Available now on Blu-ray/DVD is director Adam Wingard‘s wildly entertaining film The Guest. I appreciated Wingard and writer Simon Barrett‘s slasher You’re Next for being a fresh entry in an often stale genre, but their work on The Guest surpasses it on almost every level. Featuring a fantastic lead turn from Dan Stevens and a carefully curated soundtrack that can perhaps best be described as goth electronica, the pic is an inventive, exciting ride throughout. At its simplest, Barrett’s script is a classic tale of “be careful who you let into your house”. Wingard’s stylish execution and deft blend of horror, sci-fi, action, and thriller elements, however, make the story feel familiar and unique all at once. In that way, The Guest is a film that proudly wears its influences on its sleeve while also refusing to be beholden to any one of them. The result is a strange, beautiful hybrid that fans of any of the genres I mention above will appreciate.
Recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 takes a look at the 2015 Oscar nominations, the new trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron, rumors that Sony and Marvel have agreed to share Spidey, interviews for and Matt’s review of Paddington, and coverage from Perri’s Project Almanac set visit. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.
1. 2015 Oscar Nominations Announced
A good part of the fun of Oscar season is the inevitable “Who got snubbed?” debate that follows once the nominations are announced. Regardless of how the nods fall, someone somewhere will argue in favor of films/actors that didn’t make the cut. Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Except for when The LEGO Movie and Jake Gyllenhaal don’t get recognized in their respective categories (Best Animated Feature and Best Actor). When that happens I get pissed as if I had some sort of personal stake in either and it’s no fun for me at all. Damn you, Academy! While I take a minute to cool down, get up to speed on the 87th Academy Awards by checking out the nominations here, Adam’s nod predictions here (for comparison sake), and his post-nomination analysis here.
2. New AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Trailer
ABC televised the college football championship game earlier this week and Disney did its best to reward those who have no interest in the sport for watching by releasing a new trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron during the game. The new promo again makes great use of Pinocchio’s “I’ve Got No Strings”, but darkens the tone even more over its predecessor while also further teasing what promises to be a memorable fight scene between Hulk and Iron Man. In short, the film looks pretty damn good and I’ll probably watch it once or seven times.
3. Sony and Marvel to Share Spider-Man?
Spidey fans who want to see their beloved wallcrawler become part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe may soon have their wish. Rumor has it that Marvel and Sony have reached an agreement that will allow the former to use Spider-Man in the MCU, with his first appearance to come in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War Part I. While I thought Andrew Garfield was solid in the role, I’ll gladly accept a recast if it will help me erase the memory of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 from my mind. Seriously, can someone help me forget about Jamie Foxx as Electro or the scene in which Gwen Stacy’s vast knowledge of the electrical grid means she knows how to push a giant red button that kills the power? Thanks in advance.
4. PADDINGTON Interviews and Review
I’m going to come right out and say that I know almost nothing about Paddington Bear. I’ve never read one of Michael Bond’s books and didn’t know a film adaptation was being released until maybe a few months ago. I mention this only because I’ve heard nothing but positive things about writer/director Paul King’s Paddington the past few weeks and it brings me great joy to know that good films can still sneak up on me. For more on the pic check out Matt’s review and Steve’s video interviews with Paul King, producer David Heyman, and Sally Hawkins. While you’re doing that, I’m going to continue trying to convince someone to go see it with me.
5. PROJECT ALMANAC Set Visit Coverage
If you told me that you quickly wrote off Paramount’s Project Almanac as just another found footage gimmick aimed at teens I probably wouldn’t blame you. I’d also tell you that I’m the type that usually falls for said gimmick and this trailer isn’t half bad so get off of my back! Sorry, I’m still a little tense about the whole Oscar snub thing…Whether you’re squarely in the demographic Paramount and MTV Films have in their sights or you’re similar to yours truly and easily coerced by found footage films, I recommend checking out Perri’s set visit coverage which includes over 20 things to know about the film and set interviews with writer Andrew Stark, director Dean Israelite, and producer Brad Fuller.