Monday, May 29, 2017
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Movie News

223a3 louis virtel verbal vogueing 280x250  111229213520 Surely I Can’t Be Serious: I Bid Farewell to MovielineYou can call me Shirley. It’s fine.

Everything about writing a final post for Movieline is overwhelming, so bear with me as I wrap my head around how wonderful and challenging an experience I’ve had writing for this site for two and a half years. And what the hell? Let’s watch my favorite movie scene of all time too.

So, yes. I’m leaving Movieline to become the West Coast Entertainment Editor for, where I’ll be addressing Movieline-y topics once again — and with the same number of Sandy Dennis references. Please join me there from time to time! But before I depart, I have to thank my awesome, seriously reliable, astoundingly intelligent colleagues – including some who’ve been with me since my first post in August of ’09.

Thank you to Stu VanAirsdale, a kickass writer, confidant, and the best writer I’ve ever worked with; to Kyle Buchanan, a great friend who convinced his boss to hire me; to Seth Abramovitch, who set the standard for Movieline hilarity; to Christopher Rosen, whose jocularity and love of Katy Perry singles added vigor to my Movieline experience; to Jen Yamato, whose supportive ebullience has been wonderful; to Stephanie Zacharek, Michelle Orange, and Alison Willmore, who are so right; to Movieline’s killer commenters, you all tickle me inappropriately (especially The Winchester), and most of all, to my beloved Julie Miller, who forded a hundred Television Critics Association panels with me, listened when I needed consultation on an article, tweet, or Facebook profile photo, and responded to my every issue with ladylike, yet monotone reassurance. I already miss you all. And Anjelica Huston. You were maybe the best.

I’m always jealous when I interview a celebrity and he/she gets to play Movieline’s fun feature My Favorite Scene. So, as a last-minute act of defiance, I’m hitting you with my fave moment in cinematic history. In Rear Window, when Grace Kelly and Thelma Ritter search the courtyard for – y’know – a dead lady, James Stewart watches on in astonishment as Grace opts for autonomy, climbs into a murder suspect’s (Raymond Burr) apartment, and puts her own life at risk. Grace’s sudden empowerment is so dazzling, cool, and self-possessed, it’s like she invented Madonna in that moment. And we all know how much that means to me.

For further Virtel adventures, you can find me in my web series Verbal Vogueing and see me in my second Chelsea Lately roundtable appearance this January 18th on E! Thanks for everything, guys. My (Hitchcock) blonde ambition is more ferocious than ever.

66ae2 Rocky  111229034447 Bucky Larson and Beyond: Julies 10 Favorite Stories of 2011

The year is drawing to a close, which means that it is time to start thinking about all the things you did not accomplish in 2011. (That Ghostbusters 3 script? Still unread. That copycat Wedding Crashers crime you committed in college? Still unresolved in court.) But before you do that, let’s take a look back at some of my favorite Movieline stories that punctuated this remarkably unproductive calendar year.

Sylvester Stallone Shirtless: Over the Years

In anticipation of Stallone’s latest topless role in the upcoming Bullet to the Head, Movieline looks back on the action hero’s 30-year shirtless evolution.

Kate Hudson Rom-Com Comparability

By now, you’ve rightly forgotten about Something Borrowed, the movie adapted from the book that your mom and sister read last year at the beach. That’s fine! To refresh your memory about what happened in that chickfest, you only need to look as far as EVERY OTHER KATE HUDSON ROM-COM to see what it is about.

Bridesmaids 101

Cast members Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy and Wendi McLendon-Covey along with director Paul Feig and producer Judd Apatow met in Hollywood earlier this year to reveal what went into making one of the best comedies of the year.

Porn Stars on Porn Stars

Leave it to a real porn actress to find redeeming value in the critically-detested Adam Sandler joint, Bucky Larson: Born To Be a Star. The lovely and insightful adult-film superstar Joanna Angel met me at a matinee screening of the feature and then explained why Bucky was better than Boogie Nights.

