Television shows don’t always make successful transitions to the big screen. (Ahem, Dragnet!) But there are some cinematic remakes that are actually better than their small-screen predecessors. The Fugitive won Tommy Lee Jones an Oscar. The Untouchables did the same for Sean Connery. Even The Addams Family got Anjelica Huston nominated for a Golden Globe. Clearly, there’s no dearth of quality flicks that have leaped gracefully from small screen to big screen. So which adaptation is the best?
Ah, New Year’s Eve — the promise of an unforgettably magical evening! Remember that time when your one true love confessed his affections and sealed it with a kiss? Wait, that’s in When Harry Met Sally. Or there was that time you got stuck in an elevator with Ashton Kutcher! Um, no; that’s New Year’s Eve. Okay, so maybe your final nights of the past few years have ended up as total blurs by the next morning. Luckily, Hollywood provides some great New Year’s Eve scenes that you’ll never forget. Relive them, then vote on your favorite.
AMC viewers don’t just love The Walking Dead, they love zombie movies in general as can be evidenced by the chart-topping number of people who played the Zombie Movie Trivia Game and the Resident Evil one, too. And they don’t just love Hell on Wheels, they love Westerns — a fact proven by the popularity of the John Wayne Trivia Game which landed at number two. What other quizzes scored in the top ten. See the list below and draw your own conclusions.
1. Zombie Movies Trivia Game
2. John Wayne Trivia Game
3. The Godfather Trilogy Trivia Game
4. Halloween Franchise Trivia Game
5. A League of Their Own Trivia Game
6. Top Gun Trivia Game
7. The Shawshank Redemption Trivia Game
8. Michael Myers Trivia Game
9. GoodFellas Trivia Game
10. Resident Evil Franchise Trivia Game
Want to brush up on The Duke’s career before taking the No. 2 Movie Fan Quiz of 2011? Check out The Shootist on AMC on Sun., Jan. 1 at 10AM | 9c.
This will be the last column of the year! You’ll have to wait until next year for the next one! Fortunately, “next year” is just a few days away, so there’s no reason to panic. But as this is the last column of this year, allow me to make a few observations about film and the film industry, some only tangentially related to science fiction in particular but useful nonetheless for context.
To begin: 2011 will not go down in history as a particularly stellar year for the film industry. The total gross of the domestic market will click in at about $10 billion, which is below last year, meaning that the number of tickets sold (accounting for the small bit of inflation from last year’s ticket prices) is significantly down — around 5%. This despite the fact that about 50 more movies made it to theaters this year. It’s also the first year since 2007 that no film cracked the $400 million box office barrier; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 came close at $381 million (which, you know, is still good), but it’s indicative of a year where no monster movie like The Dark Knight or Avatar has captured the public and offered a financial or psychological “halo effect” to the general box office.
Is this cause for panic in the sunny climes of Los Angeles? Not necessarily.
Continue reading “Final Thoughts on 2011 Movies, Scifi and Otherwise” »
In the movies, as in life, travel entails risk. Planes, arguably the safest form of transportation, can still be flights of terror (Airport, Snakes on a Plane). Cars can careen or turn evil (The Fast and the Furious, Christine). But what about trains? The potential for things to go wrong is huge here. You’ve got derailment (The Polar Express), collisions (Unstoppable), even terrorist takeovers (Under Siege). How bad can train travel get on the big screen? Here are six of the craziest train rides on celluloid.
A runaway locomotive with hazardous chemicals is headed for a small town in Pennsylvania. Not good. Veteran engineer Frank (Denzel Washington) and rookie conductor Will (Chris Pine) can’t stop it from plowing through a horse trailer or being blasted by the police, but they do eventually drag it to a stop using their own train as a counterforce.
2. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
Oh, look: another crazy person on the subway! Except this time, the wild-eyed guy isn’t asking for a handout; he’s demanding a $10 million ransom. You could argue that this isn’t much of a train ride since the subway car is mostly stationary. But getting stuck between stations with gunslinging hijackers is pretty dramatic, especially when there are four fatalities.
Director Robert Zemeckis first made his mark in 1985, with the blockbuster Back to the Future, combining dazzling special effects with good old-fashioned storytelling. Since then, the ability to expertly weave the latest technology into a heartfelt tale has become the director’s trademark. (Not surprising, considering he’s Spielberg’s BFF.) In Zemeckis’s recent Beowulf and Christmas Carol, the line between live action and animation continues to blur. So without further ado, let’s take a look back at Robert Zemeckis’s best movies.
1. Back to the Future (1985)
Zemeckis’s tale of time travel is refreshingly tongue-in-cheek as it explores how history repeats itself and why your parents turned out the way they did. For introducing Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), and the flux capacitor to the world, Back to Future clinches first place, hitting the finish line at a winning 88 miles per hour.
2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
It’s Chinatown meets Looney Toons with hand-drawn cartoons and human actors. Gumshoe Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) has to tail the voluptuously animated Jessica Rabbit (hands down the sexiest femme fatale ever), who may be two-timing her celebrity hubby, Roger. The movie’s alternate Hollywood universe mixes classic noir with cartoon mayhem and is one of Zemeckis’s finest achievements.