With all this laudatory talk of the best of the year and Nelson Muntz-style "HA hah"-ing at the worst, isn't it time to spare a thought for all the films in between, the ones that are neither remarkably good nor jaw-dropping awful? 2011 saw hundreds of films hit theaters, some only on offer for a week or two before being shunted off to other platforms, others providing an adequate or mildly disappointing few hours of entertainment at the multiplex. But just because a movie is middling doesn't mean it can't have some memorable, even exceptional scenes. Here are five from flicks that likely won't be on many year-end lists, but that still deserve a second look.
New Yorkers may have been left unimpressed by the magnitude of Hurricane Irene (not so much folks in the less fortunate cities in her path, let's remember), but the much-hyped weather event left an indubitable mark elsewhere: all the way across the country in sunny Hollywood, where studio execs were likely cursing the name "Irene" as the box office tallies rolled in. With hundreds of theaters shut down across the East Coast due to hurricane panic and ticket sale losses estimated at $25 million, how much did new releases Colombiana, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, and Our Idiot Brother feel the impact of Irene?
When Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) set out to update the scariest movie he'd ever seen as a child -- the 1973 made-for-television movie Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, about inhabitants of a house who discover sinister creatures living in the basement -- he intended to frighten and thrill a new generation of youngsters. Even co-star Katie Holmes, who makes a rare genre appearance in the Del Toro-produced and co-scripted horror pic, found the script to so terrifying that she knew she had to do it. But is Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, as the MPAA deemed, too scary for kids?
Where have America's sweethearts gone? Seventeen-year-old Dakota Fanning is charging hard towards adulthood, with Abigail Breslin (15), Chloe Moretz (14), and sister Elle (13) hot on her heels. Enter 11-year-old Bailee Madison (Bridge to Terabithia, Conviction, Just Go With It), a young actress who's already been acting for half of her life and shows it by holding her own opposite Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes in the Guillermo del Toro-produced horror thriller Don't Be Afraid of the Dark.
Troy Nixey's upcoming film Don't Be Afraid of the Dark shares elements in common with producer Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth -- the little girl heroine, the gothic old mansion, a world of fantastical creatures with sinister secrets -- but its supernatural antagonists are tinier, scarier, and way more desperate for you to come "play" with them. Find out more about the goblin-like "homunculi" that live in the basement in two new clips from the upcoming horror-fantasy.
Movieline will be live-blogging each day's major panels from Hall H at Comic-Con, updating with footage highlights, breaking announcements, and celebrity appearances throughout each day. Thursday, Day 1, begins with the highly anticipated Breaking Dawn panel, continues with FilmDistrict's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and Drive, Fox's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, In Time, and Prometheus, and more. Join us!
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Or, rather: First came the agony -- the surprise shut-down of production on his ambitious At the Mountains of Madness -- but now filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is having a ball prepping his next directorial effort, the futuristic alien invasion action movie Pacific Rim. He spoke with Movieline about the two projects while making the press rounds for Don't Be Afraid of the Dark.
Before Sunday night's L.A. Film Fest premiere of the August horror pic Don't Be Afraid of the Dark succumbed to an unfortunate series of annoyances -- a fire alarm temporarily evacuated the theater midway through, while chaos reigned at the post-screening cell phone check -- producer and co-writer Guillermo del Toro emphasized what, hopefully, will make Don't Be Afraid of the Dark memorable: Its "pervasive scariness," so terrifying that the MPAA deemed it too frightening for its intended rating.
Awards season isn't completely over for some of your favorite films from last year: The 12th annual Golden Trailer Awards pit the best marketing campaigns, trailer, and posters from films in 2010 and 2011 against one another, which means the Tree of Life trailer is up against that of The Social Network, the vampire remake Let Me In competes with the spooky remake Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, and Cars 2 battles Rango. Never mind that half of these films haven't come out yet!
Cannes has the glamour of the Croisette, Sundance boasts the first discoveries of the year, and Toronto and Venice have awards season buzz in their corner. Even Tribeca, finally, has its own distinct identity. But the Los Angeles Film Festival has often been too many things to people, and being smack dab in the middle of the entertainment industry has contributed in the past to that identity crisis. This year's edition may change that.