To you remember those “Choose Your Adventure” books you used to read as a kid? You could decide what would happen to the main character by choosing what actions they take. While this has been the norm in gameplay for decades, it has now only catching on in movies. In the series Black Mirror, the creators latest offering is “Bandersnatch” which is quickly building its own devoted fan club because instead of passively watching, users navigate the many choices of Netflix’ first interactive film.
“Bandersnatch” has five different endings and over one trillion different storytelling combinations based on the choices each viewer (or game player) makes throughout the story. Fans have been obsessively mapping out different narratives. In fact, friends, co-workers and family members have been using flow charts to map out visually the different storylines.
In “Bandersnatch” viewers are asked to decide whether what the protagonist Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) should do. Some of the actions are: pick up a book, what type of music to play, or whether to throw a cup or not.
Bandersnatch is a basically a giant tribute to science fiction author Philip K. Dick. The Netflix interactive movie isn’t technically an adaptation of any of the famous author’s works – like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, The Man in the High Castle or A Scanner Darkly, which were all adapted for the big screen –but for all practical purposes, it might be seen as a sequel of some kind.
There are the same themes that Philip K. Dick explored through out his writing including alternative universes, authoritarian governments, and other philosophical, political and social ideas. Stefan questioning the nature of his choices but it becomes more on the nose with Bandersnatch faux-fantasy author, Jerome F. Davies, one of the characters Stefan interacts with. In Bandersnatch Davies is painted as a brilliant fantasy author who went insane after he believed he was controlled by beings from beyond.
In the 76th Golden Globes ceremony, there were plenty of upsets including, the biggest was that the Freddie Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" took best picture, drama, over Bradley Cooper's heavily favoured "A Star is Born" and Glenn Close won over Lady Gaga for best actress.
But the real winner, despite the upsets, was Netflix as it dominated the ceremony with high profile wins for “Roma” and taking home a best TV comedy prize for “The Kominsky Method.”
Unlike the Oscars, the Globes separates dramas from musicals and comedies, honouring the best in both film and television.
Netflix’s impressive night signals a changing landscape in Hollywood and comes as traditional Studios are being overtaken by streaming giants such as Hulu and Crave TV.
As Silicone Valley continues to challenge Hollywood, Netflix also celebrated a best actor in a TV comedy win for Michael Douglas for his work as an aging acting coach in “The Kominsky Method.” Netflix’s hit “Bodyguard” captured a best actor in a TV drama prize for Richard Madden.
Despite the MeToo movement and all that has happened for women in Hollywood last year, there is still a long way to go for female filmmakers and female actors.
A recent study found in total, women comprised of an abysmal 20% of all directors, producers, editors, and cinematographers in the top 250 grossing Hollywood films. This means that 92% of films had no women directors, 73% had no women writers, 27% had no women producers, 74% had no women editors, and whopping 96% had no women cinematographers.
The percentage of woman in film was down 3 percentage points from 2017, according to a report released by the Center for the Women in Television and Film. It was even below the 9 per cent level achieved 20 years earlier in 1998 which indicates that women still haven't earned their rightful place in the Land of Dreams.
This radical under representation of women is unlikely to be remedied by the voluntary efforts of a few individuals or a single studio executive. Without a large-scale effort mounted by the major studios, guilds and associations we are unlikely to see meaningful change.
The newest DC comic film Aquaman has already grossed $483 million worldwide, including $72 million domestically and by anyone’s standard, it is off to an amazing start. The film about the City of Atlantis which has become an underwater kingdom is already a sizable hit and it’s on course to be their biggest domestic and global grosser of 2018.
For DC Comics, it’s a great way to end the year. How has this changed things for the comic-book creator turned studio? it is standard practice after any DC Film movie to examine what its success (or relative failure) means for the brand as a whole. It’s the sixth offering by DC Comics and after faltering following the particularly bad Batman Vs Superman, the studio has seemingly found its film feet. It may be too early to explore the long-term impact, but at a glance, DC Films is now in a position where not every film has to carry the weight of the entire studio.
