Return readers will remember that I used each October installment to recommend a horror film that I thought you may have missed for one reason or another. I’ll do something similar this week with a Christmas movie that I think is worth your time if you find yourself looking for a new seasonal favorite. Since seeing it in theaters in 2007, writer/director Preston A. Whitmore II‘s This Christmas has become annual holiday viewing at my house. Starring Idris Elba, Mekhi Phifer, Delroy Lindo, and Loretta Devine, the film hits every beat you can ask for in a Christmas movie: siblings returning home from separate parts of the country to celebrate the holiday together, finding romance with a person from your past, helping an estranged member of your family out of a life-threatening jam, pre-loathsome Chris Brown absolutely slaying a Christmas number at open mic night when no one in his family even knew he could sing, etc. If all of the above sounds like cookie cutter dramedy material that’s because it is. Still yet, This Christmas does it so well that you can’t help but feel great while watching it. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll try and reconcile the fact that you actually like Chris Brown in it and, hopefully, you’ll thank me for the recommendation.
Moving on to the reason we’re here, this week’s Top 5 highlights Sony cancelling the theatrical release of The Interview, interviews for and Matt’s review of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the Star Trek 3 director shortlist, the first trailer for Terrence Malick‘s Knight of Cups, and a look at 10 underrated films of 2014 that you may have missed. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.
1. Sony Cancels Theatrical Release of THE INTERVIEW
I can’t believe I’m typing this, but Seth Rogen and James Franco’s comedy The Interview became probably the most important American film of the year when Sony decided to cancel its theatrical release this week due to terrorist threats stemming from North Korea’s cyber attack on the studio. Even President Obama weighed in on Sony’s decision saying he believes they “made a mistake” in caving to terrorist demands and, in doing so, allowing a foreign dictator to impose censorship on the United States. With the terrorists now demanding that the film never be released even on home entertainment formats such as VOD and/or Blu-ray/DVD, the chances that The Interview ever sees the light of day are very much in doubt. Regardless of your stance on Sony’s decision to pull the film, it’s hard to argue that it sets a precedent that the American film industry can be bullied into censorship by a country that tells its citizens that their dictator had eleven holes-in-one during his first ever round of golf.
2. THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Interviews and Review
On almost any other week, our coverage of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies would have taken the top spot. This was no average week, though, and as such it’s relegated to runner-up. Check out Matt’s review of the film in which he calls it “at times…an outright embarrassment”. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there will be plenty of you who disagree with Matt and, for you, I recommend moving on and checking out Steve’s video interviews with Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, and Luke Evans; this supercut of his video interviews for the film; and Sheila’s exclusive text interview with composer Howard Shore.
3. STAR TREK 3 Director Shortlist
A few weeks ago word came that Roberto Orci was no longer directing Star Trek 3 for Paramount. At that time, it was believed that Edgar Wright was under consideration to step into the role which piqued my interest in a franchise that I’m typically lukewarm for. This week we learned that Paramount’s shortlist for the gig includes five names with Rise of the Planet of the Apes‘ Rupert Wyatt as the frontrunner and no Edgar Wright to be found. Regardless of who ends up landing the gig, I believe they will be a massive upgrade over Orci which should bring comfort to Trek fans everywhere.
4. First Trailer for Terrence Malick’s KNIGHT OF CUPS
The first trailer for writer/director Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups hit the interwebs this week and it’s an absolute trip. Shot in 2012 and featuring a star-studded cast, the Hollywood-set film looks frantic, chaotic, and beautiful all at once. In just over two minutes, this trailer put Knight of Cups among my most anticipated of 2015.
5. 10 Great Films of 2014 You May Have Missed
2014 has been a fantastic year for film. This, of course, is great news for moviegoers at least until we try to put together our respective “Best of…” lists at which point it becomes a real task choosing one excellent movie over the other. To help you sift through some of the greatness that has graced the silver screen this past year, Matt and Adam put together a list of ten movies that they loved but worry you may have missed due to their limited theatrical releases.