The Monkey Speaks

In the run-up to The Hangover Part II, Movieline tracked down Crystal, the scene-stealing Capuchin monkey star for an exclusive 1:1 about breaking big in comedy, working with Zach Galifianakis and that ugly cigarette rumor.

Craigslist Killer College

Movieline is really a highbrow film site but once — a long, long time ago (this year) — my editors let me write about the lessons carefully embedded in Lifetime’s incomparable Craigslist Killer movie. Relive the thrills (and poorly-scripted chills) here.

Sexiest H.S. Outcasts

From the Breakfast Club to this year’s I Am Number Four, Hollywood movies have an annoying habit of casting outrageously symmetrical model-types as their loners and misfits. Here, Movieline points out nine of these paradoxical dorks in prom king and queen bodies.

Celebrating 7-Eleven

Chain convenience stores have provided many a setting in our favorite films. Here, Movieline looks back on some of their most notable work.

Free Inspiration From a Pixar Artist

Pixar animator Austin Madison (Up, Ratatouille) took a moment to pen an inspirational letter to fellow animators. It is touching, hopeful and encouraging for anyone in a creative field

Scenes From Scarface

In anticipation of the home release of Brian De Palma’s gangster flick, the Scarface cast — including Al Pacino — met for an informative Q&A about the making of their film, the surprising casting process and to share other trivia-ready revelations.

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The quietly building popularity of Michel HazanaviciusThe Artist is good cause for becoming immersed in the great films from the silent era — marathon style, for the brave among us. Silent films are more accessible than ever thanks to the Internet and the fact that some are now in the public domain, but home video remains a better viewing experience for many of them.

The stark beauty of Metropolis’ sets and scenes of epic destruction during both Battleship Potemkin and The General are best seen on a TV screen, barring their availability in a theater with live music, which larger cities like Los Angeles offer from time to time. (WME is toying with the idea of bringing The Artist to New York, Paris, London and other venues with live performances of Ludovic Bource’s score, Billboard has reported.) Then again, it’s awfully convenient to hop on YouTube and go from film to film; Netflix Watch Instantly and Amazon Instant Video have some titles worth checking out, too. Whatever the format, this tested multi-genre silent movie marathon would be a good starting place for anyone wanting to poke around the silent archives.

49026 AvengersRussianTrailer300  111230190410 Its Double the Scarlett Johansson in New Russian Avengers Trailer!Back in October, Marvel released the first trailer for Joss Whedon‘s superhero supermovie Avengers, which will feature Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). My only complaint with the first trailer was that it didn’t give enough screen time to Scarlett Johansson‘s Black Widow, whose role in the preview seemed to be limited to Sexy Background Extra in Black Spandex. Now, a foreign trailer finally gives Johansson’s Black Widow — one of the only females in the male-dominated superhero industry — an actual speaking part. The only problem… is that here, the lines are in Russian.

Did I mention there aren’t captions either? Well, who needs captions to understand what is happening: Robert Downey, Jr. delivers some quippy dialogue, Captain America throws a shield, the Avengers bust a lot of bad guys and in the process, a lot of sh*t is blown up.


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The Avengers reaches theaters this May 4 in both 2-D and 3-D.

As everyone looks back on the year that was, I’ve found myself returning to a few moments in the movies that resonated especially well thanks to a phenomenon that achieves soul-stirring status so rarely, though not for lack of frequency: Song choice. I’m not talking about dropping the latest Kelly Clarkson/Natasha Bedingfield ditty into a crap rom-com. I mean the special, skin-tingling magic that occurs when a song is married so perfectly to a character, story, or feeling that the music and the moment swell within us with new, layered meaning. Join me and let’s hash it out: Which movie(s) used music the best in 2011?

This is certainly a subjective topic, but consider the lost art of meshing music (songs, not score; pre-existing or original recordings) to film. “Mrs. Robinson” in The Graduate. “Over the Rainbow” in The Wizard of Oz! Where were our iconic movie-music moments in 2011?

For me it comes down to two films: Jonathan Levine’s 50/50 and Nicholas Winding Refn‘s Drive, two very different offerings with wildly divergent sounds that nevertheless have stuck in my mind and my senses, indelibly tied to the musical choices within.

