The Trip

2014review_old

Like every December, FSR is devoting numerous posts to the very best and worst (but mostly best) that 2014 had to offer at the movies. But as movie fans, we don’t only see movies that were released in the year we see them – we might dig into classics and curiosities via online streaming, repertory showings, or simple chance encounters. Year-end lists may summarize the breadth of movies released in theaters throughout the calendar year, but they don’t necessarily reflect the yearly consumption of a dedicated movie fan. To many movie lovers, going to a movie theater can be surprisingly rare, and watching movies follows less of a calendar schedule and works a bit more like time travel: one day you’re in 2014, and the next you’re in 1940s war-torn Rome, followed by a brief stint in the 1970s Australian outback, and then back to the present again. For some of you, 2014 may have had little to do with your movie experience in 2014. So I’ve again concocted an alternative year-end list: the 14 most memorable movies I saw in 2014 that weren’t actually released this year. Not necessarily the best, but the movies that most surprised me – the movies that reminded me that no matter how many you’ve seen, there’s still another worthwhile surprise out there, and even an older film that speaks profoundly to our present. But rather than simply navel-gaze at my own movie habits and tastes, I want to hear from you: what are […]

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Touchstone Pictures

Have you seen the video of Benedict Cumberbatch doing impressions of 11 celebrities in under 60 seconds? Of course you have. As our pal Alexander Huls pointed out on Twitter, “What do we love more than celebrities? Celebrities imitating OTHER celebrities!” It is a strange phenomenon, and maybe we have Jimmy Fallon and his talk show to blame. Ellen DeGeneres is guilty, too. And much of it has to do with Saturday Night Live lately, I bet. But really it’s just always been a thing for comedians to do, and then some of those comedians become celebrities themselves (many of them are the butt of other people’s impressions). What’s not quite as common as the talk show appearances, and therefore more interesting, are the celebrity impressions that wind up in movies. They too are performed by celebrities, but in the context of the movies it’s the characters they’re playing that are technically doing the impressions. That means they’re not always very good. Some of the following favorite scenes involve great impersonations and some are downright terrible, yet even the latter are awesome in their hilariously intentional awfulness. For Cumberbatch, his next step is to do something like this. Preferably doing his Alan Rickman as Dr. Strange. 

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They were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off, but if you’ve seen The Trip, then you know how hilarious Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon can be simply hanging out together. Fortunately, we’ve got our hands on an exclusive deleted scene from the movie that’s short, sweet, and educational. If you’ve ever wondered the right way to enjoy a fine glass of wine, Coogan and Brydon are just the teachers for you. Even though they don’t look nearly drunk enough:

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This Week in DVD

Comedy is probably the most subjective genre of all, and what makes one person shoot milk from their nose in laughter may make another person yawn. To that end I’m happy to point out that two of the year’s funniest movies are hitting DVD today. They’re both perfectly cast and filled with plenty of laugh out loud moments, and that’s a guarantee. Whether or not you respond appropriately to them is your business… but I recommend soy milk as the nasal spurting liquid of choice. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Erik the Viking (UK) Erik (Tim Robbins) is a really nice guy, but he’s a pretty shitty viking. Weary of looting and pillaging, and having never really discovered a taste for rape, Erik convinces his fellow vikings to head to sea in search of the legendary Rainbow Bridge. In addition to featuring the funniest “rape” scene ever filmed, Terry Jones’ mash-up of ridiculous comedy and adventure is a lot of fun. It sits comfortably somewhere between Jabberwocky and Time Bandits, and fans of the Monty Python boys should give it a chance if they haven’t yet. Arrow Video’s new (re)release includes both the original theatrical cut and a much faster moving director’s son’s cut plus tons of extras. **NOTE – This is a region2 DVD which requires either a region-free player or the willingness to watch on your PC.**

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Criterion Files

As I argued in my introduction to our coverage of the BBS box set, this major Criterion release both celebrates New Hollywood and complicates the master narrative informing the way in which the era is typically remembered. Alongside classics of the era like Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces and The Last Picture Show, the set also includes films that were received badly or misunderstood in their time like Head and The King of Marvin Gardens which can now be reassessed with the benefit of hindsight. But perhaps the most interesting juxtaposition to the canonized works of New Hollywood here is the presence of the absolutely obscure, the completely forgotten, the movies that up until now were lost in time and memory. This set marks the first time Jack Nicholson’s Drive, He Said (1970) and Henry Jaglom’s A Safe Place (1971) have been released in any home video format. These films are, in a sense, correlated with New Hollywood because of their themes, narratives, characters, and their temporal and economic contexts, but unlike the three heavy-hitters in this set, watching them now is, by comparison, to see a film with a forty-year-old blank slate – a unique and rare experience when one contrasts watching these films to, say, Easy Rider, a movie inseparable from an ongoing and reiterated forty-year-long conversation about what it meant then and means today. Separately, these are interesting films on their own, but together, Drive, He Said and A Safe Place point to the fact that there’s […]

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The Trip was a Michael Winterbottom-directed independent comedy that recently opened in the US to pretty decent critical buzz. It featured comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as less than happy bedfellows traveling the countryside of northern England and eating at fancy restaurants. The story was that they were writing reviews for a magazine, but really the plot was just an excuse to get Coogan and Brydon together to riff on comedy bits, duel with Michael Caine impressions, and get on each other’s nerves. The results were rather humorous, and it’s looking like there is going to be a sequel. Or, at least, there will be a sequel to the BBC series. You see, The Trip actually started as a six part series on BBC2. In a kind of strange move, the six episodes were edited down to one feature length release for US theaters. In a Q&A at this week’s Latitude Festival, producer Andrew Eaton revealed that Winterbottom was going to send Coogan and Brydon on another trip, this time to Italy. This guarantees that the original fans of the series in the UK will be getting more odd couple action from the duo, and points to the fact that we might be getting another movie here in the US as well. If the content is there, and all you have to do is pay someone to make an alternate edit, why not give it another go in the US? Or maybe they’ll strike a deal to get the […]

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The Reject Report

Imagine Brad Pitt standing on a desolate road holding a gun on director J.J. Abrams. Sitting in front of Abrams is the mystery box, that figurative enclosure in which Abrams stores the secrets of his latest project. Brad Pitt screams a phrase we haven’t heard him scream since 1995, and as Abrams reaches into the box to reveal what’s inside (hint: it’s not Gwyneth Paltrow’s head), a shot rings out. Abrams drops dead, but it isn’t Pitt’s gun that fired. It’s Judy Moody who is standing behind Pitt and who, as of now, is NOT having a bummer summer. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s a lame story with a stupid ending. You try writing these intros out every week. Let’s get to the number, okay?

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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