September 29, 2010

Cinema's Top Ten Fake Domains

With The Social Network coming to theaters this Friday, it got us thinking about cinema and the web. From the dot-com bubble of the late 90's, websites have become a central feature for many movies since, whether in plot or as a means of generating pre-release, viral buzz. From characters working at Internet startup companies, to some of the more clever fake websites created as part of a movie's overarching viral marketing campaign, we take a look at how the web is translated onto the big screen. We also test each URL in our browsers to see what lies ahead when hitting these sites in real life.





1. Lougle - as featured in Hot Tub Time Machine


What do you do when you travel back to the 1980s via your hot tub time machine? Why, you stay there and capitalize in your knowledge of the next 25 years, of course. This is exactly what Rob Corddry's character, Lou Dorchen, does; and when the rest of the gang travels back from the '80s, we meet up Lou and discover that he spent those years founding the largest Internet search engine, branding it Lougle. In fact his company even created it's own familiar suite of products, including Lougle Maps. Lou also goes on to be the founding member of '80s hair-band Motley Lou, but that just raises further questions.

Googl'd: Lougle.com redirects a Twitter account for a guy named Lou (go fig!) and his rather uninteresting tweets about where he recently "checked-in" via Foursquare. The first hit from Google? Lougle's Facebook Page. We also found this site, which is more up-to-speed of what we'd expect, though still a rather half-assed Google spoof that must have seen its better share of traffic in the month's succeeding the movie's release.

2. InstituteForHumanContinuity.org & ThisIsTheEnd.com & FarewellAtlantis.com - as part of 2012



2012 certainly is the mother of all disaster movies. The world is ending, and director Roland Emmerich throws everything at us: behemoth tsunamis, incredible earthquakes, crumbling monuments, and L.A. getting eaten by Mother Earth, herself. When the first teaser trailer to 2012 came out, the tagline simply said "Google 2012," and interspersed with crazy real-life blogs about 2012 conspiracies, were distributor Sony's ambitious viral marketing campaign. That first URL is for an organization set up to prepare the world for annihilation, the second is a blog based off of the rantings of Woody Harrelson's looney character, and the third is for John Cusack's character's novel as mentioned in the film (the excerpted first chapter is actually a riveting read).

Googl'd: While the movie has since left theaters, these websites are still up and running, now branded as part of the "2012 Movie Experience" so not to confuse anyone of any real happenings that may occur when the real 2012 comes around.

3. FleshOfTheStars.com - as featured in Knocked Up



In Knocked Up, Seth Rogen's character Ben Stone and his buddies have a clever concept: a website that documents the exact moments when actresses get nude in movies. Certainly such as site would save time for pervs everywhere. It's an idea so genius that they spend half the movie building it until they realize that such a site already exists. D'oh!


Googl'd: Of course, the URL redirects to Mr. Skin. Clever marketing.

4. VagtasticVoyage.com - as featured in Superbad


The site that Jonah Hill's character, Seth, wants to subscribe to, as mentioned in the beginning of the film, is a funny spoof of domains registered by porn companies, and play on the title of a famous sci-fi movie from the 1960s.

Googl'd: Thankfully, this article is being written on a personal computer, otherwise there'd be some 'splaining to the boss. The domain is sometimes spelled with a dash, as seen in that quote on IMDb. That site is parked. Take out the dash, and you'll go to the movie's official website. Whew!

5. MoviePoopShoot.com - as featured in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back


In this Internet age, everyone's a movie critic, and Kevin Smith takes aim at movie websites with this fake site from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. In Kevin Smith's ViewAskewniverse Jay and Silent Bob are stoners turned semi-popular comic book characters, with the aid of their cartoonist friend Banky Edwards (played by Jason Lee). When Jay and Silent Bob learn that not only is a movie filming based on their comic book characters, but they're also not going to see any royalties, they set out across the country to put an end to it and reclaim their name. But, what really sets them off on this cross-country trek are comments from this site that they take a little too personally. So much so that in the end these commenters--mostly kids, of course--get their comeuppance.

