Did you know that Jennifer Lawrence has her own record in the Guinness Book?
She's the highest-grossing action heroine in the history of movies.
It's true. And it's all thanks to her role as Katniss Everdeen, the Tribute who incites an oppressed nation to rise up in The Hunger Games series, which has hauled in $1.6 billion between just the first two movies.
The penultimate installment, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I is adding to that total, grossing $17 million from Thursday night shows before properly opening nationwide today.
Lawrence's can't be credited enough for the phenomenal popularity of this franchise. It's a hell of a performance and a hell of a character, one in whom we can emotionally invest, placing us right in the middle of a vast, complicated science fiction world that's a frightening funhouse mirror of our own. Katniss is a serious action hero, one whose chops as a kicker of asses is never in doubt. She's not a damsel in distress and she's certainly not just a love interest for a man.
She's part of a proud tradition in recent scifi cinema, a tradition of female characters who have their own agency, who take shit from nobody, and who don't rely on guys to save the day.
There's no way around it: With the tragic and shocking death of Robin Williams, the world in general and cinema specifically have lost something irreplaceable.
Williams was something truly rare, something truly special. He was a performer in the very best sense of the word, a joyous and exuberant comedian with an unstoppable drive to entertain, as well as an actor whose fearlessness could make a moviegoer's soul grow with his earnest vulnerability and hard-won wisdom.
He wasn't just a star. Robin Williams was a force, a charismatic whirlwind and a singular embodiment of exuberant childishness. He was capable not only of making us laugh uproariously, but of tapping into deep wellsprings of humanity within himself, sharing it with us, and reminding us that it's in us too.
Like so many of you out there, we here at IAR grew up on Williams. He was a fixture. He was simply always there, livening up otherwise dour movies and elevating good ones to greatness. Now he's gone. And he went in a fashion that will impact the feeling and meaning of every nuance of every performance he ever gave on film.
One of the wonderful things about movies, though, is that their power isn't diminished by the passage of time or the tumult of the now. We lost Robin Williams, but his films remain. We can still access and learn from his greatness and vitality. We can still appreciate Williams through the legacy of his work.
So, for our latest ROGUE 10, we put together a list of ten movies that we feel stand as testaments to his unique power as a performer, movies we'll revisit for years.
Now that July is here, it means that the year is officially halfway over.
So that being said, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look back at the first half of the year and rank the top ten films of 2014 … so far.
Usually I wait until the end of the year to make this list, but a lot of good movies get overlooked in December because of the onslaught of Oscar contenders that are released in the second half of the year. While I don’t expect many of these films to make the list again in six months, I wanted a chance to highlight some of the fine films that might be forgotten by year’s end.
The following is a look back at my ten favorite films of 2014 … so far. In order to qualify for this list, the film either had to be released nationally or premiere at a film festival before July 1st. It’s important to note that at the time of this publication, I have seen almost every movie released in 2014 with the exception of Blended, The Other Woman, The Fault in Our Stars, Chef, Palo Alto, and Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. That being said, the list compiled below is based on the movies that I did see (so far) this year, and which of those were my favorites overall. I’m not necessarily saying that these are the ten best films of the year up to this point, but in my honest opinion, they are the ten that I enjoyed the most.
However, honorable mention goes to The Signal, The Raid 2: Berandal, Boyhood, Fading Gigolo, Life Itself, The Lego Movie, and Muppets Most Wanted, all of which came very close to making the final cut.
What else is there to say, really? There are movie stars, there are icons, and then there are legends. John Wayne was all three and even more.
The Duke transcended mere stardom, personifying not just a heroic presence on screen, but a bygone ideal of American masculinity. John Wayne presented the America – its ideals, its physicality, its history, its peculiar spirit – as America saw itself and, in turn, how the world saw the country in the middle of the 20th century.
Today, Warner Bros. Entertainment releases John Wayne: The Epic Collection, the perfect way to celebrate the star and his legacy.
This 38-disc DVD collection spans a whopping 40 movies from John Wayne's incredible catalog of more than 140 starring roles, bringing the cream of the crop to your DVD shelf.
