ENJOY THE SHOW
Joyeux Noel! Gledelig Jul! Froehliche Weihnachten! Mele Kalikimaka! From all of us at FirstShowing.net, we want to wish every one our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays! Whether you're with your family or with friends or whether it's snowing or sunny, we hope you have a wonderful week. For those that follow the tradition of seeing a movie on Christmas Day, we hope you enjoy your selection this year with a variety of interesting movies to choose from (we suggest Selma, Top Five, PTA's Inherent Vice above all). News and trailers always slow down during the holidays, but we'll be back at full speed for 2015.
"One dream can change the world." Happy Holidays folks! Continuing our annual tradition of providing new release Thanksgiving and Christmas Week Movie Guides every holiday season, our San Francisco-based contributor, Marco Cerritos, has once again put together another comprehensive guide for Christmas 2014, providing a recap and rundown of what's playing and what's worth seeing. Marco has seen almost everything out there, and while you may not always agree with him, he provides the best reviews he can to make it a bit easier for everyone to choose. There's an interesting selection of movies playing this holiday.
From stories about Roger Ebert, Aaron Swartz and Sebastião Salgado, to an inside look at Studio Ghibli and Edward Snowden's whistle-blowing, 2014 documentaries have been nothing short of extraordinary. I'm honestly still a bit new to documentaries, it took my years to get into them in a way where I could actually feel comfortable about delivering a Top 10 list. But in 2013 I fell in love with docs, there were so many I saw that blew me away, that showed me the power of documentary filmmaking and the potential it has to be as exhilarating and enlightening as any narrative feature. After catching many excellent docs at film festivals this year, I submitted my Top 10 picks to the outstanding doc site Nonfics, and I'm sharing them below.
One of this year's must see documentaries is Citizenfour, directed by Laura Poitras, an inside look at the story of whistblower Edward Snowden. Poitras was contacted by Snowden early on and was right there with him, filming the entire event, as he leaked the information from Hong Kong about the NSA's spying program that stunned the world in May of 2013. Poitras has made two other provocative docs previously, The Oath and Flag Wars, and she's back with another one that is a bit more intimate, but still as powerful. I raved about Citizenfour after catching its premiere at the New York Film Festival, and I met up with Laura for an interview in New York City. What follows is a fascinating discussion about the power of storytelling.
"Congratulations! We’ve made it through another spin around the sun." Indeed we have. Since we're at the end of the year, it's not uncommon to see endless tributes and retrospectives recapping the year. "Here's to 2014" is yet another, but it packs in more than just a few events. Made by the graphics company behind the 85 Best Picture Oscar Winners infographic we featured in February, called Beutler Ink, the graphic (seen below) includes references to nearly every major movie, pop culture moment, or news event, from Too Many Cooks to the death of Robin Williams, The Lego Movie, Interstellar and Ghostbusters, too. The only thing missing is some kind of reference to the Sony Hack, but The Interview guys may be in there. Take a look!
Beginning this week, we will be taking a look back at the year in cinema that was 2014, from our favorite posters to our favorite movies and more. We've already been featuring some retrospectives of all the movies that came out this year with videos like Sleepy Skunk's 2014 Movie Trailer Mash-Up and Nick Bosworth's Final Cut 2014 (and we have more of those coming soon, too). But today, we're ready to look forward to all the new movies coming up next year with a list of our 20 Most Anticipated Movies of 2015. There's a couple Marvel movies, a new Quentin Tarantino flick and of course the long-awaited return to a galaxy far, far away. Together we chose 20 movies that we just can't wait to see, with explanation for each. Look!
Highway to the danger zone… Gunna take it right in to the danger zone!! Now these are some must-have poster prints, if you're lucky enough to get your hands on one. Our friends at SlashFilm have posted photos of the new print for Tony Scott's 1986 action-drama classic Top Gun designed by Gabz being sold by Odd City Entertainment. The print is unique because it was printed on holographic "foil" paper, meaning it shimmers like it's metallic and can be flipped and both sides show the kick ass Top Gun artwork. So awesome. I'm a huge Top Gun fan, I mean, who isn't? Tom Cruise, fighter jets, Anthony Edwards, frickin' Tom Skerrit, it's the best. This art highlights the fighter jets above all and if you're a big fan, it's a must have.
