• We Saw 40 Minutes of 'Logan,' and It's Going to Change Superhero Movies
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    Gwynne Watkins

    We Saw 40 Minutes of 'Logan,' and It's Going to Change Superhero Movies

    By now, the trailers for Logan (in theaters March 3) have made it very clear that this is not a typical superhero movie. Quiet and despairing, light on special effects and heavy on character drama, the third Wolverine solo film looks to be a drastic departure from previous X-Men films, not to mention the Marvel and DC Comics films that dominate the genre. At a December press event last year, I previewed the first 40 minutes of Logan, and I can tell you that superhero films are never going to be the same.

  • How Carrie Fisher Helped Create the 'Star Wars' Legend
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    Gwynne Watkins

    How Carrie Fisher Helped Create the 'Star Wars' Legend

    “I got in character and I never got out again — and really, I’ve tried everything.” — Carrie Fisher on ‘Good Morning America,’ 2015

  • 'Doctor Strange': Let's Hope Rachel McAdams Is the Last Great Actress to Play a Useless Superhero Girlfriend
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    Gwynne Watkins

    'Doctor Strange': Let's Hope Rachel McAdams Is the Last Great Actress to Play a Useless Superhero Girlfriend

    The many dimensions of Doctor Strange contain plenty of juicy roles. Unfortunately, Rachel McAdams didn’t get one of them. The Oscar-nominated actress plays Dr. Christine Palmer, a colleague and ex-girlfriend of surgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Like too many superhero girlfriends before her, Christine exists only to help and nurture the main character’s journey from self-centered Dude With Potential to self-actualized Dude Who Saves the Universe. ...

  • 40 Years Later, 'Network' Makes This Election Look Like Old News
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    Gwynne Watkins

    40 Years Later, 'Network' Makes This Election Look Like Old News

    A well-known television personality is delivering a speech on the nightly news, and he’s gone off script.

  • A Ouija Board Expert Explains How the Fun-Loving Family Game Became a Horror Movie Staple
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    Gwynne Watkins

    A Ouija Board Expert Explains How the Fun-Loving Family Game Became a Horror Movie Staple

    "Ouija: Origin of Evil," the well-reviewed prequel to 2014’s micro-budget horror hit "Ouija," is the latest film to explore the dangers of communicating with the spirit world through a plastic planchette. But the Ouija board wasn’t always the stuff of cinematic nightmares. It used to be a fun activity for families or couples who were curious about the unknown.

  • 2 Metro North Commuters Critique 'The Girl on the Train'
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    Ethan Alter and Gwynne Watkins

    2 Metro North Commuters Critique 'The Girl on the Train'

    The much-anticipated adaptation of the novel The Girl on the Train, starring Emily Blunt, hits theaters on Oct. 7. Here's what two NYC commuters think about it.

  • 'L.A. Confidential' Author James Ellroy on Curtis Hanson: 'He Was a Voyeur, He Was a Camera'
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    Variety

    'L.A. Confidential' Author James Ellroy on Curtis Hanson: 'He Was a Voyeur, He Was a Camera'

    Kevin Spacey and director Curtis Hanson on the set of ‘L.A. Confidential’ (Photofest)

  • Watching 'By the Sea' After the Jolie-Pitt Split: Scenes From an Imperfect Marriage
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    Gwynne Watkins

    Watching 'By the Sea' After the Jolie-Pitt Split: Scenes From an Imperfect Marriage

    Taking a second look at Brangelina's 'By the Sea,' the quiet 2015 drama she directed and both starred in, about a couple in crisis, in light of their real-life split

  • Movie Micro-Teasers: A Short History of Trailers to Promote...Longer Trailers
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    Gwynne Watkins

    Movie Micro-Teasers: A Short History of Trailers to Promote...Longer Trailers

    Thirty-second promos to tease a trailer release, once associated with YA franchises, have become strategy for genres from R-rated comedies to Oscar-bait indie films

  • The Bridget Jones Backlash: Remembering Renée Zellweger's Controversial Casting as the British Heroine
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    Gwynne Watkins

    The Bridget Jones Backlash: Remembering Renée Zellweger's Controversial Casting as the British Heroine

    Fans weren't so keen on an American star taking on the role of London 30-something Bridget Jones. But Renée Zellweger proved them wrong.