50/50: “Yellow Ledbetter”

Despite being shot in Vancouver, Jonathan Levine’s 50/50 was about a 27-year-old Seattle man facing cancer, so maybe that bit of intent factored into Levine’s use of Pearl Jam in his end credits; in any case, using the “Jeremy” B-side “Yellow Ledbetter” to close the film was an inspired choice.

As Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), having survived cancer, tentatively embarks on his first date with Katie (Anna Kendrick) — the start of new possibilities, a new hope — the strains of “Yellow Ledbetter” tentatively begin. And while nobody really knows the actual words that are coming out of Eddie Vedder’s mouth, there’s an optimistic melancholy to the song that just works. Legend has it Vedder wrote the song after walking with a friend who’d just learned his brother had died in the Gulf War, watching as patriotic neighbors shunned the grieving friend; easy to see how thematically this works with Adam’s movie ending, having been in close proximity to death while everyone else — except that one special someone — doesn’t quite understand.

Honorable mention: 50/50‘s use of Radiohead’s “High & Dry” as Adam learns he has cancer.

Drive: “Tick of the Clock”/”Oh My Love”

But let’s be honest — the entire Drive soundtrack has been in heavy rotation for me and many others all year, and I’ve raved about it here so much already. But a closer examination of how Refn uses his song selections is worth a look, Cliff Martinez’s throbbing score notwithstanding.

Two scenes in particular conjure that magical musical feeling for me. One is the early getaway scene in which the pulsating beat of Chromatics’ “Tick of the Clock” sneaks in as Ryan Gosling‘s Driver is introduced during his latest getaway job. His clients have taken too much of their five-minute window, the cops are wising up, and the clock is literally ticking; Johnny Jewel’s beat kicks in as the real action starts, accelerating and swelling as this simple job turns into a chase.

It’s pure aural adrenaline we hear, approximating the same daredevil juices that flow through Gosling’s calm, coiled being. Like the track itself, Gosling is just so motherfucking cool. It’s a brilliant way to jump into Driver’s life in a snapshot that instantly informs us of who he is, what he does, and that he’s cruising on the razor edge of danger.

The better song in Drive, however, is also the most underappreciated track in the bunch, possibly of the year: Riz Ortolani’s original recording of “Oh My Love,” sung by Katyna Ranieri decades ago. Recall the film’s turning point, as the soaring operatic tune plays while Driver finds Shannon (Bryan Cranston) dead, then stalks and confronts Ron Perlman’s Nino — the most imposing of his enemies, even if Albert Brooks’ Bernie Rose emerges as the one to be feared the most — culminating in a moonlit beach attack.

Now, in a soundtrack filled with contemporary electro tracks (including College’s “A Real Hero,” the theme song of Drive) and fleshed out by Martinez’s complimentary score, “Oh My Love” seems an oddity — but it’s the most inspired, and the most brilliant choice of them all. Originally recorded circa 1971 for the infamous Italian exploitation flick Addio Zio Tom (Goodbye Uncle Tom), a mondo faux-documentary about American slavery reviled for its terribly misguided content, the song is a beautifully evocative, lyrical ode to the inherent darkness in our nature — but also to the redemptive potential in man. Take a closer look at the lyrics, and watch the sequence in which it appears:

Oh my love, look and see
The sun rising from the river
Nature’s miracle once more will light the world
But this light is not for those men
Still lost in an old black shadow
Won’t you help me to believe that they will see
A day, a brighter day
When all the shadows will fade away
That day I’ll cry that I believe
That I believe
Oh my love
High above us
The sun now embraces nature
And from nature we should learn that all can start again
As the stars must fade away
To give a bright new day

It’s a sequence featuring a swirl of emotion and action — sadness, hope, revenge, bloodlust — marking the moment when Driver, pushed to the brink, throws any chance for a peaceful happy ending away and instead embraces the darkness within. This is the defining moment for Driver, and for Drive, the instant in which our hero truly becomes an anti-hero, choosing to avenge Shannon and preemptively protect Irene over the possibility of running away with her and Benicio — a future in which they would have run, together, but would’ve always lived in fear of retribution. Ortolani and Ranieri’s song perfectly illuminates Driver’s place in this world of hard, dangerous men, but it also, importantly, gives us hope for his future.

