January 18, 2014


Every so often a film comes along that plays pitch perfect to your sensibilities and hits you with such pinpoint accuracy that it reaffirms your love of the medium. That’s what Spike Jonze‘s Her did for me last weekend. It’s the type of movie I wish I had the talent to make and, at the same time, one that I’m thankful anyone had the talent and passion to make. It’s a film that says so much about our desire to connect, to love and to feel loved, that evaluating it piece by piece (acting, editing, sound, cinematography, mise-en-scène, etc.) almost cheapens its value as a whole. Above all, though, it refuses to be just one thing and therein lies its greatest achievement. It’s comedy soaked in melancholy, drama with hints of playfulness, quirk wrapped in genuine romance, and heartbreaking sincerity set within the most plastic of relationships. Her is an instant classic.

In case my subtlety has left you uncertain about my feelings on Her, feel free to e-mail me at and I’ll try to be more on the nose about how damn great it is. In the meantime, this week’s Top 5 features the newly announced 2014 Oscar nominations, Marvel casting news/rumors regarding Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit interviews with Chris Pine and more, the trailer for the seemingly interesting doc DOOMED! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s “The Fantastic Four”, and all of our Sundance 2014 coverage to date. Click on to find a brief recap and link to each of the above.

1. 2014 Oscar Nominations Announced


The nominees for the 86th Annual Academy Awards were announced this past Thursday morning, setting the stage for the March 2nd ceremony on ABC. While there weren’t a ton of surprises, or “snubs” as sometimes referred, the one that sticks out to me is the lack of a Best Picture nod for The Coen Bros. Inside Llewyn Davis. Proving that I know nothing of which I’m speaking, our resident Oscar scientist Adam Chitwood aptly left Davis out of the Best Picture category in his nominee predictions. You win, Adam. You always do.

2. Michael Douglas Joins ANT-MAN; Johnny Depp for DOCTOR STRANGE?


This was a big week for Marvel casting news/rumors during which we learned that Michael Douglas will play Hank Pym in Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, the excellent Michael Pena is in talks to join the pic and, in perhaps the biggest checkmate move of all should it come to fruition, that Johnny Depp is being considered for the lead role in Doctor Strange. While it can be fun to imagine Depp as Strange, at this time the report should be taken only as a sign of the type of talent Marvel is wanting for the turn, not as a done deal.

3. JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT Interviews with Chris Pine and More


In recognition of the pic hitting theaters this weekend, we’ve peppered the site with Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit interviews over the past week. If you prefer video interviews then here’s a couple with Chris Pine and director Kenneth Branagh. If text interviews are more your thing then here’s Kenneth Branagh in an exclusive phone interview with Steve and Pine, Branagh, Kevin Costner, and producers Mace Neufeld & Lorenzo di Bonaventura at a recent press conference for the film. Last but certainly not least, if your parents are wondering what currently playing movies the AARP thinks they should watch, they’ll be happy you told them that Jack Ryan has earned the first-ever “Movies for Grownups” seal from the organization. I think the tag “Movies for Grownups” is probably a jab at many of the films we cover on this site, but I’m not sure my 27-year-old, comic book enjoying brain has fully developed enough to make that call.

4. Trailer for Documentary About Roger Corman’s “THE FANTASTIC FOUR”


Director Michael Stephenson’s Best Worst Movie (2009) traversed the legacy of 1990’s Troll 2 and gave us first-hand accounts of the film from those directly involved with its production. The result is one of my all-time favorite documentaries. While it’s too early to tell whether or not it will hit with the same force, the trailer for writer/director Marty Langford’s DOOMED! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s “The Fantastic Four” looks to play along the same lines, shedding light on the production of a movie that many know exist but no one outside of those directly involved with the production has ever legally viewed. Sign me up.

5. Sundance 2014


As of this Thursday, the 2014 Sundance Film Festival is in full effect. This means that, for the foreseeable future, my esteemed colleagues will be bringing you reviews and interviews from the festival on a regular basis. Moreover, I’m going to be here (not at the festival) reminding you, the reader, of all the great content they’re churning out. Click here for everything we’ve covered to date and be prepared for a ton more in the coming days.