Googl'd: At one point the site did exist, along with fake "real" content, including the article and comments mentioned in the movie, as well as Jay and Silent Bob's reply. This was part of the film's viral marketing campaign, in an age when viral marketing mainly consisted of subservient chickens. Now the domain redirects to a site called Fred. No, that's really the site's URL... http://www.asitecalledfred.com/.

6. BuyNLarge.com - as part of WALL·E



Disney-Pixar's 2008 hit, WALL·E, predicts the end of the world coming from our overconsumption. The corporation largely to blame for the end of humanity is Buy N Large, a spoof of behemoth companies like Walmart that offer consumers everything they could possibly need at a fair price. And so, Disney produced the company's fake site, complete with futuristic products and funny press releases, business news, and financial reports.

Googl'd: The site now re-directs to the movie's official website, but remanants of it still exist when Googling. For example, here's some company news (check out the article boasting a mall in Wisconsin being granted city status -- an eerie predictor of things to come), and here's a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer that likely appeared after a potential customer registered his or her email address with the website.

7. CyberNanny.com & BigWindow.com - as featured in 40 Days and 40 Nights


Released towards the end of the dot-com bubble burst was this bubbly rom-com starring Josh Hartnett. The crux of the movie revolves around Matt (Hartnett), who swears off any and all sexual activity in order to overcome his infatuation with his ex-girlfriend; somehow this was also wrapped around Lent. Matt works for a San Fran. startup, and his co-worker/roommate uses Matt's short-term celibacy to win money in an office pool, and to generate hits to the company website. Of course during these 40 days and nights, Matt meets a new girl who works for another startup, CyberNanny -- a site that serves to block profane sites from kids. Her job is perfectly summed up in her quote, "Some days I think that if I have to look at another blowjob I'll scream." 

Googl'd: At current, CyberNanny.com is a parked site and after visiting the URL, the jet-black page reveals the domain is for sale. As for BigWindow.com, the URL redirects to a scam site, so stay away.

8. SouthHarmonInstituteofTechnology.com - as featured in Accepted


What does a slacker do when he's been rejected from every college from which he applied? In a very un-slacker-like fashion, he builds his own college. Starting with a fake acceptance letter, Bartleby "B" Gaines (Justin Long) then builds a fake website, and then a fake college, all in a grand scheme to fake out his parents.

Googl'd: The dot-com is parked, but certainly tech colleges commonly go by their acronyms... just use your better judgement avoid ever typing that into your browser.

9. DiaperRush.com - as featured in A Lot Like Love






This 2005 take on When Harry Met Sally..., was largely panned by critics, but the site that Ashton Kutcher's character is hoping to build is rather smart. An online diapar delivery service could help save the time of busy parents everywhere. I guess that's why they invented Diapers.com.

Googl'd: The above domain is parked, but dropping one of the Rs, will take you to a video site where you can purchase the movie. This was probably a clever marketing ploy in 2005, but how many people are actually entering in this domain now?

10. TuggSpeedman.com - as part of Tropic Thunder




Another piece of viral marketing that still pays off. Tugg Speedman is Ben Stiller's character from Tropic Thunder, and a clever spoof of the action star who longs to broaden his career. Topic Thunder heavily employed a lot of viral marketing with websites for its fake characters, fake movies, and fake products. While all are hilarious, Tugg Speedman's website probably has the best character bio.

Googl'd: As you can see, these sites are still up and running, and we hope it stays that way.


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September 27, 2010

Box Office Wrap-Up: WALL STREET hits right on the MONEY

Greed proved just as good a second time around, as Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps took to an overall bearish weekend, taking the top slot in the box office. Wall Street puns aside, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the anticipated sequel to Oliver Stone's 1987 drama grossed an estimated even $19 million.