So, gauntlet thrown: Do you have a better pick for best song use in the movies this year?

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I’m going to assume none of us learned anything from Garry Marshall’s New Year’s Eve other than, “I was right to avoid New Year’s Eve.” Fortunately, there are real lessons to be gleaned from the best in New Year’s cinema, and we’ve lined up five movies with tips for your bash this weekend. Whether you’re ringing it in alone or spending it with the grimmest Vietnam vet on Earth, you’ll learn something valuable here.

The Gold Rush: If you’re alone, you can envision a party that’s better than a real one.
Charlie Chaplin’s iconic fork-and-roll dance from The Gold Rush is a fantasy sequence where the Little Tramp entertains guests who never show up to his place. Though the flatware choreography is cute, it’s hard not to look in Chaplin’s striking eyes during the entire sequence. But what a fabulous (and fictional) fete!

The Apartment: Don’t pop a wine cork when your lady friend can mistake it for a gunshot.
The Apartment is a treasure, but it’s also dour enough to put a damper on your New Year’s. Let’s revisit its best moment of pure levity and watch when Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) ditches her party, realizes that C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) risked his job for her, and arrives at his apartment to deliver a few classic lines of dialogue — namely, before a rummy game, “Shut up and deal.” C.C.’s cork-popping could be better timed, though — as Fran rushes to his door, she receives a ghastly fright.

The Godfather, Part II: Don’t reveal that you’re a traitor during festivities.
Fredo Corleone (the late, great John Cazale) receives a grim kiss from his brother Michael (Al Pacino) upon revealing that he’s the traitor that Michael suspects he is. This leads to a classic line, “I know it was you, Fredo — you broke my heart,” which also served as the inspiration for the John Cazale documentary I Knew It Was You. Oh, New Years. What a perfectly inopportune time to expose your true character.

Forrest Gump: Do not party with your bitter commanding officer from Vietnam.
If we were focusing on Jenny’s New Year’s festivities in Forrest Gump, this tip might be titled, “Don’t kill yourself!” But we’re looking at Forrest (Tom Hanks) now, just as he exchanges glances with the resentful, abrasive Lt. Dan (Gary Sinise). It seems obvious, but please try not to ring in a new year with a disrespectful, not to mention emotionally battered comrade.

Sex and the City: Find your most sensible, downtrodden friend and hole up with her in a glamorous apartment.
I’m always a little baffled by the vitriol spewed at the first Sex and the City movie, which was truly no different — or better or worse — than the TV show. Here, in the movie’s most poignant scene, we watch as Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) sneak over to Miranda’s (Cynthia Nixon) place for a warm New Year’s. That sweeping, Celtic rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” helps too.

Got other favorite New Year’s movie lessons? Drop ’em in the comments below!

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mi4 Mission: Impossible   Ghost Protocol will ring in 2012 at No. 1The party won’t stop for Tom Cruise over New Year’s, as the actor’s latest “Mission: Impossible” sequel is expected to be the No. 1 film at the box office for the second consecutive weekend.

“Ghost Protocol,” the fourth installment in Paramount Pictures’ action franchise, collected an impressive $44.1 million over the four-day Christmas holiday and should gross a similar figure again this long weekend. During the last week — one of the busiest of the year for the movie business, with children out of school and many adults off work — the film was the top choice among filmgoers every day. On Wednesday alone, the picture collected $8.5 million, bringing its domestic total to $94.6 million.

With no new films being released nationwide this weekend, those already out should see small drops or even slight increases in ticket sales. In fact, the majority of films that played over New Year’s weekend in 2005 — the last year when New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday — saw receipts rise over the New Year’s holiday.

