‘Star Wars’ Overkill, Gun Control and the Christopher Nolan of Silent Cinema Star in the 10 Best…

By  · Published on April 20th, 2013

‘Star Wars’ Overkill, Gun Control and the Christopher Nolan of Silent Cinema Star in the 10 Best Movie Stories of the Week

It’s been a very crazy week in America. Not to make light of Monday’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon or any of the events since, but people have commented that following the developments has been like watching a very long movie. And others are already foreseeing the big screen version directed by Ben Affleck. But it’s not a movie, and thinking it’s like one is to be ignorant of just how horrible and dire much of it has been through last night. Our hearts remain with the victims and their families and all the people in the Greater Boston Area and salute the law enforcement and civilians who have helped in the investigation and manhunt.

While all that went on, we kept up with what we do best (because we don’t let the terrorists win), which is delivering you essential movie news commentary and original features. We shared new trailers for Man of Steel, Catching Fire and The Lone Ranger, among others, and reviewed the major new releases. Below you’ll find the recap of the best, including some favorite posts from friends at other sites.

Start your weekend right after the jump.

Tribeca Starts With an A-Game

The 2013 Tribeca Film Festival began this week, and of course we’re continuing to bring you coverage via reviews and other goodies. Already, though, we’ve given high marks to a number of films, including the A-graded basketball documentary from the Safdie brothers, Lenny Cooke. Earlier we previewed our 12 most anticipated films, including the latest directorial effort from Avengers star Clark Gregg, titled Trust Me. Kate highlighted this one: “You’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger fan of Clark Gregg‘s Choke than this girl, which is why I simply cannot wait to check out the multi-hyphenate’s follow-up to his wickedly funny directorial debut. This time around, Gregg takes center stage (don’t worry, Choke star Sam Rockwell does have a part in this one, too) as a fumbling child star agent in Hollywood. Too bad he doesn’t have any actual stars to bank on – until a kid with actual chops comes into his life and, suddenly, LA’s biggest loser needs to actually make good for someone other than himself.”

More on film festivals: Cannes 2013 Lineup Will Make You Want to Buy Tickets to France

Star Wars Overkill

Are we excited about the news that we’ll be getting a new Star Wars movie every year starting in 2015, or do we think it’s going to make us sick of the franchise? Well, we couldn’t help thinking of the following scene from Brewster’s Millions. Are we being punished for obsessing so much over this franchise or something?

MPAA Sort Of Announces New Movie Ratings System

Don’t get too excited about this news, as the MPAA hasn’t restructured its G/PG/PG-13/R/NC-17 grades yet. Instead they’re just more heavily pushing the info on specific reasons for a movie receiving its rating, a la “mild peril” and “quirky situations,” and calling the initiative “Check the Box.” Scott responded to the announcement with questions: “The new campaign comes with PSAs, and it seems reasonable that offering more information is always better than the alternative, but it also feels a bit like thin gruel. The MPAA has been increasingly showcasing the rating reasons (often with incredibly creative phrasing) for years now. Is doubling down on that really going to make much of a difference? Or did they simply have to show up to school with something to appease those calling for more content regulation?”

Charlie Chaplin Was the Christopher Nolan of His Day

In honor of Charlie Chaplin’s birthday happening this week, Scott relayed some filmmaking tips from the silent comedian. And it turns out he had a lot in common with Christopher Nolan and others refusing digital and 3D as the next steps in cinema. One of the six tips we learned: “By 1931, sound had already gained so much popularity in films that it made silent pictures outdated. They were instant antiques. Chaplin didn’t care. He put out City Lights, a silent film that became his most celebrated work as the Tramp and earned three times its budget. With the onslaught of a popular new technology, Chaplin chose to go against the tide, and it paid off. He would have dropped a mic, but he didn’t have to use one.”

Are Micro Movies the Future of Cinema?

