Happy New Year. Are you still hungover? Did you start a gym membership and spend the last three evenings touring the place, contemplating which machine you’ll eventually saddle up on to fulfill your resolution to get fit? Whatever your excuse for not monitoring FSR every moment of your week, especially Tuesday when you barely got out of bed let alone took a shower, leave it at the door and just enjoy catching up with this first recap of 2013.
So far, the only new release reviews are for the VOD and limited theatrical title Crawlspace and the also-limited foreign film Tristana. Obviously, with the holiday it’s been a light number of days as far as content and news is concerned. But it was also a time in which we continued our massive, awesome year-in-review content. This included our annual Reject Awards, our staff picks of the best films of the year, the Internet’s picks for the best films of the year and our lists of the best foreign films, TV shows, trailers, posters and films you didn’t bother to see.
We also prepared you for the future with our most anticipated movies of 2013, a list of must-see films in January alone and a look at the short film that inspired Guillermo Del Toro to produce the upcoming horror film Mama.
Now, check out our biggest and best stories and original content from the past week after the break.
The post that has received the most comments this week is Landon’s analytical critique of Django Unchained. Part of the large number of responses, however, is due to Landon’s engagement with other commenters, positive and negative, in a way that furthers the discussion. Rather than quote from the body of his post, here’s a bit from one of the readers (Corey Johnson) responding to Landon’s comparison between Django and Inglorious Basterds: “Django, on the other hand, is very personal in its stakes and very narrow in its focus. It’s less a triumph-against-slavery and more a triumph-against-this-one-asshole. It’s more akin to Kill Bill than Inglourious Basterds. Because Django isn’t fighting the intangible of Slavery In The South, it becomes difficult to craft a victory that feels as historically satisfying as Basterds’ ending.”
Speaking of comparing films, for this week’s Overrated/Underpraised column, Nathan pit Duncan Jones’s Moon against Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Most of his arguments have to do with the former’s discernable human presence. One example: “While it might be sacrilegious in some circles to make the claim that Moon is an overall better movie than 2001, one place where it’s definitely superior is in its sets. Sure, they borrow a lot of design language from the work Kubrick and his people did on 2001, what with the minimalism, white color scheme, and throwback typefaces, but they also take that extra step that makes them feel not only livable, but lived in. The base that Sam occupies is scuffed up, tactile, and it’s clear what every aspect of it is used for. You can instantly see that someone has been living here for a very long time, and you could imagine yourself making the best of living there as well.”
Moon probably would have fit in nicely had it been released in 2012, which Landon concluded was a year of movies that “showed how our individual identities have become divided within various aspects of modern social life.” But while the list of actual 2012 films that conformed to this pattern is interesting, Landon also pointed out the one big movie that was different: “Interestingly, in a year full of films about fractured personalities and various performances of the self, The Avengers feels uniquely whole and unified. The Avengers is a work of cinematic gestalt; it took decisive fragments of vaguely interlocking narratives and amalgamated them into a consistent and consolidated magnum opus. The film also portrays superheroes for whom there exists minimal distinction between the human self and the costume or transformation associated with it.”
Meanwhile, we at FSR also chose The Avengers as the movie of the year. And Neil too noted how it wins because it was unique: “It seems oddly appropriate then, that The Avengers is such a potent memory in the same year when Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy bowed out. By throwing out the rules and following their nerdiest of intuitions, Whedon and the Marvel braintrust exceeded monstrous expectations and still managed to deliver a big surprise. And we all got to share in the fun.”