So here’s the deal. We at Hypable have something very exciting that we want to announce in the next few days and we wanted to kick it off with a bit of fun. When three key members of the Hypable team sat down to talk through this exciting new development, all that we found ourselves talking about were our favorite movies.

So here we go, over the next three days, Myself, Jeremy Baril and Pat McCoy will take a few hours to tell you about our favorite films in the days leading to the announcement! Come join the fun!

So before we get into the nitty gritty of the movies that I would happily watch on my birthday, lets breeze through the honorable mentions because numbers are cruel and I can only include ten movies on a top ten list for some reason.

Honorable Mentions: Star Wars, Moulin Rouge, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Godfather Part II, Love Actually, Children of Men, Shaun of the Dead, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Psycho, The Social Network, Jurassic Park, Gone With The Wind, Singin’ In The Rain, Billy Elliot

So there they are. I felt guilty playing favorites (I fear that some of those honorable mentions might think that I don’t love them!) but the following ten films are, without a doubt, my ten favorite films of all time. This week.

#10 O, Brother Where Art Thou?

This is a movie that I watched as soon as I found out that it existed a full five years after its release. I share my taste in movies with my grandmother, and when she recommended O Brother Where Art Thou to me, I admit that I dragged my shoes a little bit. It looked a little old timey and boring so it just didn’t catch my fancy. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I finally caught it on an airplane a few years ago and disturbed everyone within a five row radius with my laughter. It’s brilliance mixed with illiteracy. The sheer contrast is enough to make anyone chuckle.

You can never go wrong with the Coen brothers, and O Brother Where Art Thou proves that point.  These guys can apparently take Homer’s The Odyssey and set it in the South during the Great Depression (and have it be comedy nonetheless)  and still make it a masterpiece. Sorry, did I just blow your mind? O Brother Where Art Thou is based off of The Odyssey all the way down to the Cyclops (remember the eye-patched John Goodman?) They even have Homer listed as a writer of the film, which is just adorable.

#9 The Big Lebowski

This is another one that I caught several years after everyone else already found out that it was cool. I guess that makes me a reverse hipster in a way. Anyway, I was the biggest loser in college for being the only one who hadn’t seen The Big Lebowski and when I finally sat down to watch it, I only got twenty minutes in. I just didn’t get it. When I finally watched it all the way through my first time, I thought it was okay, but I frankly couldn’t wait until it was over.

That’s when I developed my (non)famous The Big Lebowski theory that clearly states that you’ll find out exactly how good a comedy is once you have watched it three times. After my third time watching Lebowski, I finally got it. I don’t know what it was exactly that I got, but this film can’t go three lines without cracking me up now and it comes straight from the Coen’s tight and stylized writing style.

This film exploits every rule of comedy in the book and still closely follows traditional film noir traditions, making it (literally) a black comedy. There is something to be said about making a contemporary detective film that centers on the location of a rug. It’s a whole lot of something about nothing, and at the end of the day that spells comedy.

#8 Rear Window

Before you start thinking that this is just a Coen brothers party that no one else was invited to, let me throw in a wild card. Unless I’m wildly underestimating the cinematic literacy of our audience, many of you have not seen this film. This is not a bad thing. I’m not even mad, you just need to go out and rent it right now.

Rear Window is a claustrophobic examination of humans, humanity, and the insane Earth that we were all planted on. Largely regarded as one Hitchcock’s best, it broke pre-established conventions by taking place entirely inside the apartment of the protagonist. He watches the actions of his neighbors through the gigantic bay windows in the rear of his apartment because as his nurse tells him “we’ve become a race of peeping Toms.”

From nose to tail, this thing is packed with heavy lines carrying more than just their surface meaning. Hitchcock is famous for doing this, but this is one of those films that appears to be teaching you about humanity on top of presenting a genuinely thrilling tale about a man who appears to have murdered his wife.