  • Remember When Gore Vidal Said He Secretly Turned Charlton Heston’s ‘Ben-Hur’ Into a Thwarted Gay Romance?
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    Gwynne Watkins

    Remember When Gore Vidal Said He Secretly Turned Charlton Heston’s ‘Ben-Hur’ Into a Thwarted Gay Romance?

    William Wyler was frustrated with the character arc. Why would childhood friends suddenly have such a falling out? Vidal, an expert on ancient Rome, had an idea.

  • A Reminder That Women-Led Movies Aren't 'Risky' After the 'Ghostbusters' Near Miss
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    Gwynne Watkins

    A Reminder That Women-Led Movies Aren't 'Risky' After the 'Ghostbusters' Near Miss

    Let's all calm down and be excited for Ocean's Ocho.

  • Remembering Danny Boyle's Crazy, Beautiful, Movie-Obsessed Opening Ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics
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    Gwynne Watkins

    Remembering Danny Boyle's Crazy, Beautiful, Movie-Obsessed Opening Ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics

    As the 2016 Rio Games kick off tonight, we thought we’d take a look back at the British director Danny Boyle's pop-culture-inspired Olympic lovefest in 2012.

  • A Daughter's First Movie: What Happened When I Took My 3-Year-Old to See 'Finding Dory'
    Movies
    Kevin Polowy

    A Daughter's First Movie: What Happened When I Took My 3-Year-Old to See 'Finding Dory'

    Finding Dory became an easy decision. Not only had Lyla become a disciple of the memory-challenged Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) from repeated viewings of Finding Nemo, but I had gotten to see an early preview of the film’s first act a couple months back and it made me confident that Lyla would also be a lucky one when it came to her first movie.

  • How 'Finding Nemo' Launched Ellen DeGeneres' Comeback
    Movies
    Gwynne Watkins

    How 'Finding Nemo' Launched Ellen DeGeneres' Comeback

    The talk-show host has always maintained how important Dory was to her

  • Summer of '86: How 'Labyrinth' Achieved Peak Practical Effects
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    Gwynne Watkins

    Summer of '86: How 'Labyrinth' Achieved Peak Practical Effects

    Muppets, puppets, and jugglers

  • 'Moana' Teaser: A Brief History of Disney Omitting Princesses From Princess Movie Trailers
    Movies
    gwynnew

    'Moana' Teaser: A Brief History of Disney Omitting Princesses From Princess Movie Trailers

    The first teaser trailer for Disney’s new animated musical Moana has been released online, and it’s a little short on… Moana. The film’s titular heroine is a Polynesian princess (voiced by native Hawaiian teenager Auli'i Cravalho, in her film debut) who journeys across the sea to find a legendary island, with the help of demi-god Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson). When the film opens in November, Moana will be the newest Disney princess and is expected to be absorbed into the multibillion-dollar Disney Princess franchise.

  • Explaining the Great 'Batman v Superman' Divide: The Game Theory
    Movies
    Marcus Errico

    Explaining the Great 'Batman v Superman' Divide: The Game Theory

    In a podcast last week, as he was offering his critique of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, inveterate comic nerd Kevin Smith noted something about the performance of Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader: “He moved the way that Batman moves and fights … [it was] the best cinematic presentation of Batman fighting you’ve ever seen in a movie. It looked like the video game, almost.” Smith was onto something with that tossed-off remark, something that explains the polarized reaction to film. Batman v Superman is more relatable as a video game.

