The Best Stories of the Week, August 17


This week saw the return of our favorite anti-hero, and I’m not talking about any characters from Kick-Ass 2. Yes, Breaking Bad was the talk of the week, and while that superhero movie sequel was discussed a bunch, it was unfortunately for mostly negative reasons. Maybe that’s why we couldn’t stop thinking about bigger superhero movies, namely of the Avengers franchise. Last Sunday, we got the hint from Vin Diesel that he’s voicing Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. A few days later, Simon Pegg messed with fans and movie bloggers by fake hinting that he’s playing the lead in Ant-Man. The former isn’t confirmed and the latter I don’t think is totally ruled out yet, but this trend of teasing us isn’t going too well.

In the past seven days, FSR has brought you a look back at the hits and flops of the summer, a glimpse at the program for this year’s Fantastic Fest and new considerations of the work of Sam Peckinpah, David Gordon Green, John Frankenheimer and Katherine Heigl (one of these things is not like the other). We learned some interesting news about upcoming Pixar films and a fascinating fact about a classic Kubrick movie. And we gave most of the new releases grades in the C-range (at least we like Ain’t Them Bodies Saints). As always, the Reject Recap is here to get you caught up on all these goodies and more.

Start your weekend right after the jump.


Breaking Bad Returns For Final Episodes

12tv_breakingbad“Having gone nearly a year without Walt, Jesse, and the rest of the blue-hued crew (by ‘crew’ we mean meth, baby, and lots of it), anticipation for the final episodes in Vince Gilligan’s opus reached a fever pitch, well, probably long before the latest episode actually aired. And was it worth it? Man, was it worth it. With only eight episodes in the show’s final half-season, acceleration is the name of the game…Years from now, binge-watchers everywhere will be able to watch the entire series without pause, and while they too will feel the tension and the trauma of Breaking Bad, they will never be able to feel the unique joy of waiting for something and being gloriously, gruesomely rewarded for it.” – Kate Erbland

More on Breaking Bad:
Breaking Bad Recap: “There Is Nothing for Us to Do But Try to Live Ordinary, Decent Lives”
Breaking Bad Writer Steps Out of His Comfort Zone to Pen Crime Thriller
Breaking Trek


The Box Office Winners and Losers of Summer 2013

The Conjuring“This summer saw two monster hits that didn’t crack the top but are still among the biggest successes of the season. Using the 1.5x budget formula mentioned above, both The Purge and The Conjuring earned higher profit percentages than any other summer wide releases. The former earned $82m on a $3m budget, and James Wan’s ghost story cost $20m but took in $169m. The fact that one of the two is actually pretty great makes this even better. Horror being the most profitable genre isn’t news, but the recent trend of producing inexpensive but well-crafted tales of terror (Insidious, Sinister, Paranormal Activity) has resulted in a new appreciation for letting artists create quality chills without a studio peering over their shoulder.” – Rob Hunter


Kick-Ass 2 Is Bad For Women

Kick-Ass 2“While you could make the argument that filling a film with women who are all tough-talking hardasses has its own merits – maybe these women really are strong and independent as Brooke says they are – the manner in which the women of Kick-Ass 2 speak to each other is so vile and so hateful that even when they are engaging in the briefest of chats about men (Brooke introduces young Mindy to a One Direction rip-off band called Union J, unleashing a burst of sexual interest in the young superhero), it’s the only time the ladies speak to each other in a manner verging on interesting, engaged, and respectful.” – Kate Erbland

More on Kick-Ass 2:
Kick-Ass 2 Review: They Should’ve Called It Ass-Kick
Hit-Girl Does Battle With Mother Russia in Red Band Kick-Ass 2 Featurette
Mark Millar Explains Why Kick-Ass 2 Goes Big But Doesn’t Glorify Violence
Broken Projector: Kids Who Kick Ass


Fantastic Fest Announces Second Wave of Programming

fantastic_fest_13a“Around these parts (Austin, TX) we are beginning to get excited about Fantastic Fest. Elsewhere in the film world, bags are being packed and schedules are being color-coded for fall festivals in distant locales such as Toronto or Venice, perhaps even Sitges, Spain. But here in America, the approach of September means one thing to serious film fans: Fantastic Fest is nigh. Seemingly on cue, the folks at the Alamo Drafthouse have announced their second round of programming for America’s largest genre film festival, complete with films from a number of favorites. These favorites include perennials Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Down Terrace) and Alex de la Iglesia, the latter of whom stunned audiences with his masterwork The Last Circus at the 2010 edition of the festival. Each are back with their latest projects alongside a delightful list of familiar names and newcomers alike.” – Neil Miller


Paranoia Inspires New Dictionary

ParanoiaParanoia, noun: 1. a state of acute awareness of one’s surroundings, only heightened by the removal of one’s shirt, 2. a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward highly rational suspicions of the motivations of nearly bald captains of industry” – Kate Erbland


Why Prince Avalanche Is About David Gordon Green’s Career

Prince Avalanche“Although [Paul] Rudd and [Emile] Hirsch carve out unique and compelling characters, the real central character is the setting – a burned out forest, ravaged by recent wildfires – and it provides a perfect symbol of the state of Green’s career. Emerging from the haze of his stoner comedies, could there be a better metaphor for the current state of the director’s career than a burned out forest? Green made his name with films that were deeply connected to the land, but he destroyed that era of his career by reinventing himself as a comedy director. Now he is seeking to rebuild, not by destroying the past but by acknowledging it. By finding himself in the ashes.” – Noah Gittell