One thing the relative commercial and critical success of Aquaman means is that the series won’t necessarily live or die by the fate of each movie. There are plenty of sequels and prequels that could be made. It will be interesting to see if DC tries to span out with other characters or if they will stick with what has been successful in the past.
It’s that time of year where we all like to cuddle up to a fire and watch a film or two. The weather is bad outside and it gets dark early so there really is nothing better than passing the time with some great films. However, it’s easy to get sucked into some pretty bad films out there. Hollywood can make some real stinkers that are badly acted, badly directed, have poor scripts and just all-round bad ideas all together. Let this list be a warning for you of some movies you should avoid over this winter months.
12 Strong has the usual war storyline where U.S special forces soldiers are depicted as amiable tough guys with a keen sense of gallows humor and just enough moral scruples to lend them a sense of humanity. Their backstories are almost non-existent, save for some lame scenes showing a few of them with their families. 12 Strong has no moral grey areas. There are good guys and bad guys. The soldiers are seen as good-natured heroes while the villains are evil and bloodthirsty. In one scene the bad guys execute a little girl in the middle of a town square for the crime of being educated. This gruesome atrocity is cynically used to give the American army the moral high ground as well as to provide an additional rationale for the U.S.‘s mission: Now it’s not just about revenge, but also liberation.
Are you the type of person to keep an eye on box office results and go see a movie based upon opening weekend? If so, you may want to reconsider your strategy and there are many great movies that never made much money in the theatres but have since then become classics – or at least cult classics.
Movies are big business with millions of dollars on the line, so it makes sense that their performance at the theatre often determines whether they're considered a "success" or "a career-ruining disaster that the studio can never recover.
Here are a few of our favourites that did not do well at the box office but are still worth watching.
1. The Shawshank Redemption
Budget: $25 million
Box Office: $16 million
Despite very positive critical response and being ranked the best film ever by IMDB users and an Academy Award recognition in 1994, The Shawshank Redemption failed to find an audience in theaters. The general public started to notice The Shawshank Redemption when it was released on VHS the following year, and it quickly became one of the top video rentals across the country. In 1997, the cable network TNT bought the rights to air it, and this helped the film find a larger audience with frequent and repeated airings.
2. Clue (1985)
Budget: $15 million
Box office gross: $14.6 million
This film adaptation of the well-known board game has become a cult classic, beloved by millions. Plus, it has different endings, which is a pretty cool idea. Unfortunately, critics weren't that into it and neither were audiences. Like a lot of films on this list it found its audience when it was sold to cable television.
3. Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (1998)
Budget: $18.5 million
Box office gross: $10.6 million
Jonny Depp, who had been a close, personal friend of Hunter S. Thompson, had been trying to make this into a film for many years before he finally succeeded. Unfortunately, Hunter S. Thompson isn’t what you’d call mainstream and his quirky sense of humour and storytelling isn’t for everybody. The film was a total box office dud, and it wasn't until the home release that people began to give the film the appreciation it deserved.
4. Office Space (1999)
Budget: $10 Million
Box office gross: $12.8 Million
This film has become another classic because it has struck home with so many people who feel stuck in a dead-end job. Unfortunately, it definitely was not received well when it was released in 1999 for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. Perhaps, despite Jennifer Aniston’s character, it did not fit into your typical comic formula. However, it will forever live on in meme history.
5. Beloved (1998)
Budget: $80 million
Domestic gross: $22.9 million
On the surface, Beloved sounds like a recipe for success: Jonathan Demme who directed Silence of the Lambs taking on Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. It stared an altstar cast including Beah Richards, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton, Kimberly Elise, and Oprah.
But when it hit theaters, viewers weren't moved to see this haunting-yet-inspiring story about a former slave who can't escape the ghost of her daughter. it's sad that it didn’t succeed because there's lots to great things about the film.
6. Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Budget: $25 million
Domestic gross: $11.1 million
Horror director John Carpenter's rollicking sci-fi adventure film starring Kurt Russell is a strange attempt to wrap a bunch of his idiosyncratic interests into one sprawling artistic statement. Sadly, it never really caught on with a mainstream audience, but its brilliant action scenes will live forever as a cult classic.
7. Children of Men (2006)
Budget: $76 million
Domestic gross: $35.6 million
Alfonso Cuarón's dystopian science-fiction film, tracking one man's mission to protect the first pregnant woman in nearly 18 years, is a cinematic masterpiece. Through the eyes of Theo, a political activist lured back into the fight against the police state, the film has many themes told beautifully.
8. Cloud Atlas (2012)
Budget: $128.5 million
Domestic gross: $27.1 million
The Matrix directors Lily and Lana Wachowski were likely the only filmmakers with the ambition, and daredevil instincts to take on David Mitchell's esoteric, generation-jumping novel. Tracking a set of characters through a forgotten past, a scary present, and dystopian future, Cloud Atlas is a as epic as they come, a movie about love, life, and death.
9. Dune (1984)
Budget: $40 million
Domestic gross: $30.9 million
David Lynch's wanted to stay true to Frank Herbert's source material. It was a film that tried to please die hard fans not critics or casual viewers. However, even if you’ve never read the book it's a fun watch. The cheesy special effects haven't aged well, bu it's rewarding in a retroactive way like watching your old family videos.
10. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Budget: $3.18 million
Domestic gross: $3.3 million
While It's a Wonderful Life is a staple of the holiday season, it received little attention from general audiences at the time of its release in 1946. This was mainly due to its dark narrative and subject matter. RKO Pictures lost $525,000 on the film, despite its five Academy Award nominations.
It's a Wonderful Life didn't become ubiquitously popular in the United States until 1974 when National Telefilm Associates failed to renew its copyright because it was considered a box office flop. Now in the public domain, TV networks gobbled up It's a Wonderful Life because they didn't have to pay royalties to air it. In the 1980s, hundreds of home video distributors released It's a Wonderful Life on videotape, which further expanded its reach around the world. Over time, it became a perennial holiday classic.
11. Citizen Kane
Box Office: $1.5 million
Despite overwhelmingly positive reviews, Citizen Kane didn't do well at the box office. Along with its dark subject matter, one of the reasons for the low box office numbers was media tycoon William Randolph Hearst who discovered that Charles Foster Kane's story was an unfavorable and loose adaptation on his life. He banned any mention of Citizen Kane and Orson Welles in all of his many newspapers and radio networks across the country. This resulted in fewer theaters agreeing to screen Citizen Kane.
At the time, general audiences weren't keen on Citizen Kane's premise and main theme that the American Dream was a lonely and soul-destroying venture and stayed away from the movie. However, it is now seen as one of the greatest films in history for its innovative structure and style. RKO Pictures lost roughly $160,000 on Citizen Kane, but managed nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director for Orson Welles.
Some people worship classic Christmas films like It’s a Wonderful Life while others can’t imagine a holiday that doesn’t involve watching Love Actually. Then there are those who insist Die Hard is the best Christmas movie.
But what movie is actually considered the best Christmas movie of all time? It’s a contentious question that can be debated until the end of time -- or at least until the end of supper. However thanks to a new poll from the Hollywood Reporter we may lay all those arguments to rest. America’s favorite Christmas movie is … drum roll please… Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
The people have spoken, and America has declared the animated classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the best Christmas movie of all time. That’s despite recent criticism that the movie promotes bullying (We aren't sure how that works.)
