Another month is on the way, so another batch of new content is coming to Netflix. This month will see a slew of Netflix original programming hitting the streaming service, ranging from TV shows like the first season of Marvel’s Iron Fist to a new comedy special from Amy Schumer, and one of the many movies that played at the Sundance Film Festival just last month.
Beyond that, there are also plenty of great movies coming to Netflix in March, and we’ve picked out some of our favorites that ‘ll be able to watch throughout the month.
This comedy classic spoof of westerns hails from director Mel Brooks, and the irreverent jokes about race couldn’t be more relevant into today’s political and social climate. The jokes at the center of Blazing Saddles aren’t really about other races themselves, despite several jokes that seem to be at their expense that probably wouldn’t fly with general audiences today. Instead, it’s the idiots who would treat non-white people so dismissively who are the butt of the joke. Spoofs with significance behind their mockery are hard to come by these days, but Blazing Saddles is one that stands the test of time. Available March 1st.
There are a multitude of reasons Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Michael Crichton’s sci-fi novel is a certified classic from 1993. You could go with the visual effects that still look amazing 24 years later, or you could go with the tyrannosaurus rex roar that blew our minds and ears in theaters. There are also the unforgettable chase sequences and the endless suspense from seeing the most realistic dinosaurs to ever grace the big screen (and that includes those that came in the sequels). Jurassic Park is a movie that demands being watched at least once a year, so get your fix in next month. Available March 1st.
Before Christopher Nolan went on to direct the best version of Batman the big screen has ever seen, he was at the helm of this psychological mystery starring Guy Pearce. Our story unfolds in reverse chronological order, making the mystery that much more engaging, and also providing audiences with an uncertain conclusion as to whether our main character can really be trusted. For those who haven’t seen it, we won’t spoil anything, but this is Christopher Nolan at his absolute best, and on a small scale in which he hasn’t worked in quite some time. Available March 1st.
This Is Spinal Tap
The term mockumentary became popularized in cinema when This Is Spinal Tap hit theaters. The film from director Rob Reiner was the first high-profile comedy of its kind, and without it, we might never have gotten shows like The Office or movies like Borat. Cameras follow around the band, which includes Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer, as they embark on a new tour. It’s full of classic comedy moments, including the famous discussion about amps that go up to 11, not to mention a bunch of familiar faces for those who love Best in Show, A Mighty Wind and other Christopher Guest mockumentaries. Available March 1st.
Disney’s live-action remake of their animated hybrid from 1977 arrived without much pomp and circumstance. It didn’t bomb or anything, but with only $ 76 million at the domestic box office and another $ 67 from international markets, it wasn’t anywhere near as big of a hit as Disney usually has. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t one of the best live-action remakes from Disney’s recent run of pulling titles from their vault for modern audiences. It has just as much heart and beauty as E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, and a dragon that you and your kids will fall in love with. Toss this one on for the whole family. Available March 14th.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Speaking of live-action and animation hybrids, you can’t go wrong with the absolute best. Robert Zemeckis’ comedic murder mystery was a groundbreaking mesh of animation and live-action filmmaking the likes of which had never been accomplished so seamlessly before. Even more impressive was how the film was able to secure the rights to the iconic characters from Warner Bros. and their Looney Tunes gang, as well as some of Disney’s most signature creations. Combine all that with a clever, satirical approach to the film noir genre and you have a modern classic. Available March 24th.
Having caught this psychological sci-fi thriller at Sundance back in January, I can tell you that this is a Netflix original movie worth watching at the end of the month. As I wrote in my review from Sundance, “The Discovery has shades of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, both in its economical, practical production design, but also in its surprisingly simplistic approach to a high concept that is driven by carefully crafted characters. In addition, the path to the shocking, moving climax has plenty of influence from Flatliners, and a bit from the indie favorite Primer. Despite all these influences, the movie never feels like it’s overtly borrowing from them, but merely emulating certain thematic elements.” Available March 31st.
