Today is… GROUNDHOG DAY! That means you’re doomed to repeat the day over and over until you’re caught up with the best movie stories of the week. At least you don’t have to go back and relive the whole week in order to read every single post and article published in the last seven days. You just need the ten best, which I’ve compiled for you below (plus an exclusive film clip and TV coverage). And at least you have me to compile it for you, so it’s all nice and easily laid out. Then again, Groundhog Day is on a Saturday this year, so maybe you’ll want to take it slow. Enjoy the day off over and over again. The Recap will be here the whole time.
The week started with the end of Sundance and later included a preview of our next favorite film fest, SXSW. We reviewed the major and some minor new theatrical releases, including the genuinely great zom-rom-com (Warm Bodies), the forgettable movie with the old action star (Bullet to the Head), the forgettable thing about old gangsters (Stand Up Guys), the strangely reflexive Charlie Sheen movie (A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan), the the political thriller written by Al Gore’s former spokesman (Knife Fight), the latest Korean dissection from Im Sang-soo (The Taste of Money) and the powerful slow-burn sequel to Yossi & Jagger (Yossi). And we interviewed one of the directors of The ABCs of Death (Angela Bettis) and the director of Oscar nominee How to Survive a Plague (David France).
Now, check out the biggest and best stories and original content from the past week, from FSR and our friends around the web:
Another Sundance is over, and we covered the crap out of it. All that was left to do was wrap it all neatly in a list of the best films we saw out there, including Stories We Tell, Upstream Color and Fruitvale (allow me to add an 11th: Cutie and the Boxer). One of Kate’s picks is The Spectacular Now, and here she tries to answer why it was such a surprise just how good it is: “Perhaps because in a crowded field of coming-of-age tales, Ponsoldt, Neudstadter, and Weber were not afraid to go dark and deep? Or maybe because Woodley and Teller both turned in the most unaffected performances of the festival? Or was it that we were all just so happy to see a high school film that actually felt like high school – hilarious and messy and heartbreaking and real? It was probably all of those things, and many more. It’s a winner.”
Yes, we’re still talking about the news of J.J. Abrams directing Star Wars Episode VII. Scott says the hire is terrible because of two key problems. One of them: “The problem is that he’s the perfect filmmaker for a studio looking to make their expensive movie accessible to as broad an audience as possible. After all, this is Disney we’re talking about — the studio that’s watered-down Pixar for profits from action figures and bed sheets. There’s no doubt that Luke and Leia went from DIY to mainstream long ago, but there’s a question of whether the studio will see that the unique nature of Star Wars is what propels it to a huge audience or if they’ll apply the same safe formula to it that has resulted in some forgettable work over the years.”
Comics expert Paul DeBenedetto stepped in to present us with six tips for Marvel on their newly confirmed Doctor Strange movie. Explaining what to keep and what to discard, he said the hero’s magic items need to go: “It’s just too much explanation. Who cares how Dr. Strange does magic? What if he just does it? You know, some made-up magic words, and ta-da! Bad guys defeated. Don’t bog the movie down with boring continuity porn.”
More comic book movie news:
George Wales of “Total Film” compiled a list of the 50 craziest fan theories about movies, including presumed subtexts or “secret” plots of movies like Ghostbusters, Back to the Future and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and franchises like Twilight, Batman, Harry Potter and James Bond. In fact, 007 took the #1 spot for an idea popularized after the release of Skyfall: “‘James Bond’ isn’t a man but rather a codename, passed on from one MI6 agent after the other over the years.” … “It neatly explains away why various different Bonds look and behave differently, while supporting characters (M, for example) continue to age before the audience’s eyes.”
More mind-blowing theories:
Why ‘Unbreakable’ is the Secret Meta Sequel to ‘Die Hard’
Filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead dangerously introduced us to a clip from their movie Resolution: