No, those kids aren’t watching Star Trek Into Darkness or Oblivion. It’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was being marketed to children by Howard Johnson’s!
Welcome back to another Reject Recap, where I highlight the best movie news and feature stories of the past week as posted on FSR (and sometimes other sites). Think of it more as a curation with which to review recent film history as opposed to a set of reruns (we have enough of those starting around this time — on the big screen as well as on TV). It’s not just about catching up with what you missed but also catching on to where we are in movie culture. Also in television culture, as you’ll see in the bonus 11th slot below (spoiler: Landon likens The Office to a Michael Haneke film!). Also, I’ve included the full trailer for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at the end. Enjoy.
This week’s theme, if there should be one, seems to be a mix of agelessness and timelessness. Words that may pertain to debates on remakes, reboots and reworking old cult classics so they’re more kid-friendly. Also to what Baz Luhrman does with retro-placement of modern music. Doesn’t it all make you want to get inside a human time capsule in the form of deep sleep stasis and wake up in a century to see what’s lasted, what’s been redone and what history and culture has been retroactively rewritten? Something to think about.
“There are a ton of great movies playing at Cannes 2013, but you can’t be there. We feel your pain. I specifically feel your pain because I’m not technically allowed back in the city (parking tickets), so I can’t partake in all the grandeur of The Croisette. We’re lucky to have the fantastic Shaun Munro reviewing for us from the sandy beaches (and watching a few films), but it’s still a bit sad to think that we have to experience the festival from the couchly confines of our home in a town whose name we actually know how to pronounce. To help bring the festival experience just one inch closer to reality, let’s all dive deep into the cold, Mediterranean-like sea of synopses, pics, clips and trailers for the films that are playing at Cannes 2013. It’s just like watching a highlight reel!” – Scott Beggs
“Is it possible that starting the Gremlins franchise over and utilizing all of its familiar production design, but not being beholden to the stories that have already been told is actually the right move here, despite what our emotions might be telling us? And, more importantly than that, is it possible that Joe Dante Himself might be onboard for a reboot as well, and could eventually be the director who [Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg] hire to bring this thing to the screen? Now there’s something that would eliminate any ill-will projected toward this project pretty damned quick. Dante getting the chance to make another big budget horror comedy is the stuff nightmares are made of. You know, nightmares in a good way.” – Nathan Adams
“According to a 1968 Howard Johnson’s children’s menu… Once you stop throwing up, this kind of thing really makes you wonder if Kubrick ever saw this glorious monstrosity or whether he was carefully guarded from the more commercial grotesqueries that came with studio filmmaking. Obviously he swallowed the product placement while presenting it in a believable way (after all, brands aren’t simply going to disappear in the future), but this connect-the-dots delivery method may have been a bridge too far. The obvious question is why they’d market a slow-burn, existential mind-shredder to children in the first place. The better question is why they’d market a slow-burn, existential mind-shredder to children without turning HAL into a cheerful, cartoon robot pal.” – Scott Beggs
“On its own, the soundtrack is a fantastic combination of different musical styles from hip hop to rock to ballads, but the soundtrack’s at times sparse use within the film made it feel as though you were listening to a great song that was cut short before it reached its climactic chorus. Jack White’s “Love Is Blindness” (which drove the film’s trailer) made only a brief appearance rather than letting it play to the rafters like the track begs for. There are moments within The Great Gatsby where the soundtrack sings, but those moments ended up being rarer than one would expect when listening to a soundtrack full of music that not only reflects the themes of the film, but one full of lyrics saying what its characters cannot (or will not).” – Allison Loring
“Six stories separated by time and space but joined by the common themes of humanity, this is the rare epic that didn’t come out of Hollywood…Of course, there’s no way in hell this movie would or could have come out of Hollywood anyway. It’s ambitious to a fault, and while that alone isn’t enough to watch a near three hour movie, the film offers plenty of other reasons as well. There’s action, sci-fi, romance, drama, comedy and more, and it’s all held together by a sense of wonder and an ethereal score. Sure there’s also some goofiness, but the good and great far outweighs the broadly ridiculous.” – Rob Hunter
“This is all truly conflicting. Despite the bizarre lose/lose nature of trying to remake a cult movie, there may be a glimmer of a fun film here. Pink, who wrote and will direct, has got some great chops. Unfortunately, the project is being described as “an action adventure geared toward mainstream audiences.” Toxic Avenger geared toward mainstream audiences? The last we heard, they were even trying to make it PG-13. Because if you’re trying to remake a niche film, the main thing you want to do is make it digestible enough for a broader audience by cutting out all the things that made it interesting. It’s a great way to alienate fans of the original while making the general audience scratch their heads. So, yeah, even if Schwarzenegger signs on, this all sounds unbelievably stupid.” – Scott Beggs
“There were knock-offs to be sure, but what prevented a flood of stop-motion creature movies, was that it took time for Ray to make his films and in Hollywood (like elsewhere), time = money. His films were an enigma – too expensive to be copied quickly, but too inexpensive to receive big-budget releases unlike other high end family fantasy films of the time like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Ray, under the protection of his producer Charles Schneer, worked in a certain amount of obscurity, quietly producing mere frames of animation per day for complicated sequences. And much of the time he was working either alone or with limited help.” – Shannon Shea
“I’d like to see more of the character stuff. Or something else besides big creatures and the kind of action that could just as easily sell a Michael Bay movie…I need more assurance, especially after the “fun” but dumb summer movies we’ve gotten as of yet this year in only a matter of weeks. I’m just not sold yet and maybe I won’t be until I just see it, because I’ve never been a member of the Del Toro fanbase and to me this just looks like dark, mindless fluff no better than Robot Jox meets Battleship.” – Christopher Campbell
“Warner Archive Instant…signals a possible return to pre-1948 practices of vertical integration, especially if studios like MGM and Universal decide to follow Warners’ digital exhibition model. In effect, this framework for digital exhibition turns 21st century moviegoers into pre-1948 theater owners subject to practices of block-booking –- if you’d like to watch a dozen or so titles available exclusively through the Warner Archive Instant, then you’ll have to take all their other titles as well. If you’d like to see Universal films, well, then subscribe to their streaming archive to do the same if they develop one. How do subscription services like Netflix compete with studios that own a vault of original material? By making their own exclusive content in turn. Want to see the upcoming season of Arrested Development? Stick with the red envelope, and you can see every season of Comedy Bang Bang as well.” – Landon Palmer
“Matt Damon forCourage Under Fire. Seriously, you always hear these actors talk about how hard it was but also how worth it the experience was – but Damon flat out regrets it. When you read why – it’s pretty obvious. The dumbass completely winged it and almost gave himself permanent heart problems because of it. He drank egg whites for breakfast, and had one plain potato and one chicken breast a day. He also drank shit loads of coffee and ran six and a half miles every morning. Like a dumbass. Afterward he was under a doctor’s care for several months taking meds because he screwed up his adrenal glands and also risked permanent heart shrinkage.” – David Christopher Bell
“Because the show’s cringe comedy oscillates so fluidly between laughing at and laughing with its characters, this final season seems to be retroactively implicating the show’s actual audience in illustrating the potential repercussions of the characters’ unwanted fame via the very footage we’ve watched for eight years. It’s easily become the most positively Haneke-esque of all of NBC’s sitcoms…The Office has managed in its waning hours to accomplish something risky, bizarre, and unique for a sitcom that has an almost-universal means of access, even if the end result is a bit uneven and ambivalent. The show seems to exercise fitting cynicism about a superficial TV-based fame cycle that has turned everyday life into a spectacle of fools and, in the process, has allowed other networks to continually knock NBC out of the park.” – Landon Palmer
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