What started as a request from Geffen to screen the Goldwyn production ‘Porgy and Bess’ ended up as a hunt to find an existing print of the musical that even the Academy has been blocked from screening for its staff.
“You’ll meet artists, scientists, animators, coders, sculptors, all kinds of different people.” This is totally wonderful. Khan Academy has partnered with Pixar to launch a new instructional series titled “Pixar in a Box“. The idea is to launch an intensive course to teach people how to make computer animated movies like Pixar, teaching the entire process. To announce the series, Pixar made a video that explains step-by-step how they make a movie. It’s one of the most exciting and impressive inside looks at the studio that I’ve ever seen, breaking down every last part of the process. This seriously makes me wish I worked for Pixar, what a dream. But that’s the point! They want you to realize that dream can come true, you need to start learning. For now, watch this and discover what it takes to create a feature animated film. There’s so much involved. ›››
To celebrate the release of Beauty and the Beast, Town House at The Kensington Hotel in London is offering an Afternoon Tea, named Tale as Old as Time, complete with charming Mrs. Potts and Chip Potts dishware. The perfect family outing or afternoon with friends and loved ones, the tea features various sweets and savories based on the characters and scenes of the film. Highlights include Vanilla & Gold Jelly, presented in shot glasses with the ever-symbolic rose petal immersed inside, served with cream poured from Mrs. Potts spout. Other treats include a Spiced Snow Ball Macaroon; Coconut & Chocolate, referring to the classic scene featuring Belle and Beast’s playful snowball fight. Also available will be a Chocolate Clock Tart made of Chocolate Ganache, featuring an image of the lovable Cogsworth’s face. Taken from everyone’s favorite song from the film, ‘Be Our Guest’, will be Town House’s ‘Try the Grey Stuff’ White Chocolate Mousse, a dessert recommended by none other than the iconic candle character, Lumière. Alongside the selection of delicious sweets, Town House will also offer a variety of savory delights to enjoy, including a Bite-Sized Venison Pie, Cheese Soufflé with Roscoff Onion Pissaladiere, and a Beef Ragu &..
Italian horror journalist Roberto D’Onofrio talks with legendary rocker and filmmaker Rob Zombie
Rob Zombie movies have always divided critics and the audience between who loves them and who thinks they are just crap; whatever side are you on his work as a director never goes unnoticed. A filmmaker with a unique vision, Zombie has continuously challenged audiences as he stretches the boundaries of both music and film. His most recent film, the crowd-funded 31, was a return to the basics of crude and repulsive horror/schlock cinema, a fan-friendly rebound after the psychedelic and experimental The Lords of Salem that left so many disappointed. It was, as expected , controversial (read our review here).
We met with Zombie at the 2016 Sitges Film Festival, right on the cusp of 31‘s release and this marks the first time this chat has seen print. digital or otherwise. Enjoy!
ComingSoon.net: In your movies there are always psychopathic characters, which are crazy to the point that seem almost not from this world, where does this kind of fixation come from?
Rob Zombie: I always liked the most films with great villains and it feels like they started disappearing over the years. I love the Monsters, I love Frankenstein, Dracula, King Kong, then there was Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees and now there’s no Monsters, there’s no bad guys, it’s always like there’s a ghost or something like that. I always wanted to have a character that you can remember, as Captain Spaulding or Doom-Head, I just think that’s important for this type of movie. For me, that’s what I always liked about the movies, I like the bad characters, like in James Bond: I liked Goldfinger not James Bond.
CS: Your most recent movie, 31…why did you have to recourse to crowdfunding to finance this movie? Is it difficult today to have a film produced even for a filmmaker like you?
