Film News

Did the Tampa Police Department Even Watch "Minority Report"?

The New Tampa PD initiative is startlingly similar to the dystopian film.

Turns out we're in the "Minority Report" timeline!

So what was it all for?

Why did we all have to squint through the dimly lit cinematography of Minority Report, watching Tom Cruise get his eyes gouged out and being forced to root for a cop, if we, as a society, weren't going to learn the one lesson it was trying to teach us: that you can't predict crime.

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Film News

See the First Trailer for Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story" Remake

After a year-long delay, the film is set to premiere this December, coinciding with the original's 60th anniversary.

20th Century Studios

After being delayed an entire year from its original release date, Steven Spielberg's upcoming West Side Story adaptation finally has a trailer.

The minute-and-a-half clip, which premiered during the Oscars last night, offers no dialogue. But there's plenty of dancing, some vague fight shots, and a snippet of "Somewhere," a song from the original Broadway musical as well as the 1961 film. Watch the trailer below:

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FILM

Never Say Die: Is "The Goonies" Finally Going to Get a Sequel?

On the first episode of Reunited Apart, Josh Gad brought the cast and creators together to reminisce and discuss possible sequels

"Reunited Apart"

On Monday actor Josh Gad released the first episode of his new Internet show, Reunited Apart.

Each episode will feature the cast and creators of a different classic show or movie getting back together over video chat in support of a good cause—in this case the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Unfortunately the show may have already peaked, because the first episode focused on one of the most impressive cast reunions of all time. It brought together nine of the stars, screenwriter Chris Columbus, director Richard Donner, executive producer Steven Spielberg, and even singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper, from the classic 1985 adventure movie, The Goonies.

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Film Features

Why Tom Hooper Is the Defining Director of the 2010s

Love him or hate him, he is THE director of our generation.

"Find you a man who can do both."

A bit of advice that began life as a meme, became general relationship advice, and finally settled in the culture as an identifier of any multi-talented individual. "A man who can do both" is what this generation demands of its lovers and heroes alike. It is the embodying cry of a generation that was forced via technology to adapt to multiple circumstances, to code-switch at will between professional and text speak, to lead a meaningful life in the midst of unavoidably-publicized global crises and catastrophe. We "do both" by necessity. We have built our culture around "doing both." This duality is what made Tom Hooper the perfect director for these times.

While Tom Hooper's name isn't exactly among household names like Steven Spielberg, Greta Gerwig, or Quentin Tarantino, he has been putting out critically and commercially acclaimed work for the last decade, enough to vault him into the same category as the aforementioned by any metric. His 2010 film, The King's Speech, cleaned up at the Oscars. Nominated for an astounding 12 awards, it won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Colin Firth) and Best Screenplay. He followed that up in 2012 with the best version of Les Miserables ever put to film, an enormously expensive production in which the actors sung live during each take, something that was previously unheard of for a movie musical. He finished his winning streak with The Danish Girl in 2015, a tragically under-seen powerhouse film that showcased two little-known actors who would go on to win Oscars: Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, the latter of whom won for Danish Girl.

French poster for Tom Hooper's 2012 version of Les Miserables. Bruno Chatelin | Flickr live.staticflickr.com

Hooper became known in film circles for the performances he drew from his actors, his sweeping wide shots, his careful shot construction, and his intensely-purposeful plotting. He became quickly associated with other contemporary masters like Paul Thomas Anderson and David Fincher. After three consecutive films that garnered rave critical reviews and made their budgets back at the box office (Les Miserables made almost $500 million worldwide), the world waited with bated breath to see what Tom Hooper's next move would be. If you still hadn't heard of him after Danish Girl came out, you can be forgiven for your ignorance, because Hooper went into hibernation for the next four years. He emerged after all that time for one final masterwork, the film he is now most famous for, and the one he will undoubtedly be remembered for:

Cats!

In an unbelievable turn of events, Tom Hooper, who a decade earlier owned the Oscars, tried his hand again at making musicals, adapting Andrew Lloyd Webber's surrealist broadway smash-hit for the screen. It did not turn out well.

Cats!, released just last December, was an expensive disaster for a multitude of reasons. It was critically panned. It lost $25 million dollars on an estimated $100 million-dollar budget, much of which was invested in special-effects like "Digital Fur Technology" (i.e. digitally covering every actor in fur so they appeared more convincingly like anthropomorphic cats than if they were to wear costumes). Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian Mckellen, British thespians of the highest-degree, shared scenes with Jason Derulo and Taylor Swift. But weird sometimes works. It just didn't work here.

Two of the digitally-furred actors in Cats stare wistfully into the distance. Universal Pictures

At least during its wide release, it didn't. Although still under a year old, Cats is gaining new life in a cult-film scene that includes movies such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Room. There is a growing contingent of the population interested in watching and re-watching the objectively awful CatsCats for the sake of its unintended hilarity and for how well it mixes with drugs or alcohol. This is the great coup of Tom Hooper. This is why he embodies this generation's defining decade better than any other director: he can do both.

