If those of you in the Northeast U.S. are looking for stuff to do this weekend while stuck inside, why not get caught up with the latest Reject Recap? The rest of you around the world, just pretend you’re also snowed in and do the same. It was a crazy week of rumors and rumors and rumors and I think there was actually an official news release in there somewhere. Between Star Wars, the Avengers franchise, the possible Justice League franchise, the Amazing Spider-Man franchise and — okay, anything that’s trying to steal the Avengers model — the Internet is in a blizzard of its own, that of buzz and speculation, which won’t stop for at least a few years. We can’t even cover it all here, so the Recap is not just a place for our own best stories; we’ve got links to other sites, too.
Now, check out the biggest and best stories and original content from the past week, from FSR and our friends around the web:
First came rumor about a Yoda spin-off, which Jack questioned the desire for. Then there was an official confirmation from Disney that one-shot Star Wars films but no reveal of specifics. Next came the rumor of the most logical characters to go solo: the appropriately named Han Solo and the bounty hunter Boba Fett. And Kate got a little too excited (didn’t we all?): “Also of note? These films would mean that Darth Vader would get to come back as a villain, and even Jabba the Hutt could come slide in for more. I’ve passed out now.”
More on Star Wars:
Yoda, Solo or Fett: What Star Wars Character Deserves a Movie?
Broken Projector Podcast: Should Han Shoot First?
6 Filmmaking Tips From Lawrence Kasdan
As the solo spin-off films already tell us, Star Wars Episode VII is already old news. Even J.J. Abrams is already talking about another big project of his: adaptations of video games Portal and Half-Life. Between this and the announcement Duncan Jones is doing a World of Warcraft film, there’s hope for video games on the big screen. Nathan, believing Abrams “gets it,” still responded with a level head: “Could this be it? In the coming years, are we finally going to see a rash of video game movies hitting theaters that aren’t complete embarrassments? Might this trend get so big that video game movies become the next comic book movie? Okay, okay, you’re right, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before anything, let’s cross our fingers for that one big success that’s needed to get the ball rolling.”
Out of nowhere, the sixth Fast and the Furious movie became the most anticipated blockbuster of this summer. All it took was an explosive Super Bowl spot with tanks and planes and cars shooting out of plans to wow the world. And the full trailer that landed soon after kept the heat on the sequel. Kate summed up all we need to know: “The newest (long-form) trailer from the summer release, which sees the crew heading to Europe for whocaresgiveusmorecarplaneadventures…”
More on the Super Bowl trailers:
The Best and Worst Super Bowl Movie Trailers
Marvel’s Mighty Misstep: ‘Iron Man 3′ Super Bowl Trailer Disappoints
More rumors! Further news about The Avengers franchise includes unofficial word that the Hulk will be taking on a bad guy role following The Avengers 2. Scott responded: “It would be an incredibly gutsy place to take the character — especially one who failed to gain traction after two films. Granted, he was a standout in Avengers, but his contribution was as awesome comic relief. It’s not a guarantee that his ability to slam someone on the ground like a ragdoll for a few moments will translate into sole story success.” … “Details aside, it all sounds massive and amazing. It’s refreshing to know that the studio (if this is all accurate) is still keeping on its toes despite the laurels.”
More on The Avengers franchise (and its copycats):
Chris Pratt to Star in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Because Marvel Loves Us
Could This Be the Cinematic End of Our Heroes in ‘The Justice League’?
Did Marc Webb Just Reveal Venom in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’? (Movies.com)
Why Venom Absolutely Won’t Be In The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Cinema Blend)
Sure, it’s nice to let a project stay wrapped in secrecy, but with something like Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof‘s Tomorrowland (aka “1952”) there is fun to be had in trying to put things together. And with the filmmakers handing out clues and puzzle pieces, we’re obviously meant to play detective. Disney expert and blogger Jim Hill is doing just that and has unleashed a solution: it’s about U.F.O.s, though as Lindelof admitted, not aliens. Hill wrote: “Based on the evidence in this photograph as well as info that has previously leaked out about this Brad Bird / Damon Lindelof project, I believe that “Tomorrowland” has something to do with Project Blue Book, the program that the U.S. Air Force launched in late 1952 / early 1953 for the investigation of unidentified flying objects.” [via AICN]
Matt Singer at Criticwire offered a defense of Ocean’s Twelve, considered by many others to be the worst sequel ever made, a meta sequel: “‘Ocean’s Twelve,’ like the embezzlers at its center, is engaged in a number of long cons, and the audience is the mark in all of them. The film tricks you into thinking it’s one thing and then repeatedly reveals itself as another. With enough viewings and distance, you begin to see that the film is entirely about the act of its own creation.”