Of just over 2,000 adults surveyed, 83% had a favorable impression of the 1964 stop-motion film with Burl Ives, with more than half saying they had very positive things to say about the film. Sixty-eight percent associate the Rudolph with the holiday spirit, which has been shown on TV pretty much every year for more than half a century. Even with the decline of cable television, this year, more than 8 million people tuned in to watch Rudolph, Hermey the elf and Yukon Cornelius save Christmas when it was broadcast on CBS on November 27.
How other classic Christmas films rank:
Rudolph took the top spot in the ranking of most-loved Christmas movies, but not by a wide margin. Three other films were rated as “favorable” by at least 80% of survey respondents. (The survey asked people about 37 films in total.)
After Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the other top nine Christmas movies were:
Not all holiday movies are well loved. While people generally had positive feelings about feel-good Christmas classics, less-traditional fare or movies with edgier humor weren’t as popular.
The darkly comic Bad Santa with Billy Bob Thorton was the movie people were most likely to say they didn’t like. Twenty-six percent of people gave it an unfavorable rating. Seventeen percent of people said they didn’t like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or Elf.
Movies that aren’t obviously Christmas films also ranked lower that favorites like Rudolph and Charlie Brown. Eighteen percent said they didn’t enjoy The Nightmare Before Christmas which is also considered a Halloween movie. Nineteen percent said they didn’t like Gremlins, and 17% weren’t fans of Die Hard. I know... gasp! It's hard to believe.
Of course, the survey didn’t ask about every Christmas movie ever, so people didn’t get a chance to share their feelings about some truly terrible holiday films, like the campy 1964 cult classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martians or the just plain bad Saving Christmas, the 2014 Kirk Cameron vehicle that’s one of just a few dozen movies to earn a horrible 0% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
After the 2018 Oscars received its lowest ratings in its history, with 26.5 million viewers marking a sharp 19% drop from the previous year’s ceremony, there has been much debate about what should be done with the Academy Awards.
In response to the precipitous decline in viewership that followed a brief spike in 2014, when Ellen DeGeneres hosted, the Academy attempted earlier this year to redress those grievances by announcing it would trim its telecast to three hours, air it in February instead of March, and introduce a new category, Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film. The first two changes were greeted with consensus approval; the second, however, with derision, since the implicit suggestion was that lucrative films aren’t good enough to simply be nominated for best picture, that something central distinguishes movies that perform at the box office from “high art”. Thankfully the most Popular Film category has been shelved for the time being. It's without a doubt that the Oscars are desperate and need a change but are they brave enough to implement anything new?
People’s viewing habits are shifting. No longer are people watching live television as much as they used to. With streaming services popular these days, a lot of people believe that live television could be a thing of the past. But perhaps those doomsayers are wrong and the Oscars could simply be saved by a shakeup. Maybe a new host is all that is required.
Kevin Hart will take over hosting duties from Jimmy Kimmel, who presided over the last two ceremonies, including 2016’s flub that resulted in the wrong best picture winner being announced. Hart who started in The Ride Along and Central Intelligence has a huge mountain to climb this year. Is he up to the challenge?
Why do the Oscars even need a host? The host performs a monologue full of jokes and then appears sporadically throughout the evening to read a zinger or two off the teleprompter. This year, there are fewer awards being given out in an effort to keep the broadcast under three hours.
It might just be nice for the Academy to mix it up and try something different, since what they’ve been doing of late hasn’t been working. Unfortunately Kevin Hart – as talented as he is – is more of the same and it will be surprising if he can do anything that Jimmy Kimmel could not.
In recent years, the subject of masculinity in film has drawn a significant amount of both interest and rebuke with modern audiences, especially now as Hollywood tries to reinvent itself admits the MeToo movement.
Ever since the beginning of cinema, our films have been awash with powerful, heroic archetypal males. These men bed damsels in distress, fight bad guys, and save the world from impending doom. Their actions are excessively glorified setting examples for future generations.