Tom Hooper spent the better part of the 2010s proving he was a director of the highest caliber, who could create compelling films with varied budgets, varied casts, and in varied genres. Tom Hooper also spent the final month of the 2010s proving he could screw up almost every part of a film and still find success in it. There is an unprecedented and exciting element in his career. While it's not at all uncommon for acclaimed directors to make career missteps, none of his caliber has ever made such an appalling dud of a film after such a profound string of successes. Regardless of where his movies will eventually settle in cinematographic academia or how they will age, you can't look away from them. What does it say about his work that Cats is probably his best known film? But watch any of his three earlier hits, and one can see they're obvious masterpieces, smart and funny and often heartbreaking, well-acted and well-shot and well-written.

Defining this decade of film is a really heartening endeavor. Careers like Greta Gerwig's (Lady Bird, Little Women) and Ari Aster's (Hereditary, Midsommar) and Damian Chazelle's (Whiplash, La La Land) thundered to life. The masters like Tarantino (Django Unchained, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant) made some of their best work. Female directors were criminally under-utilized and under-recognized (only Gerwig was even nominated for Best Director this decade, joining only five women, ever), and perhaps that is the defining story of the decade.

But the defining director still must be decided, and Tom Hooper is the one with the most range, who created a classic Oscar darling, revolutionized movie-musicals, and crafted the next great midnight cult film. The defining director of the decade is the one who can and did do both. Tom Hooper may not be the best director, but his whiplashing career reflects the chaos of the 2010s, and the generation of millennials who claimed it as their own.

FILM

Will the Coronavirus Finally Settle the Streaming Movies vs. Theater Debate?

With COVID-19 now a full-blown pandemic, industries are struggling to adjust, but the film and TV industry may never be the same

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Less than a year ago, at the 2019 Cinemacon in Las Vegas, Oscar Winner Helen Mirren shared her opinion on streaming movies in no uncertain terms: "I love Netflix, but f*ck Netflix!"

The comment came amid controversy over the criteria by which a film qualifies for consideration for the Academy Awards and other major accolades. At the time, Netflix and other streaming platforms were pushing for their original productions to be included for consideration without the need for traditional theatrical releases, and many in the industry balked at the prospect. Yesterday, Regal and AMC—the largest cinema chains in the US—both announced that they will be closing all their theatres starting today. Together, the two companies operate nearly 50% of theater screens in the US. Other chains have restricted theater crowds, and more closures are certain to follow.

With no clear end in sight for the coronavirus pandemic, there is an open question about how the movie and television industries will cope. While social distancing is creating increased demand for streaming content, and numerous scheduled releases and production schedules have been delayed indefinitely, will studios be forced to release their existing projects online? Will selection criteria be adjusted for the 2021 award season? And will movie theaters ever recover?

Almost every aspect of our society is in the process of restructuring to adjust to the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. More and more people are working from home. Entire regions are shutting down their restaurants and bars. And citizens and politicians alike are calling for measures that would have been unthinkable a few weeks ago—on the left, many people are pushing for freezes on evictions, as well as rent and mortgage payments, and even some Republicans (normally shills for heartless capitalism) are suggesting universal income measures to help people get by. In the short term it's causing unprecedented turmoil in the stock market, but in the long term, some industries are likely to never fully bounce back.

In some of the most dire cases—movie theaters being a prime example—the change has been a long time coming. American theater attendance peaked in 2002 and has been on a slow decline ever since—with audiences increasingly preferring the convenience of television and streaming services. Independent theaters have been hit hardest, with many closing down in recent years. Likewise, brick and mortar retail has been hit hard by the convenience of online shopping—with many local stores and even some major retail chains forced out of business. The restrictions imposed by the coronavirus—the latest guidelines advise against gatherings of more than ten people—are only accelerating the rate of change that was already occurring.

While many industry insiders would decry the loss of the theater experience—the immersive scale and the communal environment—most Americans have gotten used to viewing even epic films on screens smaller than a sheet of paper. While directors like Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan will argue that movies are made to be viewed on the big screen, when your nose is six inches from the action, it hardly feels small. None of this is to say that there won't be something real lost if movie theaters disappear—just that it might be inevitable, and that the coronavirus pandemic has sped up the process. Empty movie theaters may soon join the suburban blight of empty malls and abandoned factories that dot the American landscape. They may go the way of the drive-in.

Abandoned Mall

With the narrow profit margins involved in the theater business, government intervention (as we've already seen with other industries) could help them stay afloat until things return to normal, but the more realistic scenario may be that things never return to normal. While AMC's closure is currently slated to last 6-12 weeks, there is no way of telling how long it will actually last, and it may end up consuming the rest of 2020 and beyond. Will the Hollywood Foreign Press and the Academy open consideration to streaming content and encourage studios to opt for Internet releases in the case of James Bond, Mulan, and others? Or will they cancel next year's award season entirely? Whatever the case, 2020 is looking increasingly likely to be the year that cements the supremacy of the Internet over going outside.