Zombie: Well, financing a movie is always a problem for everybody, it’s not just me, I always thought it was just me and then I’ve been reading interviews with just anybody with the same problem. George Romero or Martin Scorsese, these guys had problems too, everybody has problems. Getting movies made is a fucking nightmare, especially when you want to make things that are not mainstream. If you want to make a Horror movie that is easy to finance I guess it would have to be “PG13”, it would have to be for everybody and that’s not what I am really interested in doing so, every time I go to make a movie it’s a battle, it’s always a different battle, but it’s always a battle, because you try to get somebody to give you millions of dollars to make this crazy thing so, it’s not easy. This was the first time for me to try this new way to finance a movie and it did work out really good, I used the money that I raised for editing, music and things at the end of post-production. These days it’s really hard to get appropriate funding for certain type of movies, films that I made in the past, like The Devil’s Rejects, would be impossible to get a Studio to put that amount of money to make that movie now, therefore crowdfunding sort of became the necessary thing to do.
CS:Watching your movies it seems that you had a lot of influences from European and Italian filmmakers: Lucio Fulci in House of 1000 Corpses or Mario Bava in The Lords of Salem. Can you elaborate about it?
Zombie: Sure, especially with The Lords of Salem I felt there was a lot of European influences, a lot of Argento, in the sense that for me, sometimes when you’re watching Argento movies I’m loving it and sometimes I don’t even know what the fuck it’s going on, like it’s not making any sense to me, like Suspiria, I love it and it just feels weird. It’s more about the feeling and the pacing, because American movies are paced a certain way, they are very fast, they are very worried that someone is going to get bored and walk out of the theater, but I found European movies are a little more patient, things can take longer to happen and that’s why, not 31 so much, but The Lords of Salem was a little more European. When it came out American audiences didn’t seem to understand it but when we went to Italy and France and Germany, everybody loved it, it wasn’t confusing outside of America. It’s very strange. I’ve also been influenced by seventies movies like: Faster Pussycat Kill Kill, Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS or Dawn of the Dead, so that’s the type of aesthetic that I developed over the years. I don’t really try to make films that I think will make everybody happy, some people love them and some people don’t, and that’s good.
CS: As a filmmaker are you interested in other genres other than Horror?
Zombie: Yes, the next movie I’m making actually is about Groucho Marx, it is not a biography but it’s about the last three years of his life. I bought the rights to this book called “Raised eyebrows”, written by Steve Stoliar, and it’s the story of this college student who became his assistant for the last three years of his life, at that point Groucho was in his eighties and had some strokes and he had this woman who did take care of him, who was abusing him and drugging him and stealing his money. So it’s not like my other movies, it’s a sad movie but it’s kind of like part Ed Wood part Sunset Boulevard. That’s the next project I’m working on.
CS: Being a director and also a musician, how do you approach writing the music for your pictures?
Zombie: The music is very important, on my last two movies, for the score I’ve been working with John 5, who is the guitar player in my band, and it’s been so much easier because in the past, when I’ve been working with composers, we were getting a hard time getting in synch, but with John he gets the idea that a simple score that you can remember is the best. That’s why I would always reference that I love the John Carpenter scores, because they are very simple and easy to remember, they are almost like songs. You know, most of time I walk out of a movie I can’t remember any of the music, I remember nothing, but certain films, like Suspiria, which is one that had great music, or The Exorcist or Psycho, all have simple tunes that I love. Therefore, it’s hard to achieve that, that’s always the goal, even if you can find one simple thing that people can remember, it’s not always appreciated by the audience. I hope that we did it.
CS:31” in some parts it looks as if you had to do some cuts, did you have to fight against censorship?
Zombie.: Well, every time a movie is finished, you have to go to the MPAA because it’s always in my contract that you have to deliver an “R rated” movie, because no theater in America wants to show an unrated movie or “NC-17”, so that’s always the trickiest thing, but what is kind of weird is that there are not real rules, therefore the notes you get back are very strange and sometimes it’s really hard, when you have to cut out some violent scenes then they are not as effective as they would have been as you intended to be. It’s really bad, especially since sometimes I noticed that those rules don’t apply on television, you can actually put more violent things on HBO than you can put in a “R Rated” movie, so it’s kind of an outdated system that drives you crazy, but that the way it works.
