Who is Ben Affleck‘s favorite Batman according to Matt Damon? Which Stranger Things cast member paid a visit to the set of Avengers: Infinity War? Who is Batman fighting in a post-production glimpse at Justice League from Zack Snyder? How did Tom Holland react to the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer? Is Patrick Stewart done with the X-Men franchise too? All that and more in this edition of Superhero Bits.
Matt Damon says Ben Affleck‘s favorite Batman is Will Arnett, but won’t name a favorite Dark Knight himself.
Salty reaction GIFs have a special home on Twitter. Sometimes they just work better than anything you can write in 140 characters.
Though a GIF of Giant Bomb’s video producer and podcaster Drew Scanlon has existed in the gaming community for quite some time, it has only received wide-spread internet notoriety in the last few weeks, which is fortunate, because it deserves the internet’s admiration.
As noted by the internet meme database Know Your Meme, the GIF comes from Giant Bomb’s video titled “Unprofessional Fridays.” In the clip, Scanlon reacts to Jeff Gershman saying he is “Farming with my hoe.” Read more…
“Fresh and richly intelligent.” A new trailer has arrived online for an indie film titled As You Are, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival last year to positive reviews (here’s my review). I’m glad to see this is finally being released soon, it’s a great film. Owen Campbell stars as a teenager caught in a love triangle between his two friends – played by Charlie Heaton and Amandla Stenberg. The cast includes Mary Stuart Masterson, Scott Cohen and John Scurti. This is best to see without knowing too much going in, because the film reveals the truth as the story plays out. The trailer features the song “Appalachian Moon” written and performed by Kevin Reilly, included on the soundtrack. I recommend giving this a look. ›››
In honor of John Wick: Chapter 2, which hits theaters this week, we are taking a look at our favorite action scenes from movies and television history. But this isn’t just about us, it’s also about you. What did we get right? What did we get wrong? What is your favorite action scene? Leave your picks in the comments below!
/Answers is a weekly feature where all of the /Film writers and podcasters attempt to answer a pop culture related question. Last week, in honor of the Super Bowl, we answered: “What is your favorite sports movie?”
Jack Giroux: Aliens – Rescue Mission
(Note: we couldn’t find a clip of the scene described below, so above is a different clip from Aliens that represents some of the same qualities.)
Total chaos shot with absolute clarity. James Cameron‘s set pieces rarely ever cause confusion, so that’s a given, but the sense of horror is what I adore about this sequence. Even cutting from Hudson (Bill Paxton) making another wisecrack to the shot of some doomed marines and an unsettling piece of music from the late James Horner — which makes the world sound like it’s turning upside down — gets under my skin.
The rescue mission get progressively worse as the stakes rise. The marines are told not to use bullets or grenades, are in an unknown, beautifully designed and eerie environment, and have no clue what they’re up against. They do, as Hudson says, get their asses kicked, and it’s equally thrilling and horrifying.
Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) genuinely terrified reaction to the chestburster, Lieutenant Gorman’s (William Hope) futile instructions, the haunting sound of the multiple signals, and the hero taking charge when others are left confused and afraid by what they’re seeing, it’s one terrific moment after another in this action scene.
Peter Sciretta: Children of Men – Car Attack
I’ve always been a huge fan of long-take tracking shots, which seem to have become more popular in the last few years. The truck sequence from Raiders of the Lost Ark might have been my favorite action sequence as a child, but as an adult, I feel the pull towards Alfonso Cuarón’s one-shot action sequences in Gravity and Children of Men.
The opening sequence in Gravity is so thrilling and masterfully done. I nearly had a panic attack watching this movie, but in the back of my head, this sequence probably loses points for not being an actual one-shot sequence. Thus, I think my favorite action scene of all time might be the one-shot car sequence from Children of Men. The sequence does such a masterful job of putting us as an audience in this confined space with our protagonists in the midst of the action. We truly feel the danger all around us. And yes, the one-shot sequence at the end of the film is also amazing.
As for my favorite non-one-take action sequence, that would probably go to Tom Cruise scaling the Burj Khalifa from Brad Bird‘s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which was so breathtaking and thrilling in IMAX 70mm.