This guy! What an inspiration. Thanks to a great profile in The Guardian, we have been introduced to and must share this story of Tommy Edison, a man from here in America known as the "Blind Film Critic". Edison got the most attention in 2011 and 2012, being profiled by Roger Ebert and earning news coverage from CNN and other TV media by publishing YouTube video reviews of films he "watched", or rather, he listened to. We're just catching up to him now, but watching his reviews (see them below), seeing that smile on his face, and hearing his enthusiasm for film even though he can't actually see the screen - is infectious.
Editor's Note About This Editorial: This is a must read discussion by longtime friend of the site Patrick Campbell (@pj_campbell). It's time to discuss an issue that has been getting worse and worse. Everything mentioned in this editorial is something that I've observed as well, but I've had trouble figuring out how to voice my concerns without sounding too meddlesome. It's hard to speak out about a community when you're a part of that community, but thankfully others have started expressing their honest feelings. What began as a couple of paragraphs on Facebook has turned into a full-fledged editorial. It needed to be said.
These are the documentaries everyone needs to see; you must see them, they are worth your time. These are not the only documentaries that matter, but of course, nor are they the only good documentaries this year, but if you're looking for a list of some documentaries to start watching - well, start here, with any of these. This week, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced (list via Deadline/Variety) the "shortlist" of documentaries that made the cut from 134 eligible submissions down to just 15. From Roger Ebert to Alejandro Jodorowsky, from Edward Snowden to Sebastião Salgado, the selection this year is fantastic, and I'm glad that all of my favorites made the cut. Many of these are already out on VOD + DVD.
3… 2… 1… And launch! We're excited to announce a brand new promotional website for Christopher Nolan's sci-fi spectacular Interstellar, which has been playing in theaters for one month. The site allows fans to explore the entirety of the spacecraft Endurance, including the Ranger shuttles which they use for landing. Built on WebGL, using the same 3D model from the Oculus Rift experience, you can explore an interactive interior of the Endurance. The ship was used by the exploration team, lead by Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, to travel to Saturn and ender the wormhole to visit another galaxy. While we've all seen inside the ship in the movie, this is the first place (aside from the game) to go this in-depth with Endurance.
Continuing our annual tradition of posting Thanksgiving and Christmas Movie Guides every holiday season, our San Francisco contributor, Marco Cerritos, has once again put together a holiday movie guide for Thanksgiving 2014, giving a recap and rundown of what's playing and what's worth seeing (or skipping). Marco has seen everything playing, and while you may not always agree with his opinion, he provides the best reviews he can to make it a bit easier for everyone to choose. There are quite a few wonderful films now playing in theaters, so if you're still a bit unsure of what to watch or need extra tips, then look no further!
Hollywood loves repeating itself. This week alone we're getting new trailers for brand new Star Wars and Jurassic Park movies, like it's the 90s all over again. But there is a new trend that is becoming increasingly frustrating - the two-part split finale of film-to-book series like Twilight, Harry Potter and now Hunger Games. With the first half of Mockingjay, the finale of The Hunger Games, now playing in theaters (my full review) the unsettling feeling of "why?!" has grown in me. This film once again proves that the quality of the work diminishes in exchange for a desire to make more money on a franchise that's temporarily popular. When will this fad end? Because it needs to stop. Don't Hollywood executives already own enough yachts?
"Are you paying attention?" Time to put your mind to use. One of my favorite films of the year is hitting theaters later this week – The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing who helps break the Enigma code during WWII. The Weinstein Company recently released yet another one-minute trailer/spot for the film (seen below), and hidden in it is an IP URL which links to a viral cryptography/code breaking website. It's actually a Google-made cryptography website with, likely, something cool at the end if you can get all the way in. Anyone want to give this a try? "You are in control of what is about to happen."