Articles on this Page
- 08/08/17--14:25: _Here's how badly US...
- 08/09/17--05:18: _The 13 Alfred Hitch...
- 08/09/17--07:43: _The Koch brothers h...
- 08/09/17--12:55: _Where are they now:...
- 08/10/17--06:57: _How the 'Cocaine Co...
- 08/10/17--07:21: _Aubrey Plaza and El...
- 08/10/17--07:35: _Sharon Stone shared...
- 08/10/17--08:28: _How a top Wall Stre...
- 08/10/17--14:29: _Elizabeth Olsen had...
- 08/10/17--15:03: _I talked to Aubrey ...
- 08/11/17--05:26: _7 secrets to sellin...
- 08/11/17--05:52: _The 15 top-earning ...
- 08/11/17--07:18: _Robert Pattinson op...
- 08/11/17--07:55: _Channing Tatum pull...
- 08/11/17--08:10: _Elizabeth Olsen thi...
- 08/11/17--11:39: _REVIEW: Aubrey Plaz...
- 08/11/17--12:31: _15 reasons Darth Ma...
- 08/11/17--14:32: _REVIEW: Brie Larson...
- 08/13/17--06:15: _The filmmakers of R...
- 08/13/17--23:00: _The best movies, TV...
- 08/08/17--14:25: Here's how badly US broadband speeds lag the rest of the world
- 08/09/17--05:18: The 13 Alfred Hitchcock movies you need to watch in your lifetime
- Filmmakers Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman used the perspective of drug dealers and hitmen to tell the story of "Cocaine Cowboys."
- When criminals get out of prison, they want to tell their stories to Corben and Spellman.
- Corben and Spellman explained their failed attempt to make the real-life story of Martin Scorsese's "Casino."
- Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen are starring in the Instagram stalker comedy "Ingrid Goes West."
- The actresses told INSIDER they had little experience with the app before signing up for the movie.
- The director made a profile for Olsen to help her understand her role.
- "Ingrid Goes West" hits theaters Friday.
- Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen are starring in "Ingrid Goes West," a dark comedy about an Instagram stalker.
- INSIDER asked them which moments from the movie might become memes.
- They kept pronouncing the word as "mem."
- Eventually, they reverted to pronouncing it like "meme," which is correct.
- "Ingrid Goes West" lands in theaters on Friday.
- 08/11/17--05:52: The 15 top-earning movie directors of all time at the US box office
- Channing Tatum performed some magic at a random gas station in North Carolina.
- While doing press for his upcoming movie "Logan Lucky," he bought some coffee and pulled some dance moves.
- A friend caught it all on a Facebook Live video, starring him and the store's clerk, Beatrice.
- Watch it below. They start dancing a little after the three-minute mark.
- Elizabeth Olsen plays a famous Instagram influencer in "Ingrid Goes West."
- She told INSIDER that it's "really strange" that anyone would want to be famous, on Instagram or otherwise.
- She and Plaza said the pressures of fame can be a huge turn-off.
- "Ingrid Goes West" hits theaters Friday.
- Star Wars fans have endlessly debated which Sith Lord is cooler.
- Darth Vader may be the most recognizable character of the two, but Darth Maul is better than Darth Vader for a variety of reasons.
- Both Darth Maul and Darth Vader remain iconic characters to the franchise.
Despite being home to some of the most technologically innovative companies in the world, the US is far behind other nations when it comes to broadband download speeds. As this chart from Statista shows, it takes a user in the US 51 minutes to download an HD movie, while users in Singapore can accomplish the same task in less than twenty minutes.
This information comes from a new report by Cable.co.uk. Despite the relative lack of speed, the US is still far better off than most nations. At the bottom of the list coming in 189th is Yemen. Downloading the same HD movie in Yemen would take a little over two days.
Alfred Hitchcock is more than just the master of suspense.
Throughout his career, the legendary director transformed cinema as we know it today through his unique visual eye, masterful storytelling, and incredible showmanship.
In celebration of his birthday on Sunday, we look back on his most memorable works — ranging from the crowd-pleasing "Psycho" to a movie regarded as one of the best ever made, "Vertigo."
Here are the 13 Alfred Hitchcock movies you need to watch in your lifetime:
1. "The Birds" (1963)
Hitchcock uses the attack of birds on a small Northern California town to highlight the madness that overcomes people when thrust into extraordinary situations. Made three years after the hit "Psycho," and in the midst of the TV show "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," this is the high watermark of Hitchcock's prominence in popular culture in his lifetime.
2. "Dial M for Murder" (1954)
Perhaps the most famous "Hitchcock blonde," Grace Kelly stars in this crime thriller about a man who attempts to kill his wife after learning she's had an affair. And things get very complex from there.
3. "North by Northwest" (1959)
Another favorite of Hitchcock's, Cary Grant plays a New York advertising executive who is mistaken for a government agent and finds himself on a cross-country chase from police, and bad guys, to clear his name. The movie features the iconic plane-chasing-Grant shot, and the thrilling conclusion on Mt. Rushmore.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Billionaire businessmen Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch seem to be the last people to have any interest in what goes on in Hollywood, but the heads of Koch Industries and prominent backers of right-wing politicians have secretly been funding some of the biggest movies out this summer.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Koch brothers have been silent investors in RatPac-Dune Entertainment for the last four years. The trade reports they have staked tens of millions of dollars into the company. RatPac-Dune is responsible for recent huge Hollywood blockbusters like "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," and two of this summer's hit movies: "Wonder Woman" and "Dunkirk." All these titles were released by Warner Bros.
The brothers were brought into the company in 2013 by current treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, who founded RatPac-Dune with producer Brett Ratner. It was part of a $450 million investment deal the company did, according to THR. Because RatPac-Dune is a private company, this was never disclosed publicly.
Mnuchin is no longer involved in the company since joining the Trump administration, however the Koch brothers still are, as they are stakeholders in "Wonder Woman,""Dunkirk," and the upcoming Steven Spielberg movie, "Ready Player One."
The Koch brothers aren't favorites in the mostly liberal and environmentally-conscious circles of Hollywood. The brothers own 84 percent of Koch Industries, which has been criticized as a major contributor to polluting the environment. The brothers have also bankrolled years of lobbying campaigns to weaken environmental regulations.
So don't plan to see the Kochs' names in movie credits. "They're in it to make money. They're not in it for the recognition," a source told THR.
A spokesperson for Koch Industries told THR, "Charles Koch, David Koch and Koch Industries do not have any involvement with this investment."
Business Insider contacted RatPac-Dune Entertainment and Koch Industries for comment but did not receive an immediate response.
The 1990s were a glorious time. Denim dominated the fashion world, weird catchphrases were everywhere (wasssup?), and teen dramas dominated the television world.
It's been 20 to 30 years since many of these budding celebrities and heartthrobs landed their breakthrough roles. While some have stuck around, others have largely left Hollywood behind.
Here's what your favorite '90s stars are up to now.
Melissa Joan Hart hit stardom after starring on '90s classics "Clarissa Explains It All" and "Sabrina: The Teenage Witch."
Her career continued with several TV movies and she hit it big again in 2010 when she started ABC Family's "Melissa & Joey," which ran for five years.
Kenan Thompson has been a comedic icon since the '90s.
As a teen, Thompson rocketed to comedic fame as a member of the sketch comedy show"All That." From that success, he got a show with fellow cast mate Kel Mitchell called "Kenan and Kel," as well as a "Good Burger" movie. Thompson has been a featured player on "Saturday Night Live" since 2003 and is raising a daughter with his wife.
"Good Burger's" Kel Mitchell has been a steady figure in the industry, as well.
Despite reports that he had died, Mitchell is alive and well — and still acting.
