Weird Crush Wednesday: Michelle Rodriguez leaves a mark as Letty in 'Furious 7'
Credit: Universal Pictures

Weird Crush Wednesday: Michelle Rodriguez leaves a mark as Letty in 'Furious 7'

It's safe to say terror plays a part in the attraction

Our weekly column in which writers share their off-beat, wacky and unexpected current obsessions.

Michelle Rodriguez is a major puzzle piece in the "Fast and Furious" franchise, and when her character "died," it caused some major reactions in the films. When it was revealed that she wasn't dead, it set up an entire movie that essentially served as the "Search For Spock" of this series.

In "Furious 7," Letty is still struggling because she can't remember her life with Dom (Vin Diesel), and she can't handle how intensely he loves her because she doesn't remember any of what went on between them. It's given both Rodriguez and Diesel plenty to do in the last two films.

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Behold! James Bond is back with a completely forgettable 'SPECTRE' poster

I don't get it.

There was actually a teaser all day yesterday about today's release of the first poster for "SPECTRE," the upcoming James Bond film. I'm tired of trailers for trailers or posters for posters, this idea that the studios want twice as much time in the news cycle for releasing one tiny piece of marketing. I am not going to write a story about a four-second clip advertising a thirty-second clip. That's asinine.

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Review: 'Get Hard' goes limp and relies on hate for its humor
Credit: Warner Bros.

Review: 'Get Hard' goes limp and relies on hate for its humor

HitFix
D
Readers
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Someone just plain got this movie wrong

AUSTIN - It will come as no surprise to anyone who reads me on a regular basis that I am a Will Ferrell fan.

Even before he made the jump to leading man in the world of features, I was already fully onboard. There's just something about the particular brand of lunacy that so many of his characters embody that entertains me completely. There are few things I enjoy more than seeing what happens when Ferrell and Adam McKay are turned loose on something together, two halves of one mutant brain, the combination of the two resulting in something remarkable.

Etan Cohen, you are no Adam McKay.

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Review: Amy Schumer is only pretending to be a 'Trainwreck' for Judd Apatow
Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: Amy Schumer is only pretending to be a 'Trainwreck' for Judd Apatow

HitFix
A
Readers
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The comic's blistering sensibility makes it to the bigscreen intact

AUSTIN - While it was introduced as a work in progress, Judd Apatow's new film "Trainwreck" looked pretty much locked and ready to release when it played on Sunday afternoon at the Paramount.

Since "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" was released, Judd Apatow's filmography has been made up exclusively of films he wrote, many of which felt very personal. "This Is 40" felt to me like a summation of a lot of those ideas and themes, and I'm glad he took some time to decide how to follow that film. "Trainwreck" was written by Amy Schumer, and her voice runs clearly through every part of this movie. What Judd's done here, and it's not as easy as it sounds, is turned his own considerable success into a shield he could use to protect Schumer and guarantee that her voice reached the screen intact. As a result, "Trainwreck" is lacerating, smart, heartfelt, and raw, and for a big studio comedy, it makes some very strong points about the small ways we punish ourselves and sabotage our own happiness.

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Review: 'Furious 7' takes over for unforgettable night at the SXSW Film Festival
Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: 'Furious 7' takes over for unforgettable night at the SXSW Film Festival

HitFix
A-
Readers
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Big stunts, bigger biceps, and at least one world-class badass catfight

AUSTIN - One of the things that impresses me most about the team that throws the SXSW Film Festival in Austin every year is how adaptable they are. I've seen them roll with all sorts of things, and they seem to me to be open to all sorts of ideas in terms of programming. There was nothing originally scheduled for the Sunday night midnight slot at the Paramount, but when I woke up on Sunday morning, the festival had announced a very special treat for anyone who had a badge for the festival, and anticipation was running high because of which title it was.

