Jesus H. Franco, it’s been a busy week here at Film School Rejects. Mainly because of Fantastic Fest, of course. Since the last Reject Recap, we’ve posted 36 reviews of films from the event, plus six interviews, including one with Tim Burton. And we’re not done. The festival may be over, but we’ll still be rolling out the coverage for a couple more days. Obviously, this link to all that content, which can take you in reverse through that which you’ve missed and forward to what will appear (once it appears), is a crucial bookmark for you in these post-fantastic times.
Once again, you can easily track through the week’s prominent other features by clicking on buttons around the main page, but here are some links to help you out: reviews (new releases include Pitch Perfect, Won’t Back Down, The Hole, Hotel Transylvania and Hello I Must Be Going); interviews (including Brian DePalma); the Reject Radio podcast (this week was episode 150!); Short Film of the Day and of course your best spot for the most pertinent movie news.
Check out our ten best features from the past week plus some other additional reading after the break.
We are all bummed that Dredd 3D hasn’t been doing well at the box office, especially since the people who have gone to see it are raving about it. Could this be a slow builder with word of mouth? Will it hit huge cult status on video? Can there please be a sequel? Star Karl Urban would be down for it, and in an interview with us at Fantastic Fest he even mentioned the storyline he’d love to do:
“If we could do Judge Death and the dark judges in the next one, that would be fantastic. But look, if that happens, phenomenal. I would be on board. But if it doesn’t, I think that all of us who are involved in making this film are really proud of it. [...] All I can really say is I would be up for it. But in the same sense, there’s no way that I’m counting any chickens here. It has to find an audience. That might not be in its initial theatrical run. It might be in DVD. Or maybe the financials will never stack up to warrant making another one. In that case we’re left with a pretty damn amazing graphic cult classic of a movie. That’s good too. That’s fine. Dredd is enigmatic. He is mysterious. And if this is the end of the line, then that’s a good note to end it on. Leave them wanting more.”
Additional reading: Interview with ‘Dredd’ Writer Alex Garland.
Brian reviewed Looper, giving it an “A” grade while celebrating its director as something of a savior for mainstream studio genre movies:
“For fans of smart cinematic sci-fi, Looper is to be exuberantly inhaled and then let out in a demonstrative contented sigh. Rian Johnson is the director Hollywood needs, even if he’s not the one they deserve right now. This is precisely what we hope for, but have learned to stop expecting from studio science-fiction.”
Additional reading: Interview with ‘Looper’ Writer/Director Rian Johnson; Interview with ‘Looper’ Composer Nathan Johnson; Review of Nathan Johnson’s ‘Looper’ Score; In Honor of ‘Looper': Bruce Willis Fights Bruce Willis [Video].
One of the biggest movies of the year hit home video this week: The Avengers. To celebrate the occasion, Cole rounded up some great tips from filmmaker Joss Whedon, including this gem on getting started proactively:
“In the last few years, the advice became: If you like something, make it. Don’t write it and try to find a studio. Make it. Because it is very possible, for anybody. When I did Buffy as a show, it was partly because I couldn’t get a gig as a director. So I said, well, I’ll write a show. I’ll hire me. Buffy was, unabashedly, seven years of film school for me, with me teaching myself how to direct. The best way to learn is to do it. Get it wrong a couple times.”
Additional reading: 6 Scenes We Love From the Films of Marvel’s The Avengers; Neil Miller on ‘The Avengers’ Blu-ray.
While most writers around the web have been trying to figure out the meaning of The Master (see below), Landon took a look at where the film fits in with Paul Thomas Anderson‘s oeuvre:
“What’s fascinating about The Master in the context of Anderson’s larger body of work is that it seems to culminate the pair of defining tendencies that dominated the first two phases of his career. Like Anderson’s first three films, The Master is about a particular and unique group of people who have come together based on shared interests, in this case the communal search for meaning, purpose, and enlightenment through Dodd’s Scientology-reminiscent “The Cause.” At the same time, The Master is really, at its center (and like Anderson’s two previous films), about not one but two enigmatic men whose respective pasts can only fleetingly and partially explain their complex actions and current conditions.”