Over the last few days, both “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” have done solid business. After opening to soft ticket sales two weeks ago, each picture has made up some ground — particularly “Sherlock Holmes,” which this week surpassed the $100-million mark at the box office. The third animated movie in the “Chipmunks” series has made about $70 million so far. Still, each film is lagging significantly behind its predecessor; after 14 days in release in 2009, “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” had grossed almost $160 million, while the original “Sherlock Holmes” had raked in around $150 million.

The other high-profile holiday releases will all probably be in a close competition for the fourth through seventh positions on the box-office chart. David Fincher’s R-rated “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” may have a slight edge, as it came in fourth Wednesday with $4.2 million. But three films directed at family audiences — “War Horse” and “The Adventures of Tintin,” both directed by Steven Spielberg, and “We Bought a Zoo” — will be in a tight race for the latter positions.

In limited release, the Weinstein Co. will premiere the Margaret Thatcher biopic “The Iron Lady” in four theaters. The former British prime minister is played by Meryl Streep, whose performance is considered a shoo-in for a best actress nomination in the upcoming Academy Awards.

Focus Features, meanwhile, opened this year’s Sundance Film Festival hit “Pariah” in four theaters Wednesday. The well-reviewed film, about a lesbian teenager growing up in a conservative family, played in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco and brought in more than $21,000.

a4cf6 orionslavegirl300  111230003424 The Cathouse Brothel Guy Is About to Make Your Alien Hooker Dreams Come TrueLonely sci-fi nerds, listen up: It was only a matter of time following the recent influx of geek-themed porn, but Dennis Hof, the professional pimp and entrepreneur behind the Moonlite Bunny Ranch brothel seen on HBO’s Cathouse, is about to make your fantasies come true. Soon, in the not-so-distant future (ok, a few months from now), Hof and partner/”chief alien design queen” Heidi Fleiss will open the Alien Cathouse 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas — a legal brothel with a science fiction theme. Bring on the green-skinned Orion hotties!

At least, given Hof’s dedication to the theme, you’d think that’s the direction his spaced-out new venture will go in. (Question: Can sex workers legally sell their wares in costume as copyrighted characterizations, or will they need to pay royalties? Someone get me a hooker lawyer, stat.) Speaking with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Hof promises that the establishment will feature “girls from another world,” and that they will, indeed, be clad in alien-themed costumes.

The goal is to service geeks of all stripes, Hof explained to CBS Las Vegas — “everyone, all the Star Wars fans and Trekkies.” I’m picturing something like the cosplay ball at Comic-Con, only year-round. And more whorish. Hey! Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

All I know is, there’s been a gaping hole in the Vegas sci-fi community since Star Trek: The Experience closed up shop in 2008. Turn down the lights and pour the Klingon blood wine, nerds. You may have trouble finding a three-breasted woman, but I bet these ladies will at least listen to your fanfic.

[Las Vegas Review-Journal, CBS Las Vegas, Geekosystem]

The filmmaking in Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation is so spare and unfussy that, save for the occasional camera jiggle, you’re barely aware of the filmmaking at all. This is a drama about two families — one deeply religious, one not — who clash over an escalating series of misunderstandings, and the emotion Farhadi teases out of this increasingly complex situation are unvarnished but restrained. Nothing earth-shattering happens in A Separation, but the straightforwardness of this view of a disintegrating marriage, set in the context of complicated cultural and religious morés, is dramatic by itself.

The movie opens with a couple, Simin (Leila Hatami) and Nader (Peyman Maadi), appearing before a judge to hear Simin’s petition for divorce. The couple have been planning to leave Iran with their 11-year-old daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi). But Nader calls off the move at the last minute, realizing he can’t leave his ailing father behind. Simin wants to, and is willing to, leave without him, to build a better life for her daughter. The judge — whom we can hear but not see — stops her to ask archly if she thinks her daughter won’t be able to have a good life in Iran. He also suggests that he can’t grant her a divorce unless she can prove Nader is a genuinely bad husband — if, for example, he’s an addict, or he beats her, or he fails to give her an allowance. Simin is quick to assert that Nader is a good person, and you can guess the verdict the judge is about to come out with: If Simin really wants what’s best for her daughter, she must stay in Iran with her husband.