More on Soderbergh:
Review: Side Effects of Soderbergh’s ‘Side Effects’ Include Hunger for More, Delight, Fear
Watch Steven Soderbergh’s Crude 1985 Yes Documentary ‘Access All Areas’
Getting to Know Steven Soderbergh’s System Through The Criterion Collection
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Dustin Rowles of Pajiba has crowned Hollywood’s most romantic director: Warm Bodies director Jonathan Levine. He writes, “it was ultimately one of the most romantic films we’ve seen outside of SLP since Levine’s last movie, the cancer comedy 50/50. Yes, there was a zombie apocalypse at the center of it, but that was just the hook. What Warm Bodies was really about was a man overcoming an insurmountable obstacle — death and zombiefication — to find love and, ultimately, save the world, not with bullets in the head, but with old-school romance: Chivalrous gestures, bonding over a shared love of music, and sacrifice. The zombie carnage notwithstanding, Warm Bodies was a beautiful movie, full of tinglies and heart-bursting romanticism. If Billy Wilder had made a zombie movie, it’d be Warm Bodies.”
More on Warm Bodies:
Why the Ending of ‘Warm Bodies’ is More Zom Than Rom-Com
Have you ever wondered how the Academy chooses who gets into their In Memoriam montage? Michael Cieply of the New York Times talked to AMPAS COO Ric Robertson and laid out why certain Hollywood figures are included in the montage while others are excluded: “Those remembered on the show itself do not have to be Academy members, Mr. Robertson said. But institutional service can help. Frank Pierson, a screenwriter and former Academy president who died in July, for instance, appears to have a strong case for inclusion this year. Mostly, though, the winnowing process combines measured judgments about accomplishment — who has broken ground? won awards? impressed the public? — with a determination to spread the honors across various moviemaking crafts, and some gut calls about who ought to be remembered. Which has led to some maddeningly unpredictable honors and snubs.”
More Oscars coverage:
Oscar Nominee Picture Is Packed With Losers (Relatively Speaking)/a>
‘Best’ Versus ‘Most’ at the Oscars
“Original” Music at the Oscars: A Year of Artfully Blended Influences
Review: The 2013 Oscar Nominees for Best Live-Action Short Film
This is from just over a week ago, but it’s still worth a link. At Press Play, Vadim Rizov took a look at a new trend in trailers, the use of character voiceover rather than the traditional “voice of God” variety, noting that it might be a result of one such voice no longer being with us: “Don LaFontaine’s death prompted an industry that could no longer use his voice seriously to try to find new ways to make a heavy dramatic pitch. The pulled-from-the-movie voiceover promises urgency plucked from the drama itself, cutting out the hard-sell middleman. But all five fight giggle-inducing cliche by minting a new one: the overly somber protagonist, promising either the end of the world or its aversion. In time, this familiarity will breed its own new form of contempt.”
No Rob Hunter or Kate Erbland? This is an outrage! Well, maybe next time, but film fans and fellow critics have been debating Complex’s list of the best writers on film. I can’t complain at all about #1, Andre Bazin: “There’s arguably no book about movies that’s as mandatory as André Bazin’s What is Cinema? Still taught in film classes today, it’s the definitive explanation of what makes the medium’s proverbial heart beat, offering groundbreaking views on visual storytelling, with a special fondness for patience and duration. Bazin was a strong advocate of the long take, after all. He’s also responsible for co-founding the game-changing magazine Cahiers du Cinéma in 1951, through which Bazin and his colleagues introduced the auteur theory that has since helped to contextualize the classic films made by the likes of Fritz Lang, Howard Hawks, and Alfred Hitchcock.”
More on film criticism:
Is it ever appropriate for a filmmaker to fight back after a bad review?
Super Classy Film Critic Rex Reed Calls Melissa McCarthy “Female Hippo”
Never mind the debate about the strategy of putting all episodes of House of Cards on Netflix at once. The real discussion should be whether this is even technically television or some new offspring of movies and TV. Landon explained in this week’s Culture Warrior column: “look at House of Cards’s 2:1 aspect ratio. It ain’t cinemascope, but it’s significantly wider than most 16:9 programming, and would likely look strange on a traditional 4:3 television set. This is clearly a ratio not only made for a cinematic eye like Fincher’s (the framing of negative space is the first two episodes makes for some of the best cinematography I’ve seen on “television” thus far), but also for the computer screen. The ratio, which has rarely but significantly been used in film (see: Apocalypse Now Redux), has a strange in-betweenness to it, as if the frame is literally attempting to step out of the confines of a television set, but yet at the same time not become confused for cinema.”
More on House of Cards and (actual) television coverage:
Review: ‘House of Cards’ is ‘Game of Thrones’ in Modern Day DC
‘Community’ Sidesteps Darkest Timeline (For Now)
Girls: ‘It’s a Shame About Ray’ And All of This Week’s Terrible Dinner Parties
Justified: Raylan’s ‘Kin’ Might Get Sprung… and There Be Hill People!