Lars and the Real Girl

Brie Larson in Short Term 12

Another month, another batch of recommendations for everyone out there who’s currently adrift in the sea that is the Netflix Watch Instantly menu without a good flick to float on. Click on the films’ titles in order to be taken to their Netflix page and to add them to your queue. Or—sorry—to your “My List.” Pick of the Month:  Short Term 12 (2013) Critics have been talking about Short Term 12 pretty incessantly ever since it started making the festival rounds last year. To the point where some of you who read about movies a lot may be getting sick of hearing about it. There’s a reason why the film keeps getting brought up, though, and that’s because it’s really that good. It’s also the kind of micro-budget movie that absolutely depends on word of mouth in order to get seen. This is the sort of small release that couldn’t even afford to launch an Oscar campaign that would have brought it to the attention of Academy voters, so it wasn’t able to earn buzz through the winning of little golden men, which it arguably deserved a handful of.  The movie, which is from a relatively new filmmaker named Destin Cretton, is set in the world of a residential treatment facility for troubled youth, which means that it’s full of characters whose lives can be mined for quite a bit of drama—and mine them Cretton does. This is one of the rare films that manages to dig way deep into themes […]

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SpaceCamp 2

It may not have cracked the top ten this weekend after finally entering wide release, and it probably will be left empty handed at the Golden Globes tonight, but Spike Jonze‘s Her is one of the best movies of last year (it was #4 on FSR’s aggregated top ten, #3 on resident critic Rob Hunter’s list, #2 on our best sci-fi list…) and if you haven’t seen it already, you must go out as soon as you can and fall in love with this movie about love. If you don’t already know from our coverage and praise, the futurist sci-fi film stars Joaquin Phoenix as a man recently separated from his wife who rebounds with his computer’s sentient operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. That plot has reminded me of other movies since I first heard about it, and I’ve continued to recall related recommendations before, during and after seeing it. It’s not necessarily derivative so much as the next step for cinema that deals with the idea of love as a concept, what it means to be in love and how much it’s in our heads as opposed to heart and how much is really a mutual experience. This week’s list of movies to watch mostly involve those same themes, though not all. As usual, some come from connections made by others. I’ve decided to leave out one particular movie, WarGames, as it’s not about love and I already highlighted it in relation to Her in the special year-end […]

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Craig Gillespie’s career as a director has been an interesting one so far. He made the Ryan Gosling-starring indie drama Lars and the Real Girl, which was gutsy, unique, and acclaimed enough that you would think it would have been his first shot fired in a quick and easy takeover of the indie film world. But that’s not the story at all. Lars and the Real Girl wasn’t Gillespie’s debut film that we’re all eagerly awaiting a followup to, it was his second film, and it’s sandwiched in between the mainstream and pretty mediocre fare Mr. Woodcock and Fright Night (you know, the remake). What’s with the strange disparity? And what direction can we expect Gillespie’s career to take in the future? A new report from Variety might give us something of an idea. Apparently the director is in talks to bring to the screen a Black List script (the yearly list of best unproduced screenplays) called Flamingo Thief. Penned by You, Me, and Dupree writer Michael LeSieur and adapted from a novel by Susan Trott, Flamingo Thief tells the story of a lawyer who becomes unhinged after being left by his wife, so he copes by stealing pink flamingo statues out of people’s yards. Despite the fact that his calendar is filled for the immediate future due to his commitments to Anchorman 2 and Three Mississippi, Will Ferrell is attached to star as said litigious thief.

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Over Under - Large

Today is Valentine’s Day, and a big part of what that entails is time spent thinking about the one you adore. And, for me, it means thinking about romantic movies. So what has happened is I’ve found myself reflecting a lot on my current mancrush Ryan Gosling, what films he’s done that explore the concepts of love and romance, and how I feel about each of them. And surprise, surprise, a column idea sprung forth. Today I’ll be looking at The Notebook, a film that a lot of people respond to very strongly, a film that most every girl you know loves, and a film that’s an instant panty dropper when thrown into casual conversations with hormonal coeds. Also, I’ll be looking at Lars and the Real Girl, a movie that’s well regarded among the people that have seen it, but that was too strange for many moviegoers to take a chance on, or for any mainstream award shows to champion. And also, it’s a movie that can mean instant death if you try to explain it to a girl in a bar.

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“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” was a strange idea for a book. Author Seth Grahame-Smith took a Jane Austen classic about social repression, marriage, estates, and all of that 19th century England stuff that Austen liked to write about, and he infused it with subtle elements of a zombie story. The military encampment outside of town is explained as being there to combat the zombies, character’s already existing actions are explained as being motivated due to zombie bite, etc… When he talked to FSR about the book, he said that it was about 85% original Austen text and 15% his own crazy additions. Needless to say, an idea so radical drew a lot of attention and Grahame-Smith’s book sold a lot of copies. In order to cash in on the craze, he went on to write “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter”, a similar book that tells the story of Lincoln’s life, but subtly inserts fights with blood sucking fiends at every turn. Both of Grahame-Smith’s books eventually got optioned to become feature films, but Pride and Prejudice and Zombies hit so many snags in pre-production that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has all but lapped it, getting a script and a director and a cast before any real motion could be made on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But it looks like that is about to change.

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DVDs I Bought This Week!

Brian Gibson loves to buy DVDs. Come with him on his weekly journey into the depths of credit card debt as he tells you what to buy, rent and avoid.

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Lars and the Real Girl on DVD April 15

We have rounded up a few copies of Lars and the Real Girl on DVD, which hits shelves on April 15th, and we’d like to pass them along to you.

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You would think that Best Original Screenplay would be an easy category to break down. But you would be wrong.

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The Writers Guild of America have announced their awards show as set for February 9th, and have released the nominees for best original screenplay, best adapted screenplay and best documentary screenplay.

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Comedy on the surface, sentimental character study at the core, Lars and the Real Girl is a very good film that at times has touches of greatness.

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lars1.jpg

Realness is easy to take for granted. One thinks it’s just common sense, but what really makes something “real.”

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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