But if that sounds like a personal — or even a social — victory for Nader, the male head of his household, it isn’t. Farhadi has made a somewhat old-fashioned melodrama. Simin does leave Nader and Termeh, but she doesn’t leave the country: She packs her things and goes to live with her mother. The complication pile-up begins when Nader hires a 30-ish woman, Razieh (Sareh Bayat), who happens to be pregnant, to care for his father; in other words, Razieh will assume the duties that Simin, clearly a devoted daughter-in-law, used to perform. Razieh arrives the next day to care for the old man, with her young daughter (Kimia Hosseini) in tow, but the job appears to be too much for her. We also see that she’s deeply, conservatively religious, and it’s suggested, for reasons that become clear later, that she has reason to fear the wrath of her husband, Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini).

This is Farhadi’s fifth picture — his previous movie, About Elly, won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2009 — and he doesn’t always have full control over his wayward, tangled storyline. Significant unseen events are explained, after the fact, by mere lines of dialogue; there’s perhaps too much telling here and not enough showing. But without making an overt statement about the political, social and religious climate in Iran, Farhadi — who also wrote the script — packs a lot of quiet anger and frustration into the picture. Like his compatriot Jafar Panahi, Farhadi is attuned to the plight of women in Iran, the way their needs and desires are subjugated to those of their husbands. But he shows how this system fails men, too: Nader becomes charged with a crime that, it seems, he didn’t knowingly commit — in any event, his “knowing” is difficult to prove. And even though his wife has been instructed to stay with him, it’s impossible to legislate a human being’s love. As far as his marriage goes, the law may rule in Nader’s favor, but it can’t bring him happiness, and his misery — even as it’s veiled by his more obvious machismo — is clear every minute. The performances here, particularly those of Hatami and Maadi, are subtle and quietly heartfelt. These characters intend to do the right thing despite their own deep, personal pain, but they’re highly imperfect beings struggling to live in an even more imperfect world. A Separation doesn’t try to make easy sense of that world, or of this family’s suffering. It’s simply a quiet cry of anguish.

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Matthew McConaughey may be Hollywood’s reigning shirtless superstar, but long before he first bared his abs onscreen, Sylvester Stallone had mastered the art of gratuitous torso in each Rocky installment, Rambo film and a number of other action titles. Thirty-five years after his bare-chested breakout role as the Italian Stallion, Stallone returns to the screen this April for a feature called Bullet to the Head, which, again — amazingly — features the action icon topless as evidenced by a brand new still. (Don’t bother questioning how a shirtless 65-year-old man fits into the narrative — it just does, guys.)  In honor of the actor’s impressive history of appearing semi-nude onscreen — even decades after audiences started shielding their eyes from his grisly old-man muscles — Movieline salutes Sylvester Stallone‘s shirtless valor in the photo essay below.

Rip off your top, drape yourself in the nearest American flag and enjoy the views below, then consider Movieline’s Shirtless Sylvester Stallone comprehension questions.

358cd Rocky  111229034447 Behold, The Shirtless Evolution of Sylvester Stallone

Rocky (1976)

358cd RockyII  111229034455 Behold, The Shirtless Evolution of Sylvester Stallone

Rocky II (1979)

358cd RockyIII  111229035915 Behold, The Shirtless Evolution of Sylvester Stallone

Rocky III (1982)

358cd Rambo2  111229202348 e1325194955135 Behold, The Shirtless Evolution of Sylvester Stallone

Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

358cd RockyIV  111229202825 Behold, The Shirtless Evolution of Sylvester Stallone

Rocky IV (1985)

358cd Rambo3  111229202928 Behold, The Shirtless Evolution of Sylvester Stallone

Rambo III (1988)

358cd TangoCash  111229204312 Behold, The Shirtless Evolution of Sylvester Stallone

Tango & Cash (1989)

358cd DemolitionMan  111229203039 Behold, The Shirtless Evolution of Sylvester Stallone

Demolition Man (1993)

