A quick look at the biggest grossing movies of all-time reveals a string of action and sci-fi titles with one striking exception, Titanic.
This massive romantic disaster movie was something of a phenomenon when it was released in 1997 as it provided a cinematic feast that was emotionally arresting and visually spectacular.
And not only did the on-screen exploits of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet set a new high watermark in how romances could be depicted in the modern age, but the sheer promotional force of the movie also represent a shift in how Hollywood operated.
The project was created by the acclaimed director James Cameron who, after finding immense success with the likes of Terminator 2, enlisted the help of 20th Century Fox to create a three-hour long Hollywood epic that harkened back to the cinematic greats of the mid-20th century.
Despite a budget that topped $200 million and a film-set that frequently encountered all manner of weird incidents, the film went on to become a massive critical and box-office hit that became the first movie to make $1 billion worldwide.
It’s a movie that manages to carefully intertwine a wide number of relevant issues regarding class, nationality and technology, and it’s only through Cameron’s directorial skill that this succeeds despite its lofty aims.
Although Titanic has often been cruelly dubbed a ‘chick-flick’, it’s nonetheless become one of the cinematic greats that’s had more than its fair share of parodies and spoofs and has even made its way into the video gaming realm.
Already plans are afoot to create a role-playing game that allows you to explore the sinking ship in real-time, and if that wasn’t enough there’s also a Titanic-themed slots game on the Mr Smith Casino site that offers a commemoration of the movie whilst serving up some impressive prize winnings.
But one of the most surprising things was to come when it was revealed in 2012 that there would be a Titanic in 3D release that provided a new generation of fans with the chance to witness the story of the ill-fated ship in a whole new way.
And such is the iconography around the movie that it’s continued to serve as inspiration for many new creative endeavors with even an Australian punk performance art theatre play providing a fairly ironic look at one of the biggest movies of all-time.
Scott Wolf’s acting career began in the early 1990s, as he gained recognition for his work on the beloved TV series Party of Five, a show which also launched the acting careers of Matthew Fox and Neve Campbell. Now Wolf’s part of the talented ensemble of NBC’s The Night Shift, and during our interview with the actor he talked about how the television landscape has changed over the years.
Even with the proliferation of streaming services, reality television, and long form content hitting viewers from every direction, Wolf believes that the cream rises to the top. “At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to tell good stories with good people and hope that an audience shows up,” said Wolf. “It’s probably harder than ever to grab an audience just because there are so many places they can look. But that just places a greater demand on the people making this stuff and as it gets harder and harder to grab a viewership, the quality of what we’re making has to get better and better.”
Click on the media bar below to hear Scott Wolf discuss how the TV industry has changed over the years (The Night Shift co-star Robert Bailey Jr. is also heard in the clip).
The Night Shift airs Wednesday evenings on NBC (10 pm et/pt).
Frank Grillo reprises his role once again as Sergeant Leo Barnes in The Purge film franchise in the third installment The Purge: Election Year.
The Purge franchise is one of the most successful horror franchises of the decade, as it’s grossed over $200 million worldwide. Grillo is very excited for The Purge: Election Year because he thinks there are many elements that audiences will enjoy and it’s not your typical horror film (Click on the media bar to hear Frank Grillo)
The Purge: Election Year, co-starring Elizabeth Mitchell, is now playing in theaters
Relatively ignored during its theatrical run, the underrated film The Family Fang marks Jason Bateman’s sophomore effort as a director, and it’s an even funnier film than his debut feature Bad Words.
Annie and Baxter Fang (Nicole Kidman, Jason Bateman) are emotionally scarred siblings who are struggling in their respective careers (Annie’s an actress, and Baxter’s a creatively blocked writer), and part of their challenge is dealing with their enigmatic parents Caleb and Camille (Christopher Walken, Maryann Plunkett).
Since their folks have spent a lifetime creating public art performances aimed to shake up an unsuspecting audience, Annie and Baxter often question their parent’s motives. When they both go missing with only their abandoned car left as evidence, Camille and Caleb are presumed to be the victims of a crime, but their children (especially a suspicious Baxter) realize something is amiss.
