‘Star Wars’ Land, ‘G.I. Joe’ and the Worst Film of 2013 Star in the 10 Best Movie Stories of the Week


Not a whole lot happened this week of monumental notice. Though some specific careers may have been seriously altered and some new film trends could be in the making, there was nothing that aims to revolutionize the whole industry as we saw last week. That’s why this week’s Reject Recap is a bit more populated with lists than usual (there are also more videos, but they’re not among the ten). But they’re mighty fine lists that will have you thinking and discussing and debating. And not just our own, of course. As usual, we also looked outside the FSR borders for great film-related (and sometimes TV-related) pieces elsewhere. If you see something you think should be included in the Recap, please email me

In addition to catching up with us and the other movie blogs here, be sure to check out the continued outpouring of great SXSW coverage we’ve been posting even as the film fest itself is over. Oh, and I highly recommend this week’s brilliantly spot-on Film Jockeys strip on “The Life Cycle of a Film Fan,” which should hit close to home for many of you. Now without further ado…

Start your weekend right after the jump.


Jane Got a Gun and a Messy Production Start

Lynne RamsayThe week started pretty crazy for the Natalie Portman movie Jane Got a Gun, which was to start shooting Monday. Director Lynne Ramsay didn’t show up. So, by Tuesday she was replaced with Gavin O’Connor. Then by Wednesday Jude Law quit, too, and we heard about a varied few who might fill his role. Scott chimed in on the new director choice: “O’Connor has proven several times that he can make great adult fiction without alienating or making the tone too niche to enjoy. Not only is it surprising that the production found an available replacement so quickly, it’s downright astonishing that they found one who’se so well-suited to the material.”

More on the Jane Got a Gun fiasco:
Watch: What If Terrence Malick, Wes Anderson or J.J. Abrams Directed ‘Jane Got a Gun’
Lynne Ramsay, and Why We Need to Talk About How We Talk About Female Directors (Film.com)
12 Films Whose Directors Jumped Ship (Or Were Pushed…) (Empire)



Remake of Escape From New York To Be Stretched Over Three Movies

news_noescapefromnewyorkJohn Carpenter’s Escape From New York is still being remade, but now it’s even worse: they’ll be spreading the plot over a planned trilogy, including a prequel showing the origins of Snake Plissken prior to his POTUS rescue mission. It’s everything bad about remakes mixed with everything bad about the one book-adapted-into-two films trend. And it could set a bad precedent for Hollywood. Kate responded: “The first film will be a “retelling” of the story that will somehow also be “an entirely new take on the material” with an eye to kicking things off with an “origin story” that will launch a new franchise, most likely a trilogy. And that, my friends, is a Hollywood remake bingo.”

More on Escape From New York and other Kurt Russell movies:
Twelve of Our Favorite Kurt Russell Performances in Honor of His Birthday
What Other Movie Would Be Better As Three Movies? (Movies.com)



Disney Looking Into Adding a Star Wars Land to Its Parks

674d5e2f-941a-405f-900a-a10026e2347cThis seems like a given, but now that Disney owns the Star Wars property, the company is thinking of ramping up that franchise’s presence at their theme parks. Slashfilm brought word and illustration of the first step: “A survey is going around to select Annual Pass holders and other Disney fanatics that asks the question “How interested would you be in visiting a Star Wars themed land at the Disneyland Resort?” Obviously that doesn’t mean you should book your travel just yet, but it confirms Disney is thinking about taking its new $4 billion toy out for a ride. We, unfortunately, don’t have a link to the survey itself , but we’ve got some screencaps for you to check out.”



Disney Princesses in Spring Breakers

This is funny even if you haven’t seen Spring Breakers. Very well done. You gotta love the very last gag.



Bible Epics Are Back

MosesIt doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with The History Channel’s popular Bible mini-series, but Hollywood appears to be really into religious epics again. In addition to a new animated Noah’s Ark in the works (and that’s not to be confused with Darren Aronofsky’s Noah), we learned of competing Moses projects this week, Warner Bros.’ (and now Ang Lee‘s) Gods and Kings and Fox’s (and Ridley Scott’s) Exodus. Kate commented on the trend: “The real question here seems to be how excited to see a Moses movie audiences would actually be. Idly watching Bible stories on The History Channel from your couch is one thing, and going out to a theater and paying money to watch them is another. Might these two studios be pressuring each other into putting together big budget projects that aren’t necessarily guaranteed to see returns on their investments?”



The Worst Movie of 2013

InAPPropriate ComedyI don’t normally feature one of our reviews as a top story of the week, but Kate’s claim that InAPPropriate Comedyis the early champ for definite worst film of the year (“if some other feature takes its place before 2013 is out, we’re fucked”), it’s worth spotlighting. From her F-graded review: “Offer’s “film” (if we’re really going to call it that) features a range of recognizable talents, including the aforementioned Lohan (attempting to channel Marilyn Monroe, as she so loves to do, while wearing a SCRAM bracelet), Oscar winner Adrien Brody (who should probably have his Oscar just taken away from him if this is the kind of work he’s interested in doing now), Michelle Rodriguez (who spends half the film covering her face, smartly enough), Rob Schneider (fine, we expect this from him now), and co-writer Ari Shaffir (who seems to have watched a lot of Borat sketches without picking up on any of their nuance or intelligence), all of whom should have a long, long talk with their respective agents.”



