, is it going to have much to offer that we don’t already know or have already seen? In the past quarter century, since the release of Big, the rise of the man-child has been noticeable in both pop culture, including movies starring the comedic actors named above, and actual society. Because this potential remake will be on TV, I’ve selected a handful of series that have come along since the late 1980s plus one longtime variety show with recently pertinent sketches as evidence that there’s not really a place for Big on the small screen. 

Time Out of Mind

Lightstream Pictures

Late in Oren Moverman’s Time Out of Mind, an addled Richard Gere panhandles in the middle of a busy Manhattan street, shaking a cup and asking for change, occasionally attempting to engage with passerby, and being utterly ignored in the process. Moverman and Gere filmed this scene – and others like it – guerilla style, not shutting down streets or blocking off sets, simply sending Gere into the fray in costume and character. Few people noticed that the older homeless gentleman asking them for change was actually Richard Gere, and even those that gave him money scooted by without locking eyes with the man, too embarrassed or occupied or blind to see the desperate human being standing in front of them.

That’s entirely the point of Moverman’s latest, which chronicles Gere’s George as he shambles and shuffles around New York City, scrapping by for yet another day and night. Homeless and jobless for many years, George has found a few tricks to keep himself alive and in relatively fine health, but when the film opens, his latest scam – squatting in the abandoned apartment of a woman he may or may not know – has come to an end. Narratively loose, the film follows George through an indeterminate number of days (or weeks, or months, it’s kept purposely vague) as he attempts to carve out even the most basic existence.



They say that the genre is the real star of any horror film; that the characters and setting are secondary to the effect of hiding beneath a blanket in a dark room. Filmmakers around the world bank on this, using the horror genre as a way to tell stories unique to their culture that still appeal to international audiences. What follows is a list of 31 examples from 31 countries; there are found footage films, zombie comedies, creature features, and even a couple of horror-musicals mixed in for good measure. While not everything listed has received universal acclaim, they were all influenced by the popularity of international horror cinema and take pride in their cultural identity.



Two years ago Universal released an Essential Collection of their most well-known monster films in newly remastered HD Blu-rays, and now they’ve followed up that set with a far more complete box set — 31 feature films (including the Spanish Dracula) covering the years from 1931 to 1956. Universal Classic Monsters: Complete Collection 1931-1956 brings together six previously released Legacy Collections plus 1943’s Phantom of the Opera. Each collection focuses on one classic character — Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon — starting with each of their highly revered debuts and followed by the characters’ appearances in sequels and spin-offs.

I’d seen those debuts of course, albeit most of them decades ago, but I’d never seen many of these sequels. Until now.

Creature from the Black Lagoon was the last of Universal’s classic monsters to see the light of day — so obviously I’m starting this month-long column with it — and with the possible exception of the Mummy he was also the least personable and empathetic of them all. I recall enjoying some aspects of the film as a kid, but I’m not sure I had ever even heard of the two sequels, Revenge of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us. And now I know why.

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Hey, it’s almost Halloween, so let’s all get ready by putting this on repeat for the rest of the month and talking about some horror movies. Specifically, let’s take a look at the dreaded horror remake. Everyone’s gotten one now — Freddy, Jason, Michael Meyers, and even the freaking Amityville Horror have all seen attempted remakes of their films. Why the hell are the production demons in Hollywood foisting these turds on us? Everyone knows that horror remakes always suck.

Except when they don’t, anyway.

Dwayne Johnson in Get Smart

Warner Bros.

Because the sky is blue and grass is green and we all have to pay taxes and one day die, Dwayne Johnson is going to fulfill his destiny as an actor and machine-like human by playing a secret agent (a real one, not a silly one as he did in Get Smart). The world’s most lovable former wrestler turned Scorpion King turned adrenaline fueled action star confirmed over Twitter that he’ll be starring in an adaptation of The Janson Directive, a project that’s been in gestation over at Universal for some time. You’ve got competition, Jason Bourne — there’s a new Robert Ludlum-penned mystery man in town.

With that tweet, Johnson also confirmed that The Janson Directive is being propelled forward with a script by Akiva Goldsman. It’s promising news when you hear that the Oscar-winning writer of A Beautiful Mind is penning the script; it’s another when you remember that he’s also the writer of A Winter’s Tale. Until the flying horse stops haunting our dreams, we can’t stop talking about it, buddy.

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