movies

Near the beginning of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, a big black monolith appears in an African desert, leaving a group of prehistoric ape-men standing there baffled. And that was pretty much the reaction that greeted the film itself when it premiered 50 years ago this week.

Nobody was quite sure what to make of it. The critics were harsh, with Variety dismissively saying flatly, "2001 is not a cinematic landmark." It's hard to imagine being more wrong.

There is a part of a filmgoer who is exhausted by an avalanche of stuff — much of it forgettable, much of it created by committee, much of it branded within an inch of its life and all of it subject to commercial expectations that are either indifferent or hostile to art — that says, "I cannot get on board with a film that delivers wisdom through a giant, glowing Oprah."

Saudi Arabia has announced that it will allow cinemas to open in the kingdom for the first time in decades as part of social and economic reforms undertaken by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"Commercial cinemas will be allowed to operate in the kingdom as of early 2018, for the first time in more than 35 years," the culture and information ministry announced in a statement on Monday.

It said that the government would begin issuing cinema licenses immediately and that the first movie houses would be open by March.

If you're into Disney trivia, you might know that Walt Disney's idea for a new theme park in Orlando, Fla., was initially called The Florida Project. That's also the name of a new film set in a world that seems very far away from the magical kingdom: a budget motel where families live teetering on the edge of homelessness.

Tobe Hooper, who directed the influential horror movie The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, died on Saturday in Los Angeles.

The LA County coroner's office confirmed the death to NPR, but did not provide a cause.

Hooper was a little-known, barely-funded filmmaker when he made the movie that echoed through the horror genre for years to come.

Popcorn Frights.com

With a landscape boasting sun, fun, sand and surf, Florida is hardly the land of Edgar Allen Poe-ish gothic horror, right?

Don’t you believe it.

How about that spooky old Riddle House in West Palm Beach? And you don’t REALLY mean to tell us that those tales of the Bigfoot-like “skunk ape” in the Everglades didn’t give you the creeps as a kid.

Disney is saying goodbye to Netflix and will aggressively enter the crowded subscription streaming market.

There will be one streaming service for sports and another for films and television shows, the company announced on Tuesday. The same day it reported weak fiscal third-quarter earnings.

A world zombified by George A. Romero

Jul 18, 2017
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Susana Vera/Reuters

George A. Romero died on Sunday at the age of 77 after a battle with lung cancer. The Pittsburgh filmmaker was revered as the godfather of the modern zombie film. With "Night of the Living Dead" (1968), he set the rules for zombies that still hold fast today for many films about the undead. You must destroy the brain or remove the head to kill them. And if you get bit by one you become one and then you crave human flesh.

The director John Woo, whose filmography contains an aggregate body count in the quadruple digits, has frequently observed that action movies and musicals are close cousins. He's right about that, and I offer into evidence Edgar Wright's intoxicating new chase flick Baby Driver as Exhibit A.

Wonder Woman was a box office smash on its opening weekend, raking in more than $100 million domestically — a new record for a movie directed by a woman.

Deadline reported Monday that the final tally for the film was $103.1 million, even higher than the initial Sunday estimates.

That handily defeats the previous record for a movie directed by a woman — $85.1 million for Sam Taylor-Johnson's Fifty Shades of Grey.

For the first time in its roughly two decades of existence, a South Florida LGBT film festival will not use the words gay or lesbian in the title of its event.

The former MiFo LGBT Film Festival starts Friday under a new name: OUTshine Film Festival, with 65  movies over 10 days.

Mark Gilbert, chairman of the festival, spoke recently with WLRN about the rebranding of the event. He started by taking us back a bit to understand how we got to this point.

Due to a historic mix-up at this year’s Oscars, director Barry Jenkins wasn’t able to make the acceptance speech he wanted to. Now that the dust has settled, the FSU Film School grad is making that statement.

Well, excuse me while I throw away my first draft, won't you?

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  The lack of new film incentives in Florida hasn't stopped one movie production from shooting some of its scenes in the state.

"The Leisure Seeker," starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland, is set to shoot for several days in the keys later this month.

On Thursday, a casting call for extras drew Key Westers needed to play medical personnel, a wedding party and tourists.

There was no call for a parrot, but Mango was there anyway with her owners, Thane and Tami Gilliam.

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