There are endless forms of masculinity, some associated with healthy and productive behaviours, others with destructive and harmful traits. Although there has been some improvement in recent years, the popularity of superhero movies is just one example of how manhood is characterised by demonstrations of physical strength, domination, aggression and violence as a primary means of conflict resolution. The superheroes who, are stock characters who use mythical powers to kill and punish their enemies, paint a simplistic picture of masculinity.
The other most obvious and well-sited example are the James Bond movies. A cold, unfeeling killer goes through life sleeping with lots of women and hunting down people who are worse than he is. Although these films may be classified as wildly entertaining, they are not very good role models for men.
However, to say Hollywood hasn’t always been interested in men’s vulnerability and more feminine side would be untrue. There have been pictures that have gone against the grain and have shown men to be more than one-dimensional characters.
Take, for instance, the recent Oscar contender, First Man, which doesn’t lionize Neil Armstrong’s dogged race to the moon so much as it suggests the quest itself is a distraction from the death of his two-year old daughter and the monotony of suburban American life. Director Damien Chazelle shows Armstrong’s heroic journey as one largely motivated by an American culture that once forbade masculine displays of emotion, fragility and bereavement.
Films have always offered a window through which audiences, sat there in the dark, can observe human nature at a distance. A movie theater is where many a boy learned how to make things right, the way John Wayne or Clint Eastward did in countless iconic films, with either their fists or a gun.
Film’s suggestive powers quickly became so influential — so overwhelming in fact — that they are often disguised as very effective propaganda tools. It’s so wonder that males today are finding it hard to express their emotions either by remaining quiet and reliant or by lashing out with violence.
We need films with more complex characters – both male and female. Films that holds a mirror up to our inner souls and casts a light there so we can address our inner fears and feelings. With better films we will have better relationships, life more productive, healthier lifestyles as we recognize being a men is not all about slaying bad guys and trying to save the world.
The long wait for the newest Iron Sky film: The Coming Race is almost on us. Produced by Iron Sky and Jeridoo Universe, the film will have an exclusive release in Helsinki on January 16th 2019 before a wider release across Europe and the United States. The sequel has been heavily anticipated ever since it was announced in 2012, shortly after the first film was released –seven years ago.
The Iron Sky and Jeridoo joint production has gone against the usual American studio system by being using non-traditional funding methods. More than 7,000 fans from 75 different countries have helped raise money to complete the project on Indigogo. Part of the fundraising effort was giving fans roles in the film including extras or the chance to be eaten by a dinosaur. The fundraising alone raised over a million dollars while the rest of the $15 million budget came from more traditional sources.
Finish director Timo Vuorensola and again helms the reins this installment does an amazing job of combining action, humour, and dazzling special effects in the ultimate battle of good versus evil. Iron Sky 2, is set twenty years after the events of the first movie, and the former Nazi Moon Base has become the last refuge of mankind. Earth has been devastated by a nuclear war, but buried deep underground lies a power that could save the last of humanity or destroy it once and for all. The truth behind the creation of mankind will be revealed when an old enemy leads our heroes on an adventure into the Hollow Earth. To save humanity they must fight Nazi zombie Hitler and his dinosaur army. It doesn’t get much cooler than that for fans of the franchise.
The only remaining opportunity for scientist Obi Washington is to escape to the Earth's interior. On their mission to a city hidden there, however, the occupants led by Renate Richter’s daughter and James Washington are by not so friendly to Obi and her gang. Instead, she encounters a prehuman dinosaur world and former rulers of the world who have been hiding under their human mask. Also, for centuries, the "Vril" who controls the earthly state governments with the aim of gaining the supremacy of their reptile race over the people. A race for the future begins as all these different factions fight for ultimate power.
Iron Sky - The Ark, the third installment, is already ramping up and getting ready. The story of the third installment is about two Chinese school drop-outs who set about deciphering a mysterious message from the moon, but quickly find themselves fighting the mother of all conspiracy theories - the Illuminati. The Ark is directed by Vuorensola as well and stars Andy Garcia.
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