Since his stint on "Good Burger" and his voice role in "Pink Panther," he has landed recurring roles on several small TV series, including "Game Shakers" and "Wild Grinders." Most recently, he brought back the infamous Ed character to interview players and report for Nickelodeon Sports at the 2017 Super Bowl media day.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Born and bred in Miami, Florida, director Billy Corben and producer Alfred Spellman grew up knowing a simple fact: their city has been, and will always be, a sunny place for shady people.
Whether it’s the refuge for retired mafia kingpins of the past, or most recently O.J. Simpson’s likely new home once he's released from prison in October, The Magic City has never been able to shake its notorious reputation.
For Corben and Spellman, memories of being kids in Miami include racing home after suddenly coming upon a massive drug bust on their way to school and realizing that all their neighbors suddenly were driving around in fancy cars, had big boats, or were building additions on their houses — all while the rest of the country was going through a recession in the '80s.
And then there was “Miami Vice.”
“The big thing [growing up] was finding, in town, where 'Miami Vice' was shooting," Spellman told Business Insider. “They were always just shooting the other day near your friend's house, that was the talk. It was a huge thing in elementary school."
When the two grew up (they've known each other since the 9th grade), and decided to get into making movies through their production company Rakontur, they didn't set up camp in Los Angeles or New York City. They stayed put in Miami and decided to tell the taboo stories of the city.
The first: making the real-life "Scarface" movie.
Miami was the entry point for cocaine moving into the country in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It made the people who were trafficking it extremely rich, but it also made Miami, in that time, the most violent place in the country. The Colombian and Cuban drug cartels set up hits almost on a daily basis around the city.
It was a story Corben and Spellman felt had been glamorized in movies and TV, but never told the real way in documentary form. They planned to do that with "Cocaine Cowboys"— tell the story through the accounts of the people who were there. And not just on the law enforcement side, but the underworld as well.
But there was a problem. Corben and Spellman had zero connections in the city's drug world of that era. However, there's another simple fact about Miami: "You are basically two degrees of separation away," Corben told Business Insider. "You'll be at a bar and end up sitting next to a former smuggler."
And that's what happened to Corben's cousin on a sunny Miami day in 2003. While Corben and Spellman were beginning their research on the movie, Corben got a call.
“My cousin called me and he said, ‘Do you know who Jon Roberts is?’ And I’m like ‘No, but let me ask the office.’ And Alfred yells out, ‘Yes!’” Corben said.
In his research, Spellman had come across the book “The Man Who Made It Snow,” and in it Roberts is featured as a former New York City club owner who moved down to Miami to deal marijuana, and ended up being one of the major players dealing cocaine for the Medellín Cartel.
“It turns out Billy’s cousin met him at a pool and Jon wanted to know if we wanted to do lunch and meet,” Spellman said.
Up until this point, Corben and Spellman had hit closed doors whenever it came to talking to the people behind the cocaine that flooded into Miami in the 1980s. By the early 2000s “Scarface” was a bonafide classic constantly referenced on TV shows and rap songs, but for people living in southern Florida, the topic was still a sensitive subject.
“In Miami, you didn’t talk about cocaine, it’s just an era that had never been talked about,” Spellman said.
“My grandfather, who was a real estate developer in Miami Beach and South Florida, he was appalled we were doing the movie,” Corben said.
But after a sit down with Roberts, in which they explained to him that the movie would not feature a narrator, or have an agenda, and instead would be focused on the first-person accounts, Roberts was on board. And Roberts’ partner, Mickey Munday, a modern-day pirate who was in charge of smuggling the drugs into Miami through air and sea, quickly followed.
Corben and Spellman realized they possessed a tool that the former gangsters desperately needed to get back on their feet after years in prison: notoriety.
“Most people coming out of prison don’t have anything,” Corben said. “It’s life reset. You’re not helpless, but you have no income, you have no savings, some people don’t have any support system when they come out because people have disowned them. So you come out and all you have is your stories. I don’t want to call it your currency, but that’s what you have.”
Though Corben and Spellman said they never paid for an interview, they do not take their subjects’ life rights, which means the people they interview are free to use the notoriety they get from the movie to try and land a book or movie deal. (Thanks to the success of “Cocaine Cowboys,” both Roberts and Munday have done just that.)
After snagging Corben and Spellman, the filmmakers now had law enforcement, newspaper reporters, and smugglers all retelling how cocaine got to the shores of Florida. But they still didn’t have any Colombian enforcers.
Landing someone who would go on camera and speak about the murders they committed was obviously a huge challenge. In most instances, the hitmen were in prison for a single murder, so the person could only speak on what they had been convicted of. Corben and Spellman would want to talk to someone who could speak about a wide range of criminal activity.
Through the help of a homicide detective, Corben and Spellman reached out to three hitmen serving prison sentences. One was a man convicted for the murder of Barry Seal, the drug smuggler for the Medellín Cartel who Tom Cruise will be playing in the upcoming movie “American Made.” They also reached out to Miguel Perez, who is featured in “Cocaine Cowboys” as a hitman who once killed a target at an airport in broad daylight with a bayonet.
“This guy was described to us by a veteran homicide detective in the documentary as one of the scariest people he had ever encountered in his life,” Corben said of Perez.
Perez agreed to be interviewed. But after weeks of preparing, and hours on the day setting up lights and dolly track at the prison, Perez appeared from his cell to tell the filmmakers he would no longer do the interview after speaking to his lawyer.
“This took months to get to this point,” Corben said. “I’m on the other side of the room with the crew and I see Alfred wagging his finger at Miguel saying, ‘We came all the way here….’”
“I’m just yelling at him,” Spellman added. “And he said he couldn’t do it.”
The third person was Jorge “Rivi” Ayala. An enforcer for drug lord Griselda Blanco, aka “The Godmother,” Ayala was unique to the other hitmen the filmmakers reached out to. Why? Because Ayala had turned on Blanco and cooperated with authorities. Instead of getting the death penalty, he had immunity and could speak about over 20 homicides instead of just the one he was convicted on.
For five to six hours a day, for three visits, Corben and Spellman, along with a film crew, visited Ayala. And what they got from the interviews is some of the most compelling and memorable footage of “Cocaine Cowboys.” Ayala held nothing back as he talked about the people he killed and how insane his boss, The Godmother, was.
After “Cocaine Cowboys” premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, the movie was bought by Magnolia Pictures. Though its theatrical release wasn’t that impressive, the movie would later gain a loyal following on the bootleg market, and quickly became a popular title in the hip-hop world. The movie has since found even more fans on Netflix and airs on movie channels like Showtime.
That has made Corben and Spellman’s job of landing interviews with shady characters much easier. A major reason why “Cocaine Cowboys 2,” which delved deeper into the reign of Blanco, was made is because the main subject of the movie, Charles Cosby, saw that the promotional material for “Cocaine Cowboys” had a photo of him and Blanco. Cosby reached out to Spellman to get the photo, which led to the two talking and eventually deciding to do a movie.
And their two movies released in 2011, “Limelight” and “Square Grouper,” were made when the subjects reached out to the filmmakers directly. In the case of “Square Grouper,” main subject Robert Platshorn's first call after 29 years in prison for marijuana smuggling was to Corben and Spellman.
“We say, ‘When you get out of prison the first call you make is to your mother and the second is to Rakontur,’” Spellman said.
The real 'Casino'
But the pair hasn't landed every movie idea they’ve gone after.
Shortly after the theatrical release of “Cocaine Cowboys” in 2007, Corben’s cousin came through again. He told him that Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, a mob associate and the person Robert De Niro's character is based on in Martin Scorsese’s “Casino,” lived in Miami Beach. As “Cocaine Cowboys” was spun as the real “Scarface,” Corben and Spellman felt it was time to tell the real-life “Casino.”
The duo tracked down Rosenthal, who suggested they meet at the posh Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach.
Rosenthal, impeccably dressed as Corben recalled, dazzled the filmmakers with stories about his power plays with Hollywood, like how he forced the studio that released “Casino,” Universal, to change the real-life names of the mobsters for the movie. In the movie, Rosenthal’s name is changed to Sam “Ace” Rothstein. But when Corben pitched to Rosenthal the idea of a documentary about him, Rosenthal's reaction was simply that he’d “consider it.”