Meanwhile, with Stephen Colbert delivering his Late Show monologue from home (from his bathtub, to be specific), will we see other productions following suit—delivering much-needed entertainment to the isolated masses while limiting the spread of the virus? The term "bottle episode" refers to the trope—particularly common in 90s sitcoms—wherein a small number of characters are trapped together in a confined space. Will we see a resurgence of that concept with an influx of quarantine content? Or will television networks and studios take it to the next level and invest in concepts that allow performers to work remotely from the safety of home, either with animation, or with live-action shows that play with the fact that no one is in the same room (e.g. the episode of Modern Family that took place entirely on FaceTime) If not, TV may also be left behind by the vast array of independent content creators who are more than capable of working with the current conditions.

modern family

Whatever else happens in the coming months—and as much as this all feels like a throwback to a different era—we should all be thankful, for once, that culture has increasingly embraced isolation with streaming and delivery services that prevent the need to leave our homes. We all thought we were just being lazy. It turns out we were training for a pandemic.

Film Lists

The 10 Best Movies to Stream on Netflix While You're Quarantined

Quarantine is many things, but it's definitely a good time to catch up on movies.

So you're technically "working from home" right now, but we know that really means lying in front of your TV with Slack open on your laptop.

If you're going to give yourself over to the gods of streaming while you avoid COVID-19, you may as well watch something worthwhile. Here are 10 movies that you need to see before you die, and since they're available on Netflix right now and you don't have anything better to do, you really have no excuse not to watch them.

A Quiet Place

While the apocalyptic themes of this movie may hit a little close to home right now, it's a gripping enough film to distract you from how tired you are of the person you're stuck in quarantine with. Written, directed, and starring John Krasinski, A Quiet Place explores a world that's been overrun by monsters with super-sensitive hearing. The few people left on earth are forced to exist and communicate in almost total silence in order to stay alive.

Watch on Netflix

Jaws

Now's the perfect time to revisit this thrilling classic. No matter how tired you get of staying indoors, at least you aren't being stalked by a massive shark like the characters in this Spielberg masterpiece.

Watch on Netflix

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

If you like the Coen Brothers, you'll love this quirky, episodic Western. If you don't like the Coen Brothers, you ought to watch this anyway, because it's so completely different than any other movie, you're sure to feel strongly one way or another. This anthology style film has no problem breaking the fourth wall and forcing you to reconsider everything you thought you knew about the Western genre.

Watch on Netflix

Roma

Winner of three Oscars, this movie from director Alfonso Cuarón will stick with you long after the closing credits. The story follows a maid working for an upper-middle class family in Mexico City in the 1970s, and it's sure to put your personal struggles into perspective.

Watch on Netflix

Ex Machina

This mind-bending thriller will have you on the edge of your seat (even if that seat is the sofa you've been sitting on for days now). Ex Machina follows a computer programmer named Domhnall Gleeson who wins the opportunity to spend a week with the enigmatic creator of the world's leading AI technology. Soon, Gleeson finds out that all is not as it seems in the high-tech mansion.

Watch on Netflix

Ghost

Is there any scene in the history of cinema that's more iconic than the pottery scene in this classic movie? Patrick Swayze plays the ghost of a banker seeking to warn girlfriend Demi Moore she's in danger via psychic Whoopi Goldberg. This film is as cheesy as it is excellent, and you really have to see it given its lasting cultural impact.

Watch on Netflix

Coraline

This stunning animated adaptation of a Neil Gaiman book is an absolute treat. This film from Laika, the company behind Kubo and the Two Strings and ParaNorman, is as visually appealing as it is creepy. If this isn't the kind of film you'd normally watch, maybe now is the perfect time to branch out.

Watch on Netflix

Frances Ha

There's nothing like Greta Gerwig's and Noah Baumbach's cutting wit and moving observations about life and friendship to help you forget about a building global pandemic. This semi-autobiographical film has become a cult classic and has arguably one of the best scripts of all time.

Watch on Netflix

The Irishman

Honestly, we wouldn't normally recommend you spend 3 hours of your one short life on this movie, but what else do you have to do right now? Settle in, pop some popcorn, and prepare to squint at the special effects that only do an okay job at making Robert De Niro look younger. If you can stick it out, it really is an excellent film.

Watch on Netflix

12 Years a Slave

This Oscar-winning historical drama, based on Solomon Northup's autobiographical book, stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt. It follows the life of a free black man living in pre-Civil War America who is abducted and sold into slavery. It's a searing portrait of the brutality of slave life, and it should be mandatory viewing for everyone.

Watch on Netflix