Based on a novel by Kevin Wilson, The Family Fang is a confident blend of drama, dark comedy, and pathos that’s also filled by excellent work from the ensemble. Plunkett is the film’s biggest surprise as the conflicted matriarch who must choose her husband’s wild, artistic ambitions and the love she has for her understandably perplexed children. The movie also works as a bit of a mystery, as viewers who haven’t read the novel really don’t know if the parents are missing or in the middle of pulling off their biggest artistic piece to date.
The DVD comes with audio commentary from Bateman who, along with giving movie fans a step by step insight on making the movie, playfully jokes about his character’s feathered hair look (Bateman says Baxter Fang’s hairstyle is a throwback to 1970s era actress Kristy McNichol and Dance Fever’s Deney Terrio).
The Family Fang (R, 106 minutes) is now out on DVD via Anchor Bay Entertainment. To listen to our CinemAddicts review of The Family Fang, click on the media bar below:
In a diverse and celebrated acting career that includes an Oscar nod for last year’s Trumbo and four Emmys for Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston obviously knows a thing or two about acting. His latest film The Infiltrator centers on the true story of U.S. customs agent Robert Mazur’s (Cranston) attempts to take down Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.
During The Infiltrator interviews, we asked Cranston if there is a particular method he uses as an actor. “We all approach things differently,” says Cranston, whose previous credits also include Godzilla . “The traditional way of describing it is that some actors are ‘outside in’ and others are ‘inside out.’ I use kind of a combination of that. Sometimes it’s something that happens on the outside - the look or the feel that informs the inside or plants a seed. Ultimately, you need to grow, for me, the emotional core of (the character).”
Click on the media bar to hear Bryan Cranston give his take on the acting process:
Co-starring Benjamin Bratt and Diane Kruger, The Infiltrator opens nationwide July 13.
The oft-used phrase “no good deed goes unpunished” applies to the lead character in Our Kind of Traitor, the story of a poetics professor named Perry (a subdued yet effective Ewan McGregor) whose attempts to help his new Russian friend Dima (Stellan Skarsgård) find sanctuary in Britain puts he and his wife (Naomie Harris) in immediate danger. Based on a John Le Carré novel and directed by Susanna White (Nanny McPhee Returns, Generation Kill), Our Kind of Traitor may have its share of action and political intrigue (Damian Lewis co-stars as a refreshingly unpredictable MI6 agent), but the heart of the story deals with Perry’s gradual re-investment in his own life and his relationship with Gail (Harris).
“It’s a very contemporary story of what it’s like to be a couple in 2016 when you’re both trying to hold down careers,” said White, who will next direct Jessica Chastain in Woman Walks Ahead “He’s a lost soul at the beginning of the movie. He likes the idea of his wife being a successful lawyer but actually she’s overtaken him in some ways. He’s feeling a bit emasculated by that and (here comes) this super macho guy in the form of Stellan who really makes him question who he is and takes him on a really surprising journey.”
White may not be a “lost soul” herself, but one would assume getting lost during Our Kind of Traitor’s hectic production was inevitable. Whether it was shooting in the “deep snow” of Finland (where elk stew was the food of choice!) or attempting to shoot a quick scene on the train with Harris and McGregor before reaching the Channel Tunnel, rest and comfort were two luxuries that weren’t afforded to the film’s cast and crew (the project’s script supervisor breaking her wrist as well as losing Marrakesh as a location were just a few more challenges White faced). “It wasn’t like running a marathon,” added White, whose movie features locations from five countries. “It was like doing an Iron Man (laughs)!”
Click on the media bar below to hear Susanna White talk about casting Damian Lewis in Our Kind of Traitor.
Our Kind of Traitor is now playing in select theaters, and to listen to our CinemAddicts discussion of the film, please click on the media bar below:
Captain America: Civil War was a bonafide box-office hit with a worldwide take of $1.14 billion, and now the film is headed to Blu-ray on September 13 and Digital HD on September 2.
In this installment, Cap (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) do not see eye to eye on how The Avengers should conduct their business. While Iron Man believes world governments should have a huge say on what The Avengers can and can’t do, Cap believes “Earth’s mightiest heroes” doesn’t need supervision.
The movie also featured the additions of scene-stealing actor Tom Holland as the latest iteration of Spider-Man and Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. Daniel Brühl also stars as Zemo (Marvel Comics fans know him as the super-intelligent villain Baron Zemo), the man who plays a big part in this latest Avengers rift.
Bonus features on the disc include:
1. United We, Stand Divided We Fall - The Making of Captain America: Civil War Part 1 & Part 2 - This featurette looks at the origins of the Marvel story and discusses the inclusion of Spider-Man and Black Panther into this saga.
2. Captain America: The Road to Civil War - A look at Cap’s evolution from a dutiful and dedicated soldier to a superhero with a bit of trepidation towards the government (obviously, that’s easy to understand from the events that transpired in Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
3. Iron Man: The Road To Civil War - A look at Tony Stark and the evolution of Iron Man.
4. Gag Reel - Yuk yuks and funny moments from the set.
5. Deleted and extended scenes - Hopefully more scenes of Daniel Brühl which detail more of Zemo’s backstory and motivations are featured! Nevertheless, extra scenes from a good movie are always welcome!
6. Audio Commentary - Directors Anthony and Joe Russo, along with scribes Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are featured on the track.
7. Open Your Mind: Marvel’s Doctor Strange - This exclusive sneak peek gives a preview of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). The movie, directed by Deliver Us From Evil filmmaker Scott Derrickson, comes out November 4, 2016.
**For our CinemAddicts review of Captain: America Civil War, click on the media bar below:
Chris Pratt and Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence are two of the most in demand actors working in film today. Both are not only good actors whose work is always liked by critics and audiences, they are also big box office draws. They will be seen together in a the sci-fi film Passengers which opens in theaters December 21.
The film sounds like it could a great science fiction, one that can only hope that it’s much better than any other sci-fi movie we have seen recently. Instead of telling you what the movie is about, let’s get the inside scoop from Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. (Click on the media bar below to hear Chris Pratt & Jennifer Lawrence)
Pratt and Lawrence are both excited to be working on an original story, something which is rare in Hollywood these days. (Click on the media bar below to hear Chris Pratt & Jennifer Lawrence)
Whether it’s a family friendly film about a giant (The BFG) or watching Tarzan swing from tree to tree (The Legend of Tarzan), there is a plethora of high profile films coming out this week. But if you’re in the mood for smaller, more intimate fare, the documentary Life, Animated should do the trick.
The project centers on the life of Owen Suskind, an autistic man who learned to communicate with his family by immersing himself in the world of Disney films. A documentary that tugs at one’s heart but also gives an incisive look at Owen’s journey, Life, Animated is the movie pick of the week on CinemAddicts.
Other films discussed on the podcast include the subtle yet effective spy thriller Our Kind of Traitor, the fantasy comedy/drama Swiss Army Man, and the Bruce Willis heist thriller The Marauders. For his streaming pick, Anderson Cowan reviews the William Friedkin directed crime drama Cruising and my Blu-ray pick is Rams (a review of the film is posted on Hollywood Outbreak). Take a listen,and if you have any comments, please share below!
Last but not least, here is our ‘180 Seconds or Less’ review of Life, Animated:
The USA Network hit series Royal Pains is now is in its eighth and final season is currently the longest running scripted show on the USA Network. A huge reason for the show’s success is thanks to the diverse talents and leadership of actor Mark Feuerstein. Along with Feuerstein, his co-stars and guest stars have made the show one of the best series on the network. We spoke to Feuerstein. who reminisced with us about the history and says each season was its own world. He goes on to say how fortunate he was to work with a great cast such as Henry Winkler and Campbell Scott among them and he’s more than grateful that he landed the role. (Click on the media bar below to hear Mark Feuerstein)
Don’t miss the last season of Royal Pains Wednesday night on the USA Network.