Movies introducing slang prefixes are all the rage right now, with Pitch Perfect prompting us to put “a-ca-” ahead of numerous words and now Argo giving us a funny reason to put “ar-” before “go” whenever we use the latter (especially when we use it with profanity, as in the movie). So, let me now employ the pun to invite you to “argo” back through the week with us to revisit the best stories and features from the past seven days.
Before the main roundup, let’s highlight the regular content that you can find links for around the main page. This week we posted and re-published a bunch of reviews of new releases (Argo; Seven Psychopaths; Sinister; Smashed; Middle of Nowhere) as well as interviews with Argo star/director Ben Affleck and actor-turned-director Matthew Lillard. There weren’t a whole lot of trailers showcased this week, but you should argo watch the new spots for Hitchcock, Room 237, Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained and join the discussions of each.
And finally, regarding our love of shorts here at FSR, in addition to the regular, daily highlights, we watched Pixar‘s new clubbin’ continuation of Toy Story, Partysaurus Rex, and took a look at the shortlist of eight documentary shorts vying for an Oscar nomination. Daniel has also reviewed shorts programs at the New York Film Festival, as well, but there’s a link to all that event’s coverage below.
Check out our ten best features from the past week plus some other recommended reading after the break.
Photo by Godlis, courtesy of Film Society of Lincoln Center
We continued to post a lot of stellar criticism out of the New York Film Festival via Daniel and Caitlin, with very positive reviews going to the latest works by Michael Haneke (Amour) and Abbas Kiarostami (Like Someone in Love) and marks of disappointment in response to the debut of The Sopranos creator David Chase (Not Fade Away) and Alain Resnais (You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet). Daniel caught the “secret” premiere of Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln, too, calling it “a work of icon-building, a biopic that concerns itself primarily with the grandeur and integrity of its lead” while praising the performances.
Most fun of all, we shared some moments, mostly memories told, from the Princess Bride 25th anniversary screening and cast reunion.
For other NYFF coverage, past and continuing, bookmark the page for our “New York Film Festival” tag.
Landon’s latest Culture Warrior column took the film industry to task in honor of National Coming Out Day. One of his points: “it’d be great to see Zachary Quinto kiss Neil Patrick Harris at the end of Garry Marshall’s next movie, and mainstream cinema needs to stop keeping all the great gay and lesbian roles from gay and lesbian actors, but doesn’t the fact that Hollywood has yet to pair up some same-sex movie stars signal a significant oversight in terms of possibilities? It’s time to shake things up.”
With Prometheus now on video, Alexander brought another reading of the Alien prequel, which perplexed and frustrated viewers in its theatrical release. Were these disappointed moviegoers watching the movie incorrectly, and is that the film’s trick/message? “Elizabeth Shaw is the sole survivor of Prometheus narrative because she earns it by being everything Charlie Holloway isn’t. She is the film’s ideal for a true willing fan. She is constantly exploring and working for answers – not passively expectant. She actively engages in the mysteriousness around her.”
Additional recommended reading: While Prometheus made the “rent” section of Rob’s This Week in Discs column, there were a bunch of new home video releases he highlighted to buy, including the E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial Anniversary Edition, The Great Mouse Detective, The Wild Geese, Dial M for Murder on 3D Blu-ray, Little Shop of Horrors – The Director’s Cut and the pick of the week, Bedeviled.
The movie also made it on David Christopher Bell’s list of “8 Gruesome Movies That Caused Audiences to Get Sick,” which also included 127 Hours, Antichrist and the new film V/H/S, the last of which has a section making people passing out, as Cole reported earlier in the week.
Kate shared a video of the show Mythbusters, who set out to prove that Leonardo DiCaprio‘s character, Jack, didn’t have to die at the end of Titanic by recreating the tragic last scene between him and an apparently selfish Rose (Kate Winslet). “Jeez, Rose, you could have tried just a bit harder. It was possible to save the supposed love of your life,” she says. But James Cameron sided with story over physics, and commenter Debi provided a great counter-argument to the Mythbusters “proof” by reminding us of something we ought to term “wealth weight.”