“So a two-hour, $250 lunch later, we walked out with a definite maybe,” Spellman said.
Two more very expensive lunches followed, including one in which Spellman had to move Rosenthal’s car so it wouldn’t get towed — “I’m walking to the car and I’m thinking, ‘Are people still after him?’ I took a deep breath and started the car,” Spellman said — but they were still at a stalemate. Months after the final lunch, Rosenthal died.
“Funny enough, a month or so later I have lunch with an FBI agent we know, and I was spitballing ideas with him, and I told him the whole story about Lefty and he looked at me and paused and said, ‘He was the biggest snitch we ever had. He ratted on people until the day he died.’ So I realized he was still an asset of the agency and didn't want to put himself out there with doing a movie,” Spellman said.
Corben believes what has made them successful over the years is they are completely honest with their subjects. They don’t have fixers or field producers trying to track people down and convince them to be in the movie, like other movies and TV shows. It’s just Corben and Spellman building the relationships.
“I don’t even know what a fixer is,” Corben said with a laugh. “So much of what we do and the candid nature, we’re asking people to recount embarrassing, unflattering, or humiliating parts of their lives, like going to prison. Those relationships are so much about trust. I don’t know how we could do this any other way.”
And because of that they also are meticulous in the edit room to make sure nothing a subject says on screen is taken out of context. To date, the filmmakers say no one featured in one of their movies has ever said they were depicted unfairly.
“You’re dealing with people who would be very upset if we weren’t truthful,” Spellman said.
The duo aren’t done with the “Cocaine Cowboys” franchise. A third one, which will focus on a Miami Cuban crime family headed by Willie Falcon and Sal Magluta, is currently being made into a six-hour miniseries. But before that, there will be another documentary we’ll see from them. At the moment they are keeping that under wraps, but you can bet it will be set in Miami and involve shady people.
“All I’ll say for that one is the people called us on the way to prison and then on the way out,” Corben said.
One of the highlights from this year's Sundance Film Festival was "Ingrid Goes West" (opening in theaters Friday), a dark comedy starring Aubrey Plaza as Ingrid, a girl so addicted to her Instagram account that she becomes dangerously obsessed with the "Insta-famous" Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen).
With the help of Taylor's account, Ingrid knows everything from where Taylor lives to her favorite shops and restaurants. After inheriting over $60,000 following the death of her mother, and trying to put her life together after ruining her friend's wedding because she wasn't invited, Ingrid decides to start a new life out in California, in the same neighborhood Taylor lives in. The movie then chronicles Ingrid's "Single White Female"-like lengths to become Taylor's friend.
Plaza and Olsen talked to Business Insider at Sundance about the movie's commentary on social media, their realization that being internet famous can be a good business model, and the story behind one of the movie's funniest scenes (if you were a fan of K-Ci & JoJo, keep reading).
Jason Guerrasio: Is it frightening to think that there might be a person like Ingrid out there trying to connect with you through social media?
Aubrey Plaza: I don't think about that. I wouldn't think about that.
Elizabeth Olsen: I just don't want people to know what I'm doing. [Laughs] And not that I think I have a stalker, I just want to stay private.
Guerrasio: What do you guys think of social media in general? The movie is kind of a commentary on where we are.
Plaza: I think it's its own animal that is evolving and it's something that in years to come we'll look back on and learn a lot about. We're in it right now, so it's really hard to have a perspective on it, but it feels scary to me.
Olsen: I think it's advancing so fast and there's something always new, I think we're still exploring how it's most beneficial. "Black Mirror" is a show that shows you the scariest version, it's almost a cautionary tale.
Guerrasio: I feel this movie is the same way, too. I mean, there are things you want to tell your fans, but you also want privacy and not to be trolled.
Plaza: Yeah, I'm a private person and don't like sharing my private life with people, but as a producer and being in a professional business, there is a part of it where you need to give back. It's nice to emote something and you want to make things for those people, so having that is good sometimes.
Olsen: I keep thinking about maybe doing it —
Olsen: Yeah, but I probably won't.
Olsen: Though I think about doing it.
Plaza: It's like coming up with something to post and then going, "Forget it, I'm not doing it."
Olsen: Yeah, I mean, honestly, from a specific business point of view, it would help me. But not in film or acting, it would help me in the other picture of all this, which is branding. Using it when I do a cover story, that would be helpful for me. And inevitably that is helpful for your projects. So there is a cycle and social media is very important to all those companies that you want to be on good terms with so you can promote your projects. I understand it from a business point of view and I have friends who handle it like a business, like you Aubrey (after a hiatus on Instagram, Plaza is back on it). But I just don't know how to commit to it.
Guerrasio: You can always start one and have someone else be in charge of it.
Olsen: No, I would want to do it. (Olsen is now on Instagram.)
Guerrasio: Aubrey, did you do a lot of research to play Ingrid?
Plaza: I definitely did a lot of thinking about it. I think the script was well-written and the character just jumped off the page. I think [director] Matt [Spicer] and I had so many conversations about what's wrong with her — it's never really stated.
Guerrasio: How about you, Elizabeth?
Olsen: Yeah, I did research. Matt actually had a list of 35 people on Instagram who we could model Taylor off of. When Matt first told me to do it, I was like, if I'm playing someone who does drugs, I don't have to go and become a drug addict, but at a point I was like, "Eh, lean into it." So I learned how to take Instagram-pro quality pictures with my phone.
Guerrasio: Doing the perfect selfie.
Olsen: Well, I'm not good at that. So Matt set up a fake account for me and I followed 35 people and it's fascinating. I have no clue who these people are, but they have millions and millions of followers and they get paid for it and they all look fabulous and they get invited to very prestigious things. I thought it was fascinating and humanizing. I try not to place judgments as a general rule of thumb but I think I had a little bit of judgment before and now I understand it's a potential career just like any other career.
Guerrasio: One of the funniest scenes is when you two are in the car singing the K-Ci & JoJo song "All My Life." How did that come together?
Olsen: I think there was another song first, but they couldn't get the rights for it.
Plaza: Yeah, it was Seal's "Kiss from a Rose."
Olsen: Oh, right! And doing this song was so much better.
Plaza: Wasn't that our first day together?
Olsen: Yeah, first scene we shot. I had practiced those lyrics so many times.
Plaza: I had not practiced. But yeah, you knew it. We were just in a desert in that truck in the middle of the night just singing that song.
Olsen: It was so much fun.
Guerrasio: How many renditions did you do?
Plaza: We did numerous versions. All different levels of energy from both of us. I'm sure we did real weird stuff, even weirder than the finished cut.
Olsen: We smoked so many cigarettes.
Plaza: It was so trashy, I loved it.
Olsen: [Laughs] It was great.
Plaza: It was this "Thelma & Louise" vibe.
Guerrasio: Aubrey, you are a producer on this film and another Sundance entry "The Little Hours." How does that feel, having work that you started from the ground up?
Plaza: It's really exciting. I've never produced before so it's always exciting as an actor to see your movie at Sundance, but as a producer it's even more exciting because you were there from the very beginning. It's like your child.
Guerrasio: Is the next step directing?
Plaza: I mean, I went to film school for writing and directing and I definitely want to direct, but I don't know when that will be.
Guerrasio: Any directing aspirations, Elizabeth?
Olsen: I like acting. Though right now I'm developing two things and I have never had more fun pitching and being on projects from the beginning. It's frustrating but it becomes this thing that you fall in love with.
Apparently Sharon Stone couldn't wait for Throwback Thursday.
On Wednesday, the actress shared an audition tape for "Basic Instinct" on Twitter. In the video, she's reading lines with director Paul Verhoeven, who's standing in for her co-star, Michael Douglas.