CS:You seem to be fascinated by clowns, they are in almost all your films, why?
Zombie.: Why not, everybody loves clowns, everybody hates clowns, it’s a universal thing. Actually when I was a kid my parents for a while, until about 1978, did work in a circus for a living, so I’ve grown up around that. Most of the characters, especially in 31, are sort of based on people that I remember, even some of the names I stole from people that I met when I was a kid and the things they are talking about, like Malcom McDowell in 31 about the “Barnum Circus”, are things that actually I remember. There’s one character obsessed with the idea of a show where a girl turns into a gorilla, well that was a real thing and I remember seeing that when I was a little kid, with this girl coming out with a bikini, getting into a cage and then with some light effects the gorilla would be in the cage, a fake gorilla obviously and I thought it was terrifying. So these are all things that are from my real life, unfortunately these are the people that I remember
CS: Some people loved it and some people didn’t like it, are you worried about the audience judgments?
Zombie.: No, I never worry about that, because I think part of the public is not going to like anything, I don’t know how you can make something that everybody loves, it seems impossible so I don’t mind. Therefore I just make it, some people is going to love it, some people is going to hate it and that is just fine, that’s all that you can do.
CS: You have many loyal fans, both as a musician and as a filmmaker, do you try to fill your audience expectations when working on a new project?
Zombie: Well, I just try to deliver things that I like, first. That’s all I really worry about, because if I don’t like it then it’s fake, I make stuff that I like and if they like it too it’s great, that’s all I can do. I hope they like it, but I don’t ever try to make things for that reason, then it’s fake.
CS: What do you think are the things that connect Heavy Metal and Horror movies?
Zombie: I see that Heavy Metal and Horror Movies are sharing the same audience and the same fate, both the films and the music are very, very popular, but the companies that put out the music and the films don’t take it seriously, although they have millions of bands and they are making a lot of money, they are trying to hide them. And movie Studios push aside the Horror films as record labels push aside Metal acts, even though they make all the money with them. I like thirties Horror monsters, as Frankenstein and King Kong, I have transposed them on my live stage set, with massive portraits of the Wolfman, Dr. Jekyll, the Frankenstein’s Monster, King Kong and the Phantom of the Opera displayed on the back of my band. Rock and Metal Music have always been influenced by Horror Movies and their thematics, blood, violent imagery, skulls and monsters have been used on the covers of bands inspired by the Cinema of Terror.
CS: All of your films you seem to side for the bad characters, why?
Zombie: I don’t know what goes to my head, it’s just the way I see life, I come up with these things and characters and I think that’s the way it should be, that’s why there’s not really good characters in the movie, there are just bad characters and worse characters. I guess I have severe mental problems.
What are the differences between your female character in this and in your previous movie?
Zombie: In all of my movies I always try to have strong female characters in there, they are either the villains sometimes or they are the heroes. I try to mix them up so they are not always the hero nice and strong, because I find that boring and doesn’t interest me anyway. In everyone of my movies there are strong female characters as in: The Devil’s Rejects or Halloween and The Lords of Salem, which is very much an all women film, the men are complete victims. I just find them more interesting…
Who are Will Arnett‘s favorite villains in The LEGO Batman Movie? How much would it cost to be Batman in the real world? Which Game of Thrones actress has expressed interest in playing Catwoman? Does The LEGO Batman Movie have too many characters and not enough Batman? How did Kaecilius take over a church in Doctor Strange? All that and more in this edition of Superhero Bits.
This Doctor Strange promo shows Benedict Cumerbatch visiting a comic shop on the last day of shooting.
This video essay looks at the influence Michael Mann’s aesthetic had on Christopher Nolan’s vision for The Dark Knight.
Michael Mann started his career in television with the hugely influential Miami Vice, one of the first network TV shows to be as stylized as a film. Mann’s aesthetic in films like 1995’s under-appreciated epic Heat, which made bank robbery into a fashion statement and Los Angeles into a character, was an influence on Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, and this video examines the ways Nolan drew inspiration from the only film to ever feature Robert De Niro and Al Pacino on screen together, as well as other films in the Mann canon.
According to the essay’s creators, “Nolan actually screened Michael Mann’s Heat for all his department heads before going into production.”
The director is quoted as saying, “I always felt Heat to be a remarkable demonstration of how you can create a vast universe within one city and balance a very large number of characters and their emotional journeys in an effective manner.”
In anticipation of the upcoming sequel Cult of Chucky, we rank the previous 6 Chucky films
This week, ComingSoon.net is off to Winnipeg, Ontario – or WINTERpeg as the freezing Canadian city is called this time of year – to watch Don Mancini make his latest adventure in the venerable Child’s Play/Chucky franchise, Cult of Chucky. And we’re excited. By we, I mean me. Because out of all the holdover ‘80s horror franchises, the only one that has sustained my interest is the Chucky series. Violent, absurd, oddly kinky and eventually riotously satirical and smutty and just plain weird, Mancini’s pen and, from Seed of Chucky to now, directorial eye, have been a steady presence in every picture and it’s his wildly cinematic sensibilities that elevate the films.
I mean, Mancini got Pino Donaggio to score Seed of Chucky. It’s a Brian De Palma film. With killer, sex-starved dolls. And Brad Dourif! I mean, come on. The Chucky movies aren’t the erratic, low grade meat and potatoes slashers of the Friday the 13th ilk, nor are they the convoluted, unfocused mess that the Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween franchises dissolved into. No, the Chucky films are subversive art masquerading as trash, sculpted with classic sensibilities and cheeky, counterculture humor.
Some of them work better than others, however, which is why we’re giving you this handy rundown of the films thus far. Now, this list is subjective of course (as most of these sorts of things are) so read it with a grain of salt.
And stay tuned to this site and our official horror Facebook portal as we’ll be posting plenty of fun stuff from the Cult of Chucky set in the coming months…
6. Child’s Play 3 (1991)
Child’s Play 3 might be the least of the series, but only because it lacks the energy and innovation of the other films. It’s still a fine little melodramatic chiller on its own terms, though. Part 3 sees Chucky remade/rebuilt again and chasing the now grown Andy (Justin Whalin replacing Alex Vincent) to a military academy where he goes about his usual beat of trying to transfer his soul into the kid. The opening credits are melty, weird and great. The rest of the movie is fun. But it’s fairly restrained and pedestrian by comparison to its stranger and slicker sisters.
5. Bride of Chucky (1998)
Hardcore Child’s Play fans were bummed out by Bride’s shift to absurd comedy but, seen as Mancini rebelling against the safety of the third film, Bride is positively punk rock. It’s beautifully directed by Ronny Yu and boasts the organic special effect of actress Jennifer Tilley, whose glorious bosom is matched by her outrageous, scene-stealing turn as Chucky/Charles Lee Ray’s lover Tiffany, who is turned into a doll with bloodlust to match her man. Kind of like an exploitation riff on Natural Born Killers, with plenty of hard metal rock music on the soundtrack, oodles of gory FX and a great appearance by late comedy legend John Ritter. Smutty, silly and generally riotous fun.
4. Curse of Chucky (2013)
Curse of Chucky is Mancini and co-producer David Kirschner’s attempt to rebound from Seed of Chucky’s insanity and deliver a more serious, straightforward horror film like the first picture. But Mancini does something better. Here is a guy who lives and breathes cinema making a classic “woman in jeopardy” thriller, the kind that used to leak out of old Hollywood and later, in the wonderful wave of Gothic TV movies of the 1970s, and inserting Chucky into it. And it works. Beautifully directed and shot and often rather eerie, Mancini had the deft idea to cast Brad Dourif’s daughter Fiona as the paraplegic damsel in distress who is inexplicably sent a “Good Guys” doll in the mail. Then people start to die. Violently. A classy, elegant noir with a creepy Joseph LoDuca score.