#7 The Godfather

I know what you’re thinking. “Number seven? How can you put the masterpiece of masterpieces as number seven?!” Now, it would seem that no list of the best films of all time would be complete without the tale of the Corleones and maybe it was out of my attraction to non-conformity that I slid it down to number seven. I certainly consider it to be the greatest film of all time (as many do), but as a list of my personal favorites, there are some that take personal preference.

Still though, the film is a shining masterpiece and anyone who doesn’t like it simply has bad taste. I don’t like making enemies, but if you watched the whole thing all the way through and understood the story that it was telling and still didn’t like it then I don’t know what to say. “Rent Paul Blart: Mall Cop and cry yourself to sleep again, I guess” would probably be my advice to this person.

The Godfather is a timeless classic about family, crime, power, trust and betrayal. Every turn of the story, every look, every thought and every camera angle is orchestrated perfectly to beautifully tell a sweeping story of inheritance and family duty. The addition of Godfather II only deepened the story and filled it with a past rich enough to merit its predecessor and a future that would make Vito Corleone weep. The cast is filled with stars and the storytelling is immaculate. Go and buy this film. Don’t just rent it. Buy it at Target right now. I hear they have an deal on DVDs that’s pretty hard to refuse.

#6 Pirate Radio

I didn’t see Pirate Radio (or alternatively, The Boat That Rocked) until it finally came to the United States and I don’t see how Richard Curtis, the film’s writer and director hasn’t been heralded as one of the best filmmakers of the decade. Every film I’ve seen by him has been so lovingly crafted and so chock-full of fascinatingly unique characters that I don’t really understand why he isn’t currently swimming in work.

Pirate Radio is the perfect film to put on when you’re standing over your stack of DVDs stumped by what to put on. The plot isn’t too ridiculously complex, it instead chooses to focus on the characters and what rock and roll means to them. The soundtrack is electrifying and the dialogue is unbelievably funny. It is played for laughs from beginning to end, but like any Curtis feature there are small moments of biting reality that remind you that life (like the boat that everyone lives on) rocks frequently, and sinks on occasion.

Out of all the films on this list, I’ve seen Pirate Radio the most (probably at least 28 times) and it has not yet overstayed its welcome. I literally watched it three days ago while I cleaned my room and I still sang along to every song.

#5 Inglourious Basterds

As the final words of the film imply, Inglourious Basterds is Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece.  I have a funny love/hate relationship with Tarantino. There is nothing about Kill Bill that I enjoy, yet Pulp Fiction is one of my favorites. Death Proof is pretty much an abomination, yet Reservoir Dogs was one of the best heist movies of its decade and it didn’t even feature a heist.

With Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino explored new ground with his first real period piece and he broke even further ground by actually casting people that fit their nationality. “Tom Cruise as a German? Just slap an eye patch on him and send him to makeup!” This logic doesn’t fly with Tarantino and he was very successful at getting genuine foreign celebrities to star in his film about internationality.

I own the script for Inglourious Basterds, and even though the movie is already one of my favorites, I’ve read the screenplay in its raw form three times. It’s just spectacularly written, superbly crafted, masterfully cast, has one of the best villains of all time and features brutal (sometimes horrific) Nazi killing. What else can a guy ask for?

#4 El Laberinto del Fauno

I know, I know, I know. I pick one foreign film and it’s the obvious one? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling it by its original name to seem like an arrogant cinemaphile that eats caviar and swims in a pool filled with gold turnips. I kid you not, in video rental stores across the nation there is a red faced customer demanding to see someone’s manager for not giving them the “American” version of El Laberinto Del Fauno.

It’s in Spanish. It was meant to be in Spanish. It’s beautiful in Spanish. El Laberinto Del Fauno translates to “The Labyrinth of the faun”, not “Pan’s Labyrinth.” I get it, Pan (from Greek legend) is a faun, and there is definitely an awesome badass faun in the movie, but calling it Pan’s Labyrinth is like calling The Man Who Knew Too Much something like Jerry Knows Too Much. There’s no Jerry in the movie, so how does calling it Jerry Knows Too Much make any kind of sense?