According to Box Office Mojo, the original drama grossed approximately $4 million in its first weekend, and $44 million during its entire run. When adjusting for inflation, those numbers become approximately $8 million and $87 million, respectively. Certainly not a blockbuster in any terms, the first Wall Street became something of an icon for the '80s, mostly through Gordon Gekko's famous "Greed is good" monologue. It's hard pressed to think that the sequel, while topical during today's financial crisis, will reach similar acclaim both in numbers and in pop culture.

While adults turned out to see Gekko, kids took flight with the owls of Zack Snyder's Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole. While the film attracted audiences, it only took in $16.3 million. This comes far below the average of other recent CGI-animated hits, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which dominated the box office during a similar weekend last year.

You Again, the ensemble rom-com, took in a meager $8.3 million. While this was just enough for it to make a dent in the Top Five at the fifth slot, the film was certainly less attractive than similar titles like When in Rome.

Third place, The Town, hauled in $16 million in its second week, claiming a total gross of $49.1 million, so far. Easy A took the fourth slot at $10.7 million and $32.8 million over all. Inception, in its tenth week, grabbed the tenth slot. Total gross for the sci-fi noir title is at $287 million, making it the fifth highest grossing film of the year.


Weekend Top Ten

  1. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps - $19 million
  2. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole - $16.3 million
  3. The Town - $16 million
  4. Easy A - $10.7 million
  5. You Again - $8.3 million
  6. Devil - $6.5 million
  7. Resident Evil: Afterlife - $4.9 million
  8. Alpha and Omega - $4.7 million
  9. Takers - $1.7 million
  10. Inception - $1.2 million

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September 23, 2010

Ranking Oliver Stone

Whenever an Oliver Stone film opens, there's certainly always some form of controversy surrounding it. In recent years he turned his cameras towards a sitting President, delved into the darkness of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, and explored the homosexuality of Alexander the Great. Always quick to focus on current political and cultural issues, his latest effort is a sequel to 1987's Wall Street, updating the story of '80s-era greed and excess, to … well, the greed and excess that brought down the economy in 2008. However, much of the controversy this time around, was whether or not Stone would actually return to direct--this being his first sequel. So, with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps heading into theaters, we take a look at Stone's directorial efforts. Below we highlight the Top Five, but head over to MRQE to catch the complete ranked list.



5. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
MRQE Metric: 74

The second film in Stone's Vietnam War Trilogy--which also includes Platoon and Heaven & Earth--Born on the Fourth of July, looks at the hardships many Vietnam veterans faced when they returned home. The film is based on the autobiography of Vietnam veteran and anti-war activist, Ron Kovic, portrayed by Tom Cruise, in a role that landed him his first Oscar nomination. Both the film, and its original source material, explores deplorable living conditions of veteran hospitals and the disillusionment veterans faced on the home-front, and the post-traumatic stress that many vets soon endured.



Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com



4. Wall Street (1987)
MRQE Metric: 74

"Greed--for lack of a better word--is good…" and so it comes that 1980s greed and excess is now personified in Michael Douglas's Gordon Gekko, a wealthy Wall Street player with nothing to lose, but everything. The dubious insider trading, and the notion of getting rich by any means, might still ring a little true today, which explains the sequel--the more things change, the more they stay the same. According to Stone, Gekko is actually a composite of several people, including Ivan Boesky, Carl Icahn, Michael Ovitz, and Stone himself. In fact, the oft-quoted line, is a paraphrase of Boesky, who once said "Greed is right."



Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com



3. Nixon (1995)
MRQE Metric: 76

Before Stone explored the rise of one controversial president in W., he turned his cameras to a more prolific presidential icon in 1995's Nixon. Released a little more than a year after Nixon's death at the end of 1994, the film was met with harsh criticism from the Richard Nixon Library stating that the film attempted to "defame and degrade President and Mrs. Nixon's memories in the mind of the American public." The film, however, is presented more as an American tragedy in the most classic of definitions. As Roger Ebert wrote in his review, "Tragedy requires the fall of a hero, and one of the achievements of Nixon is to show that greatness was within his reach." Anthony Hopkins received an Oscar nod for his portrayal of Nixon.





