top ten

The Naked Truth: Some Directors Aren’t Afraid of Nudity… Seriously, Not Afraid

Article: The Naked Truth: Some Directors Aren’t Afraid of Nudity… Seriously, Not Afraid

If you spend a lot of time analyzing movie sex scenes like we do, you might find yourself rolling your eyes at how many on-screen couples manage to have sex without ever showing any skin… or who fall asleep with a sheet covering them just so… or who always put on a shirt and underpants when they get out of bed to pee, no matter how raunchy things just got. Where’s the nudity? Where’s the raunch? For further feverish research on your own time, you might want to look up the work of the following ten directors who are very, shall we say, comfortable with on-screen nudity. And we mean the real kind — not the CGI kind. Only after we finished this list did we realize it was entirely male, which we suppose shouldn’t surprise us — after all, most of the nudity is female. But we dug up male nudity — or, at least, equal-opportunity nudity — where we could. You’re welcome!

1. Edward Zwick
Edward Zwick may not have directed as much on-screen nudity as the other people on this list (unless we missed something in 1989′s Glory), but he takes the number one slot because he is the only director on the list, who got naked himself while shooting a nude scene.

10 Nerd-Approved Comic Book Movie Adaptations

Article: 10 Nerd-Approved Comic Book Movie Adaptations

Comic book geeks are the toughest audience to please. Sure, they’ll flock to any superhero movie (and often in costume) but change one detail of the beloved source material, and that’s basically their kryptonite. Still, a select few comic book flicks qualify as nearly 100% nerd-approved. Take a look below to find out which made the cut. (Then tune in to THE WRITERS’ ROOM for a celebration of small screen adaptations: “The Walking Dead, Smallville & other comics” on Fri., Apr. 25 at 9PM/8c.)

1. The Avengers – 97% Nerd-Approved
With Marvel’s mega-blockbuster, writer-director Joss Whedon tapped into every superhero fan’s inner 10-year-old. For those whose inner child is perpetually clutching an action figure wherever they go, a Hulk who didn’t look like Shrek only sweetened the deal.

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – 99.98% Nerd-Approved

A near perfect adaptation of Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting’s “Winter Soldier” comics storyline, this movie is so chock full of Marvel-ous Easter eggs – references to Doctor Strange and Crossbones among others — that it isn’t just the latest comic book movie. It may also be the best.

Moviemakers Just Can’t Decide If Dictators Are Funny or Frightening

Article: Moviemakers Just Can’t Decide If Dictators Are Funny or Frightening

Dictators have always made great movie fodder. But whether they’re a source of ridicule or revulsion is another story. Take a look at some of the greatest portrayals of dictators in Hollywood history and you’ll see the interpretations are all over the map! Even Hitler (represented four times in the list below) can span from a buffoon to a holy terror. Don’t believe it? Read on.

1. The Great Dictator (1940)
Charlie Chaplin’s first true talking film stirred the nation, and can be considered a significant cultural reference point that served as inspiration to everything from Mel Brooks’ The Producers to Ivan Reitman’s Dave and even Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. If for nothing else, re-watch this seminal comedy for the climactic speech at the film’s conclusion, a moment when a legendary silent film star steps out of character and truly finds his voice, and a chillingly apt (but sadly ignored) call to action at a pivotal time in history—1940.

Some Boys in Blue Are Girls: TV’s Top 10 Fearless Female Investigators

Article: Some Boys in Blue Are Girls: TV’s Top 10 Fearless Female Investigators

Eye-candy sidekicks? Please. Whether they’re cops, CIA agents or amateur sleuths, these plucky ladies are absolutely killing it at work — which just so happens to be investigating homicides. Tune in to any of the following shows and you will find women who bend rules, break balls and take names. Smart, brave, tough and uncompromising, these heroines are amazing at what they do, and shatter stereotypes along the way.