The story is expansive and rich, the idea of mixing fantasy with history is infinitely thrilling and exploring the mind and imagination of a young girl as she deals with her new and extraordinary circumstance is both enchanting and tragic. The film flourished before our very eyes and captured the imagination of everyone who saw it, including the children that witnessed a bottle murder when they were unwittingly brought by their parents.

#3 Big Fish

Here’s the thing about my love for Big Fish. I watched the whole thing on television one day out of the blue. When it finally finished, I broke down crying. It was the most fantastic tale that had ever been spun before me, and since the entire film is about storytelling and what it can do for the sake of humanity it just was too much for my emotional purse to handle.

Each of the stories told are even more miraculous than the last, and the design of the film impeccably places us in the world that the film wants to tell us about. Big Fish is one of Tim Burton’s only films that isn’t all Tim Burton’ed out and the movie is his best because of that. It was a soaring tale of humanity and the final twenty minutes are some of the most touching minutes I have ever experienced while watching a movie.

Every time I watch this film now, I can’t help but cry. There’s an exact moment in an exact scene that gets me every time, and it’s when everyone shouts “he’s here!’ when Billy Crudup carries Albert Finney into the clearing by the lake. I’m tearing up now just thinking about it. Way to go, Big Fish, leave me alone already.

#2 American Beauty

Now this film, in my opinion, is the single greatest achievement in American film, and only because of how sharply and accurately it is able to reflect reality and harshly criticize it at the same time, which is something that every work of art (by definition) should attempt to accomplish.

The film delves into the rotted core of the “happy American family” and the real superficial elements that have fallen into everyday life. Carolyn isn’t happy, Lester isn’t happy, Jane isn’t happy and as Lester says in his first opening monologue, he would tell Jane that she will grow up to be happy, but he doesn’t want to lie to her.

I mention the sheer beauty behind the name in my column about movie titles (exciting, I know) but that isn’t the final brilliant thing in the film. Albeit, some of the lines are blase and uninspired, but the midpoint monologue explains that away while featuring a video of a plastic bag blowing in the wind so the film appears to be a commentary of itself, which in itself is a commentary of real life. No wonder it was such a big deal when I was a kid.

#1 In Bruges
When I first saw In Bruges I thought it was okay. Two hitmen, one has to kill the other, blah blah blah, funny midget part, blah blah blah, bang bang, end.  I knew from the beginning that the writing was sharp, witty and layered, but I had no idea exactly how layered it was until I realized what was dwelling underneath the surface of this film.

Now,  I mentioned earlier that I’ve seen Pirate Radio something like 28 times. If that’s true, then I’ve probably seen In Bruges about 27 times. It’s my favorite film to put on when I want to really analyze something because there is so much to examine and it is still fresh, fun and hysterical during every viewing.

What is this mysterious second layer of the story? You will have to rent the film to find out for yourself, but let me give you a hint. This film doubles as a story of biblical proportions and they say many times throughout the film that they are “waiting” in Bruges for further instructions.

That’s all the information I plan on giving, but just know that the film was written and directed by the master of subtext, Martin McDonagh so it may take a few viewings before the brilliant layer settles itself upon you.

So that does it for my top ten! What are your favorite films? Let us know below!

Curious about what Pat’s favorite films are? Come back tomorrow for Pat’s top ten favorite movies and be sure to come back on Friday for Jeremy’s picks and our big announcement!

The first two cast members for Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Lion King have been announced by director Jon Favreau.

James Earl Jones, who voiced Mufasa in the animated movie in the ’90s, is returning as the character in the live-action adaptation. Interesting!

Meanwhile, Donald Glover — who will co-star in this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming for Disney and Marvel — will play Adult Simba.

Read full article

The first two cast members for Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Lion King have been announced by director Jon Favreau.

James Earl Jones, who voiced Mufasa in the animated movie in the ’90s, is returning as the character in the live-action adaptation. Interesting!

Meanwhile, Donald Glover — who will co-star in this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming for Disney and Marvel — will play Adult Simba.

