We aren't sure why, or when the offer will expire, but for the time being Will Ferrell's hilarious Christmas movie "Elf" (2003) is available for free digital purchase via Google Play.
'Tis the season!
Google Wallet users can pick up a standard definition copy for absolutely nothing. The high definition version of the film is $4.99.
Head here to add it to your library, which you can then watch on any Google Play supported device.
So says a minor character toward the end of 2006's "Venus," looking at an obituary photo of an elderly actor named Maurice. The actor is played by Peter O'Toole, the photo is of O'Toole in his prime, and, God, he was.
O'Toole died Saturday at the age of 81, and it is possible to say that his career was legendary while never fully living up to its immense potential. He was possibly the most charismatic, handsome, and gifted of his acting peers, remarkable when you consider that his fellow actors in the 1954 graduating class of London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art included Richard Harris, Albert Finney, and Alan Bates.
For a while, O'Toole had it all, but after a decade-long run from 1958 to 1968 that included two stage Hamlets, two filmed Henry IIs, and a career-defining title role in David Lean's 1962 "Lawrence of Arabia," the momentum slipped away. It may have been all the carousing, which achieved iconic proportions until the actor gave up drinking (more or less) in 1975. Or it may have been a curious indecision about celebrity itself. Richard Burton reveled in his fame; Finney used it, got bored, and became a character actor. But O'Toole made hesitancy his metier. His T. E. Lawrence is the hero terrified of what heroism may bring -- a larger-than-life adventurer when seen from a distance, a tremulous blue-eyed existentialist when encountered up close. The tension, majesty, and sorrow of the performance came from some mysterious place between the two.
He was nominated eight times for an Oscar and -- here's the shame of it -- he never won. (In this he finally beat his rival and drinking companion Burton, who lost only seven times.) The first four nominations were for Lawrence, a young Henry II in "Becket" (1964), a rip-roaring older version of the same king in "The Lion in Winter" (1968), and the gentle schoolmaster in "Goodbye Mr. Chips" 1969). In terms of star power, it was quite a run. In terms of inspired moonbeam performances, O'Toole was just warming up.
In the infamous words of Detective Frank Drebin, "It's a topsy-turvy world, and maybe the problems of two people don't amount to a hill of beans. But this is our hill. And these are our beans."
Paramount’s reboot of “The Naked Gun” franchise is officially underway with "Hangover" star Ed Helms slotted to portray the notoriously inept Detective Drebin, a part made famous by Leslie Nielson. The studio has reportedly hired the writing team of Thomas Lennon and R. Ben Garant (best known for the “Night at the Museum” franchise) to pen the new script, according to a Variety exclusive.FULL ENTRY
Intrigued by the Golden Globe nominations? Want to hear the scoop on this weekend's upcoming movies? Check in with Boston Globe critic Ty Burr on Friday, Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. to talk about this and more.
Keanu Reeves takes on the daunting task of starring in a remake of the 1941 Kenji Mizoguchi masterpiece “47 Ronin,”
and we’ll have to wait until Christmas Day when it comes out to see if purists will be appalled. But give him credit for reviving the samurai film, a genre which has spawned an generations of international action heroes going back at least to Clint Eastwood in “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964) -- roaming warriors who are cynical, fatalistic, deadly, and dedicated to a personal code of honor that the samurai call “bushido.” What are your favorite films in this tradition? Put your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at email@example.com. The deadline for entries is Monday, December 16. We’ll be running the top five on December 22. [Shown is a trailer for ”47 Ronin”]
The Golden Globe nominations arrived this morning, and they indicate many things while throwing a couple of new pigs into the awards season pig pile. (Full list of movie nominations is after the jump, for you impatient types. Film and TV nominations are at the HFPA website.)
First of all, "12 Years A Slave," with seven Globe noms and four in yesterday's Screen Actors Guild nominations -- not to mention winning over a number of critics' groups over the weekend -- is the all but official Oscar frontrunner.