Included in the set are (in chronological order): Big Stampede, Ride Him Cowboy, Haunted Gold, Telegraph Trail, Somewhere in Sonora, Man from Monterey, Allegheny Uprising, Reunion in France, Tall in the Saddle, Back to Bataan, They Were Expendable, Without Reservations, Tycoon, Fort Apache, The Three Godfathers, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Flying Leathernecks, Operation Pacific, Big Jim McLain, Trouble Along the Way, Blood Alley, The Sea Chase, The Searchers, The Wings of Eagles, Rio Bravo, Hatari, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, How The West Was Won, Donovan's Reef, In Harm's Way, The Sons of Katie Elder, El Dorado, The Green Berets, True Grit, Chisum, The Cowboys, Cahill: U.S. Marshall, The Train Robbers, McQ, and The Shootist.
The collectors edition set also boasts hours upon hours of special features from audio commentary to behind the scenes documentaries to classic short films and animated clips. John Wayne: The Epic Collection also boasts a full coffee table book, lobby cards, photographs, memorabilia, and replica personal correspondence by the Duke himself.
To mark today's release of John Wayne: The Epic Collection, we here at IAR thought that instead of offering a ROGUE 10 of classic John Wayne moments, we would instead examine his pop-culture wake. Specifically, we set out to compile a list of John Wayne impressions that have, over the years, captured our imaginations and made us appreciate Wayne even more.
Summer, a season when movies get bigger yet mean so much less, has arrived.
In this season of frenzied digital spectacle, there's already an oddity in limited release: an earnest little comedy-drama from a writer-director who has delivered his share of blockbuster super-action.
This little gem fits, for a stretch of its zippy story, into a specific subgenre that we're very fond of here at IAR, the father-family road trip movie. Damn near everyone has spent seemingly endless hours in transit with a parent, the tediousness of the highway and the proximity of a car making the conversation both boring and intense.
With the first entry on the list as our inspiration, we decided to devote the latest ROGUE 10 to some films that follow fathers and their progeny on huge journeys. It's a surprisingly varied subgenre, and we've tried to reflect that, so please enjoy these ten examples of the form:
To an Arnold Schwarzenegger character, the entire world is an armory.
Over the course of his nearly forty-year movie career, the action star has unleashed all manner of weaponized fury using seemingly every type of gun known to man. The former Mr. Universe himself has quippily commented on his association with firearms, saying, "I have a love interest in every one of my films: a gun."
In this Friday's Sabotage, then, Schwarzenegger has a whole lot of love interests. He plays John "Breacher" Wharton, the alpha dog and father figure in an elite, balls-to-the-wall DEA task force. After Breacher's crew pulls off an audacious raid on a cartel safe house, $10 million in ill-gotten gains go missing. All ten members of the task force are suspects. Before long, they're being picked off one by one, and Breacher must get to the bottom of the case before it's too late for him and everyone he cares about.
Breacher, like so many Schwarzeneggerian heroes, knows his way around a gun. But here's the thing about Arnold: He's no mere gunslinger. This iconic, unstoppable slab of meat doesn't need to pull a trigger to demolish an enemy. He'll utilize any aspect of his environment to mop the floor with a henchman foolish enough to cross him, and he'll deliver a killer zinger, too.
To Arnold Schwarzenegger, almost any item – no matter how innocuous, ordinary, or even intangible – is a potentially devastating means of wiping out bad guys.
With Sabotage hitting theaters, we've decided to dedicate our latest Rogue 10 to Schwarzenegger and his most outlandish, most iconic, most enjoyable weaponized mayhem. From simple swords to million-dollar aircraft to the ultimate subtle weapon, here are our ten weapons that only Arnold Schwarzenegger could have wielded so well:
Homefront, hitting Blu-ray today, is like a muscle car: a product of another age that is nonetheless even more effective now.
Jason Statham, the action-thriller's star, is similar: in an age of CGI superheroics and leading men with sculpted eyebrows, the British actor is a lantern-jawed bruiser, a throwback from an age when monosyllabic gunslingers were king and stunts commanded more attention than digital effects. He's a man's man, a former professional athlete who specializes in gruff anti-heroes who may or may not have hearts of gold.