2. JFK (1991)
MRQE Metric: 83

From Nixon we come to an even more controversial topic, the JFK assassination. Was it all as the Warren Report said, or was this a conspiracy at the highest level? Stone's more than 3 hour 1991 film explored it all. Kevin Costner portrays Jim Garrison, a New Orleans D.A. who believes there's more to the story than what the federal government is saying, and upon reading the Warren Report, reopens his original investigation to uncover the whole truth. JFK remains as one of Stone's most controversial films. A Washington Post correspondent attacked the film before filming wrapped; and upon release, many newspapers ran editorials blasting Stone for taking liberties with historical facts. Regardless, Stone insisted that people watch the film for themselves so they can be the judge. Truth or not, the film went on to win two Oscars, and was nominated for eight, including Best Picture.




1. Platoon (1986)
MRQE Metric: 84

The first, and arguably most powerful, of Stone's Vietnam War Trilogy, Platoon, perhaps is best known for its brutal depiction of "war as hell." Set up as a counter to the John Wayne war movies that portrayed glorious heros, Platoon, brings the war film down to its gritty earth. Stone himself was a soldier in Vietnam, and much of his experience was poured into a 1968 screenplay called Break. Set to a Doors soundtrack, the screenplay was sent to Jim Morrison in the hopes that he would play the lead. Nothing ever came of it, and in the early '70's Stone and collaborator Robert Bolt worked together on a new screenplay called The Platoon, featuring characters from Break. After the success of films like Apocalypse Now, Hollywood was ready focus more attention on Vietnam. Platoon received 8 Oscar nominations, winning 4, including Best Director and Best Picture.

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com

There's more to Stone than just the Top Five. Head to MRQE to catch up with the full list of Oliver Stone's Best Movies!

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September 20, 2010

Box Office Wrap-Up: New Releases dominate, THE TOWN nabs No. 1 slot

The box office was dominated by the four wide releases that opened over the weekend, The Town, Easy A, Devil, and Alpha and Omega. The only hold-over from last week was, Resident Evil: Afterlife, which took in $10.1 million from the weekend, and $44 million overall.

Ben Affleck's sophomore directorial effort, The Town, in which he also stars, scored $23.8 million over the weekend. The heist flick exceeded pre-release expectations from the studio, Warner Bros., which expected the film to open more along the mid-teems mark, according to BoxOffice.com. Instead the opening gross places the crime film on the same ground as The Departed, which opened with $26.9 million (though the 2004 film opened to more screens and locations, and had a bigger audience). Warner Bros. went at great length in their marketing to compare The Town with The Departed, and according to Box Office Mojo, the films found similar audiences, though The Town skewed slightly older (25 years +) and 75% more male. The success of The Town also helps Affleck's chances at being taken seriously as a director.

Easy A scored a passing grade, nailing the second slot at $18.2 million. Interesting to note that the teen comedy, starring Emma Stone, took in more than Jennifer's Body made in its entire theatrical run, according to Box Office Mojo.

Horror flick, Devil, averaged on par for horror openings, with $12.6 million. This, however, marks the lowest opening gross for an M. Night Shyamalan-branded film. Also in the horror realm, zombie flick, Resident Evil: Afterlife, held over from last week, grossing $10.1 million.

Alpha and Omega, the CGI-animated 3D romp with a pack of wolves, took in a meager $9 million. The higher ticket price for 3D certainly helped the kid flick land in the bottom of the top five. While there was a bump in gross from Friday's opening to Saturday, the film averaged much worse on Sunday. This certainly is small potatoes as compared to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which led the box office during the same weekend last year.

Box Office Top Ten:

  1. The Town - $23.8M
  2. Easy A - $18.2M
  3. Devil - $12.6M
  4. Resident Evil: Afterlife - $10.1M
  5. Alpha and Omega - $9.2M
  6. Takers - $3M
  7. The American - $2.8M
  8. Inception - $2M
  9. The Other Guys - $2M
  10. Machete - $1.7M




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September 13, 2010

Box Office Wrap-Up: RESIDENT EVIL slashes to Number 1, TAKERS overtakes THE AMERICAN

Resident Evil: Afterlife, the fourth movie in the popular franchise, and lone wide release that opened this weekend, slashed its way to the number one slot. The American fell to Number 3, as Takers claimed the Number 2 slot. Machete also fell, while Going the Distance held strong in its second week in spite of low returns.

