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On the cutting room floor
Enough with the comic book movies! The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises ... I just don't care. On the flipside, can't wait for the new Star Trek movie. Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan? I'm so in. —LB
Cloud Atlas featured the year's most daring narrative stunt work, and was punished for it. You have to sit back and let that movie happen to you. —GM
While I respect people's opinions about movies, I don't get those folk who dug Silver Linings Playbook. It's a phony movie about crazy people in love. Plus, who the hell are these people who liked Ted? I like Seth MacFarlane, but that movie made me mad. —CDL
After getting early awards buzz, including the hosannas from the New York Film Critics Circle, national security experts are roasting Zero Dark Thirty for its depiction of torture. For me, all that's neither here nor there, for I found the film's focus on a fictionalized obsessive investigator to be a hindrance: Jessica Chastain is a competent actress, but she's a bit boring, with none of the sexy craziness that Claire Danes brings to a similar character in Homeland. —DF
- Photo by Deana Newcomb
- Shirley MacLaine in "Bernie"
I never even considered seeing Bernie, until someone whose opinion I really respected said it was his favorite movie of the year. So rent this one. —LB
Director Sarah Polley's Take This Waltz examines love and marriage with aching, fearless honesty and a gorgeous performance from Michelle Williams. —GM
The Raid: Redemption was, without question, the best action film of the year. —CDL
David Cronenberg's tedious, talky Cosmopolis warps time/space itself by making two hours feel like six. —GM
Any movie that starred Taylor Kitsch (John Carter, Battleship, Savages). I don't know if it's him or the scripts, but they all blew. —CDL
Oliver Stone's Savages left me hating my fellow humans. —DF
WITH GIANT FLATSCREENS AND EVERYTHING ON DEMAND, IS THERE A REASON TO GO TO MOVIE THEATERS ANYMORE?
I've become totally hooked on closed captioning. You can catch a lot of missed dialogue and off-screen cues. You also get song lyrics with title and artist identified. On the other hand, laughter is famously social and contagious, so good comedies still play better in a packed theater. —GM
I adore renting movies from Avid in Durham or, if Jason doesn't have it, Netflix. But, nothing replaces the cinema. I never cease to be amazed at how different it is to watch a film, even one I have seen many times, with an audience—it's always an enlightening experience. —LB
Mary Elizabeth Winstead was the reason Smashed got made, with good reason. Plus, those vintage photos of Rodriguez in Searching for Sugar Man: I want to look like him. —DF
Greta Gerwig instantly brightens every movie she's in with her high-wattage likability. She might be a good source of alternative energy, actually—the government should look into this. —GM
Helen Rogers and Liz Harvey in the Joe Swanberg-directed episode of V/H/S. Hey, they were topless in it—what the hell you want from me? —CDL
IS 3-D A PASSING FAD?
I hate 3-D. I wear bifocals (don't mock me, you all will sooner or later) and between them and the 3-D glasses, I am always juggling focal length. One third of the movie I'm adjusting, one third I can see, and the last third my eyes are exhausted. —LB
It's settling into the right places. Frankenweenie and Pirates! Band of Misfits! used 3-D in an artful way to maximize the strengths of stop-motion animation. In others, 3-D is totally superfluous. It didn't even register that The Avengers was in 3-D until I remembered I had the stupid glasses on when the lights came up. —GM
Jesus, I can't even tell which movies were in 3-D and which ones weren't anymore. However, Life of Pi did have some awe-inspiring 3-D sequences. —CDL
THE MOST MYSTIFYING, INEXPLICABLE MOVIE STAR THESE DAYS?
Somehow, directors have found a way to work with Kristen Stewart's dramatic range of sullen and sullener. I just do not understand her movie star appeal at all. There must be some sort of Faustian back story here. —GM
Now that Twilight is done, and midnight is on the way, Kristen Stewart's chariot is about to change into a—you know. —DF
Channing Tatum. —Everyone
- Photo courtesy of Yemen Distributions Limited
- "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen"
ROM-COMS ... A FUTURE?
I loathed The Vow. Dishwater dull and photo shop pretty Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum and the ridonkulous soulmate/ amnesia plot was beyond awful. But, Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen are a reminder that interesting actors and odd plots can still invigorate the formula. —LB
Silver Linings Playbook demonstrated that you can still mine art and anarchy from the old rom-com formula. —GM
Well, for one, stop casting Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler as the romantic leads in them and replace them with people we like (Paul Rudd, Kristen Wiig, anybody from Parks and Recreation). —CDL
HORROR MOVIE YOU WEREN'T ASHAMED OF ENJOYING
The Cabin in the Woods deconstructs the slasher film and celebrates its bloody pleasures at the same time—a hard trick to pull off. —GM
V/H/S—Gotta admire a movie that both appreciates the use of gratuitous female nudity and stresses how important it is for audiences to see young assholes die. —CDL