In the 1992 film, Stone plays Catherine Tramell, an author whose books are eerily similar to crimes she's connected to. A detective (Michael Douglas) interrogates her as a suspect for a brutal murder and can't figure out if she did it, while simultaneously falling in love with her.
Even before its release, "Basic Instinct" become controversial for its grotesque violence and explicit sexuality. Oh, the 90s!
Here's the audition tape:
“I screamed like a little girl, I was so happy,” he laughs.
The 56-year-old financier Axelowitz had caught the acting bug in 2004 after winning a minor role on “Law and Order” at a charity auction for Boys and Girls Harbor, a not-for-profit focusing on educational opportunities for Harlem children, on whose board he serves. To have his first speaking scene with the legendary De Niro was more exciting than landing a billionaire client; Axelowitz has for six years managed money for wealthy individuals and family offices in the bank’s private wealth division.
Axelowitz had only two scenes in the movie, “Wizard of Lies,” aired on HBO in May. His scenes were shot on Yom Kippur of 2015, but the Jewish financier had no qualms about working. “God will give me a pass to have scenes with Robert De Niro,” he told his family, only half in jest.
The New York financier remembers the shoot like it was yesterday: “My heart is pounding. I can’t believe this is happening. I had five lines. I counted the words,” he says. “De Niro’s on the phone, and off camera, you hear my voice: ‘I was just saying to Maurice, Bernie’s like the Jewish T-Bill. He’s that safe.’ ”
No one on the set, including director Barry Levinson, then knew Axelowitz was a Wall Street pro. But Axelowitz’s day job worked to his advantage. He convinced Levinson to give his character, stockbroker Robert Jaffe, who had steered $1 billion in client money to Madoff, a second talking scene. In the script, Madoff was to brush off Jaffe. Axelowitz told Levinson, “I’m a Wall Street guy for 30 years, and a Wall Street guy would not be blown off by Bernie Madoff a second time.”
Levinson agreed, and Axelowitz got the line, in which Jaffee charges at Madoff, who tries to ignore him. “Bernie, Bernie. You can’t give me just one minute, just one minute? Come on, I want to introduce you guys.” he says, in a fit of pique. After Axelowitz proved his Street cred, the crew called on him for advice on such esoteric matters as hedge fund redemptions.
Hollywood has ended up as a side business for the banker, who donates all his acting earnings to charity. An auction at another charity, Children for Children, landed him an audition for the Cohen Brothers movie “A Serious Man.” He bombed, which eventually led him to acting lessons at the Strasberg School in New York after well-known casting director Ellen Chenoweth told him he couldn’t act.
Working as an actor, Axelowitz says, has broadened his view of the world. “My actor friends are very grounded,” says Axelowitz, who was raised on Long Island. “They don’t come from money. I’m in two different worlds, and I think that helps me in my day job.”
The Madoff story also struck a chord. “I grew up with a father who lost every dime in the market,” he says. Axelowitz’s father had begun investing in the stock market in the 1960s boom and lost nearly everything. The senior Axelowitz, now 96 and still living on Long Island, bet big on Penn Central Railroad — on margin. The railroad’s 1969 bankruptcy financially devastated the family, and Axelowitz, then 9, his two sisters and brother all went to work.
Experience is the best teacher, of course. “The way to prevent a Bernie Madoff or any really bad investment is very simple: Don’t have all your money in one place. You have to be diversified,” he cautions. “If you only have 3 to 5 percent in one investment, even if it’s a Ponzi scheme, it stinks but it ain’t changing your life.” Even actors need to learn that line.
The INSIDER Summary:
Elizabeth Olsen and Aubrey Plaza are starring in "Ingrid Goes West." It's a movie where Plaza plays a stalker who inserts herself into the life of Taylor Sloane, an Instagram influencer played by Olsen, by tracking her down with the app. And yes, it's a comedy.
Though Instagram is central to the movie, both Olsen and Plaza weren't too familiar with the app before filming it. Director Matt Spicer set up an account for Olsen to get a better understanding of how it works and how influencers operate.
"I had no experience," Olsen told INSIDER. "Matt Spicer created a 'Taylor Sloane' profile. He gave me a list of 20-something influencer people to follow. And that’s how I began my relationship with Instagram."
"We only had Instagram after we made the movie," Plaza told INSIDER of the movie hitting theaters Friday. "I didn’t get involved with Instagram until January."
Taylor Sloane is exactly who you imagine the stereotypical Instagram influencer would be like: She's a photographer, lives in California, fills her house with beautiful craft objects, and takes more time photographing her avocado toast than eating it. Olsen said the character wasn't based on any particular influencer Spicer had her follow on Instagram, but rather on an amalgamation of different people in her life.
Following those types of people on the app helped her understand the visual vocabulary of her character: taking in the sunsets, holding the phone at particular angles, and spending a lot of time at Joshua Tree.
"It was people from my personal life or people who I’ve heard about that are friends of friends," she said. "I think I probably drew more on those types of people than the influencers."
The INSIDER Summary:
Elizabeth Olsen is starring in "Ingrid Goes West,"a dark comedy where she plays an Instagram influencer named Taylor Sloane who's stalked by a follower named Ingrid Thorburn, played by Aubrey Plaza.
It's a funny movie, filled with lines and moments that, when I watched it, I imagined would find another life online. Whether it's the two characters bending themselves into knots to get the perfect photo pose or the deadpan jokes from O'Shea Jackson Jr., who plays Ingrid's landlord.
When I asked Olsen and Plaza which moments they thought were most likely to become memes, Olsen told me something interesting: She used to pronounce the word as "mem" before she learned how it's properly pronounced.
"I used to call it a 'mem,' but I know what it is now," Olsen told INSIDER. "It looks like it’s supposed to be called 'mem.'"
Olsen cited one of Aubrey's facial expressions in the movie as a particularly funny moment. She mentioned that the person who runs the Instagram account for "Ingrid Goes West" has been posting memes from the movie. Olsen liked one posted recently that her friend Clay Hawkins showed her.
But she still pronounced the word like "mem."
"There’s one that they did yesterday, which Clay showed me, which is [Plaza's] facial reaction in the car, being confused," Olsen said. "It’s 'Me pretending I know what’s happening in "Twin Peaks."' But that’s not really a mem, is it?"
"I think it is a mem," Plaza chimed in, also pronouncing it incorrectly.
As a rejoinder, Olsen clarified her position on the word's pronunciation.
"Meme, sorry. It’s not a meme, is it?" Olsen asked.
I explained that a facial expression could be a meme and that brief moving images like that usually circulate around the web as gifs.
"Yeah, I think that’s really funny," Olsen said, concluding that the "Twin Peaks" meme was one of her favorites.
Plaza, for the record, thought Jackson Jr. is the most meme-able character in the movie.
"Any time O'Shea is vaping," Plaza told INSIDER. "All of his stuff is great meme fodder."
"Ingrid Goes West" lands in theaters on Friday.
The entertainment industry has always been a tough club to gain entry to, which makes what Jaime Primak Sullivan has accomplished in a few short years pretty amazing.
Sullivan, who some may recognize as the star of the Bravo reality series "Jersey Belle," transitioned from a career in publicity to producing content.
In only five years, she has sold a stable of projects ranging from TV, to movies, to books — at varying levels of development. In addition to "Jersey Belle," her projects include two horror films and two thrillers. One of them, the home-invasion drama "Breaking In," stars Gabrielle Union and is currently shooting in Los Angeles.
Sullivan, who serves as the head of digital development and production for Will Packer Media, is sure that anyone with enough passion and great ideas can sell them in Hollywood.
“To anybody who is looking at content creation as a business model, I’d want to let them know it is a seller’s market," she told Business Insider. "Everybody is buying. You just have to sell them what they're looking for."
To help others accomplish what she has, Sullivan shared some of the lessons she picked up along the way with Business Insider. Here are her seven tips to selling an idea in Hollywood.
1. Find a void in the marketplace.
Sure, Hollywood studios and TV networks are all about the franchises right now. Why? If an idea was successful in one medium – a book, a play, a comic, a movie, or TV show – there's a better chance that it will do well if adapted to another medium. But Sullivan doesn't think that should scare people off from pitching original ideas.
"Making money in Hollywood is very difficult, so people want a proven concept," Sullivan said. “It can be very difficult for someone to want to buy something that originated from your mind if there’s nothing proven."
Sullivan says that people can take advantage of proven concepts and create from there. She used her Bravo show, "Jersey Belle," as an example.
The reality show was based on her own "fish out of water" story of being raised in New Jersey and moving her family to her husband's hometown in Alabama. She capitalized on the trend of shows based in the South, but wanted to show a different side to the culture.
"We’ve seen the 'Honey Boo Boo' version of the South a million times, but what you haven’t seen is the most appropriate beautiful parts of the South that are rich in tradition and culture and etiquette, right?" she said. "So what if you take an outspoken Jersey girl and you put her in the most refined part of the South? That’s funny, that is highly commercial, that is a big idea! I’m creating based on voids in the marketplace."
2. Find ways to make your idea appeal to the biggest demographic.
"I think the biggest mistake people make when they’re trying to sell an idea is keeping it too narrow," Sullivan said. "It speaks to such a small demographic that there’s no way that it can be financially successful. Creatives become so attached to their ideas that they’re afraid to make it bigger, because they think it waters it down. But it doesn’t. It actually gives you a better chance for a sale. The broader and more commercial your idea, the bigger audience you can speak to, the better."
When crafting the horror movie, "Fear Followers," Sullivan understood that pitching a movie based in the US that captured the American obsession with fear could be successful, but incorporating the characters' use of technology to grow their fan base overseas would give the concept a more global feel. This gave it a much better chance for international success, and in turn gave it a much better chance to sell.
3. Keep your pitch simple.
Sullivan said a good pitch should be one to three sentences long.
"If you cannot summarize what you are trying to sell in a way that grabs the buyer in one to three sentences, you’re over-complicating it," she said.
"People work themselves up. They feel like they need to give it all away in the detail. They don’t, because [Hollywood is] buying an idea. A broad concept. You don’t have to know every twist and turn your character’s going to make. You don’t have to know exactly how episode seven of season five is going to work out. That’s not what you’re selling. You're selling an idea that has longevity potential."
4. Know your buyer.
One pitch doesn't fit all, Sullivan said. She believes that pitches should be tailored for each potential buyer, so do your research. Again, she used her Bravo show as an example.
"I knew my target demo. I knew who would most appreciate a live-out-loud Jersey Girl," she said. "You have to know your buyer and their audience because that’s who they’re buying for. The pitch would have been different if the focus of 'Jersey Belle' was on Southern food and the experience. I may have gone to Food Network. For a network like TLC, it would’ve been a much softer show. You have to know who you’re pitching to. You have to know as much about your buyer as you do about your concept."
5. Partner with someone with experience, but not just anyone.
"I highly recommend partnering, I want to be very honest," Sullivan said.
She has been developing with blockbuster movie producer Will Packer for several years. Packer, whose film “Girls Trip” made $30.4 million in its opening weekend in July, has had several of his films open at No. 1 at the box office. They include "Straight Outta Compton,” and the "Ride Along” and “Think Like a Man” franchises. Together, Sullivan and Packer have partnered on three film projects, including "Breaking In," an unscripted show, and two scripted concepts – all based on Sullivan’s original ideas.
"You want to attach yourself to someone that you think can move the ball down the field," she said. "But I highly recommend that you do not give the farm away."
Sullivan said she didn't team up with Packer just because he had a successful track record, but also because he understood her vision, her process, and her longterm goals.
"Everyone wants the sale and I get it. There is no greater feeling for a creative to be able to turn around and say, 'Someone validated me in buying my idea.' That is the greatest feeling," she said. "But if you partner with the wrong people, it can make the process excruciating and heartbreaking. Everything in Hollywood is about vision. If they don’t share your vision, you will find yourself contractually stuck to somebody that doesn’t have the same goals for the project as you, and that is the biggest downfall I believe creatives make. They so badly want to sell that they partner with anybody waving an offer then find themselves sidelined while their project is dissected."
Packer told Business Insider that he teamed up with Sullivan because she impressed him with her vision and ability to know what sells.
"The thing that separates Jaime is her ability to tell vividly specific stories in an incredibly engaging way," Packer told us. "She actually brings you inside that crazy brain of hers. You're not listening to a pitch, you're watching a movie. She is a masterful storyteller and has a cache of commercial ideas. Usually, folks I encounter have one or the other."
6. Great! You've sold your idea to Hollywood – but you may want to keep your day job.
"There is a gross misconception that anyone who has ever sold anything in Hollywood is rich," Sullivan said. "I would recommend that you have a short-term financial strategy, as well a long-term financial strategy."
While she and Packer began developing “Breaking In" four years ago and it has since sold to Universal, Sullivan said outside of the treatment sale, she hasn't seen any income from that movie yet.
"Here’s something that many people don’t know: No matter how big a producer’s fee is, they don’t see a penny of it until the movie gets made, and most don’t see anything until it’s a success," she said. "Don’t spend the money before the check is in the bank, because most producers spend well over three years working on the project before you see a dime."
"It sometimes can be a very long and often discouraging road, and you have to be emotionally and financially prepared for setbacks," she continued. "And I don’t mean there may be setbacks, I want you to hear me, from pitch to production there will be so many setbacks that you doubt why you got into this game in the first place, that’s how many setbacks there will be. But if it is your door, if it meant for you, it will open. That is a fact: You have to ride the wave and sometimes it takes four years as in my case, sometimes more, sadly."
But it's not like Sullivan hasn't seen some return from selling her ideas – even if it isn't monetary at first. While she’s recently shifted into producing content full time, she continues pitching through her publicity business, Bridge and Tunnel Entertainment, on a much smaller scale. She's partnering with unique clients, promoting her own projects, and only working on others' projects when she feels passionate about them.
"I'll take stuff that is much more interesting to me, because I still get to craft a story and bring a narrative to life," she said. “But my business model has changed. The day-to-day talent handling and working red carpets, that part of my career is over."
7. Find ways to extend your successful idea into a franchise.
Here's where Hollywood's desire for proven products works in your favor.
"When you have a successful brand, take your concept and find ways to re-tool it for other media," Sullivan said.
In the case of "Jersey Belle," Sullivan found an opportunity to extend the brand to people who wanted to know more about the experience portrayed on the show, and those who hadn't watched the show at all, with her book, "The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl."
And now, the book is being developed for a scripted series.
Directing a single box office hit is an extraordinary feat.
But to become an all-time box office great, one must possess unrivaled levels of creativity, longevity, and enterprise — or else, decide to make five "Transformers" movies.
To find out which directors have had the most fiscally successful careers, we looked into Box Office Mojo's data to compile this list of the helmers whose movies have grossed the most money at the domestic box office.
From Steven Spielberg to Christopher Nolan to Michael Bay, the top-grossing directors in U.S. movie history all have compelling and versatile filmographies.
Here are the 15 highest-earning movie directors of all time, ranked by total box office gross:
15. Gore Verbinski — Total gross: $1.529 billion
Number of movies: 10
Average gross: $152.9 million
Highest-grossing film: "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" ($423.3 million)
14. David Yates — Total gross: $1.631 billion
Number of movies: 6
Average gross: $271.9 million
Highest-grossing film: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2" ($381 million)
13. Ridley Scott — Total gross: $1.635 billion
Number of movies: 23
Average gross: $152.9 million
Highest-grossing film: "The Martian" ($423.3 million)
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Robert Pattinson may be known best for the role that made him into a global superstar and tabloid obsession, playing Edward Cullen in the “Twilight” franchise, but he’s making it very hard for everyone to keep him in that box.