Video game adaptation, Resident Evil: Afterlife, devoured all competition, taking in $27.7 million, becoming the seventh highest-grossing September opener of all time. The opening also marked the highest opening gross yet for the franchise. However, according to Box Office Mojo, this could be attributed more to ticket price inflation, and the higher premium for 3D tickets, rather than the movie's overall popularity. Nevertheless, the allure of 3D certainly helped bring in those that were already fans of the first three movies.

Takers nabbed $6.1 million in its third week ($48.1 million overall), which allowed the heist movie to claim the second slot. The movie overtook, The American, which fell 55% in its second week, taking in $5.9 million. While this drop might seem steep, a similar plunge happened to The Men Who Stare at Goats, a George Clooney thriller from last year.

Machete also fell from last week, landing in the fourth slot, at $4.2 million. Going the Distance held strong in its second week, even if it only took in $3.8 million (a total gross of $14 million, so far).

Weekend Top Ten:
  1. Resident Evil: Afterlife - $27.7M
  2. Takers - $6.1M
  3. The American - $5.9M
  4. Machete - $4.2M
  5. Going the Distance - $3.8M
  6. The Other Guys - $3.6M
  7. The Last Exorcism - $3.5M
  8. The Expendables - $3.3M
  9. Inception - $3M
  10. Eat Pray Love - $2.9M


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September 10, 2010

Critic Roundup: Friday, Sept. 10

Heading to the theater this weekend? Get caught up with what the critics have to say about this week's new releases.


Resident Evil: Afterlife
MRQE Metric: TBA
The only wide release opening this weekend is the fourth installment in the Resident Evil saga, adapted from the popular video game franchise. Mila Jovovich reprises her role as zombie-killing Alice, protecting the world from the undead (victims of a rapidly spreading virus infection). Critics note that while fans of the franchise will turnout, there's nothing new here, except that it's in 3-D--and even that is unimpressive.






MRQE Pick: I'm Still Here
MRQE Metric: 68
In late 2008 actor Joaquin Phoenix announced his retirement from acting. His next move was to focus on his music career--a career in rap, with Sean "Diddy" Combs as manager. However, after an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, many started to question whether his sudden change of careers was real or just a publicity stunt. Casey Affleck picks up a camera to document Phoenix's every move, leaving you, the viewer, to decide. Critics either took it at face value or with a grain of salt, and what remains is a pervasive doc that's a must see.




Bran Nue Dae
MRQE Metric: 58
The 1990 Australian musical about the romantic adventures of a young aboriginal couple comes to the big screen via director Rachel Perkins, starring Geoffrey Rush. While the musical and film were a hit in its native country, it's themes might be a little lost State-side. Nevertheless, critics praise it as good-hearted fun.







Heartbreaker (L' Arnacoeur)
MRQE Metric: TBA
This French comedy about a playboy who meets his match might sound like a tired rom-com concept, but critics praise the wit and charm of lead actors Roman Duris and Vanessa Paradis.









Legendary
MRQE Metric: TBA
Danny Glover, and WWE wrestler John Cena stars in this sports drama produced by WWE Studios. The film follows the story of a teen who looks to reunite his family by following in his late father's footsteps, joining his high school wrestling team. Critics warn of a "schmaltzy" plot that makes the film feel more like a made-for-TV movie.







Lovely, Still
MRQE Metric: TBA
Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn star in this Christmas-themed story about an elderly man who discovers love for the first time. Lovely, Still finds charm in its lead actors, but as Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter points out, the film remains as a "…heavy-handed romantic drama that bears all the feel-good hallmarks of a Hallmark production before taking a forced Hitchcockian turn late in the game that goes down as agreeably as a jagged candy cane..."






The Romantics
MRQE Metric: TBA
Katie Holmes and Josh Duhamel lead an ensemble cast in a film about eight close friends, who meet on the night before the wedding of one of their own, where a love triangle comes to a head between the maid-of-honor, the bride, and the groom. While performances are good, the character-heavy drama might leave you yearning for more plot.







The Virginity Hit
MRQE Metric: TBA
This mockumentary for the YouTube Generation, produced by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell, finds a group of teens chronicling one of their friend's quest to lose his virginity. The film was shot with cell phone and hand-held cameras to achieve a convincing effect. The side-effect, critics warn, is that the comedy might be all too raw for many audiences.












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September 8, 2010

MRQE Rewind: Cinema's 50 Best Teen Movies

With The Virginity Hit heading into theaters in limited release, and with kids everywhere heading back to school this week, we decided the time was ripe for us to dust off an old list and update it. So, pick up that boombox, dance in your underwear--but don't touch that pie--as we head back in time and go back to school with Cinema's 50 Best Teen Movies. From rebels without a cause to angst-ridden vampires, they're all here. We highlight the top five below, but head over to MRQE to check out the full list.



5. The Breakfast Club (1985)
MRQE Metric: 80

Five teenagers from five different cliques converge in this genre-defining film from John Hughes. This low-budget film, has not only become a cult classic, but has also gone on to inspire many other coming of age films. Taking place over the course of a Saturday afternoon in detention, The Breakfast Club, finds five teens breaking through their high school stereotypes, learning more about themselves and each other. As Brian Orndorf of eFilmCritic says, "It’s the quintessential teen drama; a compassionate, insightful, and intense motion picture that brings to life the soulful concerns of high schoolers without reducing them to bottom-feeding cliché or marketable MySpace bullet points." Don't you forget it!


Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com




4. Rushmore (1998)
MRQE Metric: 82
Born from the boyhood experiences of writers Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson, Rushmore centers on Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), an eccentric teen very out of place at Rushmore Academy. Max soon meets Herman Blume (Bill Murray), an industrialist who's frustrated with his marriage and his kids. Max and Herman strike a friendship that soon gets tested as they both fall for the new first grade teacher, Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams). Like many of Anderson's movies, Rushmore is also known for its soundtrack, comprised mostly of British Invasion acts from the '60s--music that Anderson felt went hand-in-hand with Max's character.







3. Say Anything… (1989)
MRQE Metric: 83
If you remember anything from Cameron Crowe's directorial debut, its John Cusack holding a boombox over his head, playing Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" in order to win back the heart of Ione Skye. This is certainly the film's most iconic scene, and both the scene, and its song, underpins the emotional desperation of Cusack's character Lloyd Dobler, and his unlikely romance with valedictorian Diane Court (Skye). Say Anything… struck a similar emotional chord with critics like Roger Ebert, who noted the character-driven romance is very much grounded in reality. Ebert notes, "What's unique to this movie is how surefooted it is in presenting the ordinary everyday lives and rituals of kids in their late teens . . . These teenagers are not simply empty-headed 'Animal House' retreads; the movie pays them the compliment of seeing them as actual people with opinions and futures."

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com





2. American Graffiti (1973)
MRQE Metric: 86
George Lucas's American Graffiti, was a first of its kind. You can blame this film for every movie that has since taken a nostalgic look back at what it was like growing up 20 years ago. For Lucas, that era was the early 1960's, and never before was it glorified on screen in quite an all-encompassing way. With hits from the '50s & '60s filling the soundtrack, and era hotrods fueling the seduction, American Graffiti went on to become the surprise hit upon its release. The film also helped spawn the careers of Richard Dreyfuss, Suzanne Somers, Harrison Ford, and Ron Howard--the latter of whom would go onto star in Happy Days, a TV series very much inspired by American Graffiti.








