Sunday, January 1, 2012

Your New Year's Links

Apologies for letting these pile-up-- particularly since so many are holiday-related and year-end list stuff, which God knows we're all tired of. But be a dear a click them anyway.

Open Thread: Let’s Talk About the Ending of ‘Young Adult’

Young Adult, the dark comedy starring Charlize Theron that re-teams Juno director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody, went into wide release last weekend (after hitting a few screens the weekend before), and now that it's out, we're again in the odd position of wanting to talk explicitly about the film's ending — specifically about its closing scenes, which are (for our money) where Young Adult stops being a good movie and becomes a great one. Of course, not everyone sees movies within the first three days, so we'll wait to get into this further until after the jump — where you'll find some thoughts on the closing scenes from us, and from director Jason Reitman. So, y’know, duly noted, spoiler warnings, etc., etc.

Flavorpill’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2012

Hey, guess what: 2012 is like, four days away. Exciting, eh? Well, aside from that whole Mayan calendar/end of the world business. And that there's going to be a Presidential campaign all damned year, and the economy's still in the toilet, and Community is on a "hiatus"… On second thought, 2012 is already looking pretty terrible, and it hasn't even started yet.

No, wait! There will be new movies! Many, many new movies. And don't kid yourself: plenty of them are going to be terrible (I mean, there's a Battleship movie coming out, for God's sake). But some of them look awesome! So in the spirit of cautious optimism, join us after the jump for a look at ten 2012 releases that we're genuinely looking forward to.

Who Played It Better: 10 Literary Roles Filled by Multiple Actors

Now that the ever-so-eagerly anticipated David Fincher adaptation of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is out in theaters, fans of Stieg Larsson’s trilogy have had the chance to see how Fincher’s take stacks up — not just against the books, but against the previous Swedish film version, and more specifically in the representation of iconic heroine Lisbeth Salander. The role was played in the original films by Noomi Rapace (currently appearing in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows); for the American films, Rooney Mara takes over.

Who’s better in the role? It’s a tricky question — and one that comes up every time multiple actors take their turns playing a beloved literary character. The critics have weighed in on who plays Lisbeth better, but after the jump, we’ll take a look at ten previous cases of "different actor, same role."

10 Young Actors Who Should Be Our Next Action Stars

Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, the fourth installment of the venerable action franchise, is in theaters now (well, sort of; they did this tiered release where it went to IMAX screens last Friday, but everywhere else on Wednesday, so if you've got an IMAX screen in your city, you can go see it there, but if not, later, and… yeah). When it was in pre-production last year, much ink was spilled over the casting of Hurt Locker star Jeremy Renner in one of the supporting roles, with speculation running rampant that the young actor was being groomed to take over the series' leading role from producer/star Tom Cruise, who is, at 49, perhaps getting a touch long-in-the-tooth for all this running/fighting/climbing 100+ story building nonsense.

There does seem to be something of a dearth of young actors equipped to take over the action-hero mantle from folks like Cruise, Will Smith (43), Jackie Chan (57), and the stars of The Expendables. So we got to thinking about some of the twentysomething actors who we'd like to see take a shot at action stardom. Check out our picks after the jump, and add your own in the comments

The Year in Film: 2011′s Most Underrated Films and Performances

As the year winds to a close, you've seen plenty of "best of 2011" lists — and we've certainly contributed a few of our own to the mix. Wading through them can lead to a sense of fatigue; yes, we liked The Artist and Hugo and The Descendants and The Tree of Life just fine too, but it feels like we're reading praise for all the same movies and performances, everywhere we look. So, late in the "best of" season, we wanted to take a moment to spotlight a few films and actors who, we feel, are getting overlooked in the year-end shuffle. Our picks are after the jump; yours (we hope) will join in the comments.

The Year In Film: 2011′s Best Movie Moments

Contrary to what some of the more curmudgeonly folks you might be reading have said, 2011 was actually a very good year for film, in which countless filmmakers either ignored the industry's distrust of originality entirely, or found new and interesting ways to smuggle bits of revelation and surprise even into formulaic franchise pictures. You'll see a lot of "best of the year" lists floating around that run down many of the same easy picks for the year’s best films, but since each film is an accumulation of small parts — scenes, lines, pauses, etc. — we thought it would be fun to pick out some of the little, specific moments that stayed in our movie-going memories over the course of 2011. Ours are after the jump; we hope to see yours in the comments.

The Year in Film: 2011′s Best Movie Characters

Earlier in the month, we spotlighted some of our favorite performances of the year, and we're not quite sure exactly where the line falls between loving a performance and loving a character. But the people (and non-people) on this list were real and memorable not just because the actors involved played them so well (though they did). Here, the combination of masterful acting, great writing, and sensitive direction gave us a sense that these were real people on the screen. What's more, they were real people whom we wish we knew — even though, by the end of their films, in many ways we did know them. Our favorites are after the jump; add yours in the comments.

Holiday Moviegoing Suggestions for the Whole Family

Come Christmas afternoon, your local multiplex will be as overstuffed as you and your family — not with ham and spiked eggnog and festering resentment, but with holiday movies. Crowd-pleasing blockbusters, arty Oscar hopefuls, squeaky-clean kids’ fare, and rom-coms will all compete for your Christmas afternoon dollars, leading to the inevitable family arguments over what movie we’re all going to see, because damnit, it’s Christmas and we’re going to spend it together so can we all just compromise a little? It’s Christmas, for Chrissakes!

Poppycock, we say. Save the arguments and cut your losses; this holiday’s movie-going menu is so specialized that there’s no way you’re all going to agree on any one movie, and all of these films have been created with specific target audiences in mind. To that end, we offer these humble suggestions for Christmas Day movie-going, with a little something specific for everyone in the family.

10 Memorable Cinematic New Year’s Eves

Ah, New Year's Eve — that special night of the year where we put so pressure on ourselves to have a great time, have a great time, HAVE A GREAT TIME that we end up, inevitably, having a really lousy time. (Don't pretend like it's just me.) Part of our self-imposed pressure to enjoy ourselves on the last night of the year is, we contend, the fault of movies, which often present the evening as an occasion for joyous celebration, thoughtful reflection, and new beginnings (often with a new object of affection). But some films also recognize the nightmare of New Year's Eve, and dramatize that. We've assembled a few examples of each after the jump, and humbly present ten on-screen New Year's Eves that we find memorable — for reasons both good and bad. All will make fine New Year's Eve viewing — and are far better than New Year's Eve.

Our 10 Favorite Anti-Christmas Movies

With the holiday season in full swing, it's easy to get burned out — cable stations are running crappy movies like Jingle All the Way and The Santa Clause 24/7, saccharine holiday music is blasting out of every speaker, and you've still got like half your list to buy, and what the hell do I get these freaks? Calm down. Have an eggnog. Put some rum in it. And enjoy some of our favorite anti-Christmas movies — not films that hate the holiday, per se (though a couple of them do), but ones that cut through all that warmth and good feeling and get at the darkness underneath. Our contrarian Christmas viewing list is after the jump.

Trailer Park: Prequels, Sequels… and Salmon

Welcome to “Trailer Park,” our regular Friday feature where we collect the week’s new trailers all in one place and do a little “judging a book by its cover,” ranking them from worst to best and taking our best guess at what they may be hiding. This week’s seven trailers include several big-franchise sequels and (sort of) prequels (we think); check ‘em all out after the jump.

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