Favreau tweeted the news Friday evening:

According to a statement from Disney, The Lion King “will build on the groundbreaking technology used in The Jungle Book to bring the story of Simba to photorealistic life.”

A release date for the film hasn’t been set. Favreau also helmed the live-action Jungle Book for the studio.

So far casting is off to a great start!

What Disney can learn from the 2009 Chinese live-action ‘Mulan’

Here's what 'Hua Mulan' got right

4:30 pm EST, February 17, 2017

Disney seems to have a long-term plan to churn out live-action versions of its most popular animations, and Mulan is the latest of its projects. The live-action version of the Chinese legend is already getting us excited, but many people don’t know that an excellent live-action Mulan movie already exists, made by a Chinese studio.

Hua Mulan (sometimes translated as Mulan: Rise of a Warrior) is a 2009 film by director Jingle Ma. It tells the story of Hua Mulan, a young woman who goes to war instead of her aging father, and rises in the army’s ranks. It won many awards in China, and stars Wei Zhao as Mulan.

Disney’s Mulan wasn’t favorably received in China when it was released, with audiences saying it was too different from the original legend, and too Westernized. Now would be a good time for the studio to make the film as globally appealing as it can be — and Hua Mulan is a perfect example of how to do our favorite female warrior justice.

Read full article

Disney seems to have a long-term plan to churn out live-action versions of its most popular animations, and Mulan is the latest of its projects. The live-action version of the Chinese legend is already getting us excited, but many people don’t know that an excellent live-action Mulan movie already exists, made by a Chinese studio.

Hua Mulan (sometimes translated as Mulan: Rise of a Warrior) is a 2009 film by director Jingle Ma. It tells the story of Hua Mulan, a young woman who goes to war instead of her aging father, and rises in the army’s ranks. It won many awards in China, and stars Wei Zhao as Mulan.

Disney’s Mulan wasn’t favorably received in China when it was released, with audiences saying it was too different from the original legend, and too Westernized. Now would be a good time for the studio to make the film as globally appealing as it can be — and Hua Mulan is a perfect example of how to do our favorite female warrior justice.

Here are some things Hua Mulan got right that Disney would do well to learn from.

hua mulan decision

Bringing more realism to the legend

Hua Mulan follows a plot that is more loyal to the original legend of Mulan, which states that she was a warrior for the Chinese army for over a decade. In the film, she even becomes a General, and retires with the nation’s respect, even after her identity as a woman is revealed.

Seeing Mulan lead thousands of men in Hua Mulan is a rare and empowering experience. Her struggles as a woman in a position of power, and the various dilemmas that come with commanding such a large number of people, are what bring intensity and meaning to the story. Mulan itself explored the concept of honor and femininity as well, but we only got a very small glimpse at the power that the legendary Mulan is said to have actually wielded.

While Disney may not want to make a movie that ventures too far from a family friendly atmosphere by portraying a Mulan who goes to war too realistically (as in, showing her killing enemies), it would be great to see her rise in the ranks and revolutionize such a male-dominated space the way she is said to have done.

hua mulan warrior

Not shying away from the grit — but not making it too grim, either

Hua Mulan does an excellent job of skirting the line between grim tragedy and friendly comedy. With thousands of extras, the battle scenes are as breathtaking and inspiring as they are horrifying. There’s a scene where Mulan counts the dog tags of all the fallen soldiers, and a considerable amount of time is spent exploring her despair and responsibility as the army’s struggle becomes more desperate. The emotional rawness of the story creates a very real, very flawed, yet very lovable Mulan — and takes audiences on an exploration of heroism, perseverance, and honor.

Of course, we can’t expect Disney to go all out with blood and grit — they’re bound to bring out Mushu, after all — but Disney prides itself on epic battles and fantastic special effects, and they’ll want to serve us war scenes as breathtaking and realistic as possible.

However, we’re all tired of grittiness for grittiness’ sake. Despite the heaviness of the more emotional scenes of Hua Mulan, there is sweetness and humor. The friendships in the army, much like those of Disney’s version, can be laugh-out-loud funny, and the scenes of Mulan’s struggle to preserve her male appearance are equally fun to watch.

