Oscar History

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Entries in sci-fi fantasy horror (140)


Time Out's "100 Best Horror Films"

I am fascinated by the horror genre. From afar. As in: I am not at all fascinated by the horror genre but am endlessly curious about why it provokes so much feverish fandom in others. So I find myself reading about the horror genre a lot in an intermittent effort to understand it. From afar. Time Out London just came out with a poll of horror biggies and horror enthusiasts to form an eclectic list of the 100 best horror films. Some of them that I love I hadn't really thought of as "horror" (though on second thought they clearly are) like Dead Ringers, The Night of the Hunter and Ken Russell's The Devils

I knew my three all time favorites would rank high though my fourth favorite horror film (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?) did not make the list.

Nathaniel's Horror Trinity: CARRIE, ROSEMARY'S BABY, and PSYCHO

The films on the list that prompted the most nightmares were The Silence of the Lambs (which I weirdly dreamt up constantly before seeing it) and The Omen which I saw on television by myself (after my parents had gone to bed) as a kid. It was probably severely edited but I was so terrified that Damien shared my birthday (June 6th) that I raced to the bathroom mirrors afterwards to check my head for a 666 mark -- no joke! I was so scared I had nightmares for a full week afterwards and vowed to never watch another scary movie.  

As an adult the films I was most terrified of while I was watching them were: Halloween which I didn't see until the early 90s on VHS when a friend would not let me be until I watched it; The Descent which I saw in a completely empty theater... like one big dark cave, The Blair Witch Project's last ten minutes in which I basically thought I would die (though that experience seems unrepeatable); Audition because... holy hell; and The Shining which I saw for the first time in basically .... wait for it... a cabin in the woods.

In the interest of full disclosure and to illustrate my scaredy-cat nature I have seen but 32% of the 100 wide list which I've included in a visual after the jump if you must mock me. How many have you seen? And which 10 do you think should be mandatory viewing? 

Click to read more ...


Someday My Link Will Come...

The Playlist P.T. Anderson's The Master is coming on October 12th. Five long years for a new PT.
Gawker Rich Juzwiak on the reign of PG-13 "safe, sanitized, and worth shitloads of money"
Cinema Blend "the envy of lady bookworms everywhere"... Mia Wasikowska moves from Jane Eyre to Madame Bovary.
Empire has an hour long interview w/  General Zod himself Terence Stamp.
La Daily Musto "Newsies is the new Annie" love that headline for this review of the film turned stage musical.

Movie|Line apparently Leonardo DiCaprio was just too busy to attend the Titanic 3D premiere. James, Kate and Billy made the time.
WOW Dakota Fanning in Wonderland magazine. She's looking a bit Carol Kane, yes?
Thought Killer an imagined conversation between four girl icons: Buffy, Bella, Hermione and Katniss from Hunger Games
The Capitol Interesting piece on Jennifer Lawrence and the career she might have if she plays her hand well.

Her presence is palpably earthy and unfussy, reminiscent of Ingrid Bergman, another natural beauty who seemed uninterested in playing up her looks.


Flavorwire on the music used in Hunger Games (strangely much of the score is not on the soundtrack album 
Zephyr A must for horror fans: what horror icons from the past might look like today. 
Old Hollywood awesome storyboards from Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver.

NPR Snow White is having a moment. Why now?

... and I suppose this as as good a time as any to announced that I'm taking Jorge's suggestion. We'll do Snow White and the Seven Dwarves for the April 11th Hit Me With Your Best Shot.  If you join in your prince will come. Someday. Promise.


Review: Hunger Games 

This review was originally published in my column at Towleroad. Congratulations to Towleroad for winning Outstanding Blog at the GLAAD Awards

"The Hunger Games," now in their 74th year, began as a way to punish an uprising against the government. The totalitarian regime of Panem (in what remains of the former United States) maintains total control over the outlying districts. Each of the 12 districts is required to send forth two "tributes" annually, a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 to 18 chosen by lottery. They are shipped to the Capital where they are paraded about and then shipped off to die for the amusement of the masses. Everyone in the nation watches. There are no alternatives in this dystopia. Only one adolescent will live bringing supposed honor (and maybe food?) to their starving district... or so claims the capital. What honor there is in forcing teenagers to kill each other is not a question the Capitol asks itself.