1. Back to the Future (1985)
MRQE Metric: 90
An unlikely topper, but Back to the Future surely is one of the most notable, entertaining films of the 1980s. After all, what teen doesn't wonder what their parents were like when they were in high school? Of course, the film is responsible for the popularization of DeLoreans, and a great many of us soon waisted valuable time researching and studying the film's time travel science, and the resulting paradoxes. But, we won't hold that to Robert Zemeckis; we'll just jam out to Huey Lewis's "Power of Love" . . . ok, that we'll hold Zemeckis for!




Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com




The list doesn't end here. Head over to MRQE to catch the whole list of Cinema's 50 Best Teen Movies



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September 3, 2010

Fun Movie Articles for Labor Day

For us Americans, Labor Day is a well-received extended weekend where we enjoy some last minute fun before the end of summer. In the spirit of having some free time, we compiled some of our favorite movie-related articles from around the web. These made us smile, so hopefully you'll find some enjoyment with them as well. Leave your favorite articles in the comments below and have a happy Labor Day weekend!


Cracked.com Explores Deleted Scenes
The team at Cracked is full of movie geeks, and their geekiness led them to pouring into deleted scenes, the staple DVD bonus feature. For most films, there's a reason why certain scenes end on the cutting room floor. But in this article, writer David A. Vindiola finds some scenes that, well, totally deserved making it to the final cut! Why? Because each of these scenes explained gapping plot holes. Cracked does warn, though, that this article contains huge spoilers, so read with caution.


Cinematical Looks at "Last Job Flicks"
While we took the time to explore assassin movies with the release of George Clooney's The American, movie blog Cinematical, looked at the more overarching theme of working the last job before receiving that golden watch. While this list doesn't include our favorites, the Lethal Weapon series or Falling Down, it does list some more recent hits, like Inception.


Flavorwire gives girls advice about the workforce, by way of "chick flicks"
Taking what they learned, not only from their own past, but also from a few classic and modern rom-coms and love stories, Flavorwire gives some practical advice to those newly college grads who are now entering the workforce.


Moviefone looks at movie plots that would have been ruined by Facebook
Some movie plots could have been solved within a matter of seconds, if characters only used a bit of existing technology. With over 500 million people now claiming Facebook as their online home away from home, Moviefone wonders how certain movies would have turned out differently if this massive social network existed prior to 2005.


Nic Cage as Everyone
Sure, Nic Cage is a versatile actor, but is he that versatile that he could really play everyone? This humorous blog thinks so. Our favorite? Nic Cage as The Village People.



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September 2, 2010

MRQE Rewind: Cinema's 30 Best Assassin Movies

In The American, George Clooney plays an assassin who seeks a more quiet and peaceful life while working on his last assignment. This is the latest in a sub-genre that blends the worlds of mobsters, hired guns, and professional killers; and so with The American in theaters, we aim our sights on cinema's most elite professional killers -- the 30 Best Assassin Movies. From deadly hitmen like Anton Chigurh, or bickering killers Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield, to the more professional Léon and Jason Bourne; these are the best hired guns Hollywood has to offer. Below we highlight the top five, but head on over to MRQE to check out the full list -- just be sure to watch your back when you do!



5. Blow Out (1981)
MRQE Metric: 84

Brian De Palma's 1981 thriller finds John Travolta getting caught up in what appears to be a possible assassination of a Presidential hopeful. Jack Terry (Travolta), a movie sound effects technician heads to a park in Philly to record some sound effects for post-production on a film. Terry sees a car drive into a lake, and rushes to help, discovering a young woman and a dead man in the car. The man, he soon finds out is the governor, the woman is a prostitute, and Terry is now caught in the middle of an assassination attempt that is quickly being covered up. As Jeremy Heilman of Moviemartyr.com writes, "As one of the director’s finest achievements, Blow Out proves that great movie fun and great movies are not mutually exclusive."


Of course, Travolta will make a second appearance on this list.