Additional reading: What is the Meaning of ‘The Master’?
As we count down the days until Skyfall hits theaters, Kevin and Brian continue to deliver Bond fan goodies. And with the whole series released in a 50th anniversary box set this week, it was a special time to look back on the franchise. Here’s some trivia on Timothy Dalton‘s short run as 007, which make his stint seem more of its time than other Bonds:
“When The Living Daylights went into production, the public’s awareness of AIDS had hit a full stride. In an effort to be more responsible, Bond was given a more monogamous role, as opposed to the whoring around that Connery Moore and Lazenby did. [...] In The Living Daylights, Bond joins forces with the Mujahideen to fight against the Soviets, which some believe is where Al-Queda got its start. Also, Dalton’s haircut in Licence to Kill was just plain silly.”
Additional reading: Celebrate 50 Years of Sex, Gadgets, and Martinis With This James Bond Drinking Game.
In their weekly chat about the greatest movies ever made, Landon and Cole discussed Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Here’s each of their first impressions on the film:
Landon: “I had never seen anything like it. It opened my eyes up to the possibilities of what cinema can do. So yes, 2001 forced me into loving movies. I had no choice. That bastard.”
Cole: “For me, 2001 was garbage when I saw it in high school. It was the easy emptiness that can trick people into thinking it’s brilliant. [...] but after seeing it again with adult eyes, everything just snapped into place. It also helped that I learned some patience through other movies.”
In his Over/Under column, Nathan compared the sinking ship movies The Poseidon Adventure and Titanic, calling the former overrated and the latter underrated. From the argument on why James Cameron‘s historical disaster film deserves more praise:
“Sure, The Poseidon Adventure is known for its upside down sets, and maybe with good reason, but if we’re going to start throwing around praise for set building, then Titanic has to be at the top of the list of films deserving of some verbal affection. The sets here are huge, elaborate, and so much more expansive than the ones in Poseidon. That film has the one ballroom set, sure, but watching Titanic really gives you a sense of the geography of the ship and how everything actually looked—instructing as well as providing impressively large spaces. The movie completely immerses you in the world of the ship, and only relies on generic service tunnels as sets in the few scenes where it’s appropriate.”
Cole looked at some factors that contributed to the greatness of the films Citizen Kane, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Apocalypse Now, to prove that simply watching movies is not enough of an education. One must dig deeper. Here’s a sample of one of these:
“The secret to Apocalypse Now, if there is one, is to just keep going. Even if it takes three years from cameras rolling to release. Even if millions of your own dollars are on the line. Even if the government keeps taking back your helicopters to curb a rebellion.
“The litany of things that went wrong with that production would make Murphy weep, but Francis Ford Coppola eventually delivered a masterpiece of filmmaking for United Artists.”
The haunted house film Sinister opens on Friday, so in anticipation of that, Kevin put together some real estate listings for some of our favorite horror locations, including the homes in A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Amityville Horror, Poltergeist and Casper. From his intro:
“Movies have also taught us to ask what might be considered bizarre questions when deciding on a new place to live. Has anyone been killed with a nail gun in the living room? Does there happen to be a gateway to hell in the basement? How many former tenants have gone completely bat-shit crazy and murdered their entire families? (Note: if the answer is more than zero, you might want to reconsider renting or purchasing this home.)”
Cole looked through the roles of The Dark Knight Rises star Tom Hardy for seemingly no other reason than the guy is awesome (the guy can refer to either Cole or Hardy). The actor also got some casting news this week (see below), so there’s some relevancy if you need it. From the bit on the title role in Bronson:
“This right here was his sick-minded shining moment. Nicholas Winding Refn‘s violent tone poem of a biopic was effectively Hardy grabbing audiences by the ears, punching them in the throat and leaving his name imprinted where their windpipe used to be. He ripped the phrase “tour de force” down from its pedestal and stomped on it for good measure.”
Additional reading: Tom Hardy Might Tackle Another Physically Demanding Role: Scaling Doug Liman’s ‘Everest’