I’ll be honest, choosing a single favorite action scene is incredibly tough for me. I’ve been infatuated with action cinema since I was a kid, and I have countless fights/chases/set pieces burned into my brain at this point. But if I had to pick one, I’d have to go with the epic showdown between Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (a film I also count among my top 5). This fight has it all: Wonderful choreography from the great Woo-Ping Yuen; talented performers who actually know what they’re doing; and a director and cinematographer who know precisely how to shoot this elaborate dance.
Most importantly, though, this fight scene tells us something about the characters. Shu Lien (Yeoh) desperately wants to save Jen (Ziyi), but the young girl’s hubris keeps getting in the way. They’re not only fighting for their lives; they’re fighting for their friendship. Pretty much every action scene in Crouching Tiger is imbued with some sort of deeper meaning, but this one in particular just breaks my heart every time I see it. (And it’s worth noting that CT:HD has several of the greatest fight scenes ever put to film: How can you forget Jen’s tea house throwdown? Or Li Mu Bai’s (Chow-Yun Fat) first encounter with Jen, where he tests her skill with a twig? Or their floating fight among bamboo trees? It’s a practically perfect film.)
Christopher Stipp: The Crow – Final Fight
You can go substance over style, but we’re talking action sequence so style it is. One of the most enduring action sequences that have lingered with me long since having seen it was in The Crow as it nears its final act. If we were to conduct a post-mortem and unpack all the things going on in this scene you’ve got a lot to chew on: how Brandon Lee’s untimely demise was because of a gun blast gone wrong, the heavy use of comic book bravado, the self-awareness in this scene of how obnoxious grand pronouncements sound to everyone else in the room, a dope track by My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult playing in the background before it just stops immediately, sword play, the head shots, and one of the best one-liners ever uttered before he disposes of Skank:
It’s not a good day to be a bad guy…
A good fight scene seems to be as specific to one person’s taste a perfume, but the work that fight choreographer Jeff Imada put into this scene is just sumptuous. It’s not high art, but the chills it induces when I watch this, again and again — it gets me every single time.
David Chen: Hard Boiled – Hospital Shootout
If you are writing a piece about the best action scenes of all time and your answer is not “The hospital shootout from Hard Boiled,” then your argument is invalid. The first time I watched this thing, I was in awe. My jaw was on the floor. How could this movie have delivered massive action set pieces like the warehouse scene from earlier in the film, only to make them look like a weak preamble to one of the most ambitious action scenes ever.
This is the most John Woo scene that John Woo ever John Woo-ed. There’s copious slow-motion, incredible gunplay, explosions galore, innocent bystanders constantly imperiled, and of course, a baby peeing out a fire on Chow Yun-Fat’s body. Even though the stakes in his films are epic and Shakespearean, Woo is ultimately just trying to be a consummate entertainer. And of course, the scene goes on forever. I get exhausted just watching it, let alone imagining how they filmed this madness. It’s an action scene bar that virtually no action movies have risen to since.
If you’ve ever wondered if Netflix employees spend their days swimming in tanks of cash, Scrooge McDuck-style, just look at the fact that they just aired a trailer for Stranger Things season 2 during the Super Bowl. That’s kind of remarkable when you pause and think about it for a second – in about a year, Netflix’s throwback science fiction series went from “out of nowhere sleeper hit” to “show popular enough to warrant airtime during one of the biggest events of the year.” And if you’re not a football fan, you can watch the spot for yourself below.
We don’t know much about what Netflix and series creators/showrunners the Duffer Brothers have up their sleeves for season two, but this is clearly going to be worthy of a weekend-of-release marathon binge. There is no exact release date in the teaser, but it does say “Halloween.” So let’s say mid-October?
I got the first script of season two, and the first five minutes I was on my feet going, ‘Yes! Yes!’ Because they open up the world in such a new way. And these characters that I feel like are so iconic, and that we love so deeply, get to really go on different arcs and different journeys and explore these little things that we touched on in their personalities and psychologies. And we get to really expand on that… I really do think it’s going to be thrilling. And you can tweet at me that I’m an idiot if it’s not.
It’s a year later in the story, so there are several things that happened last year, like Will has come back. There are certain people in the town that know what happened, and then certain people that don’t know what happened. So there’s a lot of fallout with who knows what.
Stranger Things season 2 will arrive in October and we’ll probably know the exact release date soon enough. We’re probably going to make ourselves sick talking about it.
The 2017 Sundance Film Festival has finally come to an end and to put a wrap on things and finalize our nearly two weeks of coverage, it’s time to present our Best of the Fest list. I was able to see a total of 36 films across 10 days, but I couldn’t catch everything and missed a few films getting lots of buzz (Novitiate, Where is Kyra?, Thoroughbred). I saw a total of 8 documentaries, so instead of separating docs and features this year, I decided to present one big list of my 7 favorite films (in honor of it being 2017). My #1 by a mile is Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, I love this film so much. It will likely end up on my Top 10 of the year, but many other films from this fest are worth seeing when they come your way. Let’s get into it. ›››
On the new site, which is described as a “time capsule” for all things Vine, you can search for a specific user’s profile or browse the archives by category or year. Twitter has curated a number of “highlights” in some of its most popular categories, like animals, art, comedy, music and “weird.” Read more…
“Without love, what reason is there for anything?” What a year. Admittedly, it’s always a challenge for me to put together a Top 10 list, just because there’s never enough time to watch (and rewatch) everything. That said, I fell head-over-heels in love with a number of movies in 2016 and it was easy to put them on this list. I learned so much from my Favorite Films of 2016. Paterson taught me to love poetry (and write some of my own). La La Land reminded me that dancing is the key to life, and jazz is awesome. Captain Fantastic taught me to always seek the truth. Pete’s Dragon reminded me that sometimes we must believe in magic. I’m invigorated by how much movies often affect me, and the more emotional I get, the more I love them. ›››
I don’t know about you, but what I remember most about movies are moments, particularly the ones where I’m made to feel something strongly. That’s make sense, right? A specific look on a character’s face. The emotional meaning of what’s transpiring in the present. We, as a viewer, find ourselves connecting to the moment in a vicarious, yet visceral way, and that memory becomes seared into our consciousness and even subconscious, only to emerge at some random time in our life experience.
There are some other excellent movie moments in the article. Here are a few I’d like to add to the mix.
If you haven’t seen Captain Fantastic (written and directed by Matt Ross), I recommend it. I watched it on airplane back from L.A. while reading the script. It’s… well.. fantastic. This moment at a funeral works on so many levels: Funny, sad, awkward, and filled with tension about where the scene will go:
Another indie gem is The Invitation (written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi). It is a drama, turned thriller, turned horror movie, and one of its most notable features is how it plays like a slow burn, incrementally ratcheting up the tension with strange and suspicious moments like this:
Finally, my two favorite movies of the year are Arrival (screenplay by Eric Heiserrer, based on a short story by Ted Chiang) and La La Land (written and directed by Damien Chazelle). The /film article mentions the revelation scenes I will remember most from Arrival and it also discusses the ending of La La Land, but for me, there is one precise moment in that sequence I will never forget. I can’t find a photo of it online, but it’s when Sebastian comes to the end of the tune he’s been playing when Mia surprisingly shows up at his club. His finger hangs over the keyboard, one last note to finish the song.
Over an extended silence, he either chooses not to play the note… or can’t bring himself to play it, as if to suggest that by finishing the song, it would bring completion to the Sebastian-Mia storyline. It’s an incredibly poignant moment and I loved that it was what he does NOT play which is being communicated with a meaning we will never know, but can only guess at.
Whatever 2016 brought in the way of turmoil and tragedy, there are some wonderful movies — and movie moments — to cherish and recall as inspiration in what I hope will be a much better 2017.
What movie moments from 2016 stuck with you? Click on RESPONSE and share your thoughts.
Is there a chance Neil Patrick Harris will be involved in The Flash/Supergirl musical crossover episode in the future? Want to spice up your fireplace screensaver home video with some superhero style? What is Ryan Reynolds‘ favorite line that got cut from Deadpool? What’s the promise Ben Affleck made to Jeremy Irons about his role in the solo Batman movie? All that and more in this edition of Superhero Bits.