In his latest movie, “Good Time” (in select theaters Friday, nationwide August 25), Pattinson gives the best performance of his career so far playing Connie, a petty criminal who sets out on a mission to bail his mentally challenged brother out of prison. After the two botch a bank robbery, we follow Connie in a bizarre journey through New York, in which everything he does completely goes wrong. To morph into a greasy Queens hood, the 31-year-old actor spent months working with directors Josh and Benny Safdie (Benny plays Connie’s brother in the movie) before shooting began, which included dressing in character and doing improvised performances with Benny in public.
With a cluster of eager paparazzi waiting outside, Business Insider chatter with Pattinson at the Bowery Hotel in New York City to discuss his new role, why he spends so much time on movie websites, and with more “Twilight” movies to come, if he’d ever consider playing Edward Cullen again.
Jason Guerrasio: You've said in interviews that it's seeing a picture of the Safdie's last movie, "Heaven Knows What," that sparked the interest to work with them. What were you searching for creatively back at that time?
Robert Pattinson: That. I mean, I don't do anything else. I literally f---ing look at film websites all day long. [Laughs]
Pattinson: Also book review websites, anything where there could be something. I guess I'm trying to figure out what could potentially be a zeitgeist-type thing. Something that will connect. And it's very, very difficult to find anything that's in the zeitgeist.
Guerrasio: So your process in choosing roles is different from the traditional method in Hollywood of an agent sending you material. You're searching for the material.
Pattinson: I think it's so much more than the script. I did a movie after "Good Time" [titled “Damsel”] which was from a script and it's funny. But originally I read it and I didn't get it. And then I saw this movie, "Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter," which the directors, the Zellner brothers, had done previously, and I called my agent and said, "Who are these guys?" And he was like, "You just got offered their movie and you said 'no,'" and I was like, "Oh, s---! Wait!" [Laughs] I think you just need so many elements. And I'm just one of those people who thinks if you've made something good once, even if it was a long time ago, I think —
Guerrasio: They've still got a good one in them.
Pattinson: Yeah. Because hardly anybody has made anything good.
Guerrasio: But with the Safdies you see this image, you're intrigued, but what happens if you go to meet them and they could be awful people. Did you vet them a little first?
Pattinson: No. I had seen the trailer for "Heaven Knows What," and I had such a strong impression of them I knew I was right. The editing, use of music, it's just bold. I remember seeing "Heaven Knows What" for the first time and just the volume of the music I was like, "Jesus, it's deafening."
Guerrasio: So in your eyes, even if these guys were complete pricks, you could deal with it because you dig what they do?
Pattinson: Yeah. 100 percent. It worked out, because I really like them. But at the end of the day you're doing it to make something.
Guerrasio: Not make best friends with them.
Pattinson: And sometimes it's kind of good if you hate the person. [Laughs] The film production was only three months, I think you can basically do anything in three months.
Guerrasio: There was so much prep to this movie. Was it fun to get made up and walk around New York City and not be recognized? As opposed to right now, we're in a lobby of a hotel and paparazzi are right at the front door waiting for you.
Pattinson: It's a satisfying experience to do that. I'm trying to make something every time that feels new and surprises people. Hopefully at least one person. But it's not like I turn it off. I don't make a movie and then go back to my normal life. When I'm finishing one movie the next day I'm thinking about the next one.
Guerrasio: Is that because you want that? You want to be busy?
Pattinson: Yeah. But also, most of the time I'm by myself finding the next thing. Being an A&R guy, basically. I don't know how long I can do this for. I'm constantly fascinated by actors who are so confident with their career that they do a project and then go on vacation.
Guerrasio: And then there are the actors that say "no" to everything.
Pattinson: Oh, I say "no" to everything, too. But because I like such few things, when I take a role I just go into prep and that takes time, even for small roles I do that.
Guerrasio: You did months of prep for "Good Time," at one point you and Benny worked at a car wash?
Pattinson: It was actually for a camera test, but the camera was far away. It was in the middle of the night we did it. We had permission from the manager, but everyone who worked there didn't have any idea what we were doing. They just thought we were new to the job. And it wasn't like we did it for the experience of washing cars, we did a bit. Benny is in character freaking out and I'm in character too and I slapped him. Benny punched me in the face. [Laughs] People tried to break it up but I loved that element where something is out of control. It's why I wanted to be in this movie. It's the real world and people react to it. It was interesting to see how real people would react to a crazy situation happening in front of them.
Guerrasio: Did it ever get to a point where there was too much prep work? That your head was overloaded and you just needed to go and shoot the movie.
Pattinson: If someone is enthusiastic, no. There were so many times I would send emails to Josh about the character. Something like, "I just realized who the guy is," and it would be this long explanation. And then Josh would send one back that was ten times longer. So they were enthusiastic which made me that way, too. I think so much of a director's job is just to convince you that what you're doing is worthwhile. "Yes, this does mean something, we're not just messing around." Even though at the end of the day it's a film. But at the time it's something else. I don't feel like I'm making a film, I'm confronting things in myself. I don't know what it is. So if someone is enthusiastic enough to convince you that it's important it's kind of magical.
Guerrasio: Did it take a while to shake Connie once filming was complete?
Pattinson: Actually, I was watching the movie the other day and I was like, "I wouldn't mind doing that again." I just love the certain figures of speech he uses, it's an edgy character and a lot of different angles to him. It's fun.
Guerrasio: So when you see him on screen you don't feel burnt out from playing him, you could see yourself playing him again?
Pattinson: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I found there is so much detail to him as a character. I don't even see him as a criminal. I mean, he robbed a bank, but this isn't a story where the major focus of his life is being a criminal. It's in the back of his mind. I talked to this guy who was a bank robber and just got out of prison from serving eight years when we started shooting. I was trying to figure out what his reason was to do what he did and he said, "I just wanted money." And I was like, ok, that's cool. He disguised himself to rob the banks, he's a smart guy, but it's so interesting that he just eliminated the idea of consequence. You do it because you wanted money and you either get caught or you don't. That's it. I found that profound. The fear of getting caught is eliminated.
Guerrasio: Does the idea of being the lead in a franchise movie interest you at all going forward. I mean, doing "Twilight" was like ten years of your life. Can you go through that again?
Pattinson: Um, yeah. If you get something that you fall in love with. I always think everything is going to be my last job so every single day is a gift. [Laughs] This whole life is an accident for me. It would be nice. But if I did something else like that again I think the more established you are going into it the easier it will be for you. I still think I'm a little too young, but for some [established actors], you go into the project it's yours, they trust you. While if you're just a kid you have to follow what they say. Because everyone is scared, there's just too much money at stake. But with a movie like “Good Time,” I'm cheap, [Laughs] I can guarantee a certain amount of box office, I just want to get another chance after this.
Guerrasio: Lionsgate said recently they are interested in doing more "Twilight" movies down the road. Does that interest you at all, if they come calling could you ever go back and play Edward?
Pattinson: I mean, I would be very fascinated to see how they explain that not only are you a vampire that can go out in the sunlight, but you can also age a little bit. [Laughs]
Guerrasio: Well, that's what CGI is for, right?
Guerrasio: How about if they would allow Edward to be killed off?
Pattinson: I don't know. When the source material is not there it’s tricky. Also, the entire series is based over a year, so yeah, I would feel it would potentially be redundant. Because so much of the movie was about sexual tension, so once it's consummated, that's it. [Laughs]
The INSIDER Summary:
The INSIDER Summary:
In "Ingrid Goes West," Elizabeth Olsen plays Taylor Sloane, a famous social media influencer with more than 1 million followers on Instagram. She's stalked by Ingrid Thorburn, played by Aubrey Plaza, one of her followers.
Olsen knows a thing or two about fame herself. She's the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and was born three years after the twins. Elizabeth herself had a breakout role in 2011's "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and stars as Scarlet Witch in the "Avengers" movies.