Second, "American Hustle," which with seven nods shares the top honors with "Slave," is looking to be the season's spoiler -- a movie that isn't yet in theatrical release but is rolling up nominations and plaudits. ("The Wolf of Wall Street" may still turn out to be the spoiler's spoiler as far as Oscar goes, but it only received two Globe nominations, for best musical or comedy and for Leonardo DiCaprio's lead performance. Director Martin Scorsese, the script, and supporting actor Jonah Hill got skunked.) From the acting standpoint, the largess for "American Hustle" makes sense -- with big, broad performances from Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence (all nominated), the movie's a gift that keeps on giving. It's also kind of a mess, so the best directing and screenplay noms are... let's say generous, not to mention a mark of how much the Globes have loved David O. Russell in the past.
Third, "Lee Daniels' The Butler" may in fact have come out too early in the year and not gathered quite enough momentum to sustain it into the awards season. Despite some expectations for Forest Whitaker's lead role and Oprah Winfrey's supporting turn, the film came up emptyhanded.
Fourth, The distinction between what counts as a "drama" and what counts as a "comedy" barely exists in a number of the year's best movies, so it's not surprising that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is as confused as anyone else. How, exactly, is "Her" a comedy? (To my mind it's one of the most gently tragic films of the season.) Do "Nebraska" and "Inside Llewyn Davis" count only because we're used to bleak cosmic laffs from Alexander Payne and the Coen brothers? (Oh, right, "Inside Llewyn Davis" counts because it's a musical -- and the only such contender this year.) Julie Delpy breaks your heart in "Before Midnight" and Meryl Streep is the Mother From Hell in "August: Osage County" -- how's that comedy? Emma Thompson makes you laugh out loud with delight and gratitude in "Saving Mr. Banks" -- how's that drama? The point is that genre is besides the point, especially in a year with as many strong and ambitious movies as 2013. The HFPA should maybe reconsider their categorical thinking.
Fifth, it's nice to see Robert Redford get some love in the best dramatic actor race after being snubbed by the Screen Actors Guild, and it's especially gratifying to see Alex Ebert's score for "All is Lost" receive a nomination -- soundtrack music so eerily subtle and supportive that a lot of moviegoers didn't even realize there was a score. And there's that moonshot best song nomination for the goofball "Please Mr. Kennedy" number from "Inside Llewyn Davis" -- here's hoping that Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, and Adam Driver turn up at the show to perform it.
Sixth: Hayao Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises" gets a nomination for best foreign film but not for best animation? How is that even possible, especially in as weak a year for 'toons as this?
The Golden Globe Awards will air January 12 on NBC with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting.FULL ENTRY
As the box office busting numbers of recent films such as “Thor: The Dark World,” ($187 million) “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” ($296 million) and the upcoming “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (opens December 13)
might suggest, the market has never been better for fantasy adventure blockbusters. For some reason we can’t get enough of noble characters in imaginary worlds fighting the powers of darkness with edged weapons. What films from this genre would you put on your fantasy team? Put your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for entries is Monday, December 9. We’ll be running the top five on December 15. [Shown is a trailer for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”]
Mondo, an offshoot of the popular Austin, Texas theater chain Alamo Drafthouse, has created an eBay cottage industry by producing limited-edition screen prints of alternative film posters.
The contemporary studio and poster company typically focuses on cult movies, such as "The Warriors," "Foxy Brown," and John Carpenter's "They Live," but they announced this week that they've created a new series centered around the directorial efforts of Ben Affleck.FULL ENTRY
Among the many things we should be thankful for today are the sacrifices of those in the armed forces, in particular those who served in World War II following the attack on Pearl Harbor, commemorated on December 7.
A campaign of unimaginable brutality and heroism, the War in the Pacific has inspired some great movies. Which are your favorites? Include them in the comments section or drop a line to me at email@example.com. The deadline for entries is Monday, December 2. We’ll be running the top five on December 8. [Shown is the trailer for “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (1970)].
"Anchorman" and "Afternoon Delight" go together like peanut butter and jelly, so of course the cast of the film (and its sequel) performed the tune at the Sydney premiere of "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues."
After asking the crowd if its members would like to sing a song with him and his costars, Will Ferrell was joined by Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, and David Koechner who brought back the 1976 Starland Vocal Band song and, for us, lots of memories.
Let us know what you thought of the video in the comments.