358cd TheSpecialist  111229203121 Behold, The Shirtless Evolution of Sylvester Stallone

The Specialist (1994)

358cd RockyBalboa  111229203259 Behold, The Shirtless Evolution of Sylvester Stallone

Rocky Balboa (2006)

358cd TheExpendables  111229203517 Behold, The Shirtless Evolution of Sylvester Stallone

The Expendables (2010)

358cd BullettotheHead  111229203641 Behold, The Shirtless Evolution of Sylvester Stallone

Bullet to the Head (2012)

Okay, class:

  • Which is your favorite shirtless Sylvester Stallone look?
  • Which is your least favorite shirtless Sylvester Stallone look? (Or: Which induced the most serious dry heaves?)
  • At what point in his career should Sylvester Stallone have put a shirt on?
  • Do you think it was a combination of good diet and exercise (slash steroids) that yielded such muscly results? Or just sheer Stalloneness?

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Not to be outshone by the current crop of Christmas blockbusters, Columbia Pictures and Marvel Entertainment’s Amazing Spider-Man has followed up its recent poster reveal with new stills from the 2012 film.

amazing spider man 4 Amazing Spider Man Stills: Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone Head to Midtown High (Photos)Stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are front and center, with additional shots revealing a close-up of Peter Parker’s mechanical web-shooters — a comic book homage and deviation from the original films — and a first look at Denis Leary’s Captain Stacy.

The photos don’t dwell on the high stakes drama of the film, instead showcasing Peter and Gwen Stacy’s lives at Midtown High School. One image in particular plays up the puppy love, with a blurred Stone seen walking away, while a forlorn Garfield glaces over his shoulder.

Check out the photos below:

Amazing Spider Man 1 Amazing Spider Man Stills: Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone Head to Midtown High (Photos)

Amazing Spider Man 2 Amazing Spider Man Stills: Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone Head to Midtown High (Photos)

Amazing Spider Man 3 Amazing Spider Man Stills: Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone Head to Midtown High (Photos)

Amazing Spider Man 4 Amazing Spider Man Stills: Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone Head to Midtown High (Photos)

movies 2012 Hobbits, aliens, Batman and more: Which is the most anticipated movie of 2012?From left: ‘Brave,’ ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ ‘Prometheus,’ ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (Pixar/Disney, Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, MGM)

All the gifts are finally unwrapped and the cinematic class of 2011 has finally been presented. There’s not much left to do now but watch as the clock counts down until 2012.

It should be a quiet time to backtrack and catch up on all those movies that went unviewed opening weekend, but are now present on nearly every critics’ top 10 list. But the studios have kick-started the anticipation for the new year with a herd of new trailers for some of 2012?s biggest potential blockbusters — three in the last week alone.

Holiday moviegoers (or anyone with a decent Internet connection) got their first peeks at “The Hobbit,” “Prometheus” and an extended look at “The Dark Knight Rises.” These trailers joined the already-released group, which includes “The Avengers” and “John Carter” and “The Hunger Games,” among others.

So what big, expensive, effects-laden 2012 movie are you most anticipating?  Check out the Pictures below…

hobbit an unexpected journey1 Hobbits, aliens, Batman and more: Which is the most anticipated movie of 2012?

prometheus1 Hobbits, aliens, Batman and more: Which is the most anticipated movie of 2012?

dark knight rises1 Hobbits, aliens, Batman and more: Which is the most anticipated movie of 2012?

amazing spiderman Hobbits, aliens, Batman and more: Which is the most anticipated movie of 2012?

avengers Hobbits, aliens, Batman and more: Which is the most anticipated movie of 2012?

john carter ver61 Hobbits, aliens, Batman and more: Which is the most anticipated movie of 2012?

hunger games ver23 Hobbits, aliens, Batman and more: Which is the most anticipated movie of 2012?

men in black iii Hobbits, aliens, Batman and more: Which is the most anticipated movie of 2012?

brave Hobbits, aliens, Batman and more: Which is the most anticipated movie of 2012?

What movie are you most anticipating in 2012?