Instagram and other social media, though, have allowed the rise of a new class of celebrities who become famous on the platform. But Olsen's proximity to the spotlight taught her that fame isn't for everyone.
"There’s a reason why being an actor isn’t cut out for everyone," Olsen told INSIDER. "It’s a really strange position to be in."
Olsen said that fame can even turn people off to acting, because people don't want to deal with the pressure. Her sisters are a good example: Mary-Kate Olsen stopped acting in 2012, and Ashley even earlier.
"People will leave the industry, because it’s a lot of eyes and pressure and judgment," Olsen said. "Your upbringing or whatever. It’s just a lot. And that's what everyone is volunteering for now, in a way, with social media. It’s not comfortable."
Instagram allows anyone the means to become a public figure, but Olsen and Plaza say that just because you can live your life in public doesn't mean you should.
"Not everyone’s capable of handling a device where they have everything at their fingertips," Plaza said.
Everyone living their lives in public means that it's tempting to compare your own life to everyone else's. That isn't always a good idea.
"We’re creating a society where we constantly feel like we have to compare our lives to someone else’s lives," Olsen said. "Everyone can create these public-private personas of ourselves and it’s now out there to be judged."
It's hard to successfully make a movie about stuff on the internet, which is what makes "Ingrid Goes West" so remarkable.
It's about Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza), a mentally ill young woman whose mother dies and who uses the inheritance money to stalk Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), an Instagram influencer living on the other side of the country, and insert herself into her life. It's like "All About Eve" for the Instagram era. And it's really funny.
Why you should care: It's a piercing take on our social media-obsessed generation.
"Ingrid Goes West" could have been a condescending hot take about how millennials care too much about Instagram and that using the internet is dangerous, but it's much smarter than that. It's about the dual lives people have in the age of social media — the public and the private — and the tension between them. And it's about how having different identities changes the way people meet and interact with each other.
What's hot: Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen are perfect.
Ingrid does a lot of wild things in the movie. She kidnaps a dog, pays people to assault her, and has a weird sex scene where she's dressed as Batgirl. Plaza makes it not merely creepy, but hilarious, pitching the perfect black comedy tone.
Taylor Sloane could have been as flat as her stereotypical Instagram aesthetic, but Olsen knows how to play her as someone who understands she's cultivating an image without being the stereotype itself. O'Shea Jackson Jr. is a highlight as Ingrid's drug-dealing landlord and romantic interest, and Billy Magnussen steals every scene he's in as Taylor's ultra-masculine brother.
What's not: The movie's treatment of mental illness is seriously lacking.
It's clear from the start that Ingrid is mentally ill. You don't just pick up your life and blow all your money on becoming friends with an Instagram influencer if you're sound of mind. The fatal flaw of "Ingrid Goes West" is that the movie holds her responsible for the decisions she makes when she's obviously not sound of mind. Toward the end, especially, the movie makes some heavy-handed points about the relationship between social media behavior and mental illness that left a foul taste in my mouth.
The bottom-line: It's good, but problematic.
I'm glad to have "Ingrid Goes West" as a sharp commentary about social media use, particularly because it's original, funny, and makes great use of its stars. But its understanding of mental illness, and its moral treatment of its mentally ill main character, could have used some serious rethinking.
"Ingrid Goes West" hits theaters on Friday.
The INSIDER Summary:
Ever since "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" debuted (for better or worse), fans have endlessly debated on important question: which Sith Lord is cooler?
The original recipe Darth Vader, scourge of the Jedi, murderer of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and father to a pair of Force Sensitive galactic heroes? Or Darth Maul, the mysterious, titular Phantom Menace who strikes from the shadows, wields the coolest lightsaber in "Star Wars" history, and sports devilish red and black tattoos all over his body?
There’s no easy answer to this questions, but that hasn’t stopped fans from arguing the point back and forth over the years and years that have passed since Maul’s very brief appearance in a "Star Wars" movie. While the character is only a brief blip on the cinematic history of the franchise, Darth Maul has turned up in countless comics, video games, and TV shows, all helping to build up his legacy as a force to be reckoned with.
Meanwhile, of course, Darth Vader has continued to be the face of the franchise, appearing in some form or other (even if it’s just as a burnt mask) in every "Star Wars" movie to date (unless you count "Caravan of Courage"). Vader’s fame and notoriety have reached far over the years, and he is without a doubt the more recognizable character of the two.
However, fame isn’t everything, and while Darth Maul’s appearance in the movies is short and sweet, this also means that he’s not weighed down by a cinematic backstory that amounts to little more than character assassination.
With that in mind, here are the 15 Reasons Darth Maul Is Better Than Darth Vader.
15. Darth Maul looks cooler
There are few sights in "Star Wars" lore as instantly recognizable as Darth Vader. The imposing black mask is etched into the minds of fans across the world the moment he first appears on screen in the original "Star Wars: A New Hope," and even his clunky, rattling breathing noise has passed into mainstream cultural legend.
That said, as iconic as Darth Vader might be, Darth Maul genuinely looks cooler. His red and black markings, glowing yellow eyes, sharp teeth, and pointed horns all create a far more eye-catching design.
Even when trying to conceal his face behind a hood, Maul’s striking appearance gleams out from underneath, making for some of the coolest visuals in "The Phantom Menace" (and let’s face it: the visuals are the best thing about that movie).
Darth Maul might not be as instantly recognizable as Darth Vader, but he’s definitely more eye-catching, even for those who might not be familiar with "Star Wars" canon.
14. Darth Maul is motivated by revenge, not mommy issues
One of the big downsides of the prequel trilogy of "Star Wars" films is the backstory that we get for Darth Vader. Once an imposing, terrifying monster who is “more machine now than man,”Vader has been reduced to a figure of ridicule, with many memes bouncing around among fans that center on the character’s hatred of sand, and horrendous insecurities surrounding his mother.
George Lucas attempted to make Vader a tragic figure by building up his family relationship, but all it did was make fans want to punch Anakin Skywalker for being so whiney.
By contrast, Darth Maul’s entire motivation is vengeance – a far more suitable desire for an evil villain. In "The Phantom Menace," Maul is eager to at last have revenge on the Jedi, and when that doesn’t go his way, his subsequent appearances in animated TV shows "Clone Wars" and "Rebels" are defined by a desire for revenge on Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Sidious.
It’s easier to root for a villain who wants revenge, than to suffer through watching baby Darth Vader pine for his dead mother.
13. Darth Maul is far more impressive in a fight
Back before the prequel movies, it was easy to see Darth Vader as an exciting, dangerous adversary in a lightsaber fight – his battle with Obi Wan in "A New Hope" felt tense at the time, while his fights with Luke Skywalker, particularly in "The Empire Strikes Back" when Luke is hopelessly outmatched, show Vader as a force to be reckoned with.
Then, of course, that iconic scene in "The Phantom Menace" blew audiences away. Here, instead, we got a Sith Lord who was fast, agile, and very skilled with a double-sided lightsaber, and Vader’s slow, stumbling swordfighting quickly became obsolete in the eyes of many fans.
To this day, Maul’s lightsaber fight is one of the most impressive, well-choreographed fights in the "Star Wars" saga, and it’s safe to say that, without any bulky armor and machinery weighing him down, Maul is far more fun to watch flip and slash his way through a fight scene.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Jeannette Walls' harrowing, moving family memoir "The Glass Castle" spent a lot of time on bestseller lists after it was released in 2005, and now it's finally been turned into a movie.
Walls grew up in a nomadic, basically anarchic family with a scheming, spiteful, alcoholic father who also taught her to see the beauty in the world. Brie Larson plays Walls, Woody Harrelson plays her dad, and Naomi Watts plays her mother.
Why you should care: It's a powerful story of a woman becoming independent while retaining family ties.
The central dynamic of the Walls family is that everyone is overwhelming. If you're someone who's never gone to a traditional school, spent your life in a new town every few months, and have a father as wild and wily as Rex Walls, it's hard to breathe.