Let's be real. Sitting through any movie in an auditorium-style seat is torture. You can get about as comfortable in those flip down chairs as you can on an airplane. So if you're considering seeing "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" (which got 3.5 stars from Globe critic Ty Burr), here are 11 reasons you should find a theater with recliners.FULL ENTRY
Spike Lee, whose new film “Oldboy” opens November 27,
has had a career kind of like the trash can his character tosses through a window in “Do the Right Thing” (1989), challenging the status quo both politically and cinematically. Beneath the truculence, though, lies a poet capable of the eloquence seen in his documentary, “When the Levees Broke: a Requiem in Four Parts” (2006). Which of his features do you like best? Put your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for entries is Monday, November 25. We’ll be running the top five on December 1. [Shown is the trailer for “Oldboy”]
Have a question about "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire?" Want to chat about the success of "The Best Man Holiday" or have thoughts on Vince Vaughn's latest, "Delivery Man?" Check in with Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr on Friday at 1 p.m.
The first film in the "Hunger Games" trilogy took the world by storm in 2012, and in just a couple of days, the second installment will likely do the same. If you haven't seen the first film (or read any of the books), here are 12 things you should know before stepping foot in the theater to watch "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," due out Friday.FULL ENTRY
But... why?FULL ENTRY
“The Best Man Holiday” (opens tomorrow) is just the first of several films being released over the next month or so which celebrate this festive season. Every year Thanksgiving, Hannukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve get the holiday movie treatment. Which films in this mini-genre do you think are up to their occasions? Include them in the comments section or drop a line to me at email@example.com. The deadline for entries is November 18. We’ll be running the top five on November 24.
[Shown is a trailer for “Black Nativity” (opens November 27)]
Wes Anderson debuted his latest project, "Castello Cavalacanti," at the Rome Film Festival and Prada.com today -- and this time it's sans a pants-less Natalie Portman.
The eight-minute short was released for Italian fashion house, Prada, and features plenty of ironic Wes Anderson tropes to tide over fans until the March release of "The Grand Budapest Hotel."
Frequent Anderson collaborator Jason Schwartzman stars as a glib Formula One driver, Jed Cavalcanti, who fortuitously wrecks his car in his family's ancestral village during the 1955 Molte Miglia. Dressed in a yellow Prada jumpsuit (and looking like he could hop into A-ha's "Take on Me" video), he's forced to mingle with the locals while waiting on a bus to Assisi. Jed imbibes some local green "hooch," bumps into his great, great uncle Michelangelo, and eventually falls in love in a local cafe.
It's classic Wes Anderson and now available courtesy of YouTube.
Did you see "Thor: The Dark World" or "Dallas Buyers Club" last weekend? Want to talk about upcoming films like "American Hustle?" Check in on Friday to chat with Boston Globe movie critic Ty Burr about these things and more.
Lucasfilm announced the official release date of "Star Wars: Episode VII" as Dec. 18, 2015.
The confirmation was revealed to the public via StarWars.com, and also confirmed that shooting is scheduled to begin this spring at London's Pinewood Studios.
Alan Horn of Walt Disney Studios is quoted in the release, stating:
We're very excited to share the official 2015 release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, where it will not only anchor the popular holiday filmgoing season but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture.
"Super 8" and "Star Trek" director J.J. Abrams will step behind the lens for the anticipated film. Abrams also collaborated with "Return of the Jedi" scriptwriter Lawrence Kasdan to pen the script. Screen writing duties were transferred to Kasdan in October from Micheal Arndt, of "Little Miss Sunshine" fame. Arndt was announced as the original script writer for the film in 2012, but Abrams confirmed the Oscar-winning screenwriter exited the project the following year.
Are you a Star Wars fan? Will you see this film when it opens?
In 1605 on this date (November 5) Guy Fawkes and other Catholic conspirators were thwarted while attempting to blow up Parliament in the so-called Gunpowder Plot. Though he and his cronies were executed, Fawkes nonetheless had a holiday named after him and his infamy has since lived on through history. To the best of my knowledge, except for a silent made in 1923, he has yet to attain the immortality of having his exploits put on the screen.
But many other revolutionaries and revolutions – both doomed and successful, real and imaginary – have been made into movies. Which do you think are worth celebrating? Include your choices in the comments section or drop a line to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for entries is Monday, November 11. We’ll be running the top five on November 17. [Shown is a clip from “V for Vendetta” (2005)]
About Movie Nation
ContributorsTy Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.
Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.
Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.
Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.
Take 2 reviews and podcast
Look for new reviews by Ty Burr and Wesley Morris at the end of each week in multiple formats.