In this week’s Countdown to Skyfall, Kevin listed “The 10 Ingredients of a James Bond Movie,” which kinda makes us wonder how the series has lasted so long with such predictable repetition — or is it that people like comfortable consistency? He did address that before getting into the girls, gadgets, quips and villains: “there are plenty of Bond films that have deviated from the full recipe. Some elements have been left out of films intentionally to reset the Bond actor (I’m looking at you, Live and Let Die). Other times they have been downplayed for a fresh view of the series (such as 2006’s Casino Royale reboot). And sadly, there have been moments when the missing elements were left out completely or flubbed (like the sometimes awkward Quantum of Solace).”
Additional recommended reading: Cole posted about science folk hero Neil deGrasse Tyson debunking some of Bond’s famous gadgets and Rob took an intensely in-depth look at the first 19 years worth of goods in the Bond 50 Blu-ray box set, rating the films and their discs (stay tuned for part 2!).
Thanks to the undeserved success of the awful Taken 2, there will be a third installment. And this Taken 3 will go in a new direction, according to screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen. So, Brian came up with a list of five things that could be taken in the second sequel. One idea is the abduction of the lead’s video game collection: “Liam Neeson spends the entirety of Taken 3 dressed like a character from Tekken 3; perhaps we learn that his character’s name all along was Bryan “Fury” Mills. Makes sense, right?”
In other major movie news, Blue Sky Studios announced it’s making the next Peanuts feature film. While many are skeptic about the production, Nathan responded with positivity: “Seeing as how Charles Schulz passed in 2000, you might be wondering who would be willing to step into his legendary shoes and make a new Peanuts feature. As it turns out, Schulz’s son, Craig Schulz, his grandson, Bryan Schulz, and a writer named Cornelius Uliano have all collaborated on the script, and Ice Age: Continental Drift director Steve Martino is set to helm. Sounds like as qualified a team to carry on a legacy as any.”
For his latest column, Nathan spouted some fighting words by calling Dog Day Afternoon “overrated” while offering a defense for the “underpraised” Airheads. On the former: “What little tension the hostage situation is able to maintain gets derailed in the second act when Dog Day Afternoon goes off on tangents as well. This is a long movie that can’t decide whether it’s a crime caper or a character piece about Pacino’s Sonny … it also just gets pretty dang boring.”
As for Airheads, he says: “The story builds, the situation gets increasingly more out of control, and the jokes keeps coming … Let us not forget the simple joys of thinking about swimming pools and stabbing people’s heads off with your dick.”
Another classic called boring in the same week? This time it’s part of Landon and Cole’s discussions of the greatest films of all time, with Dziga Vertov‘s Man with a Movie Camera the latest put through the ringer. Landon says: “The historical argument is a relevant one here. Of course Man with the Movie Camera can’t be experienced the way it was, or intended to be, in 1929. But I think the movie is more important because cinema was hardly realized in any shape or form according to Vertov’s vision … Man with the Movie Camera is certainly not “timeless,” but it is important. Many movies on this list are, to varying degrees, timeless and not.” Also, sounds like listening to Skrillex while watching is a good way to not find the film boring.
Finally, here’s a reminder, not that you should require it, that we’ve been doing our annual 31 Days of Horror series with a look at a different scary or horrific movie each day. On top of this, though, there’s Brian’s latest Junkfood Cinema column, which ingeniously looks at all the horror flicks that can be viewed as dark sequels to family films. Best examples are The Love Bug growing up to become The Car and Short Circuit growing up to be Chopping Mall. Ghost Dad, however, has always been a horror — as in, “oh, the horror that Sidney Poitier made this crap.”
Additional recommended reading: I brought my annual list of “10 Halloween Costume Ideas Based on Recent Movies” with suggestions involving The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and This is Not a Film. Also relevant, in the new episode of the Reject Radio podcast , we heard from Sinister screenwriter C. Robert Cargill on his favorite scary movie.