He's Jason freakin' Statham. If you're a henchman, then Jason Statham is going to drop you with a single roundhouse kick to your glass-jawed ass and he's going to look like a million bucks while he does.
In Homefront, Statham plays Phil Broker, the former DEA agent from many a novel by Chuck Logan. Looking for a quiet town in which he can safely raise his nine-year-old daughter, the recently widowed Broker is settling down. Until, that is, he's slowly drawn into a feud with a local meth kingpin played by James Franco.
For more than sixteen years, Statham has been delivering his Stathamian brand of justice on screen. With Homefront marking his latest contribution to the ass-whupping endeavors, we've decided to dedicate our latest Rogue 10 to a rundown of ten movies in which Jason Statham has especially excelled.
Matthew McConaughey is riding a gravy train with biscuit wheels.
Lately the actor has been on an unparalleled roll, doing career-best work in seemingly every new performance. Just a few short years ago, McConaughey was synonymous with generic romantic comedies in which he played "The Matthew McConaughey Type" rather than real characters.
Now here we are, at a time when the dude everybody dismissed half a decade ago reveals new layers and depths on the regular. Thanks to his devastating and dramatically physical work as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club, McConaughey is heavily favored to take home a Best Actor statuette at the 86th Academy Awards.
Even as rakes in accolades and awards for Dallas Buyers Club, he's turning in a riveting performance week-by-week on HBO's elegant and desolate True Detective, running with the opportunities for longer, more nuanced acting that cable television now provides. And that's on the heels not only of his Oscar-nominated role, but a vital appearance in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street and acclaimed work in Magic Mike and Killer Joe, just to name a few.
Next year, he ups his blockbuster game with Christopher Nolan's huge, ambitious, and mysterious Interstellar.
So here, at or near the pinnacle of McConaughey's success, well beyond the turning of the tide, we've rustled up our latest Rogue 10 compiling ten outstanding Matthew McConaughey performances that are above reproach, that stand the test of time, that are worth remembered, and that you just can't McConaughate.
Every dog has his day.
And every awful superhero movie gets a tiny little something right.
Okay, maybe not every awful superhero movie. Unless we're talking about the kind of bad that's actually funny, like, say, every moment that Arnold Schwarzenegger is on screen in Batman & Robin, then there are some cinematic spandex-fests that really don't do their subjects justice for even a moment.
But for so many maligned movies based on the exploits of our comic book neon gods, there's some small moment, some goal only briefly achieved, or some performance that really works.
So, for our latest Rogue 10, we here at IAR have compiled a list of ten objectively bad superhero movies that nonetheless have something good or even great within them. It's been said that you can't polish a turd, and we're certainly not looking to polish any of these turds, but we also believe that sometimes, very rarely, a turd can have a diamond somewhere inside.
Strap yourselves in, ladies and gentleman. We've got a good feeling about 2014.
So, naturally, we've compiled a Rogue 10 list of ten movies on the way over the next year that we here at IAR HQ are really excited about. This isn't just the standard compilation of ten anticipated movies, though. These are odder films, pictures that represent tremendous potential energy.
A lot of the movies on this list are here specifically because they come from filmmakers who we already know we love. That's just in the nature of compiling a list of films that, in many cases, don't even really exist yet. We're casting into the future, prognosticating, auguring. So we're working from what we know.
Of course we're looking forward to heavy hitters like Interstellar and How to Train Your Dragon 2 just as much as anybody else is. Those mega-movies already have a self-evident whiff of greatness or at least hugeness about them. This list isn't as concerned about those movies; we already know that everybody's set on seeing those. On this list, we're excited about movies that sound like they could have real personality, like they could just end up on favorite-movie lists long after the dust of 2014 settles.
But predictions always fall flat. By this time next year, we're hoping to have been astonished by pictures haven't even heard of yet from filmmakers whose work will make us ask, "Who the hell made this?" That's so much of the fun of going to the movies: getting knocked on your ass when you walked in with absolutely no idea what to expect.
We've got our fingers crossed for some pleasant surprises in the year to come, but this list represents ten specific movies we believe have the potential to be special.