Swingers

As movie-goers, we are all familiar with that excruciating moment when you are watching a movie and the action is so horribly uncomfortable that you actually feel the need to cover your own face. It’s this nonsensically powerful moment when you actually feel embarrassed for a fictional character because of some terribly awkward scenario that you’d rather watch a murder than bare witness to. It’s like a horror movie almost – it’s that same turtle reaction where you just want to shrink away. And like horror, it’s either done really well or it’s abused, which is why I want to share with you the films I think did it the very best. Oh, and if you are wondering why I only picked 9 – it’s the most awkward number I could think of.

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Since we all have a million dollars, our minds are almost always tuned to the day dream of what kind of movie we’d make with all that loose cash just lying around (since banks do nothing but lose things). Would it be a romantic horror film? Would it be a silent action film? Would we blow of all of it on lighting and forget the other elements of production design? Probably. Fortunately, we’ve all had a few filmmakers tread before us in using their million bucks with efficiency and artistry. In a world where Michael Bay needs 200 suitcases full of $1m, these directors made it happen with only one of those suitcases (or no suitcases at all), and they created a lasting legacy despite their lack of foldin’ money. If they can do it, why not us? Here are 8 great films made for under a million dollars that we can all learn from. (And if you enter our contest sponsored by Doritos, you might actually win that $1m you need for all those lights.)

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This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray we take a late look at some of the best releases from four days ago, and eleven days ago. Okay, so it’s been a boring fortnight in Blu-ray, so were combining two weeks worth of coverage into one shot of high definition adrenaline. In this long list, however, you will find plenty of stuff worth your time and money. This includes a definitive release for The Dude, an adventure with Trolls, some time spent with everyone’s favorite serial killer and a few under-the-radar, direct-to-DVD films that are worth watching at least once. The Big Lebowski For The Dude shall get the release he so deserves. That’s how I would assume it is written in the Book of Lebowski. And that’s what we have here: the Blu-ray release — for the most part — The Dude has deserved all along. Not only is the Coen Brothers’ most popular cult hit presented in crisp, dynamically transferred and near-perfect HD, it is also presented with a few new special features. The packaging isn’t as impressive as the DVD edition I have on my display shelf that comes inside a bowling ball, but I’m willing to look past that for this particular release. It’s a great movie and this is a very good Blu-ray release. There is some HD-exclusive content, including a picture-in-picture commentary track and an interactive pop-up trivia track. It also comes with Digital Copy, because you never know when you might want to bust out Lebowski and […]

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Criterion Files

When I write this column, I typically don’t get the opportunity to write about movies from my teen years. I, like many, came into a cinephilic love for art and foreign cinema during college, and in that process grew to appreciate The Criterion Collection. Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused (1993), however, is a movie that’s followed me through various changes in my life for (I’m just now realizing as I write this) about half of my time thus far spent on Earth.

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It was sort of heartbreaking earlier in the year when The Weinstein Company failed to purchase Miramax back. It would have been a homecoming of sorts for both companies, and it promised a return to form for Miramax after struggling through the latter part of the 2000s with fewer titles (and far less edge). The two companies have announced the next best thing – a long-term partnership. Unfortunately, that partnership is built upon producing and releasing a blight on the cinematic community. The two companies plan on releasing sequels to long-forgotten titles. Unnecessary sequels are planned for Bad Santa, Rounders, and Shakespeare in Love. There’s something harmless about seeing Billy Bob Thornton back in the Santa suit, but do they expect to nab Matt Damon and Ed Norton back? Do they plan on getting Gwyneth Paltrow back into drag? Those aren’t necessary components, but without those main actor ties, the sequels – coming a decade late – would be In Name Only sequels. The worst case scenario is Miramax becoming the National Lampoon of indie companies.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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