Related: Disney’s live action Mulan lands female director

After all, audiences won’t be going to see Mulan to see war and sadness — the animated version was fun and adventurous, and although it had somber moments, it still managed to keep things just lighthearted enough for us to not get too sad. With animation, that lightheartedness is an easier task; portraying war with real actors could prove a more difficult challenge.

Establishing more depth in the main relationship

In Hua Mulan, Mulan and Wentai’s relationship is beautiful, but it builds over a long period of time, and strengthens through their mutual respect as they both struggle to lead an army. Their love is based on that combination of trust built over time, and shared responsibility.

Shang and Mulan have what is possibly one of the best relationships Disney has ever come up with. Among the Disney ‘princesses,’ Mulan and Shang probably have the greatest chemistry and story of all, and scenes from the animated film continue to be shipping fuel. Presumably, they’ll want to replicate this relationship in the new live-action version.

However, the animated film was sadly limited to only a few glimpses of the developing relationship. It would be amazing if we could see more of the friendship between Shang and Mulan (as Ping) and how it becomes something more. It’s rare in a ‘princess’ movie to see romance begin with sincere friendship, and it’ll be interesting to see how they deal with the confusion regarding Mulan’s gender in both a funny and profound way.

Giving it a more realistic conclusion

There are some scenes that could do with a makeover, especially at the very end. Mulan’s final trick to kill Shan Yu — by dressing three soldiers in drag and having them attempt to distract him — is hilarious in the animation, but would come off as strange and unrealistic in a live-action movie, and perhaps even a little offensive.

Hua Mulan’s approach to defeating the enemy is a much more powerful one. Although it equals Mulan in stealth and cleverness, it involves realistic strategy and power dynamics, and finally involves her making a deal that saves China through negotiation, rather than war — and making a terribly painful personal sacrifice.

Disney has a penchant for epic final battle scenes, but that isn’t what happens in either Mulan or Hua Mulan. In both cases, it’s Mulan’s cleverness that saves the day. It would be great to see that cleverness translated into a realistic solution, in the same way it does in Hua Mulan.

It’s not like Disney hasn’t subverted its own canon, after all. In Maleficient, it isn’t the prince’s kiss that lifts the spell. Disney could certainly benefit from giving Mulan a more epic finale, and perhaps one that does her legendary character justice.

Immersing us in historically-accurate China

Besides perhaps The Jungle Book, we’ve yet to see a live-action adaptation that takes place in a non-European culture. In fact, this would be the first film to employ solely actors of color. What Disney decides to do here will be particularly interesting; since Aladdin will be getting its own adaptation soon, and Pocahontas could also follow in the live-action trend, the decisions taken here will likely set a precedent for what will be done with those films.

There were rumors earlier of Mulan having a white love interest, which now seem to be crushed, thankfully. We want to see a film with an entirely Asian cast — hopefully at least mostly Chinese — and get a chance to explore the scenery, sets and props of ancient China.

Although, it’s only fair to say that Hua Mulan also has its own white character — a Russian singer called Vitas, who inexplicably pops up now and again. That’s another tip for Disney: don’t just insert white guys into the story for no reason.

Hua Mulan’s shots of rural China are beautiful and unique, and it would be amazing to see what Disney can do if they choose to show much of what they did in animation, with real sets and locations. Hopefully, Disney gets a chance to actually film in China itself.

All this doesn’t go to say that we want a copy of Hua Mulan. Not at all. Hua Mulan is an excellent film in its own right, but it’s considerably more adult than Disney would ever dare make an adaptation. The realism of its wars and of the toll duty takes on Mulan and her companions is nothing like the fun, if occasionally emotional, adventure Disney took us on with Mulan.

Disney’s version is a movie to be excited about, and the additions the animated film made to the legend are what makes it a classic. It would be amazing to see Mushu, Shang, the ancestors, and maybe even the cricket, on screen, as well as the songs, of course! “Make a Man Out of You” with real actors will definitely be one of the biggest highlights.