Crazy Good! The Top 10 Movie Meltdowns

Article: Crazy Good! The Top 10 Movie Meltdowns

One of the most enjoyable things about movie-watching is that moment when a beloved character loses his/her crackers, even if just for a moment, showing us a whole other shade of person. And as enjoyable as it is for the audience, it’s probably lots of fun for the actors, too. A compendium of raging, comic, emotional and/or heartbreaking meltdowns follows…

1. Entire Cast, Blue Velvet (1986)
As for the best meltdown in this film, take your pick! In the surreal world of David Lynch, every single character seems to be at a different point in his/her own personal undoing, as everyone’s hold on reality becomes increasingly looser. Blue Velvet is the epitome of “on the edge.” As with most of Lynch’s work, this can be considered an exploration of what happens post-meltdown.

2. Hayley Stark (Ellen Page), Hard Candy (2005)
Hayley gives us one long, brutal but very talky meltdown in Hard Candy, a pressure cooker of a flick that never lets up and always keeps you guessing. After a relentless torture scene (not spoiled here), Hayley continues her ravings and revenge fantasy on the roof, literally driving a bland and listless Patrick Wilson to jump clear off it. Can you blame him?

10 Seriously Messed Up Movies

Article: 10 Seriously Messed Up Movies

Spring may seem an unlikely time to crave a messed-up movie marathon, but the trippy films on this list are worth a screening any time of the year. Full of iconic (read: extremely bizarre) scenes and surprising performances from many now “mainstream” actors, these are movies that will get under your skin and stay there. Of course, it’s hard to get too bummed out by a well-told story or a stylishly made film (then again: Dancer in the Dark), but here’s a final warning: these are 10 seriously messed-up stories.

1. Grizzly Man (2005)
Like much of Werner Herzog’s work, Grizzly Man has moments of poetry as well as dark humor. But Timothy Treadwell, the central figure of this documentary, suffers a fate so horrific that it’s shown in the film only via Herzog himself listening to audio of the incident and advising that it be destroyed and never played for anyone ever again. The audio exists because Treadwell documented his life among the bears in Alaskan wilderness; some of the astonishing footage appears in the movie, as Herzog ruminates on the “chaos and murder” he sees in the natural world Treadwell so adores. You may want to chase this experience — or this entire list — with Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World, another nature-related doc with less grisly results.

2. Hard Candy (2005)
Before she was Juno or fulfilling her Woody Allen movie destiny, Ellen Page played a cunning teenager in Hard Candy, which manages to toy with its viewers so much that it appears to tell about five different totally messed up stories before it’s over. It begins queasily enough with Patrick Wilson meeting Page in a public place and bonding over the band Goldfrapp, then gets queasier as he invites her back to her place. But Page, playing on her mini-person physicality as well as her natural ability to seem smarter than her young-looking years, is not who she appears to be. This isn’t a gory horror movie, but your stomach will probably still churn with each plot twist.

10 Most Heart-Stopping Movie Cliffhangers

Article: 10 Most Heart-Stopping Movie Cliffhangers

Sometimes, they set up a sequel. Sometimes, they’re intentionally ambiguous. And sometimes, they’re maddeningly unclear. But what the best cliffhanger movie endings always do is leave audiences talking up a storm. And this doesn’t only happen in movies—it happens on TV as well. Consider Scandal, arguably the greatest cliffhanger show since Lost. Find out how series creator Shonda Rhimes and company create these high-stakes endings in THE WRITERS’ ROOM, Fri., Apr. 18 at 9PM/8c then vote on your favorite big screen example of a cliffhanger in the list below, ranked from serious palpitations to cardiac arrest.

10 Great Zingers from Law & Order’s Lennie Briscoe

Article: 10 Great Zingers from Law & Order’s Lennie Briscoe

Ever since Jerry Orbach joined the cast, LAW & ORDER fans have waited every episode for the next great one-liner from Detective Lennie Briscoe. Here was a world-weary, acid-tongued cop who knew how to zing it. Ready to laugh, groan and roll your eyes at Briscoe’s street-smart-assery? You’ve got two choices. Tune in to LAW & ORDER on SundanceTV or read the below.

10 Truly Terrifying Stephen King Fright Flicks

Article: 10 Truly Terrifying Stephen King Fright Flicks

What makes Stephen King movies so scary is how normal their characters can seem at first. They’re writers and doctors, moms and dads, whose lives suddenly take a twisted turn which transforms the familiar into something freakishly frightening. This month, SundanceTV is airing some of King’s creepiest — THE SHINING, CARRIE, CHRISTINE, and CHILDREN OF THE CORN. Below is a top ten list of the horror master’s best.