Speaking of the evolution of motion pictures, it seems now that people are more interested in Vine and GIFs than feature films. We’re huge fans of short subjects here at FSR, but we’re not sure this is a positive step. At “Scientific American,” David Pogue ponders the trend towards these micro-movie formats, theorizing that it’s really something else: “True, these clips look limited when compared with the video images we see in theaters, on TV or even on YouTube – but maybe these aren’t so much stripped-down movies as they are live-action photographs. A photograph is intended to capture a single moment, to present it for thoughtful examination. In the end, that’s what a one- or six-second looping video does so well – it’s just that it expands the scope of the still image, explodes it to an almost infinite variety of new possibilities, moments and stories. Maybe the micro video is best considered an improvement on a still picture, not a downgrade from video.”
More on this topic:
Are Animated Gifs a Type of Cinema? (Press Play)

Punny Businesses Named After Movies

Puns are one of the greatest things in life. If you don’t agree, you might need to lighten up a bit. You can start by enjoying a list of 20 Pun-Tastic Movie & TV Themed Business Names at World Wide Interweb. They include the Grillenium Falcon food truck we’ve spotlighted in the past, as well as these gems: “Indiana Bones Temple of Groom,” “Thai Tanic,” “Florist Gump,” “Facial Attraction” and “Pulp Kitchen.” And then there’s the best, mostly for its tagline: “A-Team Drain Cleaning: ‘I Pity the Stool.’” Brilliant.

We’re Makin’ Weird Science Again

Bits and pieces, bits and pieces, bits and pieces… Who knows how many bits and pieces of the John Hughes orignal will make their way into the Weird Science remake that was announced this week? Rob commented on the news favorably: “I fully support an R-rated reboot of the film because I always felt the original lacked realism in the sex department. I don’t care how geeky you are… if a teenage boy creates a hot woman like LeBrock (circa 1985) he’s going to have some naughty fun with her”…”It’s a pretty crazy movie leaving room for lots of zaniness and change-ups in a remake, but I have to insist they keep one thing from the original. Bill Paxton’s Chet needs to return.”

Action Heroes Have Lame Jobs

As we enter another summer, we’re ready to be inspired by action heroes, and nobody will feel more empowered than the waitresses, box store workers and others with mundane jobs. David listed ten famous badass characters with such modest careers, including those in The Terminator, The Matrix and the Indiana Jones franchise. To prove how lame Ripley’s gig as “consultant” in Aliens was, he hypothesised what could have happened: “Imagine if she went down there and everyone was dead and there were no more aliens left and they never found aliens ever again. She’s just be down there pointing at shit going, ‘Yep, this is what it was like last time for sure.’ Then they’d fly back up and unload everything and everyone would just like, go in those tanks and go to Earth or something. She’d probably make friends with Burke and they’d start a youth gardening center or an online homemade notebook store or something – talking about that time she consulted about those aliens they never found. Then she’d die 50 years later. When you think about it, seeing chests explode was pretty much the best thing to ever happen to Ripley.”

Honest Depictions of Gun Violence

Also in the news this week was gun control legislation, which was killed by the U.S. Senate. Tied to the current events, Film.com’s Calum Marsh listed 10 Movies That Honestly Depict the Horror of Gun Violence, including Taxi Driver, Full Metal Jacket and A History of Violence. Here he notes the inconsistency of the Coen brothers when it comes to guns: “The Coen brothers probably aren’t the first names that come to mind when one thinks of filmmakers averse to glamorizing violence – “Miller’s Crossing” is nothing if not in love with the look and feel of its tommy guns, and “No Country For Old Men” practically invented a new weapon – but their startling debut, the darkly comic noir “Blood Simple”, treats its guns as instigators of a sick cosmic joke, one which sees murders committed strictly in the name of misunderstanding. Guns go off, lives change, and nobody can walk away clean from the consequences.”

All Sci-Fi Movies Out This Summer Are the Same

Looking forward to all this summer’s sci-fi blockbusters? You might be fine just seeing Oblivion this weekend. According to J.F., it’s kicking of a season of sameness for sci-fi, including Star Trek Into Darkness/em>, Iron Man 3, em>Ender’s Game, Pacific Rim, Elysium, After Earth, This Is the End and The World’s End. One of the four commonalities is that the hero doesn’t know what’s going on: “Most of the Oblivion trailer is Tom Cruise screaming “Tell me what’s going on!” at people. If you’ve read Ender’s Game, then you know exactly how the upcoming film fits into this category, and Edgar Wright’s The World’s End (the third in his “Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy” following Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) is a comedy lampooning this very idea.”

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.