Blackfish Influences Pixar to Change Finding Nemo Sequel

FINDING DORY“Naturally, with the Blackfish controversy and the ongoing publicity battle the real-life SeaWorld is currently waging, Pixar decided to do some recon and restructure the ending so that the characters do travel to the marine park, but like any totally normal situation that would definitely happen, they have the option of leaving and going back out to the ocean if they choose…if the Finding Dory team truly wanted to make a huge splash (I know, I know), couldn’t they have scrapped the whole ‘ending up in whale prison’ premise altogether? Since this is a Disney film, it’s probably going to be a very sanitized, idyllic version of a true aquatic park where the gang probably all chooses to stick around anyway.” – Samantha Wilson

More on Pixar:
A Hi-Res Look At Disney and Pixar’s Animated Future


John Frankenheimer’s Seconds Gets the Criterion Treatment

seconds_09“I wonder how Seconds must have been seen by everyday audiences in 1966. Sure, American cinephiles may have seen stranger things by this point (and Frankenheimer’s early work certainly has its stylistic flourishes), but simply spending the first half hour of a ‘Rock Hudson movie’ with blacklisted TV character actor John Randolph as the lead character (as Arthur Hamilton, who transforms into Hudson’s Wilson) doing his very best to perform quiet, slowly devastating despair, must have at least made audiences wonder, ‘Am I in the wrong theater?’ It’s a disorientation that productively mirrors the fluid mystery of Seconds’s narrative. Never has a movie about a topic so inherently liberating – the literal change of identity – felt so claustrophobic.” – Landon Palmer


Katherine Heigl Returns to TV After Failing in Film

katherine-heigl-desktop-7befb“Now’s the opportunity for Heigl to shine. The ambitious actress has been so difficult partly because of her ingratitude: she called her breakthrough film Knocked Up ‘sexist’ upon release and publicly denounced the Grey’s Anatomy writers by accusing them of not giving her character enough ‘material…to warrant an Emmy nomination.’ As an experienced (if not particularly skilled) producer, Heigl just might create for herself the ‘strong woman’ roles she’s been clamoring for in the press. If she pulls it off, Heigl’s return to TV just might make Hollywood’s biggest comeback story in years.” – Inkoo Kang


What Would Have Happened in Season 2 of Clone High

Clone High Resolutions“Way, way back in 2002, a little show about teenage clones hit MTV, delighted audiences, and was promptly cancelled. Clone High was a slapstick satire of the teen shows that grew out of the Dawson’s Creek mold, but it had a sci-fi twist and an irreverent sensibility that allowed it to send up just about everything. But more than anything, it was about love. The dry kind, and the kind you find in a meat locker. We’re talking versatility here. Sadly, even though the first season adventures of Abe, Cleo, Joan, JFK, Gandhi, Principal Scudworth and Mr. Butlertron ended with a massive cliffhanger, a second season was never to be. Until now.” – Scott Beggs


Could You Survive for 14 Seconds in the Vacuum of Space Like in Kubrick’s 2001?

2001truth-2“According to William P. Jeffs from NASA: ‘The 14 seconds in vacuum would have been unpleasant but survivable.’ Jeffs points to Air Force experimentation on chimpanzees as evidence. Back in the 1960s, the Air Force conducted a series of tests on chimpanzees, among which they inflicted sudden decompression on 17 subjects and left them in a vacuum between 5 and 210 seconds. All but one of the chimpanzees survived and recovered from the experiments with no noticeable cognitive or nerve damage. The only subject that died, who was exposed to a vacuum for 90 seconds, was an older chimpanzee with high blood pressure and a heart abnormality.” – Kevin Carr


Filmmaking Tips From Sam Peckinpah

Sam Peckinpah“Damn the Man. It’s no secret that a lot of Peckinpah’s work was altered by producers and financiers. ABC Pictures hounded him to keep Straw Dogs below an X-rating (the time’s NC-17 equivalent), MGM fired him from Ride The High Country before it was edited or scored, and Warners even cut The Wild Bunch for time so theaters could show more screenings of it. The list is long, which is probably why the director once said that, ‘A little judicious censorship is like a little syphilis.’ But apparently his infamous antagonism served at least one noble purpose. According to his former assistant Katy Haber, vilifying the moneymen was partially what drove Peckinpah’s spirit for filmmaking. He needed an enemy, and they were all too happy to play into that role, creating friction that he no doubt imbued his films with.” – Scott Beggs


The Most Destructive Mad Scientist in Modern Cinema Is…

Re-Animator 4Herbert West in Re-Animator. Re-Animating the dead is just so classic mad scientist, and Herbert is able to create such a hilarious mess by doing so. He even has his own creepy dark laboratory – albeit a makeshift one. It’s not just that his creations come back undoubtedly and uselessly disturbed, but that by the time he reanimates his second corpse it’s painfully clear that there’s no practical application for his liquid glow stick reagent. And yet – almost compulsively so – he can’t stop bringing people back from the dead to see what happens. Even his final breath is to preserve his ridiculous work – a true mad scientist move.” – David Christopher Bell


Big Questions Left Unanswered by Elysium

elysium102“How does Elysium have an atmosphere? The space station looks pretty cool as open as it is, but what’s holding it all in? The gravity likely works because of the way Elysium is in constant spinning motion, but would that keep the air in? It was a shock when it turned out there wasn’t some sort of glass roof to the outside parts of the station, but then it was even more surprising how easily Spider and Kruger’s ships entered the airspace without any sort of barrier whatsoever.” – Christopher Campbell

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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