Top 10 life lessons from John Cusack

Article: Top 10 life lessons from John Cusack

Photo Credit: Listal

John Cusack’s entire career is something of a life lesson: you don’t need to be conventionally macho to become a leading man. Even in the golden age of muscled-up testosterone, the eighties, Cusack found success in offbeat roles while seeding a career with far fewer rough patches than, say, Sylvester Stallone’s. This month, Sundance Channel is showing two of Cusack’s very best, SAY ANYTHING and HIGH FIDELITY; in those movies and others, Cusack has much to teach us.

Top 10 musician superheroes

Article: Top 10 musician superheroes

Photo Credit: The Guardian

There are the kinds of superheroes you see in summer popcorn movies, and then there are real-life superheroes. Some of the biggest rock stars in the world have proved that they also have some of the biggest hearts, by giving generously of their time and money to causes they care about. Some you’ve probably heard of–their charitable works are nearly as famous as they are–but some will likely surprise you. Here are our Top 10 musical superstar superheroes.

Top 10 ultimate alternate universe films

Article: Top 10 ultimate alternate universe films

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the real world, are we? Sundance Channel has the perfect escape on offer: Some really unreal worlds, alternative universes where hauntings, vampires, time travel, spontaneous combustion and the like are commonplace. However bad things may look right now, they can’t possibly compete with discovering that your kid is the spawn of Satan, can it? Here are 10 of our favorite alternate universes on film, of course, airing on Sundance Channel this month.

Top 10 thrilling modern outlaws

Article: Top 10 thrilling modern outlaws

Attention, filmmakers: If you want an audience to get behind a particular character, make him go it alone, force him to do things his own way. Renegade style. Whether he’s fighting for the good of mankind or redefining what constitutes evil, we can’t help but find him intriguing. These are self-sufficient guys with no apologies, few rules, and even fewer questions asked. And here are some of our favorites, our Top 10 Thrilling Modern Outlaws, every one of them airing on Sundance Channel in November.

Top 10 films that represent the war on women

Article: Top 10 films that represent the war on women

While the topic of women’s rights doesn’t have the box office draw of a bunch of dudes getting wasted at a bachelor party, say, or a bride-to-be getting diarrhea in the middle of the street, there are many excellent movies that cover various aspects of the War on Women (either directly or metaphorically)—workplace discrimination, violence against women, restricted access to abortion, sexual harassment, and all that fun stuff. So when you make a bag of popcorn and tune into the Sundance Channel this month for movies like ROSEMARY’S BABY, I’M NOT THERE and BLUE VELVET, not only will you be entertained, you’ll also be spending some quality time thinking about women’s rights. In other words, you can feel virtuous about that time on the couch. You’re welcome!

Top 10 terrifying films on Sundance Channel

Article: Top 10 terrifying films on Sundance Channel

Just in time for Halloween, the ten most terrifying movies on the Sundance Channel run a gauntlet of horrific styles. For traditional slasher-movie thrills, we’ve got the original FRIDAY THE 13TH (and, inevitably, a slasher sequel with FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II). Others are horror classics too distinctive to be called traditional; David Cronenberg and Roman Polanski rarely seem more at home than when they channel their own personal obsessions into the horror genre with movies like ROSEMARY’S BABY, THE FLY, and SPIDER. Lars Von Trier’s ANTICHRIST fits into this pattern, too; it bears little resemblance to its genre brethren and is unmistakably the work of Von Trier, yet it is a horror picture, of sorts, filtered through the director’s bracing, often lyrical misery. Of course, there are other ways to get scared without even going into horror; Danny Boyle’s THE BEACH offers a scary vision of paradise corrupted, and, come to think of it, so does David Lynch’s BLUE VELVET, in its own way. If you want to freak out, there’s no shortage of options.

Top 10 reasons we love Tig Notaro

Article: Top 10 reasons we love Tig Notaro

Tig Notaro’s genius has always rested in her innate sense of humor and impeccable comedic timing. She calls out the absurdity of any situation with a Southerner’s warmth and courtesy. None of that uptight, anxious, Northern-neurotic yelling here. She keeps her cool so well, Tig may have changed the way people in our culture deal with the Big C. Check out these ten reasons why you should be diggin her scene.

