Cultural Trends

Hannibal Lecter

According to Vulture, Martha Marcy May Marlene writer/director Sean Durkin is preparing to pitch a ten-episode television series concept of The Exorcist. It’s a promising idea from a strong, disturbing storyteller, so hopefully a solid network picks it up. The potential for trenchant drama aside, what’s fascinating is that this project paired with two possible Silence of the Lambs television shows marks a mini-trend in TV that sees the conversion of movies into the format. Of course, both franchises were born as books (from William Peter Blatty and Thomas Harris respectively), but they were made even more famous (if not downright iconic) by the films – especially because of performances from Max Von Sydow, Linda Blair, and Anthony Hopkins. So that’s two (count ‘em, two) shows based on Hannibal Lecter: Clarice over at Lifetime and Hannibal over at NBC. The first, clearly, focuses on Clarice Starling, and the second uses Will Graham as its FBI agent of choice. These are all in various stages of development, but it seems clear that some showrunners and channels are looking to horror movies for inspiration and content. The natural question? What horror movie icons would work best on TV?

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Due to an overwhelming need to embrace my inner hermit the last few weeks I have forgone my usual weekend gallivanting in favor of staying home with movies. It might seem as if I’m turning into a cat lady (I prefer dogs) who hopes to find solace in the virtual arms of Tom Hardy or Gerard Butler while I contemplate my Bridget Jones-esque death at the mangled jowls of a wild pack of voracious coyotes, but in all honestly there is just something comforting in spending Friday nights with a lover who is always in bed next to you – the remote control. I like to call my endless supply of romance, sex comedies, erotic thrillers, and documentaries “research” for this column, and that’s why it’s completely acceptable for me to leave my desk Friday at 5PM to watch whatever is inside that little red envelope. But this week I needed something different. Instead of a film about French sexploitation or sex in the Australian outback, I wanted a more mainstream offering. I desired a pretty film with the hint of romance but the full adrenaline rush of a psychological thriller. I also wanted to indulge my blazing Emily Blunt crush. Again, in the name of research.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we take on the cinematic emotional roller coaster by speaking with comedian Bill Bailey about getting him hired for the next Star Trek movie and by dissecting Taxi Driver‘s Travis Bickle with psychologist, Dr. Jeff Greenberg. Plus, Landon Palmer joins me for a long-form discussion about the terrorist attacks of 9/11, their effects on movie culture, and on audiences. Download This Episode

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It may be considered old news since it happened a whole week ago, but Disney passing on The Lone Ranger is a remarkably good sign. It’s noteworthy for more than the average news of the day because it hints at a crack in the current foundation of studio thinking. It’s barely ever publicized, since a studio refusing to make a film is hardly newsworthy, but a project this high-profile, featuring talent like Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski, that’s been reported on so thoroughly used to be a done deal. Now, that’s not the case. It’s not like this is the end of the story crisis or anything, but it’s the Hollywood equivalent of a crack addict putting down the pipe, and it should be celebrated.

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The recent revelation that Chris Columbus will be producing a US-based, English-language remake of Troll Hunter was met with everything from mild irritation to outright derision. A typical report of the news included 1) a statement that the original is great/awesome 2) a question of whether this really needed a remake 3) a comment that Hollywood was craven and unoriginal and, for a select few pieces, 4) swear words. My own take was fairly neutral (much like my reaction to Andre Ovredal‘s film), which prompted at least half an email asking me why I was giving this one a pass after years of making up clever insults at the expense of anyone attempting a remake. After some soul-searching, it was clear that I had either made peace with the recent glut of remakes or been beaten into submission by it. Either way, I’m tired of complaining about remakes, and here’s why.

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If you’re like me, you watch the Super Bowl for one reason: you can eat as many fried mac ‘n’ cheese balls as you want without so much as a dirty look. If there’s another reason to watch, it’s because Puppy Bowl has gotten repetitive. If there’s a third, it’s the commercials – specifically the movie trailers. Most of the movie trailers this year gave just a bit more insight into trailers we’ve already seen, but a select few (like Transformers 3 and Super 8) gave us our first look into the worlds being created for the big screen. Fortunately, like the PSAs that get to air for free during the big game, these movie trailers also taught us a lot. Especially about the trends of 2011 that are already emerging. Here are just ten things we learned.

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Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Tolerate 3D.

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After the usual editorials about the death of a genre, I’d like to offer some common sense.

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Hello 80s, Goodbye 3D

With the clear dawn of a new decade, we say goodbye to a once-great innovation that’s been reduced to a scummy fad. R.I.P. 3D.

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There’s a new brand of historical fiction emerging that fictionalizes what we’ve just seen in our 24-hour news cycle. The Green Zone stumbles in the genre’s early baby steps.

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A gang of men. Animated men.

For ten our of ten films, Pixar leading characters have all been male. They’ll be male for the next two. And then, their first female protag will be a princess. NPR cries foul, so we’re opening up the debate floor.

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Based on our cultural history, box office numbers, and the self-evident explosion of superhero films that’s taken place since 2003, it seems clear that The Iraq War is a major factor in one of the largest business trends in recent Hollywood history.

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