The Blow Out:
Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com


4. No Country for Old Men (2007)
MRQE Metric: 87

Based on Cormac McCarthy's 2005 novel of the same name, the Coen Brother's No Country for Old Men contains one of cinema's most evil assassins: Javier Bardem's unsympathetic Anton Chigurh. With a captive bolt pistol, Chigurh does his dirty deeds as hunts down Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), seeking the satchel Moss recovered from a drug deal gone wrong--the satchel contains $2 million, and a transponder that follows Moss's every move. The role earned Bardem an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and the film went on to receive eight Oscar nominations, winning four, including Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture. 



Call It.



3. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
MRQE Metric: 89

Cold War fears, and a deck of cards, come together in this this political thriller by John Frankenheimer about a Communist conspiracy to assassinate a prominent, right-wing political leader by means of brainwashing his son. Captain Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra), and his platoon, are captured by the Soviets during the Korean War, and are sent to Manchuria. Once there, the communists brainwash the platoon into believing that Sgt. Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) saved their lives in combat, and is deserving of the Medal of Honor for his supposed bravery. As Marco, and some of the soldiers soon have nightmares about Shaw's next move to kill, more gets revealed about the powerful people behind Shaw's conditioning. The Manchurian Candidate remains as one of Roger Ebert's "Great Movies," and was later remade in 2004 with Denzel Washington. Despite popular belief, Frank Sinatra did not suppress distribution of the film following the Kennedy assassination.

The Nightmare:
Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com


2. Taxi Driver (1976)
MRQE Metric: 91

Martin Scorsese's iconic movie, Taxi Driver, can be interpreted in many ways, but what the film boils down to, is the last will of a lonely, depressed man. In Taxi Driver, Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), a former Marine, battles paranoia and depression, and becomes attached to a woman only known as Betsy (Cybill Shepherd)--a woman who volunteers at the local campaign office of Sen. Charles Palantine. Bickle stalks Betsy for a while before gaining the nerve to walk into the office under the pretense of volunteering, but he just wants her. After their date goes sour, so too does Bickle's wits. His thoughts, fears, and frustrations culminates at a public rally, where he, sporting a mohawk, attempts to assassinate Palantine. De Niro's performance landed him an Oscar, and the film went on to win Best Picture. The film also has the unfortunate consequence of inspiring a real assassination attempt, when in 1981 John Hinckley, Jr. admited that his obsession over Jodie Foster in the film led to him his assassination attempting on Ronald Reagan.

Travis Volunteers:
Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com


1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
MRQE Metric: 92

They may bicker about hamburgers, but for hired guns, you can't find a duo of more unflinching killers than Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson); even if they might repent for their sins afterward. Quentin Tarantino's non-linear story of small-time crooks and a mysterious briefcase was inspired in part by 1964's Italian horror anthology Black Sabbath, and Tarantino's desire to present a film with three distinct yet intersecting story lines. As for Jules and Vincent, you best remember your Bible verses before they "strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger."




Trailer:



There's more than just these top five. Head on over to MRQE to catch all the hired guns, and professional killers that made the list!



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September 1, 2010

Aronofsky's BLACK SWAN opens 67th Venice Film Festival

Today marks the opening day for the 67th Venice Film Festival, the world's oldest festival, and we have the full list of movies playing on MRQE.

Opening the festival is Darron Aronofsky's (Pi, Requiem for a Dream), Black Swan. The dark thriller is one of 22 movies vying for the festival's top prize, the Golden Lion. Aronofsky's previous entry, The Wrestler--which went on to earn lead actor Mickey Rourke an Oscar nomination--won the Golden Lion in 2008. Sofia Coppola's drama Somewhere is also up for the award.

Other notable films include Monte Hellman's low-budget Road to Nowhere; Essential Killing, from Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski, which stars Vincent Gallo; and Miral starring Freida Pinto. All are up for the main award.

Films opening that are not playing in competition include, Ben Affleck's The Town (opening wide later this month), Affleck's brother Casey doc, I'm Still Here (which follows Joaquin Phoenix's turn from acting to rapping--also releasing this month), plus Robert Rodriguez's Machete (releasing wide this Friday), had a special midnight viewing earlier this morning.

The Golden Lion will be announced on closing day, Sept. 11.



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