So far, we know that Mulan’s director will be Niki Caro. Although she isn’t Chinese, a matter that raises a lot of questions about representation, it’s still encouraging to see a female director chosen — and if Caro’s powerful film Whale Rider is any indication, she’s rather good at telling empowering stories with female leads. Hopefully, the rest of the team can be filled with talented Chinese filmmakers that deserve to have a hand in rendering such a culturally significant story properly.

After all, Mulan is primarily a Chinese legend, and her story spans a history much longer than the 18 years since Disney’s animation came out.

In the meantime, go check out Hua Mulan, which is a fascinating film (although a considerably more adult one; you’ve been warned)!

What are you expecting from ‘Mulan’?

There’s a new drama coming to HBO this Sunday and you can’t miss it. Big Little Lies is a delicious trip through the small, rich, and scandalous town of Monterey, California.

Featuring an all-star cast — Alexander Skarsgård, Laura Dern, Adam Scott, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon, and Shailene Woodley — HBO’s book to TV adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s wildly popular novel should please both book readers and newbies (I’m the latter) thanks to the soapy drama and lack of censorship.

‘Big Little Lies’ review: Come for the cast, stay for the story

Big Little Lies takes elements of True Detective, Real Housewives, and Gone Girl, and mixes them into one lovely, hate-filled cocktail. Set in the beautiful coastal town of Monterey, the secrets and connections between characters run deep.

Read full article

There’s a new drama coming to HBO this Sunday and you can’t miss it. Big Little Lies is a delicious trip through the small, rich, and scandalous town of Monterey, California.

Featuring an all-star cast — Alexander Skarsgård, Laura Dern, Adam Scott, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon, and Shailene Woodley — HBO’s book to TV adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s wildly popular novel should please both book readers and newbies (I’m the latter) thanks to the soapy drama and lack of censorship.

‘Big Little Lies’ review: Come for the cast, stay for the story

Big Little Lies takes elements of True Detective, Real Housewives, and Gone Girl, and mixes them into one lovely, hate-filled cocktail. Set in the beautiful coastal town of Monterey, the secrets and connections between characters run deep.

Reese Witherspoon’s Madeline is the ringmaster. She’s the typical Helicopter Parent trying as best she can to keep Monterey’s relationships and extracurricular activities together. Bringing her down is her ego and never-ending animosity toward a couple of characters, including her ex-husband’s new bae Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz, below). Together, Bonnie and Madeline’s new hubby Ed (Adam Scott) want to keep the peace between their two partners, but they’re the only two who seem capable of keeping tempers in check.

Meanwhile, Perry (Skarsgård) and Celeste (Kidman) have serious marriage issues that seem impossible to resolve. Of the leading ladies, Celeste seems to be the most level-headed despite her shitty husband. Then there’s Laura Dern’s Renata (below), who hates Madeline with all of her heart. Some of the best scenes are between these two ladies.

Not helping the Renata/Madeline relationship is the latter’s new friend Jane (Woodley). She’s just moved to town with her son Ziggy, who might’ve caused serious trouble on his first day of school.

It’s this event that initiates the show’s biggest mystery: A murder. Who did it? Who’s dead? The answer is not revealed in the first four episodes despite flash forward sequences in which we see an investigation taking place. As you continue to watch, it becomes increasingly clear that any of the characters could be be the victim or murderer. (This writer hasn’t read the book, so please don’t spoil me.)

Big Little Lies is the perfect show to cuddle up with on Sunday evenings for the next two months. While some have called this show corny, I find it to be a delight. I just have one suggestion for every viewer: Bring a glass of alcohol to the party. While screening the episodes, I very much enjoyed watching the drama unfold with a drink in hand.

The only problem? It’s just seven episodes long. Here’s hoping for more seasons or more adaptations of Moriarty’s books at HBO.

Big Little Lies premieres Sunday, February 19 on HBO.