This was a major holiday week in America, so FSR content was a bit lighter than usual. And yet you may have been too busy traveling to follow the site over the past few days anyway. If so, the most important thing you missed is our post highlighting all the things we’re thankful for this year. Among them is you, whether you’re one of the longtime loyal or one of the many who’ve just started reading us this year. Now, even though the holiday is a couple days past, we want to thank you for once again catching up with us here at the Reject Recap as we give you another rundown of our best reads from the past seven days.
As always, first we remind you to check out our reviews of this week’s new releases: Life of Pi; Red Dawn; Hitchcock; Rust and Bone; and The Central Park Five. We also re-posted our Silver Linings Playbook review since the film went wider this week. Among the films, it looks like we recommend Rust and Bone and Central Park Five the most. We haven’t published a review of Rise of the Guardians yet, but we invite you to read our interview with the animated film’s director, Peter Ramsay, the introduction for which offers some critical praise. This week we also watched and commented on new trailers for Now You See Me, Parental Guidance, Admission, Chasing Ice and Jack the Giant Slayer. Watch those and all our latest Short Film of the Day picks as you lay about in your turkey leftovers coma today.
Now, check out our biggest and best stories and original content from the past week after the break.
With Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln now in wide release, the discussions in response to it should flourish. Fortunately, Landon gave us two separate posts on the film. The first (an installment of his Culture Warrior column) looked at how the historical story may point to current civil rights matters (such as gay marriage) and point us in the right direction for the future. “Lincoln doesn’t congratulate us for how far we’ve come,” he wrote. “Instead, the film illuminates how far we still have to go.”
In the second (an installment of Criterion Files), he compared the new film to John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln, including the earlier film’s own significance to its year of release: “a surprisingly odd film when examined from the purview of 2012 [...] Ford’s film, which depicts a largely falsified account of a green lawyer Lincoln defending alleged murderers in Illinois, is a historical curiosity both because of its depiction of history and its place within American culture at the time it was made [...] during the Jim Crow era and at a time in which black faces were rarely if ever seen on movie screens, Young Mr. Lincoln is, in short, not at all about understanding African-Americans as Americans.”
In his latest Oscar column, Daniel put Best Picture contenders into two categories, those that are like Thanksgiving and those that are like Black Friday. The latter consists of the less-meaty films that tend to win the top Academy Award. But while pitting it against likely fellow nominees Lincoln, Silver Lining Playbook, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Anna Karenina, Argo and The Master, he predicted that the meaty Life of Pi might actually have a good shot as having the qualities of an Avatar and a Hurt Locker. “To call it this year’s Avatar is a fair compliment to Lee’s visual success, but sells the film’s thematic accomplishments short,” he wrote. “[Life of Pi] can claim to be Avatar but with a real, serious and well-written script.”
Last weekend we thought we had a pretty good guess of who’ll be directing Star Wars Episode VII, but the filmmaker himself shot it down. So, maybe it’s just time to sit back and wait for real news about the long-coming sequel. And maybe it’s just time to start speculating and spreading rumors about the second and third installments in the next trilogy. Word is that screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back; Return of the Jedi) and Simon Kinberg are working on the scripts for Episode VIII and Episode IX. Kate commented on their worthiness: “Kasdan’s resume is certainly…varied, but this man knows his Star Wars [...] Kinberg is a more recent screenwriting star – he’s penned films like Mr. & Mrs. Smith, X-Men: The Last Stand, Jumper, Sherlock Holmes, This Means War, and the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past. We will forgive him a couple of those titles.”
Official announcement was made this week that Insidious 2 will bring back the stars of the original, Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Lin Shaye and young Ty Simpkins. This was met with a lot of surprise and dumbfounded responses around the Internet, and our own Nathan wondered if the filmmakers will be compromising their integrity and any sort of logic to revisit these characters. He asked, “Is it likely that Wan and Whannell have come up with a great story that will bring these characters back for more hauntings and manage to make sense in the process, or can we take the returns of the original cast as an indication that any concerns over story were just empty words and this sequel will be a cash grab as cynical as any other? Obviously it’s still too early to tell, but this new announcement makes the movie look suspect.”
In this week’s Boiling Point, Robert ranted about the frustrating issue of non-special Special Editions and non-collectible Collector’s Editions for Blu-ray and DVD releases. It’s not a particularly new observation, but it is worth addressing as we enter gift-buying season. He wrote, “What I do have a problem with is calling what should be a normal release the “Special Edition.” The DVD should be called the Unspecial or the Barebones or, accurately, the Rental Edition. [...] There is just nothing special about a release that has the extras it’s supposed to. When did the standard release become special? Why is getting what we always got supposed to be somehow better than it used to be?”
While it won’t be on anyone’s top ten list this year, many of us were pleasantly surprised at how Snow White and the Huntsmen turned out. Could another fairy tale adaptation have the same effect on us next year? In a posting of the second trailer for Bryan Singer‘s Jack the Giant Slayer, our own Jack (the bad movie slayer?) stirred up some readers while contemplating the troubled film’s potential. “There is an inherent clunkiness to this preview which is so unlike Singer,” he wrote. “If his name wasn’t on the film, along with his equally talented frequent collaborator Christopher McQuarrie, it would be even easier to write off Jack the Giant Slayer as one of 2013′s projects heading for doom. However, with those talents behind the project, it could also turnout to be next year’s biggest surprise.”
This week’s list from David Christopher Bell is very appropriate for the holiday shopping season. Yesterday may have been the busiest you’ll see the mall all year, but the crowds will be rather large for the next month. To put things into perspective, though, you might want to check out some of the 10 craziest scenes set in a shopping mall, including great moments from Back to the Future, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Terminator 2 (time travel and malls go hand in hand apparently). Also, Observe and Report, which was compared to a film you might not have compared it to yourself: “This film is not unlike Jaws. Really. Seth Rogen would be Brody, who becomes personally invested in hunting down the shark when it almost gets his little boy, or in the case of this film, flashes a girl that he likes. Ray Liotta, the police Detective who challenges Rogen’s authority, would be the mayor. Jesse Plemons’ character would be Hooper… or maybe Quint… I guess the analogy breaks down after that… the point is, the film closes when Rogen finally gets his man, and by ‘gets’ I mean shoots inappropriately in the middle of a mall. Just like in Jaws.”
In this week’s Aural Fixation column, Allison looked at the growing trend of movie soundtracks being released on vinyl, including those for Drive, The Master and The Dark Knight Rises. She wrote, “Listening to records not only sounds different, it is a different experience. You must sit and listen to the music. It is not a format you can take on the go or listen to while driving in the car. You certainly can sit around and listen to CDs or iTunes, but because doing so is your only choice when listening to vinyl, it makes the experience seem more special. Soundtracks are already unique because they relate to specific images and emotions audiences felt when watching that film and combined with the process of listening to vinyl, these feelings are all the more heightened and memorable.”