Any similarities that The Hunger Games has to the Japanese classic Battle Royale (2000), which also features schoolchildren forced to kill each other by a totalitarian regime -- only one survivor allowed -- are, according to The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, entirely coincidental. Another film in this subgenre, the little seen Series 7: The Contenders (2001) also features mandatory lotteried killing for televised amusement. In short, the ideas are nothing new, just the treatment; these are topics we're obviously grappling with in popular culture in this era of televised "reality" and winner takes all capitalistic vice. The gap between the haves and have nots grows and this dystopia gives it steroids.

"The Reaping" Effie chooses tributes from District 12

When 12 year old Primrose Everdeen (Willow Shields) is named as tribute in "The Reaping" ceremony, her protective sister Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her place. The district also sends Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a sweet strong baker's son who Katniss knows a little. Will they kill or be killed? 

Click to read more ...


Don't Mess With Saoirse's Baby Blues!

The teaser trailer for The Host, another dread Stephenie Meyers (Twilight) adaptation...


It begins by visually equating a possible apocalyptic danger to the earth with blue eyes and it ends with a series of eyes, all computer or contact enhanced toward possessed creepiness.

If you ask me it's entirely regrettable to fuck with Saoirse Ronan's unforgettable blues because they need no computer enhancement to spook and thrill.

I saw him. I saw him with my own eyes."



Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Ladyhawke"

Time for Season 3 of Hit Me With Your Best Shot. Wednesday evenings.

from left to right: Goliath, Navarre (Rutger Hauer) and Isabeau (Michelle Pfeiffer's stunt double)

I thought we'd kick off this season with a personal favorite from the 80s. I use the word favorite emphatically because in many ways, Ladyhawke (1985) is a movie with a confusing relationship to objective quality. It's both great and bad, the score arguing that it's a feature that absolutely should not exist outside of 1985 while the mythic story fights for timelessness. The sound (Oscar-nominated) has wonderful details, maximizing the earthly details of fluttering wings, wolf howls and horse hooves while also embracing the transcendently romantic voices (Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer) but it's marred by jarring score cues that take you out of the action and weird post-production "comedy" vocal work from extras. It feels, at least for its first half, like it's a movie with several authors and endless studio interference from people who didn't believe in a romantic fantasy epic in a time long before fairy tales were hot commodities and sword and sorcery epics were the furthest thing from bankable. So, would you laugh at me if I claimed I thought it was thisclose to being a classic? People are always reediting the Star Wars prequels to try to make them into the movies they should have been but the fantasy with the easiest fix to nudge it from punchline to greatness is Ladyhawke.

The one area where Ladyhawke can lay legitimate claim to greatness without lengthy conditional explanations is in the cinematography of three-time Oscar winner Vittorio Storaro (most famous for Apocalypse Now and various Warren Beatty epics). Many films throughout history have used sunsets and sunrises for their sheer beauty but Ladyhawke's reliance on light is more than vanity; it's storytelling.

Pfeiffer's beauty and Hauer's pain after the jump

Click to read more ...


John Carter Vs... ?

In tribute to my friend JA who always gives good lulz with "which is hotter"... a few loincloth-offs (hmmm) between John Carter (reviewed) and his screen ancestors. You decide.

Criss-cross sci-fantasy menswear

excuse my typo there. Sean Connery. I'd fix it but then the poll would reset to zero. We can't have that and you know what I meant.


Emergency gun-manning in the desert whilst wearing only reddish loinclothes and boots!



Face paint and/or face blood* is a must have when calling your troops to war!


 *They bleed blue on Barsoom, bitches.