One of the Best Blu-ray Releases of 2013

ds hg lewis lost filmsThat’s what Rob called Vinegar Syndrome’s set of The Lost Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis, which includes his T&A films Ecstasies of Women, Black Love and the incest and lesbian sex-filled Linda and Abilene. He writes of the last: “Did you know that “erotic westerns” were a thing once? Me neither, although I do find Bad Girls incredibly arousing. Like the previous film this is a softcore endeavor, and while it lacks the humor of that film it makes up for it with additional sleaziness. And horses. The movie is a bit darker than expected thanks to the rape and a third-act death, but it’s never really heavy. Overall it’s probably the least entertaining of the three films collected here.”



The 50 Best Opening Scenes of All Time

8 and a half openingOur own Daniel Walber contributed to a third of Film.com’s almost perfect list of the best opening scenes in film. And it’s nice to see a mix of obvious (Reservoir Dogs, Manhattan) and pretty obscure (Daisies, The Naked Kiss) plus a couple films to be found elsewhere in the Recap (Children of Men, The Social Network). Number one goes deservingly to Fellini’s 8 1/2, on which Daniel wrote: “brilliant for the same reason that the film as a whole is brilliant. It’s as rich in symbolism as it is in character, as visually impressive as it is emotionally resonant. “8 1/2” is a triumph of sound and music that begins with complete and utter silence. To eventually reach its open, exultantly freeing finale it must open trapped, cramped and short of breath. “8 1/2” is like a roller coaster of consciousness – this sequence is the train climbing that first hill, stopping briefly at the top to quietly look down from the heavens before plunging into a rollicking, pulsing adventure through one man’s tortured mind.”

More on the greatest opening scenes (both by yours truly):
What’s the Greatest Opening Scene of a Movie Ever? (Movies.com)
The Greatest Documentary Opening Scenes of All Time (Documentary Channel)



The History of Opening Titles

And while we’re on the subject of film openings, here’s a new video essay on the history of opening titles by Nora Thoes and Damian Pérez:



14 Great (Human) Movie MacGuffins

PrRyanDavid’s list this week celebrates movies in which a minor (yet often titular) character rather than an object drives the plot. Some of the 14 titles he includes are Children of Men, Labyrinth, The Terminator and Saving Private Ryan. On the last: “if I were Ryan I would start boning the moment I got out of that war. Think about it — if you saw how many people died just to save your white ass, you’d want to make sure your white ass had worth…The best plan then is to screw like the day is long – that way you’ll at least be producing a lush bloodline that wouldn’t have existed without those brave fallen men, right? You’d have to create at least as many kids as those men would have made to make it count – that’s just math.”



Why Do Movies About ‘The Information Age’ Hide Information?

Margin CallFor the latest Culture Warrior column, Landon explored movies with another sort of MacGuffin: information, data, tech jargon and others sorts of material that the screenwriter let alone the audience may not comprehend on the level of the characters on screen. And that’s okay. Focused upon titles include Margin Call, Moneyball and The Social Network. “These films do not embrace the complexity that their specialized subject matter suggests,” he wrote. “Careful maneuvers are made by filmmakers to illustrate the meaning of information without exhibiting the information itself for the audience to interpret (assuming that audience is capable of doing so); or, if the information is made available, it’s translated by characters within the film itself. (It’s telling that the very difficulty of interpreting data itself is presented by Margin Call as one of the causes (or symptoms) of the 2008 financial crisis depicted.)”



How G.I. Joe: The Rise of COBRA Could Have Easily Been Good

GIJoe_Duke_TatumA list at io9 highlights “10 bad movies that could have been better with just one change,” which includes A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Superman II and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Since the sequel comes out next Friday, here’s their easy fix for G.I. Joe: The Rise of COBRA: “It was always going to be silly, and this film mostly just surrenders to the camp…The one thing you gotta change: Cut out the scenes where the film attempts to be all serious about the past relationship between Duke and the Baroness. Edit out all the attempts at drama, and you’ve got a movie that’s just nonstop ridiculous fun.”



Breaking the Fourth Wall Supercut

Not just a supercut but also a video essay on the device of breaking the fourth wall, by Leigh Singer for Press play:


Rather than a reject, Christopher Campbell is a film school dropout. But he has since gotten a master’s degree in cinema studies and has been blogging about movies since 2005. Earlier, he reviewed films for a zine (a what?) that you could buy at Tower Records (a what?). He is married with two children.

Read More from Christopher Campbell
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