This coming weekend, I'll be attending the junket for "Furious 7," so I was already scheduled to see the film. But seeing it tonight at the Paramount Theater, completely packed with lunatic movie fans who were all crazy excited to be there was better than any junket screening possibly could be. It was emotional, it was exciting, and it was genuinely moving at times. Before the screening began, producer Neal Moritz asked the assembled audience to protect one piece of information from the film, the ultimate fate of Paul Walker's character. When Walker died last year, it was devastating to this entire cast and crew, and they had to take a step back to figure out if they could finish it and how. What I find most impressive about how they finished it is that the seams don't show, at least not at first glance. This feels like the film they set out to make, and it is as satisfying as any entry in the series.

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Exclusive: Max Burkholder needs a 'Babysitter' in first clip from SXSW title
Credit: SXSW

Exclusive: Max Burkholder needs a 'Babysitter' in first clip from SXSW title

Young 'Parenthood' star features heavily in what sounds like an emotional ride

If you were a fan of the series "Parenthood," then you are already well familiar with the work of Max Burkholder. On the show, he played the autistic son of Peter Krause and Monica Potter, and over the course of the show's run, the journey they wrote for his character was always one of the most emotionally difficult and demanding, and Burkholder always rose to whatever challenge they put before him as an actor.

That's why I'm excited to see "Babysitter," the film that's playing at this year's SXSW festival. Here's the description from the SXSW site:

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Review: Liam Neeson can't keep dull action thriller 'Run All Night' on its feet
Credit: Warner Bros.

Review: Liam Neeson can't keep dull action thriller 'Run All Night' on its feet

HitFix
C
Readers
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The formula starts to wear a little thin in John Taken's ninth adventure

Beloved serial killer John Taken is back for another heartwarming family adventure!

I'm confused by the continuity on this series, though. I'm pretty sure this takes place after "Taken 2" and "Non-Stop," but before "Walk Among The Tombstones," and parallel to "Taken 3" and "Unknown." In this entry in the long-running hit series, John Taken (Liam Neeson) and his son Mike Taken (Joel Kinnaman) go head-to-head with the Red Skull (Ed Harris) after witnessing Red Skull Jr. (Boyd Holbrook) murdering some Armenian heroin smugglers. Plus Nick Nolte shows up for about five minutes, and I'm not 100% sure he knew he was in a movie.

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The Japanese trailer for 'Tomorrowland' is spoilertastic
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

The Japanese trailer for 'Tomorrowland' is spoilertastic

My guess is that the Japanese trailer for Brad Bird's upcoming "Tomorrowland" gives away as much information as it does because they think it's a harder sell in that market.

All I know is the American trailer felt to me like it was trying to sell a mood more than the actual story. They only hinted at things. This time, they show you more of the material from when George Clooney's character is a little boy, they introduce the mysterious Athena (Raffey Cassidy), and we hear very clearly that Casey (Britt Robertson) is "the chosen one."

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Felicity Jones joins 'Star Wars: Rogue One' and 'Episode VIII' sets 2017 release
Credit: 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm Ltd.

Felicity Jones joins 'Star Wars: Rogue One' and 'Episode VIII' sets 2017 release

Interesting day for official 'Star Wars' news

One of the reasons fan speculation makes my job difficult is because many people do not understand the difference between fan speculation and news, and in a world where bloggers blur that line all the time, things spread and become fact, whether they are or not.

For the last year or so, it has been "common knowledge" that the first stand-alone "Star Wars" film was going to be about Boba Fett. I've seen that printed hundreds of times now. I've seen people discussing it as if Disney had announced it. And I'm sure for many people, they absolutely believed it as fact.

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Take Two: Tarzan epic 'Greystoke' doesn't hold up as a legend
Credit: Warner Home Video

Take Two: Tarzan epic 'Greystoke' doesn't hold up as a legend

Some great work is lost in a powerfully muddled execution

It is the responsibility of the working film critic not only to see and review as many new releases as possible, but also to constantly revisit films in order to challenge one’s own opinions. Moreover, it is important to review those films as you would any other film, no matter whether you once loved it or hated it. Considering how many movies are constantly available to audiences today, every film should be considered new to someone.

Critics should take it upon themselves to form new opinions of even the most revered movies, and to always remind themselves and their audiences that films do not belong on shelves. They must be seen and shared and constantly re-examined.

My kids have started asking me questions about Tarzan.

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