"The Glass Castle" is about Walls becoming disillusioned with her upbringing and scraping her own way to independence, while also striking a balance and maintaining a relationship with her other family members.
What's hot: Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, and Naomi Watts are all excellent.
The movie's timeline spans over the course of around 25 years, following Walls from childhood to her becoming a gossip columnist for New York magazine. Walls, therefore, is played by several different actresses of uneven talent. But when Larson is onscreen, she's potent. For the first half of the movie (it skips across time), she's in a quiet fury, which explodes in the second half.
Harrelson successfully pulls off Rex Walls, a tricky character for any actor, with domineering body language and theatrical flourishes. Naomi Watts is, as always, a chameleon, almost unrecognizable as the eccentric and demure Rose Mary Walls. All together — and along with the actors who play the other Walls siblings — they're a dynamic family.
Many critics have pointed out that the movie diverges from the book in one big way: it's tone. The memoir is written in a frank, dispassionate voice that culminates in power over time. The movie wears its emotions on its sleeve instead of going documentary-style. I didn't mind. Director Destin Daniel Cretton, who previously made "Short Term 12" with Larson, openly sympathizes with his characters, which is what makes them so identifiable instead of off-putting.
What's not: It gets a little hokey.
But there are admitted drawbacks to being emotionally explicit. Cretton occasionally compresses complicated family dynamics into simplistic notes. One example is where Rex threw Jeannette into a pool over and over again, trying to teach her how to swim. It's harrowing to see Jeannette nearly drown and then just get tossed into the water again when she tries to hold on to the side of the pool. Cretton ends the moment with a groan-worthy quote: "I can't let you cling to the side your whole life," Rex says. "You gotta sink or swim."
There are a handful of corny moments like that.
The Walls are also a family who lives in poverty, and many times I couldn't help but notice that some of the details didn't seem quite right. For example, everyone wore clean, well-fitted clothing throughout the film that seemed a bit too expensive for a family who couldn't afford to feed their children.
The bottom-line: It's a moving adaptation of the memoir.
"The Glass Castle" is one of those examples of the book being better than the movie, but it's still an excellent movie. If you like family dramas, especially father-daughter dramas, definitely watch it.
"The Glass Castle" hits theaters on Friday.
You probably had never heard of Josh and Benny Safdie before this weekend. Though the brothers have been making shorts and feature films for the last ten years, none of them had a movie star, so without that vital component they might as well have been released on Mars.
However, that doesn’t mean their movies aren’t good. In fact, the Safdies’ past features “Daddy Longlegs” (2009), “Lenny Cooke” (2013), and “Heaven Knows What” (2014) are critically acclaimed works that showcase the incredible talents the brothers have as storytellers.
And that’s what caught Robert Pattinson’s eye when he saw a production still of “Heaven Knows What,” then watched the movie, and sought out the brothers about working together.
That has led to “Good Time” (currently in select theaters, nationwide August 25), a heist-gone-wrong movie that uses the pulpy feel of the genre to explore major themes, ranging from racial profiling to the prison industrial complex.
But its biggest triumph is the explosive performance by Pattinson as the movie’s lead, Connie. His transformation into a Queens criminal has given the movie a thrust into the mainstream, and with that, a higher profile for its directors.
The rewards have been life changing for the brothers. They walked amongst the legends in the South of France when “Good Time” had its world premiere in competition at the esteemed Cannes Film Festival earlier this year; they have done the top-flight interviews to promote it, like Charlie Rose; and now the Safdies are taking calls from major stars and Hollywood executives who want the same magic they sprinkled on Pattinson.
“Rob [Pattinson] had a desire to get deep with a project and he looked to us and felt some type of connection to us,” Josh Safdie told Business Insider. “Immediately it changed our budget, it changed everything.”
It was only a matter of time before the Safdies started working with Hollywood talent. At the time Pattinson came calling, the brothers were in the middle of getting their long-developed project “Uncut Gems” off the ground, and were chatting with Jonah Hill to play the lead. Set in Manhattan’s Diamond District, the project has Scott Rudin attached as a producer, Martin Scorsese as an executive producer, and A24 (the company that released “Moonlight”) as its distributor. The latter happened after the Safdies made “Good Time.”
But Pattinson’s enthusiasm to work with the brothers made them halt work on “Uncut Gems” (which because of Hill’s busy schedule was easy to do) and decide to build a project from scratch.
Taking ideas from a project the brothers' cowriter Ronald Bronstein was unsuccessful in trying to get off the ground, and Josh Safdie’s interest in making a movie with a bank robbery, they pitched Pattinson a story about a guy who tries to reconnect with his brother (played by Benny) after a stint in prison — which leads to disastrous results.
And thanks to Pattinson’s involvement, the movie features things the brothers never had access to before. They got aerial shots from helicopters, and permission to shoot in a bank and a shopping mall (in their previous movies they often “stole” shots around New York City, not having the budget to pay for permits).
“Someone asked us after ‘Daddy Longlegs,’ ‘What would you do with more money?’ and we were like, ‘We would make a bigger paper tornado,’” Benny Safdie told Business Insider. “We just want more and more.”
The Safdies admit, though, that the reason many of their previous movies didn’t have traditional roles, like an assistant director or a script supervisor, wasn’t because they shunned the mainstream. They just didn’t have the financial resources. With “Good Time,” the brothers feel it showcases what they can offer general audiences, when combining a respectable budget with their own unique talents. (The Safdies didn’t give an exact number for the budget, only that it was “way more” than their previous movies.)
“Hollywood, in large, has really embraced this movie, and really important, powerful people love this movie because I think for $200 million they can't buy what we did,” Josh said. “You have to know how to do it and that's a specialized skill and that's greater than CG. I think 10 years of filmmaking is starting to show in our work.”
Now the brothers are enjoying the rewards. When “Good Time” premiered at Cannes they spent their stay on the movie’s financier's yacht. They said the phone has been ringing constantly with top actors and executives. They want the experience the brothers gave Pattinson.
But the brothers are staying level headed about their new fame. They said they have already turned down a big budget movie offered to them because “it just wasn’t right.” What they really want to do, other than get hired to do the next big movie, is come in with ideas that launch the next Hollywood trend.
“I want to be the termite in there,” Josh said. “We are trying to reinvent this idea of what can be populous cinema. What can be pop culture. Movies. TV shows. There's a lot of ideas that we have that once we figure out a way in, we can start exploring.”
Next for the brothers is “Uncut Gems,” which they plan to start shooting early next year. They said they would never have been able to pull off their plans for the movie if they didn’t make “Good Time” first. But Pattinson’s performance also showed Hollywood actors the type of dedication the Safdies expect when you sign on.
“Working with Rob sent a message to the industry saying we are willing to play the game,” Josh said. “We are willing to work with the people that you guys have anointed as stars, and we'll work with them. And not only will we work with them, we'll do it in a way that will be so satisfying to them, that other actors will want to do it. We're seeing that, but Rob set the bar high.”
The annual Teen Choice Awards named the best movies and TV shows and brightest stars in entertainment — all chosen in a vote by teenage fans.
This year, teens went on Twitter and to FOX.com and cast more than 63 million votes in support of all their favorites in entertainment.
The night's biggest winners came from The CW's "Riverdale," Freeform's recently wrapped "Pretty Little Liars," and the movies "Wonder Woman" and "Beauty and the Beast."
In addition, band Maroon 5 received the decade award, singer Bruno Mars was honored with the Visionary Award, and actress/singer Vanessa Hudgens was presented with the first-ever #SeeHer Award.
Here are the best and brightest in TV and movies, according to teens:
"Riverdale" (The CW)
Also: Choice breakout TV show
Cole Sprouse, "Riverdale" (The CW)
Lucy Hale, "Pretty Little Liars" (Freeform)
See the rest of the story at Business Insider