Top 10 reasons THE FLY is still relevant

Article: Top 10 reasons THE FLY is still relevant

Photo Credit: Cinema Squid

What if gene splicing and genetic manipulation were allowed to be explored in this country, bar none? David Cronenberg’s now classic remake of THE FLY paves way for some big questions regarding human intervention with nature. Whatever position you side with in the great Genetic Manipulation debate, here are ten reasons why you should consider the issues our political system and culture would face if humans and insects shared the same body.

Don’t miss THE FLY airing Tuesday, October 30 at 9p on Sundance Channel.

Top 10 films Mark Duplass thinks you should watch

Article: Top 10 films Mark Duplass thinks you should watch

Actor-writer-director-all-around-indie-MVP Mark Duplass recently completed yet another project: recommending a streaming movie on Netflix every day for the past year. Here, then, are Duplass’ top ten selections from his hundreds of suggestions, nabbed from his Twitter handle @MarkDuplass. Long live #Netflix365!

Top 10 reasons we love Marc Maron

Article: Top 10 reasons we love Marc Maron

This is one of the rare occasions where we don’t think you need another reason–let alone ten–to love someone. That’s because we’re talking about the lovably unlovable Marc Maron. Check out a few reasons to get into America’s favorite neurotic and host of the wildly successful WTF Podcast and find out why Marc is the

Top 10 reasons we love Marc Maron

Article: Top 10 reasons we love Marc Maron

This is one of the rare occasions where we don’t think you need another reason–let alone ten–to love someone. That’s because we’re talking about the lovably unlovable Marc Maron. Check out a few reasons to get into America’s favorite neurotic and host of the wildly successful WTF Podcast and find out why Marc is the

Top 10 reasons to love Gillian Jacobs

Article: Top 10 reasons to love Gillian Jacobs

It certainly helped Gillian Jacobs to be born with beautiful, round eyes; perfect cheekbones; full lips; and a head of blonde hair that would make any young woman in Hollywood a bombshell. But it’s her work ethic, brave choices in acting roles, and charm that’s turnedm her into one of the most talked about starlets around. So even if the future of celebrated television series Community is still unclear, get familiar with some of Gillian’s other roles. Here are ten reasons to go mad for Gillian, and to get into her cheering section.

Top 10 reasons to love Gillian Jacobs

Article: Top 10 reasons to love Gillian Jacobs

It certainly helped Gillian Jacobs to be born with beautiful, round eyes; perfect cheekbones; full lips; and a head of blonde hair that would make any young woman in Hollywood a bombshell. But it’s her work ethic, brave choices in acting roles, and charm that’s turnedm her into one of the most talked about starlets around. So even if the future of celebrated television series Community is still unclear, get familiar with some of Gillian’s other roles. Here are ten reasons to go mad for Gillian, and to get into her cheering section.

Top 10 films that will scare the politics out of you

Article: Top 10 films that will scare the politics out of you

Election Day’s proximity to Halloween is more than a boon for manufacturers of freakish-looking rubber Romney and Obama masks; it’s an opportunity to reflect on all manner of partisan terrors. There aren’t many movies that explicitly mix election-year issues with horror-picture tropes, but there are plenty of movies on Sundance Channel this month that will scare the ever-loving politics out of you, at least for a couple of hours at a time.

Top 10 untouchable real-life movie gangsters

Article: Top 10 untouchable real-life movie gangsters

Where would the cinema world be without gangsters? The gun-blazing standoffs, ballsy bank stickups, mobster massacres… they’ve all contributed to some of the biggest moments in movie history. But there’s a special subset of the genre that blurs fantasy and reality, those films that portray the real, bigger-than-life gangsters.

Top 10 movie meltdowns

Article: Top 10 movie meltdowns

One of the most enjoyable things about movie watching is that moment when someone loses his or her crackers, even if just for a moment, showing us a whole other shade of character. And as enjoyable as it is for the audience, we suspect that it’s probably lots of fun for the actors to let loose a little too. A compendium of raging, comic, emotional and/or heartbreaking meltdowns follows.