  • The Magic of the Goblin King: An Appreciation for David Bowie in 'Labyrinth'
    Movies
    Gwynne Watkins

    The Magic of the Goblin King: An Appreciation for David Bowie in 'Labyrinth'

    Remembering Bowie's magical performance in the fantasy kids' movie

  • The 'Star Wars' Cantina Scene: The Out-of-This-World Story Behind the Galaxy's Favorite Dive Bar
    Movies
    Gwynne Watkins

    The 'Star Wars' Cantina Scene: The Out-of-This-World Story Behind the Galaxy's Favorite Dive Bar

    When Star Wars: A New Hope premiered in theaters in 1977, many a jaw dropped at the groundbreaking space adventure. The moment that really jolted audiences — the one that showed them they lived in creator George Lucas’s world now — was an early scene set in a drinking hole on the remote planet of Tatooine, populated by a wild assortment of aliens. The Mos Eisley Cantina, introduced by Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi as a “wretched hive of scum and villainy,” has been capturing the imaginations of fans for nearly 40 years — fans like director J.J. ...

  • About That 'Hunger Games' Ending: Mockingjays Need Love Too (Spoilers!)
    Movies
    Gwynne Watkins

    About That 'Hunger Games' Ending: Mockingjays Need Love Too (Spoilers!)

    Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Mockingjay — Part 2’ (Lionsgate) Warning: Some big ‘Mockingjay — Part 2’ spoilers ahead In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, there’s a very brief scene in which Effie (Elizabeth Banks) and Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) share a sweet goodbye kiss. There was no prior indication of a romance, and it could have been purely a tender moment between friends — but at the showing I attended, there was a visceral buzz in the theater as the audience wondered, “Wait, do those two have a thing?” The irony: no such jolt accompanied any of the scenes between Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and her love-triangle partners Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth). Although those potential romances are hugely significant in the Hunger Games saga, the films have a notable lack of sexual tension.

  • The Gruesome Inside Story of 'Misery's' Terrifying Ankle-Bashing Scene
    Movies
    Gwynne Watkins

    The Gruesome Inside Story of 'Misery's' Terrifying Ankle-Bashing Scene

    Kathy Bates prepares to break James Caan’s ankles in the 1990 film ‘Misery’ (Photo: Everett Collection) If you’ve seen the horror film Misery, which opened 25 years ago this November, chances are one scene is burned into your brain: the moment when Annie Wilkes breaks the ankles of bedridden novelist Paul Sheldon with a sledgehammer. It’s the most memorable and disturbing moment of the 1990 film, based on a Stephen King novel — and yet, from the moment Misery went into production, the hobbling scene was incredibly divisive, costing the film a director and several potential stars. Based on existing reporting and new interviews, here’s an in-depth look at how Misery’s scariest moment came to be, complete with rare behind-the-scenes photos.

  • Should You Name Your Baby Anakin? The Rising Popularity of a ‘Star Wars’ Baby Name
    Movies
    Gwynne Watkins

    Should You Name Your Baby Anakin? The Rising Popularity of a ‘Star Wars’ Baby Name

    This year, a surprising baby name appeared for the first time on the Social Security Administration’s annual list of the top 1,000 baby names in the United States. “Anakin” made its chart debut at #957, the name having been bestowed on exactly 218 baby boys in 2014. Granted, Anakin hovers near the bottom of the boys’ list, with nowhere near the popularity of Top-10 names like Jacob, Liam and Noah.  But its appearance is noteworthy, because Anakin didn’t exist as a name until George Lucas invented it for Star Wars. Its one and only cultural association is the character Anakin Skywalker, the father of Luke Skywalker and a once promising Jedi knight who became the evil Darth Vader.

  • ‘The Puffy Chair,' 10 Years Later: How a Little Indie Flick Predicted the Future of Film
    Movies
    Jordan Zakarin

    ‘The Puffy Chair,' 10 Years Later: How a Little Indie Flick Predicted the Future of Film

    The film, created by then-unknown writer-directors Jay and Mark Duplass, was modest in both budget and conceit: Costing a mere $15,000 to make, The Puffy Chair tracks two brothers (including one played by Mark Duplass) who embark on a road trip with an old recliner from Brooklyn to Atlanta with their girlfriends. A raggedy film whose low budget made use of then-emerging digital production equipment — and forced the Duplass brothers to recruit girlfriends and friends as cast members, paying them a mere $100 a day — The Puffy Chair was about as indie as it gets.