3. Seed of Chucky (2004)
When Bride of Chucky became a hit and then, with further success on home video, a cult film, Mancini stepped back in – this time as writer and director – and said “f*ck it” and simply made the John Waters movie he’d always wanted to make. Hell, John Waters is IN the movie! If you hate Seed of Chucky, you’re watching it wrong. This is one of the funniest, sickest and opulent works of pop trash ever made, a movie that goes so far off the edge that you either ride with it off a cliff, laughing maniacally before smashing operatically on the rocks below, or just jump out of the car and marvel at the mess. I worship this movie. Chucky uses a turkey baster filled with his jizz on Jennifer Tilley, while the gorgeous strains of Pino Donaggio’s orchestra blast in the background and hip hop artist Redman looks on. Meanwhile, Chucky and Tiffany’s son Glen (as in Glen or Glenda?) has an identity crisis. This movie feels beamed in from another dimension and god bless it for its transgressive spirit!
2. Child’s Play (1988)
Mancini was fresh off the Charles Band/Empire Pictures flick Cellar Dweller (ironically Band would find major fame with another killer doll franchise in the Puppetmaster films) when his Child’s Play script (co-written by John Lafia and massaged by director Tom Holland) was picked up by MGM/UA and given to Fright Night director Tom Holland. The collaboration worked. Child’s Play is a major work of weirdness, domestic drama and suspense with ace performances and plenty of nasty violence. And it still holds up beautifully as a stand alone thriller.
1. Child’s Play 2 (1990)
This might be a controversial choice for top spot, but who cares. Child’s Play 2 is a brilliant, berserk and totally twisted accidental masterwork of cult cinema. Taking all that was great about the first film, you can feel Manicini’s eccentricities shine through here, resulting in a perverse, leering and jaw-droppingly inventive slab of nasty psychodrama. From those first wild and silly moments when Chucky is “repackaged” to the legendary conveyor-belt climax, the John Lafia directed horror film flips the bird to conventions, making an exploitation opera without peer that’s still a skillfully made thriller. And that cast! Jenny Agutter and Gerrit Graham as husband and wife? Come on!
Gael García Bernal and Anand Giridharadas explored how empathy affects their lives and work at Sundance.
The current political climate in America is an unavoidable discussion—and it should be, even at Sundance. Art and politics have always been inherently tied to the human condition; art expresses it, and politics regulate it. And while the government continues to directly affect those who make art, the two are inseparable.
In fact, art history’s most fruitful eras were born of socio-political disruption. The decline of the Catholic Church and widespread trauma from the Black Plague gave rise to the Italian Renaissance. Some of America’s most iconic music was written while the country was at war in Vietnam. Through turbulence, artists will rise.
Though Sundance is not an explicitly political event, as Robert Redford mentioned at the opening press conference, the festival simply cannot ignore the stories filmmakers are telling. And many of those are political.
Art and politics have always been inherently tied to the human condition; art expresses it, and politics regulate it.
Props matter, even something as seemingly innocuous as a glass of milk.
When it comes to symbolism, props carry quite a lot of weight. A bar of soap, a wire hanger, or a red stapler can communicate a message to your audience that other cinematic elements simply can’t (or as efficiently, anyway). In this video essay, Jack Nugent of Now You See It details the powerful connotations milk has in storytelling, as well as how filmmakers have used it to reveal information about characters, themes, and situations.
Much of a character’s identity can be revealed in what they consume, whether its lobster, cigarettes, or martinis, shaken not stirred. They can speak to many things, like class, morality, or certain personality traits. For example, a character who eats rare steaks might be seen as animalistic, masculine, or even dubious, like Cypher in The Matrix.
Milk, like other foods and drinks, is incredibly symbolic. Many consider milk to represent innocence, youth, purity, and maternity, because, of course, babies drink milk and mothers produce it.